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As public relations professionals, we work in a service-based industry. Our clients hire us, pay us, and expect us to provide them with results. What those specific results are, is of course part of a larger plan which is discussed between a company and their agency. The PR team works hard and provides the client with frequent updates while they go along their daily business. Perfect, terrific, wonderful, right? Unfortunately, not always.
What many clients fail to realize is that PR, while certainly a service-based profession, is very much a two-way street. We need their help to be successful. I’m sure that everyone has had the experience of working for a client who thinks that you can get media placements out of thin air. It almost seems like they want you to fail with their complete inability to stay in touch or be proactive. However, at the end of the day it’s still our job to perform well and make our clients happy. You never know when they will come back to you and say “What have you done for me lately?”- and you better be prepared, because it always comes when you least expect it. (That’s what she said).
Since having an unresponsive client is sort of a tricky situation, and there’s no way to solve it (is there any nice way to ask them to check their e-mail more often?), sometimes it’s kind of fun to fantasize about the perfect client. In a dream world, this is what the ideal PR client would look like:
They would send you too much information. This client would never make you practically beg for information. They would send you a constant flow of updates, including their plans for next week, next month, and next year, so that you can develop press releases in advance and ensure optimum pick-up.
They would respond to your emails within 15 minutes. No longer will you have to play the more-popular-than-it-should-be game “Will my client respond to this e-mail in time?”. This client never lets an e-mail go unanswered (especially not the ones where the Importance is set to High).
They would understand that journalists are also people, with their own schedules. Say goodbye to all those missed opportunities! You’ll never have to ruin a contact at the New York Times again because you had to cancel an interview at the last minute.
They would thank you profusely for all of your hard work. You know that week where you got your client on The View, Today Show, AND Good Morning America? And you never got so much as a “thanks” for getting them those incredible opportunities? Forget about it. This client sends gifts baskets and roses.
They would never ask to be on Oprah. Does this one really need an explanation?
What would YOUR dream client do?
Note: This post is completely in jest.