So, you hired a public relations firm. That’s great, but remember: Depending on what services are included in your contract or purchase order, your PR firm may need you to provide them with certain things in order to do their job effectively. Here are some common examples.

Approvals – Any time your PR firm provides you with content (whether it’s a press release, web copy, op-ed pieces or other written text), it’s critical that you review and approve that content as quickly as possible. If you need them to make changes to the text, your feedback is of equal importance so they can make your revisions and get your content where it needs to go (i.e. reporters, your website or the newspaper opinion section). Time is of the essence, and your PR firm is only looking out for you – so rather than dismissing their phone calls or emails, it’s best to give them a few minutes of your time.

Authorizations – Sometimes, you may order services that require your firm to partner with third party vendors: web designers, printers, etc. When that happens, your PR firm will likely send you a proposal that you are required to authorize. If you need to negotiate, that requires your immediate feedback as well.

Other times, you may request that your PR firm provide services that are outside the scope of work you initially agreed on. When that happens, the firm will likely send you a proposal for those services and it’s crucial that you attend to it quickly. Your firm wants to provide your deliverables on the timeline you requested, so it’s important to authorize the work as soon as you receive a proposal. If you need to amend or negotiate, that should be attended to ASAP.

Responsiveness – If a media opportunity arises and you are unresponsive to your PR team when they bring it to your attention, the window may be closed by the time you get around to answering. Media outreach is a tricky game and your PR team is most likely working hard to get your name, brand, story or event out there; that’s why any positive media interest they receive is worth your time. If your public relations firm sets up a reporter interview, passes along a question from a reporter or notifies you about any media interest that requires you to respond, your timeliness is key.

In fact, responsiveness and timeliness are what it all boils down to. Your public relations team needs your timely response on a variety of matters, including content approvals, work authorizations and media inquiries. A public relations campaign is a partnership, with each side taking ownership of their respective roles in the campaign’s success.