How to select and brief a PR consultancy
Six steps to the perfect PR brief
Some clients come to PR consultancies like ours with a very clear brief. But the majority of clients need some help. Working through the steps outlined below will help you pull the brief together so that you can go out to tender with real confidence you know what you want.
A good brief rapidly starts the process of creating a PR programme that is effective and powerful, has realistic and measurable objectives, and can be evaluated for its return on investment. And that means you will get the best out of your PR team’s professional skills and expertise.
The contents of a perfect PR brief
- Describe your organisation and where you think you fit in the industry. What do you do, and how do you do it? What is the organisation’s history and current reputation, its overall vision, values and culture?
- Describe your business environment. How is the market changing for you? What’s new and exciting about what you’re doing these days? What new services or products have you got in the pipeline? Who are your competitors, and why are you different?
- Describe your hopes about what you want to achieve. What are the biggest business challenges you want to overcome? What do you want to be famous for? Where do you want to be in 3-5 years? What are your most urgent business objectives for the next 12-18 months?
- Describe the people you need to reach. What jobs do they do, in which organisations? If you had to prioritise your target audiences, which of them have the most influence over your future business success? How do you want their awareness, attitudes or behaviour to change?
- Describe what has worked best for you in the past. Where do you get your new business from at the moment and how do you generate and nurture new leads? What PR have you had in the past, what worked well and what did not? How has your marketing been measured in the past?
- Describe how you’d like to work with an agency. What is your desired relationship with a PR team, what is your budget and what are your performance expectations? What do you need to measure to prove success to your Board?
Once you have your brief, ask around for a recommended consultancy. Ask editors and reporters for who they rate, who gives them the best stories and the best ideas.
Then go out to two or three consultancies if you want a competitive pitch, and allow them at least three weeks to pull together their proposals (any good consultancy will need this time to do their research). Please be respectful of the time and expertise that goes into these pitches.
A few words about PR budgets
The major element in any PR programme is the cost of the PR team’s time. You are paying for their professional advice, recommendations and executive time to implement the agreed PR plan.
On top of that, there may be operational costs of implementing your PR campaign (such as any research, events, photography, multimedia content, social media activities etc), monitoring and evaluation costs, expenses and VAT.
We would recommend that you do try to specify a budget in your brief. This helps the consultancy provide realistic proposals.
If you’re struggling to know how much to allocate to PR, feel free to talk to us in confidence – we can give you some ballpark figures based on comparisons with other campaigns we know about or clients we have worked with.
Thereafter, part of your PR team’s skill will lie in knowing how to manage and maximise your budget. Their aim should be to achieve the very best results against the objectives you have agreed during the briefing process, and to prove to you the return on investment.
Need further advice?
Call us for a free, confidential and no obligation chat. We’re happy to help – and if we can’t help you ourselves, then we may know someone else who can.
Telephone Liz Male on 01234 712 279.