Finding a PR agency to entrust with your brand and business communications can be a daunting task and is something that often gets put in the too hard basket.
With over 15 years in the public relations industry, Lisa Solomons has seen many clients come and go. Here she shares her six tips for hiring a PR agency to help take your business to the next level.
Tip 1: Have clear and measurable objectives
You’ve probably heard this a million times before but it is really important to have SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely) objectives in place prior to even looking for an agency to represent your brand. Ensure these objectives are clearly communicated from the outset and work with the agency to determine how each objective will be measured and within what timeframe.
Tip 2: Determine your budget
Too often we find that brands say they don’t have a set budget and instead ask us to recommend what they should be spending and how it will be allocated. The problem with this is, how long is a piece of string! There are so many ideas and activations that agencies can recommend that can be scalable but in many cases out of the ballpark. You will always get the best response to a brief, in line with what you can realistically afford, if you provide even a rough estimate.
Tip 3: Size doesn’t matter
Large or small agency—how to decide? Some say smaller brands get lost in bigger agencies and that the boutique options are the better way to go if you want more focus on your brand. Truth is, if you work with a reputable agency that has a strong team across the board, all brands should feel like they are getting the service they are paying for and deserve.
Tip 4: Chemistry is key
Most of us spend more time with our colleagues and clients than we do with our families and friends, so consider your agency your extended family. If you have a gut feel that it’s not going to be a fun and successful partnership, walk away. While PR is an essential cog in a communications strategy, we’re not performing brain surgery so remember you can enjoy what you do and the people you choose to do it with.
Tip 5: Get your brief ready
Having a PR brief ready to submit to a number of agencies will not only speed up the process of appointing an agency and working towards kicking your goals, but you’ll also have a great base to get moving. If all the agencies receive the same information at the same time to pitch, it’s easier for you to compare and make a decision. The process can also help you to firm up your objectives internally and learn some truths about your business or brand.
Tip 6: Make sure you know what and who you are getting
In many cases it will be the big guns who come in to do the pitch, blow you away and get you to sign on the dotted line only for you to be palmed off to the juniors. Don’t be afraid to ask who will be assigned to your account and what role the founder or director will be playing in working with the team to achieve your objectives. As your agency is extension of your team it’s important to meet them and make sure it’s right!
Lisa Solomons is the founder of 360PR.