When you initially hired a tech PR agency for your startup, it’s likely that you imagined sending them off to pitch the media and waiting for them to report back with the coverage they secured. But there’s much more that goes into working with and, more importantly, managing a tech PR agency.
There are a lot of moving parts involved in not only media outreach, but also in the other aspects of tech PR including thought leadership, lead generation, and digital marketing — all of which require proper communication and planning between all parties involved.
In order to get the most out of the partnership and set both your startup and the PR team up for success, it’s crucial to understand how to manage your tech PR agency.
Set clear expectations
When you initially onboarded your tech PR firm, you should’ve determined PR goals, KPIs, team roles (in-house vs. PR team assignments), and campaign timelines. Throughout the course of the partnership, it’s important to keep these expectations in mind with every project. However, if something isn’t working, it’s best to bring it up with the PR firm as soon as it’s a concern and then shift expectations accordingly.
It’s also important to set expectations around the work your PR firm will be doing, especially when it comes to how much media coverage you can expect to secure. Your tech PR firm should clearly outline this from the beginning so you can have a better idea of how much media coverage your startup can realistically obtain.
Establish communication frequency
Figuring out the logistics of how you will communicate with your tech PR agency is critical to successfully managing your partnership. It’s important to be clear around your expectations as well as the PR firm’s preferred communication process. During the onboarding process, determine how often you will communicate with your PR firm, whether that’s with weekly status updates or monthly reports, and who the key contacts are.
It’s also a good idea to figure out how quickly you’ll be able to respond to questions or requests from your PR firm. If your PR firm receives an urgent interview request from the media, they’ll need a timely response from their contact at the startup in order to ensure the media opportunity doesn’t slip away. Be upfront with how much time you are able to commit to communicating with your partner PR firm and understand that there may be situations that call for more urgency when it comes to response time.
Involve key stakeholders
Because of the communications aspect of PR, it makes sense that the marketing team will be the ones who work directly with the tech PR firm. But to fully engage the PR team and take advantage of all the ways they can help, it’s crucial to connect them to all key stakeholders within the organization. The startup founders and key executives, as well as the HR, product, and sales teams should all be connected to the tech PR firm and be looped in to whatever they’re working on when necessary.
For example, when launching a campaign around a new product, the product team should be included in the PR planning in order to provide key details or explanations and help nail down the timing of the launch. Or, if your startup just received funding and plans to use some of that money towards hiring more team members, it would be wise to connect the HR department to the PR firm so they can help generate interest from top talent.
By connecting your tech PR firm to all relevant teams within the organization, the PR team has a greater chance of spotting media opportunities and can better utilize their media relations, lead generation, and brand awareness expertise to promote your startup at all levels.
Share key assets
Another key component of successfully managing your tech PR agency is providing all assets related to marketing, communications, and background info on key stakeholders. Your tech PR firm will need this information and data when pitching the media, creating thought leadership content, and working on lead generation. A good rule of thumb is to share more than you think you need to in order to cover all of the bases.
Sharing these assets, especially at the beginning of the partnership, helps eliminate back and forth which ultimately saves both parties time and allows your partner tech PR firm to do their best work.
Initiate regular reviews
Whether quarterly or semi-annual, periodic reviews are an essential part of managing the relationship with your tech PR agency. Reviews offer the opportunity to provide feedback or address any concerns or challenges that may have come up in the partnership. This is also the chance to check in with the PR firm to make sure they are hitting the agreed upon goals, and if not, if there’s any support or additional assets they need from you to make those goals happen.
If there aren’t any current issues to address once it’s time for a review, use this opportunity to realign on the marketing strategy or share any new opportunities that could use your PR team’s support.