As an established PR firm with over eight years under our belt in the Australian market, we are very fortunate to be contacted weekly by different organisations to look at potential new projects to work on.
The way in which companies convey what it is they are looking for varies markedly. Some approaches are certainly more sophisticated than others, and is usually reflective of the amount of experience the company has had in dealing with PR agencies (or services of a similar nature) in the past.
In order to get the best possible response (generally in the form of a proposal) from any agency a client approaches, we have outlined below some of the key points that the contact person and their team should think through and compose prior to making contact.
Mind you, this doesn’t need to be a novel! Even a few salient points under each of the sub headlines will be more than sufficient. And you will certainly hear from us if we need to delve further into any part.
Sample PR Brief
Client Name: An obvious one, but you’d be surprised…
Brand/Product/Service: One company may represent a number of brands, so it’s great to be clear about which brand the project concerns. It may be the entire company, from a corporate perspective that the focus of PR should be on, so it’s good to be clear from the outset.
Response Date: A deadline for the proposal is always helpful and this generally tends to be 1-2 weeks. This also depends on whether there are certain meetings/briefings that need to take prior to and how complex the presentation from the agency needs to be. If there are stages, build that into the deadline.
Background / Introduction: Information regarding the company and the brand would go here to give the project some context.
Campaign Brief: This relates specifically to the actual project at hand. What is it that you would like the PR agency to do?
Campaign Objectives: What are your aims and what is the company trying to achieve? For example, it could be to raise awareness of the brand, drive traffic to the website, reposition the brand in the marketplace, or build a social media following that’s integrated with traditional media exposure. This is a key component of the brief as it will dictate the best PR strategy and tactics to achieve these goals.
Target Audiences: There is no point in us targeting ‘Horse & Hound Magazine’ if you sell fashion sunglasses… for humans. This is an extreme, but publicity for the sake of publicity is not going to achieve your campaign aims above and is a sure way to disappoint. Be very clear on whom your core (or primary) audience is. The more detail here the better! This audience comes into play heavily when we compose our creative ideas and media lists of who we’ll be approaching during the campaign.
Role of PR / Anticipated Scope of Work: This is a good place to tell us what you expect us to do. For example, will the agency be organising a campaign launch, or do you already have an events company you work with? Do you want us to manage your social media campaigns, or are you doing this in-house or with a specialist agency? Once again, key to our understanding of what we can do/achieve within your budget.
New Products and Timings: Are there any new products the company is launching at the same time that we can incorporate, use as a hook, or stay very clear of? What are the timings for this?
Positioning: How do you wish the brand to be perceived, particularly in relation to your competitors? What is your unique selling point? What’s different that we can hone in on? Is there an existing market position that you want to change?
Key Messages: Generally there should be up to three messages about your company/brand that (in an ideal world) you would loved to see in every piece of communication achieved within the campaign. Know however, that PR is an uncontrolled medium (unlike advertising) and we can only influence the outcome, rather than guarantee it! But having these messages as guidelines will ensure that we weave it into every piece of communication and put emphasis on company spokespeople, media materials, social media content and our media contacts to include them as much as we possibly can.
Spokespeople: Who will represent the company during the campaign? Are they media trained and confident? Do they have an interesting story to tell? A bio is always helpful!
Budget: I can’t tell you how many times I have had potential clients tell me they “really haven’t thought about budget”…. well, I would make a bet they have and just don’t want to say in the fear of their budget being either too low, or that we might quote much lower than they expect.
I am here to tell you that it’s really not the best way to go about it. Be upfront about what your company can afford, and what you are willing to spend on a campaign reasonably. There are many PR strategies that can be used to achieve your objectives, and if we don’t know what you can afford, we’ll recommend as many as we can to ensure that you get the best possible results.
But the fee might shock you… and then you’ll be forced to reveal what the figure was in the first place! Meaning, we could have all been a lot more efficient in our dealings and the proposal you receive will fall in a comfortable zone for you.
PR agencies also vary in fees depending on various factors such as size, capabilities, specialty areas, etc. Knowing what the budget is will also determine if we’re the right fit for you in the first place, and will save on putting a proposal together that may never be right, when you could be talking to an agency or single operator down the road that might be the absolute perfect match for your needs.
Timeframe: When are you looking at kicking the campaign off? There have been a few times in the last year that we have been at capacity and may have been able to assist in 1-2 months, but not immediately. A timeframe does a couple of things. It helps us to determine if we can assist in terms of current workload, and it also allows us to recommend strategies that we actually have time to execute within the timeframe.
KPIs: This is absolutely essential. We need to understand what a successful campaign looks like to you and how your initial aims will be measured. We can guide you on this, but it’s great to have everyone involved within the company to be on the same page as far as expectations are concerned from the get go!
Any Other Information: For example this may be; previous experience with a PR agency, previous successes for the brand, why you might be making a supplier change, etc.
So with this ‘food for thought’ in mind, we look forward to receiving your brief and working with you!