The Ultimate Guide to Hiring a PR Agency in 2021

Vanessa Carlton stated it greatest: Your organization is making its approach downtown, faces move, and also you’re “success” certain. See what I did there? Anywho, your organization is on its approach. However how do you talk that together with your stakeholders and the general public?

Between weblog writing, drafting advert copy, and establishing an e-mail workflow, it is arduous to find time for model consciousness and media administration. That is the place a public relations (PR) company may help.

Download Now: Free Press Release Template

In keeping with the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), “Public relations is a strategic communication course of that builds mutually useful relationships between organizations and their publics.” In immediately’s world, PR and advertising and marketing overlap and intertwine, making it essential to work collectively.

You may need questions on how your advertising and marketing group and a PR company can work collectively like, “What is going to a PR agency do?” or “What providers does a PR company present?”

Under, you will be taught every little thing you want to find out about hiring a PR company.

Whereas the duties of public relations and advertising and marketing can overlap, the 2 serve completely different capabilities. Allie Decker, a author on HubSpot’s pillar web page group, wrote about public relations and advertising and marketing on this weblog. She says, “The primary objective of PR is to spice up the status of your model. However, the primary objective of selling is to drive gross sales.”

PR and advertising and marketing can work collectively by aligning their targets. For example, folks might grow to be conscious of your model via PR ways corresponding to natural social media presence, after which convert into gross sales out of your advertising and marketing ways corresponding to Fb advertisements. With PR and advertising and marketing collaborating on strategic messaging, you will construct your status and drive extra gross sales.

1. Status administration

Status administration is without doubt one of the principal providers that public relations companies supply. Techniques would possibly embrace e-mail newsletters, messaging on web site copy or weblog content material, social media administration, responding to evaluations, and interesting with followers.

For example, Taco Bell makes use of social media to construct its status. Within the instance beneath, Taco Bell responds to a buyer on Twitter with an genuine, partaking tweet making the model relatable and boosting its status.

Taco Bell maintains brand on Twitter.

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2. Disaster administration

In keeping with knowledge from PwC, 69% leaders have skilled no less than one company disaster within the final 5 years — with the common variety of crises skilled being three. Your organization will probably face no less than one disaster throughout your tenure. That is why you may need a PR agency provide you with a disaster communication plan so that you’re ready when the time comes.

For instance, Susan G. Komen for the Remedy, a number one breast most cancers charity, confronted the results of missing a disaster communication plan in 2012. They stopped funding Deliberate Parenthood’s breast most cancers screenings after 7 years of funding. When the announcement was made by Deliberate Parenthood, the story went viral on social media with assaults coming from all sides. Komen waited some time to reply, put up a video failing to take accountability, after which reversed the choice.

In keeping with PRSA, there are a lot of classes to be taught from Komen’s errors, together with “Do not place your self as a sufferer. It will not work.”

3. Media relations

One strategy to construct your status and get your identify out there may be via the media. PR companies can deal with the connection between the media and your organization. Techniques embrace writing pitches to journalists and influencers to achieve mentions in trade information and get extra media protection.

For instance, should you personal a sustainable magnificence firm, a PR agency would possibly pitch you to the Organic Bunny blog for an interview about sustainable magnificence merchandise.

4. Social media

Social media is a big consider status administration and one of many principal methods to speak together with your viewers, so sustaining your social media accounts can grow to be a public relations tactic. Because you personal your social media accounts they’re a simple strategy to construct your model. Plus, your social media technique would possibly contain partaking with influencers in your area of interest.

Within the instance beneath, Poo-Pourri makes use of its personal social media account to spice up its status and unfold the phrase about an earned media alternative. Additionally, notice how the founder is lively in the neighborhood, attains media protection, and builds her firm’s model.

Poo-Pourri uses social media to boost brand reputation.

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5. Speech writing

Speech writing is a helpful public relations tactic that you just would possibly use if your organization holds press conferences and occasions or your staff converse at trade occasions. Any speeches given on behalf of your organization ought to signify your model as an entire. If anybody in your organization has to provide a speech, you would possibly contemplate hiring a PR company to deal with the strategic messaging.

Within the instance beneath, Tim Cook dinner, Apple’s CEO, and different members of his group, give a number of speeches about new merchandise and updates throughout Apple’s annual innovation occasion. Apple might or might not have labored with a public relations agency, however it is a nice instance of an occasion the place you would possibly discuss to a PR agency concerning the strategic and model messaging.

