This is a question that rolls around client minds while deciding on the PR agency. After all, as a client you trust your most precious possession, your brand to the PR agency. Here are some things to look out for while making your choice.
- Check out the presentation
- Knowledge is power!
- Experience talks
- Great relationships
- Look for chemistry
- Should you go for a big or small agency?
- Systems and process
- Who are their clients?
- Social Media
- Who will be working for you?
The presentation that a PR agency makes will give you quite a fair idea about their bent of mind and how they function. Have questions that you need clarified ready and ask them.
A PR agency must stay updated with the latest trends in the market and possess a strong knowledge about the brand, its competitors, industry trends, current news and so on. The ‘knowledge factor’ is the cutting edge that will help the brand break through the clutter and create a buzz in the media. Do they understand your business? This is one of the key questions that you must find the answer to.
Nothing works better than good experience. Look for an agency with at least a decade of experience as they would have faced diverse situations and you can exploit their expertise for your brand. It will help you avoid many pitfalls and mistakes. After all, no-one wants to be the guinea pig to a new start-up PR agency.
PR is all about having great relationship with the media, the industry and having a great network. The entire success of a PR agency depends on cultivating good relationships that in turn help secure good coverage for clients in the media and also pitch stories. Good celebrity and influencer contacts also help as the agency can use their goodwill to generate positive publicity for brands they handle. Having journalists, especially senior journalists on the team is a big plus. Since they have spent time on the other side of the media, they would know how exactly the media would look at news that is pitched to them.
A PR agency will have to work closely with you and your organisation. Look for one that you will be comfortable with and can work on your wavelength. The relationship should be smooth and the agency must function like an extension of your business and help you achieve your goals.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both. A smaller agency may provide quicker and faster service. However, a larger one would have more manpower and resources and could go beyond PR and provide marketing services too. A mid-sized agency could be flexible enough for diverse business sizes.
Pricing is no doubt one of the biggest factors in making your choice. Is the PR agency pocket friendly and reasonable in pricing? Their charges should be directly proportional to the deliverables, not the strategies and desk work alone. Though the deliveries are not guaranteed in this industry, no client will keep on spending money without results…. right? Make sure you are getting full value for your money.
Systems and process are important for any company and it is applicable to PR agencies too. This helps work move along smoothly like a well-oiled machine. An ISO 9001 certification is proof of this and look for it.
A look at the client list and past record can give you a fair idea of their capabilities and achievements. You could also check if they have client testimonials as these are valuable credentials. If they have had experience with brands similar to yours, it would be an added advantage for you.
Today it’s not just the mass media that’s making a big impact. PR agencies need to be social media savvy too. If a PR agency is still stuck in the conventional rut, your brand too will be. So check their social media pages and ask them about their expertise in it.
A good PR agency must have adequate staff with expertise in the respective areas that they handle. You should also be allocated resources who can satisfy your needs.
Fixing a PR agency is challenging but invest enough time in it and this will pay you rich dividends.