Esteemed historian Daniel J. Boorstin once said, “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some hire public relations officers.” Though a funny play on the Shakespearean quote, Boorstin was intending to highlight just how important it is to hire and retain the right public relations, or PR, professionals for your business. Finding a PR agency may seem like a daunting task on top of your already too busy schedule. Selecting and working with them may seem even more intimidating. Read on to break down what things to look for when hiring a PR agency so you can ensure your continued ability to serve your business as well as you want to.
FIND A PR AGENCY WITH EXPERTISE IN YOUR AREA
At the beginning of your search, it may seem as though a PR firm is a PR firm. That’s actually far from the truth, as there are several different types of PR firms including general strategic communication, press communication, crisis management, internal communication, community management, non-profit public relations, and public affairs public relations. Based on your business and goals of hiring a PR agency, you can first narrow down the type of agency you are looking for.
In addition, you will want to look for an agency that is familiar with your industry and can be considered a “public relations expert” in your business’s area. For example, if you own an ice cream sandwich business, you may want to look for a firm that has a background in food manufacturing and/or distribution. Ensuring that your hired PR professionals are knowledgeable in your business’s sector, competitors, and operations can save you tons of time that you may have otherwise had to communicate to the firm about your business.
CHECK OUT A PR AGENCY’S BACKGROUND
Another consideration to look into before hiring a PR firm is the firm’s background. Asking about the clients they have served before and the types of requests they handle can be very helpful. Dig even deeper by asking questions about the founding of the company and its successes. Moreover, you will want to consider the size of the firm. Do you want a big firm or a small firm?
Some additional questions to ask might be:
- What departments do they have and how do they work together to serve their clients?
- What values do they hold as an organization? What evidence of values can be seen in their work?
- Do they have examples of prior work that you can see?
DEFINE YOUR GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
As the hiring party, you are in the driver’s seat. This is a large responsibility, particularly in that, you will need to be articulate and decisive about your objectives, both in the hiring process and in working with the company. Two big categories that you might have goals around are budget and capabilities.
The budget you have for PR could potentially dictate who you are able to hire. A bigger budget certainly opens up your possibilities to more agencies, but a smaller budget will likely still allow you to hire a great St. Louis PR firm. You will also need to decide at this point if you’d like to work with the firms on an ongoing basis or for one-off, contract projects. This will also dictate the type(s) of firms you hire.
In addition, you may have certain types of media or content in mind for what your PR firm should do, such as multimedia PR, press releases, negative press mitigation efforts, etc. Have a good idea of what types of services you are interested in before entering the conversations with the firms and be able to ask if those services are within their current capabilities as a firm.
READY, SET, HIRE
Though there are certainly a lot of considerations when searching for and hiring a PR firm, knowing their capabilities, your budget, and what you are hoping to get from the firm is going to take you a long way in your search. Be proactive and be patient in your search. If you are interested in learning more about the services we at Solomon/Turner offer, visit our website for more information today at https://solomonturner.com. We’d love to hear from you and discuss how our St. Louis-based PR firm can help serve your small business’s needs.