Three signs you’ve found a good PR agency

The PR industry has sometimes had a tough history. It has been accused of “spinning” the truth or even outright lying. Like any industry, you can find good eggs and bad. Sorting through the dross can take time, but it’s worth it. If you’re on the hunt for an agency to represent your company, here are three signs you’ve found an agency that has your best interests in mind.

1. They offer realistic goals and results. Some PR agencies might promise you amazing results immediately. You want to be one of Oprah’s favorite things? Sure! How about Dr. Oz and a front page cover article on Fortune magazine within three months while we’re at it? It’s easy to fall into this trap when you have an exciting product or company. But any agency that promises you your hopes and dreams isn’t being realistic with you. Instead, go with the agency that has more strategic and realistic expectations. The above results are certainly achievable, but it may take time to present you as a strong thought leader in your field. PR can sometimes be a slow burn as you are positioned as the new up and comer. Immediate success stories do happen, but they aren’t built off of proposals that promise a client the moon and stars.

2. Promised results are measurable. PR has a special need to measure results of their efforts because of bad agencies deceiving clients. As you meet with potential agencies, ask them how they measure their results. If they provide clear examples of what results and reports they can expect , you’re on the right track. On the other hand, if they say something vague such as, “You’ll see an increase in your client base,” send them packing. The reach of press releases, contributed articles and other strategies are measurable, and you want the agency that will take the effort to deliver the results to you.

3. The agency offers new insights on getting you noticed. Any given PR agency collectively has decades of experience in PR behind them, so it’s only inevitable that they’ll give you new ideas on how your company will gain attention. If you only hear them say, “Yes, sir,” or “I absolutely agree with your thought,” consider passing. If they don’t challenge you or correct you on the best way to connect with your audiences, they might not be the experts they claim to be.

Online reviews can also offer a convenient way to review many agencies in a short period of time, but that won’t let you learn about the personality of the company. Reviews are best used as a preliminary vetting process. Meeting in person is the most reliable way to learn about an agency and determine whether they’ll be a good fit for your company.

—Steven Jenkins is an account coordinator with SnappConner PR.