Ask the PR Pro: What time commitment should I expect to devote to PR?

We hear from many marketing managers and business owners who are shocked to discover how much of their time is required to manage the PR firm. They sense that something’s not quite right with the arrangement, so we are asked what we require of our clients.

PR only fails when the flow of information from the client to the PR firm ceases. However, if the PR firm is expecting the client to do all the work, the relationship is broken.

Here’s what we need from our clients:

Regular status meetings. Everyone is busy so it’s important to have a regular status meeting to touch base on what PR activities are in the works and to hear what’s new at the client. This allows all parties to stay on task, meet deadlines and plan ahead. These meetings can usually be accomplished in 30 minutes every two weeks.

Thought leadership for byline articles. We place and write a lot of byline articles for our clients. In order to have the information necessary to write the articles, we typically need about 20 minutes by phone to interview the client. Highly technical or complicated articles may take a little longer. The rest is our responsibility. Clients are busy and shouldn’t write their own articles.

Interviews. When we arrange interviews, we spend time before the reporter calls to prep our clients, stay on the phone with them during the interview, then discuss the call afterwards to determine what follow up we need to do and to review messaging for any sticky questions. Follow up is our responsibility.

Client introductions. From time to time we need to talk to our clients’ customers. We do this to gather use case information or to arrange for the customer to speak to a reporter. We simply require an email introduction from the client and we take it from there.

Data/Background information for content. We often develop infographics, case studies and white papers for clients. These content pieces require input from the client, either via an interview with the client or the sharing of data. The input is defined and doesn’t take more than 30 minutes to an hour per piece. We do all the writing.

Review of work. Before any written work is submitted to a reporter, we ask clients to review and approve it. This ensures information is correct and the client is comfortable having his or her name attached to it.

If you’re in a relationship with a PR firm and find that you’re struggling to deliver the content they need, it’s time to reassess the relationship.

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