Here’s a couple of things you need to know
If you’re looking to get into bed with a public relations firm, chances are that you are thinking about taking your company’s brand or image to the next level. Make no mistake while these firms may do a “good job” what you are paying them for is access to the relationships they have with their various industry contacts. These partners are essentially the ones who will be presenting or hyping your company to the desired audience. But, not all PR firms are created equally. How do you know which one is the right fit for you? Or even if you need one.
The first and most crucial step is to be honest with yourself and determine if you have come to the point where you absolutely need to hire a PR firm to reach that next step in getting your brand out there. Make sure that you have your house in order before you even pick up the phone or fire off that email to begin discussions with a public relations team. Assuming that the goal of hiring a PR team is to increase sales, leads or conversions, be sure to first have a solid product or service that has been reviewed and had the majority of the kinks ironed out. Optimize your website to cater to all the leads that your PR firm will eventually send your way. Make sure to have a boat load of PR-friendly content that the firm can use in their campaigns. Finally, there’s the money to think about. Will you budget even be able to accommodate hiring a PR firm and run their suggested campaigns?
Doing your homework on the agency itself is essential to success. PR firms usually specialize in an industry or field of interest, so choose which agency you go with. There does not exist a single person in this world that is perfect at everything and it goes likewise when it comes to PR firms. If you encounter a public relations “expert” that claims to be able to do anything that gets thrown on their plate, run away and fast.
Get to know the team that you will be working with on a daily basis. Ask the firm to outline how your account will be handled in terms of continuity. Are they giving you veterans to deal with? Or are they using your account to train talent within their company? These are valid questions and concerns that you are entitled to ask.
Employee or team size matters…and it doesn’t. On one hand a large company or firm usually means that there are redundancies in place and if your usual rep or team is unavailable then you can be helped by another member of the company. However, larger companies are usually more expensive, and there is a bit of a worry that your account can get lost in the shuffle of all the other accounts they handle. Smaller firms usually give you a better one-on-one experience in which you can be sure that your wants are heard and needs are met. But, if your rep goes missing in the one-man PR firm then you are hooped. Weigh your options and see which one goes best with your current situation.