How to Hire the Best Public Relations Firm for Your Company

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More than 49,707 public relations firms are currently employed and putting their skills to work for companies like yours. If you want to maintain a competitive edge over your competition, you must hire the services of a public relations firm.

Not sure how to find the right public relations agency? Our guide is not only going to make it easier to find a public relations firm near you; it’s going to ensure you find the right firm for your specific business needs.

What Does a Public Relations Agency Do?

First things first, a PR firm is responsible for handling the companies reputation using various forms of communication. They are the department responsible for communicating directly with the press.

No statement or interview is conducted without the public relations agency knowing about it. This ensures that everything portrayed to the media about your company is quality and improves your overall reputation.

PR firms have two goals; the first is to increase your brand awareness. With an increase in brand awareness, more people will recognize your brand, and its products and services.

The second goal is to manage the companies reputation, as mentioned above. For example, if you’ve got a less than satisfactory reputation, a public relations firm can help you improve this through a series of calculated interactions with the media.

Public relations firms offer several different services to the companies they work with, including:

At one time or another, your company had to deal with a crisis. The public relations firm will be responsible for helping you devise a plan to gain control and overcome this crisis before it causes severe damage to the company. 

The relations firm can also help you develop a social media plan to increase followers and follower engagement. The more engagement your brand receives via its social media accounts; the more people will visit your website to learn more about the services you offer.

With a better understanding of what public relations firms do, it’s time to get into finding the right one to work with.

Set Your Goals

The first step in finding the best public relations firm is defining the company’s objectives. What do you hope the PR firm will help you accomplish?

What does the PR firm bring to your company? Everything you do as a business owner should add value to your company with every decision you make.

We suggest taking time to create SMART objectives or goals. SMART stands for developing specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound goals.

The more specific your goals are, the easier it will be to find a PR firm that has experience in helping past clients achieve them. Your goals should also be measurable because if you can’t measure them, how will you know if the strategy implemented is working.

Next, your goals need to be relevant because, just like a trend, you’ll fall behind your competitors if you don’t stay relevant as a company. Lastly, the goals need to be time-bound. 

Are these goals you want to achieve this quarter or a year from now? 

Do Your Research

It’s essential to do your research because not all PR firms specialize in the same things or are good at what they do. Take your time to gather information about each PR firm and its reputation.

You can do this by:

  • Reviewing the services they offer and the price
  • Read past client testimonials
  • Browse their social media accounts
  • Speak directly with references

If there are any red flags you need to know about, you’ll find them at some point as you perform your research. We recommend taking a look at their company job board.

BY doing this, you’ll gain insight into the techniques the company uses and focuses on. Based on their job board, you’ll also begin to understand better what their specialization is.

Another reason to keep an eye on their social media accounts and other announcement boards is that it gives you information about how they take care of the public relations activities for their own company.

If they cannot perform appropriately for themselves, the chances of them providing your company with quality services are low. Lastly, don’t forget to review the shareholder letter.

This will show you how much strength the company has financially, which is essential because it shows how reputable the company is. If the PR firm isn’t reputable, it’s not going to be the firm you want to move forward with.

Decide on a Budget

Before you take the first step in finding a PR firm, you need to decide on the budget dedicated to hiring one. As you create the budget, think about the goals you wish to achieve and consider any hidden costs that come along with hiring a PR firm.

Keep in mind that your marketing budget will be used for other things later. There are several areas of marketing that companies dedicate funds towards.

The better your market efforts, the higher your ROI will be in the long run if your marketing strategies are implemented in the right way.

Therefore you want to ensure the amount you’re dedicating towards hiring a public relations firm agency won’t be wasted.

As you move forward with your budget, don’t forget to keep track of everything you spend. This can be used in the future to cut down on costs after you review which services are necessary to achieve your goals.

Form a List of Questions & Meet

At some point in the selection process, you’ll start to meet with each PR firm before making your final decision. Before these meetings, create a list of questions you’ll want to be answered during the meeting.

You should ask questions about things like:

  • Price of services
  • Expertise or specialization of the company
  • Prior company success

If the company has never succeeded while working with other businesses, they likely aren’t going to help you achieve the goals you’ve created. You’ll also want to ensure the prices of the services offered will align with the budget you’ve been given to work with. 

After creating your list of questions, you can start setting up your meetings. As you ask and have your questions answered, track which firms you have the most chemistry with.

Although you’re asking questions, it should still feel like a flowing conversation instead of an interview. It’s always better to work with firms you mesh well with because it will reduce the chances of friction and clashes personality-wise later down the road.

After you’ve met with each firm, take some time to compare the proposals each have submitted to you. Ensure the one you choose provides you with what you need completely at a price you’re willing to pay.

Begin the Onboarding Process

You’ve found the public relations agency you wish to work with, and you’re asking yourself now what? The next step is to begin the onboarding process with the firm.

Figure out who within the firm will act as your point of contact. You’ll contact this person whenever you have questions about changes that need to be made, and they will contact you as well.

Also, determine how often you’ll meet with your point of contact to be updated on changes and actions that have been taken towards meeting your company goals. Earlier, we detailed as you set your goals; they needed to be measurable.

How will the public relations firms track the progress of the strategies they’ve implemented. If the strategy or plan can’t be measured, there is no point in using it because you won’t understand if you’re achieving what you’d hoped to achieve.

It might take some time to get into a groove, but as you continue to work with the PR firm, you’ll get used to checking in with them and sitting down for these meetings.

Set Your Expectations

Before you hire a public relations firm, you need to set your expectations. These expectations will ensure you don’t settle for subpar work or less than what you’ve agreed to.

Without setting expectations, you could end up paying for more services than you need or not obtaining the quality of work you were expecting after agreeing to work with the company.

Finding the Right Public Relations Firm

It’s no secret that a public relations firm can do wonders for your company, but that’s if you find the right one. Take the time to do some research on the background of the PR company, and don’t forget to define your budget before hiring one.

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