Do you need high quality and expensive PR help? Or do you need something basic, because most of the work you can on your own? These are some of the question you need to ask yourself before you go and solicit help from PR companies.
Here is a list of dos and don’t’s you can follow while selecting PR help:
Do use an agency if you feel like you need some real professional help and have the budget to do get some PR help.
Do consider using an agency if you spend more than $3000 a month on PR ventures. This money will go a long way with a professional PR company. You will really be getting your money’s worth while saving you time to do other things.
Do not hire a PR company if you’re trying to cut costs or stay within a certain budget. Getting outside PR help is always more expensive than doing it yourself. Keep on doing what you are doing and continue to advance your PR skills by learning and when you have your big break in the media then you can look into getting some professional PR help.
Do not hire a PR firm if you are just trying to save yourself time. It does save you some time, but you will still have to work with these people. You will still have to have phone conversations and in person meetings to discuss the direction of the material. Changes will have to be made and approved by you.
Do hire a PR company if your company is marketing oriented.
Do hire and agency if you need assistance in planning a special promo event, introducing a new product line and finding the appropriate target market.
Do hire a PR firm if you intend to thoroughly use all of its services especially if they are expensive.
Do hire a PR agency if you get stuck in a rut. Sometimes we can just run out of fresh, innovative and creative ideas. If you are currently in this boat and can afford it get some PR help, it will help to rev things up and give you fresh perspective from another source.
Do hire a PR Agency if you want a first classic look! This of course will come at a hefty price, but it is worth it if the company of your choice does everything top notch. Also, first class agency will tend to get your materials out with much more speed than usual. If you business is related to hospitality jobs for example, your PR person will surely be relating your campaigns to having endorses and tourism sites and destinations as part of it.
Do not hire an agency if you are sure no one else can promote the way you do. If you have a special twist or insight into the industry or your audience, do it yourself. Sometimes, PR firms can get into the rut of doing the same thing. However, if you are always coming up with fresh ideas than just keep on doing it yourself till you get stuck in a PR rut.
How to Select a PR Firm
Selecting a PR firm does not have to be a troubling or stressful endeavor. Here are some key things to look out for when choosing a PR Firm:
Opt for a PR Agency with expertise in your chosen field:
I know this might sound like a no brainier, but Many PR firms will do all types of industries. It is better to hire one who specializes in what you specialize in because they will be way more knowledgeable when putting together your PR information. It will be more thorough and believable.
Do not hire a PR agency with more capabilities than you need:
When starting out in PR unless you have deep pockets you do not need a PR agency with overseas branching, television and radio promotion. Keep it simple to start. Save all that money for a time when your company is well known and it is worth spending a lot of cash. Get someone who can simply write you an amazing PR release kit.
Make sure that the Agency is the right size for you:
Make sure that the PR agency of interests small enough to be interested in working with you in a dynamic way, but large enough to make a significant impact on your PR results.
Ask to see the PR agency’s work:
Anyone can make an awesome website that can cause you to believe that their work is just as awesome as their website! Even customer testimonials are not even enough. How do we really know if they just paid these people to say nice things about their product? Ask to see samples of their work. Seeing is believing in this case. Never just trust what they say unless you have had a long term relationship with them and you trust their judgment. It is your precious time and money that will be wasted if you do not do your homework first.
Check out the personal chemistry:
When you meet or talked to the PR representative how did you feel? Vibes are so important when it comes to making a decision on what firm to go with. When you meet or talk to a rep over the phone you should sense that they are really listening to what you are saying. You should sense that they are honest and will do what the say they are going to do. Lastly, you should just be able to get along with them and enjoy their personality. If non of this is going on than it is probably not the right business match.
Getting the Most out of Hired PR Help
You have worked hard at putting a PR plan of action together and have researched many PR agency’s and you have found the one that is going to work best for you and your company. Here are some tips on getting the most out of your chosen PR agency.
Brief your agency:
Do not just drop off some information and run. Take time to talk to them about the company in general. Talk to them about your target audience; tell them in detail about your products and all its superior benefits. Tell them what your expectations. The more they know about you, the company, the target audience and the product the more their work will please you.
If you decide to use different agency for your advertising needs hold a meeting:
Hold a meeting with both the PR Firm and the Ad agency. In doing this you will only have to hash out all the details once and everyone will get the same information in the same way. I would even record the meeting just for your own record on what was said and not said!
Do not compete with your agency in the creative area:
Say you do not like their creative process in putting together your press kit, do not make them feel bad. Offer up some constructive criticism and return the work so it can be re-done. If you still do not like what was created and you can do it better, fire the company and do it yourself.
Be reasonable about paying:
Many PR firms and freelance writers have it hard because their clients will not pay them or conveniently “forget” to pay them. So many PR firms and freelancers end up going out of business because their own clients cheat them and do not pay for the work that is done. If you want to have a good reputation in the field you better pay fair and pay on time. In the long run such ill practices will come back to punish you and your company with a bad reputation.
Establish and maintain direction in the process:
When working with a PR firm I would suggest having weekly meetings to check in with them to see how thing are going. This helps to make sure that the company is doing what they said they were capable of doing. This also lets you know if they are really keeping on schedule. In these meetings make sure that the direction of the project is staying true to the message of the company and the product.
Integrating PR with the Rest of your Business
In my last few articles I talked about how PR should be apart of the overall marketing of the product. I went over how to do internal and external research of your company, how to come up with a PR plan and how to choose a PR firm if necessary. Now that all that is covered it is time to integrate PR with the rest of your business, consider the following:
PR should always be fully integrated into other forms of marketing when launching a new product or service.
The PR department should always know what is going on in the other marketing arenas. When you have your strategic marketing meetings someone from the PR department should be present.
PR should not be isolated to themselves when working on a project. PR should actually be working side by side with other marketers even if their components are a little different. The more that PR works with the different components of marketing the better the PR plan will be overall.
Every PR manager whether they are full time or part time should the following to keep in tuned to what is going on in the company’s activities:
Read industry trade journals.
Attend all major trade shows at which your company is exhibiting at, the more they go the more relationships they can make to gain more free press.
Make a habit of frequently reviewing the website to make sure everything is up to date and competitive with other company’s websites.
Read all new sales literature that your company produces. The selected PR person can really put in their helpful opinion about the look and content of the literature.
Respond to competitor’s ads and press. Request sales literature from them and learn what they are doing. You can also learn what not to do from a lot of their literature.
Regularly check in with the sales team to see how the product is doing. Find out from them how the customers are responding to the product or the service. Be willing to take the good with the bad and adjust as necessary.
If and when you have free time go with a sales rep to a sales call and see how the product and service is being promoted. Is it being promoted in a way that really gets your message across? If the messages are not getting across in away that is ok with you address the issue with sales rep. The two of you together can work on the presentation of it so that it does match the PR message that you have created.