PR Agencies, Marketers, Professional Writers, Key Influencers and everything in between…
This subject, though should be somewhat basic, causes so much confusion and distaste in many industry sectors. Working across varied industries myself I get to see a pattern that is repeated, it is not unique to any sector whatsoever. Here’s why there is so much ongoing debate:
Let’s take a basic situation of a client needing to get their business message out to the world, normally they would choose a marketing agency and more frequently the service of a PR agency to handle the whole project.
- Let’s say the Business in Question is called A and the PR Agency (sometimes a marketing agency) who have taken on the assignment is B
A assigns B to do it’s marketing at a fixed fee of £1,000 per month.
A business can have many reasons to want to get their brand out there from gaining new newsletter registrations to selling more products, looking for a better domain authority to simply wanting to increase their following on social media. A is looking for results catered to their requirements of which it is the task of B to deliver them for the fee agreed. In this situation company A is paying out £1,000 every month and company B is earning £1,000 every month.
Now unless company B themselves are a major key influencer in the said industry with the required target audience at their finger tips they will generally have to rely upon clever relationship building with the likes of writers / bloggers / journalists who we will call C as well as key influencers who have desirable audiences who will be D and also influencer publications / websites / media channels who will be the final letter we deal with in E.
To recap on letters:
- A – Client paying £1,000 monthly
- B – PR Agency / Marketing Agency receiving £1,000 monthly
- C – Writers / Bloggers / Journalists
- D – Key Influencers (individual people)
- E – Key influencer channels (websites, magazines, TV channels, radio stations etc)
When it comes to gaining exposure for the client then B will certainly be in need of C, D and E depending on the results required from their client.
Now obviously B can be a single person business to a larger corporation and both situations means that to survive as a business they will need revenue, this is what most businesses are in business for! For our example in this article we see that B is happy as they have a client paying them £1,000 monthly.
Happy B and contented C
Usually B will communicate with relevant contacts they have in C, D and E and ask their help in ways such as ‘can you review this product / service and share with your audience‘ or ‘would you like to attend our launch party and do a write up for us‘ or ‘can you add a live link to your existing article on your website for my client A‘.
Some contacts of B will be happy to have content for their own audience so a simple ‘free sample’ or ‘invite to a launch party’ or ‘a good bit of detailed content / professional photos’ for them is enough so that B gives A what they require for their paying client A, ie some positive exposure. Usually this is quite often the way forward in the relationship between B and C of which I have been in this situation as I have grown my varied businesses online. This relationship works well for both parties in most cases.
This situation means that C have gotten something they think worthy of their status, B is happy as they get to keep their £1,000 each month to themselves and A, depending on their expectations, might also be happy to see their brand gaining exposure at the level of C.
Greedy B and sticking to their guns ‘D and E’
Now sometimes B will require more of a quality connection, outside of their network of friendly contacts, with a better target audience and stronger reach, maybe they are being paid a fair bit each month from A and have been set high targets and need to report back their progress in detail. Here we would see B needing D and E.
Now let us remember that B, as a business, is earning £1,000 monthly for their work and effort. D and E will usually be full time businesses themselves such as an influencer on Instagram or an industry news channel and just like B they require revenue to survive and just like B who offer a service that they charge for, D and E have a service in that they offer exposure to their large audiences.
Let us remark on that quote just above – ‘offer exposure to large audiences‘. The breakdown in relationship usually takes place when B fails to realise that in order to be D and E you will be working hard to both get to that stage and maintain it. When someone sees a D for instance on Instagram with 100,000 followers it will not have happened by luck or for free, it will have required work and continued effort. In this instance we could say that A would be far better off going directly to D and E themselves and deal directly in order to get the exposure they require at a discounted rated (this does happen frequently) though a PR Agency / marketing agency will also offer administration services too and be the channel of communication required that probably A does not have time for.
Less frequently the B to D / E situation works perfectly in that B realises that D and E have worked hard, like themselves, to build a business and service offering and B is prepared to pay out some of their monthly earnings from A in order to get what they require, ie quality exposure for A. This can be in that B offers a reciprocal service, such as link exchange, discounts on products / services and similar or they pay to use the services of D and E at a set fee such as a paid for advertorial in a magazine or a paid for Tweet out from a celebrity etc.
More frequently we see that B does not understand why they should be paying anything to D nor E and that D and E should be grateful that B is sharing content with them or giving them free items to review – B is earning the money and found the client so why should they be sharing it. B thinks that D and E are not a business and do not put work and effort in order to have the status of a D or an E that strangely enough B needs in order to go back to their client A with so they can continue to be paid the £1,000. B usually gets grumpy here (I have seen it many times and have so many emails / social media posts saved from grumpy B‘s) and either terminates the relationship in disgust, has a rant or sometimes pursues an ongoing conversation still not understanding why D and E charge a fee for their business service like they do themselves and demanding that D & E give their service away for free.
Of course, in many cases and certainly for myself, as either a B, C, D or E we will have great relationships with each other, sometimes long term so for instance we a friend B contacts their friend E asking for some help, then E will oblige and sometimes it will reverse and B will oblige E for something needed.
I have been in and had experiences of all the letters above from A to E. I have used the service of a PR agency with good and bad results, I have been a part time blogger, I have had a marketing agency with clients, held big social media accounts with target followings as well as industry news channels and appeared on national media. I have paid for the services of C, D and E.
I now see myself floating between D and E mostly and I can say I have great relationships with many, many A‘s and certainly many B‘s – For me there are some great PR agencies out there who get the whole digital landscape and how it works and ticks over.
I do understand that some B‘s task themselves or see it a result when they gain clients free exposure from the likes of C, D and E‘s be it a quote in a newspaper or a link added to a blog, that is great and of course a fine service supplied by B.
I also know and have experienced that C, D and E categories can also be quite closed in their relationship building and also do their fair share of ranting and moaning especially if the fees they have been offered does not match their requirements / expectations.
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