Characteristics to Look for When Hiring a PR Agency
Hiring the right PR and marketing agency is an important decision. This relationship could mean success for your business, or it could leave results falling flat. Because all agencies are a little different, below is a quick guide highlighting some key characteristics to help you evaluate each agency and find the one that is right for you:
The right size
PR agencies come in varying sizes from single consultants to boutique firms and mega firms. Make sure you select the right size PR agency for your needs and company culture. With PR agencies, bigger doesn’t always mean better. Find an agency that has a dedicated team with the right skillset that can support your needs.
Senior-level leadership is involved
The size of the PR agency you choose might also determine how often senior-level leadership is involved in your business. Senior leadership will have a wealth of PR knowledge and will regularly be the source of nuanced strategy and tactics. Often your brand will get the most attention from senior leadership with a boutique firm, as the CEO or principles will be involved with clients on a regular basis.
Some agencies specialize in only certain verticals – such as technology, healthcare, education, etc. whereas other agencies might only focus on business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) audiences. While it might be tempting to seek out an agency with specific niche industry experience, it is important to ensure there is no conflict of interest between your brand and others they might serve. Finding agencies that have experience across verticals can bring unique perspectives as they evaluate trends in other spaces and evaluate how they can work for your industry.
Works well with your team
You and your employees are going to be working closely with your PR agency. Make sure that communication is easy and personalities click. This will ensure that everyone feels comfortable providing honest feedback and that you’ll all work together toward common goals.
Your PR agency should be responsive to requests. A good rule of thumb is that they respond within the same business day, or, if a request is sent at close of business, that they reply within the first half of the following day. You should also have regularly scheduled meetings so that you can bring up anything that needs attention directly with the team.
Unique strategies for your brand
Avoid firms that use a cookie cutter approach. You’ll want a team that dedicates time to a brand audit that will investigate your company, business goals, target audience and competitors, and then develops a strategy unique to your business. Selecting a PR agency is a partnership, and they should be just as excited about your brand as you are. That means creating a strategy that will only work for your business.
While it’s true that there might be some secret sauce when it comes to PR, your agency should let you in on the recipe. You should understand everything they are doing for your company and should get status updates with data and results analysis.
There should be no surprises when it comes to invoices. Cost can be a huge factor when selecting a PR agency, and you’ll want to make sure that your agency communicates costs clearly so that you can anticipate an accurate budget.
These are a few of the characteristics you should look for in a PR agency. The bottom line is that you are trusting the PR team with the success of your business, so you want to feel good about the relationship and know that the team is working hard to get your brand results.