Public relations takes your message and bring it to the public. It helps you influence prospects, customers and investors. What you need to know is that every PR firm is different. If you are deciding to choose a new partner for PR, there are 7 key elements to take into consideration to discover which company fits bestwith your organization.
Small, medium or large? PR Firms come in all shapes and sizes. You need to decide if you want a “one man shop” or a larger company. There are advantages to both. Smaller firms oftentimes offer you direct service by a principal but you have to be sure they can support you at all times. In larger firms, you usually work with several associates operating as a team which can provide more viewpoints and flexibility. However, make sure you know who you are working with and who is managing what aspects of your plan.
Fee vs. project
Cost is a significant factor in choosing a PR firm. Some choose to bill on a monthly retainer fee while others bill by the hour. If your company likes project-based PR, the hourly rate would work best. If you plan on putting out consistent coverage, a retainer fee will be your best option. You also need to weigh the value of your PR versus the cost. Pre-determining the optimal results of your PR beforehand and the value of that coverage will help in determining the best PR agency for your company.
Access to team and management
Find out how often you will meet with your PR team and what their process is for strategic briefings to keep your company’s messaging up to date. Senior management at a PR firm provides tremendous value to you regarding your strategic directions. Learn how much face time you will have for counseling, as well as providing feedback or concerns. Availability is key.
Marketing services offered
If by chance you decide to add marketing services, choose a firm that offers these choices. Having that capability on hand is useful for one-time projects or long term planning and collaboration. Having your messaging produced under the same roof goes a long way to support a consistent image.
Public relations can be difficult to measure by the numbers. However, whatever firm you choose, make sure you know how they plan to measure and monitor the success of your PR plan. Define success at the beginning and shoot for that goal. Your agency should offer ongoing reports so you can get a clear view of your company’s success.
Depth of knowledge on your industry
Don’t reeducate your PR agency. That takes time and money you do not want to waste. Choose a company that already knows the ins and outs of your industry. By knowing the industry and the tone of the marketplace, they will understand how to best position you in the media. This can go a long way in the effectiveness of your PR efforts.
Connections to the media
PR is not about sending press releases over the wire. Your PR team should be your right hand and they should be consistently pitching your story to the press. It is vital that your PR agency of record have great relationships with your target publications.
For more information on this topic, download our free white paper, “Vetting a PR Firm for your FinTech Company.”