Choosing the right PR Agency

There are many things to consider when embarking on the process of appointing a PR agency to handle your affairs: local or national, specialist or cross-market, large or small and so on.

To help you get a handle on things, here are a few points to consider…

To appoint, or not to appoint a PR agency?

A fresh pair eyes equals a new perspective

You and your colleagues may have been mulling over the wording of that press release, or how best to pitch to a journalist for a while, without being able to give the pitch the edge it needs. A PR agency will be able to look at your business with fresh eyes, a new perspective and a greater level of objectivity.  Any PR agency worth their salt, will be adept at delivering stories that are likely to generate interest and will spot those opportunities which you may have missed.  

PR’s have invaluable media connections

If you are looking to generate publicity quickly, you will need the expertise of an agency who has a network of connections in the media. Whilst building relationships with journalists is possible, it does take time. A PR agency will come with those relationships already in place; each agency to varying degrees.

Valuable writing skills

Public Relations professionals are good writers - it is a core part of their job requirement. Their talent in the art of writing, and subsequent way with words, can make anything (i.e. you, your business or your product) sound like the best thing the world has ever seen.  Whilst a talent for the written word may not be one of your strongest skill-sets, it is an imperative that any media release being pitched to the media is well written.


The exercise of PR is extremely time consuming and one that cannot be completed effectively if you’re not fully committed to the task.  Employing an agency will mean a set proportion of time is attributed to your account to achieve the goals you have set in place, meaning that your PR affairs are never neglected.

Cross-Market Agency Vs. Specialist Agency

Jack of all trades, master of none

A cross-market PR agency may be a master of integration and possess just enough knowledge of many market sectors to be able to bring their disciplines together in a practical manner.  However, a specialist PR agency is an expert in their field and often has extensive knowledge, ability and proven experience in that sector. 

Greater knowledge of the sector

Every industry has its niche, none more so than that of the family/kids market sector.  Specialist PR agencies will have the edge here. They should be familiar with industry movements, your competitors and be the first to know of great opportunities to help propel your business forward.

Communicating effectively with the audience 

Understanding the audience you’re targeting is equally important, especially with the social networks proving so prolific in the spreading of messages. 


A specialist PR will have built-up a strong and reliable source of sector specific contacts. They’ll know who the 'Movers & Shakers' are and how to pitch your brand/business/products effectively.  This list of contacts may prove invaluable when exposing opportunities for your business.


A specialist PR is likely to invest heavily in the very best PR resources specifically for their sector.

Local or National Agency?

This really depends upon what you’re hoping to achieve. A PR agency with a local focus will be able to deliver strong local PR opportunities.  If however, you’re looking for a campaign that delivers nationally, it goes without saying a PR agency with a national focus will be much more beneficial in helping achieve your goal.  Nationally focused agencies will be familiar with working alongside national media outlets as well as the regional titles and whilst their ‘local’ connections may not be quite as strong, with the correct contacts and pitch they shouldn’t struggle to deliver.

Small Vs. Large Agency?

Smaller working teams

Small teams can often benefit a business or brand in terms of, (a) chemistry with the client, (b) enthusiasm for the brand and products, and (c) level of priority – you’re much more likely to feel like you are a key priority with a small team.

Personal approach 

Typically, larger PR agencies will leave the pitch process to founding/executive members of the team. Once they've won your account, it'll be handed over to a lesser experienced ‘Account Executive/Manager’.  In contrast, smaller PR agencies tend to provide a much more hands-on and personal approach to your PR affairs.

Lower overheads  

Smaller agencies are more likely to have lower overheads and this will impact the fees they charge to their clients.

If your business targets the family market (children/parents/families) and you are considering taking on the services of a PR agency, contact Lisa at Lil' Spin for a free consultation. t. 0845 257 1479 e.

Digit-All Change

Following the news that Junior Magazine (part of Immediate Media Co’s stable of parenting titles) has closed its print publication, opting for a purely digital presence only, I thought it apt to revisit the current trends in digital media usage.

We live in a world that is increasingly mobile in digital arenas (no pun intended!): we shop online, socialise online, game online, watch TV online, etc.  It’s inevitable that we are going to want to consume our media online too.

In my post ‘The PR Mix’, I wrote how mothers in particular are amongst the main consumers of digital media.  As a mother myself I can relate to this; much of my news and information is sourced online – it’s convenient, often free, up-to-the-minute, and you can search multiple topics easily.

According to a recent news report by The Guardian, a global analysis of ‘How Consumers Spend Their Media Time’, a study by GlobalWebIndex cited by Warc, finds that people around the world now spend more time with digital than traditional media.

The study, based on responses from more than 32,000 internet users in 31 countries found that 5.6 hours or 57% of daily media consumption, was dedicated to digital, including social media and mobile internet usage.

Interestingly, it would seem that mobile technology has also had a significant influence over digital media consumption.  A report, covering 14 countries, released by InMobi demonstrates that growth of mobile media is constantly reshaping media consumption habits:

- Globally mobile ranks first in media consumption with 1.8 hours a day, outpacing TV (1.5 hours), PCs (1.6 hours) and any other channel.

