Have you been thinking about how to hire a PR firm?
Maybe your competitors are enjoying more media coverage than you are. Maybe you’re seeking a professional media guru to advise, counsel and provide results. Maybe your in-house staff is overworked with events, publications, social media and more. Maybe it’s just time to get the professional help you need.
Hiring a public relations firm is less like dating than like old-fashioned courting. Think about it: Would you rather spend three hours (dinner and a movie) with lots of good-looking firms or cultivate a lasting and fruitful relationship with just one?
How to Hire a PR Firm
1. Research your options
Spend time researching the best public relations firms for your industry. Look for firms with clients of the same or higher caliber than your business. Check out public relations firms who manage the campaigns of your clients or prospective clients. Remember that public relations is all about the relationships, so choose a relationship that will lead you forward – into the door of your next client.
2. Meet with the principals
Request a meeting with the principals of your prospective public relations firms. Ideally, request two meetings – one at your place and one at theirs. The principals need to understand your culture and team structure in order to provide you with responsive and timely public relations services. You need to find a public relations team that matches your corporate culture. Do you want to hire a public relations firm that is playing air hockey while thinking of creative angles, or do you prefer a firm that values a thoughtful, sophisticated approach to production?
3. Share your goals
You’ve made the plan to hire a public relations firm, so you must have expectations of what will result from that relationship. Share these expectations with your new public relations firm before you hire them. In fact, write down your expectations so you can refer to them later.
4. Be open to counsel
You may have strong ideas as to how the campaign should develop, but remember that you are hiring public relations professionals to do what they do best. Be open to their ideas and support them with availability, information and responsiveness. Your support is important during the selection process and will be critical during all public relations campaigns.
At some point in the courting process, you may feel inclined to become engaged to your public relations firm. Moving forward in this way puts your public relations firm in the driver’s seat. Now, they are able to step out and proclaim your story to media contacts and earn the media coverage your firm needs to enhance marketing efforts and improve sales. This engagement is also your opportunity to introduce your public relations firm to the important people in your firm’s life. Put your PR people in touch with key staff, important customers and industry contacts. Every introduction is another goldmine of story ideas for the public relations firm.
After this careful research and courtship process, you’ll be on your way to outstanding media coverage with your new public relations firm. Take time to nurture the relationship with support, evaluation and encouragement and you will benefit from a long and productive connection.