Find the right place to tell your story
If given the choice, the agency rather than the client should take the lead in trying to disseminate a story, particularly if it’s about the work, both Lee and Pfaff said. In many cases, if a client disseminates the story, the agency is barely mentioned.
Pfaff said that if clients aren’t allowing press at all, there are other ways to tell your story. “You can put it on LinkedIn, you can put it on Facebook, you can get it out there in the world,” he said.
Lee said that while getting a story in Ad Age is important—“clients are reading it,” she said—there are other outlets available for agencies with press-shy clients. “As an agency, you have to be a marketer of yourself,” she said. “Do newsletters, in-depth LinkedIn posts, use pay-to-play outlets. Tell your stories in your own channels and really celebrate it.”
She also urged agencies to amplify their message by putting money behind a LinkedIn post.
Brian Bonilla, Ad Age’s senior reporter on the agency beat, said on the panel that while he receives 100 pitches from agencies in an average week, some of his best story ideas come from LinkedIn posts.
“A lot of times clients will say ‘No, you can’t do a press release on that, but you can put it on LinkedIn,’” said Lee. “Which is where Brian will find out about it.”