Whether you worked with a public relations agency in the past or this is your first experience, selecting an agency can be a stressful process. It’s time consuming, involves plenty of research, and if you choose the wrong partner, it’s one expensive mistake.
Don’t be duped. Here are a few red flags to look out for when hiring a new PR agency:
- They don’t have examples to back up their work
Any prospective agency can talk the talk, but can they walk the walk? Candidates should share previous case studies illustrating projects they worked on for clients, including the specific strategies and tactics used to generate results. If the prospective agency doesn’t make this information readily available, don’t hesitate to ask for examples.
However, if they can’t provide such information, hesitate to hire. In addition to examples, keep an eye out for agency accolades, recommendations or compliments from previous clients. All of these factors can speak louder than words.
- They don’t represent their own agency well
Do your research. If you log onto the prospective agency’s website and they haven’t written a blog since 2016, won an award since 2014 or refreshed their Twitter feed since the beginning of time, that’s a red flag. It’s time to wonder, if they can’t even maintain their own image, how are they going grow yours?
On the surface, it’s helpful to look at the agencies website, social media channels, blog and case studies. Some agencies may argue they’re too busy working on client’s image to manage their own, but an agency worth hiring will have the time and resources to do both.
- They can’t speak to PR measurement
We get it. Measuring the effectiveness of PR efforts is not the easiest task. However, agencies should be ready to answer questions about tracking, reporting and measurement. Tools like TrendKite, Sprout Social, Cision, Rival IQ and even Mail Chimp help display metrics in a polished, presentable way for internal and external communication. If the prospective agency isn’t willing to provide measurement, consider that a red flag. Before selecting an agency that best fits your needs, you should both be on the same page with what success means to you and your business.
- Their personalities don’t align with your company
Never hire an agency you don’t mesh well with. That’s like hiring a new employee you can’t stand to work with.
When hiring an agency, you should consider them an extension of your team. You will be working together on a daily basis, and personalities shouldn’t be overlooked. When you meet the prospective agency for the first time, don’t ignore your first impression or your gut feeling. This is your chance to test the waters and get a glimpse into their creativity, professionalism and experience.
Do they speak with passion about your business or past campaigns they worked on? Do they bring innovative ideas? Could you grab a drink with them after a long day on the trade show floor? These things matter.