Searching for the best communications firm is a lot like dating. Although there are plenty of fish in the sea, finding “the one” can be daunting. You want chemistry, competence, substance and experience – you need it all, and there is no need to settle for less.
Before you enter into a long-term relationship with a signed retainer contract, you should ask these seven questions to make sure you are swiping right on the best partner for your brand.
1. What Type of PR Firm Do We Want to Work With?
There are several different types of PR firms, such as big, local, boutique, global, traditional, specialized, integrated – the list goes on. So know what you really want before starting the process by researching the types and figuring out which PR agency might be the fit for you and your business based on the goals you want to accomplish with your PR strategies.
2. How Will We Measure Success?
The right answer to this is analytics. PR firms shouldn’t just build brand awareness – their successes should be able to be measured. You should only consider public relations agencies that offer to provide your team with reporting ranging from daily, weekly to monthly and quarterly reports for a comprehensive overview of how various media outlets are covering your brand and the industry.
3. Are We Compatible?
In the wildly-varied and changing world of the media, various approaches and perspectives exist. Make sure your vision aligns with that of your prospective PR firm.
4. What Will It Take to Make the Relationship Work?
As with any other relationship, a partnership between your brand and the public relations firm you hire will require work and effort from both companies. For example, you or members of your team will likely need to be available for meetings and managing internal approval processes. Be sure to understand what your level of involvement and commitment will need to be to ensure a successful relationship.
5. Will They Make It Facebook Official?
The PR firm you hire must be well versed in social media. You should know what the firm has done for its clients on platforms like Twitter and Facebook – and, more importantly, with what results? Results may vary in terms of outreach, but measurements with numbers will always be an important indicator to determine successful PR campaigns and brand recognition.
6. Are They Interested in Who We Are?
You definitely want to know that a communications agency has done its homework on you and the products and services offered by your brand. This should be evident during your exploratory meetings when they outline how they intend to accomplish your public relations goals. These meetings should also give you some sense of the firm and its team’s experience in your space. You want a team that is excited and passionate about your mission and brand – not just looking for a big paycheck.
7. What Is Our Budget?
Determining your financial budget early in the process can help you set a reasonable expectation for your company and the PR firms you speak with. Also, it will ensure that you receive an honest and customized pitch that is grounded in reality.