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Briefing your PR Agency to Guarantee Success

By David Beesley

Briefing your PR Agency to Guarantee Success

Even though you engage a PR agency - you still have to invest time and effort

We are different from our competitors because…

  • We are innovators that can deliver results. 
  • We are creatives, but hard working.
  • We are data-driven. 

I would bet £10 that you have heard one if not all of these lines when going through the pitch process before choosing a PR partner for your business. Easiest £10 I’ll ever make. And I admit, we even use the data-driven line! But I stand by that statement.  

Engaging with a PR consultancy is a big decision, particularly if you or your business has never done it before or had previously bad experiences. When you’re assessing a PR agency to partner with, how can you distinguish between them when they are all, unknowingly, putting forward the same arguments. I hope this blog helps to separate the wheat from the chaff!


Are they talking about you, or themselves? 

A common mistake that many PR providers make is to talk about all the great things they do. The great services they provide or their years of experience in the industry. Which is all valid and relevant - when the time calls.

How often do they talk about you, your problems, your challenges and demonstrate an understanding of how your business can overcome them. If they can articulate that they understand the issues your business is facing, then there is a high chance that they will know how to help you overcome them. 

After you’ve created a shortlist, what you need is a solid brief to help PR agencies understand the overall organisational and/ or communication objectives. This is where we’re stepping in to provide a short guide to creating the best brief for your future PR agency. 


How to create a killer PR brief

  1. Give them a good introduction to your business. Chances are any future PR partner has already been scouring your website - but it is always better to get a description of the business straight from the source. If you don’t have a standardised description, no problem - that will be an early task for you to pin down as you build your PR comms strategy. 
  2. Explain who your target audience is. You should (we hope) know your Ideal Customer Profile or ICP. Share this information because it will allow your future PR agency to hone in on the correct media channels needed to communicate with that audience. 
  3. Specify the areas of expertise within your business or the Unique Selling Points (USPs) that you provide. This will give your future PR partner a starting point for future content ideas. 
  4. Explain ‘what good would look like’ to deem the campaign a success. This will help the agency showcase their credentials and knowledge of effective measurement. Are you really happy with just coverage placements - or are you willing to get down and dirty with the data? 
  5. If you have any big company events or announcements in the pipeline - provide a little detail. A date to work toward or an upcoming announcement. A future PR partner can then work this into the campaign and make sure it gets extra support to what you’re already planning.
  6. Assign a budget. Or at the very least provide a ballpark estimate. A PR partner needs a steer as to what investment (read resource) is going to be allocated in order to plan appropriate tactics. A £3k a month campaign will vastly differ from a £10k a month campaign. 


There are nuances to making a decision on which PR partner to work with, but by clearly setting out your stall allows the PR provider to build a strong pitch - and gives you consistency in your briefing.

I’m not recommending creating a 20 page RFP, because they soon become a race to the bottom. But having clear goals and setting the parameters is a huge help. Then it really does come down to creativity, the connection you make with the people, the relevancy of their experience and ultimately, whether you think you can work with them as an extension of your existing team. 


Good times and the bad

EVERY PR partner will make a mistake or there might be some rocky times where a campaign stutters. I’ll put another £10 on that! However, that might not be the time to throw the baby out with the bathwater. How your PR partner overcomes that adversity and performs afterwards will be the mark of a true partner and show you that they are in it for the long haul. 


We also have a more detailed eBook on how to brief a PR Agency that you can download here.



Tags: News, PR, Digital PR, ITPR