Written by Ben Cossor • Published 2nd May 2019 • 4 minute read

As an agency with 14 years’ experience of launching start-ups and growing with them, we are well versed in demonstrating the impact on our work in line with clients’ business objectives.

Value for money and a sound return on investment have never been more important for growing businesses, and a key element of this for many start-ups, scale-ups and SMEs is the relationship with their PR agency.

The best agencies have emerged from the dark ages of measuring the success of a PR campaign against Equivalent Advertising Value or audience impressions – challenged to find more tangible, realistic and accurate ways of measuring coverage for their clients. From share of voice, to website traffic, to sentiment, there are various metrics to show the impact of our work. But underpinning all of this is a willingness on agency side to be transparent and understanding, qualities which are the foundation of a long and successful client-agency relationship.

Transparency from the start

The first pitch or introductory meeting often sets a precedent for rest of the contract, so an open, honest approach from the off – from both sides – is important. As the client, what are your primary objectives and ultimately what do you want to get out of the PR campaign? As the agency, do you fully understand the client’s brief and are you clear on how they view success? These are two key questions to get out in the open early on.

Just as it’s the client’s responsibility to be clear with the brief, the agency must be crystal clear on how realistic and achievable these objectives are – and in what timeframe – from the moment the contract kicks off, to avoid any ambiguity on either side later on. Kicking off a campaign and media strategy without agreed objectives is, in a PR sense, the definition of madness.

Agree a target audience

What use is an interview, news announcement, by-line or case study if it won’t be read by your brand’s target audience? This is a key factor for an agency and client to establish early on, in order for the agency to deliver a PR campaign that will add true value, rather than coverage for coverage’s sake.

As the client, feel free to tell your agency what your dream piece of coverage would be, and why. We’ll often ask our clients this question the first time we meet, as it helps us understand a) the audience they wish to communicate with, and b) their expectations – it’s then our job to manage these expectations and advise on a strategy to suit.

Within the Technology team we work with a fascinating variety of businesses – from start-ups to larger, international brands, operating in the B2B, B2C and Fintech space. It’s unsurprising, therefore, that such a variety of companies have such different priorities when it comes to press coverage. Some would like a few, less frequent stand-out features in the national press, whereas others see more value in a regular stream of thought leadership in the key industry press. If both parties are clear from the beginning, delivery will ultimately benefit.

Data-driven insights

PR analytics tools, such as our own online & social listening service, PHA Pulse, are able to quantify the impact of PR – and inform strategy – in a way that the agency and client can understand, therefore allowing us to optimise our PR strategy accordingly to drive business objectives for the client.

Through taking a data-driven approach to measurement, we have been able to analyse the for clients in recent months, such as communications software company PowWowNow:

  • Their share of voice versus competitors; comparing the number of unique mentions the brand name receives in online news sources compared to its main competitors. We can take this information and tell the client where they sit in the market, and set an objective to increase this share of voice as part of our agreed KPIs (over 3 or 6 months, for example)
  • Who is engaging with / mentioning the brand on social media; identify the most common demographic engaging with the brand and what their interests are. We can take this knowledge and, as a result, target this specific demographic with our PR strategy
  • An analysis of relevant conversations online and across social media. This tells us the most used topics and key terms which featured within conversations about topics relevant to the client online. We can tell the client how prominent they are within these conversations and the related topics & key words we should be looking to engage with in order to increase this prominence
  • The most popular content about a specific topic (measured by engagement or audience impressions). This tells us which online news articles or social media posts about topics relevant to the client received the most engagement. We can a) identify journalists/influencers (and contact them) or b) learn about specific content relevant to the client that proves popular online (and replicate it)
  • Online sentiment towards a brand and the mindsets behind brand conversations. We can inform the client of overall sentiment and seek to improve it over time.

Speak up

Underpinning all of this is clear communication between the agency and the client. It’s so important that either party makes it clear at any point if they’re not happy with how things are going. The majority of qualms are easily put right on a call or meeting, and with openness and honesty, a successful long-term agency-client relationship will come naturally.

Are you interested in hearing about how we might be able to help you promote your offering? Speak to a member of our award-winning technology team today.