The right PR firm will deliver targeted media placements and increased visibility for your business.
But the wrong PR firm can generate PR that is either ineffective or even negative. And for many business leaders, the difference between the two isn't apparent until it's too late.
Hiring a PR firm is a big decision. If you make the wrong choice it could have significant ramifications for your company's bottom line.
If you want a PR firm who is capable of knocking it out of the park for you business, here are the qualities you need to look for:
- PR experience. There is no substitute for PR experience. Yet you'll find no shortage of self-proclaimed PR experts who are willing to hang a shingle and make outrageous promises to prospective clients. It's okay if your PR firm has young staff members, but make sure your firm also has an ample supply of seasoned veterans on staff.
- Industry experience. Every industry has its own PR-related nuances. To be effective, your PR firm needs to know who the major media players are in your industry and the kinds of pitches that are most likely to gain traction with journalists. Ask prospective PR firms for client referrals to make sure they have a proven track record in your industry.
- PR firm costs. As you might expect, the best PR firms can be expensive. Unless you're willing to approach PR as a long-term investment, you it won't feel like you're getting an adequate bang for your buck. When you're evaluating PR firms conduct a cost analysis based on their services, experience, and expertise offered by each PR provider.
- Media connections. Although your PR firm's media connections shouldn't be the primary factor in your hiring decision, they are consideration. Ideally, you're looking for PR firms that have existing relationships with analysts and media contacts in targeted industries and publications.
- Online expertise. Online expertise is mandatory in the current PR environment. Companies who fail to take advantage of social media and other online resources typically fall short in their PR efforts. Talk to potential PR firms about their prior online experience and how they might use online resources to promote your business and products.