How to choose and get the best from your PR agency

purple riot awards team image

So you’ve had the chemistry meetings and agreed on a strategy, so now it’s just a case of waiting for the coverage to roll in right? Wrong. 

Whilst instant results are very possible, PR is the long game and done well, it will drive brand awareness, change hearts, influence minds, encourage decisions, boost and safeguard reputation and drive traffic and sales. 

Basic PR skills can be taught and adapted by small and scale-up business owners to good effect, but if you want ongoing outreach and a creative approach that will have a consistent impact on your business, appointing a PR agency might just be the best decision you’ll ever make.

Here are our top five tips for getting the best out of your PR agency.

1. Choose the right PR agency for you

There are thousands of PR firms out there, all promising incredible results and value for money. It can be very time consuming and overwhelming to sift through Google results and select a shortlist that will match your requirements, so here are a few questions to ask yourself that can help quicken up the process. 

– Does the agency have relevant experience and a good mix of clients? It’s always a plus if the agency has experience specifically in your sector, but look for agencies that can apply interesting insights and ideas from working with a variety of different businesses. 

– Do they have excellent contacts with journalists or influencers who write about your area of expertise? The right PR firm for you should be able to demonstrate that they have the right contacts that will help them to secure opportunities and coverage. 

– Do they offer clarity? At Purple Riot, we pride ourselves on being upfront about costs, how long things take and what realistic results might look like. Always be wary of agencies that don’t, a good PR firm will be transparent at every stage. 

– Do you like each other? We all know this business is about relationships and having a good rapport can do wonders for morale and results. That doesn’t mean you have to be in the pub together every night (although that’s always a bonus) but it definitely makes life easier when you actually like each other.    



2. Be clear on your objectives

The world of PR is rapidly evolving. While traditional PR involves protecting and building a reputation, raising awareness or positioning your MD as an authority on a particular subject, PR and digital now go hand in hand. Digital PR can be used to place carefully crafted strategic content, engage with online influencers, boost your social engagement and push you up the Google rankings by improving your SEO. 

With this in mind, it’s worth knowing exactly what you want to achieve before you find the right agency – and provide crystal clear business objectives where possible.  Do you want to position your CEO as an industry expert? Do you want to focus on securing backlinks (holy grail) that will drive traffic and sales and improve SEO? Or, do you want to produce an impactful big bang PR stunt that makes a global splash? 

At Purple Riot, we offer an integrated approach incorporating traditional PR, digital PR, content and social media – and we will always be straight with you from the start about how much time will be required to meet your business goals. 

3. Set realistic budgets AND expectations 

As well as having clear goals, it’s also important to know what you want to spend and have a realistic budget for your aims and objectives. All too often, businesses don’t understand the costs associated with PR and marketing and regale in horror when agencies present their day rate. Get the facts upfront, and if the cost isn’t in-line with your budget, there’s no shame in that. However, it’s very frustrating and wastes everybody’s time when you aren’t clear about what you can afford in the first instance. It just doesn’t make good business sense for you and the agency to waste time on meetings and proposals when the budget isn’t there. Agencies understand that businesses need costs before making a decision, but all we ask is that you have an idea of what your budget is when you set off finding an agency pleeeeeeassse. 

When you’ve made the leap into working with a PR agency, give it time. We know it can be a scary process allocating budget to a bit of an unknown, so it can be tempting to want instant results. But don’t forget, a solid agency will need to invest time in getting to know you and your business, identifying the right opportunities and laying the groundwork for creative campaigns. Exciting results can and do happen quickly but running an account properly also involves admin, reporting, and evaluation as well as the fun stuff. 

4. Value expertise and build trust

Trust is the number one element in any great relationship, and that goes for the client/agency relationship too. Trust will build bridges and pave the way for fantastic results. Experienced PR professionals have years of experience in speaking to journalists under their belt and are skilled in writing specifically for certain publications or websites. They have the understanding of what makes an exciting story and are adept at sniffing out opportunties that will whet the appetites of writer, editors, and influencers. 

Although the client is the number one authority on their brand and their story, trusting the news nose of your PR agency to lead you to the best angles and the best stories for your brand will bring the headlines that you have been wishing for. 

A good PR agency should be able to navigate you through the process kindly but firmly, explaining decisions as the journey progresses. Trusting and valuing their expertise and opinions is the reason why you’ve hired them, and you should feel comfortable with this. 

And remember, not everything is news! So, work with your agency to understand what is and isn’t ‘PR’able’. 

5. Creativity is key

Whilst a solid media relations campaign can do a brilliant job of building a brand profile, creative storytelling and sheer ingenuity is also something to look out for when choosing an agency. Telling simple stories in engaging ways from unique angles can help to leverage coverage in new and exciting places, that will reach audiences that you may not have considered.

Additionally, creative PR stunts and experiential campaigns can create a huge splash with the right media and the right customers.

Look out for the amazing storytellers, they will bring your brand alive.  

At Purple Riot, we pride ourselves on taking an unconventional approach to PR. We have a senior team that works directly with clients at all stages. We don’t bring in the big dogs for the pitch then immediately give the work to junior team members, although the whole team are given the opportunity to be involved and our juniors are awesome! 

We prefer honesty and integrity over winning you over with charm (although we hope that we do that too!), and we always deliver impactful campaigns with winning results.  If you want creativity that knocks your socks off and a proven record of generating big wins when it comes to coverage – both traditional and digital – contact us here. 

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