Hiring a public relations agency is one of the best things you can do to build and profit from your brand and its reputation. So where do you start to find the right PR firm for your needs?
Start by surfing the Internet. Key in terms like Minneapolis PR firm, PR agency, PR Twin Cities or public relations firm. Talk to your friends and colleagues. Ask your industry trade association.
After you’ve created a short list of PR firms that catch your interest, it’s time to look more closely at: structure; achievements; people and processes; and agency culture.
- Structure. How is the PR agency configured? Is it independently owned or part of a publicly traded holding company? Is it nimble enough to turn on a dime and tap a variety of resources or is mired in reporting structures and profit centers?
- Accomplishments. Anyone can talk the talk. Check to see if the PR agencies you’re considering have walked the walk and have the results that matter. Get the facts. Ask about awards, case studies and references. You’re looking for more than capabilities (here’s what the PR firm offers) – you want competencies (here’s what the PR firm has successfully done).
- People and Processes. It’s important to meet, like and believe in the people at the PR firm who will work with your business. To find out how valuable they’ll be, scour their bios, and check out their LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook practices. Find out about their experience and what role they will play on your account – strategist, day-to-day coordinator, creative writer and content provider, crisis coach. Make sure the processes and procedures they follow are flexible to the needs of your company. After all, it’s your reputation.
- Agency Culture. When you look at PR agencies, which ones complement your values? What vibe do you get when you visit their office?