How to search for PR agencies: Guidelines for clients

The PR firm you’re hiring has won dozens of awards and boasts an international client roster. Perfect, huh? Don’t be so sure!

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Every PR agency rep has felt that momentary panic when a hot new business lead calls and asks, “How many companies in our industry has your agency worked with?”

“None,” I say, taking a chance. When they don’t hang up, I quickly continue, “But we have the advantage of not knowing what not to do. We’ll build on a blank slate.”

No hang up …

I continue, “It’s not industry experience that should top your priorities, but the PR firm’s successes in achieving similar clients’ goals regardless of industry experience.”

Did not get a hang up!

My phone experience leads me to say to prospects, “Re-think your priorities to better your chances of getting a good agency match.” Consider the following:

Industry knowledge: This should not be on the top of any list. Industry knowledge is quickly absorbed — one week to dig deep into smart research; find out how the media covers this industry; understand where a company fits into its media landscape; analyze the industry’s social media voice and build relationships with the right people while asking the right questions. Focus on similar experiences with similar company goals and successes reaped.

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