Is it worth hiring a good PR agency?
For those that have experience working with a PR agency, do you think PR firms are worth the money?
Also, where do they offer the most value? Is it the fact they save you time, their network and connections or something else?
Lastly, how much does a mid-tier PR agency charge - hourly fee, monthly fixed cost etc.?
I have used some big PR companies in the past on joint projects in the past, most of the time they charge a bit. For example the higher tier firms will charge 10,000 a month to do work. The main thing that PR people do is get positive press about your business in front of journalists. If you have contacts with bloggers and journalists you can get PR out for a far lower cost, I have never worked with a mid tier firm but so it would be good too see if any one else has worked with these styles of firms.
Having worked in the PR field for many years, especially mid tier firms, it is really dependent on your budget. As a mid tier firm, we asked for a lower base payment and then a % based on exposure received. This is a good way as you get what you want and it puts the responsibility back on the PR company. Hope this helps
I work at a mid-tier PR agency and our focus is on small businesses. It is always dependant on the agencies structure but in our case we work with the client to tailor a PR package to maximise the value of our service as well as meet the clients needs.
So, when choosing your agency make sure they are flexible in what they deliver, as you may want to utilise them for networking purposes (to help save you time and build more alliances) as well as more traditional PR methods of creating branding awareness.
When it comes to pricing - each clients PR needs are different, and we come up with a fixed monthly fee based on these needs. If you are working with the right agency you will definitely see the value.
It depends on your budget and the time and resource you have available internally. If you are a bigger business and can afford to pay $8k-$15k a month, it can make sense to hire a reputable agency. Just make sure you do your due diligence and set clear measurables/KPIs, so that everyone is on the same page when it comes to anticipated results.
For startups and smaller businesses, who may find these costs prohibitive, there are some really simple tricks of the trade you can implement to save a tonne of cash. A common misconception about PR is that it's all about contacts and that some sort of black magic is involved. With 15 years of experience in the industry, this isn't true. It's about having a good story. The media aren't interested in anything else. They don't care if it's a business owner or a PR person telling it to them. Most often, they would prefer to hear it from the business owner and there's no one better placed to tell your story than yourself.
Once you have a good story, you need to tell it to the right person. You can find the contacts by setting up google alerts for relevant keywords for your industry, looking up journalists on LinkedIn or Twitter and reaching out to them directly. Their contact details are normally readily available in bylines or you can get them on the phone by calling the switchboard.
There are a number of other DIY PR opportunities you can leverage too, like SourceBottle (which connects you to journalists looking for content for stories). It's easy to put your hat in the ring for speaking opportunities too, again just make sure you are adding value - rather than a straight-up sales pitch. PR is all about building credibility, so people buy from you.
By way of introduction, I run PR Shed, which offers businesses all the tools they need to do their own PR. With step-by-step guides on how to attract media attention, access to media contacts, easy-to-use-templates and one-to-one time with industry experts, it’s an affordable pay-as-you-go solution designed to help SMEs get their brand in the media.
I think that there are a lot of good SEO firms that do an "okay" PR for you on the web. I also think that there is a great number of PR firms that do an "okay" job of SEO. But the main point is if you want to improve your overall presence on the net then get an SEO firm to just focus on your SEO, this will get you more organic search and targeted advertising. If you just want to improve the public perception of your business on the web then go with the firm. Just do not get one firm to cover both PR and SEO, unless you would get your podiatrist to look at your teeth during the same appointment.