Public relations can never go out of demand. As per Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of public relations specialists is projected to grow 9% from 2016 to 2026. We aren’t surprised because businesses need to hold a positive image and a strong brand reputation in order to thrive and that is exactly what public relations professionals specialize in.
If you were to ask PR professionals where they see themselves in the coming years, most of them will express their interest in building their own PR firm. While many toy with the idea, there are a few who get out there and work towards making their dreams a reality.
Starting a PR firm is as daunting as starting any other business. Not only does it require a solid experience but also strong business acumen to make smart business decisions.
So, if you are thinking of starting your own PR agency but don’t know where to begin, here are 6 factors you should consider:
Let’s face it – you are just starting off and before you decide to go all out and take up anything and everything that falls under PR, it is important to assess your strengths and find your niche.
Firstly, who do you want to target? There are different kinds of businesses in the market from small businesses and large organizations to NGOs and government agencies – evaluate where your interest, strengths and experience lies and target a specific kind of company for starters.
Coming to the PR services (media relations, CSR, crisis management, etc.), considering you are a small team, you rather not put your finger in too many pies. It’s a good idea to start with a couple of services before you expand your offerings.
You need to build a team which will eventually grow as your client portfolio increases. Being an agency, your team will comprise of a client servicing and creative team. While the client servicing team will scope clients and coordinate with them, the creative team will work on the content and PR strategies.
Having excellent writing skills is one of the key considerations when it comes to building your PR team. If you don’t have strong writers in-house, be sure to make the right choice when outsourcing writing jobs as it forms a core component of your services.
Once you start your PR firm, the first thing you need to do is spread the awareness and what better way to do it than through digital mediums.
In today’s digital era, establishing a strong online presence is extremely important. Your website needs to reflect the services you offer and should be regularly updated with your work and list of clients. Think of your website as a powerful tool to get more clients.
Apart from having a compelling website, your PR firm needs to have a page across social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to showcase your work, generate leads and build a connection with potential clients and media personalities.
The PR industry thrives on contacts, networking and word-of-mouth. If you already have a strong network of clients from your previous work experience, you should reach out to them. Always look at growing your pool of contacts because it is never enough. Make it a point to attend networking events and conferences to meet potential clients.
Not only should you look at building contacts when it comes to your clientele, you should also network with freelance writers, graphic designers, media personalities, etc. who can be of help to you in future.
The idea is to build long lasting relations and keep in touch instead of just popping up in their inbox when you need them.
You might start your boutique PR firm from your house but you need to eventually branch out to a larger space to accommodate the team as and when you get more clients. It is a good idea to be suitably located so you don’t spend too much time or money traveling to your clients’ offices.
Budget being a constraint, why not look at co-working spaces for starters to accommodate your small team. That way you have a flexible space to yourself and won’t have to spend too much on rents either.
Managing accounts and legalities is another important aspect of starting a business. While you don’t require a humongous capital to kickstart your PR firm, there will be initial expenses you will incur, for instance on business cards, marketing your brand, travel, phone bills, labor cost, etc.
Another thing to keep in mind is that many clients have a poor habit of not paying in time so make sure you account for that in the beginning itself.
This is a guest contribution by Adela Belin, who is the Head of Digital Marketing at Writers Per Hour. She creates content surrounding marketing with a focus on social media and digital marketing. Feel free to contact Adela on LinkedIn.