Starting a public relations (PR) agency takes a lot of work. You can’t expect clients and contracts to just land on your desk from day one. But launching a PR agency can be incredibly rewarding, too! PR agency owners often get the opportunity to select the people and businesses they work with, strategize and execute imaginative plans, and do good work in their communities, all of which makes the long hours worthwhile.
If you are thinking of launching your own PR agency, keep reading for eight steps you should consider before pulling the trigger.
Role of PR Agencies
A PR agency plays a significant role in developing a business. First, it helps a company tell its stories effectively. Second, a PR agency builds public awareness for products and services. Beyond these major functions, businesses hire PR agencies for many reasons: developing trust and reliability, making major announcements in a splashy manner, creating brand loyalty, and more. The list goes on and on!
Steps to Take Before Starting a PR Agency
1. Proper Planning
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All future PR agency owners should have defined goals. They should outline a specific mission statement, company values, and key differentiators. Will you be focusing on large-scale corporate businesses or mom-and-pop restaurants? Will you specialize in product marketing or digital marketing? Goals give you direction; from there, you can outline specific actions to land your ideal clients and build your dream agency. You become accountable to yourself when you have goals to fulfill, and having objectives will help you prioritize your tasks.
2. Determine How You Will Manage Your Operations
You’ll want to think about the ideal structure for your business. If a solid structure is in place from the very beginning, it will be easier for your PR agency to scale up and grow.
Develop recruitment criteria for new hires. You’ll want to have a strategy for attracting and retaining talent, as your employees will be your greatest asset. It would be best if you implemented specific eligibility criteria, as these will help you hire the most qualified candidates.
If you are starting a PR agency and want to make a profit, you must have a proper system in place to manage cashflow. You should look for a system or individual that can also help you manage assets, like office space payments, taxes, and employee payroll.
You must think about the management of your PR agency. Will you be the sole owner, or would it be in your best interest to bring on a partner? Consider also how you’ll structure middle management and the ways in which employees will report up.
3. Run a Competitor Analysis
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Knowing your competitors is essential because it will help you gain a competitive advantage and make adjustments to your business strategy. Start by identifying your top competitors, or businesses that are of a similar size and in the same market niche. Then, do a comprehensive analysis of their advertising, marketing, and client, and employee recruitments strategies.
4. Determine Your Unique Selling Point
The best way to attract clients to your firm over another is to offer something wholly unique. It can be as simple as a transparent billing strategy or as complex as a brand-new approach to PR. Regardless of what you choose, make sure you hone in on your differentiator and talk it up in marketing materials and pitch meetings.
5. Set Prices for Your Services
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Fair, competitive pricing is crucial. This is another area in which your competitor analysis will come in handy. Charge what you feel your time is worth, but don’t forget to factor in the operating costs of your business.
6. Start Spreading the Word to Your Contacts
Initially, it isn’t easy to win new clients. Networking, calling on former business contacts, and producing consistently excellent work will help spread the word about your services and increase your leads. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and offer your services to companies you love and people you want to work with!
7. How Will You Market Yourself?
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There are many tools to market yourself, such as electronic and print media, social media, paid ads, and more. Good marketing creates brand awareness, but as a PR pro, you already knew that! Apply strategies you’d use on clients to your own business and watch the leads roll in.
8. Build a Professional Website
A website is often the first touchpoint for potential new clients, so make sure yours leaves a good first impression. It should be responsive for all types of devices and comprehensive of your services, but not overwhelming. The quality of your website will indicate the quality of work you can produce for clients, so make sure you spend significant time on this task.
Additional Tips for Starting a PR Agency
A lot of background work is required before starting a PR agency, but each of the eight tasks outlined above will help set you up for future success. We also recommend getting in touch with your local chambers of commerce to learn more about the local and federal business declaration process, taxes, and more. Try connecting with other entrepreneurs, too, so you can bounce ideas off one another and share tips and tricks. Good luck on your PR agency ownership journey!
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