Considering A PR Agency? Here’s What You Need to Know

Written by: Mark Ladley

For many organizations, finding the right public relations agency comes with a lot of consideration. Some agencies have elected to focus on specific industries, while others use their skills to reach across sectors in order to increase the visibility of their clients. At Slice, we believe the latter has contributed to our ability to look at the big picture, finding multiple angles to a story while also contributing to an understanding of how to do business across market segments. Regardless of whether you are a nonprofit, a major corporation or anything in between when you decide to engage a public relations agency it’s important to understand who you are building a relationship with. Working with any vendor is a partnership. With this in mind, we’ve created a list of some of the top things you need to consider as you take the first steps when researching a pr agency.

It’s All About Communication

You may have heard before that communication is key to relationships with those closest to us within our personal lives. The same is true when we do business. At Slice, we meet with our clients on a weekly or bi-weekly basis depending on their preferences.

These meetings include updates on work, a review of our goals and performance metrics, as well as an evaluation of future opportunities. As communications experts, we know that how information is shared and one’s personal communication style is a big part of how each side sees a relationship. With this understanding we’ve developed an easy assessment that evaluates how an individual uses language.

Our assessment provides a window into how a person likes to be communicated with, while also providing some insight into their personality. A table with each communication style can be found below.

Communication style assessment chart

The Foundations of a Relationship

Why is the communications assessment important? Because it helps us understand your style, allowing us to match you with the best team, as well as how we should approach our meetings. Not everyone wants to spend five to ten minutes going over their weekend plans, while others want to get to know their partners on a more personal level.

In addition to our communications assessment, Slice also conducts a First Cut evaluation with our clients to evaluate how their organizations communicate. This helps us shape tone, delivery, and more.

Find a Strategic Expert

You may have discovered that there are more than a few public relations agencies and freelancers out there. So how do you know you’re getting the best of the best?

Sure, there are those who may understand how to write a press release. There are even templates online. What we do as public relations experts is more than words on paper.

Our success is built off several factors. It’s about the relationships we have with reporters, editors, producers, and influencers. At the same time, our success is about our expert understanding of strategy.

Slice goes beyond looking for every single opportunity to get the most out of a story. We evaluate strategic communications to the nth degree. This includes word use and flow, the appearance of a document in terms of sentence and paragraph length and size, and how we’re communicating when we pitch.

Our media relations department looks at every single aspect that could impact our ability to meet and go beyond your goals. For us, it’s the sensation of the hunt and the ultimate thrill of achievement. When you’re looking for a public relations agency, find one that is tenacious and won’t stop until you’re satisfied.

Your Agency Should Never Be The Story

The public relations industry isn’t without its personalities. Those with a keen eye may have recently observed a public spat over social media between an executive of a public relations agency based in a top-tier media market and a senior editor at a prominent publication. Both have a substantial following.

For context, this conflict started with a personally disparaging tweet from the executive that led to a chain of public correspondences between the two parties and culminated in external criticism that raised questions about the PR executive’s racial bias. This is a black mark. The example cited above means more than one person burning a bridge. There is the potential that multiple bridges have been burned for clients. You should never hire someone who gets in your way by getting in their own way. Your agency should never be the story. You need someone who puts you first.

Understanding Your Metrics

In January, Muckrack, the global media database and measurement service, released a report entitled The State of PR Measurement in 2022, in which it analyzed responses from 805 PR professionals, of which 54% were employed by an agency.

The study demonstrated that 96% of respondents shared that media placements themselves are the highest measurement of success. Is this enough?

At Slice, we often get questions from prospective clients about how we measure success. While some agencies may provide a summary of their monthly or quarterly work and outreach, to include media placements, at Slice we realize that more context is required.

“Audience reach” came in as the second highest form of measuring success at 56%, but what does that mean? When looking for an agency, it is important to partner with one that can provide you with solid measurables.

For instance, our team measures our reach by looking at the audience size for print publications, as well as how many unique visitors per month (UVMs or UVPMs) go to a media outlet’s website. This is your potential audience size. We have also been able to track how much web traffic a specific article has directed to our client’s websites if they provide us with access to their Google Analytics.

Ready to take the next steps?

Consider these factors when hiring a PR agency and you won’t go wrong. When you hire the right experts who consider the finest points, right down to how to communicate with you and how to build a relationship, on top of their skills as public relations gurus, you’ll have the potential for game-changing outcomes. Contact our team of experts to get started.

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