6. Press releases

Your organization may need to put in writing a press launch to announce new merchandise, launches, campaigns, or actions. This tactic goes hand-in-hand with media relations. For instance, should you work at a shoe firm and wish to begin a motion on Twitter to #walkmore, a PR agency can write a press launch to announce the marketing campaign and hopefully attain media protection.

7. Occasion planning

Occasion planning generally is a advertising and marketing and public relations tactic to advertise your model, product, or service. If your organization places on an occasion for the aim of boosting your model status, you would possibly contemplate working with a PR company. A PR company may help talk together with your stakeholders and publics, attain media protection, and plan your occasion.

For instance, INBOUND, an annual expertise occasion for these within the advertising and marketing trade, is an occasion that’s used to raise the INBOUND brand. At any such occasion, INBOUND offers worth to the general public, whereas additionally boosting its model status. Whereas this occasion is deliberate internally by INBOUND, it is a good instance of the kind of occasion {that a} PR company might assist plan.

8. Outreach

Do you wish to guarantee your organization is lively in your area of interest’s group, together with commerce reveals and occasions? A PR company may help with that. Public relations companies use outreach as a tactic to spice up model status and improve model consciousness. For instance, should you work at a fish retailer, your public relations agency would possibly attain out to the Global Pet Expo to achieve a sales space on the occasion. Then, they could promote your involvement via social media, a press launch, and media interviews.

9. Market analysis

A very powerful component to speaking and constructing relationships together with your publics is to know them. That is why a PR agency would seemingly use market analysis as a tactic. They may use surveys, suggestions types, or focus teams to find out about your target market. For instance, should you personal a protein firm, a PR agency would possibly ship out surveys to see who buys your protein, what sort of flavors they need, and what they worth in a protein firm.

10. Media coaching

Many firms and types within the public eye endure media training. Media coaching is a tactic public relations companies use with a purpose to produce constant, strategic messaging for the manufacturers they work with. If your organization or model could have a number of staff talking in public, everybody ought to be on the identical web page with reference to messaging. If there is just one one that would be the face of your model, it is vital to anticipate widespread reporter questions and have canned solutions ready.

Within the instance beneath, the Kardashians attend media coaching to observe solutions to probably the most controversial questions reporters ask them. As a model, the Kardashians have a whole lot of shifting components, and the household had by no means mentioned or practiced the messaging they’d use when speaking to the media.

11. Inside copywriting

Writing inside copy is a public relations tactic PR companies use to speak with staff. Your staff are a stakeholder and public of your organization, so a PR agency might handle that relationship. You would possibly want to speak together with your staff to debate main adjustments, construct morale, or rejoice successes.

Our tip from HubSpot is to have a principal communication channel the place communication is saved and disseminated. For instance, HubSpot has an inside Wiki (see screenshot beneath), the place our staff, who span seven nations, can talk.

HubSpot uses internal hub to communication to employees.Image Source

The various kinds of PR companies range relying on the providers they provide and the publics they serve. There are normal and specialised PR companies.

1. Normal strategic communication

A normal public relations agency will deal with all facets of your PR technique. They are going to be answerable for constructing your status and model consciousness via most of the ways described above, together with social media, media relations, inside communication, and extra. A normal communication PR agency is an efficient match for you should you need assistance with a number of public relations ways.

2. Press communication

A PR company that focuses on press communication will concentrate on media outreach, pitch writing, attaining media protection, and getting interviews with journalists or influencers. For those who solely must work with a PR company with a purpose to enhance your media protection, a specialised agency is likely to be an choice to contemplate.

3. Disaster administration

A disaster administration PR company can strategize and implement a disaster communication plan. Sometimes these companies are used on a brief foundation, to both draft or implement a plan when your organization experiences a disaster.

4. Inside communication

Inside communication PR companies focus on disseminating data to your staff. Whether or not or not it’s via a month-to-month e-newsletter or an inside hub, they may facilitate worker communication.

5. Group administration

A group administration PR agency focuses on managing customer relations. They will handle the communication between you and your community in places like Facebook Groups and social media.

6. Nonprofit public relations

A nonprofit PR firm specializes in working with specific organizations rather than focusing on certain tactics. Nonprofits will typically have different rules and regulations when it comes to communicating with its publics, which is why many firms specialize in nonprofit. A nonprofit PR firm will work with organizations in industries such as health, medical, or charity.

