What Makes Chicago Public Relations Firms Unique?

Situated on the shores of Lake Michigan, Chicago has one of the most diversified economies in the world.

It plays a key role in various sectors, ranging from manufacturing and healthcare to finance, technology and food processing.

The metropolitan area of Chicago has over 9.9 million people. It generated a GDP of $611 billion in 2018, making it the third-largest urban area by GDP in the US.

With a history of futures trading dating back to 1848, Chicago is one of the world’s leading financial hubs.

That’s why the state of Illinois is home to several Fortune 500 major corporations, including Boeing, Caterpillar, McDonald’s or Allstate.

The urban center is also a hub for culture and education, with top higher learning institutions and a myriad of theatres, museums or music venues.

Not to mention Chicago’s love for sports. It’s one of the best sports cities in the States.

This makes Chicago a global city in its own right and it’s hardly surprising that PR specialists deal with some of the most influential and rigorous clients in the market.

Plus, the city ranks twelfth in the cost of living index, higher than Los Angeles, Miami or San Diego.

The high cost of living and the high degree of competition in the industry create a business environment full of zeal and ambition for public relations firms in the city of Chicago.

How Big Is The Chicago PR Talent Pool?

In 2019, 244,730 people were working in the public relations sector in the US. With 6,810 PR specialists, Chicago is the fifth city by employment level.

The public relations industry is foreseen to grow faster than average, 7% from 2019 to 2029, as reported by the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In the context of the current COVID-19 crisis, companies need more than ever to communicate effectively across all levels - from customers and employees to stakeholders.

This is where PR experts step in. By creating comprehensive strategies, they deliver key messages to help businesses maintain an active, engaging and value-adding public image.

Moreover, the field of public relations is constantly evolving and a growing number of communication tools are required to produce results, such as social media or marketing tools.

Given the integration of marketing, social media or advertising in successful PR campaigns, the PR talent pool will surely expand.

Chicago public relation firms – employment of PR specialists

What Differentiates Chicago Public Relations Agencies From The Rest Of The World?

Let’s look at some key ingredients that differentiate PR firms in Chicago from the rest of the world:

  • Diverse talent pool: A major hub for culture, education or finance, Chicago is an enticing destination for top-notch talent from around the nation as well as the world. The high level of talent and competition means that PR firms have some of the most determined and qualified specialists.
  • Strong portfolios: Operating in such an economically diverse environment, PR specialists in Chicago have worked for some of the most demanding clients on the market. Thus, they have built robust portfolios that showcase experience in a variety of different sectors.
  • Local market know-how: Serving the local industries, Chicago PR agencies have gained deep understanding of the local market. They can create insightful communications strategies to outperform your competitors.

What Does A Chicago Public Relations Firm Specialize In?

Compared to other PR agencies in the US, Chicago public relations firms tend to be qualified in developing media relations for the locally prominent industries.

The leading sectors in Chicago are:

  • Finance
  • Healthcare
  • Food
  • Transportation
  • Manufacturing
  • And more

Chicago PR firms use a variety of communication tools such as press releases, blogging, social media marketing, newsletters and more to expand a brand’s voice.

These are the services they typically specialize in:

  • Media relations
  • Crisis and issues management
  • Reputation management
  • Public affairs
  • Content marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Events marketing
  • Influencer marketing
  • And more

What Are The Different Types Of Chicago PR Firms?

PR agencies in Chicago can be classified into a few categories, depending on the industry they serve or the services they provide.

  • International: These comprise big teams of PR specialists with media industry connections and access to various tools. They have the resources to help large companies expand their brand voice throughout all media channels and fortify their credibility and public image.
  • Boutique: These agencies incorporate smaller staff but are more client-centered, being able to provide more tailored services to clients.
  • Specialized: These are PR firms that specialize in specific industries, such as finance or healthcare, or a particular PR element, like public affairs or crisis management.
  • Traditional: These agencies are specialized in getting media coverage on TV, radio, newspapers or magazines. This is their main focus and rarely offer other types of digital services.

How Much Do Chicago Public Relations Agencies Charge?

Most Chicago public relations agencies charge between $150 and $199 per hour for their services. You can also find smaller firms that have a typical hourly rate of $100.

The fee for projects ranges between $5,000 and $10,000, with a few PR firms that engage in projects valued at $1,000.

Considering the high competition in the industry and the high level of talent, the pricing is more expensive than in other US cities.

view of the city Chicago
Chicago is the third-largest urban area by GDP in the U.S.

Why Hire A Chicago PR Firm?

Being in the top five US cities with the highest employment level in the public relations industry, PR agencies based in Chicago are bound to provide quality services.

Here are the key reasons why you should hire a Chicago PR firm:

  • Access to high-level talent: Chicago is home to world-renowned higher education institutions, attracting top-tier talent from across the world. This results in a highly-skilled talent pool that can provide internationally competitive services.
  • Media industry connections: Having such a robust economy serving many different sectors, Chicago public relations agencies have established vast connections in the media landscape, being able to reach key media outlets when necessary.
  • Industry expertise: Being exposed to the local industries, PR agencies in Chicago are better equipped in developing communications strategies for clients within the dominant sectors. They have the knowledge and tools to help you reach audiences within your niche.
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How To Choose The Best Chicago Public Relations Firm

Selecting the best Chicago public relations firm might not be such an easy task.

Take these aspects into consideration before hiring a Chicago PR firm:

  • Industry experience: Choosing an agency with experience in your niche will ensure a successful PR campaign. These specialists know the industry landscape, the key players, the competitors and the media outlets that will extend your reach.
  • Network of contacts: Given that the role of a PR agency is to increase media coverage and build digital relationships, how broad is their network of contacts is decisive in choosing an agency.
  • Reviews: By going through the reviews, you will pick up an agency’s client references that can prove to be extremely helpful in choosing a PR firm over another.
  • Talent: The best Chicago public relations firms hire only top-level professionals. That means that experts will handle your campaigns and you will be able to maximize your PR efforts.
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10 Questions To Ask When Hiring A Chicago Public Relations Firm

Before you decide to hire a Chicago public relations firm, note to address them these following questions:

  1. Do you have experience in our industry? Have you worked on PR campaigns similar to ours?
  2. What type of services do you provide?
  3. How do you evaluate the success of your PR efforts?
  4. Which media outlets do you think are relevant to our niche?
  5. Who from your team will be managing our project? Is there a leading PR manager?
  6. What can you tell me about the most successful campaign you have ever worked on? How did you manage to achieve those goals?
  7. How frequently can we expect updates on your progress?
  8. Do you outsource other services such as SEO or PPC?
  9. How much time will you dedicate to working on our account?
  10. How are you different from other PR agencies, what sets you apart from your competitors?

Takeaways On Chicago Public Relations Firms

Chicago is one of the most economically powerful cities in the US, attracting the best PR experts in the country.

What distinguishes Chicago public relations agencies from their counterparts in other parts of the US are these key factors:

  • High-level talent pool
  • Vast connections
  • Industry expertise

They are more experienced in establishing media relations for the local sectors: finance, manufacturing, healthcare.

Most PR agencies in Chicago charge between $150 and $199 per hour.


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