Public relations are a critical aspect of every business today. Whether a multinational company or an SME, PR helps you deal with emergencies that can impact your brand’s image. Additionally, social media has become an integral part of our daily lives.
Consumers get most of their information about a particular brand from different social media platforms. So, it is vital to have a good advertising strategy to keep your target audience updated. Most importantly, there is a chance that competitors can use social media marketing to spread negative news about your brand.
As a result, it could lead to a PR disaster that can damage your brand’s image and reputation. That is where a PR team comes into play since they can develop a plan to deal with this situation. They can come up with a response and mitigate the impact of any harmful or damaging news.
While hiring a PR team allows you to deal with emergencies swiftly, small businesses often need help to build an in-house team. Therefore, they tend to outsource these responsibilities to a PR agency. It allows them to enjoy the same perks as hiring an in-house PR team.
So what does a PR agency do? What are the benefits that they offer your business? And how can you find one that is suitable for your business needs?
What Does a Good PR Agency Do?
Public relations focus on maintaining a positive reputation of your brand in public. It also works as a communications consultancy for your business. It focuses on managing your brand’s reputation and increasing its awareness. There are different ways to achieve these goals, but the most common is through media relations (also known as earned media). So let’s review their roles and responsibilities to understand what a good Public Relation agency does.
The PR agency will handle the most critical thing for you: managing your brand’s reputation. As a business, brand reputation management helps ensure that all the business stakeholders positively perceive your business. This includes your customer relations, investors, employees, and every other group with some stake in your business.
The PR agency can help you develop a strategic plan for brand reputation management. For example, they will identify the right communication channels, like emails, newsletters, blog posts, etc., to ensure the brand’s message reaches the key audience. In addition, many brands use PR agencies’ services to increase their brand reputation.
Building and maintaining a strong relationship with media outlets, journalists, influencers, podcast hosts, etc., is vital to manage your brand’s reputation. PR agencies can use strategies to get the media’s attention for your brand.
They can foster a positive relationship to increase the brand’s media coverage. Additionally, it can also help your brand during an emergency. For example, the PR agency can use connections and relationships to respond to negative rumors or misinformation about your brand.
Social Media Management
Since social media is integral to our daily lives, a PR agency will manage your company’s accounts on various platforms. As a result, your company’s social media account is critical in managing the brand’s reputation.
Not only that, but they can be an excellent way to reach out to your stakeholders during these types of emergencies. The PR agency will also use its influence to engage with influencers.
Garner Publicity for your Brand
Another important role for a PR agency is to help your brand gain publicity. It plays a vital role in increasing your brand’s awareness and allows you to attract a larger target audience. Here is how a PR agency can help you.
Step 1 – Research
The first thing the PR agency will do is identify the media outlets or other communication channels. It will allow them to reach their target audience. In addition, PR agencies will understand your business’s goals and have a comprehensive discussion with you to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Next, they will research the media outlets, hosts, and others who can deliver your brand’s message to the target audience. Media outlets and journalists only want to cover a limited number of topics pitched to them. Therefore, the PR agency will find the ones that will cover your brand’s story.
Step 2 – Plan
After doing their research, the PR agency will work on a plan to achieve your brand’s objectives. It will entail:
- Your branding goals
- Creative Ways to showcase your story to the media
- Editorial calendar of special dates
Some agencies will also include detailed steps to tell you how they will achieve your brand’s PR goals.
Step 3 – Execution
Once they go over all of the finer details of the plan, the next step is to move forward with its execution. The PR team will use various tactics, according to the scope and size of the plan, such as:
- Creating a press kit that includes vital details such as key events, a short bio of the individuals in the top management, etc.
- Crafting distinct and engaging pitches to grab the attention of media outlets and other influential people. The more intriguing your pitch is, the better the chances it will get media coverage.
- Reaching out to journalists, media outlets, podcast hosts, or influencers to cover your brand’s story.
In the digital era, information can spread like wildfire. So, if there is any negative news about your brand building, they need to be able to deal with it immediately. A study by PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) shows that more than 65% of leaders have dealt with a single instance of corporate crisis in the last five years.
Therefore, your company may also face a crisis that can seriously impact its brand’s reputation. For example, the PR agency can help you advise a strategy to deal with crisis management. In addition, they can develop a communication plan to send your message to the stakeholders.
If multiple people in your company deal with the media, they all need to be on the same page. The PR agencies can offer you media training to ensure your employees can respond and deal with media platforms accordingly. It is a common tactic that many PR firms use to ensure that the message delivered is accurate and consistent.
Even if just one person is dealing with the media, they should know how to deal with the press. Media training will give your brand’s spokesperson the skills to anticipate questions from reporters and will allow them to better prepare for their appearances. These things are of high importance, especially in a crisis.
Every word you say represents your brand if you are invited to speak at an event or conference. So, you must choose your words carefully to deliver a powerful message that will leave a good impression. A good speech at a conference or event can also help you improve your brand’s image.
The role of a PR agency also extends to help you write speeches and ensure that it is in line with the brand’s values. In addition, they will advise you and prepare a comprehensive strategy for the speech.
