If you’re thinking of working with a PR agency, having a solid brief for your prospective partners should be high on your priority list.
An agency needs to fully understand your business to be able to give you recommendations on how a PR campaign will look and work for you.
And it’s not just understanding your business but the sector you operate in too. Perhaps you're in the food and drink sector, fashion or financial? Whatever sector your company operates in PR can get you noticed.
There are some essential pieces of information every agency will need - a good understanding of your business, who your key customers are and an indication of the budget you have set aside for PR are just a few of them.
Here’s Motive’s advice on what to include in your brief a prospective PR partner:
Be prepared to share details on your business with a prospective PR agency. They’ll want to know about your business objectives, where your business currently is and where you want to be in the future. Sharing this information means the agency can design a campaign which is aligned to the wider goals of your business.
What makes you stand out from your competitors? What is your point of difference? This piece of information can help shape a good campaign.
Your key demographic
Who’s buying your product or service? Who’s your key customer? Making it clear to your PR agency at the outset who you’re trying to reach will make campaign planning and success a much smoother process. Some companies will have a huge demographic others will be very niche, but being clear on who they are is vital.
Give details on who your main competitors are. This helps an agency carry out some competitor analysis and allows them to truly understand the sector you operate in.
The agency will be able to see which media sites have covered your competitors and will allow them to get started on replicating any links for you.
Are you doing any other marketing activity that an agency will need to factor in? This could mean tying social and PR activity, or it could be a press release to tie in with a mailshot going out to customers.
First of all, how long does an agency have to put a pitch document together for you? More importantly, what period of time will the prospective PR campaign run over? A 12 month retained campaign certainly gives more scope than a one month project.
Goals and KPIs:
What are you looking to achieve with the PR activity? Is it brand building or do you want to raise awareness of a new product or service? Do you want the agency to put you forward for awards? Is it media coverage you are seeking? If so what titles matter most, national or regional? Does online coverage matter? How important are backlinks into your website? Being clear from the outset what you’re looking for will make the process of finding the right agency so much more simple. Don’t be afraid to suggest numbers. If you want 10 links from high authority sites with DR over 30 then say so. If you won’t be happy with less than 100 then specify that. If it’s a spread in the Daily Telegraph you dream of then mention that as a particular target.
Being as precise as possible will help the agency to cost the campaign and it will ensure you are both on the same page and both understand what success will look like.
At Motive we provide every client with a MAP - Motive Action Plan. It’s a very simple document which specifies our goals and objectives for the campaign along with our tactics and KPIs. Having an action plan that both our team and the client team can easily refer to ensures we’re all pulling in the same direction and are all keenly aware of expectations.
This bit is really important. PR agencies will plan campaigns around the budget available so do have a sum in mind that you can commit to. The figure doesn’t have to be exact at the outset but even giving a guide price gives an agency some idea of the investment into PR.
Many prospective clients are tempted to leave this blank but doing so is only likely to waste time - both the client’s and the agency’s. There’s little point in an agency suggesting an incredible campaign costing six figures if the client only has a few grand to spend. So giving an indication of budget up front really is a must.