The Top 5 Questions to ask an Agency when Looking to Hire a PR Firm
Originally Posted On: The Top 5 Questions to ask an Agency when Looking to Hire a PR Firm — Bastion Elevate
Each week we meet with companies looking to hire a PR firm. There are always many questions about who we know, what industries we work with, how we measure success and how long we’ve been in business. These questions are key, but a CMO or CEO should be asking a couple of additional important questions when looking to hire PR representation that I thought I would share today.Questions to Ask
1) When interviewing a firm, ask how often do you connect with your clients? This is a key question for brands looking for accountability. If an agency isn’t conducting ongoing update meetings, it isn’t creating a strategy based on deliverables. A great PR firm knows that it is essential to maintain open lines of communication and provide its clients with routine and timely updates regarding recent successes, pending deliverables and upcoming campaigns. Although we as PR professionals drive the majority of our client programs with creative ideas we feel will net results, it is also important to strategize and brainstorm with a client about any company updates, marketing initiatives or product launches we can support from a PR perspective. Recurring biweekly calls should be part of the program to successfully achieve this!
2) Does the firm you are working with have a low client retention rate If they do, run. To find out, ask, on average, how many clients choose not to renew their contracts with the firm? Renewals are the best way to gauge if a PR firm produces results that keep clients coming back for more. It shows that the agency works well with their clients and secures the type of exposure they are looking to achieve – exposure that raises brand awareness and helps drive revenue.
3) The same question goes for employees. Does the agency have a high rate of employee turn-over? If so, there is a problem with management. And if there is, you probably aren’t getting the most engaged employee who is really interested in producing earned media coverage or focused on making sure the client relationship is a solid one. Employees that are invested in the client’s success tend to outperform. This is an important question that many brands don’t think to ask.
4) What are your company’s PR goals, and does the agency you are talking to understand them? To get a clear understanding, ask the agency: how do you help a brand identify PR goals? An experienced PR firm should be able to explain its goal-setting processes easily. Setting benchmarks, monitoring data and consistently tracking coverage goals are the foundation of a solid PR program, so make sure to ask this question when talking with a potential agency.
5) Another marker of a quality PR program is client reporting. It’s important to enquire about a PR agency’s reporting systems. To gain clarity on this, be sure to ask: What and how often do you report on the program? These reported metrics should align with your company’s KPIs, and the reports should incorporate insightful recommendations for future PR campaigns. Depending on the work scope, your PR firm should be reporting to you on a weekly or monthly basis.