The decision to invest in PR is a big one. And how you brief your chosen PR agency (more on how to actually choose one here) is absolutely crucial to its success. It lays out what you want, when you want it, why you want it and how much you have to spend on it. The more comprehensive the brief, the more detailed your plans, the more chance your PR agency has to succeed.
You need to be prepared to invest the time in getting it right. Here’s what we look for in a PR agency brief:
Include a summary of who you are and what you do – how did the company come to exist, who are the key stakeholders within the company, how does the business make money, who are your customers and what are the biggest business challenges? Share as much data and as many case studies as you can and make your leadership team available to speak to the agency – this is a great way for your PR agency to get under the skin of your business before planning any campaigns.
There is absolutely no point in investing in PR for the sake of it. You need to include what your specific business objectives are (which usually involves growing it!) and then specific objectives from a PR standpoint. That might be to raise investment, to aid recruitment, to increase awareness of key stakeholders or to own a particular issue or agenda. Whatever it is, include as much detail as you can.
Providing an overview of who your ideal customers are is fundamental to an agency’s success. This includes the type of businesses you are targeting, the market in which they operate, the key decision makers at the company, what they care about, where they get their information and what their biggest barriers to purchase are. The agency can then set about planning a campaign that appeals directly to the people you want to sell to. The more information on your target demographic, the more targeted the PR activity can be.
Be sure to include a list of your biggest competitors alongside your USPs. What sets you apart from them? Why should your potential customers choose you over the competition? This helps the agency craft clear campaign messaging that sets you apart.
Overview of marketing activity
PR should never operate in isolation. The most effective PR campaigns are ones that are fully integrated across the entire marketing spectrum so your agency needs to know what else is going on and what is in the pipeline. If you have a big social campaign upcoming or a content plan you are working to, the agency needs to know about it so they can coordinate their activity accordingly. It is also helpful to share insights into what marketing activity is generating the best return and also what has not worked so well and why.
It may sound obvious to include a budget in your brief, but you would be surprised how many companies we talk to who don’t have one. It is very difficult for your agency to plan a campaign if they don’t have a clear budget they are working to. Most agencies will work on either a project basis or on a monthly retainer so work out what you have to spend, and in what timeframe, so they can plan accordingly.
Investing in PR can be a gamechanger for your business – it will help you attract the best people, raise investment and support your sales efforts by increasing the profile of your business among your target market, so it is worth getting it right. And the way to get it right is to nail your brief. Spend time getting this right and a good agency will start generating the results you are looking for.
Looking to raise your profile and invest in a PR agency? We’d love to hear more about your business and chat you through the process. Get in touch.