By David Frederick

Choosing a PR agency can be tricky, especially when there are so many agencies out there offering various packages. But if you ask prospective PR agencies the right questions, you will be able to make an educated decision. Here are 8 questions that you can use when interviewing a prospective PR agency.

1. How are results measured?

This is an interesting one, mainly because it’s paramount to the success of a PR agency and its client retention if they can show the return on investment that their clients are receiving. Ask the agency exactly how it plans to measure the success of your PR campaign. Some agencies will measure your campaigns success based on the amount of people your brand is exposed to, where as others will measure it based on the amount of enquires that you receive as a result of it.

2. What level of input will you need from our team?

Some PR agencies require you to have more of an input than others. If you have the resources and time to provide that input, then it’s not a problem at all. However, if you want an agency that will take care of the entire process, you will need to ask them how much of the campaign they can handle themselves. For example, the PR agency may need you to write content or provide a list of publications that you would ideally like to be featured in. You should also ask the agency how often you will need to be available for interviews or meetings.

3. How often can we expect to be featured in the media?

This is a very important question, mainly because the role of the PR agency is to gain media exposure for your business. While the agency may be unable to give you an exact number of how many times you will be featured in the media, they should at the very least, be able to provide you with a rough estimation. It would be foolish to pay a monthly retainer without gaining any media exposure in return.

4. In what other ways can you help us?

Even though the primary reason for you hiring an agency is for media relations, many agencies have other service offerings which could be valuable to your business in other ways. For example, they may offer social media marketing or content generation services. Sometimes it can be beneficial to have a number of services provided under one roof.

5. Will we need to pay any additional fees?

It’s essential to ask this question prior to signing a service contract. A lot of PR agencies charge an additional fee for securing media coverage. It’s worth noting that if an agency asks you to pay for a feature or interview, that coverage is not classed as PR, it’s classed as advertising. The last thing you will want to do is pay additional fees for services that you thought were included in the service.

6. What makes you different from other PR agencies?

This is always a good question to ask! Any reputable PR agency will be able to answer this question without any hesitation. The agency may respond with answers such as “we have a unique approach to public relations” or “our employee’s collective expertise sets us apart”. This is a chance for the PR agency to sell themselves and for you to assess what they can offer your business that no other PR agency can.

7. Is there an industry that you specialize in?

There are a lot of PR agencies that specialise in one industry. For example, there are agencies that focus solely on sport, some that focus on technology, and others that focus on business and law. If the agency specializes in your industry, they will already have plenty of media contacts that they can work with on your campaign.

8. Do you have any testimonials or case studies that you can show us?

For most people, a glowing testimonial or case study is a deal maker. Not only does it show that the business is capable of providing a good service, but it also shows that they can provide a satisfactory level of customer service. Ask the PR agency to show you examples of successful campaigns they have provided for clients that are in the same industry as yours. This will give you a realistic idea as to whether or not they are able to meet your businesses needs.