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How to Find the Best PR Firm

Oct. 21st, 2012
PR ›

Call us lucky, but since the inception of Talk Shop, we have never had to hunt for business. We have never once had to convince anyone that they “need” publicity. In fact, we spend a fair amount of our time declining potential client calls because we know we are not the best or the “right” …

Call us lucky, but since the inception of Talk Shop, we have never had to hunt for business. We have never once had to convince anyone that they “need” publicity. In fact, we spend a fair amount of our time declining potential client calls because we know we are not the best or the “right” PR firm for them.

This begs the question, as a company how do you find the best PR firm? Or if you are already working with someone in PR, how can you tell if they’re doing a good job?

“Best PR Firm” is a subjective term; but is one that can still be boiled down to a few key factors. We’ve developed a simple 3 question diagnostic to measure how a PR firm is stacking up. If you are in the process of interviewing firms or are looking to measure a firm you’ve retained give this a try. It will only take a minute. We recommend you rate each of these on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the highest rating you would give.

PR Firm Criteria

1. Budget

Yes, unfortunately in our business (and probably in yours) money doesn’t grow on trees. So budget is important. You can’t and won’t be able to work with someone that is completely off the mark when it comes to price point. There is no magic formula for how much someone should pay for PR, although a good firm should certainly be able to give you a quote and quantify where the costs are going. But at the end of the day, if you can come to an agreement on price, and understand the value you are getting, that is an important first step.

Rating: Does your PR firm meet your budget and quantify why it costs this much? (Rate on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the highest rating you would give.)

2. Experience, Background and Understanding of What You Do

Let’s be clear. When it comes to finding a good publicist, you absolutely do NOT need to work with someone with 20 years plus experience. Sometimes finding a keener who takes an interest in your business and your business area can actually garner you more press than some of the most experienced talent – and at a fraction of the cost. The key is to ask the right questions and observe behavior when it comes to the effort someone has put in to familiarize him or herself with what you do. Are they familiar with your competitors, your success measures and the journalists and type of media that would report you?

Rating: After asking some probing questions or an in-person meeting, I feel confident in the experience and knowledge presented to me? (Rate on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the highest rating you would give.)

3. Likeability Factor

As Chelsea Handler said it best, “some PR people are A-holes”. The unfortunate reality about many in the PR industry is that they have bigger egos (and sometimes bigger hourly rates) than the clients they represent. The media doesn’t like or respect them. And through affiliation, unknowing clients are suddenly negatively impacted by their PR representation. When interviewing a firm, be sure to ask for references, ask for media contacts that will personally attest to this person/ firms’ professionalism.

Rating: After checking references and looking at my own core values, I feel this person/ firm will be the best possible representation of my brand. (Rate on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the highest rating you would give.)

Calculate Overall Score

(1) [your score] + (2) [your score] + (3) [your score] x 7 = ________ divided by 105 = ________ which is your total percentage.

A score above 89% shows you are working with a group that is in the top 10 percentile of professionals in the field. Also for those already working with a PR firm, feel free to use this tool as a simple diagnostic to see if you are getting the most for your money.

What are your thoughts? How do the PR firms you’ve worked with stack up? We’d love to get your comments below.