How to Make the Most of Client Onboarding

When you’re living the agency life, clients are a pretty big part of the deal. As in, the biggest part. Our blog is full of useful content detailing how to get the most coverage for your clients, how to leverage that coverage on and off of social media, and dozens of other topics related to client success. But today, we’re going to back it all the way up to the beginning and talk about client onboarding.

“Onboarding” a client is a term used when your business development team (in our case, the fabulous Lauryn Gray) has sealed the deal, signed the paperwork, and is handing a client relationship over to the dedicated account team. This is the chance for the PR pros that will be working with the client each day to kick off the relationship and get the ball rolling.

In order to build a successful partnership, it’s important to gather as much information as possible in the first few weeks to help the PR team set a strong strategy. Here are a few things to keep in mind when going through the onboarding process with your next client!

Start with the obvious.
It may seem like a no brainer, but the first step should be to sit down with the business development group and go over what they already know about your new client. A lot of times, the sales process can take several weeks or even months, so the representative from your company has probably gotten to know the client team pretty well. Not only will you gain the tactical insight, like what all is covered in the proposed scope of work, but you can find out some information that might be helpful in establishing the relationship. Things like if they mentioned a competitor or an ideal publication, for example, can be great for developing a tactical strategy. Other insight, such as an alma mater or favorite sports team, might help develop a personal connection.

Do the research.
If you feel like this tip appears in a lot of our blog posts, that’s because it does. We love research. When it comes to onboarding, we like to know as much as we can about a company before we ever walk into the meeting. Start, of course, with the company’s history, its products, its C-suite, and all the basic information found on their website. But diving even deeper into figuring out who their competitors are, what industry trade media publications they have been featured in, where those competitors have been featured, the latest industry announcements, any awards they have won (or been nominated for), and what type of engagement they receive on social media presence will result in a much more efficient introductory meeting.

Ask all the questions.
Once you’ve done all that research and you’ve become familiar with the scope of work, it’s time to prep for your onboarding meeting. In order to really make the most out of the time you have, it’s important to utilize what you already know. Rather than asking them to list off their competitors, have the list you’ve created ready and ask if you’re missing anyone. Rather than asking them to list off every publication they have been featured in before, ask for the top 3 they haven’t been in yet. Have a list of their products or services at the ready and ask which ones should take highest priority, as opposed to having them walk through information that’s readily available on their website. Not only does this show that you’ve done your homework, it makes it easier to hit the ground running once this meeting concludes. The faster you can start executing on project initiatives, the faster you can provide those stellar results your client wants.

Onboarding a client can be a little overwhelming at times. It’s hard to know every single component of a company after a single two-hour meeting. But being prepared can help you maximize the impact of that two-hour meeting and set a solid foundation for a successful client-agency relationship.

Dittoe PR Springs Into Q2 with New Clients and New Team Member

There are many reasons to celebrate spring. The temperatures are rising, the flowers are blooming, and summer is just around the corner. Here at Dittoe Public Relations, we have even more reasons to celebrate, as we kicked off Q2 with significant additions to our client roster and added a new team member.

Springbuk, WGU Indiana and Conrad Indianapolis have each selected Dittoe PR to lead their media relations and thought leadership efforts. Spanning a variety of industries, including health IT, higher ed and hospitality, these Indianapolis-based organizations all have one thing in common: they have great stories to tell. 

Read on to learn a bit more about our new clients and how Dittoe PR will lead PR efforts for each organization.

Springbuk
Springbuk launched in 2015 with employer-facing health analytics software that forecasts costs and improves population health. Their technology is built by a team of clinical experts, health economists and strategists, and data scientists.

The company initially partnered with Dittoe PR to promote its Health Intelligence Tour, debuting their Health Intelligence platform upgrades. The tour went through Dallas, Chicago and New York City to spread the word to employers, brokers and analysts all over the country about how Springbuk’s platform is preventing disease with data. Dittoe PR secured coverage in the Indianapolis Business Journal, Employee Benefit News, HR.com, Talent Culture and many more outlets to coincide with the tour. Starting this month, the Dittoe PR team is shifting gears and developing and executing a more comprehensive media relations and thought leadership campaign. Through personalized and targeted media outreach, along with expertly drafted contributed articles and award nominations, Springbuk will be showcased as an innovator and thought leader in the employee benefits space.

WGU Indiana
Founded in 2010, WGU Indiana was established as the first-ever state model within Western Governors University. The online university was created for 21st Century careers and offers 60+ degrees in the four colleges of business, teaching, I.T. and health/nursing. WGU Indiana’s mission is to open its doors for adult learners who need the flexibility and affordability of an online university to help them achieve their educational and career goals.

Dittoe PR will execute a proactive, highly strategic media relations, thought leadership and social media plan that will boost statewide brand awareness and help increase enrollment. Through consistent and meaningful media coverage, as well as thought leadership opportunities, we will work to contribute to WGU Indiana’s continued success.

Conrad Indianapolis
Located in Downtown Indianapolis, Conrad Indianapolis opened its doors in 2006 and is a part of the luxury brand Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. The hotel offers beautiful event space for everything from large corporate assemblies to intimate wedding ceremonies and receptions. The hotel also offers an art experience unlike any other hotel in Indianapolis that includes notable pieces in the lobby, several art-influenced suites and the Long Sharp Gallery, which features modern masterpieces from artists like Picasso, Miro, Warhol, Basquiat, Haring, Indiana and Lichtenstein.

