Earlier this week we delved into why PR services are a good investment for startup companies. Today we came across a related post in Entrepreneur magazine listing 10 questions that small business owners should ask themselves before hiring a PR firm.
The overwhelmingly positive response to Jane Porter‘s article tells us that it is extremely relevant to those ambitious businessmen/women wondering whether they should make the move. Because it approaches the PR “deliverables” issue from a small business perspective, we also believe it to be crucial reading for folks in the industry (and of course we agree that “a successful [PR] campaign can help you expand your business in ways you never could on your own”). Here are the 10 questions:
- How are you going to measure your success?We all know that this is a common issue we should address–and we already have some talented people working on it. But we still need a satisfying answer before the first meeting begins.
- Which media reach my target audience best? The truly adept PR professional will be schooled in the ways of “brand journalism”, which include knowing your target audience and researching the media outlets they frequent.
- Have you worked on campaigns in my industry?We know that all competent firms possess the ability to work with clients across industries, but this question will continue to come up–so we need a good answer.
- Who will be working directly on my account? It’s important to familiarize potential clients with all members of their team, especially the ones who will be communicating with them directly.
- Am I locked into a long-term contract? The post recommends that clients demand “a review after the first three months”. How many firms offer such assessments?
- How much do you charge for specific services? Of course we’d all rather the client just trust us to promote the brand, but we should be prepared to present a service “menu” on demand.
- Do you provide media coaching? Bit of an obvious one, but most clients will eventually need to be interviewed–and coached.
- What is your social media expertise? Demonstrations of successful social media campaigns? Piece of cake. We own social media!
- How are you going to communicate with me? Of course account managers should be available to discuss specifics over the weekend. PR is a 24/7 lifestyle, remember?
- What will you need from me to make the relationship work? CEOs can’t do PR on their own–but they can’t act like passive parties in the relationship either. We need to make this point very clear and provide them with specifics up front.
What do we think of these questions? Are we prepared to win potential clients over with quick, convincing answers?