PR

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!

4 Reasons Why Public Relations is Important For Your Business

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Public relations is about creating relationships and storytelling to expand your brand’s influence in your industry and community. Here are a few reasons why public relations is important for your business:

1. Increase awareness of your business

There are many ways that PR can increase the reach and awareness of your business including speaking opportunities, media interviews, partnerships, event planning and more. For example; to keep their business on the minds of local customers, Great Clips teamed up with local news stations across the country for a back-to-school haircut campaign. Great Clips stylists went live demonstrating back-to-school hairstyles that can help simplify a busy fall for parents and even offered an in-store coupon to those who mentioned the tv station.

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2. Create partnerships within your community

Creating partnerships with local businesses will not only put your brand in front of the people within your community but will also support other businesses that you partner with as well. Online influencers mentioning your business can add credibility to your brand. People that follow these influencers are likely to perceive your brand the way the influencer presents it. 

Birchbox, a monthly box of personalized makeup, haircare and skincare samples, teamed up with lifestyle blogger Emily Schuman of Cupcakes and Cashmere to promote a special May box with five Instagram photos on her Instagram page. The campaign received over 18,000 likes and reached more than 550,000 consumers.

3. Establish your business as an authority in your industry

You want your brand to be considered an expert in your industry. Media interviews and speaking opportunities are great ways to inform your potential customers of your expertise. Wedding planner David Tutera, for example, was asked to speak at the Wedding MBA Convention for the wedding industry. He plans to share his approach to extravagant event planning and what advice he can offer to those trying to thrive in the industry. 

4. Give your brand a voice

Now with social media, most businesses are able to speak to and engage with the public immediately. But, by using public relations, your business will be able to craft stories your potential customers can relate to as well as reach larger audiences through the media, partnerships and other opportunities.

Simply placing products on shelves won't cut it anymore. Showcase the stories behind the products, the people who love them and use them, and how they reinforce your brand's values. Like this example: TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie took a trip to Argentina and noticed that many poor children didn't have shoes, and decided to create a one-for-one business model. Every product purchase, TOMS will help a person in need.

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How does your business implement an effective PR strategy? Let us know in the comments below!