As far as I can tell, the farthest science – and I guess, ethics – have come in successfully developing clones of other living things has occurred within the horse community. Polo horses to be exact. Also read something recently about a couple cloning their golden retriever. To me, it makes better sense to clone people to rescue all the goldens sitting in shelters but that’s a speech for a different day.

Public relations is neither rocket science nor brain surgery. However, situations arise (almost daily) when doing a good job on behalf of a client requires something more than yourself: Four of you. While cloning people still seems to be a few years away, hiring a team of experts for public relations services delivers bandwidth, perspective and experience for achieving maximum results.

Below are a few reasons why:

  • Agencies worth their weight have proven relationships with media and social media influencers. They know who is on staff, who is freelancing and for what, who just left so-and-so to go to this new start up run by a celebrity and is the talk of the industry. They know the exact people you want to know about your brand and news. Shops operating as real teams share opportunities with colleagues to further serve as an all-encompassing resource for the media and garner press for clients across their roster.
  • Then, while your agency team is busy keeping those relationships fresh, they are also reading and staying on top of the news and trends – ready to jump at a moment’s notice on an opportunity. Newsjacking moments are fleeting at best. A solo practitioner might be tied up in a meeting that is relevant – or not – to garnering coverage, while a competitor takes full advantage of the moment.
  • Agencies are also scalable. For example, during a time of crisis, the team does not have to drop every initiative to act or react. Part of the team can manage the crisis while other members continue pursuing opportunities that can lead to positive coverage down the road.
  • It’s Friday at 4 and you need to come up with a clever tactic or campaign name. Sole practitioners depend on themselves…perhaps a friend…or their mom to jump in to help while those with a solid team can crowdsource ideas on a moment’s notice. Marketing firms who have fostered a team culture throughout the company achieve the best results.
  • People handle situations differently. We often draw on our experience, education and diverse backgrounds when problem – or challenge – solving. Having a team with different perspectives can be beneficial in times of creative brainstorming to times of crisis. They can advise on handling any kind of situation or just be there to “talk things through.”
  • Finally, whether it is uncovering new tools to measure ROI or the value of social media influencers, marketing companies continue to evolve to determine ways to best serve their clients. With a team, you can evolve more quickly. We are a breed of problem solvers and are naturally inquisitive into ways of working smarter on behalf of our clients. By dividing and conquering tasks as we navigate these exciting waters, we can achieve so much more for our clients by working together.

Once you have the team assembled, below is a list of the best ways to have them work for you.

  • Immerse them into your product as soon as the contract is signed. Bring them to your world to understand as much as possible about who you are, what you do and what they will be promoting. This will create an initial excitement and enthusiasm and jumpstart the learning curve. This time spent together will also create a working chemistry that is so important to a successful relationship. It will also give the team an opportunity to intelligently brainstorm ideas that have legs.
  • As a client, you should demand structure and accountability. Set key performance indicators from the beginning and agree on measurement tools to track against them. Arrange an ongoing schedule for in-person meetings and conference calls to assure everyone is working from the same playbook and meeting deadlines. You should always know what your agency is doing for you.
  • Ideas present themselves in different ways and different times. It could be while sitting at your desk but more often, they come walking the dog, in the shower or sitting in traffic. If you have an idea, share it with your agency. They serve as an extension of you – your hands and feet – and additional brains for more perspectives and thoughts. A good agency partnership is a two-way street.
  • Ensure your partners know how to play in the sandbox. If you are working with multiple inside departments or other outside agencies, your public relations team should be just as willing to partner with those teams working towards the same goals. Integration is mandatory for achieving maximum results.
  • You hired your agency for their experience. Make sure that this what they are providing. Sometimes groups pitch business with a different level of leadership than those who are working on the business on a daily basis. Make sure the senior leadership of your agency is also vested in both the strategic objectives but also the day-to-day tactical operations.
  • When a crisis hits, no matter how severe, you want your agency to be able to offer counsel and action immediately. They need to be experienced, organized and at your beck and call. Having an actionable crisis plan is crucial. Not one that is hundreds of pages and sits on a shelf but one that has pertinent information in one place with a listing of tactics to enact on a moment’s notice.
  • The world of marketing and public relations continues to evolve. You want your team to be on the forefront of cutting-edge tools for reaching your desired audience but maintain a high level of service for tried-and-true practices at the same time. Chasing shiny objects is all good, but not effective if your foundation is falling apart or even leaking.

As the great Lou Holtz once said, “On this team, we are all united in a common goal: to keep my job.” Your public relations agency is there to make you, as a client, look great to your bosses, stakeholders or investors.