So, you’re looking to grow your business with PR support but you’ve never worked with an agency before. Here are 10 questions that you should answer before appointing a PR agency.
- Are you ready? Do you have a product/service that is ready to be shown to the world or something to create a buzz around? We speak to all sorts of businesses and sometimes they are not quite ready for PR (e.g. still developing the business model/technology or have absolutely no call to action – that could even be not yet having a website). Though that’s not to say that if your business hasn’t launched yet we can’t help – quite often we will support clients just before a launch to make everything is ready when it does!
- Is it simple to explain your business offer? If you can explain in one sentence what it is that your business does, then it should be clear to your audience. If what your business does is a little more complex then an agency should support you to simplify how it’s described – simplicity is key in communication.
- Do you have something interesting to say? If you believe in your business, you probably will think you have something interesting to say. An agency will help you to drill down to what bit of your business will matter to the media and your audience.
- Are you open to advice? Only hire a PR agency if you are happy to take recommendations and advice about your PR (check out some of the activities we suggest for PR clients) – after all you are investing in expertise and it makes sense to get the most from it. It’s about working together for the best results.
- What does success look like? Ensure you have an idea of what you want PR to achieve for you. Communicate your expectations to the agency, who will be able to help you form some PR objectives and a plan that you’re happy with and are realistic.
- What is your budget? PR support is going to cost so it’s good to be upfront with the agency about what budget you have, so they can let you know if these figures are the kinds of ones they deal with – some big agencies will not work for less than a five-figure monthly retainer whereas some agencies will be used to more modest budgets. Once the agency knows the numbers it can recommend activity to reflect that.
- Do you have time to work with an agency? Many PR people can probably think of a time when a client has not had the time to sign things off and so on. If you are investing money in a PR agency, then time needs to be available (if not by you, then someone else appropriate for managing the agency) to work with the team, filter information through and sign materials off. If not, results will suffer.
- Who will be the direct point of contact? Consider who in your business will be the agency’s every day point of contact. That person will need to work with the agency to ensure everything gets done, materials are signed off, media requests are being fulfilled etc. The nature of PR is often quick turnaround, so the point of contact will need to be available and efficient to help ensure things get done.
- Do you have information and images available? Everything you have – marketing materials, company/founder profiles, images of key members of the team/company spokespeople etc. – will be useful for a newly-hired PR agency to learn more about your business and the offer. If you don’t have these things, a PR consultancy will be able to help. Also be clear on what images and documents are ok to be provided to the media.
- Do you like and trust the team? The second most important thing after feeling confident that a PR agency can successfully do the work for you, is that you like and trust the team. If you get on with the team and trust them at an early stage – OK, it’s hard to fully trust someone before working with them but if you trust them to do the work well at the outset – the working relationship will be good. After all, the client and PR agency has to work together and when that is done well, results will follow!
If you are looking for some PR agency support, we’d love to hear from you, so please get in touch!