What Your PR Team Can Learn From Sales

After digging into the sales funnel to identify marketings KPIs that are worth measuring last week we deiced to take this another step forward and think about if sales pros and PR pros could have something in common too.

When you take a high-level look at the sales funnel,

  • Awareness: something seems wrong
  • Consideration: what are my options to fix it
  • Decision: X will fix my problem

This actually doesn’t look that different from what the PR team does,

  • Awareness: identify opportunities
  • Consideration: build up value
  • Decision: secure placement

It’s really not all that different at all. The PR pitch is very much a sales pitch as both are in the business of using a story to build relationships and solve problems. The sales team might use a story to pitch product or services while the PR team is using their story to pitch to influencers and publications to work with.

So after thinking about PR this way, what are some qualities that make up a successful sales team that you PR pros could leverage for their next media pitch?

Advice From A Sales Team

1. Relationships

Anyone and everyone will tell you that in sales it’s all about relationships. Tapping into everything that could provide some type of network and the same should be done by PR professionals. Whether that’s attending conferences, workshops, or even meeting a local journalist for lunch to try to build up your network is a must.

Once you have made these introductions, it’s then going to take some work to maintain those relationships. You don’t only want to come to these people when you need them- that can make the ask that much harder! But if you work on the relationship, staying in touch over time, figuring out ways to help them, you never know when knowing and having John Smith’s number and influence will come in good use. 

2. Audience

Who are you speaking to and why?

Social media has made it so much easier to do your RESEARCH. Whether you use Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook, there is something you can learn from taking the time getting to know the person who you’re speaking to.

  • What are their interests?
  • Who is their audience?
  • Have they written content?
  • Or do you have a mutual friend you can tap into to give you more in sight?

The more research you do about this person, the easier it will be to craft a pitch that is effective and relatable to the person you’re speaking to.

3. Call

I know, I hate calling people too, I always feel like such an inconvenience. While a text or email may feel more relaxed and less intrusive many journalist and influencers don’t have time to respond to them. Especially when you are on a deadline or just need a little bit of information (or have a few questions-I hate one question emails that go back and forth). In these cases, it might be best to pick up the phone. Think about how many emails you pass over or put into the trash right away? Chances are the person you have a pitch for does that too and you don’t want your email to get missed.

4. Wait

This could be the hardest part. Very rarely will you get the answer you want right away. You have to be patient and maybe even follow up. If someone turns you down make sure you ask why or what was missing from your pitch so you know what to do better next time you reach out to her. Treat every NO you hear as a learning experience and it won’t feel like a huge fail but more like on the job training.

Wrap It Up

Your pitch is your product.

Your story is your sell.

The media is your prospects.

Sales is hard and so is PR. But the more you put yourself out there and take the time to tell your story to influencers and journalists the better you will get at it and the more Yeses you will hear. You will become persistent and confident and maybe even persuasive. You know how to tell your story, now just use the four tips above to get it heard by the right person!

4 Questions Agencies Should Ask Clients

Think of your last nightmare client…

What went wrong?

And could it have been fixed during your pitch or at least the very first meeting if you had just known what questions to ask?

We aren’t saying your client is going to be honest with everything listed below but even noting who answers the questions and how they answer them could tell you a lot about what you are in for throughout the campaign you have agreed to work on together.

Brand success isn’t just about the numbers, especially if everyone ends up hating each other. Agencies need to understand the importance of customer experience and communication when it comes to client relationships. And you can set that tone for the very first interaction if the relationship is a priority for you. 

These four questions below could make or break a potential client relationship, and that’s why you want to ask them as soon as possible! This will help you understand what to expect and how you are expected to do it.

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1. What Keeps You Up At Night?

This might be a tough question to ask because no one like to reveal their flaws during the first meeting, but the truth is no one is perfect. As an agency, you are most likely being brought in to solve a problem that their internal team can’t do on their own. It probably pertains to one if not all of their businesses’ pain points and it’s important you find out as much as you can about it the first time you meet so you can start solving those problems. If a client says they have no pain points, try phrasing the question differently.

  • What metrics do you want to improve?
  • What is the one goal you are worried about not hitting?
  • What are complaints you receive from customers?

If you ask the right questions, you will figure out where they are struggling and how you can help. Remember, you can’t solve a problem unless you know there is one!

2. What Would Success Look Like To You?

This question is crucial because success looks different to everyone. I can almost guarantee even within the potential client’s organization a successful relationship with your agency will look different to the digital marketer, to the CMO and the CEO. It’s your job to figure out what they really want to achieve.

  • Is to increase visibility?
  • Increase sales?
  • Leads generated?
  • Tie efforts back to ROI?

