Choosing a PR Agency: 10 Top Tips for in-house marketing teams

Posted by Samantha Blackburn Nov 8, 2013 11:00:00 AM

Topics: Tips, Communications, Public Relations, blogging, agencies

In-house teams often have a need to outsource some of their work to an external agency, but in such a competitive field, searching for a PR agency isn't the easiest of tasks. How do you differentiate between multiple agencies offering similar services?
Choosing a PR agency can be difficult
In this guide, we'll give you some top tips for finding and getting the most out of your PR agency. While there's no substitute for first-hand experience and a face-to-face meeting, there are a number of ways you can whittle down your choices:
Flexibility: Are they willing to travel to you for an initial consultation without a charge? If they charge you for travel while trying to get your business, this could bode badly for expenses down the line.


Fees: Find a PR agency with fees that suit you. When possible, get a fixed fee. If not, get a fee that won't surprisingly rise beyond what was set out in the initial agreement. Hourly rates might seem off-putting at first, but don't worry about this unnecessarily, it's the value of what you get that matters. Experienced PR Practitioners with higher rates often have more contacts and familiarity with your specific industry.


Online Presence: Does the PR agency have a website? If the answer is no, or they do but it's very poor, you should reconsider your choice.  A good website should list case studies for previous clients they've worked for, set out their products and services and showcase their experience. Do they practice what they preach when it comes to the services they sell, such as social media or strategic and digital communications?   


Quick Responses: To get an idea of how quickly they respond to enquiries, send them an initial query as a test. If the response is slow when you're trying to give them your business, what will they be like when they have it?


When choosing a PR agency it pays to plan aheadSpeak to existing clients: The best way to gage how well a firm works with clients is to read testimonials and case studies, don't be afraid to directly reach out to their clients to verify any comments.


What Services are offered? Be clear on what services they offer. Can your business grow with that PR firm? Ask yourself what services you may need in the future, do they offer them? Ask them to explain this clearly in your initial enquiry. A proactive PR Agency will offer a fully-integrated service.


Prepare for Meetings: Prepare any questions you want answers to prior to any meetings. It's always best to let them know beforehand, so they can prepare the best answers.


Is the PR agency efficient in Corporate Communications? It's important they understand your business so they can do the best possible work for you. Talk to them about your company and any ideas, queries or concerns you have.


Innovative Ideas: Ask your PR agency how they can help your reputation using new and innovative tools, for example, social media platforms. Do they have any ideas for a campaign that would have a positive impact on your business?


Timing: Timing is of the essence in this industry. Make sure you can contact the agency whenever you need advice or help easily and quickly. The agency should have a single point of contact, and if for whatever reason, this person is unavailable there should be a clear hierarchy to ensure you get a speedy response.


Ultimately you should feel comfortable enough around PR practitioners to speak openly and honestly.


Here are some red-flag points

  • Slow response times
  • No flexibility
  • No online presence
  • PR agency shows no interest in your opinions or ideas


What Next?

We'd love to hear any comments you have in the box below. What do you think makes a good PR Agency? What would you look for when searching for a PR Agency or would you struggle to tell the difference between marketing and PR altogether?


If you're looking for tips on strategic communications or you're searching for a PR Agency to represent you, why not get in touch with RDPR today?



Images used courtesy of OpenClips on Pixabay and Håkan Dahlström on Flickr.




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