Monthly Archives: February 2014

Choose the right PR agent for your business.

How to Choose a PR Agency

When it comes to making big decisions about your business like brand direction, new product launches, or choosing a PR agency to work with, there are many different ideas that you need to put on the table.

Smart PR professionals know that bringing a new client into the fold is a process. It’s a process of communication, education, and setting up expectations on both sides.

When choosing a PR agency, there are questions you can ask before handing over the keys to your communication cabinet. If you’ve already employed a PR agency, there’s no reason why you can’t ask these questions regardless. Addressing questions like this early on in your business partnership will mean a better relationship in the long run.

1. How do you measure results? Results are obviously essential to the success of an agency in retaining clients and tangibly moving the needle on ROI. There is no standard measurement of results in the PR industry – it’s something that’s been debated for many years now with no end in sight. It’s important that you ask your agency about how they measure results – if you don’t see eye to eye, you may be on different pages as to what a ‘good result’ looks like.

2. What will you need from our business? Asking this question will give you an idea of what the agency expects of your business – and how much time and effort you will need to put aside to keep the relationship going strong. Will you need to create content? Have high resolution product images ready to go? Will you need to have a single contact from your business to handle the PR agency? Or will you take this on yourself? How often will you need to be available for meetings or media interviews?

3. How often should I expect to see media coverage? Even though an agency may not give you an exact number of times you will be in the media on a monthly basis (this isn’t advertising), they should be able to at least provide you with a range. You also need to factor in any other work you have your PR agency doing – ask for a breakdown of the fees to understand how much you are paying for media relations and therefore how much media coverage you should expect. Keep this in mind when you give additional work to the agency, too – you may get less media coverage if you’ve been delegating them other activities.

4. How do you integrate media relations with other communication? This communicates that you are aware of the need to integrate your communications strategy. This is also a great time to discuss how the agency communicates media coverage to you and your team so it can be leveraged throughout your marketing channels. It might also be worth asking how else they can you help your organisation. Yes, you’re coming to this agency for media relations, but it’s quite possible they are successful in other areas, such as blogging or social media.

5. Do they have media contacts or client experience within your industry? If the answer is yes, ask to see the coverage the agency has secured within your industry. You may decide to choose a PR agency even if they don’t have industry contacts. In that case, ask for case studies in similar industries. Choosing a PR agency that has had other clients within your industry is a major plus. That said, some clients see others in the same industry as competitors. To avoid a conflict of interest, find similar industries where the agency has experience.


Intergenerational Communication

Your Baby Boomer boss leaves a voice message urgently asking for contact details of a client. You’re out with friends so email it through using your smartphone, then your boss calls again in an hour asking why you haven’t called through with the info. Sound familiar? Knowing your audience and the way they prefer to receive messages is crucial to getting your brand message across successfully.

There is a lot of emphasis on diversity in the workforce and its effect on communication. Retirement ages are being pushed back and generational diversity is present in virtually every workplace. Our ageing workforce is a generational spectrum encompassing Veterans (born between 1925-1945), Baby Boomers (born between 1946-1964), Gen X’s (born between 1965-1980), and Gen Y’s (born between 1981-2000).

With each group the importance of what we say, and how we say it, shifts. Although somewhat stereotypical, the older generations have a tendency to favour face-to-face and phone communication. Born into a digital age, Gen X and Y have a greater predisposition to technology and are generally Internet and social media whizzes. They prefer email communication and online messages rather than somewhat confronting face-to-face communicating or even phone calls.

This gives the PR world the potential to tap a diverse pool of communicational expertise or buckle and come up against barriers of miscommunicated tension. Understanding intergenerational communication allows PR practitioners to provide varied expertise and tailor a PR strategy to best meet clients’ needs.

By taking time to understand our own generational preferences and those of our co-workers and clients we are able to learn from each other. Older generations can pass on their vast industry experience and the younger their pop culture and technology expertise.