Thursday, 30 November 2017

How to choose a PR firm

We’ve had some really exciting PR workshops in the last couple of weeks helping people to come up with ideas for 2018 on how to promote their businesses.

So if we’re showing people how to do PR, why are we also recommending that it’s a good idea to hire a PR firm?

Well, it’s a huge time-saving if you can get a professional to help you. They know what kind of stories to look for, what to ask you, which publications to place it in and hopefully can write it quickly with fewer mistakes. They know the industry so have good contacts. And a journalist can spot a professional from an amateur release within seconds, which could mean the difference between publication and hitting ‘delete’.

In reality, while you could write a release and send it out, it’s one of those things you can delegate if you have the right PR person in place, freeing you up to spend time running the business. After all, that’s probably what you’re best at!

So now it comes down to choosing the right PR person. It’s a huge decision and can be game-changing for your business.
It’s an important decision and a huge investment of time, money and reputation.

Here are some ways to think about:

1. Keep an eye on the media to see which company names keep popping up in print. If there’s some PR coverage and ideas you like, why not find out who they use?
2. Think about budget. Larger, international agencies have great contacts, resources and impressive offices, but can cost literally thousands of pounds a month. Alternatively, very small agencies tend to be run by former journalists who really understand the press. They often work from a kitchen table or shed and have lower overheads.
3. What are your customers reading? Does your PR person have contacts there? Have they had pieces published there before?
4. Do they understand your business sector?
5. Do you get on? Are you happy for them to call you to ask strange questions? With so much riding on PR, the relationship can be stressful, so it’s not the end of the world if you don’t get on, but can you work together? The better your relationship, the easier it is for your PR person to understand what you want and get the right coverage for your business.
6. Do they promise the world in an attempt to win business?
7. Are there lots of hidden costs or a simple fee structure?

It’s not easy, but once you’ve found the right firm, great things can happen!

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