A guide to buying PR services

I guess I know a thing or two about PR and how it works. Surprisingly few businesses I meet, especially new entrepreneurs, understand how to buy PR support services if they decide not to do the work themselves. Now is a great time to give you a basic guide to briefing a PR firm before you commit your hard-earned cash.

I start with a warning. You could see that hard-earned cash disappear without trace of result if you fail to prepare and state very clearly what you want a Public Relations firm to do for you. Purchasing PR services requires a clear understanding between both supplier and purchaser as to the nature of the relationship, the expected level of activity and agreed outcomes. Without such an understanding the purchaser’s expectations and the supplier’s performance and delivery could be at odds with each other.
To help potential Integra clients, we provide a Five-Point guide to briefing us. If we receive a comprehensive brief, we can prepare a PR proposal which meets the enquirer’s needs. The feedback we get is great, so I am happy to share this with you. Let me know how you get on.

STEP 1 Provide Company details
Give a brief description of your company’s trading activity. It may be clear to you but in today’s complex trading patterns better be safe than sorry. Give business history with turnover, number of employees, trading structure and details of senior staff likely to be involved in the PR work.

STEP 2 Describe your business and marketing objectives
Outline your growth targets and timing, giving a summary of your marketing and sales strategy into which the PR activity will fit. Are there any barriers to market expansion and what are your competitors doing? Who are your main target audiences and are there new groups you want to reach?

STEP 3 State your PR objectives
Explain how you currently communicate with customers and what works well. Be clear about the messages you want to get across and describe where you would like the coverage. Don’t forget speaking, sponsorship, exhibitions and wider PR activities.

STEP 4 Explain your news
Discuss how your company generates news and what issues you can comment about. A good PR firm will help you to recognise news if you can’t immediately see it!

STEP 5 Set some targets
If you take on a PR firm, what would success for your company look like in 12 months time? How will you measure the returns of your PR spend? Finally, it always helps to give an indication of budget.