How to happily engage a PR partner

Your to-do list is full of “priorities.”

From paper, to pixels and people — the projects keep piling up, but there are only so many hours in a day.

An effective communications project manager can take work off your plate while keeping your directors delighted and your to-do list clear. If engaging a communications or design firm is new territory for you, be prepared to hear a lot about:

Budgets: surprises are for birthdays, not invoices.

You may loathe money talk, but budget awareness is critical. Be it an hourly, retainer or project-based fee, most creative firms will ask you to sign an agreed-upon scope of work and budget before any work begins. This up-front understanding prevents sticker shock by the client (you!) and limits future frustration for the firm.

Expertise: you know your industry and public best.

You are engaging a communications professional with an expectation that your project will be led in an organized, creative and strategic way. But your most effective communications efforts will come from the actual partnership of your subject matter expertise and the firm’s communications expertise. Be prepared to hand over the day-to-day project and vendor management while remaining engaged in messaging, stakeholder and industry strategy.

Deadlines: demand and respect them.

Any communications professional worth her salt is going to present you with a project plan of her tasks, deadlines and deliverables. The catch: you’ll be assigned deadlines, too. Client deadlines and tasks usually involve reviewing, editing and approving creative and/or written content. A delay in completing your “assignments” likely means a delay in completing the overall project. If your firm has not assigned any deadlines to you, ask for them. Your time is valuable and should be factored into the project management calendar.

If you have a pressing communications or web design project, large or small, we’re here to help. In the meantime, I’d love to hear about your project management tips and tricks in the comments.


This post first appeared on Margie Newman’s Medium story page.

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