Dittoe PR will generate media coverage for the hotel through media relations, compelling content creation and thought leadership efforts to encourage stays, event bookings and showcase the approachable luxury that is Conrad Indianapolis.

You may be wondering how we execute successful campaigns for so many different types of clients in different industries. We get that question a lot, and it reminds me of one of my favorite Dr. Seuss quotes: “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”

For us, the answer is simple. PR is all about the art of storytelling, and we know every company has a story to be told and a targeted audience who will listen and take action. It’s our passion, experience, skills and tools that allow us to tell our clients’ meaningful stories on a daily basis.

As we continue to grow our diverse client roster, we are also adding new team members! Sarah Cox joined the Dittoe PR team as an account executive in March 2019. Prior to joining our agency, Sarah was the director of marketing for the Behavior Analysis Center for Autism for seven years and also served as marketing chair for the Women in Behavior Analysis Conference for three years. She enjoys exploring the world, attending Yelp Indy events and spending time with friends and family. We are thrilled to have Sarah join our growing team!

Thinking it might be time for your organization to find the right PR partner? Contact me at lauryn@dittoepr.com!

Tips for Securing National Media Coverage

“No thanks.”

“Not at this time.”

“I appreciate your persistence, but I’m not interested.”

 

If you’re in PR, you’ve more than likely received a response similar to this from national media journalists. In my five years at Dittoe PR, I’ve heard this, well… too many times to count. While it can be discouraging to get so many rejections about your story idea, especially after you’ve spent hours coming up with the strategy and writing that perfect pitch, a PR professional must never give up. Hearing that “yes” makes the flurry of pitches worth it—for yourself and for your client.

 

National media outreach is often perceived as the most difficult kind of pitching. But if your client’s preferred coverage is a story in Forbes, The Today Show, and USA Today, or if you want to thoroughly impress a new client, you need to know how to become an expert in landing outstanding media hits in national outlets.

 

Using the below tips to secure national media coverage will help to blow your clients out of the water:

 

Do your research.

 

As with all media pitching, it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re reaching out to the right journalist. Study their beat. Tailor your pitch to make it about what they typically cover. Personalize the intro of your email by expressing how much you loved their recent article on the best way to earn a college scholarship, and THEN share your story idea about caddying for a full ride to college.

 

My client, Aardvark straws, was interested in national consumer media coverage about their NFL paper straws, as they are the only paper straw company that has the rights to print NFL team logos. I recall finding an editor from Southern Living who had shared that her favorite NFL team was the Dallas Cowboys. Well, did I have the pitch for her! I offered her samples of Aardvark’s Dallas Cowboys paper straws to use for a Super Bowl party, and she replied not even a minute later with interest. A week later, Aardvark earned coverage in Southern Living!

 

Don’t underestimate the power of newsjacking.

 

Newsjacking, or taking advantage of current events or news stories in such a way as to promote one’s product or brand, can really help your client steal the spotlight. It’s always good practice to pitch a story idea that is timely, so newsjacking works well if you pitch your story as soon as possible after the news breaks.

 

Our country was so divided after the latest presidential election that even employees were affected at work. Another client of mine, Culture of Good, guides other businesses on engaging their employees properly. Immediately following the presidential election, I took the opportunity to pitch national journalists about fixing employee morale and keeping everyone together, which resulted in interest with Fast Company.

 

Make your email worth opening with a catchy subject line.

 

A dry, dull subject line such as “New wireless retail partner” is not going to get you anywhere with national media. A PR pro should make their subject lines catchy and succinct, while getting the point of the pitch across. Using Emojis adds creativity, and often, addressing the journalist’s name in the subject line helps the writer know the pitch may be personal.

 

A subject line that worked well for one of my clients, Redux, grabbed the attention of Mashable, The Today Show, TIME Magazine, New York Magazine, Digital Trends, and more: SPLASH! How to revive a wet phone in a flash this summer

 

And, when following up with media, change up the subject line to see if it peaks their interest.

 

Add images when applicable.

 

If you’re pitching a consumer product, this is a given. What better way to help a national reporter visualize your client’s product than with a photo? But even if you aren’t sharing info about a consumer product, images can add flair to an email.

Who wouldn’t want to stay at Ironworks Hotel after seeing one of their suites?

 

Be persistent.

 

Persistence is key! It’s not uncommon for a reporter to accidentally miss your first email… or your second… or your third. Follow up emails are often the ones where I receive the MOST media interest from—local and national alike. As mentioned before, refresh your subject line, add new information in the follow ups the writer may be more interested in, and keep up the determination!

 

And you may need to become a bit of a stalker.

 

Not really. But kind of. Okay, you do.

 

It’s great to find the ideal national reporter to cover your client’s story, but it can be confusing as to why you aren’t receiving any responses.

 

Look at writers’ Twitter accounts to see what they have been up to. Maybe they are on vacation or maternity leave. They could also be at a conference or tied up with a big story angle. It might be nice to use that bit of information in a follow up once you find out when they’ll be back on the grind.

 

And if you can’t find a national reporter’s email address, you may be able to find it on social media, personal websites, or otherwise.

 

Calling both local AND national writers can be nerve wracking. So before picking up the phone, try to discover if they’ve blatantly told publicists not to reach them via phone. You don’t want them to blacklist you. But I’ve called plenty of national reporters who simply didn’t see my initial emails and have indeed been interested in my client’s story. It’s definitely worth a shot!

 

Most national journalists receive hundreds of emails daily. Make yours count by sharing a lean and impactful pitch with the appropriate writer who won’t want to miss your groundbreaking story.