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Before hiring a PR agency, consider these five things:

August 12, 2014

Have a big announcement and need help communicating effectively to target audiences? Time to call in a pr firm to help generate exposure. However, before contacting an agency and spending money, make sure your ducks are in a row. Consider asking an agency these five things before giving the green light:

  1. What’s the process?

If you’re calling an agency for a press release and media exposure, ask about the process and what sort of guaranteed value you’re receiving. Remember, you may not always earn media exposure, but there are so many communication channels available to reach your audiences that an integrated approach to sharing company news should be easily identifiable.

Make sure you’re comfortable with the cost associated for the work produced, and review to make sure the price includes all tactics, not a few of them. Nothing like receiving a bill far larger than expected.

  1. What’s the cost?

While I like to give potential clients the benefit of the doubt  sometimes we simply can’t agree on the cost of service. That’s okay. Better to be transparent and clear on budget than waste time with a firm that will never work with you, or a company that will never approve a cost.

Being clear on a budget from the beginning saves time and effort and creates a level of trust and clear understanding.

  1. Do you have an expert in my industry?

This question is important as it pushes agencies to drill down to an area deeper than a ‘pr generalist’. If you’re in the upstream sector of oil and gas, choose an agency that has strong ties to that industry and sector. While I like to tell myself I know everything, the truth is, certain industries are my strength. I wouldn’t feel comfortable working with an organization outside my specialty, and you shouldn’t hire someone that doesn’t have your desired industry knowledge and experience.

  1. Do you handle social PR?

Social media has a direct impact on so many audiences: customers/clients, employees, industry, etc. Every company should be developing a social strategy and utilizing its profiles to build its brand image, communicate messages, etc. At this point in time, if an agency doesn’t appear knowledgeable in social PR, look for someone else.

  1. What’s trending in marketing/pr right now?

Part of staying relevant is understanding how pr and marketing efforts have shifted over the last several years with the explosion of social media and digital efforts. While you may prefer a more traditional approach to a project or campaign, it’s important to know you’re working with a firm that honors your requests, but can also provide strong recommendations to any campaign. Why hire a company that isn’t at the top of its game in its own industry?

For more helpful tips on working with an agency, email me at paige@paigepr.com.

Want to share your advice? Sound off below.