It’s like any bad relationship — when your public relations (PR) firm isn’t in love with you any more, and you’re tired of them, it’s time for a change. Switching PR agencies is a tough choice, but it doesn’t have to be a negative one. A new public relations agency can often build on the expertise and foundation laid by your current public relations (PR) firm. Since the right PR agency can increase the value of your company up to 30%, learning to hire public relations and media relations firms is well worth the investment in time.
What you need from your public relations (PR) firm evolves as your company evolves
Switching public relations agencies doesn’t mean your current media relations firm was a bad choice when you hired them–it may just be that a different stage in your development calls for a different type of firm. At our agency, potential clients need us when they need to become a recognizable industry leader, and our Triple A industry leadership methodology assures that result. It’s a specific niche practice that every company needs.
Selecting the public relations agency you need
If you’re considering changing public relations agencies, here’s what we’ve learned from dozens of clients about ways that make it easier:
- Know your wish list for the ideal PR firm or PR agency | Where are you dissatisfied? Is it tracking? ROI? Account management? Strategy? Often the team that brought you to your current level of coverage is not the team that takes you further. People only know what they know. At our PR agency, for example, we know how to create recognizable industry leaders. (Don’t ask us for the finer points of crisis management!)
- Be realistic about your public relations agency budget | Most companies start with a PR freelancer or public relations consultant. That professional gets quite few mentions, a few profiles and your company begins to get on the map for just a couple grand a month or less. If it’s working well, you’ll usually graduate to a PR consultant–a lead person who works with a couple of contractors. Now you’ve added bandwidth, so generally the ROI increases, but so does the price. Next, more agressive companies will choose to hire a speciality firm such as ours that has a practice area. You get economies of scale on strategy, a methodology, higher ROI, better tracking from internal systems, greater scale, as well as a more committed team employed full time in this field of expertise. And at the fourth level, companies that already have strategic public relations in place but need multi-city or global representation often turn to the big names in public relations that provide global teams such as Edelman, Ogilvy and similar.
- Own your public relations firm experience | There are hundreds of experienced public relations agencies and firms–like with accountants and lawyers, sometimes there’s simply a cultural fit requirement that isn’t explicit when a professional PR relationship begins. If you’re not satisfied with your current PR agency, explore what other companies like yours are doing.