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What to Look for in a PR Firm

March 17, 2020 Anthony Priwer

So, you’ve decided it’s time for your company to partner with a public relations firm, or to switch to a different PR firm. There are many agencies out there, all with various strengths and weaknesses. What, then, should you look for in a PR firm to make sure you pick one that’s right for you? Here are some factors to consider …   

Location What to Look for in a PR Firm

Many companies prefer their PR firm to be in the same city as they are, and large national companies often hire local PR firms in various markets. Local knowledge and relationships can be important, and a physical presence may be helpful if, for example, your PR will include a lot of event management. What’s more important than location, though, is a PR firm’s ability to deliver on what you need. So, if you need an agency with extensive media contacts for a particular industry, it doesn’t matter if that agency is out of town, out of state or even overseas. 

Size

Your company may prefer to work with a PR firm that’s large, small or somewhere in between. Here at the Bradford Group, we’re considered a medium-sized agency, and large new clients have sometimes told us that one of the reasons they signed with us rather than a larger agency was that they didn’t want their company’s account to be “lost in the crowd.” Perhaps that does happen with some larger PR agencies, but what’s more important than size is accountability. So, regardless of an agency’s size, ask what systems they have in place to ensure clients aren’t overlooked and underserved. For example, at the Bradford Group, our systems include using time-tracking software to make certain that each month, we work at least as many hours as our clients are paying for.  

Reputation and track record

Do your own research on any PR firm you’re considering, to find out what sort of service and results you can expect. Look for:

  • High-profile or industry-relevant clients
  • Media placements secured
  • Content created
  • Awards won

You’ll often be able to easily find information on the agency’s website and, if not, most reputable firms will be pleased and proud to provide it to you. Another strategy is to reach out to one or more of an agency’s existing clients, especially if you already have a personal contact there, to help you decide if that agency would be a good fit for you.        

Industry expertise

The specific mix of services that your company requires will help you decide which agency to choose

If your company happens to be a construction firm, for example, it makes sense to partner with a PR agency with a proven track record in that industry. Or, at least, with an agency that’s known for its adaptability in being able to work across a range of industries. 

PR expertise 

Nowadays, the public relations toolbox has a lot of tools in it. Some agencies excel in not only traditional PR but also content marketing and social media. Others don’t, however, and so the specific mix of services that your company requires will help you decide which agency to choose. 

Value

When you’re hiring a PR firm, you need to consider value for money and return on investment. The return you’re seeking might be financial (sales leads and conversions), or it might have more to do with increasing brand awareness or repositioning your company’s public perception. Regardless, you need to be comfortable with, and cognizant of, what you’ll be spending on PR, and the value you’re likely to get in return.     

Rapport

A final consideration is whether or not you feel a genuine rapport with an agency’s team. It might be that even though an agency doesn’t necessarily tick all of the other boxes, you really feel that they “get you” and will deliver the results you need. If, though, you’re still not sure about committing to an agency long-term, they may be willing to initially work with you on a project basis. 

To learn more about what PR and content marketing can do for your company, contact us today.  

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