If you plan on organizing an event on your own, you need to advertise it properly to succeed. The PR agency is also responsible for organizing and managing these events. They will handle each and everything from the start till the end, which includes:
- Contacting and arranging sponsors for the event
- Making a list of guests and inviting them
- Taking care of the venue and catering
- Using their connections to advertise the event on various media outlets
- Book speakers and hosts for the event
What Not to Expect from Your PR Agency
While we have discussed the things that a PR agency can handle for you, let’s go over some things you shouldn’t expect from them.
PR Firms Don’t Help You With Sales
Most public relations firms will only help you with your PR and marketing efforts and won’t focus on sales. It means that you shouldn’t expect them to help increase your sales.
PR Firms Won’t Tell You About Their Contacts
Another thing that you shouldn’t expect from PR agencies is to get access to their contacts list. Most PR firms consider their contact list proprietary work and won’t share it with their clients.
Nevertheless, they would use their connections and relationships to ensure you get proper media coverage. Finally, they will engagingly pitch your story to grab the attention of media outlets and journalists.
PR Firms Won’t Give You a Guarantee of Media Features
Lastly, there is no guarantee that the media brands will publish your interviews or stories. You might have a good interview or story, but there is no guarantee that it will be published.
What are the Advantages of Working with a PR firm?
You might wonder why you need the services of a PR firm after all. Many small and medium enterprises believe they don’t need a PR agency since they operate on a smaller scale. However, you might never know when a PR crisis might arise, and you will need the help of a professional to handle it. So let’s go over some benefits you can enjoy by collaborating with a PR firm:
Helps You Achieve Your Long-Term Goals
Working with a PR agency allows you to develop a robust public relations and advertising strategy. For example, you can target your consumer base to achieve long-term financial goals.
Saves Money and Increases Productivity
It can be a costly venture to hire and build your in-house PR team. Businesses would have to deal with additional costs of wages, increased rent, etc. Therefore, it would be less costly to hire a PR agency. You can also free your team from PR-related tasks to focus on other aspects of the business. Consequently, it will improve their productivity as well.
You can learn more about the cost of hiring a good PR agency.
Allows you to work with experts in the field
A PR firm allows you to work with the best people for your projects. They will prioritize client satisfaction and ensure that they offer you the best expertise for your services. This way, you can get the opportunity to work with a highly skilled and qualified team of a professional PR agency.
Gives You a Comprehensive Idea about Your Plans
In-house PR teams might give unbiased opinions about a company’s events, product launches, or any other public relations venture. If you allow someone outside the business to look at your PR strategy, they can point out any possible issues and help you resolve them.
What is the Best Way to Find a PR Agency Suitable for Your Business Needs?
With so many PR agencies, you might wonder which is the most suitable for your business. There are a few things that you need to consider before choosing a PR agency for your brand. Below are the things you need to keep in mind while finding a PR firm.
Have Clear Goals
You first need to have a clear set of goals you want to achieve by working with your PR firm. Think about what you want to accomplish and how a PR firm’s role in helping your company achieve those goals. Ideally, it is best to draft SMART goals, which stand for:
Once you decide on these goals, you can streamline finding a relevant PR agency.
Create a Budget
While large corporations have a lot of money to invest in their PR efforts, the case differs for small and medium-sized enterprises. They have a limited marketing budget to manage various aspects of their public image. So, you should put aside a budget on how much you’re willing to spend on your PR efforts.
Decide whether it comes from your marketing budget and how much you should allocate to hire a PR firm. Also, consider your priorities and all the hidden costs associated with hiring a PR firm.
Search for the Best PR Agencies
Now that you have a clear set of goals and a budget, the next thing is to find the best PR agencies. You can gather information about the pricing, customer reviews, testimonials, etc., through different agencies.
You can then compare them to determine the most suitable agency that fits your budget and goals. This step is very important in your search for a reputable PR agency. It would help to do your due diligence when finding the right one for your business.
Prepare a List of Questions
Once you shortlist the best PR agencies for your business, start preparing the questions you need to ask them. You can come up with questions depending on your brand’s needs and preferences. Here is a list of common questions that you can ask before working with a PR company:
- What are your service charges, and are there any hidden fees?
- How much experience do you have in this field?
- What are the skills and expertise of your professionals?
- What are some of the biggest achievements of your PR agency?
- Are there any reviews/testimonials from your previous clients?
- How do you plan on increasing our media coverage?
- What are KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) you use to measure success?
- Can you help my business with sales and marketing as well?
- What are your plans for the first initial months?
- How do you plan on working with our internal marketing team?
- Is there a particular industry you specialize in?
We hope you have a clear idea about what a good PR agency does. Public Relations Agencies can help you improve your brand image and increase brand recognition. You can make the most out of your collaborations with a PR firm with a clear idea about their roles and responsibilities.
To build a successful and sustainable business, you must have a good relationship with all the stakeholders. It includes your employees, customers, investors, etc. And that is where a PR agency can help you deliver your message through various channels. So, choose the best one for your business by following the steps mentioned in this article.