All About PR Agencies

The PR agency business is intense, exciting, rewarding, competitive, sometimes confusing but always fascinating. When there’s a new client opportunity, elbows fly and egos soar. Public relations firms come in all sizes, specialties and personalities.

So here’s a look at PR agencies, whether you’re looking to hire one, find a job, learn about the industry or just get a range of views on the PR agency biz.

More public relations agency resources at  Largest Independent US Agencies and  Global  PR Holding CompaniesSites with a  W are PR Coach “winners.”

3, 2,1: Three Benefits, Two Tips, One Idea to Enhance Your Agency Training
Ken Jacobs offers training tips for PR firms.

5 Ways to Make Sure You Never Get to the Second Meeting
Any agency should know these, but if you need a reminder…

10 Ways Advertising and Public Relations Agencies Can Thrive in Today’s Economy
Smart tips to help agencies develop and grow.

25 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a PR Agency
Scott Baradell suggests 25 key questions to ask a prospective PR agency.   W

27 Things I’ve Learned in Agency Life
Thoughtful PR agency lessons from Ged Carroll.

150 Equals 125? The Alternative PR Week 150 (UK)
Here are the top 15 global agencies operating in the UK as analyzed by the CEO of UK-based RealWire.

2013 Worldwide Fees of Independent US PR Firms
O’Dwyer’s PR News supplies a list of independent US PR agencies ranked by 2013 fees, employees, changes from 2008, and links to websites.

Agency Billing & Utilization Report
Stevens Gould Pincus reviews US PR agency billings and best practices.

Agency Remuneration
PRCA provides an excellent guide to UK agency fees. Good reading for clients and agencies too!  W

Analysis: A New Digital Deal for PR Agencies?
PR agencies are working hard to bridge to the digital world and learn new skills necessary.

Are PR Agencies Dead? [Video 7:04]
Brian Solis explores the impact of social media and the traditional PR agency.   W

Are You a PR Champion for Your Clients? 5 Ways to Get There
Marie Williams has five suggestions for consulting leadership.

Assessing the Agency’s Performance: Guidelines for Formal Client Reviews
Suggests 10 essential service categories for client-agency evaluation.

Be Precise When Picking Public Relations Firm
Five steps to help you pick an agency.

Blogging Competitive Analysis
Competitive review of big PR agency blogs by Porter-Novelli. Looks at timing and frequency of posts, tenure and authority and provides useful analysis of blogs’ strengths and weaknesses.   W

Briefing a PR Company
Ten things you should do and five more you shouldn’t when briefing your agency.

Building an Effective Partnership With Your PR Company
Ten ways to build a good working relationship and five things you shouldn’t do.

Canny Link – Directory of PR Agencies
A long list of links to PR firms from near and far.

Catching Flack: A Canadian PR Man Spills the Beans
PR Watch looks at the hyper-reaction of PR professionals to a Toronto Star expose called “Confessions of a spin doctor.”

Chartered Institute of Public Relations
This the UK’s PR professional organization. Lots of agency resources.

Choosing a Public Relations Firm
Before you choose a PR agency, do some legwork.

Client Brief
A handy PRCA, IPA, ISBA and MCCA best practice guide to briefing communications agencies effectively.

Client Guide to PR Agency Remuneration
HubSpot shares a useful guide to paying for a PR firm.

Confessions from inside a top PR firm
Nice reflections on the PR agency biz.

Corporate Watch – Public Relations & the Lobbying Industry
Corporate Watch UK provides a cynical but thorough look at PR and lobbying including the big players, services offered, impact on the media and several other leaps to conclusions.  Interesting reading!

Council of Public Relations Firms
The Council represents the larger PR agencies. Its website has great resources including a directory of members, case studies, PR career resources, industry facts, and an excellent series of publications on hiring, working with and assessing performance of PR agencies.  W

Counselor Connect – Find a PR Firm or Consultant
Pick a PRSA Counselors Academy PR agency by name, city, state, country, industry specialization or practice.

Designing Your Agency’s Training Program, Part Two
Ken Jacobs shares useful training tips.

Entertainment Publicists Professional Society
EPPS is a group of top entertainment marketing and PR professionals.

Find a Firm
Use this Council of PR Firms database to search for a PR agency by city, state, size or revenue, industry and service expertise.   W

Finding an Agency
Here’s the PRCA’s excellent guide to picking a PR firm.  W

Fit to Win: A New Business Evaluation Guide for PR Firms
This tool will help a PR agency or freelancer evaluate a potential new client and whether to chase the business.

Getting the Best from Your PR Agency
Louise Stuart-Muir suggests how to get value from your PR agency.

Hey, It Could be Worse. We Could Be Lawyers.
PR profession post by Steve Cody will make you laugh.

Hiring a Public Relations Firm: A Guide for Clients
This is a very thorough guide to selecting the best PR agency from the Council of Public Relations Firms. Includes evaluation tools, templates and more.  W

How to Choose a PR Firm for Your Business
Define objectives; ask for business or media referrals; screen by phone; then set a meeting; look for rapport; ask who will handle your account; and watch for warning signs says Rick Griffin.

How to Choose the Right PR Agency for Your Digital Communications
8 tips to help you pick a good PR agency.

How to Hire a PR Firm and Get the Most from Outside Counsel
Jack O’Dwyer presents a detailed look at hiring, dos and don’ts and getting the best from agencies.

How to Make the Most of Your Public Relations Firm
PR agencies take note too.

If I Were an Agency Today
The agency business is due for an overhaul and Valeria Maltoni has a good prescription.

