Have you ever considered starting up your own PR agency; but have been daunted by the enormous challenge you face? If so, I have listed some key factors that you should consider before embarking on such a massive project.
When starting up your own PR agency it is vital that you carry out due diligence and make your plans accordingly. You will need to identify your niche market, as well as highlighting what it is that sets you apart from other agencies. On the practical side; you will need to devise and implement a company structure and a system of keeping track of your work.
What You Offer
What areas will your PR agency specialise in? Will you focus on B2B? Information and technology? Consumer affairs? Or the rich and famous? You will also have to decide whether you will be an international or domestic agency. If it's the former, which countries will you focus on? Will you concentrate on print, broadcasting media or digital?
You may opt to position yourself across various sectors and territories. This can often be a difficult position to succeed in as the PR industry prefers agencies to specialise in one specific niche. However, if done correctly, this method can be very rewarding.
What services would your agency offer? Your choice is likely to include any number of the following; media relations, event management, social media, website design and development, media training and strategy.
What can your PR agency deliver that other agencies cannot? What makes you unique? Identify your strengths and shout them from the rooftops to potential clients.
Legal & Accountancy
Will your PR agency be a limited company, partnership or act as a sole trader? Once you have decided; speak to your accountant. You will have to discuss payroll, self-assessment and your tax liabilities. Prepare yourself for the demanding administration duties that running a PR agency entails and be aware of the fines that are incurred by missed deadlines.
Contact a lawyer and draw up client engagement agreements and employee contracts. Make sure you have the correct insurance to cover all professional eventualities and open up a business bank account.
Join business institutions so that you can benefit from specialist help, advise and resources. This could save you a lot of money in lawyer fees for services that are usually free for professional business institute members.
Partners and Employees
List the skills that you have available in your PR agency and then list the skills you require to make the agency a valuable proposition. If you decide to bring in partners, make sure you have a strategy in place if it doesn't work out. Before you hire employees, define their role and responsibilities very clearly.
Reduce the confusion and complications of employee turnover by creating staff handbooks, these will also reduce the learning curve of new recruits and instil firm procedures and values that everyone can become familiar with.
Self promotion is vital for any fledgling business. Build up a strong and distinctive brand that is instantly recognisable. Create a website to spread your message and employ online social networking sites to communicate and engage potential customers.
Organise yourself for pitches with business cards, credential sales documents, creative templates and a list of contacts that you should follow up regularly. Dedicate time and effort to networking in order to generate potential business. Establish working partnerships with marketing agencies in non-competitive areas that can lead to mutual sources for referral.
Register with business listings and PR directories and let your contacts know that you have launched your agency. Attend meetings and conferences to communicate your businesses unique qualities outlining how they can benefit from your services.
To help keep track of time sheets, documents, images and other assets within your PR agency it would be wise to purchase project collaboration software. This will aid the smooth running of projects that are being worked on by more than one person.
CRM programmes will similarly assist in the management of business leads and customers, as well as keeping track of the multitude of emails being fired backwards and forwards each day.
Media request services can also be easily managed with media databases and press cutting services, enabling you to build excellent relationships with journalists, helping to maximise media coverage for your clients.
With thorough research and considered planning, you should now have the basics to start your own PR agency. If you would like any more information, please do not hesitate to contact us here at HROC, we are a public relations agency with years of hands on experience. We would be glad to help you make a success of your business.