Media coverage is as competitive as ever. To claim a stake of the coverage you might need to bring in a PR firm. It could be that you or your business has an in-house PR staff, but they are overworked. Perhaps you need a consultant to help polish your public branding and get results. Whatever the reason, it has occurred to you that it is time to bring in dedicated professionals.
Hiring a public relations firm is a time-consuming and detailed choice. Rushing into a decision could result in being forced into a long-term business relationship with a potentially lackluster firm, and no one wants that.
How to Hire a PR Firm
1) Research your Options
Spend time researching for the best public relations agency for your industry. Look for firms with clients that are similar to your business (size, profession, etc.). Remember that public relations is all about the relationships, so choose a relationship that will advance or improve your business.
2) Meet with the Firm
Request a meeting with the principals of the public relations firms you want to hire. In a perfect world you would request two meetings – one at your place and one at theirs. You need to find a public relations team that matches your corporate culture and understands your goals. Do you want to hire a public relations firm that is playful and creative, or do you prefer a firm that takes a sophisticated approach to your business?
3) Share your goals
So you made the hiring decision, and now you have expectations of the firm will produce for you. Share these expectations with your new PR firm before you hire them. Both you and your PR team need to have the same expectations before a misunderstanding happens.
4) Be open to counsel
You may have strong ideas as to how the relationship between you and the public relations firm should work, but remember that you are hiring public relations professionals. They have made PR their chosen career, and they have knowledge, insight, and experience that you lack. Make sure you listen to their advice and support them with availability and responsiveness.
At some point in the business relationship, you may feel engaged to your public relations firm. This is perfectly fine; moving forward in this way puts your public relations firm in charge. With your consent and approval, the public relations firm will feel free to work on the plan you all agreed to. This is also your opportunity to introduce your firm to the people important to your firm. Put your PR people in touch with key staff, important customers and industry contacts. These contacts are critical to inspiring your PR team.
After this careful research, you’ll be on your way to great media coverage with your new public relations firm. Take time to develop the relationship with support, evaluation and encouragement and you will benefit from a long and fruitful team-up.