Author: Lexi Kirkland
Public relations is an essential marketing and reputation tactic for every entrepreneur, small business, growing company and talent can benefit from great PR. A strong PR program helps businesses achieve success metrics, accelerate growth, drive brand awareness, increase positive visibility and manage their public image. It’s critical in helping companies stay relevant and on-trend in a saturated marketplace.
That said, PR is often misunderstood. Many business owners know it’s important for their brand but are unsure what path is best to break into the highly competitive space. Should brands add PR tasks to the full plates of their marketing team, bring in a dedicated PR professional or look externally for an agency partner?
While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, turning toward an agency is a great option for many reasons. For one, a good agency partner can offer a broad range of services, understand your industry and house a robust team of experts with strong media relationships that can strategize and quickly put a PR plan into action.
So, how do business owners and CEOs know when it’s the right time to tap the experts and enlist a PR agency and their services? Here are five signs a business is ready to start the conversation.
1. They have a general understanding of PR and PR firms.
The first step in determining whether a company or brand is ready to hire a professional agency is ensuring they have a general understanding of what exactly PR is and the value a firm can provide.
PR is more than just press. It’s about crafting, building and enhancing the reputation of a company through different media channels and mediums. Its services help support startups, scaled brands, companies that are merging or going through an acquisition, new launch campaigns, executive thought leadership visibility and more.
At Crowe PR, we specialize in award-winning integrated PR and digital marketing services for mid-to-large size consumer packaged goods, hospitality and healthcare and tech companies. We help brands stand out from the crowd, get in front of target audiences and grow their businesses through in-depth services like brand messaging, media relations, influencer marketing, social campaigns, crisis communications and much more.
The right PR partner becomes an invaluable asset and extension of a brand’s internal team, working to exceed market expectations and garner quality brand exposure.
2. Their business is established.
Businesses looking to invest in a PR agency should be ready to generate buzz and promote a call-to-action to the public. This doesn’t mean they need to have been in business for years; however, it does mean the company’s services or products are developed and successfully working, and their operational logistics are secured and stabilized.
This ensures companies are able and ready to build trust and genuine connections with customers and stakeholders; positively grow their media footprints; break through the clutter of competing brands; and drive visibility, leads or purchase behavior.
Before tapping a PR firm, ensure all products and services are ready to be placed in the spotlight. If not, the conversation may soon shift from proactive outreach to crisis management.
3. They can clearly state the goals they want to achieve with PR.
Before signing with an agency, business owners should have specific business objectives in place guiding what they want to achieve with PR support. These objectives should be communicated clearly during the consultation process as they will later drive an agency’s overall communications plan and lay the foundation for progress and success.
Some examples of verifiable goals that can be achieved through a strategic PR campaign include attracting investors to improve visibility and secure funding; capturing market share; building brand awareness to reach new potential customers and stakeholders at the local, regional and/or national levels; establishing strategic brand messaging; partnering with like-minded, non-competing brands to capitalize on brand equity and share consumer data; and attracting travelers to drive occupancy and increase average daily rates.
With established business goals in place, a PR partner is better equipped to create a plan directly related to hitting those goals and provide businesses with the return they’re looking for on their agency investment.
4. They have an established PR budget.
While scope of work can be adjusted to help meet a business’s key performance metrics and fit within its budget, a PR partner is an investment in the company’s future. It’s imperative that business owners be honest and upfront about their budget boundaries from the beginning to protect themselves from investing too early or selecting the wrong company to represent their brand.
Additionally, PR requires time to achieve the desired outcome. Agencies need time to onboard a new client and become well-versed with the brand and its goals. Also, unlike advertorial and paid social media tactics, earned media doesn’t translate to instant success and overnight results. The media landscape has changed and, unless it’s breaking news, journalists no longer have to publish stories or interviews as soon as possible. Businesses need to be sure they can invest the time and resources needed for agencies to work their magic and achieve valuable results.
PR partnerships are also increasingly including paid opportunities such as speaking and exhibiting, influencer collaborations, sponsored placements, affiliate marketing and more, which require additional budget outside of an agency retainer.
5. They have market research available.
This varies by industry; however, data surrounding business performance, consumer sentiment, the competitive landscape, market valuation, audience attitudes and/or other factors unique to a specific business or situation can be instrumental in grounding PR campaigns and communications plans. Exclusive analytics are also helpful for agencies to leverage in media conversations to get their clients to stand out from the crowd.
As one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies, PR is often touted as a primary driver of a business’s success.
Want to learn more about working with Crowe PR? Contact us.