No matter what their end goal is, we can assure you they are going to want to show something tangible for your work. This will help them easily explain why it was so important to hire an agency to handle their marketing needs.

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3. What Would You Like To See Your Agency Take More Responsibility Of?

This is basically a really nice way of asking what didn’t you like about the last agency.

You need to know this, so you don’t make the same mistakes! And maybe even more importantly you will get a better idea of what they expect from you.

  • Did the last agency have too many phone calls?
  • Not enough communication?
  • Where they bad at tying in ROI into marketing metrics?
  • Did their reporting stink?

What is that one thing they could have done better that would have changed the whole relationship? That would have kept them around for another campaign?

4.  How Do You Approach Complex Problems?

Whether it’s a lack of technology, an overwhelming amount of data, or planning execution what does your client do when they face a problem?

  • Do they panic?
  • Go into problem-solving mode?
  • Ignore?
  • Tackle it straight on?
  • Blame someone?

It’s important to ask this question, so you know what to expect just in case XYZ happens while they are your clients. Like we said above, no one is perfect including you. Odds are something might happen. Hopefully, not a big problem but something that wasn’t planned will happen, and you are going to have to work with your client to figure it out. Getting an idea of how they face challenges will help you approach them, solve them and know who to notify on the client side. You don’t want to wait till you are in the middle of something to wonder what your client might do. This will give you an idea of what you can expect and help you figure out how to communicate it and bring solutions to the table.

Wrap It Up

Just like you expect your potential client to ask you lots of questions you should also be asking them lots of questions. After all, you both are a part of this relationship and will need to figure each other out! And the sooner you know each other’s quirks and even better, learn to work through them the better the result will be.

What other questions should agencies be asking clients?

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What Does It Take To See What’s Coming Next?

How important is it for you as a PR pro and to your role at an agency to be able to spot up-and-coming trends?

If you are one of those people who have the magic touch, then it’s  a part of the client relationship you thrive on, and if not, you probably aren’t even sure that you want to learn how.

But in the age of social media it’s not enough to just keep up and be part of a conversation you need to be the one starting them! This is a skill you will see leading PR agencies and individuals owning because bing able to spot emerging trends and viral opportunities is needed in order to stay ahead of the game and differentiate yourself. Continue reading “What Does It Take To See What’s Coming Next?”

2 Simple Reasons You Need To Automate Client Reporting

Before we got into the client reporting space, I thought it was a pretty straightforward process. Log into your marketing dashboard, screenshot the needed data, copy it into a powerpoint and email it off to your client and then repeat that process x times till every client is served.

Nothing hard about that? 

But now I see it involves much more. Many agencies are using multiple tools, to pull all sorts of data and logging into each tool for each client isn’t all that simple.

For Example:

  • Google Adwords
  • Facebook
  • LeadPages
  • WordPress
  • MailChimp
  • CallRail

Once inside the tool, you probably have to look at several reports to figure out what data to pull from there. Then having to remember which clients use what platform, what type of data they need and how they like it formatted. And that’s if your client wants standard reporting. Some may also request high overview reports for their CMO or other Executives to take a look at and that is just the beginning of the inconsistencies and time-consuming process of client reporting. 

Most of the time finding a report within one tool for one client wouldn’t be that hard. But it’s when you add multiple tools, are left considering multiple reports from each tool and then having to repeat that for each client and their specific needs. 

Are you living with this pain every month?

Is reporting kicking your butt right now?

The good news is it doesn’t have to be that way!

But before you say “Well yes, but that takes money…” Yes, it may involve a contract and monthly invoices but it also means you can gain insights, analyze, focus on creative, get your time back and maybe even some of your sanity.

Here are two simple but significant reasons why it’s time for you to start automating client reporting. 

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1. Bringing In More Business

Some agency account managers report spending up to two weeks into the NEXT month on monthly reporting responsibilities for clients. That is shocking! There is so much more you could be doing with your time than logging in and out of marketing channels, collecting data, and creating reports. And one of those things is tracking down and closing on new business.

Think about, if you are constantly behind because of the already unpredictable workload you have, on top of reporting, how are you supposed to be putting all your energy into current clients let alone adding more business?  If you are a part of the reporting nightmare, then the thought of new business sounds like bad news.

New clients + new reporting responsibilities = more workload

Recruiting new clients is pretty important and should make you excited about the work you are doing. Once you have an automated system in place that produces brandable, relatable, reports for clients you can start thinking about new business in a positive way and maybe even get excited!

And don’t forget how you can use these reports as a recruiting tool. Imagine meeting a potential client and being able to log into a single dashboard, that shows visualized data, in graphs and charts they can easily understand, all in one place! This will demonstrate how you don’t only create killer campaigns but have the advantage of monitoring and improving performance in real time. I know I would feel pretty confident about an agency who has created a process that is so detailed, streamlined and easy to understand.

