Starting off well with a new client, viral video tips, more

How do I begin a relationship with a new client who is jaded from working with another agency?

Client service
How do I begin a relationship with a new client who is jaded from working with another agency?

As the incoming agency, you'll need to immediately address the poor work of the previous firm, advises Michael Olguin, president of Formula. That starts by asking the right questions.

“It is critical to find out specifically what did and did not work during the company's previous agency relationship,” he adds. “This will help you set a better course while allaying any concerns the client may have.”

Next, show results right away. If team members are known for their dynamic writing, established contacts with top-tier media, and out-of-the-box thinking, start pitching immediately for short-term victories.

“It's essential to establish realistic expectations,” Olguin says. “Any client-agency relationship will fail if there is a disconnect between expectations and results.” Taking the time to align these at the start will ensure that both parties share and enjoy their success.

Viral videos
What are the keys to launching a successful viral short?

Viral video is becoming a crucial part of the marketing mix because of its potential for exposure, says David Seaman, founder of Shutterline Interactive.

Some of the most successful viral videos actually offend, surprise, and are poorly packaged, he explains.

“A great viral can simply offend our sensibilities or our notions of what is possible,” he says. “The next step is to surprise, to show something people have never seen before. This is why slow-motion videos shot with high frame-per-second cameras are so popular on YouTube right now,” Seaman adds.

Even if you have a million-dollar budget, most successful viral videos look like something shot in five minutes with a cheap DV cam.

“Viewers are more prone to forward things they feel like they have discovered on their own,” Seaman explains. “Make your video look like an accident.”

Sound bites
Why should publicists write sound bites for clients?

Many PR pros spend a good deal of time honing messages, and sound bites are presented in a way that the media can't resist, explains Jess Todtfeld, president of Media Training Worldwide.

Sound bites are also packaged in a way that the client can more easily understand and deliver. “It is the duty of every PR person to provide a list of sound bites before interviews,” he stresses.

When developing sound bites, phrases that include bold action words are important, notes Todtfeld, who adds that absolutes are also key.

“Don't let clients be wishy-washy,” he says. “Journalists must be able to state things with absolute certainty.”

Clichés are also useful in sound bites, Todtfeld suggests. “Adding phrases like ‘At the end of the day' or ‘the bottom line is' will do the trick.”

Send your questions to Please contact Beth Krietsch if you are interested in contributing to PR Toolbox or to suggest ideas for future columns.

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