Firstly we would like to Wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from everyone at Website Planet, and hope that 2015 brings you good fortune. One of the many things small business owners tend to look for at the start of a New Year is PR company, and that’s why we want to focus today’s post on 6 of the most important questions you need to ask before diving right in.
A PR firm could achieve more positive publicity for your small business than you could ever pull off on your own. PR representation, though, is expensive and comes with no guarantee of results. How do you find a good firm to represent you well?
A good choice of PR firm needs to be kind on your budget and have a reputation for results. It should represent you in a way that you can relate to. Ask yourself the following questions before you hire a PR firm.
1. Your PR firm needs to be able to prove to you that they’ve done a good job.
Without meaningful metrics to look at, you’ll never know how well your hire is performing. Many PR firms point to the number of Facebook Likes and the number of times you’ve appeared in the media as proof that they’ve served you well. While these are valid kinds of proof, it would be even better to look for a firm that could give you numbers that actually mean results – a bigger list of leads and more website traffic. Ask about this.
2. You need to listen to each PR professional you interview
You need to understand their ideas on what medium has the best chance of reaching your target audience – print and television, the social media or anything else. Search engine optimization is the latest in PR. Unfortunately, not many PR firms are conversant with this. Ask each PR firm you interview if it is really invested in SEO. If not, you should probably look elsewhere.
3. Different industries need different PR approaches.
A firm that has had success representing a videogame vendor may not have the expertise needed to represent a bridal business, for instance. You should ask each PR firm if they have experience with your industry. If they do, you should ask if the specific professionals who handled their earlier accounts are still with them.
4. Don’t get sucked into long contracts
Often, PR businesses will require you to sign a contract for a year at a time and pay a retainer for the period.A long-term contract makes it difficult for you to get out if you are not satisfied. You should ask if they will allow you to build a clause into your contract that allows you to terminate the arrangement in 90 days if you are not satisfied.
5. The whole point of PR is to get you into the public eye.
When this succeeds and you do get an interview on a television channel or newspaper, you want to know how to ace it. Does the PR firm offer coaching for this? What about the social media? Do they have much expertise in it? You need to make sure that the PR firm you pick has the whole menu of services that you may need.
6. PR firms often have several tiers of service for different budgets.
While this lets you know what to expect to pay, it can also lock you out of certain services if they only reserve it for a higher-end package. Ask the PR firm if they offer an à la carte model, too – where you get specific things like a social media campaigns or media coaching that are not included in your package.
You PR firm interview shouldn’t be all about what they give you, either. No PR can work without the complete investment of the business being represented. You need to ask the PR firm what they expect from you. If they don’t have a coherent answer, they may not be right for you.