Last month we covered the common questions startups ask when hiring a PR agency. This month we hope to help your company successfully find and work with a fintech PR agency.
How to Start
- Define your goals for PR. The agency can help you with this, but it’s best to do it in advance so you can choose an agency that specializes in achieving your specific goals.
- Searching online (aka Googling). Research the companies you think are achieving similar PR goals in your industry. Check online directories such as O’Dwyer’s. Find that company’s press releases on BusinessWire or PRWeb to see if a PR agency is listed as a contact at the end (the company’s website won’t usually mention agencies). Most agencies won’t take on competing clients simultaneously, so make sure that press release is not from this month.
- Word of mouth. Ask for referrals from sources your trust.
After you’ve found two or three PR agencies you may be interested in, it’s time to narrow down to best fit your company’s needs. Consider:
- Niche. Does the agency specialize just in your industry, or do they cover a variety of industries? Does your industry need very specialized knowledge? Has the agency worked with clients similar to your company in the past, or clients with similar goals? Check their websites for relevant case studies.
- Location. If you need worldwide coverage, a large agency with serval global locations may be beneficial, if it’s in your budget. If you want national coverage, a PR agency anywhere in the country could be a good match.
- Size. Large agencies may have more global reach, while smaller firms may be more specialized within their industry and have closer relationships with the right reporters for your business. Your budget may go farther with a smaller agency.
Contacting PR Firms
Now that you’ve narrowed it down to your top choice, it’s time to contact the agency to ask some questions.
- Phone vs. email. Emailing or filling out the contact form on the agency’s website allows the agency to have your information on hand, spelled correctly. Ask to schedule a phone call next or follow up by phone a few days later.
- What the agency will ask. The questions will cover your current challenges and goals, your timeline, if you’ve worked with an agency before and your budget.
- What you should ask. Is the agency taking on new clients in your timeframe? Can you meet in person or on Skype? Can the agency prepare a proposal or presentation? Ask for different levels of service options, PR cost greatly depends on if it’s a project (short-term) or retainer (long-term).
Before You Sign a Contract
- Assign a point person. Who in-house is going to coordinate with the agency? It’s best if they have knowledge of PR, knowledge of the company goals and access to top decision makers.
- Evaluate chemistry. By this point, you will have interacted a lot with the agency…do you get along? Do the key points of contact work well together so far? Are there any troubling signs such as missed deadlines or unreturned calls or emails?
- Read the contract. You’d be surprised how many people fail to read and understand the scope of work they are agreeing to. A simple read can save time and money.
Not sure you’re ready to outsource your PR and marketing efforts?
Read this blog to learn more about the benefits!