Public relations is a key tool for B2B brands to go to market. And selecting the right PR firm is critical to your company’s success. Over the past decade, I’ve been involved in about 100 PR agency selection processes. Here are 3 areas I recommend to review when evaluating a public relations agency partner.
It goes without saying, but industry knowledge is a must-have for a successful PR effort. As PR firms spread their wings and add social, content marketing, and other adjacent services this requirement is ever more important.
My key, make sure there is a managing partner (or your agency leader) who has actually done the job from inside a firm in that industry. This is especially important since most PR leaders that have “client-side” experience will understand how to ensure your PR effort aligns with your overall go-to-market and business objectives.
The team that works on your business is your day-to-day relationship with that agency. Team chemistry between your marketing and communications teams and the agency are critical to the efforts overall success. Trust and shared experiences are materially important to ensure a culture of excellence.
And this exercise isn’t just top-to-top, but, up and down and across the organization. Your PR effort will rely on your team as spokespeople, thought leaders and support. There must be great chemistry between the two organizations.
While many PR firms will provide case studies about their experience that is not what I’m talking about here. This is about what were the business outcomes as a result of that firm’s partnership for that client. Ask, how did they measure success. If they respond, “we created [fill in a number] of mentions,” etc. then as a PR firm they aren’t focused on your business goals. Mentions aren’t important; sentiment of those mentions is.
Furthermore, their answer should focus on revenue and profitability-related business outcomes. Sometimes as articulated as lead generation, improvement of NPS, or share of market. This is an imperative. If the PR agency doesn’t understand how to connect what they do to your income statement, they don’t understand the role of PR in the marketing mix. And, ultimately, how PR should contribute to your business’ growth.What are your thoughts? Share your reactions in our community on Slack.