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Effective Public Relations Marketing: The Wise Way to Pick a PR Agency

A well-planned and implemented public relations marketing campaign can define the success or failure of your company. In fact, you may be able to achieve a high percentage of your business goals with only this approach.

The value of PR should not be underestimated as it can strengthen your brand image and authority while attracting new customers and investors. When done correctly, public relations proves potent at increasing brand awareness overall.

PR Done right
What does it really mean to “do PR” correctly? The meaning tends to change substantially from one organisation or individual to the next. The right approach may depend on numerous elements, including goals, industry, the current standing of the brand, and more. In addition to this, brands tend to evolve over time as they go through fluctuations in success and popularity. The trick is to develop a PR strategy that caters to all such changes simultaneously – fluidity is key.

Consider the case of Skoda, for example. A brand that has been around for more than a century, navigating  many ups and downs in its popularity.

In the 1920’s the Skoda brand was very successful, but it came to suffer the rough side of British humour. The negativity caused the brand to weaken as its competitors grew stronger, but a wise PR strategy proved sufficient in revitalising the profitability of the brand.

Getting PR right can be complex; therefore not all who have tried it have experienced great results. When you rely on a third-party to do the job, the amount of benefit you’ll see will depend on the agency or expert you choose. With so much value and your future success at stake, it would be foolish to trust your PR to the wrong party. Here, we look at some considerations you should make before choosing a PR Agency for your business.

Budget Considerations to Make Before You Start Searching
Proper planning almost always precedes success. Know what outcomes you expect before checking out lists of public relations agencies and have your goals well plotted. Also, be sure to assess the current environment and status of your brand and its popularity. What do you hope to achieve through your PR efforts? How will it benefit you?

The budget is another important thing to consider at the start. It’s wise to consider the fact that many businesses are increasing the share of their marketing budget that is devoted to PR, and you may want to follow the trend to be competitive. For example, of the average £10-million marketing budget from UK companies, approximately £500,000 to £1 million goes to PR.

Effective PR isn’t always cheap but nor does it have to be too expensive. Be sure to budget carefully because you do not want to make a purely price-based decision when choosing a PR agency. Although you may only be a small business at this point, you may want to find out how much the top relations firms charge and use that information to help you create an appropriate budget.

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Keep in mind that many PR firms offer a variety of payment plans in order to make it easier for their customers to afford their services, however, a monthly retainer is the most cost effective.

3 Fundamental Qualities of Any Top-Notch PR Firm
Should you rely on the popularity of a PR agency to determine if it is the one to choose? Some do it this way, and it does not work out to well for them. The problem is that there’s no such thing as “one-size-fits-all” when it comes to PR services. Instead, the success of your public relations efforts will be heavily dependent on how well the firm you choose can satisfy the unique needs of your brand. The agency or expert that is right for you might not be the one that is at the top of their industry, but the one that is most in sync with your brand.  Still, there are some qualities that must be considered inherent in the right PR company.

1. Reputation
A PR agency should be great at handling their own brand image. After all, if they lack the insight and skill to build up and maintain their own brand, what use are they to you?

2. Connections
Consider the channels they can get you into. PR is not just about being featured in a major media outlet, although it can be great to have that type of exposure. What if the majority of your target audience does not read those newspapers or watch those channels? The company you choose should give you the type of reach that can allow you to enjoy a nice return on investment from your efforts, whether that is through print, the web or social media.

3. Customer Service
When you become the customer of just about any PR agency, you will most likely be assigned an account manager or another representative who will deal with your company directly. They will be your primary contact person at the firm and building a good relationship with this person is vital. As part of the screening process for potential agencies, ask to meet the person that will dealing with your account and ask them about their experience and plans for your brand – this is a step often ignored by smaller businesses to their detriment.
Are You Bold Enough to Pick a Winner?

Many business owners do not have to be convinced of the value of a great PR campaign, yet a high percentage do not put enough focus on this aspect of brand building. This is often because they adhere to the misconception that it takes a huge budget to get professional PR services. What really matters is that you choose the right service provider to fulfil the PR needs of your brand. With a clear focus on well-defined goals and an insistence on the agency having certain qualities, you’re sure to experience more success that choosing the first agency that crosses your path.