Is PR Right for You?
By: Peter Girard
It’s a heavy question, “Is PR right for our business?” Public Relations add an entirely new dynamic to your business, essentially it’s a whole new world, and to a company like us, it truly is ‘a new fantastic point of view’ (cue the Aladdin song). Much like the song, (if you need to take a moment and reconnect with your inner Disney and listen to it, I totally understand, you can find it here) companies need a guide through this new world.
If you’re seriously considering adding a PR program to your business, or even if you’ve never thought about it before, there are a few key components to consider. PR is an investment, a sound one, but still an investment, and it benefits your business more in the long run to have specific communications objectives when you hire a public relations firm. Are you launching products? Starting an awareness campaign? Re-branding an existing business? All of the above. These are questions you want to think about before approaching a PR agency to find out if they can help.
So, what can a PR firm deliver? Here are some examples of what a PR agency can bring to your company:
A dedicated team. As fellow Caster employee, Tim Viall put it in one of his own blog posts, a PR firm is like a gym, and like personal trainers, we’re here to believe in you and help you succeed. Each team member comes with his or her own special set of communication skills and media contacts that, when combined, give clients valuable outside perspective and reach into new markets. When choosing an agency, it’s important to make sure they’re strengths jive with your objectives, or at least that they are adaptable enough to take on the challenge.
Industry know-how. A good PR agency should take the time to understand what you do for a living and then apply that knowledge to help you rise above the clutter with a clear and compelling message. As industries evolve, PR agencies must too and the best PR programs are a marriage of today’s relevant consumer influences, such as social networking, video/visual content and community building, and traditional media initiatives such as press tours, targeted pitching, relationship building, product coverage, expert editorials and more.
Chemistry with your team. When employing a PR firm, it needs to be the right fit on both ends because without communication, there is no success. PR agencies can be a great resource for finding new partnerships, scoping out the competition, and presenting creative ideas, but the culture and communication must jive with your own organization in order to achieve the highest return. One of the easiest ways to determine compatibility is dinner. Just like dating, when you take the office out of the equation, you get a better sense personalities and motivations.
Trusted, long standing relationships with key media. Just like you would ask a new hire for their references, one of the best ways to make sure the firm you’re considering is “in the know”, is to ask for their media references, especially ones that are critical to your line of business. The perception media thought leaders have of an agency is perhaps the most important validation you can receive.
Responsiveness and Proactivity. Certain campaigns or PR items require late nights or off hours, is your prospective agency ready to burn the midnight oil or get up at 6a.m. to do a conference call with Europe? Most PR agencies will promise the world, but speaking to current clients is a better way to find out their level of dedication.
From our president, Kimberly Lancaster, and her 15+ years of experience in the Tech PR industry, all the way down to our newest members, each Caster team member brings their own unique assets and personalities to the table every day. Our philosophy goes far beyond treating the client-agency relationship as strictly a business transaction. We believe in integrity, loyalty, friendship, and partnership. Moreover, we believe we can make a difference in all our client’s business and we promise brutal honesty or effusive praise when it’s deserved. We’re a connected bunch who keep a pulse on the current state of the industry, using modern tools to stay ahead and alert of what’s coming next. We’re tireless coverage hunters who turn social interactions into media placements and provide strategic guidance for all communications objectives.
It is a heavy question, “Is PR right for our business?” and one that undoubtedly demands some serious thought. But if you’re ready to take your business to the next level, determining if Caster Communication is the right firm for you, is as easy as just having a conversation. Check out our website, give us a call, shoot us an email, however you feel most comfortable, we’d love to be your Aladdin. (flying carpet ride not included)