Selecting the ideal Public Relations (PR) Firm - 5 Beneficial Tips

If there's 1 business which has come to be overly saturated in recent times it is the field of Public Relations. It seems that PR Firms are cropping up more quickly than weeds, and the approach of sorting via the slush to opt for a public relations firm of top quality is usually a daunting and overwhelming process, to say the least.

This article offers you five beneficial tips which will hopefully make the journey of selecting a PR Firm or possibly a publicist just a little bit much easier and more streamlined, so that you are able to get probably the most bang for your public relations buck, and in fact see a return in your investment.

Five Guidelines For Selecting The ideal PR Firm For you

1. Size - Are you currently looking for a sizable corporate PR Firm, a mid-size firm or possibly a tiny or boutique firm?

The query I pose isn't a black and white 1. The answer to this question have to be determined by a number of factors. Your spending budget, just how much hand holding and individual interest you demand, how far you want your public relations outreach to become, and your desire for any group operating in your account or for just 1 or two ambitious publicists functioning in your account. Huge corporate public relations firms usually charge in between $10,000 and $20,000 monthly for their basic retainer solutions, so budget is really a enormous factor right here. To a enterprise like Microsoft or Johnson & Johnson this is a drop in the bucket. But to a tiny or medium sized enterprise that type of fee is far out of reach. The benefits of a sizable national and sometimes international firm is the wide reach your brand can achieve, a sizable group functioning on your account, a big pool of other clients who are with that firm from that your organization can possibly network with and benefit from. These huge firms usually have a ton of experience on their side. Many of these huge PR Firms are 20, 30 or 50 plus years old. The downside of these large firms aside from the hefty monthly fee would be the amount of bureaucracy and red tape involved in the day to day functions of the firm, and unfortunately this can often lead to smaller clients falling through the cracks. Another minus to functioning with significant PR Firms is definitely the lack of personal touch and consideration, which is fine for established companies but not as good for start ups, compact and medium sized companies who need a lot more nurturing, far more brand development and other complimentary solutions like writing and standard marketing assistance.

Smaller public relations firms tend to offer monthly retainers that may range anywhere from $7000.00 all the way down to about $2500.00 depending on just how much overhead that firm has, their level of experience and expertise, their particular public relations niche, their contacts and just how much time they plan to devote to your account. Most PR Firms out there tend to fall into the mid-size, boutique or little category and are also very effective at doing their job.

2. Ignore the Hype and Look at a Public Relations Firm's Portfolio of Work!

I cannot stress this enough. In perusing some colleagues' websites recently I was shocked to observe that some of these websites have flashy graphics, catchy promotional copy about their solutions, and glossy images but NO examples of their media placements, marketing case studies, writing samples... nada! Where is their work? Don't fall for public relations firms that are all flash and no substance. Always, and I mean always look to see if their website is packed with examples of past projects, past examples of media placements and other examples of work created by the firm. Look over the work that is displayed on their website and when speaking with a representative from that public relations firms ask them to elaborate on their body of work. Some great questions:

What media placements are you most proud of? How was that media placement achieved by your firm? What is your firms biggest strength? Can you tell me some of your contacts in the media? Can you give me some marketing case studies? Some public relations case studies? What sets your firm apart?

3. Make sure you are a match: Assessing values, vision and creativitiy

The above sentence is pretty self-explanatory but I will elaborate. This publicist or pr group will be your brand ambassador. You want someone whose values reflect your own values. You also want to be sure that your publicist understands, appreciates and shares your vision for your business or organization. If a PR Firm wants to pitch your beauty brand as an elite, untouchable, prestige brand and you wish your beauty product to speak to the every-woman, showing her how beauty can be accessible to all women, then that publicist may have a vision that is just not in line with yours and factors will likely go from perplexing to downright tense. A good trick is, when speaking to a potential publicist ask him or her how they see your product, who they think your audience/demo is and how they envision positioning the product to the media and to potentiial consumers. Don't expect them to go into too a great deal detail before really delving into the product line, but they should give you a standard pitch that falls in line with your own vision. If not, move on.

4. Are you in it for Website traffic, magazine placements, TV appearances? What is it you wish? Be specific!

Don't be shy about what it can be you need. Why are you currently searching for public relations services in the first place? Really sit down and think about it. And don't be shy about your needs. Is your main objective to build a strong targeted online following to drive high quality traffic to your website and convert visitors into sales? Is your main objective someone who can write outstanding copy for your business like press releases, articles, pitch copy to send to media outlets, etc.? Is your main objective to become something of a personality and expert in your field and to build a resume as someone who makes appearances on television news programs giving advice to promote yourself as a brand and an expert? Figure out what your goals are and pick out a PR Firm that is strong in your area of interest.

5. Location, location, location

In the age of email, fax machines, long distance phone plans and inexpenseive air travel the location of your public relations firm may not matter to you... or it might. Do you desire lots of face time with your publicist or do you not care if your publicist is in Timbuck Tu as long as they can get the job done, and get your company press coverage? Everyone's comfort level with location is different and there is no appropriate or wrong. If you are looking for entertainment public relations you may set your sights on a PR Firm that is in Los Angeles or in New York. If you are an up and coming Internet company you may find value in a San Francisco based PR Firm. Fashion, New York may be the way to go for you, unless your fashion line is usually a range of swimsuits; in that case a Miami PR Firm could be the ideal fit. Looking to attract the Latin market, again, Miami could be the key for you.

Or, you may simply look for any public relations firm with a rolodex of contacts in a particular city or industry, regardless of their brick and mortar location.

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