Five Basic Ways to Keep Your Clients Informed
PR professionals are communicators. That’s our job. We communicate – in one way or the other – with the media, with partners, with colleagues and especially with our clients, who want – and need – to know what we’ve been doing to build their reputations.
Over the 17 years I’ve been in public relations, the methods of communication has changed or evolved with technology advancements (i.e. ubiquitous use of cell phones, texting, Skype, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, blogs). What hasn’t changed are the things you need to communicate – or how often. As long as you’re communicating with your clients in a way that works for them, often on a daily basis, you’ll go a long way in keeping them happy.
Here are five basic but important communications tools you need to implement now, if you aren’t already.
- Weekly Status Reports: Create and maintain a weekly status report. On my very first day as a PR professional, I was sent an Excel spreadsheet that included the status of all of my client’s projects: press releases, contributed articles, media outreach, calls for speakers, etc. My goal was – and is – to update it each day, or at least each time I had something to update. With the latest technologies, instead of emailing the presentation to my clients, I now save the spreadsheet in Google Drive or DropBox (depending on the client) so we can all few it whenever we want.
- Weekly Status Calls: Schedule a status call once a week or bi-weekly, depending on the client’s requirements. Try to keep to the agreed-upon time. Use your weekly status report as your agenda. Be prepared to share your successes for the week, get any information you need from the client, strategize for upcoming projects, etc.
- Daily Check-Ins: If you need more immediate feedback, or want to share the article on your client that just appeared in the Wall Street Journal or speaker opportunity you just snared, don’t be afraid to call or email right away. They’ll love to hear about it. Do try to consolidate your requests into one or two calls or emails each day, if that. Make sure it’s important. Remember their job is more than just responding to your requests.
- Office Visits: While phone, texts, emails and social media are great ways to communicate with your clients, you can never completely replace the value of a face-to-face meeting. In her Forbes column on the To 4 Benefits of Face-to-Face Meetings, SAP talent marketing specialist Grace Chiu said spending time with clients and colleagues face-to-face helped them “became closer as people and as a team, and this new found comfort makes collaboration much easier in the future.” If you’re within driving distance, visit the office 2-3 times a month at least.
- Stats Reports: Don’t forget to keep track of all of your successes and communicate them to your clients in a monthly “stats” report. This will remind them of everything you’ve accomplished for them and show them the value you bring to their company.
How else – and how often – do you communicate with your clients? Remember, there’s no such thing as “over-communicating” in a client/agency relationship!