Throughout my 10-year PR career, I’ve seen clients come and go.
Some stay for short-term contracts, and some stay for many years. And when I get clients that stay, I feel like I’ve received the final rose from them.
Having a long-time client is a lot like having a long-time partner—you feel comfortable and confident in the relationship, and it challenges you to think creatively to keep things fresh.
I’ve been an avid fan of The Bachelor franchise since it first aired back in the early 2000s. I’ve watched almost every season—even the spin-offs.
The show gets a bad rap and for good reason—it is reality TV, after all—but throughout the years, it’s also taught me some important lessons that feel relevant to the world of PR.
The Timing Isn’t Right
Maybe you just had a huge breakup, you’re starting a new job, or you’re focusing on cultivating a new hobby, and the timing just isn’t right for a new romance. The same can be true with PR: maybe you’re a new startup and the product isn’t ready for widespread attention, or maybe you don’t have the right team in place. PR isn’t going to work if the stars aren’t aligned.
Be There for the Right Reasons
The number one phrase you hear on The Bachelor is that someone isn’t “there for the right reasons.” In the case of The Bachelor, that means the person isn’t there to find true love. But you’ve got to want PR for the right reasons, too. Sometimes what you want and what’s realistic just don’t add up. And that’s OK. It’s not meant to be.
Honesty and Communication Are Essential
This one is an addendum to the previous point: if what you want and what’s realistic aren’t in sync, the only way to move past the impasse is to establish honest communication. This might be the most important element to a successful relationship—and that includes your relationship with your PR team.
I’ve had a client for more than five years. It just clicks with us. It’s easy. It’s comfortable. That’s in part because the client is wonderful, but it’s also because we’re constantly thinking of new ways to freshen the message. Together.
Get to Know Your PR Team as People
It’s easy to reduce your relationship with your PR team to a simple business interaction, but getting to know who they are can help you work with them better. Learning about their hobbies, families and background will help you to appreciate them more fully, and, because they feel appreciated, they will care more about the work they do for you.
Make Your Clients Feel Special
Just like in a relationship, PR folks, meanwhile, should show interest and make clients feel important. When they email, respond quickly. When they call, answer, or call them back as soon as you can. Read interesting stories that they’d like and share them. Make the time for them and show that you care. If they feel like they’re your number one priority, the relationship will last beyond the hometown dates.