5 Things to Know When Partnering with a PR Agency
You’ve built your company from the ground up and worked to make sure your organization’s name is synonymous with quality, yet you’re still finding it difficult to earn the media coverage you desire and reach more customers.
Hiring a PR agency to help you spread the word about your successes and services is a great option, but is a large, jack-of-all-trades firm or a highly specialized agency the best suited to properly promote your brand?
Here are some things to consider when selecting a public relations agency to take your brand to the next level:
1. Does the agency speak my industry’s “language?”
One of things most business owners fail to consider when hiring a PR agency is whether the team can truly navigate their company’s industry and jargon. Just because a public relations agency is local to your business doesn’t mean they know enough about your industry to deliver your message in a genuine way. Choosing a public relations agency with proven experience in the spaces you serve can help you hit the ground running and ensure the partnership is a success.
2. Are you ready to brand your message?
Your company has a mission, a vision, goals and a target audience, but you don’t know how to parlay that into a brand. A good public relations agency knows how to create a cohesive story with consistent key messages that fit your vision and goals and attracts the right audience, from prospective employees to investors and potential customers. But remember, public relations and building a brand does not happen overnight. Just as it took years to build your company, it can take months or even years to build your brand into the undisputed top-of-mind choice for your target audiences.
3. What are your expectations?
A public relations agency cannot successfully function in a vacuum. Be prepared to have honest conversations with your team about the good, the bad and the ugly. Working with a PR agency is a partnership. While it is easy to tout your achievements, you should also be honest about opportunities, bad reviews or other issues that could arise once the media begins looking into your company. In fact, a good PR agency will also assist you in crisis management and can help you prepare for facing problems head-on before they even strike.
4. Do you have time to work with the agency’s team?
Most public relations agencies have account or brand managers who primarily work as your liaison, but you should also get to know the other members that will be working on your team. The more you or your other company leaders can convey your vision to the people who will be selling it, the more quickly their team can find your voice. A clarion heralding your brand is better able to break through the media juggernaut than a whisper of uncertainty can.
5. Are you prepared to listen to their advice?
Yes, you are the client, but you have hired a public relations agency for a reason. Just like your customers hire you because you are the expert in your field, you have hired the media gurus because they are experts in theirs. You may not always like the advice, but it is to your benefit.
It is most important to hire an agency you can trust and that is passionate about what you do. You cannot expect to have an agency that specializes in big corporate financing to understand the needs of a home services franchise.
Finally, make sure you can work with them on a personal level. Research their references to make sure their other customers are happy. The most successful partnerships are when humans interact with each other honestly and with respect.
Heather Ripley is the CEO & founder of Ripley PR and Orange Orchard, and the author of Next Level Now: PR Secrets to Drive Explosive Growth for Your Home Service Business. For more information, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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