In July last year, Sandra Fathi wrote an article for PR News about how to choose the right ‘partner’ for PR representation.
For a ‘buyer’ of PR services it must be like walking through a minefield because, let’s face it, we PR people are all very good at blowing our own trumpets and stressing the positives in whatever we do. Also, PR could be said to fall alongside other business development activities where many company directors and MDs probably think that ‘Barbara in Sales’ can do a pretty good job at a fraction of the cost. Hence into the mix we see out of focus photography (some of which incredibly still gets published!), poor quality video, meaningless tweets and many mis-spelt and poorly constructed press releases which usually end up in the waste bin next to an old hack’s desk (aka the ‘delete’ button).
Not only do potential buyers or DIY-ers of PR have to consider quality; they also have to consider their target audience. How will they contact their trade media or the consumers most likely to purchase their product or service? How do they establish the right PR agency (if that’s the route they’re taking) offering the right range of services and creativity, targeting the most profitable markets at a price which offers value for money? This may of course not necessarily match the initial PR budget a buyer had planned for.
This is where Ms Fathi’s excellent article ‘5 Factors in Choosing a PR Agency’ comes into play. It’s a mini-guide for anyone considering the services of an agency and helps readers to get past the funky websites, the hyped-up team profiles and the ‘must have’ trendy office location.
Essentially it’s all about match-making.
Is the PR agency being considered able to demonstrate experience in the buyer’s industry? Look beyond the ‘bait’ offered at the initial sales pitch and establish which consultants will be working on the account ongoing. How will their hours be spent? Are there KPIs in place to measure performance? Are the buyer’s goals realistic and achievable with the support of a good PR agency?
Lastly, is the agency a good size-fit for a potential client’s business? A large agency may not be devoting the right level of consultant to an account, and they may also carry big overheads which may be reflected in the fee invoice. A smaller agency on the other hand needs to demonstrate availability of staff and appropriate industry experience.
I’m bound to say that at Souter PR we try to adhere to Ms Fathi’s guidelines – trying to match potential clients with our experience, high quality consultants, measurable targets and great value for money.
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