Five Questions to ask PR Firms Before You Hire Them

Sealing the dealThe success of the relationship between a client and a public relations firm can be predetermined by the expectations they establish at the outset. Having realistic and achievable expectations is an essential building block of strong relationships.

In this week’s Inside PR podcast, Terry Fallis and David Jones suggest five questions that a prospective client should ask a PR firm in order to determine if their fit is right. These five questions are:

  1. Who will be on the account team and who will be the day to day account manager?
  2. Where will my account rank in magnitude of billings among all your clients? Will my account be a small, medium or large account for your firm?
  3. Do you invest in your client relationships and how do you do this?
  4. What is the turnover rate among your consulting team? How stable is your team?
  5. What are your billing policies and your ethics policies?

Terry’s and David’s excellent discussion of this topic can be found in Inside PR #37. Worthwhile listening for both public relations consultants and prospective clients of PR firms.

  • Joe Rancourt

    Great post! So often, clients get into relationships without really knowing what they need and what the provider can deliver. It’s all about the concept of fit. Even as a service provider, you have to make certain that your client knows what you expect in order for you to be able to deliver what you had promised. Clearly communicating these early on will maximize the outcomes on both ends. Clarity is key.

  • This is VERY helpful, thanks for reaching out to community.

  • Thanks for the shout out. While Terry and I couched our podcast discussion as pointers for prospective buyers of agency services, it is important for PR practitioners like us to actually have answers to these questions and actually answer these questions before they are asked.

    It’s powerful to volunteer this information without being asked.

  • Yeah but…

    How ‘bout who owns the work product?

    What about the agency’s policy regarding indemnification… and especially confidentiality?

    How do we handle disputes?

    What about termination? How soon can I expect all account related information to ensure a smooth transition?

  • Those are excellent questions too, Amanda. Maybe we’ll do a podcast on questions to ask when firing an agency sometime soon 🙂

    Obviously, these are things that should be discussed up front and built into the agreement/contract. The stuff we discussed on Inside PR was a little more relationship fit than contractual obligation.

  • Joe Rancourt

    Amanda, David…Joe…

    Before heading into the termination conversation, it may be helpful to explore the mediation, negotiation and issue resolution process.

    While some relationships do reach the point of being beyond repair, I’m certain you’ll find most issues to be resolvable when approaching them from a “same side of the table” approach.

    Dissolving relationships can be far more costly in the short term (lost investments, restarting) and in the long term (developing a negative reputation).

    The client-contractor relationship is a marriage and needs as much attention as one.

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