“Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” – PRSA Public Relations Society of America
PR agencies can be a fantastic resource; their job is to be plugged into media outlets, journalists, and industry influencers and assist you in evaluating your business goals and determining the best strategy to maximize the return of any PR campaign.
Before you decide on a PR Agency, keep these three things in mind to make sure you are putting your brand into the most qualified hands.
Decide on your goals before you do anything else
“What do I want to accomplish by working with a PR agency?”
As with all PR and marketing programs, it is important to define your goals before getting too far into making decisions about retaining an agency. A good public relations strategy starts with goals; decide what you want to accomplish. For example, is it to increase brand awareness, be seen as a thought leader, or gain attention for a specific product or service?
Determine your PR Agency budget
“What percent of our budget can we contribute to PR?”
It is important to set a budget and convey that budget to prospective PR agencies, if not you might find yourself wasting your time on an agency you can’t afford. It is important to make a firm decision on your top-line budget. Agencies are expensive, and you’ll need to make sure you clearly articulate your top-line budget, including base retainer, overages, expenses, and incidentals. In addition, make sure you have a clear path that requires written approval for any monthly expense exceeding your budget.
Research PR firms
Once you have determined your goals and budget, you can begin researching what kind of PR agency is the right fit for you. Every PR agency has a unique team and a unique approach to public relations. Gather information on their reputation, reviews, cost, social media presence, testimonials, and clients. Remember that larger PR agencies will always be more expensive, so be sure to include smaller boutique agencies in your research.
A good source of information is the company’s website and LinkedIn. This will give you an idea of their current objectives and any strategic announcements. In addition, it’s important to see how they handle their PR. Glassdoor is another great place to look. You can learn about employee reviews, company culture, and reputation.
Once you’ve decided which PR firm you want to work with, ensure you’ve made your objectives and goals clear. Set up a clear line of communication while also defining your expectations in the form of a contract or statement of work. Be sure to read it carefully and consult a lawyer if possible.
There are many PR agencies out there who are ready and willing to help you stand out from the competition. These guidelines will help you choose the one that is right for you.