When you’re looking to hire a public relations agency or marketing communications firm –it’s important to ask the right questions. Otherwise, you might find yourself contracting with an agency that may be entirely competent, but isn’t a good fit with your company in terms of culture, vision or scope. The three key questions we’ve given here are by no means comprehensive – and some questions will, of course, be unique to your business – but these should form a solid starting point for ensuring you hire the public relations agency that’s right for you.
- Do you have prior experience in our industry? While a lack of experience in your specific field needn’t necessarily be a deal-breaker, it does mean there will be a learning curve while the marketing communications firm gets up to speed with your company’s offerings, competitors in the same sector, and so on. A public relations agency with a proven track record in your industry will have an obvious advantage, but ask for details of the companies they have worked with, and examples of their successes.
- How much interaction and involvement will we have? The best PR firms are flexible in how they deal with clients, but some may be highly interactive with their customers in planning and executing marketing efforts, while others expect to take more of a lead in strategizing, planning and execution. Make sure any public relations agency you engage with offers a working relationship that fits with your expectations and preferred strategic approach.
- How much will we need to spend? Any good marketing communications firm should offer clear and transparent pricing, and ideally should offer services at a variety of price points to suit a range of budgets. Some may offer bundled services, while others will allow you to mix and match the specific PR services your business needs. Effective PR support won’t always be cheap, but remember that it is an investment: a good public relations agency will build your brand in ways that can pay for that investment many times over.