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Competition vs. Cooperation: Boundaries Between Public Relations Agencies and their Clients

It’s a nasty little subject P.R. agency staffers don’t like to discuss. But Elizabeth Albrycht‘s post today on the IAOC blog sets me up for this one…

As clients of P.R. agencies and business communicators in-house explore the implications and ramifications of new communication models that thrive on cooperation (the first step of which is better transparency via the organization’s online press room and if your agency isn’t keeping yours up to date, you may be at a disadvantage), now is also a good time for P.R. agencies to consider how they can cooperate better with their clients by integrating the Web into PR campaigns.

So rather than sanil and email out recent news clippings, agencies should be posting links to coverage online so everyone can read them. That means getting not just print clips uploaded to your Internet pressroom, but electronic clips as well so people can watch them when they want, on their own time.

The biggest expense to clients when they change P.R. firms is the loss of organizational intelligence and they ramp up time required to get the new agency up to speed. Agencies have been resisting letting the intellectual capital they create for their clients out of their control, because it makes them easier to replace.

So that’s the nasty little secret. It’s out. If you’re worried you’re competing with your own agency for your own information, get an insurance policy…in the form of third party service you can use to control your organization’s online image via the web, without relying on external IT support.

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