Hiring a PR agency to maintain a good reputation and industry influence has become common practice across different industries. Nevertheless, public relations as a profession is still developing, and it’s important to keep up with the trends. This way, you know what to look for in your PR agency.
The roots of PR can be traced back to Ancient Greece. Despite these historical roots, the public relations industry as we know it today only emerged with the introduction of mass communication at the turn of the 20th century.
PR has evolved as media outlets have developed over the past few decades. The function of publicists and PR firms has also changed in parallel.
The industry started with traditional PR, a direct strategy that involves outreach to conventional media outlets like radio, television, newspapers, and magazines. By pitching your brand to these outlets, you can promote a positive brand image through earned placements in news articles and media editorials.
We are currently in the era of digital PR. Digital PR pursues the same objectives as conventional PR, except that it focuses on using online channels to raise brand recognition. This “new” PR concept includes efforts to develop influencer relationships to promote a company and content marketing through podcasts. A big part of digital PR is also publishing guest posts on reliable websites, in addition to other communication tools. The use of digital platforms for a variety of tactics has also become a part of the new era of PR.
PR strategies don’t come in a one-size-fits-all package, however. The best PR campaigns are a combination of traditional PR and digital PR. Companies can reach a much bigger audience through various forms of communication by utilizing both PR models. For instance, they may use social media to reach an online audience along with conventional offline platforms like TV and radio for individuals who aren’t as active on social media.
Overall, traditional and digital PR each have their advantages. Still, when used in unison, they may go above and beyond what a company had anticipated in raising brand awareness, boosting traffic, and maximizing leads.
The Role of a PR Agency
A PR agency’s job is to guide clients on communication.
Given that they’re plugged into the industry, PR experts should always be able to assess and foresee any potential issues the business may face. They should also make use of their findings to determine how they can effectively introduce their client’s brand into popular discourse.
PR specialists seek to promote the organization’s mission and objectives through external channels, including press releases, speech and interview preparation, and advice on digital campaigns and projects.
As a campaign progresses, the PR agency will monitor the results of the company’s work and make any required adjustments. PR experts will also consider the company’s competitors when adjusting the plan. PR experts can use competitive analysis to determine what their client’s main competitors are doing. With this information, they can decide how to respond and gain a more prominent voice.
PR agencies should ultimately offer data-supported advice to help clients develop their external communication strategies as resources for their clients. A robust PR firm is a true partner and will communicate with internal marketing and communication departments in addition to business executives. PR and marketing can work together to increase awareness, credibility, and trust, converting potential consumers into actual buyers.
Public relations and marketing duties sometimes overlap but have different purposes. The primary objective of PR is to improve a brand’s reputation. On the other hand, the primary objective of marketing is to increase sales.
By combining their objectives, PR and marketing can work together to generate a positive, relatable and memorable brand image. For instance, customers can learn about a brand through PR strategies like an organic social media presence. On the other hand, the same customers might buy from a company as a result of marketing strategies like Facebook ads.
Benefits Of Hiring A PR Agency
1) Professional expertise in the industry
The advantages of working with professionals are numerous. This is particularly true when developing, fostering, and leveraging relationships is a large part of what you need to do. PR firms are essential for getting your story into the relevant magazines, establishing your brand’s authority, and keeping the buzz going.
A limited number of employees may be devoted to marketing and communications in a company. On the other hand, a marketing and PR agency has teams that are specifically put together to collaborate with each client’s internal team and disseminate its message to the public. PR agencies that specialize in all things marketing and communication are even more critical than PR-specific companies. After all, they have the means and know-how to take each press release and turn it into a comprehensive omnichannel marketing campaign.
2) Increases credibility
With the help of a strong PR team, an organization can make a name for itself as a trustworthy and respected brand both inside and outside of an industry. A brand can increase its rankings as one of the top information sources in its sector with the assistance of a PR agency. This will result in increased lead creation and, eventually, higher revenue.
Companies should keep in mind that a PR team is an extension of their team and can be a valuable resource for information. This is especially true when you need to understand how a business choice may affect the company’s reputation or customer perspective. In addition to assisting in crisis management or problem-solving, PR teams can boost overall productivity by supplying extra resources for your internal marketing or communications team. This big team is exactly what you need when you need external help but you want to capitalize on what your brand does well. A good team will be able to share significant events and achievements publicly on their website. These include blog or social media placements, PR successes, guest appearances on podcasts, and accolades earned.
3) Establishes media contacts
By using their contacts in the industry to open doors for a company, a PR agency can also offer significant advantages for that organization. B2B PR firms have a deep understanding of specialized business sectors. They can use this industry expertise to a company’s advantage by introducing it to a solid business partner or assisting in setting up a guest post exchange.
4) Attracts target market
Another advantage of PR agencies is that they know who to target to get relevant, quality coverage. They can focus their resources on particular groups of people who are more likely to be interested in working with their clients rather than wasting time and money contacting people who aren’t interested in that particular business.
