There is nothing more thrilling than ringing the new client bell! The last thing you want to have happen is to win the client, but lose the opportunity for a successful engagement due to unclear expectations or faulty communication. Every situation is different, but educating your clients on what you expect from them during the onboarding process lays the groundwork for success. In this guest post, Solo PR Pro Premium community member Karen Pierce Gonazalez shares with us a unique list of Do's and Don'ts she provides to her clients at the beginning of their work relationship.
When you have done the hard work of winning a new client, you want to do everything possible to set the stage for success. The onboarding process is critical for establishing expectations, cementing the relationship and ensuring that you and the client are on the same page.
To efficiently and effectively set up new clients I have created a one-page overview that guides clients on how to get the most out of our relationship. I provide this overview along with the proposal and the client must note that it has been read. This process has helped on numerous occasions!
Below are the Do’s and Don’ts that I use in my onboarding:
- Review (and edit where necessary) the press release and PSA (public service announcement) in a timely manner prior to media distribution. Also approve press kit materials (if applicable).
- Let the PR expert know when you are contacted by the media for either more information or for interview purposes. Not only can the consultant assist you with the interview process, she can avoid needless and duplicate follow-up calls.
- Follow the strategy your PR specialist has created for the above situation if the specialist is not available. This will allow you to effectively respond to media requests.
- Notify the specialist right away if you make any additions to a planned activity or event. This information can often be used to develop more visibility.
- Because accuracy is very important when it comes to building credibility with the media, it is very important to notify the consultant immediately when you delete activities or personalities. She/he may be pitching a news angle based upon something that no longer exists.
- The media can be confused by client-initiated phone calls and emails. Unless it has been previously arranged, ALL communications with the media – calls, emails, etc. – are to be handled by the PR specialist who secured the media opportunity.
- It will be important for you to remain professional with the media. Do not tell them what they should do. This style of media engagement does not leave a favorable impression. Neither do efforts to contact them afterwards in order to ‘become friends’ for future opportunities.
- Scheduled interviews are important. Don’t ignore yours. Should an emergency arise, notify the specialist so that the opportunity can be rescheduled. Remember: the media will seek out other sources, if necessary.
- Media materials (press release) created as work-for-hire are yours. Articles, blogs, website content created by the specialist for the specialist’s purposes are not work-for-hire pieces. You must arrange for the right to use said materials with the specialist.
Setting ground rules at the onset of a new client engagement will ensure that you and the client agree on what is needed to succeed. This eliminates miscommunication and potential dissatisfaction with results. What steps do you take to onboard new clients?
Karen Pierce Gonzalez is a seasoned media/public relations professional with over 25+ years as a journalist/writer. Karen is also an award winning publicist and award winning fiction and non-fiction author.