Everything You Should Know When Choosing Your PR Firm
It is not a secret that PR firms support businesses a lot regarding their brand reputation. It is like having a very respectable big brother because everyone has a positive opinion about you. That said, there are quite a few factors that you should take into consideration when hiring a PR company. Without proper research on which PR firm to hire, you will not achieve the benefits you expect from the company you hire. But I have good news for you. Now that you are on this page, there is absolutely no need to bother yourself with that issue because we will discuss all the brass tacks of it, which will help you choose the top public relations firms for your business.
Business Advantages of Public Relations (PR)
It is an unquestionable fact that traditional marketing methods cost significantly more. Though there are usually pretty many options in front of you, the fact that they all cost very high may not be suitable for you. Top PR firms can help your business grow by using organic methods. For instance, they can develop programs and campaigns that would help your business get better. Bear in mind that you will also save money when outsourcing such a PR firm. The elimination of traditional marketing methods will allow you to cut expenses considerably.
Reach Your Target Market Easily
Working with a top PR agency can help you generate a targeted campaign quickly. Let’s say your target market is teenagers. In this case, your outsourced firm will build a strategy using various magazines that your target market reads. Be it a social media influencer campaign or video marketing, the right PR team will be able to connect you with the correct people. That, in turn, will speed up the growth of your business.
A Top PR agency helps to Manage Your Brand Reputation.
PR helps to handle your brand reputation. If you wonder how then let’s have an example. No doubt that in your business journey, there will be a lot of disheartening situations. For instance, dissatisfied clients of yours may spread the word on social media regarding how inferior your product is. Likewise, your advertising strategy can go wrong. On such occasions, your connections with media will aid you to recover your damaged brand reputation with just one press release. And if you wonder how you will build such valuable relationships with the media, keep in mind that the best PR agencies will again help you with that.
The Best PR Firms Markets Brand Values
Irrespective of the industry, credibility plays a crucial role in determining if a business will succeed or fail miserably. When trust is not there, you should expect your sales to go down, as well. Nevertheless, when you hire one of the top public relations companies, the specialists will work and raise your entity's credibility. It might sound challenging to you, but experts in such firms will enhance your company’s reputation through networking tactics, influencer connections, etc.
Thanks to top PR agencies, you can send positive messages to your demographics based on the ideas that are relevant to your brand. The ideas to which your customers respond positively will increase their trust in your brand.
PR Strengthens Community Relationships
The next great benefit you will receive when using the services of top PR companies is strengthened community relations. When you add new connections, you start building new bonds with the local market through any relevant causes to your business. And when you participate actively in your community issues, your brand gains reliability. Creating necessary relationships in the community will allow you to get help from many popular influencers.
Top PR Companies Improves Your Online Presence
The last massive advantage of PR that I want to talk about is its influence on your online presence. We all are digitally connected, thanks to the era of technology. Top PR firms will not only support and guide your business on how to market yourself online, but they will also come to help when an unfortunate issue happens with the image you are trying to build. With their expertise with social media, press releases, etc. Top public relations firms will help you attain what you desire. Needless to say, they will also protect your business from barriers that are there to prevent your business from reaching success.
When I talk about PR, I cannot make false promises about which PR strategy is the one you should embrace. There are two main nuances behind that. First, over time, the more popular strategies change. In other words, a strategy used six years ago may not be suitable to employ today. The strategy you should use depends on your business objectives, vision, etc. So, a strategy successfully used by a company in the marijuana industry may not be the most appropriate one for you. That is the reason before moving to discuss some of the more popular PR strategies through the years; I will make you familiar with the components which are must to consider when making a strategic plan.
Determine Objectives and Goals
The first stage, while generating a PR plan is to define what you want to achieve. Without this step, you will be going on a wild goose chase.
Strategic PR always starts with clear goals and objectives. See it this way. When you are aware of the result you want to attain, it will help you define which messages will help you reach them. You will also understand which audiences you should reach, thanks to the public relations planning process. Long story short, do not miss this common yet highly critical phase.
Define Your Targets
PR is all about building positive relationships with your primary demographics who are, in a way, connected to your business. The demographics should only be from the general public. Your target audience's list can include investors, present and potential clients, government regulators, employees, news media, etc. Think of the people who would coincide with your goals. Who should you influence to realize your goals?
Create The Strategy
Now that we are done with determining goals and target audience, we can establish the strategy itself. Many people will often confuse PR strategies with PR tactics, while there is a notable difference. Beware that public relations strategies are general approaches to achieve objectives. On the contrary, tactics are daily activities that a company fulfills to achieve goals.
Generate Key Messages
Your key messages should not only provide information for people. You should also aim to change people's ideas and urge them to take action. The messages should be straight to the point. Create messages for each of your objectives and demographics.
