Why Does an Organization Hire a PR Firm

If you’re not familiar with South Shore PR, chances are you’ve googled why companies hire a PR firm and stumbled upon this blog post. This is a relatively common question followed by how is a PR firm is different from a marketing company, and what should I look for in hiring a PR firm. Today, we’d like to share some information to answer these common questions. We’ll discuss some of the most common reasons why an organization hires a PR firm or firm, how a PR firm is different from a marketing firm, and what you should look for before you hire a PR firm.

Why Hire a PR Firm?

  1. Brand Building: We like to think of branding as your organization’s opportunity to begin, reestablish, or enhance your identity to a new or existing audience. Whether you are opening a brand-new venture or introducing a new product or service to your ideal customer, branding begins and eventually solidifies this relationship. Branding your business is so much more than simply sharing your name and logo; when done correctly, it is what sets your organization apart from others and builds loyalty with your ideal customers.
  2. Media Relations: The function of most public relations work is building strategic relationships with media for your brand. These relationships are working partnerships where your brand is featured in a favorable light organically (non-paid placement), and if need be, these relationships can be leveraged in a moment of reputational crisis. As in any partnership relationship, a public relations professional will be a resource for the media, and in return, the media will be a resource for the PR pro person wanting to share their organization’s story.
  3. Reputation Management: Reputation management is about supporting a brand so that the positive aspects of your organization are shared far and wide to build brand loyalty with your ideal customer. Skilled reputation management can also lessen or avoid reputational damage for a client. PR is most known for crisis management, the reputational repair part of reputation management, when you ask most people what PR pros do. The goal of reputation management is to keep your brand and organization in a positive light and, if needed, repair any damage with critical stakeholders to rebuild trust and regain loyalty.

Marketing is not PR, but when the two practices are combined, magic happens:

The function of public relations is to build relationships for your organization, whether it be with customers, media, or other key stakeholders. These relationships propel your brand forward and ultimately help you achieve your communications, marketing, and branding goals. Public relations is most beneficial when an organization needs to build, maintain, or repair relationships with key stakeholder groups. Common public relations activities would include but not be limited to media relations, branding, brand building, social media management, and content creation.

Meanwhile, marketing is used to drive sales and entice people into buying your product or using your services. Marketing will not typically cover media engagement or relationship building but tactics such as advertising and promotion. Marketing is about proposing a problem and creating a solution for the intended audience. Typical marketing activities might include creating content such as fliers, brochures, or advertisements.

Marketing and public relations can be combined to create integrated marketing; this is an extremely powerful way to launch your business communications goals. An integrated marketing firm will help you sell your product, goods, or services while building and enhancing the key relationships needed to support achieving your strategic goals for your organization. The benefit of an integrated marketing firm is that all of your communications needs can fit cohesively, ensuring the story your organization is telling is seamless and reaches its intended target audience.

What you should look for in hiring a PR Firm:

Hiring a PR firm is just like hiring any other services your organization might need, like a bookkeeper or a vendor that supports the goals of your organization’s objectives. Doing your homework on any potential PR partner is essential; you are, after all, putting your organization’s “voice” in their hands. To tell if a PR firm is a good fit for your organization, be sure to look at a list of the services the firm offers. If, for example, you are launching a brand and you want to throw a party, but the PR firm doesn’t provide this service, then you may want to choose a firm that has more experience in this area. Some PR firms only specialize in one type of PR, such as branding, crisis management, or public affairs.

The second thing we would recommend is to look at the firm’s past and current work. If you see great PR work, this is a great way to find a firm. The beauty of this approach is that you see the results in real time, and you can see the firm in action. An excellent PR firm can take aspects that you like and feel will fit your organization and make it unique to your brand and voice.

Last, ask questions, lots of questions. PR practitioners are communicators by trade, and that is what we do. Asking lots of questions not only helps you assess if the firm is the right fit for the services you need but also allows the PR firm to ensure that they can perform the work you require.

We hope that this post has shed some light on some of the most common reasons why companies hire a PR firm, some of the functions of a PR firm, and what you should look for when hiring a PR firm. There are lots of different types of firms out there, each with its own personality, portfolio, and way of doing business. We suggest that you take your time, if possible, and choose the firm that is the right fit for your brand.