We deal with PR agencies and PR people all the time over on my cycling tech blog, Bikerumor.com. Some are great, others could use a little help. And we see a mix of brands small and large, new and established, choose to work with a PR agency all the time, with mixed results. So I reached out to Verde Brand Communications’ founder Kristin Carpenter to learn more about how a company should work with a PR firm.
If you’re a brand interested in hiring a PR agency to promote your brand, craft your message, and help get it in front of the media and consumers, this episode will give you a LOT to think about!
POST GAME ANALYSIS:
Two of the biggest takeaways are that you need to have realistic expectations, and you need to communicate with the agency.
Regarding communication, it’s critical that the brand keep the agency aware of product launch dates, delays and other timing issues. Why? Because if a launch is going to be late, it’s better to know ahead of time and push the promotional push back, too.
Another thing to consider is where they’re getting your coverage. Sure, getting on Oprah or the Today Show might be huge awareness wins, but they may not move the sales needle if those shows aren’t targeted to your customer base.
Regarding retainers and pricing, I’d recommend weighing the option of hiring someone in-house full time (or part time) versus an outside agency. Pros include having someone there day in, day out that can ensure your PR efforts are deeply integrated into everything else your brand is doing, from sales to marketing to production and scheduling. It also gives media a direct point of contact that (usually) knows most of the technical questions. Cons might be that you need to train the person, and that they may lack the direct communication lines that a good, established PR firm already has with media and key editors. That list, and those relationships, can take a long time to curate.
Either way, as Kristin recommends, make sure your internal org chart and operational systems are dialed before looking to outsource your marketing communications.
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