Collaboration is key for in-house teams seeking to work with external marketing agencies. Whether it be for design services, digital marketing or even a bit of advice, there’s often a demand from internal marketing teams for additional expertise to widen their capabilities. The right PR agency will feel like an extended part of the team, so there’s no denying that the connection between in-house team and agencies is a powerful one.
Often, we work with businesses that have a marketing manager or team of marketing professionals. There are a number of reasons why they want digital PR support from an agency, and once the partnership is in place it’s absolutely crucial that a strong professional relationship is formed.
This not only helps the internal team make the most of the PR agency, but on the flipside it helps PRs better understand the business, its goals and how to promote and protect its reputation in the best and most effective way.
So how does this synergy come about?
Like any client-provider relationship, rapport and trust has to be built over time. For PR, this means being transparent about what is achievable, the costs involved and ultimately, delivering on what you promised you would.
If an agency is charging you very little but promising the world, that raises a red flag. Conversely, if you’re spending a lot of money and hearing big things, only to reach the 6 month mark and have very little to show for it, it might be worth revisiting the relationship.
Working with a team that is consistent – you’re not being passed from pillar to post when you call about an issue, or finding that nobody is ever available to offer advice – is also key.
While some businesses are only just warming to using PR agencies and consultants, the relationship should still work in a way that it does with other service providers. You’d expect your plumber or accountant to pick up the phone when you need some advice or a bit of work doing, so expect the same from your PR or digital agency.
Meeting face to face
As soon as you can, meet the whole marketing team (or as many members as possible!) to get to know who you’ll be working closely with. This can help put names to faces, and will help form connections for the long run. Especially when emails, phone calls and Slack messages will be pinging back and forth on an almost daily basis.
This will make regular face to face meetings much easier as everyone will have gotten off on a more personal note. Face to face meetings are also really important. This can be difficult if the in-house team is a distance away, but regular video calls can help bridge the gap with phone calls in between.
Never underestimate the importance of sitting down with each other as a means of effectively communicating ideas or catching up on the account as a whole! It can also encourage people to discuss additional ideas to what’s just on the agenda in front of you.
Working to a common purpose
Aligning PR and marketing strategies with an organisation or event’s aims and goals is a crucial part of the relationship between agency and in-house team. This enables the teams to work together more effectively, aligning strategies and pooling resources to reach the same successes – often using KPIs or targets to do so.
This can be done by setting out initial targets from early on in the relationship – based on in-put from both the team and the agency – and building on these and adapting them over time.
Combining the in-depth knowledge of the business from the team and the skills from the agency is a sure fire way of setting a strategy and targets that will give everyone something to work towards.
Reporting openly and honestly
With an ongoing relationship, it’s important to offer regular updates about activities, as well as any relevant measurements and stats. As a PR agency, we provide our clients with regular reports that deep dive into coverage, web stats and much more to give a full overview of the work we’ve done and what we have coming up.
This gives in-house teams a good idea of where their money and time is being spent, plus provides a benchmark for any upcoming meetings. It’s no good spending money on a service only to have no data or insight into how the work is going! It makes it impossible to track progress or identify areas that need additional attention.
This also increases transparency and understanding as well as promoting accountability and honesty. Any PR or digital agency that is operating with integrity will want their client to know about the work they’re doing and help their in-house team better understand what work is doing and needs to be done. Smoke and mirrors have no place in PR!
Challenge one another
People value people that present new ideas and challenge the status quo. Using expertise and knowledge to inform innovative and creative ideas and asking questions, rather than just saying ‘yes’ can bring a real value to any partnership.
It’s also important for agencies to move away from relying on in house teams to direct them; if everyone’s on the same page about what their efforts should achieve, it’s easy to bring new ideas to the table based on those goals.
In house teams or individuals are often busy with everything else going on within their company, so having a valued and trusted digital marketing agency working alongside them to support their efforts and going above and beyond will be a win for everyone. Never underestimate how powerful these combined forces can be!
If you’re curious about how we can support your business, contact us today.
As a digital PR agency in Lincoln, we’ve worked closely and collaboratively with some of the best known companies and organisations in Lincolnshire to achieve their goals. You can read more about our success stories here.