So you’re ready to take your brand to the next level. Congratulations! The next step sounds easy, just choose a random PR agency and hire them, right?
The truth is, choosing an agency is anything but easy. It’s a task that requires you to find, vet and hire a group of people that will be responsible for how the public views your brand. They can make you or break you, ultimately determining the growth of your brand.
“It’s so important that brands look long term when hiring a PR or communications agency,” says Tanya Dodaro, Co-founder and managing director of On Q Communications. “Though you might be looking for a quick campaign now, you need consider what needs your brand might have in the future. Think of it like hiring a new employee — do you want to spend the time training the company on your brand only to train a new one the next year?”
To help you in your search we’re giving exclusive insights into the top seven things to consider when searching for a PR or communications company. And after 11 years of experience in this field, we’re confident they are all you need to start your big search.
Need help in your search? Here’s a few PR companies in Toronto to check out: Apex Public Relations, Clutch PR, North Strategic Public Relations, Faulhaber Communications, NKPR, Paradigm PR, On Q Communications.
Seek a company where your values align.
Choose a company that truly believes in your brand. These are the people who will be promoting you online and offline — you need to be sure that they’re on the same page. It helps if they are already ambassadors of your brand.
Make sure you’re not a small fish in a big sea.
Just like businesses, PR agencies come in all shapes and sizes. When looking for someone to work with, make sure that your brand won’t get pushed to the back burner. Find out what kinds of clients the agency works with and how your business fits in with those.
Find out what their reputation is in the industry.
Think of hiring a PR firm as hiring an employee. Ask to speak to past clients for a reference or ask for a list of testimonials. Choosing a company that is established and has a proven track record is essential.
Ask yourself, if your marketing needs grow can you grow with the agency?
Though you might only be looking for social media attention, you never know where your business will be in two or three years. Search for a company that offers more than one expertise. It is beneficial if they offer a list of services, so depending on what your goals are, they have different tools available in their toolbox to best reach your communications goals. Hiring a well rounded agency is offering bespoke solutions is a great way to ensure you can take the company to the next level without having to switch firms.
Make sure you’re not the intern’s project.
The hidden secret in PR? A lot of client work often gets passed to the intern. Ask who will be working directly on your account and meet them face to face. What you want to avoid is an initial pitch meeting with the president, only to find out that they never touch your account moving forward.
Diversity with team members.
Do the team members offer a variety of skill sets? Look for an agency that has employees who offer different, but complementary skill sets. For example, is one person an expert in broadcast media? Does another live and breath influencer relations? What about a social media pro who has been working in the industry since the start of Facebook? Is there a web developer on the team? Different skill sets allow the agency to develop holistic marketing plans for your business, ensuring that they hit the right audience at the right time.
Feel confident in your choice.
If you’re second guessing your choice, it’s not the right fit. Be confident with who you choose and ask for examples of past work or a third meeting if you feel uneasy. Your PR company will most likely represent your brand image. Be sure it’s in the right hands!