You bring up a point that’s crucial to a successful PR program, yet often overlooked. The answer is that it depends entirely on your organization and the firm with which you want to work – but let me offer some guidance:
First, determine your basic needs and goals.
• Are you a new company looking to launch or an established company looking to build on current media? In this case, your company is probably relatively young.
• Are you interested in a long-term communications effort or a short-term project?
• Do your communications needs tend to ebb and flow over the course of the year?
From there, identify your current situation. For example, does one of the following describe your company/team?
• Bootstrapped with limited resources — and need an external communications firm to really be an extension of your team.
• An established company with a robust internal communications team that needs guidance and assistance with PR outreach and help navigating tough situations.
• Somewhere in between.
When you nail down these points, you’ll be able to assess what you can expect to contribute to the engagement. Generally, the more you’re looking to gain from a firm, the more time and resources you’ll need to devote at the beginning of the engagement – but the payoff should be high once the firm is up to speed. Engaging a firm will always require some work on your part, but it shouldn’t be a burden.
Stay on message,