In order to kick things off for the Business Development & Strategy section of the new SoCal PR Blog, let’s talk about the reality facing all PR pros right now, whether you are an account executive at a large or small agency, or running your own firm. Put simply: This economy sucks!
Times are tough and it’s really affecting our business across the board. Clients’ funds are tight, so they are either cutting back or eliminating PR campaigns altogether. Publishers are suffering from advertisers pulling out, leaving great publications to fold every week (R.I.P. Cookie, Gourmet, Modern Bride…), our favorite editors out of work, and PR placements increasingly more difficult to secure these days.
I swear, I don’t mean to be Debbie Downer, but really it’s hard to stay positive during a very difficult time for so many. The current economic reality, and how it has so strongly impacted every level of our industry, has required us to shake things up a bit. Clients expect more and want to pay less. How do you meet their expectations and make every single dollar count?
Here are a few examples of ways PR Pros can help keep their clients happy, and continue to provide them with excellent service, when they need it most:
- Add Social Media services such as Twitter account management and Facebook Fanpage strategy to your press plan. Your competitors might not be offering these services, or may be charging a hefty fee to implement. With social media strategy, you can control the messaging and engage consumers, creating brand loyalty and awareness. Learn more at the Digital Cocktail section of our blog.
- Consider proposing Co-Branding opportunities for your client to gain market & media exposure. Target a partner with a similar mission & target audience, and work with them to create a synergy that leverages the loyalty of their customers to benefit your client.
- Take the campaign online! Target blogs, websites and online versions of print magazines by proposing product giveaways for their readers, as well as exclusive discounts. Online content is updated more frequently than their print counterparts, so there is more opportunity for placement. Plus, a feature will likely be linked to your client’s website, making it easy to drive traffic and track sales.
- Implement a weekly HTML email campaign. Using email distribution services like Constant Contact or MyEmma, you can help your clients stay engaged with customers by sending weekly updates, press placements, offers, and new product news to their customer database.
- Adopt a full-service approach to client service. SoCal PR Blog’s own Lauren Walsh made this excellent point in her Whatever/Whenever post using Starwood & W Hotel’s easy-going approach to customer service as a model for how PR pros can approach client service.
Adding a few extra, easy to implement services, and becoming an invaluable member of your client’s team will keep them happy and help them stay ahead during tough economic times. Be essential to the success of their business by offering services and strategy above & beyond what they expect from a traditional PR campaign, and they will never let you go.
What are some ways you have evolved your business or services to survive in this economy?