PR professionals are aware that not every brand is appropriate for every social media platform or media opportunity. A B2B PR firm understands how to position a company to attract its target market, saving them time and money and improving their return on investment (ROI).
What Are Common PR Services?
1) Crisis management
The main goal of a PR department during a crisis would be to inform all involved parties about the current situation, potential risks, and planned actions. A well-thought-out crisis plan should include the initial message broadcast to the entire world.
This broad statement should restore trust in a corporation and buy them some time to investigate the situation.
In the midst of a crisis, the PR and marketing team is usually a company’s first line of defense. Whether they survive the crisis or not will depend on how well they handle their crisis management.
2) Reputation management
Reputation management is one of the primary services that public relations agencies offer. Their tactics might include email newsletters, website copy or blog content messaging, social media management, responding to reviews, and engaging with followers.
The opinions of other people regarding the things a company says does, and sells shape its reputation. Their reputation is also affected by other factors, including their workers, goods, services, and community involvement. Every time a consumer interacts with a business, the company has the chance to change its reputation (for better or worse).
In the contemporary digital environment, reputation management has grown in importance. Businesses must gain and maintain consumer trust because of things like fake news, digital fraud from seemingly legitimate businesses, and an increase in product recalls. Additionally, negative press no longer fades away with yesterday’s news. Digital information can last for years (and appear in search results). This makes it more difficult for a brand to recover from a hit to its reputation.
3) Media relations
By getting media placements, businesses can enhance their brand awareness and reputation. Writing pitches to journalists and influencers is one tactic that can acquire media coverage and mentions in industry news. PR agencies can manage the interactions between media professionals and a company.
Having good media relations is crucial because getting third-party endorsements of whatever a company is attempting to offer the public is more effective at building a reputation. In order to obtain this coveted press coverage, you need to ensure that your message is one that the general public would find intriguing. By sending out an intriguing and valuable story, you can boost your chances of being published in a newspaper or magazine article or featured on a digital platform.
Media relations are crucial if you want to get press attention for a company. This raises consumer awareness of a brand and provides them with information about its products, services, mission, and identity through media they already trust.
4) Social media
Maintaining social media accounts is an especially important public relations strategy because it plays a significant role in reputation management. After all, social media is one of the primary channels on which businesses engage with their audiences. Companies can quickly develop their brands using social media accounts because they own them and, therefore, have control over them. Additionally, engaging influencers in their field may be part of their social media strategy.
In many ways, social media’s influence on PR is glaringly apparent.
First and foremost, PR and social media are focused on communication, but social media amplifies a company’s message through real-time messaging, making any other PR efforts stronger and more effective. Social media can help with sharing content such as news releases, emails, and other PR content more widely. In this way, the content can live longer, circulate more quickly, and reach farther.
Social media has expanded the audience that PR can target. PR used to be directed at particular people like investors and business partners. Thanks to social media, this target group has now been widened to encompass everyone who is crucial to a company’s success. Social media has also improved PR by making it more “friendly” to all corporate stakeholders. This has given rise to a new branch of marketing known as “relationship marketing.” Regardless of what kind of business you have, relationship marketing will help you appear more hospitable, welcoming, and approachable.
5) Internal communications
A big part of public relations is the way you handle communications with your employees. After all, your employees can be valuable brand ambassadors – the way you relate with them can therefore make or break your brand reputation. Employees who feel like a valued part of the organization and believe in the work they’re doing are more likely to engage with customers more happily. In this way, they will help you make a name for your brand as one that values customers. Customers who have a positive experience with your brand, simply by engaging with a happy employee, will keep coming back.
Beyond their interactions with your customers, happy employees are also more likely to spread the word about your business to their friends and family. In this way, you can expand your reach far beyond the people you have access to as a brand.
In order to ensure your employees are happy, you need to streamline your communications with them. More specifically, you need to relate with them in a way that leaves them feeling valued. By helping them see that they matter to you, you can ensure they stay with you for longer. If you want to develop an internal communications strategy, a good PR agency can help you identify the things you need to do. Beyond that, they can help you put this plan into action.
6) Speech writing
Speech writing is a helpful public relations service that businesses can benefit from if their employees and executives speak at industry conferences and events. Speech writing is also helpful for a business that hosts press conferences and press events. Any employee who must deliver a speech for the company may want to think about working with a PR agency to handle the strategic messaging. All the speeches made on the organization’s behalf should accurately reflect the brand image.
Pressfarm is a PR agency that works with entrepreneurs and companies of various sizes to create the kind of newsworthy content that journalists and other members of the public love. This content can be distributed to the appropriate media professionals for media placement or published on your owned media channels such as social media.
Whether you need a press release, some guest posts, a media kit, or a media pitch, these PR specialists have what it takes to position your brand in a positive light.
Additionally, when you sign up, Pressfarm’s Account Executive will compile a list of media professionals from their database of 1 million+ contacts. With this media list, you can connect with respected media professionals and get your brand featured on their platforms.
