// Jan 16, 2017 BY jade

What to ask when considering a PR agency

If you’re a business owner or decision maker in an organisation considering how to organise PR and communication support – here are some handy hints:

1.What is your offer and wants do you want to achieve?

Some people struggle to define what their business is about and what it exists to do. If you can clearly explain this to a friend in the pub or to your mum then you’re on the right track. The ability to do this is vital – if you can’t then you will not fully engage the audiences you have.

So if you can’t simply explain what you are about (even if some of the detail is complex) then this needs to be fixed before going any further – if this is challenging then a good agency should help.

2.What do you have to say that people will find interesting?

It need not be interesting to everyone as everyone might not be your intended audience, but if you are to spark interest and command attention then there has to be something about you that people will find of interest.

It might be part of the offer you make or the quality of how you do things. Think about what makes you different from others doing the same or similar things to you. Think about in terms of telling a story – again, a good agency will help with this.

3.Are you open to good advice?

A good agency will give honest advice about what your options are and what they recommend. This might not have been your view at the outset. However if you think they have got a good grasp of what you are about, then give their expert views some consideration.

Getting you to explore other options and challenging you on how you do things now are part of how a consultancy can help. If they just agree with everything you say and offer nothing new, question their value. Our ‘Don’t Hire A Nodding Dog’ blog gives more on how being a honest agency is better.

4.Have you considered the track record of the agency?

What we do is build your influence and that can feel a bit vague. Some PR folk can be prone to making bold claims that don’t materialise.

Have a look at an agency’s achievements, and ask what their clients think about them. This should offer insight into what they can achieve and what their approach is – from that you can consider whether they can deliver on what they say.

5.Do you like them?

People invest in people.

You need to feel comfortable with the people you work with. You need to trust them and need to feel that the relationship is something of value to you – not necessarily best friends forever, but a rapport should be easy to develop and something that can be sustained.

It is not a cliché – any agency you work with is an extended part of your team. You should expect a mutually-respectful, trusting relationship the same as that in highly performing teams. 

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