How To Hire a PR Agency

Public Relations
How To Hire a PR Agency
Article by Jelena Relić
Last Updated: October 29, 2023

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!

Things You Should Know Before Hiring a PR Agency 

  1. Not All PR Agencies Are Created Equal
  2. You Get What You Pay For
  3. Experience Matters
  4. Results Take Time

To find a good 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.

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How to Hire a PR Agency?

  1. Step #1: Do Your Research
  2. Step #2: Consider Your Needs
  3. Step #3: Ask for Proposals
  4. Step #4: Meet With the Agencies
  5. Step #5: Check References
  6. Step #6: Sign a Contract

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

Step #1: Do Your Research

With 57,416 PR firms in the US as of 2023, 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 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.

Get connected with the right public relations agency for your project.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a PR Agency?

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. 

The cost of hiring a PR agency can also vary significantly depending on the agency's reputation, size, location, scope of services, and the specific needs of your business. Plus, you can pick from different pricing models, such as:

  • Hourly Rates and the rates can vary based on the level of expertise of the team members involved in your project.
  • Monthly Retainers at a fixed monthly fee that covers a predetermined set of services and deliverables.
  • Project-Based Fees for specific, one-time projects or short-term campaigns.
  • Performance-Based Fees that are tied to specific performance metrics or outcomes, such as media coverage or increased brand visibility.

Tips for Hiring a PR Agency & Successful Collaboration 

  1. Make Yourself Available
  2. Understand There Will Be Ups and Downs
  3. Set Milestones
  4. Evaluate Results Regularly

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. 

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. 

How To Hire a PR Agency FAQs

1. How much should you pay a PR agency?

Generally, PR agency fees can range from a few thousand dollars per month for smaller firms to tens of thousands of dollars per month for larger, more established agencies with a broader reach. It's essential to assess your budget and PR requirements carefully and negotiate a fair price with the agency based on the services you need.

2. What are the benefits of hiring a PR agency?

Working with a PR agency helps elevate your brand's image, strengthen relationships with stakeholders, and drive business growth.

We’ll find qualified PR agencies for your project, for free.
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