As an agency, we can’t stress enough that a PR firm is not simply an external, third-party vendor that your company is contracting — it’s an extension of your internal team. PR metrics should be tied to your company’s business goals; there should always be honest, two-way communication; and your PR team should be as passionate about your company as you are.

But with SO many agencies and freelancers to choose from, how do you pick the one that’s best for you? While there are plenty of factors that go into your decision (based on the type of program you’re looking for and your expectations) here are a few things that should remain top of mind in your search for PR.

  1. It’s all about chemistry. Let’s compare hiring your PR agency to going on a date. If you’re sitting at dinner with someone and listening to their back story, but don’t feel any sort of excitement about them and what they have to offer you, would you keep going out with them? No. When interviewing potential agencies, it’s the same thing. Your agency should excite you, understand you, woo you. So pay attention to what your gut is telling you.
  2. Mo’ money, mo’ problems. PR is a services business and we are paid for our time (more money = more hours). But that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to drop a lot of money to get great PR for your company. It’s important to discuss budget with prospective agencies and get an idea of what that money will get you in terms of deliverables and results. You may realize that you can get exactly what you want at a good price point.
  3. Creativity is key. As a company, you want to stand out from the crowd, so your PR team should always have ideas to bring to the table. They may not always be the right ideas, but it shows they’re constantly thinking about new and creative ways to pitch your story.
  4. A proven track record. It’s super important to understand an agency’s capabilities and where their expertise lies. You don’t want to hire an agency to plan and promote an event if they have no event experience. When talking to agencies, give them a framework of what you’re looking for in your PR program (thought-leadership, writing, award submissions, etc.) and then have them give you examples of similar projects they’ve done or case studies showing their success. If they don’t have a proven track record, you may want to look elsewhere.
  5. Strength in relationships. It’s not called public relations for nothing, and the agency you pick should have strong relationships to show for it. Whether it’s media, investors or influencers, knowing who your potential agency knows (and if those are the right people for you), should have an impact on your final decision.

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