24th June 2020

How - and Why - Your Marketing Agency Should Be Handling Your PR

Mike Blackburn

Public relations is simple, right? You write a press release or two, send it out to the ‘contact us’ email on newspaper websites, then voila - you can sit back, relax and watch as awareness of your brand goes through the roof.

Or perhaps not…  

Unfortunately, the landscape of public relations has become a heck of a lot more challenging in recent years. While the number of publications and outlets that are in need of content has massively increased, so too has the number of companies who have become extremely savvy in developing attention-grabbing campaigns that secure coverage. This means that everyone has to significantly raise their game in order to stand out and get noticed.

So what can you do to raise your game and run a successful PR strategy, fit to burst with eye-catching content that will beat your competitors to the front pages (on and off line)? Well, an extremely good place to start is to employ a PR and marketing agency.

Why You Need a PR and Marketing Agency to Handle Your PR

There are a huge number of advantages in utilising an agency to handle your PR. Even if your company is large enough to have an internal PR and marketing team, there are still a multitude of benefits that an external agency can provide to give you an edge on your competition.

  1. Experience. An agency has been there, done that and got the t-shirt. With a vast array of experience under their belt from different industries and situations, they will be better to equipped to handle any situation that crops up because, in all likelihood, they will have seen something like it before
  2. Expertise. As specialists, agencies know what they’re doing and what they’re talking about. They have on hand the very best strategists and the very best copywriters to develop and deliver campaigns that will be tailored to achieve your goals. They can adapt the tone of voice of any copy written to match your brand, help generate news-worthy content, and spot the story in your company’s goings-on
  3. Contacts and relationships. A comprehensive and up-to-date media list is crucial to getting your news published. But a list is no good without a solid relationship with the journalists on that list - and that’s where an agency has the advantage
  4. Distance and objectivity. Sometimes you can just be too close to your own company - it can take an outsider to step back and understand the story you want to tell, to help you think outside of the box, and translate that into a story that will get your audience talking about what you want them to be talking about
  5. Skills and resources. Agencies have at their fingertips a wealth of available resources that most companies will not have - from designers to animators, we can create infographics, videos, leaflets, websites and more to broaden the appeal of your news and increase its likelihood of getting picked up
  6. Time. Agencies have time on their side - whereas internal business may get you tied up or distracted from your PR strategy, nothing else will get in our way. We have the time to plan long-term campaigns and also react immediately to breaking news. And as time is such a valuable resource, letting an agency look after your PR will free you up to get on with the work that requires your personal expertise and skill

How Your PR and Marketing Agency Should Be Handling Your PR

Deciding to work with a PR and Marketing agency can be a little daunting at first. You have to let an external company in to see behind the curtain, to get to know your business, discover how you work, who you’re trying to attract and what your goals are. That’s why it is crucial that you trust the agency you select. 

Below are a few elements you should consider when initially picking an agency. There’s also a few tips on what you should expect from an agency that is handling your PR in a way that will produce the optimal results.

  1. Communication. Relationships are key, but it doesn’t matter how good an agency’s contacts are within the media if their relationship with you is poor. You should be able to have frank and honest conversations with your agency about what you want and what you’re looking for. You should also be open to listening to the advice and expertise that your agency provides. Establish right from the start how you like to be communicated with - emails, phone calls, face-to-face meetings etc - and how often you expect to hear from your agency. These can be adjusted as your relationship flourishes 
  2. Establishing goals. Does your agency ask you what your goals are? It is crucial that you are both clear on what you expect the PR campaign to achieve. For example:
    • Are you looking to encourage more visitors to your website?
    • Do you want to appear higher in Google search rankings?
    • Are you hoping to attract more sign ups to your latest event?
    • Or are you looking for a more general improvement in your brand awareness?
    • If neither of you are clear from the outset on what success looks like, then it can be a frustrating relationship for the both of you
  3. Measuring and reporting on KPIs. After you’ve established your goals, make sure that these are being measured and reported on regularly so you can both keep track of your progress. Whether you’re happy with monthly or quarterly reports, make sure you’re getting the insights you need - and don’t be afraid to ask questions if something is unclear or isn’t going the way you expect
  4. Enhancing your strategy. In all likelihood your PR campaign will be working alongside an overall marketing strategy for your company. A good agency will not only ask what your PR KPIs are, but they should also want to know what the broader goals of the company are and what other marketing activities you have lined up. In this way your agency’s campaign can support or enhance the work you’re already doing. An agency that fails to be curious about your company is a red flag
  5. Outside the box thinking. Agencies have the time, resources, expertise and energy to create PR campaigns that go above and beyond the capabilities of a regular company. So if they’re not producing exceptional work that really pushes the envelope, this is a warning sign. Any agency that is repeating similar campaigns again and again or - worse - replicating ideas that have already been done by your competitors should be avoided. It’s a sign that they’re being lazy and you may not be getting your money’s worth 
  6. On brand, on message. An obvious one this - your agency should know your brand voice and your brand message inside and out. Any press release or commentary they put out into the world should be reflective of who you are, not who they think you are. Make sure they’re on brand, and don’t be afraid to correct them if they’re not  

Using I-COM as Your PR Agency

As one of Manchester’s oldest full-service marketing agencies, we are the masters of PR and outreach. We secure regular coverage for our clients, from television to radio, broadsheets to local news and industry blogs to trade papers.

So if you need a hand with any element of your PR, or want someone to take on the bulk of the heavy lifting, we’re at the ready to help your business get the attention it deserves.

If you'd like to speak to us about how we can help you, give us a call on 0161 402 3170 or use our contact form and we’ll get right back to you.