If you're a business owner, you know that choosing the right public relations agency is one of the most important decisions you'll make.
PR agencies help you navigate the ever-changing media landscape and communicate your brand's message to the world.
However, there are so many PR agencies out there that it can get overwhelming to look for the right one.
Sure, you can do your research and read reviews, but there are other ways if you think out of the box.
Here's how to choose a PR agency using unconventional tips that may help you unexpectedly land the right firm for your biz.
Table of Contents
- Don't Go with the First Agency You Talked To
- Expensive Rates Don't Equate to Success
- Big Firms are Not Always the Right One
- Ask Where You Fall in their Client Roster
- Lastly, Don't Be Afraid to Fire a PR Agency
- What Does a Public Relations Agency Do?
- 8 Questions to Ask Potential PR Agencies
- How to Measure the Success of a PR Agency
- How to Choose a PR Agency: Final Thoughts
Don't Go with the First Agency You Talked To
If you're rushing to hire a PR agency and go with the first one you talk to, you might miss out on some key points.
PR firms are in high demand, and you’ll likely get a few recommendations from different agencies.
If you go with the first one you talk to, you might miss out on some crucial information that could make or break your campaign.
Talking with a few agencies can give you a better feel for how they operate and what they can offer your business.
It's vital to take the time to research several agencies and compare them against each other in terms of their services, cost, and overall success rate.
Researching multiple PR agencies will help you narrow your options and make an informed decision.
Take the time to talk to multiple representatives from different firms, read reviews and case studies, and get referrals from other businesses that have used the agency in the past.
Expensive Rates Don't Equate to Success
Some business owners look at the cost of a PR campaign and think that the more money you spend, the better the results will be.
While that may be true for some things, it’s not always the case when it comes to hiring a PR firm.
If you go with a firm that charges more than you can afford, you might regret it when they don’t get results.
It’s not always about how much you pay for PR. It’s about finding a firm that’s a good fit for your brand, and that you can work with long-term.
Many agencies may have different approaches and strategies for getting the results you are looking for. So, feel free to look beyond an agency's prices when deciding.
A firm that charges less may be able to get results just as well as a firm that charges more. It's all about how they go about doing the campaign.
If you find a firm that charges less but they have a history of success, it might be a better fit for your business.
Big Firms are Not Always the Right One
When choosing a PR agency, it can be easy to think that bigger is better. After all, big PR firms have the money and resources to reach more people and to get their messages heard.
Just because a PR firm is a big name doesn't mean they're the right firm for you. Some of the biggest firms might not fit your business best.
Big firms tend to prioritize larger, more established clients over smaller startups and new businesses.
If you're a startup owner, you may get a different level of attention from a big firm than a smaller one.
On the other hand, smaller PR firms are more likely to invest in your business's success and take the time to understand your goals and objectives.
Ask Where You Fall in their Client Roster
When talking to agencies, you want to see where you fall in their client roster.
If they don't have any clients in your industry, or they don't have any clients at all, that could be a red flag. But if the firm you're looking at has clients similar to yours, that could be a good fit.
Are you the firm's priority? Or do they have more prominent clients that they'll focus on?
It's essential to find out if the firm can provide you with the same level of attention and dedication that other clients receive.
Look for a firm with a dedicated team and team members who specialize in working with startups to get the best possible results from your campaign and ensure that your PR goals are timely and cost-effective.
Also, ask about the agency's policy when addressing challenges and issues.
Find out how quickly the agency responds to customer concerns and how accessible they are to their clients to give you an idea of how invested they are in helping you succeed.
Lastly, Don't Be Afraid to Fire a PR Agency
PR is a long-term process; sometimes things don't go your way.
You might hire a firm, and they might not be a good fit for your brand. Or they might not be able to meet your goals. That's okay.
It's better to fire a PR agency than to be stuck with one that isn't doing what you need them to do. Firing PR firms is typical and happens all the time.
PR firms might not be a good fit for your company, or you might not be a good fit for a firm.
Being able to part ways with an agency is a solution if things aren't working out. You're in charge of your campaign, and you have the power to make changes when needed.
What Does a Public Relations Agency Do?
