HOW TO CHOOSE A GOOD PR AGENCY18th January 2016
Whenever we meet a potential client for the first time, I make sure they leave the meeting with a full understanding of what we can offer them as a construction PR agency and how we go about delivering it. I show them examples of results we’ve achieve, I talk them through our processes and I give them an indication of what we could do for them.
PR is not a dark art, it’s a tangible, measurable service that delivers targeted outcomes for the client.
But not all agencies see things that way. I’ve spoken to a number of business contacts that have felt thoroughly bamboozled by an agency they’ve approached and come out of the pitch process with a very clear idea of what PR might cost them but precious little notion of what they’ll actually get for their money.
The problem is, hiring a PR agency is very much like recruiting for an important managerial role: it’s easy to be hoodwinked into making the wrong choice by a dynamic interview performance. However, there are ways to ensure that all the buzzwords and big promises at pitch are backed up by genuine expertise, strategic thinking and enthusiasm for delivering results.
If you’re considering hiring a new PR agency, here’s our advice for making sure you find one that can build your reputation, raise your profile and communicate effectively – and appropriately – to key target markets;
- Check whether they have good press contacts for the media you want to appear in – expect more than a list of names though, you can always double check with journalists if they know the agency and their team and if they’re happy with the quality of ideas and copy provided
- Challenge the agency’s knowledge about your sector, particularly if technical articles are part of the brief. Even if they are new to your industry, an agency team that can demonstrate a real understanding for another sector will offer you confidence that they know how to research, absorb and interpret information
- Expect ideas. Challenge them to come up with ideas for the PR on a forthcoming project or question them about ideas-led coverage they have gained in the past
- Quiz them on their tactical approach: many agencies that purport to be PR specialists actually only offer social media and SEO but a full PR strategy should involve a mix of on- and offline tactics.
Request evidence of their planning and delivery processes. A good PR agency should be slick and focused rather than panicking to generate results the week before a client meeting. Good reporting processes will give you confidence they have all their ducks lined up.