CEO of Pitch Public Relations Ann Noder.
How To Find The Perfect PR Firm
So you have a new startup or thriving business and you want the world to know. Smart cookie! Public relations is one of the finest ways to promote a brand, create name recognition, and ultimately drive sales. The media’s power of persuasion provides a third-party endorsement you can’t get elsewhere. In the consumer’s eyes, if a TV show or magazine is featuring you, your business must be credible. When it comes to PR, there are thousands of options from small freelancers to global agencies and medium-sized firms in between.
So how do you go about finding the right PR firm to get you in the media spotlight? You already know about the importance of getting a referral. Of course you should do your homework on any PR agency before you engage. But how do you really know you’re getting someone who can deliver?
Here are 5 questions you should be asking that you may not be:
1. What have you done lately? Sure, nearly any firm can tout a few high profile media placements over the years. But what have they landed lately for their clients? An excellent PR firm should be delivering results on a consistent basis. Ask for a few examples of stories they’ve generated in the past few months to get a sense for how results-oriented they truly are. Can they show recent success and does that success include the kinds of outlets you find impressive?
2. How do you define success? Your vision for a successful PR campaign and their vision might not align. Some PR firms will consider one great media hit a successful campaign. Would you? Get your expectations and their definitions clear in the beginning to make sure you aren’t surprised by having totally different goals. We love to hit the ground running with our clients, but we set the finish line first.
3. What do you think of my business? This seems glaringly obvious, but it’s not. You should share insight into your company and get feedback from your agency on what their impressions are. Do they think it’s newsworthy? If so, why? Can they relate to your business and your story? Do they understand what you do? Make sure they “get it” and are passionate about what you do. If not, it’s going to be really difficult for them to promote it! We only take on projects we feel have media appeal and businesses we are excited to tell our media contacts about.
4. Who will I be working with? PR firms vary in sizes and large agencies can have hundreds of employees including many junior executives. You may be dismayed to find out the knowledgeable PR executive you talked to in the beginning has disappeared when work begins and you’re stuck with an intern who is inexperienced and overworked. This is a question rarely asked but should be top of the list.
5. What do you need from me? Yes, you want a PR firm that takes media activities off your plate and handles PR from A to Z. But find out how you can better support their efforts and increase your chances for success. That could mean providing them with more information and materials up front or being available for touch base strategy calls. You may be able to provide content and expertise to better enhance the materials they use to generate press.
Every business has a story to tell. Effective and savvy PR firms will find the right angles and media targets to generate key exposure that can have a lasting and positive effect on your company’s revenue and reputation.
Ask the right questions and you’ll find the right firm!
Ann Noder is CEO of Pitch Public Relations, LLC, a boutique agency specializing in national media coverage. The firm works with major brands and startups with a focus on outstanding media relations.