How To Hire a PR Agency: The Ultimate Guide to Hiring the Right Firm Among 55,000 Agencies

How To Hire a PR Agency: The Ultimate Guide to Hiring the Right Firm Among 55,000 Agencies
Article by DesignRush DesignRush
Last Updated: November 18, 2022

In 2021, the global PR market was worth $92.55 billion. By 2022, it grew to $100.73 billion and is expected to reach $127.47 billion in 2026. 

Interestingly enough, it’s often underrated.

How to hire a PR agency comes second to why you need to hire one. 

The truth is, while you can manage your own social media, take care of internal business operations, or be in charge of budgeting, coming up with a public relations strategy is not that easy if you’re not a professional. 

Sure, you can try and learn the tricks of the trade and run a PR campaign on your own, but PR is one of the 10 most stressful jobs. 

Why put yourself through torture when 60.05% of online companies outsourced their digital PR efforts in 2021 and 2022? 

Do what you do best, and leave the PR to the professionals—we can help you find them!

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What is PR? 

Before you start shopping for a PR agency, there are a few things you need to know. 

First, what exactly is public relations? 

The PR field is often misunderstood and underrated. 

Some people think of it as a glorified form of marketing, while others see it as nothing more than media relations. We compared PR vs. marketing and discovered there’s so much more to PR than mere marketing. 

Saying it only tends to media relations would be the understatement of the year. It’s not just about getting press coverage, either.

While media relations and press coverage are two aspects of PR, many other things fall under the PR umbrella, including crisis communications, event planning, and community outreach.

That’s why 73% of PR professionals don’t think the term public relations does justice to their profession and they expect it to be redefined.  

PR is the strategic process of managing communication between an organization and its various publics. 

In other words, it's the art of managing how people perceive your business. 

It is a complex and ever-evolving field that encompasses many services.

Types of PR Services 

There are many different types of public relations services available to businesses and organizations. 

The most common type is media relations, which involves working with the press to get coverage for your company or cause. 

Another popular type of service is community relations. It entails working with local groups and organizations to build support for your company or cause. 

Positioning services help shape the way the public perceives your company or cause, and crisis management strategies protect your reputation in the event of a negative event. 

A PR team can also be in charge of carrying out strategic communications, sending out messages on behalf of the company. 

Although social media most often falls into the marketing category, these platforms are about communication, building brand awareness, reaching new audiences, engaging with consumers—they’re used to secure as many eyeballs as possible. As such, it’s only logical to attribute these functions to PR so that we can talk about social media communications as a type of PR service too. 

Aside from maintaining external, PR is widely used to boost internal communications as well, making the staff feel valued, appreciated, and understood. As a matter of fact, some argue that PR matters more internally than externally. 

No matter what type of public relations services you need, there is sure to be a firm that can help you achieve your goals, and we can assist you in finding it. 

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Things You Should Know Before Hiring a PR Agency 

A great public relations firm understands that every client is different, so they'll tailor their service delivery according to your needs. 

Some companies may need basic assistance with online marketing campaigns, while others may need more extensive social media management or crisis communications advice to respond quickly when something goes wrong.

A good PR firm will always have an eye on the big picture: how can we help our client grow its business?

But it also pays attention to detail: are we sending out enough press releases? Is there any way we could write better copy for our newsletters and blogs?

But, to find such a PR agency, there are several things you need to know: 

Not All PR Agencies Are Created Equal

There are many different PR agencies out there. Some specialize in a certain type of PR, such as fashion PR or tech PR while others may have a more general focus. 

It's important to find an agency that specializes in the type of PR that you need.

You Get What You Pay For

PR is not a cheap service. The average PR cost is between $3,000-$5,000 per month. However, if you don’t need a PR team full-time and long-term, the cost of PR runs at about $1,000 per project. 

You get what you pay for, so be prepared to cough up a couple of dollars more if you need an all-around solution. The sooner you understand your budget depends on your needs and not the other way around, the easier it will be for you to find the right match. 

