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Why hire a local PR agency?

Although searching the Internet might seem like a logical place to start, you will soon become overwhelmed by the number and variety of different PR agencies online, which will confuse you further.

If you’ve never worked with a PR agency before, the prospect of hiring one might seem like a daunting prospect. You might be asking yourself:

Where do I start looking for a PR firm?

How can I be sure I’m hiring a good one?

What public relations skills should I look for?

If one or all of these questions are troubling you, read on and I will help guide you towards selecting the perfect PR agency for your business.

Where do I start looking for a PR firm?

Although searching the Internet might seem like a logical place to start, you will soon become overwhelmed by the number and variety of different PR agencies online, which will confuse you further.

Instead, start by speaking to colleagues and fellow business owners to find out their experiences of working with PR agencies. I’m sure some of them will have horror stories of agencies they’ve hired and fired, but those that have had positive experiences will share their contacts with you. Word-of-mouth communication can be extremely powerful. According to research by social media software company Lithium, 92 per cent of consumers trust word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and colleagues more than any other form of advertising.

You should also consider what you want out of a PR agency. If, for instance, you are looking to raise your profile in your local area – perhaps by inviting customers and journalists to a launch event – then you’d be better off sourcing a local PR agency that has excellent knowledge of the hottest local venues and plenty of media contacts to match.

As a Sussex based PR agency, we’ve helped a variety of local businesses raise their profile in the local area. Just a few examples include PR campaigns for local B2C businesses, trade PR for local B2B organisationsand national PR coverage for charities located in Sussex.

How can I be sure I’m hiring a good one?

So, you’ve spoken to your colleagues and local business owners and now have a shortlist of PR agencies to approach, but how can you be sure they’re good ones?

Rather than trust word-of-mouth recommendations alone, have a look on their websites to find out what businesses they work with locally and within your industry sector – all good PR agencies will have client testimonials and case studies on their websites. You could also look them up on LinkedIn to gauge the size of the agency and who works there.

Once you’ve established that the agencies are suitable, send them all an email with a brief explanation of the PR support you’re looking for. Good agencies will reply within 24 hours and generally suggest a meeting to take a proper brief in order to quote. If you’re waiting more than several days for a response, then chances are they’re not worth pursuing.

What public relations skills should I look for?

Where some agencies specialise by industry sector, others specialise by marketing discipline. So, before hiring a PR agency, you need to make sure that their skill set matches the expertise you are looking for.

That said, you should not rule out full-service marketing agencies, as they may have very experienced PR teams.

For example, PRG is a full-service marketing agency, but we started out with a purely PR focus some 30 years ago, helping local businesses in Sussex. Although we’ve grown and diversified over the years – adding graphic design, web development and digital marketing teams, as well as national and international businesses to our client portfolio – we’ve never forgotten our roots in PR.

One of the greatest American novelists of the 20th century F Scott Fitzgerald once said: “Don’t forget who you are and where you come from.” And this is very much true of us as an agency. We will continue to keep pace with the changing digital marketing landscape, but we will always remain committed to helping local Sussex businesses with PR and marketing.


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