Crocuses and snowdrops popping up in my garden signal spring’s arrival. I also know it’s spring because the phone is ringing — a LOT! Now more than ever, organizations such as tech start-ups, entrepreneurs, non-profits, and corporations are reviewing their 2013 marketing and PR needs and deciding whether to hire a PR pro to help elevate their market position.
Here at Michelle Damico Communications, it’s Spring-Into-Action-Time, providing answers about how a company’s product, service or cause might benefit from my PR, messaging, and interview training services. So as a service to all future clients, here are things to ask before hiring a PR firm. (Note: There’s a special bonus for readers who make it to the end of this post!)
Six Questions to Ask Before Hiring a PR Firm
- How deep is your PR firm’s media relationships? How often do reporters CALL YOU seeking sources? Every good PR person will tell you they regularly connect with reporters via email, phone or tweet reporters. The strongest sign of a deep media relationship is when reporters call PR pros they trust, seeking experts – I know because it happens to me weekly.
- Tell me about your experience as former journalist? Many PR pros claim they used to work in journalism. But a closer look may reveal they wrote for their college newspaper and switched to business or marketing as their career. You can’t really understand the pressures professional journalists face without walking in their shoes and dealing with the stress of regular deadlines and surly editors. So check their LinkedIn profiles to learn what positions they held before landing their first PR position.
- Can you provide examples of how media placements led to more business or lead generation? Is their coverage relevant to clients’ target audiences? PR initiatives are typically targeted at two segments: consumers and business people. A technology start up with a just-launched app for doctors will target media outlets quite different than a start-up serving consumers’ health and fitness needs.
- Does your PR firm have a solid web site, or a strong social media presence? This should be a no-brainer, but surprisingly it’s overlooked. A PR firm that participates in dynamic content creation will stay on top of digital media developments and appreciate the challenges of engaging with customers in the 24/7 digital communications world.
- Can one easily view the most recent headlines secured on behalf of clients? The stock and trade of any great PR firm is the news hits or coverage they’ve landed for their clients. Is the coverage recent? Is there a steady stream of client news placements demonstrating consistent outreach?
- Does your PR firm’s web site include a blog or dynamic posting feature? Any PR firm worth its weight is staying on top of digital PR trends and practicing them through their own digital properties. Actively blogging and sharing client case studies and insights about the current world demonstrates a PR professionals ability to stay on top of their industry.