How to Ramp Up a New Account (Pt. 1)

new business

Winning a new account is exciting! Your team has worked hard to understand a new business (and, potentially, a brand new space), poured over data to make smart recommendations, and developed the winning strategy for a prospect. While this is certainly no small feat, the real work is only just beginning; the most critical days of a new client’s PR program are right around the corner.

As a manager, the first 30 days ramping up a new client is an important time to very actively lead and lean in with your team. In addition to managing existing clients, managers should be overly involved during the first 30 days of launching a new account. The first 30 days set the foundation for a PR program, and require smart leadership to get the team successfully off the ground quickly.

For managers and team leaders looking to start new accounts, here’s the first week in a four-week timeline to help set your team’s direction. Stay tuned for part 2, weeks two through four!

WEEK ONE

The first week of starting a new account is a bit like structuring the program’s to-do list. This is an important time for you to communicate the timeline to the team — mainly where you expect them to invest their time over the next 30 days — and make resource/asset requests to your client contact. Things to remember:

Review your program strategy. Start day one by spending 30 to 45 minutes reviewing the proposal with your team. This meeting is the perfect time to frame up long-term goals for the account, identify key client contacts, review key competitors, identify 3-5 key trends currently happening in the space and create a shortlist of friendlies you can pitch that week to make introductions. A few other first week assets to delegate and prioritize for the team:

  • Create search terms and news alerts for the client and competitors
  • Establish a timeline for program asset creation, including media lists, editorial calendars and recognition databases
  • Start circulating an internal news scan so that the daily news debrief is client-ready by week two

Set internal expectations and go “all in” on existing assets. In addition to hosting an internal kickoff meeting to review the account strategy, this is when you should set team expectations for getting coverage. Typically, a solid first week for an account includes writing 3-5 new pitches that secure at least 1-2 pieces of coverage in the first 10 days. However, before you set any coverage expectations, reach down and show your team how to succeed. Within the first two days of ramping up a new account, here are five fast tactics you can suggest to help organize your team’s pitch writing efforts and stay serious about securing coverage:

  • Spend 1-2 hours reviewing the client’s website materials, especially product pages, executive team, recent press releases and news articles. Ask them to identify 2-3 pieces of news and topics they can tie together to create a broad introduction pitch.
  • Read 2-3 white papers that are relevant for PR purposes. Ask your team to find 2-3 angles within the white papers that can be repurposed for pitches to friendlies.
  • Spend 1 hour reviewing two competitor web sites, specifically product pages, executive team, recent press releases and news articles. Ask the team to report 1-2 angles competitors are discussing and how your client can offer insight that challenges, supports or introduces new ideas within those topics.

Tackle client-facing priorities. During the first week, it’s important that managers take the lead on interacting and setting the tone for working with a client. Here are a few items for managers to finalize during week one:

  • Share team information, including team’s bios (outlining who does what on the team) and contact information
  • Schedule the kickoff meeting to determine the client’s expectations and refine your strategy; schedule standing weekly call
  • Gather company information, messaging and creative materials
  • Determine their preferred approach to reporting

Once you’ve laid the foundation for a solid program in week one, you’re ready to guide your team through the next three weeks of ramp up. Stay tuned!

Natalie Townsend
Senior Account Manager

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Posted on April 25, 2017 in Agency Life, Strategy

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