So you’ve recognised the value of PR and have made the decision to engage with a PR company so that you can take your business to a new level of success – with many PR options out there how do you decide which one to go with?
Time and time again we hear from people and businesses who have had a bad experience with PR agencies and this is often down to them selecting the wrong one for them. Price may often have been the deciding factor but it may have been something else.
When choosing a PR agency we suggest that you need to look at the overall agency and take a number of factors into consideration.
Does this agency have the experience to get you the results you need for your business?
Look for evidence of this experience but also make sure you know the experience of the team that will be assigned to your account. Make sure you meet them as part of the pitch process.
At Fuzion we have a team of 12 professionals and each one of us brings different expertise and experience from a variety of industries.
Our team is made up of PR experts, social media experts, former journalists, bloggers, event management specialists, graphic designers, media trainers, crisis management professionals and people with senior management experience in industry.
For every client we pick the best mix from our team to work on that particular account. Your work will never be outsourced.
2. Sector experience versus potential conflict
This can be a tricky one. You need to be convinced that the agency understand your business and will be capable of delivering for you.
Sometimes a lot of experience in a particular sector can be a big advantage but it is not always necessary.
For example if an agency works for 30 hotels this means they know the sector well but it could mean that you could end up competing for coverage within the agency itself.
Look for good solid examples of previous and current clients to assure yourself.
Where the agency is based can be quite important. Think about who and where your target market is as it’s very important you choose a PR company that can reach them and has good relationships with both national and regional press.
Their location is also important for your meetings with them – you can achieve a lot with email and by phone but you can’t beat face to face meetings.
For this reason we have offices based in Dublin and Cork so we have coverage in the two biggest urban locations in Ireland and have developed relationships with media here and across the country.
Who better to turn to than clients who have worked with the PR agency before?
Look for testimonials from current and former clients and see if the PR agency achieved good results for them and whether they would be happy to recommend them.
Price is always going to be a factor, but always bear in mind you get what you pay for. Going for the cheapest option is not always the best option.
Make sure how much work is being done for the price and be sure about what happens if extra work in required.
Its important to check the seniority and expertise of the people that are working on your account – price can be quite relative.
The most important thing here is not getting the cheapest quote possible, it’s getting value and results for your money.
Does the agency have a heart and soul? What are the personalities of the people in the agency like? Can you trust and depend on them?
At Fuzion we pride ourselves on going the extra mile and going above and beyond for our clients. That’s an easy thing to say but it really is true ..look for those testimonials!
One thing we never do is give up or switch off just because we have worked all the hours allocated or the work day is over. All of us on the team have all had sleepless nights when big client events are approaching or gone through blood, sweat and tears for clients that may have been difficult to get coverage for. We don’t give up!
We do this because we genuinely care and want to make sure our clients get the results they are expecting and we get the satisfaction of doing a great job. At Fuzion when you engage our services you become part of the Fuzion family and this sets us apart from competitors.
7. Agency Size
Will the agency be able to cope with your workload and if there is an unexpected peak for some reason can this be catered for?
In your initial briefings try to assess the workload of the team and try to assess if you will get the time and attention that is promised.
8. Pecking Order and exclusivity
Will your business be of sufficient interest to the PR agency? Are you the type of account that they are excited about or would you be one of many and down in their pecking order of ‘importance’?
I once heard a successful entrepreneur give a clever piece of business advice “Employ a Big 4 accountancy firm and a hungry PR agency“. One gives you automatic credibility and the other will fight hard to win you even more!
9. Full Service and Social Media
Does the PR agency offer more than just PR?
With many agencies this is not the case. Our approach is that we offer a solution and not a range of services.
We build and execute plans for our clients that will achieve their objectives and we do this with a comprehensive toolkit, which we apply as required.
The client should brief one service provider not half a dozen to achieve their objectives.
Expertise in social media, or parallel media as we refer to it is a critical part of all plans that we execute for clients. To assess the agency expertise in this area have a good look at their own social media presence to assure you that they do know what they are doing.
10. Passion test!
This really is the big one and if this doesn’t exist then don’t even bother taking into account the other factors.
When you have your initial briefing meetings with the PR agency you need to assess how passionate they were about your plan.
Do you see enthusiasm, do you see creativity and do you see real evidence that the team who worked on your plan put in a lot of effort into something that was written just for you.
Make sure they didn’t just show you credentials and made their pitch solely on previous work and clients.
Good luck with your search and it goes without saying …you know where we are!
Edel Cox is a PR Account Manager with Fuzion