Types of PR Agencies
1) General strategic communication
A general public relations agency will handle all aspects of a PR campaign. Through several of the strategies mentioned above, they will enhance a company’s reputation and brand recognition. If you need assistance with a variety of public relations strategies, a broad communication PR agency is a fantastic choice.
2) Crisis management
A crisis communications strategy can be developed and carried out by a crisis management PR agency. When your business faces a crisis, you would employ an agency of this sort temporarily to help you develop and/or implement a strategy.
3) Press communication
A PR agency that focuses on press communication will prioritize media relations, pitch writing, and securing media coverage. They will also secure interviews with journalists or opinion leaders. An agency of this kind might be a good option to explore if you need to collaborate with respected outlets to increase media coverage.
4) Internal communications
Internal communications PR firms specialize in delivering information to a company’s employees. Whether it is through a monthly newsletter or an internal hub, they will promote employee communications in an effective way.
5) Community management
Customer relations is the main emphasis of a community management PR company. This kind of agency will build and manage communities for your company on sites like Facebook Groups and other social media.
6) Nonprofit public relations
Since nonprofits frequently have various restrictions and regulations when interacting with their audiences. Many agencies offer specialized PR services for nonprofits. Instead of concentrating on particular strategies, a nonprofit PR agency specializes in working with specific organizations. A nonprofit PR agency will collaborate with health, medicine, or charity organizations.
7) Public affairs PR
A public affairs PR agency focuses on collaborating specifically with government officials for personal branding purposes. They do this by deploying specific strategies designed specifically for that specific cultural climate. A public affairs PR agency can create a favorable image for their political candidate or government figure. A public affairs PR firm can also manage the relationship between a business and a political candidate or government figure who they’ve chosen to endorse. Alternatively, this kind of agency can coordinate the communication process where a government figure or a political candidate who wants to be a spokesperson for a specific company.
Things To Consider When Hiring A PR Agency
1) Set goals and objectives
As with any marketing strategy, you must define your goals and objectives before making decisions about hiring a PR agency. You should brainstorm a list of the things you hope to accomplish with a PR agency and then narrow the list down to the goals that are most important to you. Some objectives can include; increasing brand awareness, being seen as a thought leader, and gaining attention for a specific product or service.
2) Consider your options
Companies have three options for hiring for PR; an in-house team, a PR agency, or a combination of both.
Each option has a different price tag and will require different levels of involvement from a company. The best option is to have a combination of internal and external PR professionals. A company’s internal PR team understands its overall business marketing strategy. You can work with an external PR agency to build a cohesive PR strategy for your brand.
3) Do your research
Your choice of PR agency should also be hinged on your company’s target audience. You should hire a local PR and marketing agency if your audience is local. If you are planning to target a global market, then you should hire a firm with international experience. Alternatively, you can also hire a firm with multiple headquarters around the globe.
There are a plethora of PR and marketing agencies around the world, you must research to find the most suitable option by checking their profiles, reviews, and reputation. Ultimately, you’ll find that the best firms have built a track record of performance.
4) Hire those that are available
You should hire a PR and marketing firm that has the resources and time to spend on your campaign. Many PR and marketing firms are too busy and cannot fully help their clients reach their true PR potential.
Professional PR and marketing organizations need to understand what their clients want. In order to do this, they need to take time to talk to the client about the message they want to convey to the general public, and how they want it.
This means it is essential to hire firms that aren’t too busy to understand precisely what message your company wants to convey.
5) Consider those that are competitive
The firm you eventually settle on must have a portfolio of previously delivered results using the latest PR and marketing tools. To find this information, you need to ask for reviews and references. By looking through accounts of the agency’s work with other clients, you can determine whether the agency satisfies your preferences.
An agency that can employ the latest PR and marketing tools is the perfect choice for any brand. Additionally, you must ensure the PR and marketing firm specializes in the industry you work in.
6) Make sure they have the right contacts
A PR and marketing firm should have the right connections and relationships with individuals from your niche. These include graphic design agencies, marketing organizations, captains of industry, media personalities, thought leaders, and communication agencies.
Having the proper connections is vital. You need to make sure you ask about the firm’s contacts. After all, connections to valuable industry contacts are the primary thing that you need from them. If an agency is unwilling to share its connections, you should be wary of doing business with them. Likewise, if they don’t have valuable contacts, you can conclude that they do not know how to market a brand to the right audience.
A good PR agency can help a brand get noticed and drive more traffic to the business. Additionally, partnering with great PR professionals can give companies a leg up by giving them more visibility and capturing customer interest.
Nevertheless, you cannot hire just any PR agency and hope for positive results. In reality, there are plenty of things to consider before hiring a PR agency. A combination of an in-house and outside perspective in PR is ideal. With this two-pronged approach, your company will benefit from the expertise of PR professionals while ensuring a quick turnaround with insider information about your company.
Hiring a PR agency can make all the difference when you need to stand out from the competition and connect with customers.