5 Things to Look for When Hiring a PR Agency

How to Hire a PR Agency or Firm. Above Promotions Company. Tampa, FL
How to Hire a PR Agency or Firm. Above Promotions Company. Tampa, FL

 

I recently had a chance to meet with a potential client who is searching for a publicist. With each of these types of meetings I am able to learn more about what people are experiencing in speaking with other public relations firms as well as discover if my company is still meeting the needs of those in search of taking their brand to a broader audience.

This particular meeting provided a great discussion, but also sparked this post. In the middle of our conversation regarding their needs I was asked, “What should I look for in a pr agency?” This took me back as it didn’t seem to be a question challenging what we can offer, but really a way to ensure they are on the right track while meeting publicists.

Truly it can be a difficult task of researching and even taking a leap of faith when making decisions on how to invest your resources to help promote your company or organization. So let’s take some of the height out of the “leap” and make it easy for you to discover if an agency will be able to meet your needs.

Here is a brief list of 5 things to look for when hiring a publicist or agency:

  1. Access to the media through personal contacts and the right wire services. Here is the thing about pr work. It is a relationship building and a resource access business. You want to make sure the person you select has immediate access to some of the outlets you want to appear in as well as ensure they have the ability to reach those you haven’t even thought about. This happens through their personal contacts as well as the use of the right wire service and platform to help your brand to connect with media personnel. It doesn’t matter how connected a publicist is, they cannot keep your brand in front of the media with merely their personal list.
  2. Experience with crisis communication. It isn’t a matter of “if” your brand will mess up, it is a matter of when and how you respond. A few seemingly innocent words can turn into a business altering tragedy. The publicist you hire must be able to navigate the waters and help to provide you with immediate solutions to your issues. They should also be able to work well with not only the media during these times but with any attorneys, boycotting organizations, etc. Take a moment to ask about cases they may have been involved with over the years.
  3. Knowledgeable. Why I don’t recommend attempting to quiz the publicist, you should make sure they are aware of media tools, laws on statements you can and cannot make that may falsely represent your company, etc. The publicist should be able to mention innovative campaigns they’ve worked on or tools they use to assist their clients. A good publicist will not only be working from the ethical standards mentioned by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), but they will be familiar with laws concerning the FTC, FCC and copyright statutes.
  4. Reputation. It’s easy for one person to say how great they are, but are their peers or other industry experts saying the same thing? Does the publicist appear on any industry panels, news articles or shows as an expert in their field? Are they a go-to-resource for others? Trust me. If they’re doing anything others are making note of, it will not be hard to do a search on their impact in the business world or specifically the field of public relations. By doing your reputation search, you may find out they need a publicist of their own due to bad work in the past.
  5. Compatibility. This one is last, but important. I recommend you listing 3-5 qualities you believe you’re looking for in a partner. Because you’re basically looking at a long-term relationship (nothing happens overnight). Can you see them being a great partner? Will they be able to add and multiply to your brand rather than subtracting or dividing from it? Are they going to bring excitement and support? Can they provide you with a level of trust? Again, this is a partnership. Be sure to link up with someone who you’ll feel comfortable with to provide your financial investment to over the coming months and years.

It’s important to note no matter what agency you select, there is a great amount of work to be done on your part as well as theirs. Always know your end goal and budget when speaking to a potential agency. With these tips you will find a good agency to assist your brand.

Five is such a short number. Maybe I should make it 6 things? It’s possible to add their ability to report on progress globally, but that really also falls under number one.

What do you think? Are there any items missing from the list?

Comment below and your answer may appear in a future blog post or an update to this one.

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Above Promotions is a full service publicity, marketing and promotions company, founded with the purpose to serve an array of clients that are looking to expand their presence in the marketplace. From a local to international market, Above Promotions Company can provide the exposure that goes above your expectations. Visit Above Promotions Company today.

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Ebony T. Grimsley is the Creative Director and Owner of Above Promotions Company. She is also the author of “Because You’re Small: Effective Marketing Strategies for Immediate Implementation.” To find out more information on the book, please visit http://www.abovepromotions.com or purchase online at Amazon, Booktango and other online bookstores.

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Waiters Eating in Front of You with Food from Another Restaurant???

Employees Eating In Front of Customers. Photo courtesy of Ben Earwicker. Above Promotions Company. Tampa, FL 2013
Employees Eating In Front of Customers. Photo courtesy of Ben Earwicker. Above Promotions Company. Tampa, FL 2013

A couple of weekends ago some friends and I gathered at a local South Tampa bar and restaurant for a day party following the monthly meeting for the Tampa Bay Association of Black Journalists. While we enjoyed the music and even one of the hosts of the event, the trip turned into well, this blog.

We arrived a few minutes early to the event and we were beyond ready for lunch. The wait staff was still scrambling to prepare for the crowd. As it reached official event hours we noticed the staff was still preparing for the event in front of the few customers (us). A few staff members sat at the bar (not standing behind it) and sliced lemons and limes. Delays happen right? Understandable. You want to rest your feet a little longer? Go for it! However, what happened after the manager took our meal and drink orders, I was personally shocked by as a business owner and marketing professional.

Apparently we were not the only hungry people there.  Within minutes of our order being taken a couple of bags from Chipotle appear. Initially we all thought “maybe they buy their salsa, guacamole or chips from there since it is down the street and closer to the bar than a grocery or discount store.” Not the case at all. The manager and other waiters began to stand and sit at the bar and eat Chipotle while preparing items for the day. You can imagine our faces and the conversation we began to have watching this all unfold. Is it not after opening time? Are we not sitting here?

