Take your clients to the stars! Start a PR agency

. 7 min read
Take your clients to the stars! Start a PR agency

For any business, just having a good product or service is not enough - they have to promote it. They have to manage or market relations with customers. To help them achieve their communications goals, they often need a PR agency.

What are public relations?

Public relations is a persuasion business! It is the art of putting a brand or a businesses’ story in the news. It can be on the TV, newspaper, radio, or social media. Unlike paid advertisements, stories in news or journals carry much more weight among the consumers. The right public relations companies can push businesses to get out a better story.

Public relations professionals have to work with print, electronic, or digital media. In this article, we will tell you how to start a public relations agency business.

1. Are you up to the task?

As a PR practitioner, you have to be passionate about communications in general, and the client’s industry in particular. You should be able to work under pressure and have an entrepreneurial mindset. You have to come alongside the client’s brand as a strategic partner.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you have basic accounting skills? If not, you might have to hire an accountant.
  • Good content writing is a very important cog in the PR machinery wheel. If your writing skills are not up to the mark, you may have to get a content writer on board.
  • This is a customer service industry. Brush up on your people handling skills.
Dices forming the word public relations with stack of newspapers in background

2. Gain experience first

To master a skill, you have to spend a lot of time working on it, and experience is the best teacher. If you have a background in advertising, communications, or journalism, you will get a head start in this business. You can also take PR classes, and do internships in a PR agency. This will help you in a smooth transition into working life in a Public Relations firm. After working for a few years with different clients and gaining valuable experience, you can start a business of your own.

3. Get your business registered

Learn about the legal requirements for opening a public relations agency business, like choosing the right name and registering your business. You can either go for sole ownership or opt for a partnership.

4. The many roles of a PR agency-what do you want to do?

The main job of a PR agency is to get media coverage for its clients. PR professionals can do a lot of things-from writing speeches to publishing blogs and managing social media accounts. You can also work with the client’s team to publish e-newsletters.

Help the client to identify its target audiences. Study their audience’s habits - what they like to read, watch on TV, or which social media platforms they hang out most. You have to convince an audience to support your client’s position or recognise their accomplishments. You can act as an advisor to improve the relationship between the client and its audience.

If your client is a brand that is involved in making some products, you might have to write product reviews.

At a higher level, you may have to deal with corporate leaders and change-makers. That involves getting them quoted in ‘expert stories’, or having opinion articles published under their name.

5. Have a goal

Be strategic and don’t lose focus of your or your organisation’s goals. Set both short-term and long-term goals to measure your success.  One of those goals can be to represent clients who believe in your passion. Another goal can be to promote clients and make them seem as honest and reliable.

6. Put together your dream team

There is a saying, you have to invest in talent, not rent! A PR team needs to have the right mix of people with problem-solving ability and creativity. They have to manage any unexpected issue with a level head. And, they should be creative, so as to give a breath of fresh air to any campaign. Another desired skill is the ability to negotiate with clients on sticky matters.

You would need a graphic designer, a website designer, and a developer for working on the client’s brief.

7. Choose a niche

PR agencies provide a variety of services-some help in business growth, while others specialise in relationship building. There are also lots of industry verticals to choose from-beauty, fashion, technology, etc. Concentrate your efforts to become a communications expert for a particular niche, or better, a niche within a niche. For example, instead of fashion, you can focus on minimalist or sustainable brands.

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8. Find space in the market

If you want to survive the fierce competition in the public relations market, you have to get the attention of potential buyers for your service. For marketing public relations, you have to analyse the competition and think of what unique service you can provide to your clients.

In PR you are as good as your contacts. Try to network and pitch to the marketing officers of the brands you would like to work with. Get a membership of a PR organisation to tap into their resources.

9. Start Small

Some big businesses are too bureaucratic and can sit on your invoices for months. So don’t depend too much on one big account. It is better to start in a small way with a few good clients and pitch for bigger clients when you are more established.

10. Manage press

You have to develop connections with journalists and publications to get the proper coverage for your clients. Good public relations will focus on quality over quantity. Focus on the high-value publications that will engage your client’s target audience the most.

Create interest in the media to subscribe to your client’s viewpoint. You can do it through interviews. If you have an impactful and interesting story, it will benefit both the client and the publication.

11. Start-up promotions

Since many start-ups do not have any marketing experience, you can lend your expertise in that area so that these firms can concentrate on their core businesses. Your firm can provide a variety of PR services like press promotions, roadshows, or events. Create good stories about your client that can motivate people to take action, and release them to the media.

12. Build digital strategies

Think about how to convey the messages to your target audiences. You can use social media and become a successful influencer for brands.

To find out how effective your PR campaign is for a client, you can create a tool called Brand Score. It uses different metrics like website visits and how many publications mention your client’s brand.

Public Relations word typed on a Vintage Typewriter

13. Offer pro-bono services

By donating your services to not-for-profit organisations, you can benefit in many ways. You will get the chance to meet more business professionals working as volunteers in charitable causes. By developing relationships with them, you can get contacts that might mean some work coming your way.

…But it’s a lot of hard work

Starting a PR business is not easy. The industry is very unforgiving - you have to deliver and deliver on time. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver.

If you have the motivation to work independently, strike a clear work-life balance, and do something creative, starting a PR agency might be the logical thing to do. We hope that this article will inspire you to start your own PR firm and shape it from the ground up.

Also Read:

1) How to Market your Small Business Using Word-of-Mouth Publicity?
2) How to Identify Gaps in the Market for Your Small Business?
3) How to Start a Plywood Business in India?
4) How OkCredit Is Making MSMEs A Part Of Digital India?

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Q. Is a mentor helpful while starting a PR agency?

Ans. Yes, a mentor can guide you on various things-from how to pitch to your first client, to when to make your first hire.

Q. How can I increase the productivity of my PR team?

Ans. You can try out some tools like time blocking and energy mapping to increase the efficiency of your workforce.

Q. Is it important to sign a services contract with my clients?

Ans. Yes, these contracts spell out client expectations are reduce the risks of legal disputes by spelling out payment terms and conditions.

Q. What can I do to keep clients coming back?

Ans. First, provide great service. Secondly, you can start an e-newsletter or blog, and include your customers on the subscription list.

Q. Do I have to build a website for my PR agency?

Ans. All legitimate businesses have websites. It will look professional, and make it easier for your potential clients to find you online.