Back in 2006, when Shooting Star directors Kate Strawson and Jez Ashberry (both former journalists) spotted a gap in the market for a PR agency, working with an agency was sometimes seen as something only large businesses with big budgets did.
Now things have changed, and businesses are looking for the best ways to generate ROI and effectively promote their business.
Why use an agency?
Whether you just want to create a short-term campaign, or are looking to establish a longer-term relationship, here’s why we think you should consider using an agency for your business…
It’ll keep things fresh
With a team of creatives ready to generate ideas, straplines and content for that blog you’ve been meaning to write for weeks, why wouldn’t you use an agency for support? And just because you use an agency, it doesn’t mean you have to stop creating your own content or planning events – it just means you’re under slightly less pressure.
Any good agency will act as an extension of your team; they’ll work closely with you to understand your business and your objectives, plus your style and brand guidelines, and create a strategy that you’ll each contribute to.
You’ll have access to relevant skills and experience or specialisms …
Sometimes you won’t have the resource or experience to deliver an effective marketing and communications plan; not everyone knows how to write a quality news release or create a brief for an advertising campaign, and that’s OK.
You can’t be an expert at everything, and that’s where your chosen agency comes in: you employ an agency for the skills and experience they can bring to your business.
When it comes to getting good PR, you may want to use the support of an agency with experience and contacts. For example, our team of experts is in touch with hundreds of journalists and bloggers from all over the UK (and sometimes further afield).
Agencies provide a font of knowledge, so use them to your advantage!
You’ll often find that agencies use the skills of, or refer you to, other agencies with which they have good working relationships. For example, you might employ one agency to build your website, but certain aspects – such as copywriting and proofreading – might not be their forte. That’s why they’ll usually have a good working relationship with another team that does specialise in those areas.
Top tips for employing an agency.
First, set some business objectives
Without these, it’s difficult for you or your chosen agency to set some communications objectives. And if you don’t have the latter, there is no clear direction for the creative agency and, crucially, nothing to measure their success(es) against.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: your objectives should always be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound).
Know what you’re looking for
When you know what you want to achieve, you may have a better idea of how to achieve it: is it support with social media you’re after? Do you need a marketing strategy, or do you struggle with event planning?
By identifying your weaknesses when it comes to PR, marketing and digital activity, you’ll be better equipped to hire the relevant agency.
Invite at least two agencies for a meeting
It’s true that people do business with people and you’ll get a feeling straight away if you’d be happy to trust someone with your business plans or campaign.
Meet with the agency face to face, ask them what they’d bring to your business and check out their website and social media profiles.
Seek out reviews or recommendations
Any decent agency will happily let you speak to existing or previous clients for an insight into the work they’ve done and their relationship.
Are they award winners?
We would say this, but a great agency will have a few awards to its name. Investigate what they won them for and imagine your business being the client they win their next one for!
This can be a sensitive subject, but we’d say don’t dismiss an agency purely on their day rate. You’ll be amazed by how many people think that paying big bucks will deliver results. Make sure you set objectives and KPIs, proof of deliverables. After all, a great ROI speaks volumes!
Not won you over yet?
Here’s some food for thought: earlier this year, food chain KFC hit a bit of a sticky patch when their new supplier had a few logistical difficulties, resulting in deliveries of chicken not getting through to stores.
This situation could have been disastrous for KFC. But the company’s ad agency, Mother, pitched an innovative campaign to hit the right note with an already frustrated public that may have been dealt with differently in-house.
You can read more about the example of a truly great relationships between the brand and their agency in this blog by
. A real testament to the trust between the two companies.And finally…
We’re not saying you need to speak to your head of finance and find a budget for an agency to take on everything immediately.
However, why not take a moment to consider where an agency could add value to your business?
If you have someone that looks after communications or marketing in-house, then great. But working with an agency may transform the way that they work. It’s always fascinating to see what a collaborative approach can do for your business and target audience.
If you’d like to know more about how we might be able to support your business, then we’d love to have a chat.
today.Want to check us out before you call? Here’s
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