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How to Choose a PR firm

If you find that your PR firm doesn’t understand your practice or the culture in your firm, you’ll likely be very frustrated.  At some point in time, you’ll find yourself asking “Why do I always end up substantially changing their work?  Why do I have to teach them so much about our business?”

The reason is that most PR firms have very little, if any, experience working with professional services firms.  They may have a great reputation in other industries but are very challenged when it comes to effectively representing a service-oriented business such as a professional services firm.  Many are basically order-takers, not strategists, and you can spent an incredible amount of time guiding them and reworking their efforts.  For example, if you need a story idea pitched to a reporter, the PR professional needs to convincingly portray the issue and your firm’s expertise.  If he/she barely understands the basics of your practice area, how successful do you think the person will be?  You’ll also be paying for their learning curve, each step along the way.

If you are interviewing PR firms, ask questions such as:

  • What is your degree(s) in? If it is only in journalism, you will find that the person likely lacks an understanding of how businesses (and law firms) are run.
  • What do you know about law firms? What is your experience with serving similar firms?  If they don’t understand enough, you’ll end up paying for it, one way or the other.
  • What specific services do you offer? You may be surprised to find out that their services are very limited — or they offer services (such as Marketing Plans) that they are unqualified to effectively provide.
  • How will your services mesh with our other marketing programs? Many PR people lack an understanding and education of the full breadth of marketing, so you’ll find that your overall marketing efforts may lack cohesion.
  • Who will we work with from your firm? Are you going to be assigned a lower-end person when you were sold on the campaign by a partner?  This all goes into the value proposition.  Some PR firms spend so much on their overhead that clients foot the bill vs. getting quality, high-level professionals.
  • How much do you charge for your services? What is your hourly rate?  What is the length of the contract?  Many PR firms ask for a long contract so that they can learn more about your industry and get up to speed.  Don’t pay for that – just pay for their actual efforts working on your firm’s behalf.

If you need outside PR assistance, only hire someone who has worked in public relations campaigns for professionals. You’ll save yourself lots of time, money and headaches.


Contact Kevin Brown Marketing & Consulting to discuss your PR and marketing needs. Click here to learn more about our publicity and public relations services.