As we head into the new year, businesses will review their marketing and PR budgets for the year ahead and plan what they would like to achieve in 2023.
One of these considerations will be whether to partner with a PR agency to boost brand awareness, secure links, drive traffic and create a positive sentiment for your organisation.
PR is a strategy used to boost brand awareness of your business through a range of traditional and digital methods.
This blog post will discuss what a PR agency does, how to brief them, what questions to ask and how much you should pay for a PR agency. By following these guidelines, you will be able to ensure that you have a productive and successful relationship with your PR agency to deliver results that have a return on investment.
How to brief a PR agency
When partnering with a PR agency, you want to ensure that the relationship is as successful as possible, this starts from the very beginning of the relationship and should kick off with an accurate and detailed brief.
Having a tight brief will ensure that the agency can deliver a PR strategy that delivers the results that will give you the most success. The brief needs to include details on what you want, when you want it and how much budget is available.
Here is our checklist of what needs to be in your brief:
- Brand details – what are your brand values and tone of voice they must adhere to? What background information can you give the agency – the more knowledge sharing, the better.
- Objectives – what would you like to achieve from PR? Be clear as possible in this so the agency can develop a strategy bespoke for you. Both parties need to be on the same page about what success looks like.
- Audience – who is your audience? By understanding your audience, a PR agency can ensure that they are targeting them via the correct media.
- Timings – does the PR strategy need to be delivered around a key time or date? Are you launching a product for a set date? PR strategies require careful planning and execution – so give your agency enough time.
- Budget – have a clear budget in mind, and then the agency knows the parameters they are working with. The sky is the limit with PR budgets and the more money available allows for more creativity. However, if the budget is limited the PR team can consider ways to deliver a strategy.
- Competitors – provide them with a list of competitors. It’s good for an agency to research what your rivals are doing.
- Marketing activity – keep the agency in the loop of what other marketing activity you are delivering. PR works hand in hand with other elements of the marketing mix. It’s key these are all aligned.
What to ask a PR agency
As a marketing manager and business leader, when speaking to PR agencies ask them a variety of questions to ensure that they are the right partner for you. As with all relationships, asking questions in the early stages will ensure it’s a successful one.
As PR experts, we know what questions to ask your agency before you sign on the dotted line.
The top questions include:
- How will success be measured?
- Who will manage the account and who are the day-to-day contacts?
- Do you have any specialisms?
- What software and tools will we have access to?
- What do you need from us to hit the ground running?
- How much time will we get for our budget and where do we sit in your client roster?
- How often will we communicate and have meetings?
Asking these questions will once again establish a strong relationship that will deliver success and results for you and the agency.
What to expect from a PR agency
You’ve done it! The agency has been appointed, and everyone is happy – but what next?
After the numerous kick-off and planning meetings, it’s time to get down to business. The PR agency should deliver a bespoke PR strategy and timings plan for the agreed contract that will cover creative campaigns, media relations, influencers, press office activity and reporting.
The strategy should outline what will be delivered, when it will be delivered, the timings, any additional budget required and how it will support wider business objectives.
It’s important for the agency to set up regular calls, and meetings and set clear lines of communication so that regular contact is maintained.
How much do PR agencies charge?
Just how much does a PR agency cost? Understanding the price of an agency and what will be delivered is crucial.
Partnering with a PR agency will give you access to a specialised team that will become an extension of your team. Depending on the size of the agency you are working with will depend on the cost.
Smaller boutique agencies can charge a monthly retainer fee of around £2,000 going up to £10,000 for a larger agency. For a global agency, the costs can be up to £25,000 per month. Costs are dependent on the level of activity that you are looking to achieve.
In addition to an agreed monthly retainer, PR agencies can charge a one-off project fee for a small or short-term project.
Do I need a PR agency?
As a marketing agency, we always believe that having a PR agency is a must – however, it may not always be a necessity for every company.
If you’re considering partnering with an agency, ask yourself a few questions to see if you need external support.
- Do you have the capacity to support PR – it’s not just handed over to an agency – it will require not just a financial investment but also a time commitment from you.
- Do you know what you even want to achieve from PR – do you think you need it because you are a successful business? Be clear about what you want from it.
- Is the budget there? Can you afford the cost of PR and are your objectives achievable on that budget?
As experts, we would always recommend some level of PR strategy as it can support your overall business objectives – but just how much need can require input and open conversations to ensure that you are getting the best return on investment.
For more information on PR and why it should be a key part of your marketing plan in 2023, contact our Digital PR and Outreach Manager, Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org