How to Hire a Public Relations Firm
Do you think you might need help in marketing and public relations to get your company or brand to the next level? There are numerous reasons to contract a marketing and public relations expert, but you need to have a defined objective, a general idea of your needs, a budget range, an open mind, and trust in the person or company that you hire.
Do you need to hire a public relations expert?
We’ve represented clients for a myriad of reasons. Some clients just don’t have the marketing savvy themselves and want to hire an expert to lead the way, while other clients have been doing a great job on their own marketing but realize that time is limited and their labor would be better used elsewhere. Some clients already have in-house PR and marketing teams, and just want niche experts, whether for a specific service or region. Vice versa, other clients have a solid local campaign but want to grow their brand to the next level nationally. What is your purpose for contracting help?
Factors BEFORE interviewing your next PR Pro.
You will obviously need to do some homework before hiring a publicist or PR firm. Here are a few ideas and questions to consider to help you get started.
What is your goal? Is it a short-term project (such as an event) or a long-term campaign? Note that publicists often have a monthly minimum of six months to a year. Even a short-term project for an event may have a monthly minimum of at least three months due to media deadlines.
Educate yourself. Learn a little about the public relations industry before interviewing candidates. Google “Marketing” and “Public Relations” for descriptions, services offered, and general pricing. Are you looking for a digital marketing campaign, social media, or media relations campaign? For instance, our firm excels in media relations, social media management, community outreach. Strategic partnerships, influencer and ambassador relations, grassroots marketing, and events and activations.
Do your homework. Ask other business owners for PR recommendations. If you see a brand that has an inspiring public relations campaign, call them, and ask who did it. Then look at PR firms’ web sites and social media pages to see what services are offered, their clientele, achievements, and character. We actually spend HOURS researching your company, industry, and competitors in order to write and present your proposal. Do the same, so that you can have an educated conversation with PR candidates to find out who is the best fit for your company.
Have a budget range in mind. Is it under $5,000? Under $25,000? Under $100,000? Realize that the more services you request, the more it is going to cost. Period. And you know the term “you get what you pay for?” Unfortunately, it is often true with PR. If someone comes in with a low bid, the results are probably going to be inferior, and in our opinion, a wasted investment.
Now for the Interview
We suggest limiting your interview process to three to five candidates. After all, you’ve done your research and have visited their web sites and social media pages, and you like what you see so far!
Usually the first step is to request a phone interview to see if you both are interested and a good fit. We suggest allotting 30-45 minutes for this initial interview. Have a clear plan going in. Prepare a list of questions in advance. Some questions might include:
How long have you been in business?
How many people are on your team?
What services do you offer?
What is your area of expertise?
How do you measure success?
Have you worked with a company with a similar background as mine?
Can you provide case studies of former clients with similar objectives as mine?
What is your fee?
What you should NOT expect during this initial interview process:
A consultation offering specific ideas on campaigns and strategies to improve your business. You PAY for this.
Next Step – The Proposal
From your top candidates, request a proposal including such items as objectives, strategy, defined tasks to accomplish goals, time frame, deliverables, client requirements, compensation fee and structure, payment and expense details, and termination clause. It is their time to impress YOU.
Provide at least a week for the proposals to be created and turned in. Choose your top few candidates and request a formal in-person or video conference presentation. Get a feel for the team and see if you have good chemistry.
Make your decision
Now is the time to make your final decision! Thoroughly research each company, ask for references, determine the best strategy, consider the best record of success, and go for it!