Finding a public relations firm for your company can be very difficult, especially since there are countless naysayers that completely object to the idea of a small business hiring a PR firm. A PR firm won’t magically give your company the sales and attention that you want, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t help. If you do decide to hire a PR firm, you must first find out a few things:
1. Other Options
Many business leaders will tell you that a PR firm is a waste of money and that you can simply do everything by yourself. But time is money and doing everything single-handedly can end up costing you precious time that could otherwise be spent doing something more important. You could hire in-house, but you may not necessarily get the results you desire.
2. Your Budget
How much are you really willing to spend on your PR? The more money you put into it, the more money you hope to get back. If your PR firm helps you become wildly successful, then your budget isn’t something you really need to worry about. But it’s best to stay on the safe side. Determine how much you are willing to spend and find out if a PR agency can work with such a budget.
3. Your Goals
What do you hope to gain from hiring a PR company? More “likes” on Facebook? More clients? More people shopping at your store? Make sure that you have a list of goals you want to achieve and then determine how your PR agency will help you achieve those goals. Determine how you will measure the effectiveness of the PR firm by coming up with a set of reliable metrics.
4. The Size of the PR Firm
A large PR firm will be far more likely to give your company the reach you want by tapping into global markets and contacting some of the biggest names in the industry. However, a smaller PR firm might bring a more personal and focused approach with an emphasis on the niche market of your company. It would also likely be much cheaper and more affordable.
5. Their Expertise
How experienced is the PR firm that you are hiring? Are they well-versed in your company’s industry, and do they know your target audience very well? Have they worked with similar companies in the past? Needless to say, you want someone who knows what they’re doing.
6. Their Social Media Knowledge
In an age where companies are consistently making huge social media blunders, it pays to have someone who is well-versed within that landscape. Make sure that your PR firm can adequately handle any social media accounts and post interesting content that can go viral.
7. Their Schedule
If you have to meet with your PR firm on a consistent basis, it helps if they have a flexible schedule and that both parties can easily contact each other. A PR firm that operates in a different time zone might not be the best idea because the communication could become inconsistent and erratic. It might be most helpful if you can find someone in your area who can come in for meetings.
8. Your Expectations
Make sure you have realistic expectations. One decent PR company won’t turn you into a billionaire overnight. Know that hiring a PR firm won’t necessarily make you rich or have any sort of effect at all. Find out what the PR firm can do for you and ask them what sort of results you can expect from them.
A PR firm can give any company the much needed marketing boost that will drive up sales and thrust your company into the spotlight. However, like any major business decision, there are risks and challenges that one must consider. Review your company’s wants and needs to best determine how to make the PR firm work best to your advantage.