This week sees many of us re-booting our laptops and re-engaging with business plans for the working year ahead – welcome to your 2016! Careful planning is essential to implement a successful Marketing programme and January is a natural time to review and fine-tune the forthcoming calendar of activity. If casting your eyes from your Marketing Plan to the diary causes a wave of panic, this might also be the point that you realise you need some extra resource to make those plans a reality!
But before you go straight to Google Search in your hunt for a PR agency this year, you’d do well to put your mind to a brief. You might think it’s another job on your “to do” list, or that it will hold you up in getting that extra “helping hand” – but in the long run it will pay dividends.
Trinity PR has worked with some of the UK’s leading marketers in the health care sector, from medical charities and pharmaceutical companies to large private hospitals. As such, we’ve developed an understanding and appreciation of what makes a good brief. The benefits of developing a strong PR brief are manifold, not only helping you to find your perfect PR Agency match for a mutually beneficial partnership, but also ensuring maximum return on investment.
So, what are you waiting for! Here are Trinity PR’s top 5 tips on the most effective way to brief an Agency:
- Do your research – it’s important that you approach a number of potentially relevant agencies (between 2-3 ideally) initially so that you can make comparisons on strategy, creativity and team rates. Agencies with relevant experience and those who take a proactive approach to their own SEO should rank high on an online search (e.g. health care PR agencies in Surrey).
- Open Up! An introductory, informal discussion helps both you and the Agency to share information, learn more about previous experience and get an initial gauge on chemistry with the team you’ll be working with. So, make sure you book in a call or Skype before you formally invite Agencies to pitch.
- Don’t shy away from the figures! Agencies understand the pressures put on Marketing spend and that even a reasonable budget may be pulled in many directions! However, it really is important for you to put a budget to your brief. Without a ballpark budget, it is difficult for an Agency to give an accurate scope of work, estimate the right level of support needed or give an indication of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
- Account management – alongside your actual investment, you should also consider the longevity of your PR campaign. There are a number of different options all with equal merit depending on your PR objectives, news story and budget available including:
- Ongoing monthly “retained” programmes, most suitable for organisations with a busy news programme and a potentially high news output (e.g. frequent product launches), proactive and “willing” spokespeople and access to real-life case studies or examples of best practice (e.g. patients, families and healthcare professionals).
This approach of working “hand in hand” (sometimes as an extension to an in-house marketing team) allows the Agency to really immerse themselves in the account, as well as planning and releasing stories at regular intervals to build relationships with the media and gain great editorial results. To give a guide, Trinity PR monthly retained account range from £2,500 – £4,500.
- Shorter term project (e.g. 3-8 months) – highly targeted campaigns with a clear call to action and a timely news hook can often be effectively managed as part of a bespoke short term project. This enables the budget to “work harder” over an intensive period. . For example, a new product launch accompanied by strong clinical evidence presented at medical conferences, can be launched via a one-off media outreach programme. Likewise, a hard hitting charity campaign launched as part of a national awareness week can be taken on as a separate project. Trinity PR projects start from a fee of £5,000.
- Timing. As with all Marketing – timing is everything! Considering “lead-times” is an important search -factor, giving you space complete the pitch process, bring on board an Agency, prepare collateral, and meet any media deadlines (3-4 months in the case of many long-lead publications). We recommend putting together a brief and searching for an Agency at least 4 months before you want the PR programme to start. However, while it’s good to be prepared, be cautious about “jumping the gun” in your search for an Agency. For example, if you are in the very early stages of a new start-up or are planning to launch a new product or an online service, you need to have certain factors in place – such as stockists, online ordering etc. – to make the most of your PR support.
To get you started, we’ve developed a template PR brief. If you think that Trinity PR might be a good fit for your organisation, why not complete the attached and return it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org – and we’ll give you a call to discuss the proposition further.