So, you’ve decided you need an agency to help you win media coverage and juicy backlinks to boost your website? You may have worked with an agency in the past or it might be the first time you have decided to appoint one.
Either way, it can be a challenging time when you take the decision to work with an external company. There are several factors to consider in order to ensure you make the right choice.
With hundreds of PR agencies to choose from across the UK, there will be dozens of questions you could ask prospective companies - here at Motive we have come up with five key things which are important to find out.
These questions analyse budgets and campaign evaluation - fundamental things which must be discussed at the outset. But they are not the only ones. Understanding more about the PR agency and how it can help you to achieve your organisation’s aims and objectives is critical before selecting who you are going to work with.
Here are five key questions identified by Motive to explore as you embark on your search.
1 - What is the PR company’s track record?
It’s important to learn more about previous successes the agency has been involved with. The bottom line of any PR campaign is impact - you need to be confident the firm you appoint has a track record of delivering on its promises for other clients. What KPIs were set, how were these met and how do the other companies they work with measure up against their competitors in the marketplace? Has the company won any industry awards - providing industry recognition for its efforts and expertise? If so are they credible or simply vanity awards (gongs anyone can buy)?
2 - What budgets are you working with?
Are you looking for a short campaign, or to work with an agency on a long term basis? What sort of PR tools would you like to see employed? Will your campaign be largely digitally-based in terms of the written word, or is there scope for infographics, surveys, video and animation for example. Do you want to engage with influencers or to host industry round table discussions? Is your company going to invest in PR from one central budget, or have funds been identified from individual marketing streams in different areas of the company?
3 - What does success look like?
How does the PR company plan to measure success? What sort of goals and objectives do they propose to set at the outset of your work with them, and will they review these on a regular basis? The PR industry is a fast-moving, innovative landscape, with different mechanisms to measure ROI being explored all the time. How ‘ahead of the curve’ does this agency appear to be? Does it’s definition of success chime with current industry thinking? At Motive all clients are given a MAP - Motive Action Plan - which sets out objectives, tactics and KPIs and agrees exactly what success will look like so there's no confusion or misunderstandings on what we're trying to achieve.
4 - How flexible is the agency?
Remember the beginning of 2020? We all had our grand plans for how the year was going to be shaped and what we were going to do. PR agencies were no different. And then the pandemic hit.
So just how agile and adaptable to change is the PR agency you are in discussions with? Can they change gear in a heartbeat to meet the current needs and trends of your business? Are they confident to try new things to maximise the effectiveness of your PR campaign if needed?
5 - Are they effective at building professional relationships which last?
PR is all about relationships. From the word go.
How do you feel your initial discussions have gone with this PR agency? Are you left feeling energised and enthusiastic about their plans or is there already a disconnect? Do they get you and your business? Do they understand your mission and objectives and are they prepared to go the extra mile to develop long-lasting and productive professional relationships where you can work positively and collaboratively in partnership to get where you want to be? Listen to your gut - is this a company you want to work with?
Motive has a strong track record of helping a wide range of organisations to meet their objectives. We’ve been named as the Small PR Consultancy of the Year for the Midlands (CIPR, 2021) and we would love to hear from you to see how we could help your company.