There are over 4,500 PR & communications agencies in the UK of varying sizes, experience and specialisms and finding the best-fit PR agency for your business can be challenging if you aren’t sure exactly what you are looking for.
Whether you are a growing start-up ready to take on an external PR agency for the first time or feel that your current agency isn’t getting the results you had hoped for, our team at Motive PR have outlined some quick tips to help you effectively streamline the selection process.
Businesses engaged in a relationship with a PR agency are far more likely to see great results when they choose an agency whose team, they have chemistry with. From this chemistry, the most effective working relationships are born.
When an agency really takes the time to understand your brand and agrees on clear desirable outcomes at the beginning of the relationship you know that you are on the right track to elevating your brand, winning media coverage in big publications, and building backlinks to boost SEO and sales.
Expertise and Specialities
Look through an agency's website to identify what services the agency provides and question them on their client roster and most successful campaigns to ascertain what kind of specialities the agency has.
This doesn’t mean instantly ruling out an agency just because they have primarily worked with clients from other sectors than your own. A strong agency will have the skillset, experience, and know-how to help you achieve your objectives even if their past clients don’t primarily come from your sector.
Experience and Referees
Investigate past clients that the agencies under consideration have worked for by reading successful case studies on their websites. As well as reading about demonstrations of impressive results, go that step further and actually speak to past and current clients. Being able to speak with a client about their experiences first-hand will provide direct insight and help you make the right decision.
Accreditation and Awards
Look into what awards the agency has won, how recently and for which clients. This will give you a strong indication of their industry reputation and performance.
Consider the backgrounds of senior staff and their academic and professional qualifications. Having a team of trained journalists working for you is going to give you a much better chance of landing coverage in key target publications.
It can also be worth considering whether the agency has CIPR accreditation– this being the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, the UK’s industry body for the PR sector. Perhaps the team has members with accredited PR Practitioner qualifications to go alongside their academic qualifications.
Enquire whether the working style of the agency will be compatible with your company’s approach. Ask how you will receive progress reports so that you can stay updated on results. This is particularly important for long-term working relationships.
Level of Input
Do you want to leave pretty much all to ideation and decision-making to your new agency, with just one individual at your company approving releases? Or do you want a more collaborative relationship? A closer relationship will help to keep tour broader marketing and PR messaging aligned. Being upfront about what level of involvement you would prefer will give you a clearer indication if a proposed agency partner fits the bill.
Bear in mind the size of the agencies you are looking into. While larger PR firms tend to have larger networks, staff numbers and client diversity, smaller agencies often offer more direct and personalised services and can be more cost-effective too. Working with a close-knit team that takes the time to understand your business needs may be more valuable than being under the wind of a larger agency.
A final note to consider is of course budget. Make sure the agency you choose is taking the time to understand your needs and putting a plan in place that makes your budget work hard, delivering results.
If you use the strategies outlined above you will have more chance of partnering with an agency that is a great fit for you, allowing you to focus on a long-term arrangement that will bear fruit sooner rather than chopping and changing, losing ground in the process.