Choosing a PR agency? Here’s what you need to consider

Prepared by our partner and mentor Dan Walsh, PR Director, MUSTARD PR

For any early stage company with ambitious plans to scale and become a recognisable brand, the hiring of a PR agency is something they will have to consider. Whether it falls to the founder, CEO or comms team - it’s a big decision to make.


Choosing the right experts will mean your target audience will soon know about who you are, what you do and why it is they need to make that purchase or pick-up the phone to your sales team.


Make the wrong call and you could find yourself 3-6 months down the line no further forward - in fact you could have taken a step back.


To help you make a more informed decision, here’s what I’d suggest you really need to take into consideration before you make your choice.


ARE THEY AN EXPERT IN YOUR FIELD?

This really is key. Your agency will be representing your business and will be the first port of call for any journalist interested in learning more about you and your market. Your agency needs to be able to articulate what you do, but also understand exactly what it is you do to provide the right positioning for media.


DO THEY UNDERSTAND YOUR MARKET?

If you’re a SaaS company, you shouldn’t be represented by an agency that specialises in beauty. Make sure you see examples of previous projects and campaigns that will give you the confidence this agency knows your market.


DO THEY KNOW THE MEDIA?

One of the biggest factors in choosing an agency is their ability to connect you with the right types of media. Successful PR campaigns can contribute hugely to the success of your business - so your agency should be able to demonstrate that they have live and existing relationships with the media relevant to you.

Don’t simply take their word for it. Request examples.


DO THEY HAVE CAPACITY? There’s no point choosing an agency and once you’re onboard being passed to junior team members that don’t have the experience required to make this campaign a success. This all comes down to whether this agency has the manpower and capacity to take you on as a client.


DO THEY UNDERSTAND THE WAY EARLY STAGE COMPANIES WORK?

If you’re choosing an agency that has an agency roster of listed companies, you’re doing it wrong. You need to recruit an agency that understands early stage companies in detail - budget constraints, investment pressures, capacity etc etc.


ARE THEY GUARANTEEING RESULTS?

If they do, run a mile. They’re lying. No agency can EVER guarantee results. That’s called advertising.


DOES IT FEEL RIGHT?

Sometimes, it really just comes down to how it feels. Did you click with the team? Do they ‘get’ you? Do you think you could work well together? Will they challenge you and consult rather than just agreeing?


If it feels right and they tick the above too, you’ve got your agency.



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