4 Tips for Finding the Right Public Relations Agency

Hiring a public relations agency is a big investment in time and resources. Organizations should spend the necessary time researching agencies that are the right fit for their needs. Through an intentional onboarding process, the agency will learn your brand’s voice so they can effectively communicate on your behalf, seek out media opportunities and keep a finger on the pulse of all media coverage connected to your brand. This relationship pays dividends when you work together to build a trusting, collaborative partnership.  

Don’t know where to start? Here are four tips for finding the right public relationship partner and setting your organization up for success when hiring a communications agency. 

Determine your PR goals 

The first and most important step before hiring an agency is to define your public relations and communications goals. What are you trying to accomplish? Does your leadership team share the same goals? Whether it is increasing your media relations efforts, managing a social media campaign, or assisting with community marketing events, get on the same page internally. If you aren’t totally sure, outline some areas of focus and dig into these during your agency interview process. 

Define your budget 

Before you start interviewing firms, set a budget. Think about what types of support you will need, and which areas are most important. Be clear about what your communications priorities are and where you would like your perspective consultant team to dedicate their time. This will allow the agency to provide an accurate scope of work (SOW) that can be accomplished within your preferred budget.  

If you have no idea where to begin, most companies set aside 6-13% of their total revenue for marketing. You may be spending more, or less, depending on your industry, target audiences and goals. Based on your overall financial outlook, decide on what you are willing to invest in and for how long. If you want to test things out, start with a “per project budget” to see if you are getting the desired results you want to see.   

Match the agency to your needs 

In most cases, there will be an agency that specializes in your specific field and can serve as an expert in how to effectively communicate to your target audience(s). Working with a team that speaks your language, no matter how technical, makes a world of difference. 

If you are seeking a thorough and competitive process, solicit bids from public relations agencies through a request for proposal (RFP). An RFP formally defines the specific services you are looking for from an agency including your desired scope of work, experience requested and much more. This is an in-depth way to learn more about a variety of agencies and see the amount of effort and attention to detail they put into their proposals. 

You should also consider if you need a local, on-the-ground team or if a remote team would be fine. While there are pros and cons to each, choose the one that meets all your needs. If you prefer in-market representation, going with a local agency might be the best option. Their boots-on-the-ground service allows them to staff media interviews, support key events in your community and attend recurring meetings in-person.  

If being local is not a dealbreaker, consider the agency that has the best experience in your field. Their experts can provide the same level of services from a remote environment and come into town as needed.  

Get to know the team  

Before you sign a contract with any public relations agency, ask your contact to meet the people who would be assigned to your account. This introduction helps you determine if the team is fit for the job and gives you a glimpse into what it would be like to work together.  

Above all else, ask a lot of questions and come prepared to share what you want out of working with an agency. The rest will fall into place…with the right partner! 

Learn about how Fearey onboards new clients, our expertise and more by contacting us today.