You've put in all the time and effort building your company. You know that your technology and brand story is a major differentiator, and that having the right PR agency partner will raise your awareness and credibility, catapult you to the next level, help get your story out, earn you positive media raves, and compel your prospects to buy from you and partner with you.
You know the timing is right to bring on board a trusted PR agency. But how do you choose the agency that’s right for you? Asking the following five questions might just get you closer to your ideal agency!
1. What is Their Track Record for Helping Companies Like Yours?
Finding a PR firm that has helped companies like yours is helpful. Look at companies that the agency has on their past and present roster. Are they from your or related industries? Are they startups or Fortune 500s? If you are an AI startup, agencies with applicable AI experience will understand your offerings and ramp up more quickly, but equally important, it means that your team will have relationships with reporters at the media outlets where you want to be featured. Treat the agency’s track record like a portfolio and prediction of how the agency will work with your company.
2. Can They Strategize? Can They Execute?
Is your agency a team of strategic thinkers that can devise the best programs that will take you to your end goal? Check! That's great, but a strategy is only one part of the equation. Mike Roach, CEO of CGI, a 31,000-person IT firm, once told an MBA class that "Strategy without execution is hallucination!" He’s right. All the strategy in the world is useless without proper execution. An agency should also be able to roll up their sleeves and do all the heavy lifting that a strategic plan requires. Be sure that in addition to knowing how to guide and position you in a crowded marketplace, the agency has the know-how and resources to get great results!
3. Do They have an Integrated Approach to PR and Marketing?
Can the agency do more than PR? In today’s digital age, a PR firm who is evolving with the times will also have an integrated approach that expands their wheelhouse. Not only should they be focused on strategy, media and blogger relations, they should also be able to comfortably create and drive content marketing such as blogs, white papers, ebooks, webinars, email marketing, social media, and more. While it's important to go to your agency to secure media coverage, you want them to be able to help draw eyeballs and prospective customers and partners via other channels too.
4. Will They be a Good Cultural Fit?
Chemistry is key! You’ll be working together day to day, so the agency should feel like an extension of the in-house team rather than an intrusive force. Be sure you understand what they stand for and that it closely aligns with your values. If you’re looking for creative ideas for your programs, look at their past work to see if it aligns with your thoughts. Do you trust them? Are they genuine? Can you see yourself having a little fun with them? No matter how smart they are or the great results they get, if you don’t like them, you won’t be working with them in six months.
5. Who Will be on My Team?
This is important: during your initial meetings with a potential PR firm, you will often meet with either the agency’s principals or a senior-level director. However, upon signing, you may find your account has been allocated to a junior-level member of the team. So, beware. This is known as the "bait and switch," which sometimes happens at big agencies. Smaller agencies, however, typically have a concentration of experienced members who run the day-to-day account work. It’s important to ascertain from the get-go who on the team would be responsible for your account, and that you feel that you can entrust your PR program to these individual team members.
Finding the right PR and marketing agency can be a challenge but asking these five questions will help you get closer to the one. If you'd like a sounding board as you consider your options, sign up for a complimentary consultation by clicking the link below. To keep up to date on SKC PR and other industry news, follow us on LinkedIn.