2.  Keep Current Business

Creating the best campaign means nothing if you can’t communicate results to clients. If you are not able to connect the tasks you are performing, and the results you are achieving that is a huge problem. And for many agencies that is where and why reporting practices came into play.

These reports are supposed to offer an opportunity for you have regular communication with your clients. A chance to touch base, review results as well as go into detail about the work you are doing. But if it is currently taking you a long time to deliver regular reports, that are filled with old data and even worse if they are being delivered in an Excel format (if you hated copy and pasting all that data into those rows your clients are going to hate reading it there too) then you aren’t creating that type of relationship with your clients. 

When you have a single platform, that displays all your data visually and clearly showcases campaign results it invites clients into the process and holds your team accountable to those results. And this goes for poor performing campaigns too. As much as you want to show off the good things that are happening the not-so-great things need to be shared as well. Having a dashboard that displays the good and the bad makes those harder conversations easier to have. Clients can see exactly what you are doing to improve performance and won’t have to assume anything because it’s all right there for everyone to see. 

Reporting gets your clients involved. When you are proactive in showing your performance throughout the campaign’s life (through these reports), you won’t leave any surprises for your client, which can be a lot harder to rebound from. If they are a part of the process all the way through you can explain campaigns and results as they are happening. So if an area isn’t doing what you expect they will be part of that conversation from the beginning, which will help avoid those so why is this happening questions that always come later.

Your transparency is what’s most important to your client, and an automated reporting process helps you do that. A minor shortcoming in what is otherwise an impressive marketing strategy isn’t going to change your relationship with your client so don’t be afraid of sharing that when using an all-in-one platform. Fully disclosing their performance helps establish transparency and trust which is the foundation for any good relationship.

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Wrap It Up

Seemingly simple tasks can easily be made more complicated, and that is exactly what has happened to client reporting.

Client reporting doesn’t need to take all this time and effort, and you don’t need to be manually completing these tasks every month.

By automating the process and investing in one tool that does it all you will save time, create consistency in your reporting practices and impress your clients (and improve performance) by using a dashboard that integrates all your marketing channels. 

Are you looking for a tool like the one mentioned above? Check out our website here and see if Converge is the right fit for you and your team.

Converge connects to your client’s marketing tools, pulls those disparate data sources and automatically (and accurately) uploads them into one place. This allows agencies to stop gathering data and start generating insights. This allows you to access the data you need to communicate with your client faster, easier and in real time- letting you easily manage client reporting once more. 

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PR Takes On Facebook

What does your PR strategy look like? Does it involve video, social, events, monitoring the news- a collaboration between them all. Or is there an area you haven’t tackled yet? 

Although it can seem overwhelming, Facebook can be a great opportunity for PR. A place to connect with current and potential customers, gain interest (and insight), promote content and keep fans updated. So what are you waiting for?

How can you involve Facebook in your PR strategy?

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1. Access To Data

One of the benefits of so many people connecting and logging into  Facebook is the amount of data Facebook can collect on everyone. Facebook knows everything you would ever want to know about your audience, but that doesn’t mean they are just going to hand it over to you. One of the best ways to get to learn about your audience is by creating content and ads on the platform. 

When you go through the motions of creating a Facebook AD, you will see just how specific or general your audience can be. From demographics, job titles, interests, liked pages, and even importing your list of emails to create an audience.

But how do this help your PR strategy?

Through the creation of your ad and then the response of your selected audience, you can learn a lot.

Maybe you aren’t getting a response at all? That means you’ve targeted the wrong people.

Maybe you are getting a lot of clicks but no other social engagement such as likes, comments, or shares? That means your target audience is interested in your product, but they aren’t going to be very engaged on Facebook

Maybe you are getting a lot of social engagement, but no one is clicking your ad? That means your audience is active Facebook users, but they aren’t going to leave the site to take a further look at your product.

You can learn some much about your audience by spending a little bit of money on Facebook. And understanding your audience is the first step to any well-run PR campaign.

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2. Find And Connect With Your Audience

There is something for everyone on Facebook. While some demographics appear stronger than others, billions of people are still active on the site, and they have at least 1 billion active users every month. Those facts are pretty hard to compete with.

However, when it comes to building your brand on Facebook you aren’t there to reach everyone, you are there to first and foremost find your audience- and the good news is a lot of them should be on Facebook. Use the research you have already done when creating your customer and apply it Facebook. Their age, gender, income, location, family unit, etc.

Now that you know who your audience is you now have to understand how they use the site.

