GROW! Marketing and Public Relations Tips

10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a PR Firm

Posted by Zack Bennitt on Thu, Apr 4, 2013 @ 9:00 AM

Working with professional public relations consultandescribe the imagets reflects a significant increase in the communications of any organization. In today’s media rich environment, more and more companies are turning to public relations firms for assistance in building their company’s reputation, increasing brand recognition, and creating and promoting various marketing projects.

People today are finding PR is the tried and true method for establishing credible exposure for your company, brand, and product.

You may be wondering if your company is a good fit to hire an outside public relations firm. We’ve found our customers usually fall under three categories:

  1. An entrepreneur needing brand recognition for a new business venture

  2. A growing company wanting to increase its reputation

  3. An established company launching a new brand or product

But what kind of PR firm should you hire and how do you know who is the best PR firm for your company?

Our first piece of advice is do your homework. It takes research in order to determine the best fit for your business. Asking simple questions of a prospective firm is a great way to learn what they can offer you. It also gives you an in-depth view of the services the PR firm provides. By asking these questions you can be assured that there will be no surprises in your services or when your bill comes.

But what do you do if you don’t even know where to start or what questions to ask? We can help. Here are 10 definite questions we get asked, and ones you should ask a PR firm before you hire them:

5 Data Driven Decision Questions resized 600

1.    How are you going to measure your success?
2.    Which media will reach my target audience best?
3.    Have you worked on campaigns in my industry?
4.    Who will be working directly on my account?
5.    Am I locked into a long-term contract?
6.    Do you provide media coaching?
7.    What is your social media expertise?
8.    How are you going to communicate with me?
9.    What will you need from me to make the relationship work?
10.  How much does public relations cost?

And, to give you an inside perspective on how Garden Media Group rolls, we’ve created a two-part series and answered each question. 

Part 1:

Q1: How are you going to measure your success?

A: Because each client expects different results and has different needs, Garden Media declares a campaign successful when we meet a client’s goals set forth in our contract. We also provide regular status reports indicating who we've pitched and what we’ve been working on. Plus, we send mid-month reports of a client’s hits. These hits can be by measured in a number of ways such as ad value, circulation, unique monthly visitors or page rank.  We work to exceed our clients’ expectations.

Q2: Which media will reach my target audience best?

A: Finding a firm that specializes in your industry would benefit your company greatly.  For example, because we specialize in the garden industry, we have years of experience, established relationships and a solid reputation with the garden media. The media that fits our clients’ needs are the ones we talk to everyday, magazines such as Southern Living and Better Homes and Gardens, trade publications such as Green Profit and Lawn and Landscape, as well as garden writers and bloggers.

Q3: Have you worked on campaigns in my industry?

A: Hiring a firm that has experience in your industry is a real plus. The firm understands your industry, has contacts and can hit the ground running.  If you are interested in us, then you must be a company connected to the lawn and garden industry. Because we only work with products, plants and companies in this field, we know exactly who to target and when, and have the contacts and experience to bring your needs to fruition - fast.

Q4: Who will be working directly on my account?

A: Each account works with a seasoned and experienced account manager as the lead.  Depending on the client’s budget and needs of the company, an assistant account manager and a support staff are also available to help with day to day projects.

Q5: Am I locked into a long-term contract?

The length of the contract is mutually decided between our agency and the client. Every contract clearly states the duration of the relationship. The length of our contracts typically range from a minimum of one to three years.  However, we love long term relationships and have clients that have been with us for more than 10 years.

Q6: Do you provide media coaching?

A: Yes. When a member of the media is scheduled to do an interview with a client, we can prepare them with talking points which outline important facts about the company and map out a plan that will help build their brand for the specific media market.  We offer suggestions on what to wear and more important what not to wear. 

Q7: What is your social media expertise?

A: We stay current with the evolving world of social media. Suzi, founder of Garden Media Group, likes to call it the Wild, Wild West.  We are experienced in regards to the “traditional” forms of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn yet regularly tap newer mediums such as Instagram and Vine to alert our clients of new ways to market their products and build their brand. We can manage your social media reputation for you or just help you stay ahead of the curve.

Q8: How are you going to communicate with me?

A: Communication is the lifeblood to establishing a successful partnership with all of our clients. In fact, we got into the business because we LOVE to talk.  We talk to our clients every day, whether it be through scheduled phone calls, non-scheduled calls, emails or face-to-face meetings.  It’s important to keep our clients up to date on our progress of meeting their goals and needs. 

Q9: What will you need from me to make the relationship work?

A: Regular and honest communication between the two groups allows both sides to meet their pre-established goals and objectives and provides the best opportunity for the relationship to flourish.

Q10: How much does a PR agency cost?

A: Finally, the answer to the question on everyone’s mind. All public relations companies differ in the pricing department but our costs at Garden Media range from $4,000-$15,000 per month. The price varies based on the needs and desired services of each client.

Asking these questions will qualify potentail firms and give you a better idea of what a PR firm can offer your business. If you still don’t think you need a PR firm, then read these 6 Reasons not to hire a PR firm

If you ARE interested in hiring a PR firm for your lawn and garden industry business please give us a call!

Free PR consultation by Garden Media

 

*Photos courtesy of http://apocalypsecometh.com/public-relations-and-propaganda/ & http://blog.infochimps.com/2012/12/19/5-questions-data-driven-decisions/

Topics: Public relations, garden industry public relations, social media

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