While data can be beneficial when generating your messages, storytelling's power should not be overlooked. When you tell a story that creates a connection between you and your audience, it means the message has been conveyed successfully.
In this step, you will have to use your objectives, audience, and messages to develop tactics. The tactics may include various digital storytelling, PR events, etc. You should not base your while PR strategy on one tactic. As mentioned above, for different demographics, you better produce different tactics.
On top of that, your tactics should clearly reflect your organization's image. Simply put, people should relate the tactics to your brand values, the ideas you deliver, and more. You should also think about how to influence other influencers through your tactics. Of course, it can be done more easily with top PR firms' help.
You want to know how the strategy and tactics you employed are working. Without measuring them accurately, it will never be feasible to beware of that. To measure results, I recommend you use some key performance indicators that will tell you how your strategy and tactics are performing. When hiring a top PR (Public Relations) firm, you would not even need to tire yourself about it. Experts in these firms will measure everything accurately and perceive how well the current tactics suit your business.
Top PR Strategies That Can Benefit Every Business
Collaborate With Popular Influencers
Although this strategy was actually even a few years ago, it still has not lost its power. By employing this strategy, you can be sure that you are not throwing caution to the wind—no matter who you are targeting as your demographics. When influencers, who already have credibility, talk to others about why they appreciate your product, your brand will already start forming a positive image.
Do not forget that influencers benefit, too, when they praise your decent product. As noted above, they have their credibility, and it is something they plainly do not want to lose. So, when an influencer's audience and content style complies with a brand’s strategy, there can be a superb collaboration resulting in a great PR strategy.
Explain “Why” Behind Your Brand
Today it is prevalent for people to examine the products and share their opinions. You can see thousands of Youtube videos that criticize a product. Or tweets directed to complain about a specific part of a product. On the one hand, it is a challenge for brands. But see it as an opportunity. And you will realize that you can actually use such situations to build a strategy.
When you see a publicly shared complaint regarding your product, try to communicate the “why” behind your brand. If you can clearly explain yourself, you will be able to gain people's trust. Showing the public that profit is not the only thing you aim for will give them an idea of your main goals to thrive the society. Admittedly, it can be done more professionally by the top public relations companies.
Focus on Content, Not Ads
We are already living in an era where content has excelled ads. Ads have indeed spread to the digital world. But they are not competent enough unless you make smart use of them. What I am talking about is the content. You need to start producing decent content alongside the ad to ensure your viewers are converted to your buyers. People are now able to choose the content they engage with. It is what you should understand. But as you can already estimate, the best PR companies can do this work better than you on your behalf.
Keep one nuance in mind. Your company is what your clients perceive it to be, regardless of how good your products are. If you are unable to create the correct positioning in your clients' minds, you will not succeed. To make sure that your brand's perception is as good as reality, focus on the community. For instance, you can start community scholarships for graduating seniors.
I want you to understand this concept correctly. It does not always have to be costly. But ensure you engage with some activity that will boost your brand reputation. Seeing you regularly help the community is undoubtedly one of the methods as a PR strategy.
Common PR Mistakes You Must Avoid
Not Doing Enough Research
Creativity is indeed highly essential for public relations. Yet without doing proper research, creativity does not mean much. To understand your audience better, you have to do thorough research basically. So you will be able to quickly convey a message and conduct an adequate campaign when the comprehensive analysis is implemented. As you understand, research will enhance even a creative campaign. That is why I advise you never to underestimate research.
Not Spreading News
If people do not know you, they will not buy from you. It is that simple. For this reason, you should continuously try to spread the news about your brand. I suggest you use blogs to make others familiar with your brand. It will primarily be a useful method if you run a small business. Increase posts on social media to get more interaction with people. The growth will slowly happen.
Not Having Media Relations
Pay attention to the word “relation” here. Having an email address of a journalist does not mean anything. You should literally have relations with them. For this, you will have to spend time and build bonds with them. That said, there are some actions you should avoid when making media relations.
For example, following up is a critical part of public relations. But doing it every day over and over again will make you worse off only. Another mistake is a mass email blast. When you add numerous journalists to a contact list and send them an email will not be accepted positively. They will actually be bothered with it.
What I suggest you do is to send them an intro mail. You can also link to their article from your social media page. Through these ways, you can slowly build a healthy relationship with the media. In fact, it is one of the popular ways that the top PR firms employ.
Targeting Only Top Media Sources
Many businesses make the last colossal mistake about targeting only top media sources. It is not a secret that you would reach many more people by targeting large media outlets. But if your target audience does not follow those media sources, it does not make any sense. You should prefer over quantity here. Therefore, to hit the nail on the head, you should target publications that are relevant to your demographics.
