When growing your brand, you have plentiful options when it comes to hiring Public Relations Firms or Consultants. These professionals are designed to help you receive positive (and targeted) exposure and advance you further along in your chosen industry. However, you should conduct extensive research on the track record of the prospective PR Company to make sure that your goals align with their experience in leveraging brands similar to yours. Here are some tips to assist you in making an informed decision.
1.) Ask specific questions about their experience in your industry.
A reputable Public Relations Firm/Consultant should be able to specifically and effectively communicate their successful representation of companies that are in the same industry as you. Failure to do so should raise a red flag for you and you should continue your search.
2.) Request examples of their portfolio.
Assuming that you’re an Entrepreneur that consistently looks for ways to increase your brand recognition, you need only associate your company with people who are as passionate about results as you. Real PR practitioners will be happy to show you their portfolio, which should include (but not be limited to) strengths, professional attributes, reference letters from previous clients, sample SWOT analyses for previous campaigns and an executive summary. Everything in the portfolio should be typed, as hand-written examples lack professional presentation.
3.) Get clarity on the type of timeline that you should expect.
During the interview process (hopefully you are prepared to implement one), get a specific estimate on the collateral that they will require from you and the date that that information is needed by. If you are a new company, be prepared to provide that information. If you are an established company with a fully operational and informational web presence, the information that they may ask for should already be available. If you have a budget set aside to hire PR representation, you should expect them to put in the work necessary to find the information that they may need, but said information should be easily accessible.
4.) Find out, in detail, what the commitment and payment policy is.
Before a hiring decision is finalized, be sure to carefully review the contract and look closely for the commitment promised by the company. Also, assess the payment-for-service policy. Doing so will prevent any misunderstanding of all details associated with what should be a great partnership.