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How to choose the right PR agency

By Comit, Monday, 5th September 2022 | 0 comments
Filed under: Irish Technology Sector, Social Media, Digital Marketing, Public Relations, PR.

“Yes – I’ve heard of them, they have a great reputation!” That’s what every business wants to hear about themselves, and what every PR agency wants to hear about their client. If you choose the right PR agency, it can make a huge positive impact on your business. This blog contains our top tips to help you find the right PR agency for you. You might be surprised by some.

The top 10 tips for choosing the right PR agency for your business:

1. Passion

“Hire ‘infected’ people who love your product and are passionate about the problem you’re solving,” said Guy Kawasaki, in his amazing book, The Art of The Start. Kawasaki should know as he was the evangelist who successfully launched the Macintosh.

The same goes for hiring a PR agency. Passion is an essential component of successful public relations because passion ensures a much more powerful connection between the storyteller and the story listener. A PR agency needs personality, a great team and an abundance of passion and drive for their clients and the industry they specialise in.

Remember size matters too. Make sure to choose an agency that is the right size for you. Choose an agency who will prize you as a client and really want you to succeed.

To influence others to think about something as you do, you need to be a believer yourself. Your PR agency must believe in your brand and what it stands for, so the right PR agency for you is likely to be excited about the mission of your business.

Through meeting with the agency, this passion should come through. If you’re not seeing this, then they are probably not the right agency for you. 

Hint: passion is often conveyed as a genuine desire and interest to understand your message and mission. 

2. Relationship and synergy

We cannot overstate the role and importance of the relationship between client and agency. Great relationships lead to lots of positive client-agency engagement and shared creativity. If the connection is not there, synergy is hard to find and the relationship may be doomed from the get-go.

Of course, like any relationship, client-agency relationships can have some ups and downs, but it is essential for both parties to work hard to keep them positive. In fact, it is often the positive reaction to a relationship challenge, that deepens relationships long term.

This is easy to assess. Check with your agency how long they have been working with their clients. If the majority of their clients have been working with them for just a year or two, and they have been in business for a lot longer, there is probably an issue.

3. Industry specialisation

Choosing a PR agency that focuses on your industry will almost always deliver better results. A specialist PR agency will have the best contacts, and the best ability to write content for you as they will typically be more knowledgeable about your sector. They are also far more likely to enable you to reach the right audience through the right connections.

Many companies employ PR agencies that focus on their industry, because they understand the specific messaging that their audience is looking for. They will understand the issues at play in a market, and know the best outlets and publications to get content seen by the right audience.  Also, because these specialists have a strong knowledge of your industry, you will spend less time educating them to get them to a position where they don’t need to be spoon-fed every time.

As a tech PR agency, Comit retains its tech focused clients long-term as we believe that our results are unmatched in our industry, with almost 30% of our clients having retained us for more than 10 years. 

4. PR agency track record 

Through meeting your potential agency, you can gain an understanding of what kind of relationships and connections the firm has and whether they have a successful track record helping similar businesses to yourselves.

You will be looking for a PR agency who can present successful campaigns they have undertaken for others. Look at these, look at the agency’s clients and decide if it is right for you.

If you can ask prospective PR agencies to present client case studies and focus in on how they grew  brand awareness, achieved on-message articles, and how they helped support key objectives such as growth, that will play a key role in helping you to choose an agency.

Look to speak to clients and ask them for their views of the agency in question. If you like work they’ve carried out, coverage they’ve achieved etc., as well as what their clients say about them, then there’s plenty of reason to believe that the agency can deliver for you too. 

5. Media relations and outreach

Right outlet, right time, right pitch: your PR agency should know the right media to talk to, know the right message that will interest that media, and the right time to deliver that message, as each journalist will have their own unique schedule.

The right PR agency for you will have a deep knowledge of the media that will best suit your business and be able to facilitate a good relationship for you with journalists who write for that media.

For example, when it comes to technology related businesses, Comit has spent more than 20 years cultivating the right relationships and knowledge of the business and technology journalists who write about the tech sector. We believe that we are best positioned to deliver the right pitch at the right time to the right journalist for our tech clients.

6. Understanding your message 

Choose a PR agency that makes you feel heard, and in turn maximise the chances that your message is heard. So one of the first things you need to assess is whether the PR agency truly understands the message you want to convey.

A PR agency’s job is to enhance their clients’ reputations and increase visibility among targeted audiences, thus maximising the reach and effect of their message. It’s vital that your PR agency understands your message, so it can clearly identify the best opportunities to articulate a message that will align with your value proposition in order to successfully build your brand.

To do this, your agency should listen very hard to you and understand the value you bring to customers. They should have the confidence and ability to challenge that message. 