- 50% of the average global mobile web users now use mobile as either their primary or exclusive means of going online.

It seems that the film industry too has been quick to play their digital media card as The Daily Telegraph journalist Mick Brown pointed out in a recent interview with The Guardian, stating that he has witnessed a decline in the value that the film industry place upon ‘traditional’ media and are instead investing more of their PR campaign into digital and social media.

Many media outlets have now adopted a ‘best of both’ approach - broadcasting news both online and in print. Some have (controversially) begun to capitalise on this new digital media movement, including media mogul Rupert Murdoch, who has already introduced a Paywall system to The Times and is reported to be doing the same with The Sun later this year. 

Traditional Vs. Digital

With the rise of citizenship journalism, it is important to consider whether the digital media is a credible and trustworthy resource.  As I touched on in my earlier post ‘PR Misconceptions’, when you receive a piece of editorial about your brand/product, it generates a level of credibility with the reader.  The higher they rate the media, the higher the perceived credibility of the brand/product.  For example, if you read about a ‘flying pig’ online, you’d probably be far more cynical about the story than if you’d read it in, say, The Daily Telegraph national newspaper.  

Traditional media outlets still have a big advantage over their digital media rivals - the value of the tangible, printed hard-copy still outranks that of digital media, even if only in perception alone.  Whilst the readership figures of traditional media might be half that of a digital counterpart, their readers are invested into that media especially if they’ve paid to receive copies; generating a more loyal readership, thus adding credibility to their editorial content.

On the flip side, digital exposure can work on multiple levels, not only increasing awareness and exposure for the brand but also with aiding search-engine visibility and organic results.  Digital stories also have longevity and can remain on servers for far longer than a print copy might stay on a desk or coffee table.

What can we deduce from this?

I think it’s safe to say that it’s no mystery that digital media is the way of the future.   For all those sceptics and old-school PRs that believed it was a fad, here’s looking at you!  I have always believed it is the responsibility of any publicist worth their salt to communicate messages across multiple platforms; both digital and traditional.   This research, while compelling, doesn’t mean it’s time to ditch ‘traditional’ and go digital.  What it does mean is that it’s time to embrace the digital media age - where once it might have been a nice boost to the ego to see your name in ‘print’, it is no longer wise to dismiss the value of digital media coverage garnered.

The PR Mix

Public Relations (PR) has long been considered a powerful and cost-effective way to promote a business. It allows a customer to feel they have made an informed and educated decision based on research or valued opinion, rather than simply being ‘sold to’ through traditional advertising.

Not so very long ago, certainly within my lifetime (and I’m no dinosaur!), managing the flow of information between an organisation and the individual was somewhat more confined.

Over the course of the past decade, the PR industry has witnessed rapid developments.  Where once, the concentration of the PR effort fell on traditional print and broadcast media, the digital age has seen to the development of an entirely new arena of mediums which form, what us practitioners term as, The PR Mix.  Not least so in the family/parent marketplace, where research has identified a new consumer movement that has seen the widespread adoption of these new mediums.

The PR Mix is, in essence, a combined use of the media at your disposal i.e. print, social media, digital media, and broadcast media.  A good publicist will attempt to utilise as many of these media outlets as possible to successfully communicate the message they’re trying to convey.  This utilisation of The PR Mix is particularly important as 94% of people view multiple media before making a purchasing decision (Demand Gen 2012) – meaning your message must be seen in more than one place before a person is likely to make any commitment.  The more widespread your message, the more likelihood there is of achieving sales.

The New Kids of The PR Mix:

The newest additions to The PR Mix are all, unsurprisingly, online.  If utilised correctly, not only can they begin to spread-the-word ‘virally’, they can also help aid Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

Social Media /

79% of mums with children under the age of 18 are active on social media*.

For mums like me, social media can serve many purposes: a source of information and peer recommendations, and a way to keep in touch with family, friends, etc.

There are of course numerous social media channels which I’ve detailed in earlier posts, but of these Facebook and Twitter continue to be the two most popular destinations for many mums. Brands have been quick to recognise this and most will have their own identities on these sites.

However, maintaining social forums is a real commitment for a brand. Fans expect a quick and helpful response to questions and comments they post, as well as to be engaged with useful and entertaining content.

Digital Media /

84% of mums use the internet (11% more than the overall population)*.

Raising a family brings many challenges and a constant need for information, inspiration, support and new things to buy. The modern, time-poor, parent heads online to fulfil all of these needs utilising websites such as AOL’s Parentdish, BabyExpert, MadeforMums, iVillage, MummyPages, etc.

Content can be informative, entertaining, commercial, or simply reinforcing brand messaging, and can take the form of news, features, images, video or games and apps.

Blogger Outreach /

The parent blogging community has grown rapidly in recent times, with over 6,000 parent blogs in the UK alone.

Bloggers write about a wide range of topics close to their hearts and based on their experiences.  Many are open to mutually beneficial relationships with brands that are both relevant and appropriate.

To find out more about how your business can successfully embrace the PR Mix, why not get in touch?  We look forward to hearing from you soon.

* Data compiled by eMarketer