Hiring a public relations firm for your company is a big decision. Even if you understand the benefits of doing so, you may have some reservations about moving forward.
For example, it’s common to have questions such as:
- What services does a reputable public relations firm offer?
- What’s the best way to compare public relations firms?
- How much does it cost to hire a public relations firm?
- Is it a full-service firm?
- Do you have to sign a contract?
You get the point. There’s no shortage of questions to ask and answer on your path to hiring a public relations firm.
Fortunately, when you take a deep breath and slow down, you’ll find that hiring a public relations firm doesn’t have to cause you stress and cost you time.
Here are five tips that will make this easier on you:
1. Know Why You’re Hiring a Public Relations Firm
Don’t hire a public relations firm because everyone else in your industry is doing it. Do it because you have a specific need.
For example, you may hire a firm because you want to spread the word about a new product or service that is revolutionizing your industry. Or maybe you need a firm that can help you communicate your message when something goes wrong.
Once you know why you’re hiring a public relations firm it becomes easier to decide on the next steps.
2. Do Your Own Research
You can listen to one person after the next talk about public relations, but that is no replacement for doing your own research.
Spend a couple of hours searching online for local and national public relations firms. Make note of those that pique your interest so that you can double back with them when you’re ready to set up a meeting.
3. Ask for Referrals
Along with doing your own research, ask people in your network for referrals. You don’t want to rely solely on referrals when making a decision, but it’ll definitely help.
Ask questions such as:
- Why do you recommend this public relations firm?
- Is there anything you would like them to do better on your behalf?
- Do you find value in the price that you pay?
- Do you consider the firm’s rates to be in line with the rest of the industry?
- How many points of contact do you have at the firm?
- Do they offer additional services, such as setting up and monitoring analytics associated with campaigns?
The more questions you ask, the more you’ll come to understand what the firm has to offer. When combined with the information you compiled on your own, your search is starting to shape up.
4. Ask for References
While requesting additional information from the public relations firms on your shortlist, don’t be shy about asking for a few references.
This allows you to contact companies that currently work with the firm. Once again, you should ask any questions that come to mind. The list in point #3 above is a good place to start.
Tip: if a public relations firm can’t provide you with references, there’s something wrong. They may be new to the industry or trying to hide a bad reputation.
5. Find a Firm that Specializes
Maybe your company is in the medical industry. In this case, you’ll want to find a healthcare public relations firm that has experience in your niche.
Or perhaps you’re a startup technology company. A firm with knowledge of the startup industry is probably what you’re looking for.
Some public relations firms will tell you they specialize in everything. That’s not possible.
If you’re going to pay for this service, you might as well enter into an agreement with a firm that has targeted experience and knowledge. This generally improves the odds of a successful relationship.
There’s a lot that goes into hiring a public relations firm, but if it’s something your company needs you don’t want to wait any longer to take action.
Use the five tips above to point you in the right direction. From there, move forward one step at a time until you’re comfortable making a final decision.