Sally Maier-Yip, Founder and Managing Director of 11K Consulting , suggests 5 questions to ask your potential PR partner.
Whether you are a big international company or a new startup, PR often comes in some way, for example you might be thinking to use PR to launch a new product, expand into a totally unknown market, build your market leadership or manage a horrible crisis.
As a PR practitioner who has worked in HK, Singapore and London and is now running my own UK-Asia PR agency in London, here are my 5 insider’s tips on how to choose a right PR agency.
Finding a right PR agency is like marriage.
#1 Ask who the founder is
Who is leading the PR agency does matter as the founder can tell you a lot about the company’s culture, values and standard of work. If you don’t feel totally comfortable with the Founder or Managing Director of the company, the agency is probably not right for you. Finding a right PR agency is like marriage. You need to have the right chemistry, culture besides matching all the required skill sets.
#2 Ask for case studies
Always work with a PR agency who has proven records of what you’re going to task them to do. If needed, you can ask to speak to their current clients for direct feedback on their work and style. You only have this limited amount of budget so you want to ensure that your agency can deliver their promises for the first time and every time. A case study should include the client brief/problem, the PR strategy and tactics and results to give you a good picture of their work.
if you are facing two agencies who have similar skill sets, you will want to go for the one whom you feel most comfortable to work with or even be inspired by
#3 Ask for KPIs (key performance indicators)
Always make sure that the KPIs are absolutely clear and agreed before signing up any PR agency. That is the only way you will know if the PR spend is worthwhile. However it’s worth noting that any PR campaigns generally do not guarantee sales growth as ultimately the purpose of PR is not to drive direct sales but is more about building and managing reputation of other people, companies or products. KPIs can mean number of articles in target press, number of events held, number of followers on social media channels, number of blogs written, and others.
#4 Ask for team credentials
It is equally important to know who are going to actually work on your account (company) on a daily basis. Make sure that the PR team has the right mix of skill sets. If possible, it would be good to meet the whole team and ensure that you like them as a person too because you want to work with people whom you enjoy working with.
#5 Ask for regular reporting
To ensure that your PR programme is on track and works towards your goals, always ask for monthly reports or even weekly status updates, which we often do for our clients at 11K Consulting. This will help you spot and address any mistakes early enough. Despite all kinds of digital tools, it is still important to have regular face-to-face meetings with your PR agency to “sense check” they still have the right vibe and skills you need along the way.
One final tip: if you are facing two agencies who have similar skill sets, you will want to go for the one whom you feel most comfortable to work with or even be inspired by.