Experience Matters

When it comes to choosing a PR agency, experience matters. You want to find an agency that has been in business for a while and has a proven track record of success.

Look for a firm that has experience with the media you want to reach or an understanding of your industry.

The easiest way to determine if an agency is experienced is to check how flexible it is. A flexible PR firm will be able to meet your needs, even if they haven’t worked with you before or your project expectations keep changing due to the nature of your business. 

Results Take Time

PR is not a quick fix, and results usually take time to achieve. 

A good PR agency will be upfront about this and will set realistic expectations from the outset.

However, the relationship between an agency and its client is a two-way street, so make sure you're open to feedback and willing to work together toward a common goal. 

It’s the only way to get results faster. And it won’t hurt to have a mutual understanding if there are delays on your or the agency’s side.

The Ultimate Guide to Hiring a PR Agency 

If you don’t know how to go about hiring a PR agency, follow these steps:

Step #1: Do Your Research

With 54,581 PR firms in the US as of 2022, it’s easy to stray away from the right one. 

That’s why research is non-negotiable. 

You can read online reviews, talk to other businesses in your industry, and get referrals from people you trust.

Step #2: Consider Your Needs

Think about what kind of help you need from a PR agency. 

Do you need assistance with media relations? Social media? Event planning? 

Make a list of your expectations so you can find an agency that specializes in those areas.

Step #3: Ask for Proposals

Once you've narrowed down your options, contact the agencies you're interested in and ask them for proposals. 

It’s your chance to see what each agency would do for your business and how much they would charge.

Step #4: Meet With the Agencies

After you've received the proposals, schedule meetings with the agencies so you can get to know them better. 

This is also an opportunity for them to learn more about your business and what you're looking for in a PR agency.

Step #5: Check References

Before making your final decision, be sure to check references for each of the agencies you're considering. 

Since agencies can easily manipulate the information they provide online,  having someone tell you more about their past work can reassure you whether or not they're reputable.

Step #6: Sign a Contract

Once you've decided on an agency, be sure to sign a contract before work begins. 

This will protect both parties and ensure everyone is clear on the scope of work and the expectations for the project.

Tips for Hiring a PR Agency & Successful Collaboration 

As a client, you'll need to be patient and understand that it takes time for PR to work. 

You have to be involved in the process and make sure your needs are met. The agency will take care of the heavy lifting, but you still need to be part of this process if you want results from your investment.

Follow these tips to hire and collaborate successfully: 

Make Yourself Available

PR is not a hands-off process, and you'll need to be involved for it to be successful. 

This means being available to answer questions, provide information, and give feedback when necessary.

But, not before you have a clear understanding of your goals. 

What are you trying to achieve? 

Do you want to increase brand awareness? Drive sales? Generate positive media coverage? 

If you know what you want to accomplish, you can easily give directions to your PR agent. 

Assure them there’s no such thing as a stupid question and encourage them to come to you if they need help. After all, they’re representing you! 

Understand There Will Be Ups and Downs

PR is not always smooth sailing, and there will be ups and downs along the way. Have realistic expectations and be prepared for the occasional bump in the road.

As long as you trust your PR agency, you can overcome any challenges. 

This is a partnership, and you should feel comfortable working with your agency and believe in their ability to achieve results. 

Set Milestones

Set milestones with your agency at the beginning of the project to measure the success of your PR campaign. 

These could include increased media coverage, higher social media engagement, or more website traffic.

Evaluate Results Regularly

As the project progresses, take some time periodically to evaluate the results and see if the campaign is meeting its objectives. 

Generally, PR professionals track around five metrics, but if you feel they’re missing out on something, you can talk to your agency to make adjustments. 

How To Hire a PR Agency: Key Takeaways 

As a rule of thumb, try choosing an agency that really gets your company and understands your industry, its competitors, and the clients. 

A PR firm that knows what makes your product or service unique will know how to pitch it. They’ll also know how to protect and defend it if things don’t go according to plan. 

Make sure the PR team is on board with the goals of your business and you’re good to go! 

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