Here is some advice on evaluating a PR team from PR guru Nancy Trent, principal of Trent & Company, the New York City, Soho-based public relations firm:
The right relationship is everything: Before you make a decision, you should meet with the employee who will be assigned to handle your business.
It is important to feel comfortable with your main contact, after all, that's who will be representing your company and spreading your message. The entire team should be knowledgeable and experienced but don't let age fool you. Young minds bring fresh ideas as long as seasoned professionals guide them. If you feel your calls are not being returned or he/she doesn't have a grasp on your business, contact a supervisor and request a new account executive or ask to work with a manager."
Digging up the dirt: You find a great new agency, its strategies are inspiring and their tactics impressive, but you never saw the desired results. Don't sign the contract based on the proposal. When you have selected candidates, make some calls and find out what to expect after that plan goes into action.
Before committing, request media referrals. Ask if the account executives return calls promptly, if they can answer questions about their clients, and if they contact them with story ideas by deadline. Inquire about their reputation and if they have a roster of clients in a specific industry. When checking client referrals, ask what the agency excels at and what it's weak at. Also find out how responsive employees are to phone calls, questions and concerns.
Sample the goods: The PR firm you chose begins to launch your new campaign. You're concerned that they don't fully understand your intent or message. It is crucial to brief your new PR team about your company, products and marketing objectives, and be confident that they are qualified and comfortable writing about it and pitching it.
Ask to view their work. Chances are if you don't understand the releases they write, reporters won't either. Press releases should provide a very clear description of the company. Check for mistakes, typos and confusing information."
Trent & Company, Inc.
(212) 966 — 0024
Nancy Trent is the president and founder of Trent & Company, Inc., a New York City-based public relations firm that specializes in publicity for spas, resorts and hotels.
When it comes to spas and resorts, health and beauty aids, fitness, fashion and anti-aging products and services, Trent & Company has a reputation for creativity, client service and major publicity achievements. The firm is especially noted for developing remarkable story ideas that journalists want to use, merchandising media publicity results and providing clients with new revenue streams. Their client list includes some of the country's largest trade shows and conferences, including prestigious events in the spa industry, kitchens and baths, and jewelry.