What PR Firms Should Keep in Mind About The Onboarding Process


Mary Jenkins
What PR Firms Should Keep in Mind About The...

As a PR firm, it is just as important for you to understand the ins and outs of the onboarding process as it is for the startup that hired you. 

In order to make the most of the relationship between your team and the tech startup and to ensure that you meet campaign goals, it’s key to prepare for the partnership with a seamless onboarding process.

Here are the steps that you should keep in mind as your PR firm is onboarding your new tech startup client.  

Outline PR goals

By time you are putting the finishing touches on contracts, delivering a scope of work, and gathering final signatures, you should have begun to foster a relationship with the startup. Now that you’ve made it official, the onboarding process should begin with a kick-off meeting to clearly define and prioritize goals. Use this time to clarify the startup’s primary PR goals—whether that’s an increase in share of voice, generating more leads, or establishing your tech startup as an industry leader. The key to success is to make sure the PR strategy you’ve developed aligns with the overall marketing goals of the company you’re working with.

Your initial PR strategy meeting should also include a conversation around short-term and long-term business goals, product roadmaps, campaign expectations, a timeline of in-person and virtual events, and tasks assigned to each party. Both teams should leave the meeting with a clear understanding of the overall strategy as well as immediate next steps. 

Clearly define the budget 

You should also use your initial meeting or two to flesh out the budget. As an experienced PR firm, you should have an idea of what third party tools you may need to employ to help with media outreach, tracking, and distribution. It’s important to factor the costs of these tools into the budget in relation to the goals and planned campaigns so you can be completely transparent with your client.

Identify point of contact and preferred communication style

Another key component of the onboarding process is to figure out the logistics of your working relationship. This includes communication style and frequency, determining who is responsible for which tasks, and the invoicing process. 

Don’t overlook the small details like who the main point of contact is for each team and how often you will communicate. Austin PR firm Swyft recommends weekly meetings in the first month and bi-weekly ones after that. 

And whether your meetings take place or phone or video, make sure you create a detailed agenda to stay on track during calls with your client. If you’re organized out of the gate, you are more likely to continue those partners of organization throughout the partnership and will limit the possibility of important updates, questions, or ideas getting lost as a result of miscommunication. As the PR firm, and the hired masters of communication, this should be in your wheelhouse. The basis of any strong relationship is communication, so figuring this out at the beginning of your partnership is key. 

Establish measurement methodology 

PR gets a bad rep for not being quantitative or measurable enough. Before your tech PR firm can execute any type of media campaign for a tech startup, it’s crucial to have an agreed upon method for measuring the campaign results. Determining this during the onboarding process will give both teams clear expectations going into each campaign, and defy the stereotype of PR’s immeasurability. 

Data-driven tech PR firms are likely to already have a proven method for measuring results. If this is the case, then it’s important for your firm to properly articulate this method and answer clarifying questions from your startup partner. On the flipside, be  sure to find out if there are certain measurements the startup tracks internally.

Execute and evaluate first project 

Now that you and your client are on the same page as far as strategy and communication methods, it’s time to execute the first project. Though there’s already a certain level of established trust built throughout the selection and onboarding process, the first project can really shed light on your ability to execute a successful campaign. It can also bring to the surface things that could improve the working relationship going forward. 

Once the first deliverable is complete, both you and your client should make a plan to discuss the initial project. Go over the results of the project such as what went well or what could’ve made the process even smoother. Be prepared to communicate with your client about how they can better support the process, and leave room for their feedback as well. 

About Mary Jenkins: Mary is a Senior Communications Associate for Swyft, which is a tech PR agency in San Francisco, Austin, Denver and Houston. Swyft was listed as a top digital marketing and PR agency in Denver by BuiltinColorado. In addition to being a top tech PR agency in San Francisco, Swyft was also listed as one of the top tech PR agencies in Texas by the B2B services review site, Clutch.co.

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