We talk a LOT about choosing the right PR firm for your business on. this. blog. But recently I read an article about the difference between publicity and PR from Spin Sucks by Gini Dietrich.
She says, "publicity or earned media or media relations is all about getting your organization covered in the news. It’s great for the ego, it’s great for building awareness, and it’s great for credibility. It’s not great, however, for making the phone ring or for increasing sales."
Gini goes on to explain that publicity, when combined with PR, can be a powerful tool in building your reputation and growing sales.
A good PR firm should have a bag of tricks: they can handle media and blogger relations, crisis and issues management, event production, and strategy, but, Gini suggests, "they also should do content marketing (blogs, white papers, ebooks, webinars), email marketing, social media, and more."
When all of these tricks are used together, they can greatly improve your business’s reach, exposure, and credibility. We know exactly how to do that. We are versed in generating inbound marketing tactics and have the connections to get your business featured by the media.
Gini's top 9 ways to choose a PR firm are similar to our top questions to ask, but I wanted to share them with you.
How to Choose a PR Firm
- Do they have experience in your industry? It used to be more important the PR firm have industry experience, but it’s less so today because the web provides so much information to get smart quickly. Even so, if they have industry experience, the learning curve won’t be as steep.
- Can they give you case studies? The case studies could be proprietary (we have three clients who won’t allow us to post their case studies on our site), but they should have them and they should detail the results they achieved for the client.
- Are they willing to share references? Even for the clients they no longer work with. It’s important for you to have a full understanding of their strengths and weaknesses before hiring them. Every organization has its faults. Is the PR firm willing to let someone else tell you what theirs are?
- Do they understand how you make money? If they do, it’s more likely they can help you achieve your business goals.
- Do they do more than media relations? If not, you’re hiring a publicist, not a PR firm. That is fine, if that’s what you want. But if you want more than stories in your newspaper or business journal, look for a firm that recommends an integrated program.
- Will they work with other firms? In some cases, you may also hire an advertising agency or a specialized firm, such as social media or web design and development. Can they play nicely in the sandbox with those firms?
- Can they show you real results for other clients? We have a client that, in 2011, we generated $2.6 million on a $90,000 annual budget. Last year we generated $3.2 million on the same budget (we got a raise this year). Can they demonstrate that kind of value?
- Are they willing to put some skin in the game? I’m not saying they should work solely on commission or performance; most firms can’t afford to do that and still keep the lights on. But are they willing to set a low retainer for a piece of the revenue they help you generate?
- Do they pay attention to metrics and data? These are the things that help you make informed and educated decisions about the work you do through a PR program. Ask them to show you what kinds of metrics and data they use to help them tweak their programs as they progress.
If you’d like to talk to us about driving traffic and increasing credibility, give us a call!