How To Choose A PR Agency For Your Startup Or Scale-Up
Identify your organization’s goals
You should audit your business income in order to allocate money for this expense and decide on how much money you’re willing to spend. Decide on whether you would benefit more from a flat rate or a pay-on-performance agreement. An on-going retainer with a PR agency might be a worthwhile investment once you’ve found the right fit for your organization. This kind of continuity is will allow your organization to maintain a cohesive narrative around the brand.
Needs & wants
Another thing to really understand about your own business is the need for a PR agency. What exactly do you want to get out of it? Do you want a bigger social media outreach? Do you want to raise awareness of your service or product? The more questions you ask, the easier it’ll be to narrow down your options and the easier it’ll be to brief the PR agencies later on. If you are in need of the following services, then you’re in need of a PR agency: crisis management, media relations, social media, speech writing, press releases, event planning, outreach, market research, media training, or internal copywriting.
PR agencies for your startup or scale-up that practice integrated marketing approaches, such as PRLab, include the following services: strategic PR & reputation management strategies, influencer marketing, press features, events management, thought leadership, ghostwriting, blogging, white papers & eBooks, social media management, inbound marketing and lead nurturing, ad placements, and marketing automation.
Lastly, decide if there is a certain size of agency that you would prefer to work with. There is no better or worse option, it’s a preference that is personal to your organization. A smaller agency might be cheaper and hungrier while a larger one might have better connections— either work. Often times, smaller PR agencies are more specialized and focused on niche markets. If the agency that you are looking at is specialized in your market, give them a second look. An example of a small PR agency that is specialized in a niche market is PRLab. PRLab empowers startups by leveraging PR to establish themselves as market leaders. These are the first few things to consider when searching for a PR service.
Conduct market research
Word-of-mouthOnce you and your team have decided on a budget, start asking colleagues that have worked with PR agencies before for recommendations. Sometimes their trial-and-errors with different agencies will speed up your own process. Also, ask for experiences; maybe a PR agency that wasn’t the right fit for them could be the right fit for you.
Industry experienceAdditionally, research PR agencies that have experience in your sector, familiarity with your organization’s industry is already a step in the right direction. Having them understand who they are marketing to will save you time when it comes to briefing them on expectation. It also gives them an upper hand when it comes to understanding your target audience. This isn’t necessary but it is definitely beneficial.
Be selective, ask questions!
PresentationIn this case, it’s okay to judge a book by its cover. How a PR agency presents itself has everything to do with how they will potentially present your image. A clean website, good content, and clear branding is a good initial indicator for that kind of work you can expect from them. Case studies The best kind of indicator is a PR agency’s success stories. If not already easily accessible, ask the agency for their case studies. A case study is a good way for PR agencies to demonstrate the tangible results that they can offer. An agency with successful case studies deserves your attention; if you admire their work, you’ll most likely want to be working with them. Look out for case studies that demonstrate several deliverables, for example, a lot of media and press coverage. PRLab has several case studies at your availability, click here to view them.
Listen for IdeasMake sure that they know what your collaboration will look like. Let them pitch you their ideas as soon as your brief them on yours, this kind of back-and-forth will allow you to get a taste of what their services will look like. Most agencies won’t say too much without charging a fee, but if they’re smart they will tell you enough. Look for specific ideas; if what they are suggesting feels somewhat generic, then maybe they won’t be good at catering to your specific needs and thinking outside of the box. Additionally, have an eye out for a balanced conversation. An immediate red glad is if they’re taking up the conversation to speak about how good their agency is.
QuestionsNever underestimate the power of the ask; you should be asking a lot of questions and that is okay. Great PR agencies want to be an asset to your organization and will appreciate your questions and concerns. Questions will facilitate the process in which both you and the agency decide if you are a good fit for each other. -> Below are 10 important questions to consider asking PR agencies:
- How do you measure the results?
- How do you stay current with trends and/or topics?
- What will you need from my team?
- How often should I expect to see media coverage?
- How do you integrate media relations?
- What is unique about your services?
- Are there any possible additional fees?
- What contacts do you have within our industry?
- Do you have client experience within our industry?
- Why should we choose you?
- Is there a good rapport?
- Are they excited to be working with you?
- Do they listen?
- Do they come recommended and/or are they well-connected?
- Would they understand your market and/or industry?
Test their services for a fee
Get to know those directly handling your account
Trust your instinct
Results aren’t instantaneous, especially in PR. Every PR agency will need some time to deliver tangible results. Allow them to demonstrate their expertise and progress before badgering for results, this can be frustrating for the agencies.
How to choose a PR agency for your startup or scale-up becomes easier with the steps above.
If you are looking for a PR agency, please visit PRLab’s website where we have a substantial amount of case studies and information about our services. Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date with tips on how to successfully grow your business with PR, especially for startups and scale-ups.