Dear PR agency,

Over the years, I’ve experienced a mixed bag of PR service providers in terms of quality and effectiveness. My business vision is clear and long-sighted: I want PR expertise that understands and deliver benefits that align with my business and vision.

The foundations of our relationship would be built on the same core values that my teams exhibit – trust, commitment, vision and belonging. In addition to the shared core values, the PR agency should have a wealth of in-depth expertise and a proven track record of delivering results that we, as business owners, can readily recognise. Every company investing in anything, especially PR, wants a tangible and quantifiable return on investment.

What I want is an agency that understands our company dynamics and client base: a PR company that has worked in our arena before and can provide evidence of previous campaigns and their effectiveness.

The PR plan needs to be aligned with our operation and its desired outcomes over the next 12 months. The plan should be split into quarters, and should provide me with regular progress and results updates. An agency should understand our full marketing mix and tactics, as well as how the PR activity is aligned with our business objectives and marketing mix for a given time period.

I also need proactivity in finding newsworthy and timely stories that our businesses and I could comment on, as these communicate our expertise to readers.

Maximum media coverage through new or different channels is absolutely mission-critical. There is no point in writing a release that is not covered – only press releases that are truly newsworthy will be covered or have any impact. In addition, agencies should have a good understanding of how to leverage a local story to gain national reach. Activity and reach must be focused on our markets; there is no point in sending me reports containing statistics about reach to an off-target audience.

My teams and I thoroughly enjoy working alongside talented commercial brains with the ability to spot business opportunities before others.

What I don’t want from a PR agency is an account manager who isn’t bold enough to give an honest opinion – even when it’s difficult. You must challenge anything you disagree with and assume that we don’t have significant PR expertise in-house. We don’t want agencies to publish stories, as editorial, that aren’t newsworthy.

If PR is done correctly then it will translate into achieving our business objectives, such aspenetrating a new client base, and our brand will become well known among our target audiences for what we deliver.

Increasing our perceived value as an organisation, as well as our product and service range, is a core part of our company ethos.

When I think about ROI, I think about the return to my business, rather than how many column inches in the press we achieve and how the reach of online campaigns would compare to equivalent display advertising costs. Some agencies don’t appear to understand this.

 I would like to be transparent with you about my business objectives, and hope this letter gives you an idea of what I would like to achieve. The insights I have shared include my vision for each of my companies and how I personally wish to be perceived, the causes that really matter to me, and how I’d like to contribute to them.

In a nutshell, I want to work with a trusted PR partner who shares our core values, and who understands me and my business objectives.