New year, new PR strategy

With the end of 2018 in sight, thoughts naturally drift to new beginnings; it’s a time of year when businesses take stock of their existing support, including PR and marketing consultancy.

Whether you’re thinking about appointing a new PR agency, freelance consultant or using PR for the first time, there are a number of things you should first consider before making that crucial appointment. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but I hope it’s a helpful start.

Be clear on your goals

Although your PR consultant will work with you to create a strategy designed to help deliver your objectives, you first must know what those objectives are.

Whether you’re seeking to double turnover, expand into new markets, demonstrate expertise within a certain sector, or attract talent, it’s vital to be clear on this. 

A solid PR strategy will build upon concrete objectives, without which it risks becoming a vanity exercise, the results of which may not match the effort, time and money invested.

It’s a joint effort

In order for PR to deliver results, media comments must be signed off quickly, queries answered promptly and time invested in regular communication to keep your PR team up to date. If time is tight or the business lacks someone to take the lead on PR as the agency’s day-to-day contact, it may be wise to consider waiting until this is in place. 

Seeking sector specialists

Look for a PR agency or Freelance PR with experience and knowledge relevant to the sector your business operates in - I specialise in B2B PR, more specifically property and construction and financial and professional services, which means my clients can rest assured that I understand their business and the industry in which it operates.

In practice, this means great copy that needs little correction, with a proactive approach borne from a genuine understanding of the sector, what matters to target audiences and how the business can get involved in the conversation.

Proven results  

While a PR agency might boast big brand clients, accompanied with a slew of impressive results, it’s much more challenging to support a business with a less established reputation - ask for examples of work completed for companies of a similar size and in a similar industry.

Avoid yes men

The last thing you need is a PR consultant who nods and agrees when they think they should - sometimes you’ll make suggestions or decisions that warrant further discussion. Make sure you’re working with someone with experience consulting at c-suite level, with the confidence to tackle difficult subjects and speak up when they believe that things are perhaps heading down the wrong road. 

How will success be measured? 

Make sure you’re clear on how success will be measured - while it’s great to know how many likes and shares you received on social media or the number of articles published, what was the impact on your business? Has it generated new leads? Opened doors? Helped boost sales? 

Make sure you’re clear on this and set KPIs in advance.

Do you need a PR agency? Or would your business be better served by an Independent PR consultant?

Sometimes a PR agency - or an integrated agency depending on the brief - will be the right choice, but for businesses who perhaps don’t require an extensive team of people, appointing an independent PR consultant could well prove a smarter choice. 

Check out my blog for more on this topic:

If you’re looking for an experienced independent PR consultant, give me a call to discuss how I might be able to help your business.