Choosing the right PR firm for your business is no easy task. However, it is important keep in mind that great PR is a marathon, not a sprint. A successful Public relations campaign takes time to develop; therefore it is important you choose the right agency that compliments your goals and success over a period of time, as much as you fit into their expertise. At BLND, we came up with some advice for those of you on the hunt, and what we believe you should be looking for in a PR firm.
-Knowledge. We aren’t saying you should provide quizzes for each PR firm you meet with. However, you should ask about the other companies and campaigns the agency has worked with before that are similar to your company. It can only enhance your Public Relations experience if you choose a firm with prior involvement in your field of expertise.
-Compatibility & Communication. You can expect to build a close relationship with your publicist(s). Therefore, make sure you can effectively and efficiently communicate with those in the firm. Can you call them on weekends? Will they be available when they are on vacation? Again, this is a partnership. Chemistry is important, and you want to hire an agency that you know you can reach out to no matter what.
–Involvement. You should ask how much you will be involved and what the PR firm will expect from you. You may be asked to submit pictures once a week, or provide a weekly update of any new events or promotions that are occurring within your business. It’s important to understand what the firm will expect from you, and whether or not you can reciprocate the commitment.
-Services. What type of services will you need? Maybe you have an business with previously established branding, yet you lack social media exposure. On the flipside, you could be an upcoming, new startup that needs it all. Whether it be social media, branding, web development, special events, traditional PR…you should first be clear about what it is you want, and then you can look for a PR firm specializing in what you need.
-Rates and pricing. Depending on what service you need, rates may differ. Some PR firms may offer an “A La Carte” menu of costs while others may have a monthly retainer. Know what budget you are working with, and then find a PR agency that can work with it.
–References. We always feel more comfortable about something when other people have previous rewarding experiences, too. By asking for references, you’ll get outside perspectives on the PR firm and on the personalities of its staff. Another approach is to discover which PR firms were used by companies whose image and public relations you admire. Once you find them, get in contact with them and see what they can do for you.