7. Public affairs public relations

Similar to a nonprofit firm, a public affairs PR firm specializes in working specifically with government officials as a communication tool. For example, if your company wants to endorse a political candidate or a government official wants to be a spokesperson for your company, a public affairs PR firm can manage that relationship.

1. Set your objectives

Now that you’ve decided to hire a PR agency, your next question might be something like, “How do I even start?”

To begin, start thinking about your goals. Answer questions like “What do I want to accomplish by working with a PR agency?” and “How can a PR agency help my company?” When you begin working with a PR firm, you’ll most likely draft SMART goals. SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.

Once you have an idea of your goals, our next tip is to think about what type of PR firm can help you meet those objectives (see types of PR firms above). For example, if your company has experienced a social media crisis like Komen (described above) you might want to work with a crisis management firm. On the other hand, if you work at a nonprofit charity foundation like the Red Cross, you would possibly work with a nonprofit public relations company.

2. Create a funds

Earlier than you start researching which PR company you wish to work with, create a funds. Contemplate how a lot you are prepared to spend on public relations efforts. It is best to be capable of reply questions like “Will this come out of our advertising and marketing funds?” or “What p.c of our funds can we contribute to PR?”

Megan Conley, a video editor/animator at HubSpot, writes about making a funds on this weblog. To create a funds, she says:

  • Align your targets together with your funds
  • Contemplate hidden prices
  • Keep in mind your priorities (consider these SMART targets)

To get higher at prioritizing your PR line objects, download the PR Budget Template (included within the 8 Funds Templates to Handle Your Advertising and marketing Spend).

You may also take a look at the common 2021 charges for a PR company beneath.

3. Analysis PR companies

Along with your targets and funds in hand, start researching the proper of PR company you have determined to work with. Collect data on their status, evaluations, price, social media presence, testimonials, shoppers, and so on.

Aja Frost, a senior web optimization strategist and former author for the Gross sales weblog at HubSpot, writes about inventive prospect analysis methods on this weblog. These similar methods could be utilized to researching a PR company.

Frost suggests:

  • Have a look at their firm’s job web page: This provides you with an concept of their present aims and what ways they’re specializing in. For instance, are they growing a social media group or trying to rent an knowledgeable in disaster administration?
  • Search for strategic bulletins: By researching for bulletins, you possibly can find out about initiatives, successes, new methods, and their very own model status. It is vital to contemplate how they deal with their very own PR.
  • Learn the shareholder letter: This offers you an concept of their monetary energy, distinctive worth proposition, and accomplishments. You wish to discover a respected PR company to work with.
  • Go on Glassdoor: Glassdoor is a superb place to find out about worker evaluations, firm tradition, and targets. This may give a good suggestion of their status.

4. Write an inventory of inquiries to ask

After totally researching completely different PR companies, create a shortlist to contact. Earlier than you contact an company, write down an inventory of inquiries to ask.

You may wish to find out about:

  • Worth
  • Expertise/experience
  • Earlier shoppers
  • Prior successes
  • Opinions/testimonials

See examples of inquiries to ask a PR company beneath.

5. Have conferences

Armed together with your questions, the next step is to have conferences with completely different PR companies. Undergo your checklist of questions and collect the knowledge you want to decide. For these conferences, our tip is to concentrate to who you’ve chemistry with. It is at all times simpler to work with people who find themselves adaptable and may have an clever dialog about your methods. After your conferences, evaluate the proposals you obtain, from value to technique.

6. Set expectations

As soon as you have determined which PR agency you wish to work with, make sure you’ve made your aims and targets clear. Arrange a transparent line of communication, whereas additionally defining your expectations. Speak together with your PR company about your SMART targets and determine how you will measure success.

7. Onboard your PR agency

The ultimate step to hiring a PR company is to undergo the onboarding course of with them. Work out who your principal level of contact is and talk about your communication targets. Ask questions like, “How typically will we contact base?” or “How will we observe the outcomes of our work collectively?”

Inquiries to Ask a PR Agency, Company, or Rep

1. “Do you focus on a sure trade?

There are various kinds of PR companies (see examples above) that you might work with. Before you hire a PR agency, find out if they specialize in a certain industry or have only worked with certain kinds of businesses. This will give you an idea of how and if they can help your company.

2. “How will you get us media coverage?

