Finding new ways to grow your business, whether you’re just starting out or have an established brand, can be challenging. Small businesses in particular can have a difficult time trying to get their name established when there are larger companies throwing millions of dollars into their marketing strategies.
A public relations agency can be an excellent option for businesses big or small, and the dollars spent on that agency can come with a high return on investment. Learning everything there is to know about PR agencies and how they can benefit your business can help you to understand whether this investment is right for you.
What is Public Relations?
Understanding what a public relations agency does and how it can be helpful starts with understanding what public relations actually means. It is a set of techniques and strategies that relate to managing how information about a company, or individual, is given to the public and the media.
The main goals are to give important information to these groups that put a positive spin on a company’s activities or to minimize fallout from negative activities. PR is different than advertising and marketing, as it focuses on looking organic rather than trying to promote a product or service directly. PR focuses on advertising a brand instead.
Benefits of learning about PR
Regardless of whether or not a company uses a PR agency, developing a better understanding of the field and how it impacts your business can provide a number of benefits including:
Improved client or customer management
Media communication skills
An emphasis on ethical business practices
The ability to construct an effective public image
An overall increase in your brand’s credibility
While learning about PR has numerous benefits, it’s time-consuming while you are also trying to run a business. That’s where a PR agency can step in. There are currently over 56,000 public relation firm businesses in the United States as of 2023, which goes to show just how important this field is for companies.
What is a PR Agency?
As opposed to an advertising agency or marketing agency, a PR agency doesn’t advertise a product or service blatantly. Instead, PR agencies focus on promoting individuals within a company or the company itself through editorial coverage. This can include media such as television appearances, magazine write-ups, newspaper ads, and much more.
While different than advertising and marketing agencies, the goal is the same in that they are trying to promote the business. For example, an active PR agency working in Houston with a local company may handle tasks related to:
Writing and distributing press releases for the company
Any speech writing for members of the company
Creating and organizing special events for the company
Conducting market research on behalf of the firm or a firm’s messages
Work on expanding business contacts through personal networking
Managing public relation crises
Any social media promotion or mitigation of blowback from negative sentiments
While a company can theoretically handle all of the above internally, it’s far more difficult considering the nature of public relations. PR specialists have a great understanding of psychology and how to navigate tricky public situations, which differs greatly from conducting everyday business affairs.
What Does a PR Agency Specialize In?
There are a few specializations that PR agencies have which separate them from a company attempting to handle matters internally. Most notably:
Public Relation Agencies specialize in anticipating, analyzing, and interpreting public opinion and attitudes, along with issues that may have a positive or negative impact
Public Relations Agencies specialize in counseling management regarding policies, communications, public ramifications, and general business responsibilities
Public Relations Agencies specialize in conducting research and evaluating, on a continual basis, any communication strategies or action plans that are meant to spur public action
Pros of Using a PR Agency
As evident from all of the above, there are a number of benefits to using a public relation agency for your brand image. Some of the more prominent pros include:
Ensuring the clarity of any message given to the public
Reduced internal marketing costs
Increased brand credibility
The saving of internal time when some type of public crisis occurs
Existing staff can be retained and reassigned to different marketing roles
Cons of Using a PR Agency
While public relation agencies are certainly effective in what they do, there are small drawbacks to be aware of:
PR agencies come at a cost that some businesses may not have
You may have little control over the strategy agencies use or you may not understand it
There is never a guaranteed result considering it’s attempting to influence public opinion
How to Choose an Effective PR Agency
After learning what a public relation agency is and the benefits, as well as drawbacks, to consider, you may decide that hiring an agency is right for you. Here’s how you can ensure you choose a PR agency that shares your vision:
Decide on a budget before you start looking
Ask about the systems they use internally to mitigate disaster
Inquire as to whether they have any public referrals from other companies
Look at the past marketing campaigns or public crises events that they managed
Ask what services they provide and if there are any extra costs associated with add-ons
Deciding on a PR agency for your business can be an excellent decision, but always check their reviews to ensure you are getting the best service possible.
Start accelerating your business growth today
At the end of the day, marketing can either be extremely successful or remarkably disappointing. It all depends on understanding who your target audience is and the factors that turn them from prospective customers to active customers. A public relation agency understands the nuances of marketing, such as the above, which makes it an excellent investment for businesses of all sizes. Develop your marketing strategy today with the help of an effective agency that can meet your business needs.