Three Questions You Must Ask Yourself Before Retaining a PR Firm

Hiring a professional PR agency can lead to consistent media coverage, new speaking engagements and brag worthy awards. All of which in turn drives up in-bound inquiries and boosts your credibility.

But professional PR firms can be a hefty investment. If you want consistency you need a quality team that acts like an extension of your own employees.  This doesn’t come cheap. You can spend anywhere from $5,000 – $20,000/month on services.  And since it takes time to build PR momentum most agencies are going to require a 12 month commitment.

If you’re in the right stage of your business the investment can easily pay for itself and then some. But how do you know if it’s the right time to invest? Ask yourself these three questions.

Question #1:Do I have a sufficient drum beat of content? 

You should plan on at least two announcements a month to provide a quality basis for media outreach. These should be a wide range of new customer wins, product enhancements, new service offerings, primary research or partnership news.

Question #2:Am I willing to invest in interviews, applications & responses that might result in no coverage?

Journalists are busy, competitors make announcements when we least expect and opportunities to jump on new trends pop up in unpredictable ways. In order to have an effective PR rapid response program one must be willing to make themselves available spur of the moment. While interviews can be scheduled, the likely hood of participating in an article is dramatically reduced if you can’t accommodate a reporter’s schedule and deadline. And even if you bend over backwards to participate, there is no guarantee coverage will follow. Just like a sales pipeline – coverage is not a 1:1 proposition.

Question #3:Is my message platform broad & differentiating enough to have appeal? Am I willing to make strong statements?

It’s not enough to be smart and have a compelling value proposition. You must be able to differentiate your opinion from other thought leaders and offer proof points that support your ideas. Are you ready to be bold?

If you can’t say yes to all three of those questions hiring a PR agency could lead to disappointing results. Just like building a sales pipeline takes persistence and time so too does your media pipeline. You must invest in relationships, spark debate and make yourself available when tapped on the shoulder.

If you’re not quite ready to invest in a professional PR agency don’t give up on public relations all together. There’s quite a bit you can do for little or no money.

  • Write media advisories that post to your website
  • Engage journalists via social media outlets by following them on Twitter and LinkedIn
  • Respond to blog posts with thought-provoking comments
  • Join LinkedIn Groups and actively engage in the discussions
  • Submit for local speaking engagements
  • Apply for industry and local business awards

Here’s to getting your PR on!

2 Comments

  1. I think it is worth spending money as long as it will make you more in return. I think it is important that when looking for a PR firm you have them present how they expect to make you money. I would hate to spend money on something when I don’t know what the benefit is. Question #2 is something that I find very important to consider. Thanks for the post. http://stephersonassociates.com/services/

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the blog. While PR isn’t always easy to relate directly back to revenue generation, it is certainly important to set goals you can track against. Just be sure they are long term goals that you can measure a direct correlations with the activities being conducted.

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