Not all PR firms are created equal, this is a lesson that often times a person will learn the hard way. It may seem like all are the same and there is no real difference between any of them, the truth of the matter is that there is a difference and you need to know what this difference is. Money and experience are the two main things that need to be looked at carefully. If you make a bad decision, you will still have a bad image and you will have a lot less money for your efforts. The following will ensure that you get what you paid for and your image gets the treatment it deserves.
Lets start with the obvious area and that is with experience. The amount of this that a PR firm has the better or worse of a job that they will do. Meet with the owner of the firm and ask the hard questions as to how long they have been in business and how long they plan on being in the location that they are in. Often times PR firms will want to keep expanding every couple of years so if the answer is that they have no intention of moving, then things are not getting off to a good start.
Next find out what what level of experience that the owner and those working there have. What is their level of education, how did they get started and how long have they been in the PR business? These are all good questions that you need to listen to the answers to carefully and see what they tell you. Often times if the answers are not what you were hoping for, then you may want to look at another agency.
Ask what their process of dealing with your PR will be what will they do in the process of getting you positive press and how will they deal with the negative press that you get? Will they be around 24 hours a day if they are needed? If you are not hearing what you need, then chances are by this point the next question will never be addressed.
There will still be those that will want to ask what the prices for all of this will be. This is a careful question as you need to look at what you are getting, what is the level of experience that they have, and what are some of their success stories. Do they have any past clients that they can reference that said glowing things about them? This question alone can seize them up and put them in a bad way as they often times will not be expecting this and will not have a good answer for you.
Beware of any firm that is pushing hard for you to sign with them and to make a payment as a retaining fee. This can often be a little of a red flag as there are a lot of firms that do not ask for a retainer fee. If you have looked at all of these topics carefully and feel that you are not a good fit for this agency, then go and look at others. It is advised that before you make a decision, that you visit a few of these as a way to compare one to another. Doing a little shopping beforehand will give you a better idea of what all is out there and which ones rock and which ones leave a little to be desired.