Choosing PR services is not always an easy task. Even an experienced company can struggle to select the right one for them, so you can imagine how difficult it can be for a start-up.
There are many misconceptions about PR services, and that is making nobody’s work easier. The proper choice of a PR agency can be as important as any other business decision on your way up.
Don’t forget that PR can make or break your business. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the ultimate guide to choosing PR services that you have in front of you.
What is it that a PR agency does?
This is a good question. Many people do not really understand why PR agencies exist and what they actually do. PR stands for public relations. So they are here to build your company’s relationship with the public (media and clients mostly).
The common misconception is that they should deal with your company’s business strategy. No, they can help you build a positive brand reputation and a good relationship with the public.
They should also be able to help you deal with a crisis when it occurs. Remember, they should be with you through thick or thin.
When choosing PR services, start by checking the agency’s records
Ok, now that you know what you should get, let’s focus on how you can find it. With thousands of PR companies around you, it is not going to be a piece of cake.
You can start by checking the prospective agency’s records. Always ask to see the list of their previous and current clients and take your time to analyze them.
You can also demand that they show you some sample works or press releases that they send to journalists. Speaking of journalists, the list of newspapers that a PR agency is working with tells volumes about them too.
Ask about their experience in your niche
Even the best PR agency in the World wouldn’t be a good choice for everyone. And, there is no agency that can have a perfect performance in each industry. Remember, a jack of all trades is a master of none.
That is why you should focus on agencies that have significant experience in your field of business. They will help you achieve your brand recognition more easily than even a more successful company with less practice in that field would do.
However, sometimes it is good to take a look from somebody else’s perspective too. There are some good quality PR agencies that can quickly adopt a new area of business and their advantage is that they already have the experience from other fields. They also have contacts that can be valuable to you.
If you see that they are ready to learn and cooperate, maybe you should give them a chance. Of course, we do not imply that you should hire absolute beginners.
A PR agency worthy of your selection has to have some basic experience and know the best PR strategies. Plus they need to be willing to upgrade in the direction that suits you best.
Don’t be blinded by the size of a PR agency and its clients
The fact that a PR agency is well-known doesn’t mean that it is the best choice for you. Of course, it has its advantages and it must be doing something right since it has such ranking. However, big agencies often do not prioritize small clients.
They do not have time to do so. Or, they will assign you a team of not so experienced PR officers. Isn’t it better to go to a smaller and less famous company that will put you on top of their priority list rather than some other brand?
The size of the brands they are working for also doesn’t mean that they should be your choice. If you are paying for their services, you shouldn’t be the one competing for their attention with, let’s say Coca-Cola.
So, you should select a PR agency that has clients that are similar to your brand in size, because they will not have enough time for you otherwise.
Ask to meet the people you will be working with
Usually, when you go to a PR agency to talk about hiring them, you will meet up with their manager. However, he or she is not the person you will be working with later on. That is why you should insist on meeting the team that would be in charge of your company or brand should you choose them.
After all, they are the ones who will be calling you and sending press releases. They are the ones to contact the journalists and deal with social media. A good idea is to present them with an issue and ask how they would handle it.
Feel free to ask them about their previous experience in crisis management.
Make sure that your PR team has a good strategy for helping you achieve your goals. By the way, have you figured out why your brand needs extensive PR? The reasons can be various and here are some of the aims your PR agency can help you fulfil:
- establish the identity of your brand – this is why most of the startups opt for choosing PR Services
- maintain your customers’ interest in you
- drive your sales up
- attract prospective investors
- deal with a crisis
Don’t think that the price is crucial when choosing PR services
Hiring a PR agency is often expensive. However, not doing so can cost you even more in the long run. Don’t be cheap since it is your reputation that is at stake here.
Be prudent when choosing PR services since the most expensive ones are often not the best ones.