The search for a PR agency is no easy task — publishing an RFP, interviewing each agency and choosing which one is the best partner for your business and marketing goals. Whether you’re hiring an agency to support a long-term strategy or a short-term campaign, the right PR partner can make your life easier by being an extension of your marketing team.
When hiring a PR agency, consider asking these six questions to separate the good from great.
Why are you interested in working with us?
It seems so simple, but asking this question can give you an idea of whether the agency has researched your company. They should note specific reasons, like your product and company mission fits in the realm of their clientele. Bonus points if they notice your competitors in the news and see an opportunity to elevate your company as an expert among them.
Many PR agencies work with SaaS companies. What makes you different?
It’s essential agencies understand their competitive advantage: What sets them apart from the hundreds of other agencies to choose from? How can they serve the specific needs of your company and marketing goals? If they’re working with other B2B SaaS companies, they should know the industry in and out and be able to share your story and build relationships with the media. Better yet, they should know how to tell your story through your thought leaders, whether that’s interviews, quotes or content (more on that later). Building those relationships on your behalf will be a key differentiator from one agency to the next.
What commonalities do your ‘best’ clients share? What makes a client go from good to great?
This gives you an idea of what your agency looks for in clients, and can help you understand how to be the best partner. A few things we prioritize at BLASTmedia include communication, participation, willingness to be bold and trust. Communication is a given, but it goes beyond answering emails and attending status calls. Brainstorming sessions, story mining calls with thought leaders and quarterly planning meetings all contribute to great communication. Participation is another key factor in a successful relationship. At BLAST, we use multiple client thought leaders as spokespeople for different topics in the media or an industry source for reactive opportunities. This falls in line with the willingness to be bold, too. Being bold in a media interview or when responding to competitor news can feel daunting, but the right agency by your side can empower everyone to confidently take a stance and share opinions. Trust doesn’t need a long explanation. It’s the most important aspect of a client-agency relationship. Without trust, nobody succeeds — it’s as simple as that.
Can you tell me about your experience working with SaaS companies at a similar growth phase as us with parallel goals?
Client case studies should be the main talking point for any agency when answering this question. They should have clear examples of past clients and their strategy for helping them grow. Ask them what went well in the relationship and what recommendations they would make to a company of your size. To go even deeper, the agency should note specific clients in a similar vertical to yours, such as martech or HR tech, and explain a specific project and why it performed well. If they’ve done their research, the agency should come with ideas on helping your company increase visibility in front of customers, competitors and investors.
What does your reporting look like, and what metrics matter to you as an agency?
You need to know how the agency will support your internal marketing goals through a steady report cadence. If you have a board meeting, the agency should provide key metrics for you to show the value they bring to the team. PR agencies with the most up-to-date tools on hand can provide a detailed look into your key messages, competitors and media feedback and provide recommendations accordingly.
What is your approach to PR when we don’t have news/press releases every month?
PR is much more than issuing a press release on Business Wire or PRWeb. At BLAST, our approach to a successful B2B SaaS coverage mix includes 50% news, 25% contributed content and 25% interviews and quotes from client thought leaders. You’ll notice only half of that is company news. We believe having this balanced coverage is key to successful PR because it positions your company as thought leaders on a variety of topics, whether that’s technical topics or business leadership topics for top tier media opportunities. Additionally, what’s the story behind the announcement? Agencies should know how to extend the life of a press release through thought leadership content, customer stories and securing interviews with one-on-one reporter outreach. When interviewing PR agencies, it’s important to get a sense of their approach and strategy for breaking through the noise and setting up your team for success.
Ready to hire your next PR agency? Contact Lindsey Groepper to learn more about BLASTmedia and our dedicated B2B SaaS PR approach.