By Jeff Cheatham, Senior Account Supervisor at TrizCom PR
Every client is different, we all know that. And typically at some point in the onboarding process, you should find out exactly who your regular point of contact will be. You should also find out about their typical workload and preferable times to reach out to them. Always operate from the assumption that your client contact has a “day job” to complete. You don’t want to be seen as any type of a nuisance.
I clearly remember a new business meeting we had at the TrizCom offices over a year ago. A commercial real estate company in Houston sent two executives to meet with us, hear our proposal and see if we might be a good fit for their business. They were working with another PR firm, but they almost never heard from their account manager. When we showed them what our typical quarterly PR plan looked like, they were stunned. They told us they never received any advance plans, strategies, tactics or clip reports. Then it was our turn to be stunned.
What struck me the most is how little they interacted with their account manager. A long time ago, several jobs back, I began sending my clients what I call the “Monday Morning Check-in.” It’s simple, really – just a checklist of pending items, notating exactly where we stand on the different action items in our quarterly PR plan. If I am still waiting on approval for a press release, I re-attach the document. If there’s a pending interview, I’ll add a reminder. If I’m tracking a few current media wins, I let them know of the status. If something is urgent, it gets the ALL CAPS treatment.
As a PR firm, that’s the minimum you should be doing each week to stay in touch with your valuable client contacts. Once they’ve been trained to expect your updates, they’ll come to depend on them. I have clients that I email several times a day. I have others that I may only hear from twice a month. But they’ll be hearing from me. All of my clients can count on the weekly Monday Morning Check-ins. At TrizCom, that’s our way of reminding our clients that our relationship is valuable and shares a common goal to succeed in achieving our public relations goals. In short, our clients always know what we’re doing on their behalf.
In addition to the Monday Morning Check-ins, TrizCom is diligent in providing other updates such as quarterly PR plans, quarterly clip reports and immediate email notifications of earned media wins. If our clients have a pending interview, they won’t begin without first receiving our one-page talking points memos, specifically tailored to the media opportunity.
For us, these communicative efforts are a process not to be taken lightly. Communication is our business. And this is how we check in. When was the last time you did so?