How to brief a PR agency to get the best results

Published: Sep 08th, 2021

Updated: May 23rd, 2024

An effective brief will not only help a PR agency to tailor an initial pitch to the specific needs of your company, it will likely also inform any long-term communications strategy that they produce.

Briefs often tell the agency what you want for your company, but not necessarily what your company needs. It is important to be open-minded about what the agency could recommend to you, which means that the brief shouldn’t be entirely restrictive – it should allow for some creativity and for the agency to showcase its public relations expertise.

As a result, the brief is the first step to ensuring that any comms activity is as impactful as possible from the very moment that you start working together.

So, what should you include in your brief to get the best possible PR results?

Introduce yourselves

At Sapience, we always do thorough research on potential clients. However, make sure that you dedicate a few paragraphs at the start of your brief as an introduction to your company. Agencies want to hear about your thoughts on your business and where you see it in the future.

A succinct outline of the central services and core mission of your business can give the PR agency a lot of material to work with. This will streamline the process to ensure that both teams are aligned from the get-go, meaning that the agency can pitch initial ideas that are built around reinforcing your key messaging.

Establish audience

PR agencies have a range of networks at their fingertips. To crystallise communications for maximum impact, make it clear which audiences you would like the agency to be targeting.

You may want your company name to be seen by professionals within a specific industry, or you may want to reach consumers across multiple sectors. Alternatively, you might want to concentrate on maximising coverage in a specific country or region. Whoever your targets are, make this a central focus of your brief.

Indicate your aims

PR encompasses a range of activities, so it’s important to establish your KPIs and success metrics early on. Do you want to be providing regular comments to national publications, or would you rather be appearing on industry podcasts? Perhaps you might want to be providing opinion pieces to key trade outlets, or rebuilding your reputation following a past crisis? What type of content would your audience connect to?

A brief should make it clear what kind of coverage you are looking to achieve, as this will inform all of the agency’s communications activity. This will help the agency to target appropriate journalists to get exactly the kind of PR that will boost your business.

Identify key events

Exceptional PR plans make the most of any notable events in your company calendar. Individual campaigns can be built around occasions like product launches, but impactful communications can also use important milestones like financial reports, owned research and new hires. If you would like PR activity to capitalise on news like this, make sure to tailor the brief around the occasion.

These campaigns can help to build anticipation for events, raise awareness of your brand, and maximise ticket sales. If the PR agency is aware of an upcoming piece of research, for example, it can use the launch to enhance the position of your firm as a leading voice of expertise and insight in the sector.

Include the details

Finally, no brief would be complete without the minutiae. Suggest your budget and make sure to clarify any timelines for specific campaigns.

Perhaps there are particular angles that you’d like to take with your campaign, or other aspects a PR agency should be aware of. Let them know if you want to work with a specific partner, or if you are determined for your comments to appear in one individual publication.

Following each of these steps will ensure that prospective PR agencies can tailor their pitches and ideas to your company’s specific needs from the very beginning. It will also help to build rapport with your agency, ensure they understand what you’re looking for, and provide them with opportunities to ask questions.

At Sapience, we build on our extensive expertise to meet the needs of each brief we receive. We have experience in sectors ranging from property to finance and for multiple services including public relations and crisis communications.

Do you need outstanding PR support? Why not read more about the services we provide and contact us to see how we can help you.

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