7. Digital capabilities

You need a PR agency to help you succeed in a digital world too. You need to check that they understand how the buyer journey has changed and that they are able to articulate that for you to show that they do.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) capabilities are a necessity for success in today’s PR world. By securing high visibility online placements and optimising digital content, a qualified digital-oriented PR agency can make your message and website much more attractive to Google and other search engines.

A digital-oriented PR agency will integrate content generation with PR, link-building and SEO strategies and light a fire under your ability to achieve greater impact across many digital channels. White papers, blogs, industry reports and detailed customer case studies can be powerful and persuasive resources for your organisation.

Social media presents huge opportunities for your business to deepen its relationships with target audiences. Your PR agency can be a key player in enabling your brand’s social media efforts, promoting consistent brand messages through the social media channels that are right for your audiences.

You should talk to prospective PR agencies about how they can maintain your business’ social media accounts as they are well qualified to deliver your message in an interesting and creative way to social audiences. Remember, social media offers a unique opportunity to amplify your message with influential people who are normally much harder to reach.

The right PR agency for you has the ability to give you exposure across a range of online and offline locations. From online media placements to social media engagement, a PR agency that is competent with digital capabilities can deliver outcomes that maximise your investment and widen reach.

8. Quality of content

Aristotle once said, “quality is not an act, it is a habit.” You want a PR agency that is in the habit of writing good quality content, knows what to write about and who to target. Your PR agency has to be able to create press releases and content that packs a punch. It must be engaging, easy to understand, newsworthy, informative and ultimately on-message.

A good PR agency should be able to take something that you may view as boring, find an interesting angle and make the story work. PR agencies tactfully news jack opportunities by finding angles that can relate back to your service or product offering and find a way to create content that allows you to add to the wider story you want to comment on, working hand-in-hand with journalists and the news agenda of the day. 

Perhaps you want to undertake some research in your field or industry to explore important issues for your customers. This is a great way to develop useful content to help you tell a story and be a thought leader. 

Your PR agency should be able to facilitate the research or survey and then take the results and use it as a basis for interesting press releases, downloadable data rich white papers and reports, SEO driven blogs, and regular informative social media posts.  Well-written content will shine a light on insightful data and make it digestible and useful for the reader, it should ultimately result in more engagement for your business and the opportunity to become a thought leader in your sector.

9. Reputation and crisis management

A crisis hits; you have to make layoffs; someone has spoken out of turn; there’s a scandal. Your company name is in the headlines, but not for the right reasons. What do you do? You need crisis communication and reputation management skills.

According to data from PwC, 69% of leaders have experienced at least one corporate crisis in the last five years — with the average number of crises experienced being three. Your company will most likely face at least one crisis throughout your time at that company, so be prepared.

The right agency for you will be able to come up with a crisis communication plan ensuring you’re ready when the time comes, armed with a strong reputation and a readiness plan. An integrated response is essential to executing a successful crisis management campaign and to building resilience. Choose a PR agency that is connected to the journalists most likely to report on a crisis that could affect your company

As futurist and business consultant Patrick Dixon said, “your company may have a reputation for brilliant leadership and outstanding innovation, clever branding and effective change management, but the business could fall if the world changes and you are unprepared,” so remember, you need a PR agency that’s prepared for disruption. 

10. Success measurement

The next step is to find out how the agency measures success. Does it align with how you measure success? Measuring the impact of PR validates an agency’s efforts on behalf of their clients.

Can you correlate sales data to an earned media campaign? Can you track brand awareness among your target audience? Can you see spikes in visits to your website when PR activities happen? Are you seeing your website rankings grow based on getting very valuable backlinks from media sites?

Not everything comes in clear colourful graph formats. Some will come from conversations you are having. Are prospective customers telling you that they are reading about you in the media? Are job interviewees telling you that they read about you in respected media when they were preparing for their interview?

Make sure that your agency wants to understand what you want to achieve and is willing to help you find a good way to measure the success. They should have tools that will be able to measure the impact of their work on your digital footprint for example.

Media coverage comes in many forms – national, local, online, print or broadcast. Do you want to target regional outlets with a specific local campaign? Do you want to get the opportunity to speak on national radio shows to get your message out there? A good agency will find the perfect opportunities and realistic targets and do its utmost to secure them, and then report the success or otherwise. 

Sometimes, it is not all measurable. Sometimes success starts with building relationships with the media. It may take a little while for stories to hit, but when it does start to work, no other form of promotion delivers a better return on investment than PR.


Hopefully we have given you some good tips and things to look for when you are choosing an agency that’s right for you. Look for one that fits your market, offers the right service mix, is the right size for you and one that you feel you can work well with. However, it is absolutely essential to find an agency that will become “infected” with what you do and have a great passion for your success. If you want to find out how Comit can fit with you, we would love to chat.


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