Public relations firms offer a wide variety of services and how they can help your company succeed may differ from agency to agency. When you’re looking for a public relations company to represent your brand, you want a firm that is going to be a good fit for your corporate culture, listens to your objective needs and above all, is going to be successful at helping your brand reach its objectives.
So how can you distinguish a good PR company from one that’s mediocre? Understanding the qualities that make a great public relations firm will help you better understand what to look for when deciding which agency, you want to work with.
6 Top Qualities of a PR Agency
Here are the top 6 qualities that make up a great public relations firm.
1. Reputation – A great public relations firm will have an excellent reputation for both their work and their network relations. A reputable public relations firm will have extensive connections with media professionals like journalists, reporters, freelancers, editors, producers and media talent. A good way to learn about reputable PR firms is to ask various media professionals who they recommend.
A good public relations firm will also be known for their insightful work. Media professionals will know them for their ability to create intriguing pitches to grasp the attention of the right media groups, and clients will know them for their proven success.
2. Relations –A public relations firm will demonstrate great report with clients, the media and the public. The work they produce will be trustworthy and catered to spreading the proper messaging for a client’s product or service. As the client, you also want a firm that is going to listen to you and be attentive to your needs. You can tell if a company is going to take the time to listen to your needs from an initial consultation. Make consultation appointments with several public relations companies and get a good feel for how they listen to your specific objectives. Compare proposed strategies and look for a firm that is going to go the extra mile for your needs. Watch out for conveyer belt-like practices that offer a set plan; there is no one-size-fits-all in PR.
3. Creativity – To stand out among the competition, a public relations team needs to demonstrate creative talents in many forms. Pitch ideas must be innovative and logical to grasp the attention of the media in a highly competitive environment. Media presentations must be conveyed clearly and vibrantly without overdoing it. In all aspects of public relations work, creativity is an essential skill that every team member of the firm must possess.
Check websites and social media channels of different public relations firms to see what kind of content they produce. Does it capture your attention? If not, then they probably won’t capture your audience’s attention either.
Look for a firm that produces compelling content and leads you to wanting more.
4. Metrics for Success – To prove that a public relations firm is going to bring your company success, they need to have some form of results data or metrics for success; otherwise, it’s hard to believe that the PR agency you’re hiring is going to be worthwhile.
Some examples of metrics are:
- Conversion rates: the percentage of website traffic that accomplish the objective.
- Share of voice: percentage of all online content produced by a company compared to their competitors.
- Social media engagement: the number of shares, likes or comments coverage receives.
- Domain authority: SEO algorithm that dictates how well a site ranks on search engines.
- The number of media placements achieved for other clients
Depending on what services you are looking for, the relevant metrics for success are going to vary. Do your research on public relations metrics in regard to the services you are seeking.
5. Great Communication – Being a good communicator is essential in developing good relationships with clients and media professionals. Not all public relations specialists are good communicators. An excellent public relations communicator will be able to convey ideas in a persuasive and convincing manner. This means their words are concise, they avoid rambling and they are easy to understand without much thought.
Additionally, public relations specialists who demonstrate great communications skills will be able to convey ideas, as well be active listeners. They will listen to your needs and ideas, then provide constructive feedback, to create to the best strategy for your business.
Great communication also extends to writing. Public relations companies will demonstrate a high level of written communicative ability. This is important, as much of the work done in a PR firm is in written content. PR writers need to be able to adjust their writing style depending on the content they are writing and the client they are working for.
Check out the blog articles, social media posts and media pitches produced by a PR firm to get a good idea of their writing style.
6. Relevant experience – Finding a public relations firm that’s familiar working with your industry is essential. If you’re a law firm seeking to grow your brand image, hiring a PR firm focused on the high-tech industry probably isn’t going to do you much good.
A public relations firm should also know which journalists or media professionals and outlets to pitch content to in your industry. Ask the PR firms that you are interested in working with about what companies they’ve done work for and ask to see case studies or sample work to get a better idea of what the company can do in your industry. It’s also a good idea to look at public relations firms that companies in the same industry as yours have worked with.
Don’t Hire a Public Relations Agency in Haste
There are many factors to consider when hiring a public relations firm for your business. It can be daunting and even quite stressful. You want to be sure that you are getting your money and time’s worth with any company you hire, so don’t be too quick to decide on a PR firm. Take your time and do extensive research on the public relations agencies you vet. By checking that they have these six top qualities of a PR agency, you will have a better understanding of what to look for in each company you interview. Hopefully, your brand will find the best fit public relations firm to represent your company. Good luck!
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