A game of show and tell to help you find the right PR agency
Friday, January 2nd, 2015
Our essential business insights into choosing and using public relations
Don’t let the challenges of finding a PR agency keep you from enjoying the business benefits of successful public relations. Here’s our PR Starter Pack, an essential guide to finding the right fit.
IT’s ALL too easy for a company or service to make bold claims on websites that tell you lot of things you want to hear, but show very little evidence to back it up.
When thinking about hiring the services of a public relations agency, how can you ensure they will live up to their promises? We all want to work with people can be relied on to walk the walk, those with the elusive Ronseal quality and do exactly what it says on the tin.
That’s why we strive to be a show and tell PR agency, making it easy for anyone to match our actions and intentions against what we actually deliver. In other words, we walk the walk.
Here we help you see beyond the stuff that public relations consultants are happy to tell you, so that you can ask them to show you the stuff that’s really important.
ASK YOUR PR AGENCY ONE SIMPLE QUESTION – WHY?
TELL – Any self-respecting PR agency can explain what they do and how they do it.
For example if what they do is media relations, then how may be by issuing media releases to trusted journalists.
Congratulations! You now you have lots of agencies telling you that they all do similar things very well.
The problem is this: are you going to select whoever charges the least? Or will you decide that the most expensive agency must be the best? Maybe you’ll go for safety in numbers and simply choose the biggest, with the most staff?
SHOW – The best public relations agencies will be able to clearly explain why they do what they do – and that will tell you about the passions and beliefs that underpin the company.
That way you don’t just get a list of services and what they cost, you will get a very clear understanding of what drives and motivate them.
Best of all, once you understand what a PR agency believes, it becomes an awful lot easier to decide if that matches what you believe about doing business – and that way you’ll get a far better fit than choosing by cost or by size.
WALKING THE WALK – At Holyrood PR we can easily explain why we do what we do: we believe that well told stories are at the heart of the most successful businesses – and that those well told stories help improve the bottom line while making better places to work.
More, we demonstrate what we believe every day by telling our clients stories (and our own) on our website, on our YouTube channel, on social media and in a huge range of newspapers, magazines and online news sites.
POWERFUL PR WRITING
TELL – You’ll hear a lot about the importance of writing, with words like “incisive”, “insightful” and “impactful” being bandied around.
Which is all fair enough, since writing is at the very heard of all great communication.
However huge effort will have gone into those those carefully-crafted website landing pages. How can you be sure that is representative of the writing services you’ll receive as a client?
How can you tell there will be consistency across all your media releases, briefing documents, video scripts, picture captions and case studies and the wealth of other writing involved in promoting your business or service?
SHOW – Any quality public relations agency with genuine depth will long ago have left behind the days of static, brochure-style websites.
The very best will regularly update their website with fresh content via online newsrooms as well as blogs, where they can demonstrate expertise.
What’s more, if they practice what they preach, then they’ll also be communicating via social media channels, including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
All of which should allow you to assess their writing skills, whether you are a stickler for old-school grammar, a fan of short and punchy writing or looking for the kind of language that speaks to young, digital-savvy web users.
WALKING THE WALK – We’re so proud of the effort that goes into every media release at Holyrood Partnership that we upload them to our website – every day.
Just check our Home page over a week to see how much it changes.
We also blog regularly sharing insights and useful, actionable information about public relations.
We update our social media accounts every few hours and all of our staff hone their writing skills by working on scripts for our weekly video update, Holyrood PR TV.
All of which showcases our writing skills, while giving a bit more insight into the personalities in our team.
SOCIAL MEDIA AND PUBLIC RELATIONS
TELL – Most agencies will tell you they ‘do’ social media. That they understand Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn.
They probably do. These social media platforms are no longer shiny and new, so most people know their way around them.
But being able to read and write doesn’t make someone a PR professional – similarly there’s a bit more to business-grade communications on social media than being able to issue the occasional Tweet or update a Facebook status.
SHOW – If you’re running the rule over a PR agency with a view to working with them, make the time to thoroughly check their social media profiles.
How long have they been active? How often do they share content and how relevant and useful is that likely to be to potential clients – like you.
If you’re considering entrusting your business social media profile to be managed by a PR agency, then you want to be certain that agency makes a decent job of presenting themselves via social media.
If they don’t have a Facebook page, you’d do well to ask why they have spurned the most popular media channel on the planet? No LinkedIn business page? Again you’d be right to question why they’d fail to make the most of such a powerful business communications channel. And what self-respecting PR agency wouldn’t be active on Twitter, given its enormous appeal to journalists and other influencers?
WALKING THE WALK – On every meaningful social media platform we’ve been early adopters. In each case you’ll find them bursting with fresh, lively content. As well as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn we’re active and successful on YouTube, Pinterest, Google Plus and Instagram.
We deliver carefully planned content calendars for a range of clients and among our PR awards are accolades for social media success.
TRACK RECORD AND RESULTS
TELL – Typically PR agencies will be delighted to shout about how they have delivered successful campaigns, generating impressive coverage for delighted clients.
Likewise any campaign can be made to sound successful, without sharing any campaign objectives that were agreed or providing details of how they were met or exceeded.
SHOW – There are many ways the best public relations agencies actually demonstrate success. Look for those which have had their work earn awards from trusted professional bodies like the CIPR and the PRCA.
Testimonials can also be helpful – and the best will include a photograph of whoever is quoted, a helpful sign that the praise is honest and heartfelt.
PR agencies which are confident in their abilities will regularly provide case studies of success and crucially these will provide clear evidence of coverage achieved – and more importantly will show how they delivered bottom line benefits for the clients.
WALKING THE WALK – We are the only public relations agency in Scotland to put ALL of our results online. So you won’t just see a media release – you see all of the subsequent coverage it generates. How’s that for transparency?
Beyond that we also have a dedicated section for PR Case Studies which give exact details on campaign successes, from boosting a hotel’s bookings engine revenue by 40%, increasing a care watchdog’s website traffic by 48% and delivering hundreds of highly valuable, qualified leads to energy efficiency experts.
We have an entire section of our website dedicated to the awards we have won – including a coveted special award for measurement and evaluation.
Want to know more about how our PR agency in Edinburgh can help you?
If you are wrestling with how to choose a PR agency that’s right for your business, we hope this advice will help you whittle down the shortlist. But if you think Holyrood Partnership is the kind of public relations agency in Scotland you may be interested in working with, there are many ways to connect with us including on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.
Alternatively, you can call us now on 0131 561 2244 or fill in the form below and we’ll be delighted to get straight back to you:
Scott Douglas is the co-founder of the multi award-winning Holyrood Partnership, renowned public relations agency in Edinburgh, Scotland.
As well as providing expert PR services in Scotland and the UK, the former journalist heads a team which offers a host of other professional media services.
Those include crisis management PR, photography for business PR, affordable business video, social media campaigns and strategic content planning and delivery for businesses of all sizes.
So how can we help?
If you have any comments or questions, please contact us.