Top Questions to Ask a PR Agency

September 2, 2022

You’re running your business, making moves and chasing success. You can see it– the goal is just beyond the horizon, the place where your dream results and major impact live. But, how do you get there? 

Partnering with a reputable public relations (PR) agency is key, but not all firms are created equal. Does everyone have the same celebrity crush, or favorite food, song or movie? You get the point. When venturing out to connect with the right PR agency to catapult your brand into the spotlight, there are a few things you need to know. 

To best share how businesses can learn to source the right PR agency, we gleaned expert insight from Bolt’s very own PR Director, Sara Ryan. With over 13 years of experience in communications, public relations and marketing, Sara is well versed on the most common questions new clients ask and is known to answer these before anyone even raises an inquisitive hand. Oh, and those questions you never even thought to ask? We’ve got those covered too.

From the PR rockstar wisdom (yes, that’s a thing) of Sara, here are the top questions to ask a PR agency: 

  • What are your agency’s capabilities? Don’t be afraid to ask a PR agency what they can do. “Show us what you got,” right? Websites and social channels are a great starting point to explore a potential PR partner, but you’ll likely have a few questions to follow up on your research. Perhaps you have a robust in-house marketing team, and you’re solely seeking public relations support. Or, are you ready to partner with a fully integrated marketing communications team that includes PR, digital marketing and content development? So ask about the agency’s full capabilities, what they do best, and who you’ll be working with. And depending on your resources and budget, consider the many benefits of an integrated strategy provided by one collaborative team, from start to finish.

  • Have you worked with similar clients or challenges? Essentially, does the agency “get you?” While your brand is unique – and trust us, we will make sure to differentiate – it’s great to know if the PR professionals have worked with a business or challenge that is similar to yours. Experience matters, which is why we don’t recommend shying away from this question.

  • Can you provide relevant case studies of past PR campaigns? The proof is in the pudding, right? Wrong– it’s in the case study. ‘Case study’ is just a fancy way of saying,  here are some amazing results we’ve achieved for past clients that include tangible metrics, data and specific key performance indicators (KPIs). Think of it as the agency’s resume. From landing major media coverage to achieving viral social media shares to selling out products, it’s helpful to get a glimpse into their success.

  • How do you measure success and share results? This question is multilayered. First, you should be prepared to discuss your brand’s goals and priorities for the partnership to set expectations from the start. In turn, an agency should communicate how they plan to measure success specific to your goals and how those updates will be shared. Will you receive results in marketing jargon that feels unrelatable, or will you receive clear metrics and descriptions delivered in a space where your questions and feedback are welcomed? Keep in mind that amazing results don’t always appear overnight, and some of the best success stories are the result of strategic, thoughtful and long-term partnership with your agency. That’s why telling the right story at the right time is an art. What’s newsworthy today may not be newsworthy tomorrow.  In addition, find a team that’s not afraid to be candid with you about what’s realistic – for your budget, your goals, your industry, the level of your C-suite engagement, and more. Find a team that understands the value of long-term strategy, consistent efforts, and real partnership.

  • How will you communicate with me, and how often? This one is huge. Major. It’s time to start thinking of your agency as an extension of your team. Like any relationship, communication and chemistry are key. So, it’s crucial to understand when you’ll hear from them, and what methods of communication they’re willing to implement. Can you text, call, email, Slack, Zoom, WhatsApp message? And vice versa? This two-way communication, and the mutual understanding that the agency is an integral part of your team, is what holds everyone accountable and delivers maximum output.

Now that you’re equipped with the right questions to ask PR agencies, it’s time to step into a partnership that has the potential to forever change the trajectory of your business, elevate your brand and introduce you to thought partners that you just might one day call friends. At Bolt PR, we take pride in strategic partnerships that ignite growth and spark true collaboration. We make impact with our people, strategy and results. 

Get your questions answered from the PR, digital marketing and content pros, because your brand has a story, and we’re ready to amplify it. Your dream team of experts is one click away– let’s talk.

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