How to Choose the best PR companies
You should have enough understanding of PR benefits, strategies, mistakes by now. But they are not enough to choose the right PR firm for your business. That is why now I will make you acquainted with aspects you should be aware of to choose the best PR company like a piece of cake.
A Reputable Name
There are more than 8,000 PR firms in the United States. Is not it such a vast number to choose from? Well, it is. And that is why you should make your choice wisely. I recommend you select something with good brand recognition and a reputable name. By this, you will be able to eliminate people trying to deceive you or who are not experienced enough.
Having a good name will not suffice. You need to find the best PR firms to get to the core of the issue. A decent public relations company will sit and try to understand your company vision, audience, etc., even if it takes hours. So, ensure the entity you choose takes sufficient time to comprehend your business and industry.
You may think this factor is very superficial. But I assure you still many companies fail to define the competitive firms from others. You have to be sure that the strategy your PR firm chooses will work for you. Ask yourself if they are using methods that your rivals are noticed for. Has their plan worked for other companies before? Can they show you some references? These are all the questions you should ask before examining the top PR firms.
Collaboration with Others
Today, many PR companies work together with some other organizations from other industries, such as design, marketing, and more. And that is what you should expect from your hired company, too. Those that are good at building consensus will definitely contribute a lot to your business. On the other hand, others will just hamper your success. Therefore, make your choice smartly.
Most of the companies, indeed considered top PR firms, will have high expertise in their field. But you have to be sure of that before making a choice. I advise you to check their interaction with customers on social media. You certainly do not want to hire a yes-man. Highly-specialized companies with relevant expertise will speak to you honestly. For instance, they will tell you what is possible and what is less likely to achieve. Check out this point carefully before making a decision.
You may have understood by now; connections matter a lot in public relations. And do not doubt that the top PR firms have strong relationships. They have relationships with journalists, government officials, etc. And when you hire such a company, it means those connections automatically become your connections, as well. That is why check out the links of the PR firms you shortlist.
The last nuance you should check is the company's background you choose. Let’s say your company operates in a B2B field. It means no PR company specializing in B2C communications will be able to help you even if they are a top PR company. This is why I highly recommend asking the firm what type of companies they support. It is also advisable to ask questions in terms of industry.
What Should You Require From Your Company?
Now that we are done selecting the top PR agencies, you should know what to require from them.
You should be firm with requiring regular updates from your hired PR company. In other words, it requires adequate communication from them. You want to get regular updates from them regarding how your campaign is going on. You should also feel that any questions that can pop up in your mind will be responded to on time. So just make sure the proper communication is in place with the public relations company you choose.
One of the main reasons you want to hire the top PR firms is ideas. The ideas they produce will gain your competitive advantage over your rivals. To prove that you have not failed with your choice, they should continuously provide you with creative ideas. And your duty is to keep requiring ideas from them.
Key Performance Indicators are ideal for checking how your campaign is doing. They are also quite helpful in understanding the previous strategy's missing part. As the results are measurable, ensure you require them to show you the results. That said, it is your right to continually require them to produce great results, as it is why you have chosen them.
How Much Does it Cost to Hire a PR Company?
We have finally reached the main point of our discussion. I know you may have some number in your mind regarding the cost of hiring a PR company. But I believe you will struggle to believe the reality when you see it.
In general, prices differ. There are PR companies that specialize in serving specifically small businesses. Obviously, even top PR firms in this category will charge you less. On the other hand, some companies target only big fishes, such as Adidas, Disney, etc. Certainly, you cannot expect them to charge a few thousand dollars. And when we talk about the upper limit, it is even beyond the sky. You may not believe it, but large enterprises spend millions of USD on their PR firms.
Speaking of prices, I should also say that most of the top PR firms will ask for a retainer fee of between $2,000-$20,000 per month. The factors that impact the price can be the agency's size, the services they offer, etc. bear in mind that they will charge this retainer amount even if they are not doing anything.
On the contrary, they will charge you per hour of work when they start working. And the hourly rate starts changing around $100-$350. This number will again modify depending on the company you choose. But surely top public relations companies will charge you somewhere in the upper interval.
A recent trend in terms of pricing is charging based on results. For instance, PR firms will charge you based on the results. At the same time, they can charge you for every successfully published post, every new client, etc.
As it is crystal clear, the best PR firms' pricing varies greatly. Because the type of pricing can hinge on the specific companies, as well. So, think wisely and choose the best one that would suit your business.
You are already aware of the significant benefits of public relations for your business. But to get the most of those benefits, you should follow the above instructions on how to choose one of the top PR firms for your business. Keep in mind that collaborating with a top PR company will free you from the common mistakes that happen in PR, too. You can get familiar with the top PR firms on Gygzy by filtering the location, price, and other components. If you liked the article, do not forget to share it with your surroundings so that they also benefit from it. You can also check out our page for more informative materials.