The Public relations is a difficult but necessary 'purchase'. We always want to be sure what we are paying for. That is why being careful is very important, while hiring a public relation agency or a PR consultant. The following set of tips, suggested by Fraser P Seitel, will help to find a reputable and reliable PR consultant.
1. Whenever possible, seek competitive bids. If the consultants know there is competition and they are in a 'fight' for the business, they will react in a more reasonable way.
2. Get references, and interview them. You should avoid generalities, when checking references. Find out useful information from those, who your consultant worked for, and ask these specific questions: "What was the nature of the assignment you had the consultant working on? Did he finish it on time, on budget, with a pleasant attitude? Are you still using what was produced? How do you suggest that I use this consultant and his people?"
3. Insist on specificity. Ask the consultant to specify his goals, the PR program, how much each element will cost, the terms and when it will be finished.
4. Negotiate down large retainer fees. Do you remember the old saying: "If you owe the bank one thousand dollars they have got you. If you owe the bank one million dollars, you have got them"? The same is true about the consultants. They may suggest an enormous charge for "general services", be wise not to buy it. Some negotiations will make this sum lower.
5. Challenge the monthly bills. Every month review your monthly bills. Do not forget that it is your firm's money; treat it as your own. Check the mode of transportation that the firm representatives use to visit the company, places where they stay to do out-of-town work for you, places where they eat on the project time, etc.
6. Beware the management audit. Whenever possible, resist the consultant's request to interview top management. First, they are too busy to give an interview to every new consultant; second, you will avoid the usage of the 'management audit' as a guise to get to higher executives for future considerations.
7. Do not leap up for the big "name". There are a lot of "former some bodies", whose specialty is whom they know, not what they know. It is much better to hire a firm in which you are confident. The "personal chemistry" between the consultant and his client is a more important measure than the big name.
8. Buy creativity. You need a consultant to find a creative and different perspective, not some "mouldy" solutions of your problems.
9. Make demands. Roughly speaking, you hired a consultant to use his brain, thus, do not hesitate to call him for some recommendations and counsels.
Keeping in mind all the tips, mentioned above, you will find a good PR consultant, who will make you campaign successful and the business prospering.