With budgets tight and planning in full swing for next year, many companies are evaluating their PR agencies to determine ROI. As someone who has both managed agencies and now works for an agency, I thought I would showcase some pearls of wisdom: The five things that I looked for in an agency. Without a doubt, your agency should:
1) Make you look smarter. You are busy. You don’t have time for everything. Your agency should be coming up with ideas and being creative—in turn providing you the tools to do your job with great success, in essence, making you look smarter.
2) Know your industry. Most agencies can write a press release, or submit a speaking opportunity. But, those agencies who truly understand the industry in which their clients operate will be most successful. Knowing the right terminology and the right people to talk to allow for efficient and quality work.
3) Align their activities with your corporate strategic goals. Some people say winning any award is good, but make sure you’re asking the question, “How does winning this award positively affect my business?” If your agency doesn’t know the answer to that, then it might be time to look elsewhere.
4) Serve as strategic counsel. You want an agency that serves as an extension of your staff. One that you can listen to, that serves as your eyes and ears of the industry. You should trust them to give you an honest, well thought out opinion and go to them for a trusted, outsider view.
5) Be proactive. There’s nothing worse than constantly telling an agency what to do. A great agency looks ahead and presents opportunities and trends well ahead of the curve so that you have the best chance of making a splash.
So, as you’re planning for 2010, make sure your agency is doing the above, and if you find they aren’t, give us a call!