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What you should know about the process of working with a PR firm

By Lisa Goldsberry

28380600_sLearn what to expect and how to choose the right one for you

PR is everywhere. In order for people to know about your company and trust you enough to purchase from you, you need PR.

If you have decided that your in-house PR staff could use some extra help or you believe that a PR firm is best suited to give you an edge over the competition, you’ve come to the right blog. Still, you may have some questions about how to choose a PR firm and how the whole process works. Axia Public Relations is here to help.

What you need to know before hiring a PR agency

The PR firm you choose should be a good match in terms of company culture, size and team structure. It should have other clients of the same or higher caliber than your company. Additionally, its style should be similar to yours. For instance, do you want a PR agency with a lighthearted and casual approach to work or one that’s more serious and traditional?

Like everything else in business and life, hiring a PR firm involves building a solid relationship. You will need to share your goals, be open to new ideas and learn to trust your firm’s counsel. Therefore, it’s important for both your company and the PR agency to spend the time necessary to get to know each other. In hiring a PR firm, we recommend at least 30-60 days spent on this pursuit.

During this time, the PR firm should create a plan of action for how it will tackle your PR needs. This plan should be flexible, include measurable objectives and be viewed as a living document.

A good PR firm will also provide regular progress reports as well as plan quarterly strategy sessions and outcome meetings to discuss what’s going well and areas that might need some adjustment. It is vital to remember that PR is a process, not a one-and-done arrangement.

Even if you hire a PR agency for a specific issue, like fixing negative reviews online, you will likely see the best outcomes when you develop a comprehensive, proactive reputation management program. For better long-term results, you should include PR in your overall strategic plan.

Questions to ask a PR firm

How much does it cost to work with your PR agency? It’s not about choosing the cheapest (you get what you pay for) so you should look for where you will get the best value for your money. Also, you should be aware that the return on investment when hiring a PR firm can be significantly less if you opt for in-house staff, especially when you factor in costs like benefits, training and unproductive time.

How do you measure success? The firm should be thinking about measurement from the beginning and be able to develop key metrics for determining and achieving your goals.

How will you use social media and emerging technology for our account? Your PR firm should realize the importance of social media for global business today, how to use it to your best advantage and be able to provide examples of past work related to the subject. In addition, it should be on top of the latest trends and technology and know how to apply them to your business.

How much support will I receive and who will be working on my account? Some PR firms like to parade all their big dogs through in initial meetings and then assign one junior member to actually work on your account. Find out how responsive your team will be and whom you will deal with on a daily basis.

The importance of getting it right

The PR firm you select can be vital to the future of your business. It will be the strategic partner you choose to increase your media coverage, improve your reputation, handle any crisis that arises and help you boost sales.

Axia Public Relations has the necessary expertise and tools to be your PR firm. Contact us today or download our e-book Maximizing Your Public Relations Investment to learn how we can contribute to your success.

New Call-to-action Lisa-G-bw-new-3Lisa Goldsberry is a writer for Axia Public Relations with more than 15 years of public relations experience. She specializes in business, higher education and technology PR. Connect with Axia Public Relations on Twitter 
Featured image credit: 123rf.com

Topics: public relations

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