Searching for a stellar public relations agency? Here’s how to get the perfect start
Friday, January 2nd, 2015
How to lay the right groundwork when looking for business PR partners
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.
THE most important and most expensive purchases deserve the greatest consideration.
In business, public relations falls into this camp, generally requiring a long-term financial investment that will deliver significant returns.
If you are considering PR for your business for the first time, it pays to determine exactly what you want, what you are prepared to pay to get it – so that you can find the right people to deliver the results.
Here is our essential business guide to help you get the fundamentals right when you launch your search for the ideal public relations agency.
What is your PR budget?
It’s far better to be absolutely up front about your budget and exactly how much you are prepared to invest.
Would you waste hours haggling with a Porsche salesman over the reductions available on a £100,000 dream machine, when in fact you only have £15,000 to spend?
Similarly there will be enormous differences between a £100,000 PR campaign and a £15,000 public relations push.
It’s best not to waste anybody’s time by setting the wrong expectations.
Put simply, you’ll get the best result for your money when your PR agency knows exactly what budget they are working with, as the campaign will be tailored appropriated to deliver the best bang for your buck.
The best public relations agencies will also be able to explain exactly how they charge – and will have clear rates, usually payable by the hour or by the day.
What are your PR objectives?
You are more likely to enjoy a successful public relations experience if you have a clear goal from the outset.
For example, you may want an instant profile boost in the local media to help you recruit more staff at a key time of years – exactly the kind of challenge a PR agency can help with.
However, that would be very different from a long-term public relations campaign to build influence to support a planning application for a potentially contentious development.
That in turn would be completely different from planning and delivering nationwide consumer PR campaign to shift more widgets.
It’s not only the outcomes which are radically different in each of these cases – the tone, content, audience and messaging would also be vastly different for each.
To be as effective as possible, every aspect of your public relations campaign should be shaped to meet your objectives and the most reputable and best PR agencies in Scotland – like Holyrood PR in Edinburgh – will work with you to help refine your objectives.
How will you measure the results?
When you set clear objectives, it also makes it easier to measure and evaluate success.
For instance, in the examples above it would be possible to look at the number of job applicants, the number of supportive messages for a planning application and the number of widgets sold – and measure them against previous results which did not have PR support.
Everyone wants to make sure they are getting value for money and a decent return on investment.
For decades public relations agencies have wrestled with the best ways to demonstrate success.
The truth is that it remains very difficult, because PR is about influence and reputation – both difficult to quantify concepts.
However, the best agencies will work with you to come up with metrics that are tied to your business objectives.
Some examples include key message penetration, website traffic and inquires generated among many others.
Such evaluation is extremely important – so it is worth making the effort to properly evaluate the methods offered by any public relations agency you are considering.
We hope these initial points are useful in helping you research and choose a public relations agency to work with.
We’d be delighted if you chose to check out our PR case studies to find out more about the work we do and the results we have achieved for our clients.
Find out more about how PR can benefit your business.
Have a few more questions about how PR could benefit your business? We would love to help you answer them. You can contact us now on 0131 561 2244 or you can fill in the form below and we will get right back to you.
THE PR PUZZLE – You’ll never be baffled by PR again. This lively guide – featuring real businesses you’ll recognise – explains the main pieces of the PR jigsaw and how they fit together. So you can work out exactly what services you need and how you want to apply them.
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.
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