At Ditto, most of our clients are long-term, meaning we've been working with them for at least a year, and in many cases, much longer.
Having worked at other PR firms, large and small, I can say with confidence that having as many long-term clients as we do -- especially for a firm of our size -- is unusual. We love having the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of a company and its industry, and to be involved in its evolution over time. And in most cases -- unless you’re hiring a PR firm for a one-off event or launch -- it’s also in the client’s best interest to hire a PR firm for a year-long commitment, if not longer.
The longer you work with a PR firm, the better the results will be.
When we start working with a new client at Ditto, we strive to get up to speed as quickly as possible. In most cases, if your PR firm isn’t producing impactful results within three months, there’s no reason you should continue working with them. As our CEO puts it: “After 30 days of onboarding and 30 days of actual PR work, you should start to see results. If by 90 days, you are not happy, fire [your firm] immediately.”
During those first three months, our job is to prove to you that you made the right decision in hiring us. We want to show you we can get you results, which means we’ll be approaching you with a variety of different opportunities -- for example, “expert sourcing” interviews, where you can demonstrate your level of expertise within your industry, vs. interviews focused solely on you and your company; TV interviews vs. interviews for print or online outlets; interviews with mainstream media vs. trade publications.
Some of these opportunities will be more impactful than others -- it depends on you, your company and the goals you want to accomplish through PR. After those first 90 days, we want to sit down with you and talk about which opportunities provided the most value, so we can update our PR strategy accordingly.
The longer you work with a PR firm, the more opportunities there are to sit down together, look at the results, recalibrate and refine.
There’s no such thing as a slow month.
On paper, September wasn’t the busiest month for our team. And yet, we were incredibly busy. That’s because many of our clients wanted us to spend this month developing the plans and assets necessary to ensure that the final quarter of 2016 is a success.
With the news cycle dominated by election coverage and other breaking news, we spent September creating editorial calendars, taking a look at the media landscape for our clients and updating our lists accordingly, talking to experts and customers we can leverage for media opportunities, and revisiting the PR plans we put together earlier this year to make sure they’re still consistent with our clients’ goals.
When you’re only working with a client short-term, you don’t have time to do the very important work of taking a step back, reviewing the work you’ve been doing and making sure you’re still on the right track. When you only have a few months to get a client results, you’re firing on all cylinders all the time, and the strategy you set at the beginning of your engagement is the one you have to stick with.
Your PR team can evolve with your business needs.
Most -- if not all -- of our long-term clients have had a major shift in their business while we’ve been working with them. Some have started working with a new type of customer; others are delivering their product in a new way; many have introduced a new product altogether.
When you work with a PR firm long-term, any pivots they need to make in response to changes within your company build on the work they’ve already put in. They’re already incredibly knowledgeable about your industry, your competitors and your partners, so chances are if you’re entering a new vertical or going after a new type of customer, they already have a level of familiarity with it. They’ve spent months or years talking to relevant reporters about you and your company, so if you’re launching something new, they’re ahead of the game in terms of getting media coverage of it.
Most of our clients are small- to medium-sized businesses and don’t have a huge budget to spend on PR “just because.” Many of our clients have been working with us for years because they recognize that PR isn’t a quick fix; it’s an investment that evolves -- and improves -- over time.