Embracing a Partnership: Integrating a PR Agency with Your Team

Once upon a time, I worked on the internal side of the marketing and communications world, and the idea of bringing in a PR agency felt like inviting a stranger to your family dinner. But now, as someone who’s danced on both sides of the floor, I’ve learned that this “stranger” can quickly become one of the family, adding flavor and spice to your traditional recipes.

At Caster Communications, we understand that a PR agency, when integrated into your internal marketing & communications team, isn’t just a service—it’s a partnership that amplifies your brand’s voice and extends its reach. The synergy between your vision and our expertise paves the way for innovative strategies and unparalleled success.

My friend and colleague Olivia Sellke previously wrote about the double-sided coin of going in-house for PR. There’s advantages to having a strong in-house team, but there’s also serious benefits to gain from partnering with an agency. If you’ve decided the latter is the best for your business, how do you onboard your PR agency effectively? Let’s discuss.

Understanding the Role of Your PR Agency

A PR agency isn’t just an external contractor; it’s a power-up for your brand’s voice. It’s pivotal to recognize that a PR agency brings a blend of storytelling prowess, media savviness, and strategic acumen to the table – your extended team not only amplifies your message but architects of public perception.

In order to do that, your PR agency should become an extension of your team and know practically everything you know about your brand. The best agencies will protect your sensitive information and can help strategically maximize it in your communications. There are always ways to filter the flow of information so everyone remains efficient, but don’t be a gatekeeper. Hoarding information until the right time can burn you – and burn time.

Setting the Stage for Success

Success stems from clarity and shared objectives. It’s important to establish clear, measurable goals so that every PR campaign is not just a launch, but a landmark.

Go deep with your PR agency on your brand’s aspirations, challenges, and market position. Define what success looks like to you (regarding those measurable goals I mentioned above). What are the gaps your agency can help your team fill? Where is there a weakness in skillset? Who will be providing approvals? How will your success be measured and how can your PR agency help you achieve those KPIs? And most importantly? Be honest.

This will not only help guide your strategy, but it ensures that every piece of content, every media pitch, and every event is purpose-driven and results-oriented. This groundwork is not just about laying out a plan; it’s about a foundation for transparency, accountability, mutual success, and ensuring your partnership not only meets but exceeds your expectations.

Communication is Key

Communication, like in any good relationship, is key. It’s about setting clear goals, yes, but also about the continuous exchange of ideas, feedback, and insights. As the internal marketing & communications team, nobody knows your brand better than you do. Communication helps ensure transparency, but it also allows your agency to cultivate a deep understanding of your brand, enabling them to craft messages that resonate authentically with your audience.

At Caster, we like to have a continuous dialogue with our clients – even after the onboarding period. Regular check-ins also ensure you’re consistently measuring progress and help to evaluate opportunities to recalibrate.

Sharing Resources, Tools & Insights

When it comes to sharing resources, think of it like passing down the family cookbook. As an internal marketing & communications team, you provide the ingredients – your brand guidelines, insights, visions – and watch your PR agency whip up a feast.

During onboarding, we spend a considerable amount of time with new clients learning about the details of the technology and solutions they provide. An in-depth technical understanding of your product really sets PR agencies apart and hopefully you’ve selected an agency who will be able to grasp your technology.

Also, be sure to introduce your PR agency to your subject matter experts – let them spend time downloading their breadth of knowledge of the market with your new team. These will likely be the folks your agency will be putting in front of press – so the more aligned they are on messaging and strategy, the better.

Welcoming a PR agency into your fold is about forging a partnership that leverages the strengths of both teams. You’ve likely hired a PR agency to help make your brand look good but also to make your team look good. I’ve been there, so I can relate. Set each other up for success and give your agency the tools they need to turn your vision into a mission.

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