The role of a public relations agency is to help clients build, maintain, and protect their reputations.
A PR agency may handle a variety of tasks, including:
- Reputation Management: A PR firm can help manage the reputation of its clients by allowing them to identify potential risks or problems before they arise and respond quickly if any damage does occur. They can also guide how to create positive messages and shape public opinion to benefit the client.
- Media Training and Media Relations: A public relations agency can help to train employees on how to interact with the media. They can also handle any media requests or inquiries for the client, ensuring that all information is accurate and presented in the best light possible.
- Internal Copywriting: A PR firm can assist in creating internal copy for a variety of purposes, such as newsletters, brochures, speeches, and other materials used within the company. They may also help write blog posts or other web content.
- Press Releases: A PR agency can craft press releases to inform the media about new products, services, or events related to the client. These releases should be concise and include accurate information.
- Event Planning: A PR agency can assist in planning events either organized by the client or related to the client's industry. They can help arrange the event's catering, logistics, and media coverage.
- Social Media: A public relations firm can help create a social media presence for its clients and manage it daily. They can also develop strategies for promoting their clients on social media platforms.
- Crisis Management: In the event of a crisis or an unexpected issue, a PR agency can help to mitigate the damage by developing a PR strategy for dealing with the situation and communicating with the public.
- Outreach: A PR firm may reach out to potential partners or stakeholders to create mutually beneficial relationships that can help both parties in the long run.
- Market Research: A public relations agency can analyze market trends and customer feedback to gain insight into the needs of its clients’ target audience. This data can then be used to create effective campaigns that reach the right people.
8 Questions to Ask Potential PR Agencies
When interviewing potential PR agencies, you should ask about their process, what they have done for other clients, and how they will help your business.
These are some questions to get you started:
- What is your process for building a PR campaign for our company? For PR agencies, creating a campaign and crafting messages for journalists will vary, but finding a PR agency with a process that works for your brand is crucial.
- What have you done for other clients like us? PR agencies will likely have a variety of clients, but you should still ask about other clients in your industry to get an idea of how the agency works.
- How will you help drive revenue and grow our company's brand? PR agencies should have a clear strategy for how they will help your business grow, either through increasing leads or increasing sales.
- How many clients do you currently serve? If there's more than one client, how do these two clients compare in size and work?
- How do you choose which clients to represent? Does the company take on new clients based on its mission statement, or do they approach potential clients with a specific agenda?
- What strategies will you use to reach our target audience? Your PR agency should be able to provide insights into how they plan to engage your target audience. Ask them to explain the strategies they will use to maximize the reach of your message and ensure it resonates with your target market.
- How much input do we need to give? Knowing how much information your business needs to provide can help ensure that you're a good fit for each other. Ask them about the level of involvement that's expected from your business and make sure it works for you.
- Which results can we expect? Have realistic expectations of which results you can expect from a PR campaign. Ask the potential agency to provide case studies of similar campaigns they have undertaken and what results they achieved.
How to Measure the Success of a PR Agency
A PR agency should have a clear goal for your partnership, and you should be able to track progress along the way.
When assessing PR agencies, look at the following metrics to determine how successful they are and if they are a good fit for your business.
- Media Coverage: A successful PR agency can get your business's story out in the media. Keep track of the number and types of media outlets that have covered your story and the amount of exposure it got.
- Website Traffic: Website traffic is an excellent measure of a PR campaign's success. Check to see if the campaign has increased website visits and how long visitors stay on the site.
- Social Media Engagement: A successful PR campaign can result in more followers, likes, and engagement on social media platforms. Take a look at your company’s social media accounts before and after a campaign to measure the impact.
- Lead Generation: PR campaigns can help generate new leads for your business. Track how many leads a particular campaign has generated and converted.
- Brand Awareness: See if customers are talking about your brand online or if there's been an uptick in search engine visibility or brand mentions after a publicity campaign
How to Choose a PR Agency: Final Thoughts
While there are many different options to choose from when choosing a PR agency, remember that not all agencies are created equal. And not all usual PR-hunting strategies work.
If that's the case, consider these unpopular tips, and you may find yourself working with the PR agency that best suits you.