Don’t rely on appearances when choosing a public relations firm.
Some companies hire their PR firms based solely on appearances. This includes hiring a firm because it has attractive employees and agents who wear specific business attire. While these companies put on an impressive first meeting, they’re often lacking substance. The same goes for using only the company’s website as a gauge in deciding your PR partner. You need criteria by which to make your decision.
We hear PR horror stories from current and prospective clients and even people we meet at networking events about their experiences with other PR agencies. They hired a PR firm based on its appearances – perhaps even unintentionally – and they’re often left disappointed. We consider that mistake #3 when hiring a PR firm, and you don’t want this to be you. Instead, hire a firm based on these four items:
Is it a fledgling PR firm or do the PR professionals have several years of experience? Are they versed in the type of PR you need – local, national, crisis, etc.?
- Case studies
Case studies are a great way to confirm a PR firm’s experience. Does the PR firm proactively promote its case studies or did you have to ask to see them? Does the PR firm include portfolio clips that actually showcase their success?
Do you have the ability to speak with current and past clients to hear their feedback from working with the PR firm? During the vetting process, ask the PR firm for a list of clients you can speak with.
Meet with the PR firm more than once so you have more than a first impression. We typically meet with prospective clients up to three times before beginning a business relationship – that includes phone calls, video calls, and in-person meetings.
While a little eye candy can be nice, it shouldn’t be the reason you hire a PR firm. Don’t fall into the trap of flashy clothes and the smokescreen of a beautifully created website. More often than not, your company won’t be pleased with the results. If you’re unhappy with your current PR firm, check out Axia Public Relations’ e-book How to Fire Your PR Firm. Then use our criteria to hire a great PR firm that fits your needs.
Marjorie Comer is an award-winning PR professional. She graduated from Rockhurst University with a Bachelor of Arts in communication and loves to cheer for her hometown Kansas City Royals. Marjorie has worked for Axia Public Relations since October 2011. Follow her on Twitter @Marjorie_Comer. Learn more about Marjorie Comer.
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