You’ve been dreaming that this day would come; the day a national publication runs an in-depth interview with you. You want to act on this new story, so you go out and hire a public relations firm. Before you engage with any public relations firm, you need to understand five important things.
Understand Public Relations: Be sure you don’t hire a company that only focuses on media relations. We assure you that it will be a huge waste of money. Be sure that your firms talks about the integration of media relations within a larger communications program. Getting your business name out there in stories is great but that alone doesn’t make the cash start flowing in.
Share your Business Goals: You need to share your business goals with your PR Firm. Even if you have to sign a non-disclosure agreement during an introductory meeting, you want to be open with them. It’ll be almost impossible to be successful if you hold off on sharing your business plan, goals, analytics, database and metrics with the PR firm.
Expectations: Be realistic with the expectations. If your PR firm is worth the investment, you will receive anywhere from two to five times the money you paid them. You need to understand your return on investment won’t happen overnight. It will take at least six months.
Do you have the Time?: Your involvement with your PR firm is crucial. Someone within your organization should spend around an hour a day, every day on public relations. The PR firm doesn’t understand your business as well as you do and believe it or not but customers, prospects, journalists and others would rather talk to you then your PR Firm. Your PR firm can create and set up the conversations for you, but you will need to have them.
Don’t Be Scared to Take a Risk: Technology has directly affected how PR firms do their jobs. Building a website, and using social media means that you can gain brand awareness at a faster rate than in the past. This also means that you will be under more scrutiny. A PR firm should have experience with crises online and be accepting to let them get out there. If you are a little uncomfortable, there is a better chance it will work.