Hiring a PR agency isn’t a decision you should make lightly. Communicating your organisation’s goals and strategy in an effective and successful manner is a crucial part of business, and selecting an agency to accelerate and enhance this is an incredibly important decision.
Of course, you are not just going to let just any external PR agency handle the brand image of your organisation. It’s a timely and well-thought-out process that the internal team needs to take in order to secure the right fit. And, of course there are lots of aspects to consider; the experience, the expertise, the contacts and the price of an agency.
Although the experience, expertise and contacts are some of the most important things to consider when hiring a PR agency, many companies can become fixated on the price, and how much it is going to cost the company to hire a PR firm.
And though the price may become a fixation for many companies, it is important to understand that you cannot hire a successful and experienced PR team without incurring some cost. And often, like with all products and services, you get what you pay for, and the best PR agencies will likely be more expensive than not.
Though this is the case, there are of course some concerns organisations do have. Some PR firms are expensive and, often, reaping the rewards of public relations takes a little while after first engaging in PR, and paying for an agency’s services. So, how much should you be spending on a PR agency?
Well that of course depends on a number of things. How much work is a dedicated campaign going to be for a public relations agency? How specific is the work needed from a PR agency? And, does the agency act as a consultancy, advising you on how to approach media effectively, and how innovative are they in their approach?
So, instead of telling you a specific price that you should be paying for a PR agency, here are a few things to consider in order to understand whether or not you’re getting good value from a PR agency from the off:
Do they help to achieve your goals?
This is the first thing to consider. The main reason that organisations hire a digital PR agency is to further their agenda in the media and continue to push their goals by engaging with wider stakeholders. So, does your PR agency have specific expertise, knowledge and the ability to widen the reach of these goals?
For instance, if you’re keen to push your brand in a specific geographical market, are the PR agency able to help in doing so? Can they further your agenda perhaps better than you could through your own current work and an already substantial workload? This is really key, whether it is specific industry outlets, publications in specific locations, or reaching your target audiences through specific platforms – a good value PR agency will be able to align themselves with your institution’s goals for PR and enhance these.
Do they offer consultancy and advice?
Many PR agencies can simply act like yes men. You tell them what you want them to do, and they go and do it. Now this may or may not be successful, and sometimes you can get good media coverage from this approach, but if they are simply doing what you tell them, are you missing out on advice from a specialist to achieve better results?
A good PR agency will offer you advice on your current and future approaches to media, suggesting the best ways to approach journalists, ideas on new initiatives that will work for media, and advising on your most engaging content. This advisory role is key to a good value PR agency.
Do they create innovative, engaging and unique content?
Though many PR agencies can re-hash, re-use and distribute current content and ideas the organisation already has, the best PR agencies will offer new, innovative and unique ideas for getting into the media, and not just rely on the same approaches, same journalists or same publications. A good value PR agency will be able to create well-written, engaging and innovative content worthy of attracting the attention of journalists they look to target.
Do they have good media and industry contacts?
Though a good value PR agency should be able to attract the attention of key journalists through their work, having a good, strong bank of relationships within their sector is key, and showcases the agency’s knowledge and experience in the sector. Choosing a PR agency who has strong relationships with the key journalists in their field shows a track record of excellence in providing journalists with key ideas, while being known in the industry showcases the wide knowledge the agency not only has in the media space but in the industry space too.
Are they reliable, approachable and dependable?
And, of course, one of the most important aspects of a good value PR agency is their reliability. Can they consistently secure media coverage for you in your targeted, focused goals? Do they achieve regular success with the media in highlighting your brand? These are key aspects of a good value PR brand, alongside being accessible, approachable and dependable too.
Good PR can be costly, there is no denying that. But the benefits of good PR are more than worth it, and it’s not too expensive if you are achieving real positive results in investing in it. Therefore, companies shouldn’t immediately look at the cost of PR, but the value – identifying the experience, knowledge and expertise of an agency instead.