How to prepare your marketing BEFORE you engage a PR agency

Marketing consultant Karen Howell joins us to explain why and how preparing your marketing is essential BEFORE engaging a PR agency.


You wouldn’t walk into a car showroom and say can I have a car please, would you? You would have specific requirements in terms of whether you are looking for a two-seater sports car, a 5-door family car or something even larger. There are also other considerations such as hybrid or electric, size of engine and the myriad of additional specifications and options a car could have.

So, when the time comes when you want to increase your brand presence by using a PR agency, preparing the ground before you engage anyone will make this process so much easier and more effective.

An agency will need to know a lot about your business, the markets you operate in and – more importantly – what you want to achieve from investing in this type of marketing activity.

Why is this important?

Because you want your PR agency to spend their time on what they do best – providing PR services for you, not extracting information from you. They can then hit the ground running on the day you engage them!

So, I have made suggestions below on a few elements to consider in providing a PR brief to your agency. 

Additionally, the good news is that the information you pull together for this brief can then be repurposed to use for other external marketing agencies you may wish to work with, such as a digital marketing agency, website developers, branding agencies, photographers etc.

  • Describe your brand and your services:

It seems obvious, but providing succinct information to describe what your business does and what services or products you provide is the very essence to enabling the understanding of a business. But it doesn’t stop there, outlining the following is also useful:

  • Brand proposition
  • Values, mission and vision statements
  • USPs (Unique Selling Proposition)
  • Competitive position.
  • And to take the words from Simon Sinek – your ‘’Why’’.

  • Describe who your customers are:

Unless you provide information about your target audience then any specific targeted campaign is going to be virtually impossible to carry out.

The more precise you are, the better equipped your PR agency will be to helping you manage your communications. The better they know your audience’s needs, pain points and requirements, the better they will be able to shape your message to be more acceptable and relevant for your target audience. 


The more information you can share about your target audience the better. No PR agency has the time or resources to cater to absolutely everyone – and neither will your budget!

So, provide information on who your target audience is. For instance, if you target consumers then it needs to include age, gender, income, education, hobbies, job role etc; and for businesses you will need to detail the type of business in terms of industry, size, etc. You may then want to go into more detail about the profile of the key decision makers in the businesses you are targeting – remember it is people that buy products or services, not the business itself.

Other information that will be useful which you may have available from your marketing metrics is detail such as what their content preferences are, which channels they favour and what challenges they face.

  • List your key personnel:

If you are looking to profile key personnel in your business to gain trust and credibility in your area of expertise, then providing background information on the key personnel will be useful.

Biographies as well as recent professional photographs should be supplied.

You should also provide information on who the PR agency will be dealing with on a day-to-day basis when working on the campaign.

  • Provide key messages:

You are best placed to provide information on what the messages are that you wish to communicate with your audience. These may well be refined by the agency to tailor them specifically into targeting different channels, but by providing an outline you will give the agency a head start.

  • Detail your campaign objectives:

This is fundamental in getting your working relationship off to a good start. There are a variety of reasons why PR can be used successfully in your business, such as:

  • Generating product and brand awareness
  • Creating consumer awareness
  • Educating people and consumers
  • Increasing a company’s revenue and profitability
  • Raising awareness of new services and products
  • Building brand loyalty and brand reputation
  • Drawing attention to the company or brand
  • Establishing company or brand identity and credibility
  • Increasing the profile of key team members.

Agree your objectives and goals and establish what your end game is up front to make things easier all round in the deployment.

Also be very clear on your expectations for the pitch, the process, and the next steps.

  • Budget

Always include details of your maximum budget. Even if the figure is approximate, the inclusion of a budget will ensure that the responses to your brief are on the mark. The inclusion of a budget will also help exclude those agencies that ‘don’t get out of bed for less.’ It wastes your time and theirs if this is the case.

  • Measurement

All activity which includes time and resource should be measured.

There are many ways to measure your PR campaigns which your PR agency can do for you. These include (but are not limited to) media monitoring, backlink management, social media monitoring etc; but you will also have to work with them to identify results through your own CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems.

Whilst a PR agency can measure coverage and readership, they will not be able to link back any activity to direct sales unless you can provide this information.



Working with a PR agency and running a successful PR campaign takes a lot of effort and research, but if done correctly, it can change the direction and perception of your business. 

Remember that public relations campaigns are investments into your company’s reputation, so take the time to carefully plan all aspects of the operation. 

Every business is different, but these tips can be applied to any PR campaign that is looking to position you for growth.


About the Author

Karen Howell runs her own marketing consultancy – Zebroid Marketing after having previously worked in prominent corporates developing and implementing marketing strategy. Karen has an enviable track record of establishing marketing departments in large organisations; and now assists SME’s in their journey along the same path.

To find out more please visit

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