Experience with public relations in your industry is essential. The UK has around 5,000 public relations agencies, ranging from small ’boutiques’ and freelance consultants, up to large PR companies in London that work with top global brands.
All media companies have different experience, depending on their client base or particular journalists that they have on board. Some are linked to organisations such as CIPR or any of the other many public relations quality standard groups.
A word for the wise, a CIPR qualification tells nothing of how effective your campaign will turn out.
Public relations agencies that have experience in your industry will have a much better idea of how your business works, how your industry works and how to communicate your message in a much more eloquent manor.
An industry experienced agency also should have connections to industry related magazines and publications, so should be able to get your press releases flagged up quicker as they have the connections and relationships in place.
If you select an agency that has little or no knowledge of your industry, then you run the risk of the campaign being a learning curve for them. This means that you are paying them to learn about your industry and products/services, rather than paying them to get you media coverage.
Remember that all public relations companies are profit making businesses. Many are unlikely to turn you away as a customer. But they may bot have experience in public relations relating to your specific industry.
When considering a public relations specialist, it is wise to talk to some of their ‘current’ clients, and see how their campaigns are coming along. Are their client happy with the results, are they getting the coverage they seek, are they getting a ROI for the fees they are paying?
It is always good to shop around and compare PR prices, as media fees do vary from agency to agency based on size, experience, overheads and profit margins.