Three Things PR Professionals Should Remember When Onboarding a New Client

We have all felt the excitement that comes when working with a new client. Perhaps the client works in a niche industry that requires specialization, and there’s an opportunity to gain knowledge in a new industry vertical. Maybe the client has forthcoming news that you know will catch the media’s attention. In most cases, we want to hit the ground running and begin developing a strategic public relations plan that will garner maximum media coverage and credibility for our clients. However, before diving in to a new account, there are some best practices PR professionals should consider sharing with new clients.

Own one attribute, earn others
Often times when we ask clients, “What separates you from your competitors,” they tell us they are the best at what they do in their industry. We’ve all heard it. Rightly so, clients are huge advocates of their own company, product or service. It’s up to us, as communications professionals, to learn and highlight each client’s true differentiators, whether through background interviews with executives, extensive industry research, reviewing their website versus competitors, etc.

One way we can better narrow our focus for each client is by helping them to own one attribute. By narrowing focus on one attribute, the client’s messaging and PR plan will reflect the client’s best feature upfront. Over time, through various PR tactics, strong media relationships and third-party validation, additional areas of differentiation may emerge. Other great attributes can be earned, but start by focusing on one.

Increase brand awareness
In initial conversations with the client, it’s important to learn and define what the client’s goals are for their PR program. This is a critical time to educate the client on how PR can increase brand awareness among their target audiences. Let the client know the PR team will utilize various public relations and marketing tactics to execute product launches and/or campaigns, while they work to sell the business’ product or service and offerings. PR is about creating overall brand awareness of the company and its story.

The media wants to provide readers with stories and information that will stay with them days later, i.e., how this product will make consumers’ lives easier, how a service offers added business value, etc. The goal of public relations is to explain who the client is, differentiate them from competitors and create a solid brand foundation.

Clips don’t tell content, tone, audience or blog mentions
All clients want to be featured in publications such as The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. While top tier media outlets might be interested in a clients’ story, targeted publications may be more effective in helping client’s reach their goals and specific audiences.

When coverage is secured, it’s important to share the placement and evaluate the coverage for key messages. Public relations reporting also examines total audience reach and tonality, as well as additional media pickups as a result of the original placement.

Once you land a new client, remember these three key practices. When public relations firms do their due diligence upfront and serve as an extension of a business’ marketing team, a lasting partnership can emerge and drive mutual success.