Some believe that startups should work with an agency from day one as it will help get the name out there as soon as possible. “The PR person who is any good will take the role of the pessimistic journalist at meetings. They can help create a brand and product –even help find a name for your company,” Adrian Wheeler of the Public Relations Consultants Association explains, adding that PR can do more than just get your message out.
Deciding whether or not to use an agency depends largely upon your needs and your budget. There are no rules on this but thankfully there are a number of places that can assist you selecting and monitoring your media relations campaigns.
It always a good idea ask around and get recommendations from other companies you know that are using an agency.
You can use the resources of the IPR or the PRCA by visiting their websites. The PRCA also has a preview survey that allows you to put your criteria into a bank and they can do some groundwork for you.
Selecting a firm also comes down to chemistry and how you feel about them. Bigger agencies aren't necessarily better but going with a smaller agency doesn't guarantee that you'll get more service. However, experience and membership of an association such as the IPR is a good indicator.
“Whether the person you are dealing with is a member of the IPR means that the practitioner is bound by a code of conduct. If they are a member they have met a number of educational and experience criteria,” Sawyer concludes.
And if you use a public relations consultant whether in house or externally, you must remember why you hired him and then rely on his experience. “You are hiring them because of their advice. They are professionals. If you are unsure of them, you should evaluate them. Any good PR campaign should be evaluated,” Sawyer said.