Sometimes when business relationships end, people will hear the phrase “Nothing personal, it’s just business.”

But in Public Relations, business is always personal. It’s the nature of the beast. The relationships you build with your clients are crucial to your success and must be able to withstand economic challenges and changing media landscapes.

Sometimes your clients may leave for another firm, take their PR in house, or just cut their marketing budget all together. There will always be extenuating circumstances, but the more you can be in tune with what your client needs, the better your chances are to retain their business on a long-term basis.

Here are five ways to help you weather ever-changing economic storms and help to cement a good working relationship with your clients.

  1. Communicate Expectations
    Clients often have a very different notion on what PR or marketing means to them, and sometimes they can expect the moon. It’s important to reinforce that while solid media placement and increased brand visibility are the goal, the client is ultimately paying for your time and services to disseminate information. It’s like that age old saying, time is money.
  2. Be Visible
    Even when the stories, articles or partnerships aren’t panning out, maintain a constant presence to your client and relay to them your activities and outreach strategies. If you are initiating constant communication with your client at least 2-3 days out of the week, they will have a better understanding of the time and effort you are spending on their project.
  3. Be Proactive, Not Reactive
    While PR practitioners should always listen to the needs of their client first and foremost, they shouldn’t be waiting for their directives. Part of what they are paying your for is to come up with a plan and execute it, and the majority of them do not want to micro manage your marketing strategy.
  4. Become Indispensable
    Know your client and their business, inside and out. Take stock of company history, products, staff, and even your clients personal life. Be ready to be a proxy for your client when they need you. Once you begin to really get involved in the inner workings of their business, you will be seen as an essential part of the whole picture.
  5. Get the Job Done
    PR is like every other industry, those who want it most will succeed. It’s not enough to just send out a few press releases and follow up emails. A good publicist or marketer will go above and beyond, spending hours on the phone, taking meetings, networking, and using ingenuity to create mutually beneficial partnerships with other businesses and organizations. When all is said and done, if you’ve put in the effort, the results will come.