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Top 5 things your PR firm should be doing for you (but may not be)

1.  Creating a PR & Marketing campaign targeting your firm’s specific needs. The campaign you’re paying for needs to be customized specifically for you.  It sounds simple, right?  But clients’ main complaints after working with other PR and marketing firms are almost always the same: “They didn’t customize a campaign that targeted my firm’s needs.”  Your ideas and goals should be well known to the PR firm you are working with.  Your PR agency needs to understand what you’re all about, where you see your firm going in the next five to 10 years, and have an outlined plan of how they are going to help you get there.

2.  Making PR a part of your campaign, not your entire campaign. Your PR firm needs to combine its media relations efforts with direct marketing approaches (i.e., printed brochures, newsletters, sponsorship opportunities, networking opportunities, non-profit partnerships, referral letters, speaking engagements, legal workshops, CLE seminars, etc.) and Internet marketing approaches (i.e., e-newsletters, e-blasts, pay-per-click ad campaigns, SEO, link exchanges, electronic press releases, continuous updates to your Web site, adding content, pages, etc.). This should all be included in a competitively priced package.

3.  Making sure you are getting what you pay for. An experienced, senior-level publicist should be working on your account at ALL times.  Did you know that the person you meet with, and the founder or CEO of the PR firm you sign with, is NOT always the actual person who will be working on your account?  Yes, it’s true.  After letting you know about their very impressive background, and having you sign a three to six month contract with their agency, your account is often passed on to someone with far less knowledge and experience in the industry.  To prevent this, it’s important to ask questions like:

· Who will actually be working day-to-day on my account?

· What are that person’s credentials and experience level in the industry?

· Whom does this person report to?

· How long has he or she been an employee at your firm?

4.   Meeting with you in person at least once every two weeks to give you a detailed status report on your account. This is critical in the campaign.  Your PR firm should be presenting a written account update to you in person, every two weeks, that not only tells you what they have done for you, but also what they are working on next.  Your PR firm should be presenting new, fresh ideas to you at these meetings, not simply showing you how many newspaper clippings they have gotten for you that month.

5.  Making sure your goals and vision for the campaign are aligned. Whether it’s to increase your list of contacts, your base of referral attorneys, or simply bring more business through your doors, your PR firm needs to have a very clear understanding of these goals.  Ask your agency how these media placements are going to bring you more business.  If the answer is by “enhancing your credibility,” you may have a problem.  The media exposure you receive needs to be targeted while branding your image in your specific practice areas, which can further be used as a selling point for your firm.  Simply put, “enhancing your credibility” will not bring business through your door.  This must be combined with unique Internet marketing concepts and direct marketing approaches.

-Kristine Bruner