Is Selling Your PR Firm an Eventual Goal? 10 Easy Steps to Successfully Prepare
Rick Gould offers tips on getting ready to sell your agency.

Is Your PR Agency Ripping You Off?
Despite the negative headline, Rick Griffin shares the key questions you should be asking as you evaluate.

Minnesota Public Relations Guide: Twin Cities Edition
Quick Minnesota PR agency snapshot.

O’Dwyer’s – PR Firms by Specialty
Search from more than 400 agencies by 17 service specialties, name or location.

PR Agencies Need to Evolve In Line With Social Media Technology
PR needs to take charge of social media to thrive.

PR Agencies Seeing Bottom Line Squeezed
PR agency profits dropped by 20.8% in 2008 to 15.6% of revenue according to a new research report by Stevens Gould Pincus.

PR Industry Facts
Learn about PR industry facts and projections for growth, social media, talent, challenges and trends.

PR Quick Start
An exceptional, free web-based PR training program developed by the Council of Public Relations Firms and PRSA Counsellor’s Academy. Provides an overview of PR and the agency business for newcomers and a refresher for veterans.   W Wt

PR Watch
This self-appointed watchdog is dedicated to “investigative reporting on the public relations industry.”  Agree or not, it makes interesting reading!

PR Week UK 2009 Top 150 PR Consultancies
PR Week (UK) publishes it 2009 rankings of UK PR agencies by revenue. Also profiles and top 50 independents as well. You’ll have to convert from British pounds.

Public Relations Agency Compensation: Enhancing Value Through Best Practices
A helpful review of current billing models, best and worst practices on the thorny issue of fees for service.  Includes ways to get a fair and productive compensation model for client and PR agency.

Public Relations Consultants Association
UK-based PRCA has some useful best practice guides including: finding an agency, the client brief, remuneration and more.

Public Relations Firm Marketing Plan
This free PR agency marketing plan template is provided by the makers of Marketing Plan Pro software. It’s an excellent resource for any marketing plan.   W

Render unto Caesar
Steve Cody tackles multinational PR firm fees.

Request for Proposal for Public Relations Services Template
Here’s a useful template for PR proposals.

RFP Builder Tool: Council of Public Relations Firms
Looking to hire a PR firm? CPRF has a request for proposal tool for a fee, which could be of help in finding the right PR agency.

Research Report: Is ‘Social PR’ for Real? Which Agencies Get It?
Do PR agencies get ‘social media’? ZD Net’s Jennifer Leggio did a small research study to find issues and challenges and notes agencies mentioned most often by respondents.   W

Second Wind
An info resource designed to help small to mid-sized agencies and businesses be better. Some free resources, most require expensive subscription.

Selecting a PR Consultant or Consultancy
UK Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) suggests where to start, what to look for, questions to ask, what the consultant needs, fees, managing the relationship and measuring success.

Six Other Reasons PR Firms Get Fired 
Six more good reminders for PR agencies.

Six Reasons PR Firms Get Fired 
Six good reminders for PR agencies.

Social Media Presence of PR Firms
Cece Salmon-Lee looked at the social media presence of major agencies for an interesting snapshot.

Social Media Will Not Kill PR, But It Does Expose Industry Weakness
Expert views on the impact of social media on agencies and suggestions on how to respond.

Solo PR Pro
Kellye Crane has a nicely targeted blog for solo PR and marketing pros.

Standards for Conducting a Public Relations Firm Search
CPRF publication suggests standards to guide an agency search and identifies best and worst practices for the search process, initial screening, capabilities review, selection, and financial considerations.

Stevens Gould Pincus: Survey Reports
SGP does a series of annual and special reports providing valuable insight and benchmarking of the PR industry. Summaries of some reports are available at no charge.   W

Straight Facts About Public Relations Fees, Services
Consultant Andy Marken looks at what you should expect from your PR agency, how much it should cost and more.

The 7 New Roles Agencies Must Play to Survive Real-Time Business
Jay Baer shares seven important roles to help agencies survive.

The Agency Pitch: Does It Come Down to Related Experience?
A look at PR agency pitching and winning.

The Counselors Academy’s Guide to Selecting a Public Relations Firm or Consultant
PRSA Counselors provide an extensive guide to picking a PR agency.

The Firm Voice
Blog from the Council of Public Relations Firms, the PR agency industry association.

The Future of the Agency: Help Reinvent the Business
Thoughtful post by Valeria Maltoni about the agency of the future.

The Hughtrain
A marketing manifesto by Hugh MacLeod. Big thinking by a little guy with big talent. A must-read for any agency leader.  W

The Selection, Care and Feeding of Public Relations Counsel
Choosing the right agency and being a good client result in an ideal combination for agencies and clients.

They Call Alabama the Crimson Tide. Call Me Deacon Blues.
Steve Cody recounts a tale about a needy client, an RFP, losing and trusting your instincts. Excellent post!   W

Top 5 Things Your PR Firm Should be Doing for You (But May Not Be)
Five solid tips to get the most from your PR agency.

Top 5 Ways PR Agencies Can Keep Talented Employees
Getting top PR staff is hard work, keeping them is even harder writes Andrew Worob.

Top PR Firms Fail to Make the Grade Online
Paul Roetzer does a digital report card and finds the top 150 agencies have a long, long way to go in the burgeoning world of social media.   W

Whatever Suits
Read the PRSA Counselor Academy’s blog which aggregates the best of CA member blogs.  W

Why You Need an Online Home Base – and How to Get One
Kellye Crane offers several tips on creating a simple online presence.

Working with PR Consultants
SPIN provides tips on how to work with PR consultants, when and why to hire, cost and questions to ask before you hire.