A Good PR Firm is Like That Perfect Pair of Shoes

By Denise Blackburn-Gay, APR, Fellow PRSA posted 04-22-2018 07:22 PM


Finding the right Public Relations firm is like finding that perfect pair of shoes.  While style and price are important, the fit is critical.  And before you determine if the shoes are a good fit, you’ve got to decide if you need them. 

Here a just a few of the reasons you need a PR firm:

-You’re paying too much for an on-staff PR employee. Agencies aren’t paid for vacation, sick leave, don’t expect insurance and perks, and don’t collect unemployment.

-You are still outsourcing and coordinating graphic design, social media,  SEO/SEM and web design that supports the PR function. A good agency can handle it all.

-You lack access to the latest PR technology and tools.

-You are paying for seminars and training necessary to stay current.

-Your PR person is great with the day-to-day but lacks the knowledge and experience to handle a brand-threatening crisis that can ruin your reputation with a single click.

-Your internal PR team thinks within a vacuum. You lack an outside perspective.

For those of you who have decided to hire a PR firm, congratulations. Your decision is a game changer. To make sure you get off on the right foot (no pun intended) consider these three key factors: style, price, and fit.

What’s your style?  If you don’t believe in the philosophy of partnerships, don’t bother hiring a reputable PR firm. Your PR firm is not a vendor, but a partner who works with you in achieving the goals you have set for your business. As with any successful partnership, trust and communication are key.

Price. Don’t begin your relationship with a PR firm by telling them you have no money.  That’s not what your new-found partner wants to hear. PR is an investment in time and tenacity, and that takes money. The old cliché, ‘it takes money to make money’ holds true. Done well, PR translates into greater visibility, increased credibility and higher profit margins for your company.  Public relations is an intangible that produces tangible results.

How do you know if it's a good fit?  Trust me, you will.  Do a little research on the firm you are considering.  What’s their track record with other clients?  Do they wear well?  Translated, do engagements last more than a few months?  Do they have soul—i.e., are they passionate about what they do? Lastly, don’t be afraid to try them on for size.  Most agencies are willing to work with clients on an opt-out basis but remember, your agency is not a miracle worker.  It takes effort and time by both parties to achieve a noticeable difference.