Finding the right PR firm sounds easy. But not so. Finding and then contracting with the right public relations firm takes research and that’s just to narrow down the search.
What kind of PR firm is right for you? That depends on many factors. First, are you looking for a huge firm with lots of employees, locations and employees? If so, then do you have a huge budget to match? If not, you’re looking at the wrong place.
But size isn’t everything. Many if not most boutique firms were started by people who worked for the mega firms. Now, they are off on their own with small, nimble staff and budgets to match. If you are General Motors, then yes you need a mega firm. If you are a $150,000 nonprofit, then you can’t afford them and more important, they are not right for you.
The most critical aspect of finding the right firm is the experience they have. You want a firm (with employees to match) that have working in your industry successfully for many years. If the PR or marketing firm tells you they represent nonprofits, ask how many if the number is not in the double digits, you are working with a firm that doesn’t have the experience you need.
You always want a firm that has experience not only in your industry but business sector as well. It’s not enough to hire a firm that represents corporations. If you manufacture cars, you want a firm that has represented car companies. There is an entire system involved in how to publicize cars. The are certain media, car shows, seasons, collateral production, lots to know.
If you are looking for a doctor to perform an operation, you are not going to go to a doctor who has done one operation like the one you need. They may have gone to medical school and might be a great doctor. But if they haven’t performed the exact surgery you need, you’re going to seek a doctor that has. The same is with lawyers. You want a lawyer that has handled many cases like yours. And the same is with PR and marketing firms. You want a firm that is not only the right size, local and affordable, you want a firm that has worked with many organizations that do the same thing you do. Don’t let a firm get their experience on your account.
It also is important to consider chemistry. You want to work with people you enjoy working with. You don’t want to feel you are imposing every time you call them. You are the client and they need to treat you as if you are their only client, regardless of how many clients they actually have.
Last, don’t be afraid to ask how you judge success. PR is an intangible business. It often is difficult to pinpoint success. How did that customer come to you, from that article that ran or from your reputation, your website or maybe someone saw the article and told a friend. Tracking how business comes in is important. It validates whether the PR firm you hired is working or not.
That said, like all consultancies you never really know if a relationship with a PR firm works until you work with them. We also recommend a six month initial period to see what they can do and if the chemistry is right. You also want to get a good feeling for their billing. If they are billing you for every penny, it will be aggravating an interfere with the relationship.
If you need help locating a PR firm, and Farr Marketing Group is not the right firm for you, we will be happy to help you find the firm with the right experience, size and budget that meets your needs.