About ABOA - Image Map, text links below The New ABOA - A. Brown-Olmstead Associates
Image Map - Please use text links below
How to Select a PR Firm Step One is to identify and prioritize your organization’s goals. These goals will become the basis for determining your organization’s public relations goals, and the strategies and tactics of your public relations campaigns.

A helpful exercise in this task is to identify the following:

  • mission statement, aims of the organization, why it was founded;
  • any special public relations skills/resources sought;
  • key "publics" or stakeholders with whom your organization has a relationship;
  • issues or areas of potential concern;
  • current or past public relations efforts and an evaluation of their success;
  • available market or public opinion research about your organization and/or its products/services;
  • any requirements of collateral materials, advertising, etc;
  • budget commitment/parameters;
  • initial length of contract with a firm or individual;
  • special circumstances that would affect any aspect of the public relations program.

If your organization is unclear about its goals, you should be prepared to invest several months in working with a public relations firm to develop these goals and your future direction. Many firms will conduct a reputation assessment which will evaluate your current practices and suggest areas of improvement.

Step Two is to identify a public relations firm or individual counselor. Good sources of information are your peers - friends, business acquaintances, fellow members of business and civic groups. Find out if they are using a public relations firm, and if so, what is their evaluation of the firm.

Also, if your organization belongs to a trade or professional association, ask it for recommendations of public relations firms or counselors. You can also search the Internet for firms, and you can call the local media reporters who cover your industry for their thoughts. Finally, the Counselors Academy of the Public Relations Society of America is a good source for information on firms in your area.

Step Three is to review the credentials and capabilities of each prospect. Start by contacting the principal at each firm. Describe your organization and its public relations needs as you see them, and ask if they would be interested in talking with you. Make sure they do not already represent a client which might cause a conflict of interest. Ask the principal to send a letter with:

  • the firm’s general background and any experience in your organization’s area;
  • its range of services;
  • the depth of professional qualifications of the firm’s principals and staff;
  • specialized skills or resources such as market research or in-house design capabilities;
  • a current client list - being a firm’s largest or smallest client could present problems, so look for a good proportion of clients that are the same size as your organization;
  • the firm’s fee structure for its counsel and services;
  • any relevant collateral material.

Back  |  Next

Home | About ABOA | Service | Experience | Contact UsResources | Career
Related Links | How to Select a PR Firm