Let’s say you are hosting a large event and you hired a PR agency to get the word out about the event. It’s a great event. A huge event. That PR agency gets the media doing numerous stories about it. People are buying tickets. People are excited.
And you have the event planned perfectly.
But there is one problem. You have not engaged your PR firm to tell the attendees that. So, the day before the event or even day-of, people start emailing you wondering about parking, dress code, weather details. Details that you planned, but never told anyone.
All of a sudden you have a problem. A PR problem. People are now frustrated. They go to social media to vent their frustrations. Now, instead of making your event a success you have the subtle sting of failure nipping at your feet.
Public Relations is not always the answer, but many times it is the best answer for your business or non-profit. That is why when you engage a PR firm for an event or project, you need to have them fully engaged. PR is not something to skimp on or add at the last minute.
Here are five ways to best engage a PR firm:
- Keep them in the loop. If something changes on the event schedule, make sure they know about it. The PR person is your gatekeeper for information, if they don’t know something has changed, they can’t answer people correctly. And if they can’t answer people correctly, things get bad quickly.
- Define their role: If you have a firm that is handling social media, but doesn’t have the tools to answer complaints and comments, then you are failing. See step one. Keep them in the loop. If you know bad news is coming, tell your PR firm so they can get ready for the proverbial tweets storms, bad Facebook reviews and the Instagram Issues. (ok that third one doesn’t exist, but you know what I mean).
- Follow the plan: A PR team can walk you through a lot of steps and issues. They can create a strong timeline of events for things to get done. However, if you decide to alter the plan like you are some kind of Darth Vader talking to Lando in ESB, then things will go awry. Especially, if Han Solo in that scenario.
- Prepare for the worst: Ask your PR team what is the worst that can happen and prepare a plan for that. They will know everything that can happen. Ask them to help you plan for it.
- Rely on them: Sometimes we feel our biggest job is to be part psychologist/part shoulder to cry on for clients in need. We are sort of like a Liquid Catering bartender that way, but without the access to a stiff drink. Sometimes, it feels good to vent. Use the PR team for that. We are used to it.