  • Are they active?
  • Do they like, comment, share, promote and brands?
  • Or are they there just to connect with family and friends?
  • Or is Facebook the place they come to learn and keep up with what’s going on?

This means you are going to take the time to listen and understand their overall vibe on the website. As exciting as it to start creating content you need to make sure you take time observing too. This will help understand what your audiences expected behavior would be to your content and how you will know if you are creating something that is connecting with them.

Once you know how they are using the social site, you then want to develop your brand’s Page. When creating your Page and coming up with your content strategy, you need to ask:

What is my desired outcome?

And this should be based on the observations you have made about your audiences actions (or inactions) on Facebook.

  • Are you going to use Facebook to promote content?
  • To create content (live video, 360, stores)?
  • Build awareness around your brand?
  • Connect with influencers and bloggers to partner with?
  • Advertising?
  • Promoting sales and contests?

Before you do anything else, you need to understand what your own expectations are for the Page so you can understand if it matches with the content you want to create and the content your audience will respond to.

3. Old Fashion Promotion

Now that you have done you research found your audience and gathered lots of data about them you can create a plan to keep them coming back to your Page.

The good news is Facebook can fill the gaps caused by declining traditional media, such as newspapers and TV or when reporters just won’t pick up their phone. You don’t have to wait for someone to become interested in your story based off of a short pitch, or worry about the decline in newspaper subscriptions! You can create the story yourself and share it on Facebook. 

Of course, this won’t mean much unless you have completed the two steps above. Just creating a Facebook Page is not enough to gain traction. Like everything else in PR understanding your audience and having the data to back it up is also important.

Wrap It Up

With access to so much do you ever feel like you a more of a brand communicator than a PR pro? After all, PR isn’t just about handling crisis and chaos, it’s about building and promoting a brand image that is vulnerable to the 24/7 news cycle. And we think Facebook is the perfect place to gain back some of that control.

Looking for some more tips and tricks for Facebook and other social sites? Then download this FREE e-book, 30 Social Tests, here.

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What Should You Ask Before Hiring An Agency?

What frustrated you the most about the last agency you worked with?

It was probably something they did or didn’t do, that you weren’t expecting. Something you wish you had known before agreeing to work together, and you won’t let it happen again. This next time around you will realize the importance of looking past the campaign pitch and digging into the parts of the agency that will impact your relationship with them the most.

So what type of questions will help you understand what kind of partner they are?

Below, we have a list of five must-ask questions for the next time you hire a PR agency. Continue reading “What Should You Ask Before Hiring An Agency?”

Do You Have The Skills It Takes To Master PR?

It’s impossible to be an expert in e v e r y t h i n g especially when it comes to your work roles. When thinking about what’s expected from a PR or marketing professional, it can almost be comical. From having to stay in the known of the latest technology trends and marketing news to studying your competition to learning your work environment quarks to understanding where and how marketing fits in within the business or the personality your clients will have.  The environment is ever-changing, leaving you little time to get comfortable. 

However, the good news is you don’t have to master everything! There are going to be skills you should have and ones that would be nice to have. Below are four things we think every PR pro should have, and if they aren’t it’s something you should aim for.  Continue reading “Do You Have The Skills It Takes To Master PR?”

The Reality Of Sharing A Client: May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favor

In the spirit of specialized agencies comes the realization that your agency has to learn how to share. You have to learn how to work with other agencies.

I know shocking! But what if they steal my ideas…

If you are both working for the same team, the client, then the only person who gets something stolen from them when you don’t share is the client. And when the client doesn’t win that means you aren’t going to win either.

We are part of an era when smaller, specialized agencies exist. Clients don’t always believe that one agency can do it all. They opt to work with multiple agencies who master one or two things in the marketing and PR puzzle. Which means your client expects you to know how to work with other agencies and most importantly they expect all of you to work together. Continue reading “The Reality Of Sharing A Client: May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favor”

What PR Has Taught Us About Social

We have spent time thinking about how social has changed the way we stay-in-touch, shop, share and as marketers how and why we create. But more specifically how has social shaped PR?

Thinking back to the beginning, PR pros were some of the first people to embrace social media which means they just might understand how to use it and what is coming better than any of us. Continue reading “What PR Has Taught Us About Social”

PR Needs A Dashboard

Does PR even work?

Can you imagine a bigger punch to the gut than that question? But this is probably a question you are getting more and more, especially when your company is faced with the decision to invest money in public relations.

PR can be difficult to track but that doesn’t mean you should skip measurement in your PR practices. In fact, this might mean it’s more important than ever.  Below, we will walk you through the steps that allow you to qualify and quantify your results and ensure clients (and budget) keep coming back. Continue reading “PR Needs A Dashboard”