Most entrepreneurs, authors, artists and businesses will need to go through the process of choosing a PR agency at some point. Whether it is for a one off blast of publicity for a new product or service launch or ongoing Public Relations to build the brand and keep on building.
So how do you go about choosing a PR Agency?
Choosing a PR Agency is a big decision and it shouldn’t be left to pulling a name from a hat or sticking a pin in the yellow pages.
- Research is an absolute must and you need to pick one that is right for you and your business. Like most people and companies PR Agencies tend to specialise in one area or genre; whether it be fashion, small businesses, music etc. There’s no point choosing a PR Agency that specialises in Fashion PR if you are selling Bird Food so do your research and check out their previous and current clients. If they are in the same industry as you then you are on the right track.
- Communication is another key factor when choosing a PR Agency. You need to be able to interact with and trust your account handler – if you can’t connect with someone at the very early stages then there really is no hope further along the line. Chemistry is important, as you need to trust that the PR agency and people working on your account know your market and your product or service.
- Objectives and Budget is necessary to discuss at the very beginning of any PR Agency contract. You need to specify what you are looking for and what you are looking to pay for their services. Outline clearly what you are looking for, set targets, and always, always ask if there are extra charges for specific pieces of press coverage, press conferences etc.
- Be realistic about your goals. Everyone would love to see their name in all of the national papers and glossy mags, but if this audience isn’t going to be ultimately buying your product or service, then you may need to change your initial plan.
Once you have chosen the agency you want to work with what can you expect from them? Marketing and PR are two separate entities so make sure you know what to expect.
- A PR agency will already have an established network of media contacts that can hopefully guarantee some coverage, where, unless you come from a journalistic background, it will be much, much tougher to get the same attention yourself.
- They also know how to pull stories out of new launches to excite the press.
- PR is the most effective way of drawing people to your business and getting your brand out there.
- A PR Agency will be able to write a press release or article which will grab the attention of Journalists and Editors.
Once you have chosen your agency you need to be able to let go and trust their instincts. You will get far more from them if you listen to their advice and proposals for your campaign, especially as they will have significantly more experience working with the press. If you don’t trust that they know what they are doing, it begs the question, why did you hire them?