If you’re thinking of engaging a PR agency, one of the best things you can do is spend some time putting your vision and objectives down on paper before you have any conversations.

The foundation of any successful PR/client relationship is an informative brief. Yes, it will take a bit of time up front, but doesn’t need to be longer than 1-2 pages and in the long run, it ensures everyone understands your vision and is on the same page.  

If you’re unsure about how to put together a PR brief, the below will hopefully provide some guidance. Think of it as a map that guides its target audience. 

Your company:

What is your company’s, brand, product or service that you want to raise awareness of?  

Response Date: 

Be clear on when you expect a response by so everyone is aware of your expectations. 

Background information:

Give some context to the project by providing background information about your company and brand. 

The campaign brief:

Tell us about the actual project you need support on and what it is that you would like us to do. Is it to provide media relations? Deliver an integrated campaign? Create a social media strategy that’s integrated with traditional media exposure? Manage an influencer campaign? 

Objectives:

What are your aims and what is the company trying to achieve? For example, it could be to launch a new product, raise brand awareness, build a social media following, manage a crisis response or reposition your company’s reputation. This is a key part of the brief as it will dictate the best PR strategy and tactics we can use to achieve these goals. 

Scope of PR in the project:

Explain exactly what you would like us to do.  For example, will we be working alongside your in-house team? Do you have other agencies, such as an events company or social media agency we need to co-ordinate activity with, or do you want us to take ownership of all comms channels?

Being clear on the scope of work will allow us to consider what we can do/achieve within your budget and allows us to understand other resources you may be using so we can work collaboratively with your internal team and any other partners. 

Target audiences

Who is your what social media platforms they may be on, or what creative campaign ideas may resonate with them. 

New products and timings:

Are there any launches of products or service offerings happening at the same time that we need to be aware of? Should we incorporate these into our plan or use them as a hook, or do we need to stay clear of them?  What are the timings for this? 

Positioning: 

Tell us how you would like your brand to be perceived, particularly in relation to your competitors.  Provide some information on what sets you apart from the competition. What is different that we can focus on? Is there a unique story to tell? Is there an existing market position that you want to change?     

Key Messages:

we will always draft three to four key messages about your company/brand that (in an ideal world) that we want to see in every piece of communication achieved within the campaign.

Tell us what these should be. It’s important to point out though, that there are no guarantees with PR (unlike advertising); it is an uncontrolled comms medium and we can only influence the outcome.

But having these messages as guidelines will ensure that we weave it into every piece of communication and put emphasis on company spokespeople, media materials, social media/influencer content and our media contacts to include them as much as we can. 

Spokespeople:

Have you considered who will represent the company to the media and provide quotes and media interviews?  Are they articulate, media trained and confident? Do they have an interesting story to tell?  

Budget: 

A key element of the brief! There is nothing more frustrating than hearing the words ‘we have no budget in mind’, because it’s usually not true (I’ve yet to meet a company who truly have an unlimited budget). Be up front about what your business can afford, and what you are willing to spend on a campaign. 

There are many PR strategies and communications tactics that can be used to achieve your objectives, and if we don’t know what you can afford, we’ll recommend as many as we can to ensure that you get the best possible outcomes as part of the strategy. But the fee might shock you… and then inevitably you’ll have to admit it’s outside of your budget.

Being up front, even if it’s a ballpark figure, means we can all be efficient in our dealings and the proposal you receive will fall in a realistic and comfortable zone for you. 

It’s important to point out that PR agencies also vary in fees depending on factors such as size, location, capabilities, specialty areas, etc.

And PR consultants are always better value for money as they don’t have the overheads of an agency, but they also don’t have a team to keep the wheels turning when they are in meetings, or have access to many of the tools and software an agency does.

Consider what scope of support you actually need. Knowing what the budget is will also determine if we’re the right fit for you in the first place and will save us from putting a proposal together that may never be right, when you could be talking to an agency or single operator that might be the absolute perfect match for your needs.   

Campaign timeframe: 

A timeframe does a couple of things; it helps us to determine if we can assist in terms of current capacity and workload, and it also allows us to recommend strategies that we can realistically execute well for you within your timeframe. 

KPIs (key performance indicators):

This is really important and allows all parties to understand what a successful campaign looks like to you, and how the outcomes will be measured.  We can provide guidance on KPIs, but it’s helpful to get your input and ensure we are on the same page as far as expectations are concerned from the get-go! 

Any other information:

For example, this may be; previous experience with a PR agency, negative media coverage, previous successes for the brand, why you might be making a supplier change, etc. 

To discuss more about how we can help your company achieve your goals and objectives, get in touch with us.

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Stefanie Hopkins