Choosing a PR firm doesn’t have to be difficult, if you just follow a few guidelines to find the best for you and your company.
When you’ve decided that you or your company really needs some good PR, you need to set about choosing a PR firm wisely. Remember this, a good PR firm can turn you or your company into a household name, but choosing the wrong PR firm can turn out to be a disaster for you and your business.
If you are a director of a large company who needs to upgrade their national or even international presence, then the chances are you’ll have a large budget and can choose a large company to handle the public relations for you. If, however, you are a smaller company just starting out and need to get your name out locally, then your budget is probably considerably smaller, and a smaller local firm will be best suited to your needs. Choosing a PR firm from your local area can actually be advantageous, as they will already know your competition, your locality and be able to get the best angle for your campaign.
Of course, before any PR company can give you a realistic price they will need to know exactly what you expect from them and what will be involved, so you need a good plan. You need to know what you want from the public relations firm, and what you hope to achieve within a certain timescale. Some of the following ideas may help you in your plan:
- Advertising media which you plan to use – local newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, billboards, internet etc.
- Trade shows where your attendance could be beneficial.
- Measurable goals – leads per ad/hits per web page etc.
- Target audience – you need to know clearly who you are aiming at and why!
- Publications – where you want press releases etc. (A well placed press release can be more effective than the most biggest and expensive advertisement!)
Choosing a PR Firm
Once you’ve got a plan, then you can start meeting with a few PR firms and sharing your ideas. Here’s a simple tip, it’s always a good idea to ask which other companies they have worked for, you might have heard of them! If you haven’t, (or have for all the wrong reasons) then maybe you need to find yourself another PR firm and quick.
Once you’ve narrowed down your list, then it’s time to review the different bids which each PR firm has submitted. Check the list carefully against your plan, and make sure that the most important aspects are included in the price of PR. The cheapest bid is worthless if it doesn’t get your firm to the place you want it to be. You also need to take into account some other practical details. Are they situated closely enough to you? Remember, you’ll be spending lots of time together to get your campaign off the ground. Do you feel comfortable talking with them? You’re going to be doing a lot of that, so there needs to be a certain amount of chemistry between you. Do you feel that they will deal with your needs in a professional manner? This is important, however comfortable and friendly your relationship should be, professionalism must be paramount in the way they conduct their business on your behalf.