12 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a PR Agency

Feb. 09, 2022

If you want to scale your business, then nothing works better than hiring a PR firm. They will help you build the brand awareness that is needed at the moment and will work in close coordination to understand if you are reaching the desired goals. Working with public relations has become the need of the hour in today’s media-rich environment.

However, unless your hired PR firm understands your brand vision, they won’t be able to deliver the desired output. So how would you figure out if the PR team you are hiring is the best support for you? Well, here are a few questions that you can ask before hiring one to ensure they are a good fit for your business.

1. How are you going to measure your success?

The chosen PR agency should take a keen interest in your business and find out what your success should look like. Hence, they must get along with your expectations and requirements and ask you a lot of questions. Without understanding your goals, they won’t be able to set their campaign objectives or demonstrate a return on your investment.

2. Which media will reach my target audience best?

To answer this, the agency must wholly understand what your target demography is. Understanding the demographics would help them know what would work best; the traditional media placements or online promotions. They must also have equal knowledge of both the old and new media to help you work with a diverse plan.

reach your target audience

3. Have you worked on campaigns in my industry?

It will be beneficial for your brand if you are hiring a pr agency that has prior experience of working in the same industry. This will help you know who managed those accounts and what results were delivered by them. You can take your decision likewise. Unless you can see potential deliverability in their team, it will be best to not sign up for them.

4. Who will be working directly on my account?

Hiring a PR agency that is large in size might come with multiple points of contact, and you might initially meet the most influential individuals but when you start working, they will be nowhere to be seen. Hence, it is better to clarify right at the beginning about who is going to manage your daily business and whom you should connect with for all the updates. It is important to take such a decision right before the work starts.

5. Am I locked into a long-term contract?

It is one of the most important questions to ask a PR agency. Many firms will put your contract on a retainer and you might require to pay an upfront payment to receive their services. But this is not a great arrangement. A good PR agency will give its clients the freedom to opt out of their services if they feel the efforts are not worth it and the business is not getting benefitted in anyways.

6. Do you provide media coaching?

If you do not own a huge brand, then media coaching is going to be of great value to you. Pick out the agencies that also offer interview training through experienced media coaches. This will make you self-dependent and help you pull your brand out of any sudden media adversity.

7. What is your social media expertise?

When hiring a PR agency, make sure you know their social media expertise and how well they can handle things for you. The better they can organize interactive promotions on the platforms, the better they are for your online outreach. If the agency you have picked to work with only excels in traditional media, then you must rethink your decision of hiring them. Your chosen PR agency should have an all-inclusive social media expertise.

8. Who are some of your previous clients, and how did you achieve success?

When selecting a particular PR agency, it is wise to go for their client roster. Now some of us would debate if a client roster is everything. Well, surely, it isn’t everything, but at times, it also does matter a lot. It will have the details of all the bigger businesses they have worked with and how prolific the results have been. The roster would indicate the success of the agency and how they portrayed their clients in front of the world. Their present and previous client list will help your team to get valuable insights about the firm. You will have a clear idea about the type of work the pr agency does and the kind of help you can expect from them.

9. How are you going to communicate with me?

At the very beginning, this might sound like a draft question but actually, it is not. With this question, you will understand how your agency will manage the communication and the collaboration with your brand. You need to have real-time updates on your progress for about 90% of your budget will be allocated here. If your point of communication changes mid-way, it is something to worry about. So be very clear about it from the starting itself.

10. What will you need from me to make the relationship work?

Some brands think that hiring a PR agency would solve their purpose or a publicist working on their behalf would be enough. But this is a naïve thought that prevents the PR strategies from bringing in success. Unless you are involved in your PR, nothing is going to work. You need to have active participation in tweeting, blogging, or speaking with the media when it is demanded. You need to make an effort to understand what all is required from your side and make sure that you will be available for that.

11. How much do you charge for specific services?

This is the ultimate question that lingers on almost everyone’s mind. No doubt, budget is extremely important while selecting a PR agency. Though most agencies today offer custom packages as per the client’s needs, you can always go with the pre-defined packages that cover every important service under different price ranges. PR agency costs vary from $4000 to $15,000 a month. However, if you are looking to avail a highly tailored package, you need to discuss the costing separately with the agency.

12. What if it all goes wrong?

It is unpredictable what is going to happen in the future and one must be ready to face the consequences. But a crisis in a PR service is very rare. The crisis might mostly include human errors resulting in financial or face value damage. Upon speaking with your agency, you will get to understand what their crisis management strategies are and how they can bring your brand out of negative news.

Asking these questions to a potential PR partner is just going to help you clear all your doubts. It will also make it clear what your PR firm has to offer you in terms of the benefits. Through this, you can assess their compatibility and oversee the chances of you meeting your PR goals. So find a PR team that helps you fulfil your goals and makes you feel confident about your success.