Should PR partners act as client mentors?

In an age where consumers constantly demand more, shouldn’t businesses be entitled to expect their suppliers to go ‘above and beyond’ too? Yes. Of course. So, what does this mean for PR agencies in particular?

I read an interesting article recently which pinpointed one of the many additional ‘roles’ that a great public relations company can adopt, if they really want to deliver communications excellence for their clients.

I’m talking about the role of a mentor.

Now, I’m not suggesting that, as PR professionals, we should suddenly start advising on topics beyond our core areas of expertise. We should stick to what we know rather than claiming to be gurus in all strands of business (nobody likes a know-it-all).

But if we want to truly achieve our clients’ business objectives by delivering the all-important communications support we’re hired to provide, shouldn’t we be working a little harder to ensure our clients are better communicators too?

This doesn’t mean we have to give away all our ‘trade secrets’. However, we could impart some of our knowledge. This might involve passing on some social media tips, for example, so that clients’ individual profiles become more relevant and enriched. It could see us helping clients shape their key messages so that they’re able to better convey their USPs when networking. Or it might entail some media training so that a client can confidently ‘hold their own’ in a journalist interview.

In truth, there are so many pieces of seemingly simple or far more strategic advice that we can pass on. That’s why we strive to demystify the world of PR, because so many suppliers prefer to default to a ‘smoke and mirrors’ approach. But, ultimately, this doesn’t impress anyone.

Instead we work with our clients. We’re not just a supplier, nor are we a distant external party. We’re a trusted extension of their own teams. The closer we collaborate, the more the ideas flow and the greater the results that can be gleaned.

As PR professionals, we shouldn’t be afraid of empowering clients, least of all because the provision of added value is likely to cement the relationship long into the future. So, here’s to sharing a bit of insight every now and again!

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Written by Katie Mallinson

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