It’s important to find out what tactics the agency uses to gain media coverage. In addition, see if they mention their media list when they answer this question. Most PR agencies have a media list and have built relationships with people in the industry. Also, see if they have any new strategies or tactics that you haven’t heard of before, such as influencer marketing or guerilla marketing.

3. “How do you measure success?

An important quality of any marketing or public relations agency is to be able to track ROI. Every agency should have a system in place for tracking results and analytics for their campaigns. Also, see what success looks like for them. Ask questions like “How have you tracked success for previous clients?”

4. “How do you plan to work with our marketing team?

When you hire a PR agency, you should consider how they will work with your marketing team. The two go hand-in-hand, especially because some tactics might overlap. Ask questions like “How do you account for our marketing team when you plan a campaign?” or “How do you communicate what your agency is responsible for versus our marketing team?

5. “What do the first few months look like?

Figure out how they plan to get started. Do they focus on market research in the first few months? How long would that take? It’s important to figure out how they get started with their clients and what their strategy would look like for your company.

6. “What’s your pricing structure?

Of course, budget is one of the main points you want to inquire about. Learn about their pricing structure. Ask questions like “Do you price per project, per hour, or a retainer fee?” and “How often do you charge?” Affording your PR agency is the main priority.

7. “Can I see work you’ve done for businesses in my industry?

Again, you want to see that they’ve had success with other businesses or brands in your industry. This tells you that they might have a media list they can contact right away. It also lets you know they can be successful for you, because they’ve done it before.

8. “Can I contact past clients?

Once you know that a PR agency has seen success with other brands, ask for references. Ask previous clients questions like “Was [PR agency] enjoyable to work with?” and “How did they measure success for you?”

9. “Do your employees have experience working in marketing and sales as well?

This is an important question to ask because your PR agency should understand how marketing, sales, and PR all work together to drive sales. If its employees have experience in marketing and sales, they will understand the context of how PR fits in your strategy.

10. “Who would I be working with?”

Ask about their systems. The PR agency you work with should have a communication plan in place. Figure out what their team structure is like. Will you have one point of contact, like an account manager? Or will you work with several people on the team depending on the project?

11. “How can your company grow with us?”

As your company grows, you want to have a PR agency that can understand your needs from startup to scale up. Ask if they’ve worked with brands of all sizes and see if they’ve worked with anyone from the startup to enterprise.

How much does PR cost? Average 2021 Rates

According to the Holmes Report, PR budgets and company spend has been rising. The variety of CMOs and CCOs who had been managing budgets of greater than $100 million reported PR has accounted for 31% of the funds. However, for firms with a funds between $75 million and $100 million, budgets dropped to six%. For these dealing with a funds between $50 million and $75 million, PR has accounted for 17% of their funds.

Total, the quantity you pay for PR will range relying on the providers you want in addition to by location. It is also vital to consider that PR companies supply many various pricing buildings. Businesses can cost on an hourly, retainer, or venture foundation.

Ellie Flanagan, a senior company communications supervisor at HubSpot, says “The price of hiring a PR company can range relying on the scale of the agency and the forms of providers you”re on the lookout for. Most companies invoice hourly towards a retainer, which ensures a certain quantity of labor every month. These prices could be between $100-500 per hour per every particular person on the group, relying on the seniority of every group member. You possibly can work with the company to find out how a lot work is required and the way skilled the group must be.”

Throughout my analysis for this piece, I discovered the present common price of public relations is about $3,000-5,000/month. Mission-based prices are usually decrease, working at about $1,000.

For instance, Paranoid PR fees wherever from $1,450-5,000/month for a retainer price, relying on the depth of the continuing assist. In addition they supply per-project pricing, charging round $250-500 for particular person initiatives or $750-1,250 for mini-campaigns, relying on the complexity of the initiatives.

However, PRA Public Relations provides pricing based mostly on completely different stage applications providing completely different ranges of service. Their applications vary from $2,500/month to $7,000/month.

Pitch PR provides an ordinary PR program costing $3,500. No different choices had been listed on their web site.

Bridgeview Marketing provides a number of PR applications starting from $2,500/month to $8,000/month.

A PR company could possibly be a fantastic complement to your advertising and marketing efforts, drive extra site visitors to your web site, and facilitate status administration and model consciousness.

Need to be taught extra about public relations? Take a look at our final information.

Editor’s notice: This publish was initially revealed in October 2019 and has been up to date for comprehensiveness.

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