When you shortlist a PR firm, you do so on the basis of its sector knowledge, its understanding of your objectives and the pitch it makes. However, though the firm maybe technically competent, you still need to evaluate whether it is the right one for you. Here some questions to ponder:
What do their existing clients feel?
Naturally you cannot ask the clients how they feel. But you can make an educated guess based on the following information:
What is the average number of years clients stay with the PR firm?
How much repeat business has it earned from existing clients?
Has the size of its client’s accounts increased over time?
Are industry leaders giving business to this firm?
Do you like their previous work?
A good PR firm writes clear, concise press releases that are free of jargon and easily understandable to those outside the client’s industry. Check the previous work of the PR firms you shortlist to see if they meet this yardstick. If they don’t, avoid the firm as it may not â€œconnectâ€ with the press, and you will not get the coverage you need.
Is there a cultural fit between your enterprise and the PR firm?
A good PR firm will let you meet the people who will actually handle your account. Check out if you are comfortable dealing with them, as you will need to interact with them almost daily. Seek people who are enthusiastic, quick learners, charming and easy to deal with and possess a can-do attitude.
What does the press say about them?
If you have any contacts in the media, ask them about the PR firm you shortlist. Does the firm have a good relationship with the media? Are they known to be proactive and reliable? How often do they keep in touch with the media? These answers will help you determine whether the PR firm has the necessary clout.
How important is your account to the PR firm?
A big PR firm with a well established business may not be what you really need. If the firm you shortlist is very large with lots of big accounts, your enterprise may get lost in the clutter. Your brand may not get the attention it needs. A smaller firm could be eager for your business and motivated to prove their worth.
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