12/03/15

6 Steps Toward Finding the Right PR Agency for Your Company

Melanie Murphy

Melanie Murphy

With her media-savvy, top-notch client relations skills, and stellar writing, Melanie is DLC’s ace pinch hitter. She knows how to successfully blend traditional public relations techniques the latest social media strategies, influencer engagement and creative campaigns. With a background in healthcare PR, Melanie also thrives […]

Read Melanie Murphy's Bio

If you are seeking a PR agency to represent your company, you probably already know that they aren’t all created equal. This does not mean that there is a secret formula to identifying bad PR firms from the good ones; rather, there are specific questions that you should ask yourself – and any prospective agency – to ensure you find the right firm for your company. Choosing one is much like finding a shoe in your size, in the style you like for the right occasion or use: it needs to fit all of your company’s unique criteria.

Being on the PR-side of this PR discussion, we understand the importance of asking – and being asked – the right questions. After all, we would also prefer to find a client that fits our criteria too! Some agencies may promise you the moon and the stars, which can sound really exciting. But perhaps that’s not what you need; maybe, instead, you require just a telescope first.

By asking yourself the following questions, you’ll have taken the first step in identifying which agency is the perfect fit for your growing business.


1. What are your company objectives?

Have you recently launched a product or website and are seeking increased brand awareness in regional or trade press? Are you looking to support your sales efforts and need a content creation team to refine your company messaging and marketing materials? Or perhaps you are an expert in your field and would like to position yourself as an industry leader through speaking opportunities and press interviews. Whatever the answer to this question, look for an agency that has experience in these specific areas. Ask for references and talk to existing or old clients to verify their work.


2. Who/what are your target audiences?

You’d be surprised how difficult and critical this question may be. Whether you are a small business looking for regional awareness, or a Fortune 500 company looking to reach high-ranking CEOs or executives, you need to know who you’re trying to reach. Some agencies specialize in start-up companies and small business while others may offer more to a larger or corporate company. A larger agency with a big client roster may sound good, but could also put you at the bottom of their totem pole with less senior-level involvement. Don’t be afraid to enlist a smaller agency whether you are a big company or not – you may just find that you receive more specialized attention.


3. What is your company culture?

While you’re certainly not looking for a friend in your PR agency (although this may be a nice byproduct), it is helpful to find a firm that has similar style to your own company and gels well with your team. All communications and collaboration work better when everyone gets along and is comfortable. Your PR agency is essentially an extension of your company, representing you to the media and outside world. Make sure they understand and can relate to your company’s brand and culture so they can represent you well when you’re not around.


4. How do you communicate?

Some people require regular communication while others prefer to give direction and then be left around of the day-to-day discussions. Be honest with yourself and a prospective agency on your communication preferences. If you would like a weekly check-in call and monthly progress reports, make sure you let them know so they can deliver. Oppositely, if you’d rather give the directions – and the reigns – for your agency to run with your projects, let them know that too so they can plan accordingly.


5. What do you consider a success?

Whether the answer to this is an article in Wall Street Journal or increased attendance at your community event, be sure you are clear with yourself and your agency. A successful campaign is oftentimes in the eye of the beholder. Make sure you discuss these metrics and expectations with your agency so they know exactly how to get you what.


6. But… be realistic
.

Like we said before, you may also think you need the moon and stars right off the bat, but perhaps it’s really the telescope you require first. Look for an agency that is going to be honest with you about what is realistic to expect. It’s always better to be pleasantly surprised than utterly disappointed.

As we often say in love: there is a perfect person for everyone. The same is true for finding a PR agency that is right for your company. The better you can answer the questions above, the closer you’ll be to finding your true PR match.

Happy hunting ☺

More by Melanie Murphy

All Posts by Melanie Murphy