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Choosing the Right Public Relations (PR) Firm – 5 Helpful Tips
If there is one industry that has become over saturated these days it is the field of Public Relations. PR Firms seem to grow faster than weeds, and the process of sorting through the slush to choose a quality public relations firm can be a daunting and overwhelming process, so to say the least.
This article offers you 5 helpful tips that will hopefully make the journey of choosing a PR Firm or a publicist a little easier and more streamlined, so that you get the most bang for your buck. of your public relations buck, and actually see a return on your investment.
Five Tips For Choosing The Right PR Firm For You
1. Size – Are you looking for a large corporate PR Firm, a mid-size firm or a small or boutique firm?
The question I asked is not black and white. The answer to this question must be determined by several factors. Your budget, how much hand-holding and personal attention you need, how far you want your public relations outreach to reach, and your desire for a team that works with your account or for just one or two ambitious publicists working on your account. Large corporate public relations firms typically charge between $10,000 and $20,000 per month for their basic retainer services, so budget is a big factor here. In a company like Microsoft or Johnson & Johnson this is a drop in the bucket. But in a small or medium sized company that kind of compensation is out of reach. The benefits of a large national and sometimes international company are the wide reach your brand can reach, a large team working on your account, a large pool of other clients who company partner from which your company can network and benefit from it. These big companies usually have a ton of experience on their side. Many of these big PR Firms are 20, 30 or 50 plus years old. The disadvantage of these large companies besides the large monthly fees is the amount of bureaucracy and red tape involved in the day-to-day operations of the company, and unfortunately this often leads to small clients falling through the cracks. Another downside of working with big PR Firms is the lack of personal touch and attention, which is good for established companies but not good for start-ups, small and medium companies that need more nurturing. , additional brand development and other services such as writing. and basic marketing assistance.
Small public relations firms tend to offer monthly retainers that can range from $7000.00 to $2500.00 depending on how much overhead the firm has, their level of experience and expertise, their particular area of the relationship to the public, their contacts and how many hours. they plan to allocate to your account. Most of the PR Firms out there tend to fall into the mid-sized, boutique or small category and are also effective in doing their job.
2. Ignore the Hype and Check Out a Public Relations Firm’s Work Portfolio!
I cannot stress this enough. While checking the websites of some partners recently I was surprised to observe that some of these websites have flashy graphics, catchy promotional copy about their services, and glossy images. but NO examples of their media placements, marketing case studies, writing samples… nada! Where do they work? Don’t fall for public relations firms that are all flash and no substance. Always, and I mean always check if their website is full of examples of past projects, past examples of media placements and other examples of work the company has done. Look at the work displayed on their website and when speaking with a representative from public relations firms ask them to detail their body of work. Some great questions:
What media placements are you proudest of? How is your company’s media placement getting? What is your companies biggest strength? Can you tell me some of your media contacts? Can you give me some sales case studies? Some public relations case studies? What makes your company different?
3. Make sure you’re a match: Assess values, vision and creativity
The words above are pretty self-explanatory but I’ll explain. This publicist or pr team will be your brand ambassador. You want someone whose values reflect your own values. You also want to make sure your publicist understands, appreciates and shares your vision for your company or organization. If a PR Firm wants to promote your beauty brand as an elite, untouchable, prestige brand and you want your beauty product to speak to every woman, showing her how beauty can be accessible of all women, then that publicist may have a vision that doesn’t agree with yours and things are likely to go from confusing to downright tense. A good trick is, when talking to a potential publicist ask him how they see your product, who they think your audience / demo is and how they imagine the product positioning in the media and to potential consumers. Don’t expect them to go into great detail before exploring the product line, but they should give you a basic pitch that aligns with your own vision. If not, move on.
4. Are you in it for Website traffic, magazine placement, TV appearances? What do you want? Be specific!
Don’t be ashamed of what you want. Why are you looking for public relations services in the first place? Really sit down and think about it. And don’t be ashamed of your needs. Is your primary goal to build a strong targeted online following to drive quality traffic to your website and convert visitors into sales? Is your primary goal someone who can write outstanding copy for your business such as press releases, articles, pitch copy to send to media outlets, etc.? Your main goal is to become a personality and expert in your field and create a resume as someone who appears on television news programs giving advice to promote yourself as a brand and expert? Think about what your goals are and choose a PR Firm that is strong in your area of interest.
5. Location, location, location
In the age of email, fax machines, long distance phone plans and cheap air travel the location of your public relations firm may not be important to you… or maybe it is. Do you want more face time with your publicist or do you not care if your publicist is in Timbuck Tu as long as they get the job done, and get your company press coverage? Everyone’s comfort level with location is different and there is no right or wrong. If you are looking for entertainment public relations you may want to set your sights on a PR Firm located in Los Angeles or New York. If you are an up and coming Internet company you may find value in a PR Firm based in San Francisco. Fashion, New York might be the way to go for you, unless your fashion line is a range of swimsuits; In that case a Miami PR Firm may be the right fit. Looking to attract the Latin market, again, Miami will be key for you.
Or, you can simply look for a public relations firm that has a rolodex of contacts in a particular city or industry, regardless of their brick and mortar location.
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