In this week’s issue of Business in Vancouver, Talk Shop’s very own Beth Boyle answers the question, “What do I need to know about hiring a PR company?”
Beth Boyle: Co-founder, Talk Shop Media
My PR firm has created its own criteria to determine what customers we will engage. It catches people off-guard to learn that Talk Shop Media turns away more than 70% of new business. But the highest performing PR teams are typically the most discerning, and you want to be equally discriminating about who will represent your company.
At the top of your PR considerations, spend time learning about the person driving your account. Often a partner or senior representative will sell his or her services – but this does not always mean you will work together. Dive into who will be your PR advocate and account leader and what they can deliver. Can they offer a list of active clients to comment on delivered coverage and service? What are some recent PR successes? How do they measure PR value? And, most importantly, do they understand your company’s objectives, ask informed questions and offer customized strategies to get you where you want to go?
Cost is also a major consideration when looking to hire a PR firm. Take time to interview to get a clear sense of pricing and deliverables. PR agencies can’t guarantee media coverage. But they should be able to manage your expectations on PR deliverables. In terms of cost, you will likely be faced with one of two pricing models. The first offers a flat monthly retainer for an outlined work schedule. The other relies on hourly billings and/or calculates the billable rate of the people supporting on your account.
Finally – fit. Make sure the firm you are looking to hire is a fit with the image and culture of your company. As frontline public communicators, you want to work with someone who represents your business better than you. Hire only when you are 100% confident in your PR firm’s ability and connection to your company.
See the full article in Business in Vancouver: Ask the experts: What do I need to know about hiring a PR company?