Looking for a Public Relations Agency? Use our Free matching service to find the right agency for you.

User login

PR 101: Establishing and maintaining strong relationships with client contacts

Across a PR’s career, the chances are they’ll collaborate with a few (or many) wacky and wild client contacts, exhibiting a range of personality types and experiences. Having worked in this industry for just over two years, I’ve noticed each client differs from the next, some being serious, some relaxed, others funny, and some simply focused on the task at hand.

PRs must take the time to understand their clients and build a rapport with them to establish healthy and prosperous relationships. This will lead to the best results and some entertaining weekly catch-ups along the way!

Finding common ground

When building relationships with contacts, it is important to set up weekly calls to allow your teams to get to know one another on a personal level. Establish what you and the contact have in common and build on those similarities, adding in the occasional bit of friendly banter. Ease into the relationship and establish what you both plan to achieve in the time that you will be working together.

If your contact feels uncomfortable, communication may break down, leading to missed opportunities and delays when reviewing content. Developing that initial trust is paramount and finding common ground can be the key to achieving this.

Establishing a balance

Finding that sweet spot between friendly and professional conversation when attending weekly catch-ups can be a massive help. I like to begin conversations by discussing topics I know we have a shared interest in – this could include fantasy football, holidays or even something as simple as the weather. Then it’s time to get down to business and discuss weekly tasks, actions and goals. It is fine to chat with contacts and enjoy their company, but in the end, we still have a job to do!

Establishing that balance is vital to maintaining strong client relationships as you can enjoy friendly chats, without going overboard and drifting away from the task at hand.

Setting actions

When working with client contacts, sharing weekly actions is a must for both the account team and the client. This ensures both parties are in sync, and clients have clear guidance, meaning they know which tasks on their side need to be completed before your next meeting.

If left in the dark, contacts may not feel supported by your team, and they could become confused and flustered. Setting actions allows them to address any concerns or ask for clarification on points that are unclear.

Working together and avoiding drifting apart

Lastly, client contacts are a part of your team and should be treated as such. Both parties should not act as individuals but as one, as cringy as that may sound. You want to get to the point where you look forward to your weekly calls with your contacts, updating them about agency events and the results you’ve achieved.

Now, some contacts may decide they do not want to put the effort in, which is also fine. All you can do is work with what you have and try your best to establish a relationship. Some people can be grumpy but never take it personally, as we all have the same goal.