Public relations (PR) can help you generate more traffic, improve your search engine rank and social reputation, enhance your reputation, increase the number of leads flowing to your business—and perhaps most importantly—raise awareness about who you are and what you do.
But public relations is not just an advertising channel or one-way messaging platform. It’s a conversation. That means it has to be handled with care. Before you choose a PR agency, make sure they are not only willing but able to establish open communication between themselves, your team, and you—the client. Also, prefer the experienced PR Agency that has good worked history.
When you’re looking for the right PR firm for your business, consider these key factors:
How long have they been in business? Do their clients seem happy with the work they do? How many employees does the agency or firm have, and how many clients do they represent? Do they work with similar companies as yours?
The answers to these questions will give you a clear picture of their reputation and standing in the industry.
You know your business better than anyone, so why should you have to do all of the legwork? A good PR agency will conduct thorough research on your business.
They should already know everything about your business before getting started. A PR firm that goes that extra mile and does research about your industry, your company, and competitors shows initiative and drive.
Conversely, if your PR company asks you for a list of competitors, it is an indication that they have not done any research whatsoever, thus making them less reliable.
How long has the firm or agency been in business? What types of clients and industries do they typically work with?
A PR agency specializing in luxury clothing brands probably wouldn’t be the best fit for a company that manufactures construction equipment.
There are many different types of PR—from digital PR and social media to public affairs and event management.
Some firms and agencies may specialize in one area, while others might rank higher on the expertise scale for a more significant number of specializations. You must pick the one specializing in the kind of PR you want, such as digital marketing, etc.
A good PR agency will be in constant communication with you. You should never have to wait for a call or email from them. They should also be interested in hearing your feedback at every stage of the process—from strategy development to content creation, media outreach, and more. And remember: You’re not hiring a PR company to be your friend. While it’s important you like and trust the people you work with, don’t mistake this for friendship. A good PR agency will ask impartial questions—and sometimes tough ones —to deliver the best possible results for your business.
The point of hiring a PR agency is to get the media and influencers talking about your business. That’s how you build brand awareness, gain more traffic, form relationships with potential customers, and so on. Without results, all of the time and money spent on PR will be for nothing.
When choosing a public relations firm or agency, make sure they can demonstrate how their work and services have helped other businesses like yours—and how they’ll be able to do the same for you.
PR is not an inexpensive process. It can, however, provide many benefits for your business if done correctly. You should never agree to hire a firm or agency without having clearly defined expectations and goals in place (i.e., number of articles expected, social media following targeted, etc.).
Before hiring a PR company or agency, be sure to establish a budget for the project. What is your maximum? Do you have a minimum? Will they be required to go above and beyond this based on achieved results or milestones met along the way?
Does the firm or agency you’re considering have an office near your business location(s)? If not, you’ll need to work out the logistics of communicating regularly. Partnering with a local PR firm can make it easier to discuss strategy and develop content, but this is the digital age, so these meetings and discussions can be conducted virtually too.
Finally, consider location when it comes to your target audience. Are you trying to reach a national or international audience? Then you might want to go with a firm or agency outside of your immediate area.
Choosing the right PR firm for your business is like finding a match made in heaven: You want someone that understands how to communicate and reach all of the right people who will be receptive to what you’re offering, but not just anyone —you want someone who can understand your business and can help you achieve your business goals.