There was no food critic among the staff that day, but what they failed to realize is you never know who your customers are in your establishment. I wonder now if they would have done the same if they knew there was an editor from one paper, reporter from another, online blogger, tv producer from Lakeland and myself (blogger of justice- well not really justice) sitting within 10 feet of all of this. It was obvious this was not the first time it occurred. We even witnessed a brief argument over one of their lunch orders that was not taken properly.

Now some could argue classism or even go the opposite way and discuss hygiene and proper etiquette. Neither of those are what I want to focus on today. What about smart business? What about not marketing another restaurant in yours that serves similar food? As hungry as we were that day, the Chipotle looked even better than normal. Thoughts of walking down there ourselves crossed my mind. However, subliminally they caused the table to wonder if the food they would serve to us would be good. Words like “Who has eaten here before” and other comments arose.

Many of you understand the price of advertising. You understand how much it costs to convert a potential lead to a sale. You know what happens when a bad review or experience is created and then shared publicly. But apparently, this group of people didn’t or they just didn’t think any damage could be done with the group there that day.

Well here are a few tips for employers of any type of business:

  • Employees should have designated areas to eat their meals and bring in other foods.
  • Eating and drinking in front of customers should be prohibited.
  • Encourage your staff to plan ahead for their shift by eating beforehand and/or planning on eating during breaks off-site.
  • Share with your employees the value of advertising and how their actions can directly and negatively affect their salaries due to public complaints.
  • You never know who is in your midst. Run the business at top levels at all times for all customers.

I imagine now that if Jon Taffer, Bar Rescue star and expert, were to have been there, he would want to let the manager on-duty know where the bar was failing.

What do you think?

Is it a big deal to eat another restaurant’s food in front of customers?

Leave your comments below. They may be featured in a future blog.

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Above Promotions is a full service publicity, marketing and promotions company, founded with the purpose to serve an array of clients that are looking to expand their presence in the marketplace. From a local to international market, Above Promotions Company can provide the exposure that goes above your expectations. Visit http://www.abovepromotions.com today.

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Ebony T. Grimsley is the Creative Director and Owner of Above Promotions Company. She is also the recent author of “Because You’re Small: Effective Marketing Strategies for Immediate Implementation.” To find out more information on the book, please visit http://www.abovepromotions.com or purchase online at Amazon, Booktango and other online bookstores.

Women Rule… At Least This Weekend

Mom's Rock! Mother's Day 2013. Photo Courtesy of Yahoo.com. Above Promotions Company. Tampa, FL.
Mom's Rock! Mother's Day 2013. Photo Courtesy of Yahoo.com. Above Promotions Company. Tampa, FL.
Mom’s Rock! Mother’s Day 2013. Photo Courtesy of Yahoo.com. Above Promotions Company. Tampa, FL.

 

It is quite obvious that this is a major shopping weekend and mom’s are definitely showered with gifts. Simply drive by the mall, walk by a florist shop or talk to your local baker. This is a huge weekend for spending money on the one we probably loved first in the world.

Don’t believe me? The National Retail Federation (NRF) has confirmed this is the second biggest shopping weekend of the year. Spending is expected to reach $18.6 billion per their estimates. With those numbers, perhaps we need Mother’s Day once a quarter to help our economy. Nonetheless, alas it’s upon us.

And for those of you who are not taking advantage of getting extra sales this weekend, well just shame on you. What are you waiting on?

Don’t let the fact that perhaps your products aren’t mom-friendly. Another interesting statistic from the NRF’s article is:

Of the 86.5 percent celebrating Mother’s Day this year, nearly 65 percent will shop for their mom or stepmom, while others will buy gifts for their wife (22.4%), daughter (10.5%), grandmother (8.2%), sister (8.4%), friend (7.6%) or godmother (2.1%).

Now this should hopefully open your eyes to getting a piece of this financial windfall this weekend.

Email or text your customers today! Run your social media ads. You can still catch those last-minute shoppers. Offer electronic gift certificates. The NRF expects 1/4 of the gifts to be purchased online, so don’t think it’s too late to get into the game (even if you’re reading this on Mother’s Day).

Get creative. Offer shopping experiences just for women. Even if you’re a B2B (business-to-business company) you can still generate sales and interests in products and services that empower or show appreciation to women.

So what if you’re demographic is predominately male! Still consider doing a sale. Here’s why. According to BIGinsight Executive Vice President Phil Rist, “Many will use the opportunity to comparison shop and research products to save a few bucks, utilizing their mobile and tablet devices at home and in stores as they look for gifts and other ways to celebrate.”  As many people may not be chasing the sporting goods store this weekend, if that’s your industry, you can still offer great ways to save just to draw in the shopper who is just in the mood to shop this weekend.

Now does that have your mind buzzing on what you can do to get even a small share of this “mom money”?

Are you running any specials? If so, share below. You never know who may purchase from you online today!

Oh and by the way, Happy Mother’s Day to the moms and other women operating in that oh so important role. Women Rule! At least this weekend. Enjoy the day ladies! You deserve it!

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Above Promotions is a full service publicity, marketing and promotions company, founded with the purpose to serve an array of clients that are looking to expand their presence in the marketplace. From a local to international market, Above Promotions Company can provide the exposure that goes above your expectations. Visit http://www.abovepromotions.com today.

********************

Ebony T. Grimsley is the Creative Director and Owner of Above Promotions Company. She is also the recent author of “Because You’re Small: Effective Marketing Strategies for Immediate Implementation.” To find out more information on the book, please visit http://www.abovepromotions.com or purchase online at Amazon, Booktango and other online bookstores.