An agency should fully understand your business so they can give you recommendations on the type of PR campaign, how it will look like, and what works for you and your business/company.
Understanding your business is not enough. They also need to know which sector or industry you operate in. So whichever sector you operate in, a PR can get you noticed.
Agencies needs to know these pieces of information such as a good understanding of your business, knowing your key customers and target audience, and your budget for PR.
Be prepared to share information about your business with the prospective PR agency. They will want to know about your business objective, where your business is, and where you want your business to be in the future. Sharing your business background with the prospective agency will help them design a campaign that is aligned with your business goals.
What is your unique selling point (USP)? What makes you stand out from your competitors? What makes you different? These pieces of information will help build a campaign suited for your business.
Who is buying your product or service? Who is your customer base and who is your target audience?
Clearly stating your key demographic to the PR agency will make the campaign planning a smoother process. Some companies might have a wide demographic while others might have a niche audience; however, it’s important to be clear on who they are important too.
Provide information on who is your main competitors. This will help the prospective agency to do some competitor analysis and allows them to understand the type of industry and sector you operate in.
The agency should be able to research and see which sites have covered your competitions. This will allow them to start replicating similar links.
If you’re currently doing other marketing activity, be sure to tell the prospective agency since they will need to factor that in.
This means tying in social and PR activity or a press release that ties in with a mail campaign.
Let the agency know how long they have to pitch a document for you. More importantly, give them time for a prospective campaign to run.
For example, a 12-month campaign will gain more attention than a month project.
What are the reasons and goals of the PR activity?
Is it to build brand awareness or awareness of a product/service? Do you want the agency to help you with awards?
Are you seeking media coverage, and if so are you trying again national or regional coverage? Do you want online coverage? Are backlinks important back to your website?
Knowing what you are looking for and being clear on these intentions will help find the right agency much easier. Also, don’t be afraid to suggest and ask for numbers. If you want 10 links from sites with high authority with over 20 direct responses then say it. Say you won’t be happy with less than 50 or 100. If there’s a specific place you want the PR activity to take place, then mention it as a target.
Being precise will help the agency to calculate the cost of the potential campaign and it will ensure that you both are on the same page and understand what the outcome and success will look like.
Knowing your budget is important. PR agencies need to know the budget to plan a campaign. The amount does not have to be exact, so at least have an estimated number. Giving the PR agency an estimated amount will have them an idea of what sort of investment can be put in.
Many potential clients are tempted to leave this blank, however, doing so will waste time for the client and the agency. There’s no point if an agency suggests a campaign that costs six figures and the client only has a couple of grand to spend. Giving a budget, in the beginning, will avoid this issue.
Click here to read about the difference between advertisement and PR, the press release process in Japan, and how to create a press release adapted to the Japanese media.