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12 things to expect from a PR agency in Cape Town
How should I choose a PR agency?
Firstly its vital for you to find an PR agency in Cape Town that understands your audience and your particular market, and the reporters you need to reach. Fit is equally important. You’ll be working closely with the PR agency every single day (and many evenings), so you’ll need to be able to work well with the assigned account team.
However, fit and experience alone will not make your agency successful on your behalf. Here are some important qualities you should expect form an agency that is committed to your success.
You need an agency that:
Tip 1: Find a PR agency in Cape Town that owns the process.
You want an PR agency that will never passes the buck. Your PR agency should be a professional nagger—they should never let you be the reason for a missed deadline.
Tip 2: Find a PR agency in Cape Town that challenges your thinking.
You are hiring a PR firm for its expertise, so find one that provides firm recommendations. If your account team is constantly nodding their heads and agreeing with you all the time there is a problem. The success of your PR program requires a team leader who can adamantly say no in the face of tough scrutiny when something just won’t work.
Tip 3: Find a PR agency in Cape Town that can see the bigger picture.
There are times when other company goals, such as sales campaigns, take priority over PR (for example, when a sales team is under the gun to meet quarterly goals and needs to push out a direct email campaign in advance of the press release). Your PR firm should tell you the optimal plan for getting great media coverage, but should also accept it when PR is not at the top of the list.
Tip 4: Find a PR agency in Cape Town that makes it happen.
Only clients should have the luxury of asking big questions without offering solutions, such as, “How can we maximize our attendance at an upcoming trade show?” Good PR firms know that the right response is a list of viable options, not more questions.
Tip 5: Find a PR agency in Cape Town that surprises you with unexpected and creative ideas.
Your PR firm should march to the beat of the PR plan, but they should also bring you unexpected and creative ideas. This demonstrates that they are paying active attention. Only intellectually hungry people will tie the right pieces together to make you relevant in a way that matters to the press.
Tip 6: Find a PR agency in Cape Town that owns its mistakes.
If your agency needs to be right all of the time, it’s a problem. You need an agency that abides by the rules of crisis PR (even when the crisis is a very small one): tell it all, truthfully, and tell it now. This takes confidence and humility, but it is the sign of a great communicator.
Tip 7: Find a PR agency in Cape Town that pushes the limits.
Look for an agency that is pushing you, not the other way around.
Tip 8: Find a PR agency in Cape Town that writes well.
Content marketing has changed PR forever. Adequate press release writing skills are no longer enough. You need an agency that can sift through mountains of information, zero in on the interesting angle, and ghost author an article for your spokesperson. Ask for samples, and look at the agency’s blog.
Tip 9: Find a PR agency in Cape Town that listens intently.
PR people are renowned great talkers. We need to be. However, we need to know how to listen, too. You need a PR agency full of the kind of analytical and open minds that can scan the conversation for points of interest, drive the discussion toward them and relate them to your broader industry.
Tip 10: Find a PR agency in Cape Town that empathizes with your brand.
You need a PR agency team that can imagine what it’s like to be you. What pressures do you face internally, from your board, from competitors, others? Is PR central to your role or tangential? Coincidentally, this skill also makes PR people great at media relations—we must imagine what it’s like to be each reporter if we have a prayer of selling a story.
Tip 11: Find a PR agency in Cape Town that navigates options and contingencies like an attorney.
There are many decisions we must make along the winding route between the pitch and the placement. You need an agency that understands the media landscape—which outlets (and journalists) compete, which reporters require exclusives, which ones care about embargoes, and which angles will compel coverage.
Sifting through these and responding appropriately when an embargo is broken or an exclusive falls through tests the skills of the best PR professionals, so make sure you have a team that can bend gracefully when a critical relationship is at stake, and hold firm when your company goals require it.
Tip 12: Find a PR agency in Cape Town with a thick skin.
PR people sit in the middle of two constituents whose goals are not always aligned: the media and our clients. Finding the common ground that creates successful outcomes for both requires an ability to handle discord well.