When selecting a PR agency – as with choosing any supplier – you want to know you’re not only working with the best-of-the-best, but also getting value for money. So, what should you be looking for when choosing a partner? Here are just a few of the key attributes to consider:
Connections, connections, connections
Find out which publications they have close relationships with. Note, however, that for any PR agency their contacts are their professional collateral, so they won’t cough up a list of names and emails or phone numbers. Instead, ask them to demonstrate which outlets they work with on a regular basis and find out how they would go about reaching any other target publications you have on your radar.
Get to know who’s in the team, what they specialise in and what their involvement would be with your account. You don’t want to be meeting with a senior person and building a rapport with them, only to be passed over to a junior member of the team you know nothing about once you’ve signed on the dotted line. Our clients have access to the knowledge and experience of the whole team, with a dedicated group of day-to-day contacts being included in discussions from day one.
Discuss and agree what your level of involvement will be. While it is, of course, crucial that you are kept in the loop in terms of external PR and social media activity, you need to be able to carry on with your own job as well. At BlueSky PR, for example, we recognise that our clients are the experts in their field and we are the specialists when it comes to producing copy that’s both on message and tailored to the publication in question. As such, we draft all copy based on the information we gather during interviews and meetings to significantly reduce the time impact on our clients.
Just say no!
Finally, when choosing a PR agency, you want to know that you’re working with a team of professionals who will act as a consultant rather paying a group of ‘yes-men’. Establish their stance on providing advice that you as a client might not want to hear. For us, our honest approach means that if we feel a certain press angle won’t deliver the desired results, we’ll be upfront about it from the get-go and offer our professional advice as to alternatives that will generate the perfect outcome.
What else do you look for in a PR agency? Share your thoughts below.
Author: Vickie Collinge