Public Relations RFP: How to Find the Right Agency for Your PR Efforts [+ Free Template]

Public Relations RFP: How to Find the Right Agency for Your PR Efforts [+ Free Template]
Article by DesignRush DesignRush
Last Updated: November 14, 2022

A public relations campaign is 90% more successful in influencing consumers than advertising.

Simply put, a well-thought-out PR strategy does more for your business than “just” maintaining your good image. It boosts sales.

To secure the services of a top-quality PR agency for your business, you need to know how to write an effective public relations procurement document.

This article discusses the essential elements of a public relations RFP and information on how to write one for your company.

You can also use the provided PR agency RFP template and customize it to your company’s needs and branding.

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What is a Public Relations RFP?

A public relations request for proposal (RFP) is an official document that a procuring company creates to find the PR vendor who can meet their specific project requirements and business objectives.

It covers every aspect of an upcoming PR project, including specific requests, timelines and deliverables, contact information, and more (you will find the essential components of RFP for PR, including the template below).

Potential PR service providers can then submit bids and offerings in response to the RFP. The procuring company can objectively examine and evaluate each agency's capabilities and expertise based on their responses concerning the project's requirements.

What Elements Should You Include in Your PR RFP?

An effective PR RFP that produces timely and appropriate proposals begins with providing a coherent, concise, and understandable summary of your public relations project and needs.

Following these critical steps for writing your proposal for PR services will result in a successful outcome, namely, finding the best agency for your company.

1. Provide Company Information and a Project Overview

Give a brief description of your entire company. Consider the following:

  • Brief company history
  • Mission and values
  • Location
  • Products/services
  • List of competitors by market and vertical
  • Current business value
  • The size of your business/number of employees
  • Primary stakeholders
  • Website and social media platform links
  • and much more

In this first section, combine your company information with a high-level overview of your PR project.

2. Project, Audience and Competitors

Describe the specific project objectives and list the short-term and long-term goals you hope to achieve with your PR in the project overview. These goals should be consistent with your overall business expansion strategy.

You should also include information about your target audience and their general characteristics in this section, such as:

  • Demographic info (gender, age, location, income, etc.)
  • Psychographic details (expectations, pain points, online behavior, etc.)
  • Ideal customer persona

It is also where you can introduce your competitors - who they are, their strengths and weaknesses, their market share, PR campaigns and so on.

3. Determine your KPIs and Targets

Set your KPIs and communicate them in your RFP so potential vendors know exactly what they should aim for with their solutions.

Defining concrete PR goals and measurable KPIs in a PR campaign cannot be overstated. These should align with your business goals, so try to emphasize this connection when defining your targets in the RFP.

Make your objectives SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Invest in resources to ensure that project goals and outcomes are well-defined and not unrealistic or unattainable.

4. Communicate Your Budget

Sharing your budget constraints and availability will allow you to evaluate better the RFP responses submitted by various vendors. Transparency can help them provide realistic outlines of what they can accomplish with your budget.

5. Specify Timelines and Deadlines

One of the most important aspects of a solid RFP PR document is communicating the overall project deadline and specific timelines for each process stage.

Dates and deadlines may include:

  • The date on which the RFP document was distributed to potential vendors
  • The time frame in which you will accept RFP responses
  • The deadline for shortlisting the most qualified agencies
  • The date by which you contact the winning vendor
  • The project's start date for PR project
  • Specific milestone dates for various aspects of the project

It is critical to indicate when you expect certain events to occur and deliverables to be submitted so that vendors can plan their responses.

6. RFP Selection Criteria

It can be very beneficial for potential service providers to find information about RFP distribution in your request for proposal document.

You can include information about the number of vendors you have contacted. When vendors have this information, they know who they are competing against, which helps them formulate their RFP responses.

It is also a good idea to inform them about your selection process and criteria. You can, for example, use a point-based system to assign points to relevant experience, track record, cost of services, cultural fit, skills, and other factors.

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PR Agency RFP Template

The public relations RFP template helps create your request for proposal from scratch because it already contains all the essential fields and questions that just need filling out by the agency.

You can also download your copy of a free PR RFP template to the right on this page.

Here is an example of what a well-rounded RFP template for public relations should contain:

COMPANY PROFILE

Introduce your company and give a brief background on your business type, market, competitors, key areas of expertise and unique value proposition.

•Industry:

•Mission statement and vision:

•Products/Services:

•Target audience/customer types:

•Main drivers for PR needs:

PURPOSE

This Request for Proposal (RFP) aims to identify the appropriate agency to support [company’s] strategic global communications, media relations, and public relations priorities.

[provide more info on the desired outcome of the PR campaign and any kind of valuable knowledge for a prospective PR agency]

PROJECT NAME & BRIEF

Deliver an overview of your current PR efforts, why you are looking to boost your public relations image, what you hope to gain from it and your ideal project timeline.

The selected agency’s responsibilities will include the below objectives:

• Tell the story of the company’s marketing and strategies, PR programs, successes and opportunities to media across the country and around the globe.

• Ensure awareness, understanding, and support of our work with the general public.

• Build engagement, trust, and advocacy through strategic communications.

• Enhance the credibility of the organization

• Identify industry trends to help shape our messaging.

• Etc

SCOPE OF WORK, SPECIFICATIONS & REQUIREMENTS

[List the categories that represent core responsibilities of the Agency in support of your company’s mission and annual business plan)

For example:

1. Media & Public Relations Services

2. Crisis & Issues Support

3. Media Training

4. Account Administration & Overhead

PROJECT CHALLENGES

Define what challenges your business currently faces that this project will solve. Be as broad or as concise as needed.

PROJECT GOALS

Determine the short-term and long-term goals (SMART - specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-sensitive) you wish to achieve with your public relations efforts.

Primary objectives:

[Goal 1]

[Goal 2]

etc.

Secondary objectives:

[Goal 1]

[Goal 2]

etc.

CANDIDATE QUALIFICATIONS

All bidding vendors must [list the criteria that must be met for a proposal to be considered, for example, their experience and client case studies, team size info, organizational charts, etc.]

1. Provide a resume or online portfolio for each individual assigned to provide the services and designate the individual who would be primarily responsible for overseeing the services.

2. Work Examples: Describe relevant past projects and examples of prior work.

3. References: Provide 2-4 client references, including a short project description and contact information.

PROPOSAL GUIDELINES

All bidding vendors must [list the requirements that each proposal must address, such as budget, timelines, and submission due date

PROJECT TIMELINES

[Outline information about the RFP process's timeline and the project itself— deadlines, milestones, and potential roadblocks.]

BUDGET

Specify the budget you have allocated for this project. Also, have the proposer submit an appropriate and realistic budget.

SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS

List other documents agencies and service providers should submit along with their applications. If you have additional questions you'd like them to answer, list them here.

SELECTION CRITERIA

The company will review submitted proposals for qualifications. The choice for a contract will be made based on the following criteria:

  • 1. Expertise and experience of the agency in our niche
  • 2. Quality of PR campaigns done in the past
  • 3. Range of services
  • 4. Cost

RFP DEADLINE

RFP Sent Date:

Proposals Due Date:

Winner Selected By Date:

Public Relations RFP Takeaways

A public relations RFP can help you collect valuable responses from different vendors. It also allows you objectively choose the provider that best fits your PR goals.

This RFP checklist can be reproduced for essentially any other desired service or industry, such as:

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