What to Look for in a PR Firm
Public relations agencies can been seen with skepticism by companies who believe they can “do it all themselves.” But like any other business service, PR firms can decrease your own workload and improve your bottom line margins — while helping your business achieve its communications objectives. Finding the right fit for your business depends on your size, goals, budget and staffing.
Many people emphasize the expected ROI from hiring a PR firm. However, ROI is measured differently by each client and agency. If your company only uses online sales, then social media presence and online reputation management may be an important measurement. When considering different PR firms, make sure your business goals are clear, and that you have an understanding of how they will accomplish these goals.
During your interview with different agencies, ask for references. Or, before you reach out to different firms, search online for reviews and ratings. Your personal network may also be able to provide you with information on local PR firms and their past performance. Reputation and background are essential in finding the right match.
You want a PR firm that uses a multidimensional approach to their campaigns, and provides options. Their ideas should align with your vision. During your interview, if none of the strategies they suggest sound like a good fit, then you should probably keep looking.
Ask your candidates, “Who have you worked with that’s in my industry?” If a PR firm has had success with clients in the same industry as yours, they likely will have the same success with you. However, industry experience doesn’t necessarily mean the same success for your company. If the firm is not constantly trying new approaches, you may just receive a “one size fits all” campaign strategy that won’t help you reach your communications goals.
The PR firm you choose should also be the right size for your business. Hiring an agency that’s too small to make a substantial impact for your industry, or one that is too big for your budget, will leave you disappointed. In the initial interview, ask who will be working on your account. You want the person managing your communications to be an extension of your team.
Most importantly, ensure the PR firm you choose has honest values and promises to support your company in a responsible and ethical way. Their company values should align with yours. The team you hire should be honest, community-minded and treat your company as a top priority.
Tucker/Hall provides PR and communications strategy that is innovative, community-minded, and results-driven. To learn more about our firm, contact your local Tucker/Hall office.