If you are looking to raise your profile, protect your reputation, influence an agenda or generate quality links to support your SEO efforts, then you have probably made the call to work with a PR agency. It is a major decision that requires a commitment of both time and budget on your part, so it is definitely worth ensuring you find a PR partner whose skills and experience will generate results for your business and whose values and work ethic match yours.
With over 20 years of experience working with clients across Scotland and beyond, we have come to know the most crucial factors for businesses to consider when selecting a new PR agency. Here are the 6 key areas to focus on:
This is the obvious one, but it’s something you need to discuss from the get go. A good agency will provide you with options. You can either work on a retained or project basis and most good agencies will also provide you with a range of cost options. The more you invest, the quicker you will see results.
A lot of bigger agencies have dedicated pitch teams which means the people you meet first off and the team that pitches you will not be the one actually working on your account. Make sure you ask who will be the main point of contact on your account and who will be working on it more widely – then make sure they are the ones pitching to you in the first place.
Look out for an inquisitive agency – do they ask questions about your target market, who your customers are, what their biggest pain points are, the biggest market trends, who the influencers in your space are? It helps if they have experience working with other companies in your market, but a really good agency will ask these kinds of questions from the outset because they can’t devise a PR strategy without understanding the target market first.
Beware of any agency that talks about AVEs as proof of results. This is an extremely outdated metric that bears absolutely no resemblance to reality. Steer clear of agencies that are trying to sell you on increasing your Facebook likes or Twitter followers. In isolation, these are just vanity metrics. You want to work with an agency who understands how PR activity can support your business objectives, whether that is to increase leads, raise awareness to potential recruits or generate investment. Be sure to ask for examples of work they have done with other clients too.
Naturally you want to work with an agency who has excellent media contacts across your industry. Do they have a proven track record of generating results in publications read by your customers? Take a look at their client base and see for yourself. But more than that, are they offering anything that goes the extra mile? Do they have wider industry connections? Can they recommend good people to work for you? Do they know which events you should be attending? Look out for more than just media contacts.
Complementary skill sets
The most successful PR campaigns are ones that are integrated – they inform social media and video content, email marketing campaigns, they generate follow links to support search marketing efforts and much more. Make sure any agency you are talking to has a wide range of digital skill sets beyond copywriting and media relations.
Investing in a PR agency is a big step, but done right it is also one that could propel your business to the next level, so invest the time in finding the right partner. Consider these 6 steps as a starting point and you won’t go too far wrong.
Looking for PR support? Get in touch, we would love to hear from you.