Questions to ask a PR agency:
Choosing the wrong PR agency could be very costly, not only for your cashflow but for your reputation.
It depresses us when we meet businesses who claim to have ‘tried’ PR, when in fact what they have done is been taken for a ride by an outfit who promised the world, took a fat monthly retainer and delivered nitch.
As with anything, if it seems to good to be true, then it most probably is. So when choosing a PR agency there are some fundamental questions you need ask any PR agency you are considering working with.
Here are 10 questions to ask a PR Agency before engaging their services:
- How do you measure results?
Their answer should relate to sales for your business, traffic to your website and social media interaction, views of blogs and also the amount of media coverage they gain for you.
- How do you stay on top of current events and trends?
This helps you gauge whether or not an agency is growing and adapting or is just sticking to the tried and trusted traditional approach. Are they actively researching and uncovering new ways to add value to your business?
- What will you need from our team?
This ties into things such as, will we need to create content or connect your agency with an expert from our team or will you manage those things? How often will our business need to be available for meetings or interviews?
- How often should I expect to see media coverage?
This is a HUGE question. You can’t leave the answer up to interpretation. Even though an agency may not give you an exact number of times you will be covered by the media on a monthly basis (this isn’t advertising), they should be able to at least provide you with a range. It is absolutely and unapologetically unacceptable to pay a monthly retainer without receiving monthly coverage.
- How do you integrate media relations with other communication?
This will tell them that you are aware of the need to incorporate marketing mediums and that you expect to be kept “in the loop”. This is also a great time to discuss how the agency communicates media coverage to you and your team so it can be used again by yourself on your on marketing and social media channels.
- How else can you help our business?
This is a great tag-on to the above question. Yes, you’re coming to this agency for public and media relations, but it is more than likely that they are successful in other areas, such as blogging or social media.
- Why should we choose you?
This may seem like a stupid question and a bit of a no-brainer initially, but this question can help you get a grasp of what differentiates a particular agency from another and how they answer the question.
- Will we be expected to pay additional fees?
This question must be answered and set in stone. PR Agencies usually work on a monthly retainer basis, so it is paramount that you establish whether you will be paying out additional fees for each piece of coverage or press conference they arrange. If you have to pay a fee for an interview or feature, that coverage is not PR … it’s advertising.
- Do you have contacts within our industry?
If the answer is yes, ask to see the coverage the agency has secured within your industry. If the answer is no, ask how and who they are planning to contact. If they are on the ball and have done their research they will have a comprehensive list ready for you.
- Do you have client experience within our industry?
Choosing a PR agency that has had other clients within your industry is a major plus. That said, some clients see others in the same industry as competitors. To avoid a conflict of interest, find similar industries where the agency has experience.
These questions aren’t the be all and end all but they are the main ones that should be asked before parting with any money and making a HUGE decision which could ultimately make or break your business.