For many small- to medium-sized ad agencies, public relations can be a mystery.
Ad agency principals are experts when it comes to strategy, branding, creative and messaging, but dealing with reporters can be intimidating if one doesn’t fully understand how public relations works and the “magic” used to generate publicity and goodwill for clients or an agency.
It’s not unusual for ad agencies or their clients to say they want to use PR because “no one knows us outside out of (city, region, industry).” They want to increase awareness.
If I were to ask why they want to gain awareness, they may very well look at me and say, “Well duh, we want more people to know about us so that we’ll grow and make more money.”
Fair enough. But if I ask how PR is integrated into their new business plan, more likely than not I’ll get blank stares.
Yet increasingly, decision makers are finding vendors rather than the other way around, which make PR more important than ever for new business success.
Instead of chasing new business through cold calls, which has very limited effectiveness these days, agencies need to use PR strategically to help them be discovered by decision makers.
Here are 15 questions to help your agency get started on the road to PR success.
These questions are designed to assist you in assessing your situation, your highest priorities and needs, and what you really want to accomplish through public relations.
Once you and your team have thought through and answered these questions, you will be much better prepared to have a productive conversation with a PR person or PR agency:
- What is the desired result from PR (e.g. increase awareness, change perception, be positioned as an expert in a particular niche, generate new business or something else)?
- How would you rate your agency’s PR capabilities on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the best and 1 the worst?
- How would you rate your agency’s new business focus on a scale from 1-10, where 10 is perfectly targeted and 1 is we’re all over the map?
- Are you looking for PR help with your agency, to offer it as a service to clients, or both?
- What is the primary way you use or would like to use PR in your agency: Agency promotion, new business development, provide as a service to clients or enhance integrated marketing communications capabilities?
- How effective were your past PR efforts (assuming you had some)?
- What PR opportunities can you identify that have not been maximized?
- How would you describe your agency’s positioning/branding?
- How would you define your target audience for new business?
- How should PR integrate into your new business strategy?
- How does social media fit with your new business strategy and PR?
- Where would you like to obtain publicity (i.e. target publications, bloggers, radio/TV programs)?
- What speaking events would you like to be invited to participate in, and how can PR help with that?
- How will you define PR success?
- How will you measure that success?
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