UK Public Relations and PR Agency Guide
Public Relations is about the establishment of reputation and goodwill. This is essentially the combined product of what you do and say, and what others say about you. ‘You’ can be identified as an individual, a business or other organisation, a product or a cause.
PR is a sustained effort to increase goodwill towards the subject over time by influencing behaviour and opinion. It usually aims to increase communication and understanding between the subject and its public.
When choosing a public relations agency, try to narrow down your search to those PR agencies that have a knowledge of your industry. Even better, look at those public relations agencies that have specialised in your area. Have you seen them exhibit at your industry trade shows and fairs? Ask them for a list of clients. What size are these clients? Understand exactly how their charging system works. Set out your clear budget and ascertain what you will be getting in return.
Finally, ask them who will be working on your account. Often the key account people that are pitching you are not going to be the ones who will do the work if they win the pitch. Your PR work is often passed down to a junior account executive. Not necessarily a bad thing in itself, but you should really get to meet the actual people working on your PR account before you sign the contract.
A new raft of online PR firms have surfaced over the past year or so. These firms propagate communications via new media channels, including RSS, email newsletters, viral campaigns and mobile messaging. They sometimes work in collaboration with above-the-line agencies and search engine optimisation companies. Typical activities include writing website copy, preparing and distribution of press releases online, writing industry news feeds to enhance client websites. See Newsvend as an example.
Top above-the-line UK PR firms include:
Hill and Knowlton
Citigate Dewe Robertson