Questions to Ask When Hiring a PR Firm

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Telling the story of your business can sometimes be challenging with the noise that consumers are constantly exposed to. Even with marketing and social media efforts on your own, your brand could become lost in that noise, which would cause minimal reach to potential customers. So, how do you reach people BEYOND these means to tell your story? Enter Public Relations.

PR can take on many forms, but it is most popularly known for acquiring earned media features via storytelling and pitching to journalists. Handling public relations on your own as a business owner or marketer is possible, but also may be very time-consuming and overwhelming. Without the proper tools, connections, knowledge and experience, it may be best to hand over your PR efforts to the pros.

If you’re considering hiring a PR firm, there are several questions that you should consider when selecting the right partner.

Do they have the media connections to make an impact?

If you're a business with local customers only, make sure the PR firm is well-connected within your community. If a PR agency has already made these connections in your town, it should be much easier for them to pitch media features and book those media segments.

If you're a business that serves customers nationally, make sure that the PR firm you choose has the proper tools to reach journalists on a national scale and also has experience pitching within your company’s industry. For example, if you’re launching a new beauty mobile app, you’d most likely want to work with a PR agency that has experience pitching beauty and/or tech brands to journalists nationwide.

What successful PR campaigns have they worked on in the past?

A public relations firm must be able to prove results from past campaigns to prove their past success. When you meet with a potential PR partner, ask about the most recent or successful campaigns they created. It also wouldn’t hurt to ask to see results from those past campaigns.

Additionally, a confident PR firm should also be able to provide you with general ideas for PR campaigns for your own business. For example, if you’re the owner of an upscale men’s hair salon, a potential campaign idea would be to give away a free straight razor shave to men in your community who raise the most money to support cancer awareness during “No-Shave November”.

Are they able to understand your brand?

Communications is a large part of public relations. You'll want to work with a PR firm that completely understands your brand, mission, and values so that they can properly communicate with media and the public when telling your story. Often times, journalists will request information right before the deadline and when that happens, you’ll want to ensure that you’re working with a PR agency that can answer tough questions on the spot and represent your brand in a way that you trust.

How will they measure results?

Even though certain pieces of PR campaigns can be hard to measure, it is important to receive data on as many metrics as possible when working with a PR firm. This data can include article views, new business leads, TV segment views, social media metrics, etc. When choosing a PR firm, be sure to ask how they measure their results and how often you’ll be receiving a report with these data points.

What is your communication process?

When hiring a PR firm, the business owner will most likely be very much involved in decision making and relaying information to the PR team. Hiring a PR agency that is able to communicate often and clearly with you and your team is extremely important.

Working with a smaller PR firm can often result in a more personalized service and could also mean that you’ll be working with a more experienced senior-level team member. However, working with a larger firm could mean having access to more resources and talent, but may also result in you being paired with junior team members, who are less experienced.

Still have questions about public relations or hiring a PR firm? Send us a message to get the conversation started. We’re happy to help!