Complete Guide to Hiring a PR Agency in 2022
Partnering with PR experts to devise a public relations strategy offers many benefits for companies of all sizes. PR agencies will dive into your brand and craft effective external communications, forge valuable connections with journalists and build a strong reputation for your brand.
Sometimes regarded as the father of PR, Edward Bernays, a nephew of Sigmund Freud, took the approach that audiences had to be carefully understood and persuaded to see things from the client's perspective.

After 100 years, that approach still rings true.

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Why is PR important?
PR helps to tell your business’ unique story and distinguish you from the competition. The right PR professional will provide continuous content for the media who are always on the hunt for content that speaks to their own audiences. From drafting a press release to pitching you to their network, they will also produce various types of content that will help promote your brand to both stakeholders and the public.

What does a PR agency do?
A PR agency manages and builds the reputation of your brand through owned, earned, and paid communications. Oftentimes people think of PR agencies as a channel of which a business communicates to the press. This is not wrong, but that’s the tip of the iceberg.

The main goals of a PR agency are brand awareness and reputation management. Reaching these goals comes in many forms, which we’ll explore in depth below.

Should I hire a PR agency?
Hiring a PR agency will help you get noticed and cultivate a positive reputation with your audiences through various channels. Such channels may be paid or unpaid, encompass earned communications, social media, and industry events. They can also help clients craft meaningful messages to their audiences and manage your reputation during a crisis.

Businesses, especially new ones in a growth phase may find it’s hard to make time for brand awareness, media management and marketing. A hybrid PR and Marketing agency like FuturPR will also take on blog writing, drafting ad copy, and establishing your social media presence so your brand values don’t fall short.
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Do blockchain and crypto projects need PR?
It’s no secret that crypto has become a target for bitter news and bridge that trust-gap between a business and its would-be clients or customers, the business can hire someone in public relations. The expert works on increasing their credibility within their given industry and increasing their overall reputation. This also helps people decide which blockchain companies to invest in.

Are PR and Marketing the same thing?
Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds brand awareness, aids in fostering beneficial relationships and partnerships and builds credibility with your brand. As businesses and audiences evolve, marketing and communications do, too. From what was once an outbound-heavy era we’re seeing a powerful shift towards consumer-centric marketing. Brands, more than ever, are focused on serving the needs of consumers. PR and marketing now go hand-in-hand to design an efficient funnel yielding powerful results.

Marketing, in its essence, is delivering value to meet the needs of your target audience.

How do PR and Marketing work together?
When PR and marketing align their goals and work together, a more holistic and efficient funnel is built. The two share the same foundation of focusing on communications as well as share similar goals of building the brand and engaging audiences. But it’s their complementary skills that allow them to collaborate and produce highly targeted and engaging content that drives real results.

Let’s imagine that a potential customer is made aware of your brand through PR such as reading a headline about your company on Forbes. That same potential customer checks Twitter to find your social media presence and your pinned post leads them to your landing page, converting them into a user thanks to your social media marketing. When PR and marketing collaborate on strategic messaging, you'll increase your brand awareness, credibility and reach those highly qualified leads.

PR and Marketing are a match made in heaven.

What services do PR agencies provide?

1. Reputation management
First and foremost, reputation management is one of the most critical services PR agencies provide. Tactics might include bespoke brand messaging on your website or thought-leadership blog content, social media management, conducting media outreach, and engaging with followers.

Social media is an excellent platform to build your brand’s reputation and connect with your audience. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Telegram are great platforms to share announcements and have an actual dialogue with your audience. Your presence and how you manage your online reputation is directly correlated to brand affinity and could make a powerful impact on your business.
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2. Crisis management
It’s no surprise that in our day and age where everyone has a smartphone and the ability to record, photograph and screenshot (presumably) private messages, bring it to millions of users on multiple platforms which enable free speech, far too many leaders and public figures have experienced at least one reputational threat.

Your company will most likely face at least one threat during its time. This is a good reason to prepare yourself with a PR agency who can anticipate and draft a crisis plan to keep in your back pocket, should the time come. A crisis communication plan can be as simple as an empathetic tweet or as complex as a multifaceted campaign.

3. Media relations
An excellent avenue to build your brand reputation and get your own name out there is through the media. PR agencies will manage the relationship between the media and your company. PR experts will draft pitches and bring them directly to qualified journalists and to land your brand in industry news. A PR agency will also keep their eyes and ears open for any opportunities that align well with your brand, resulting in earned placements and requests for quotes in leadership articles.

4. Social media
As we’ve previously pointed out, social media is not only one of the best ways to communicate with your audience, but it is a critical factor in reputation management. Hybrid PR and Marketing agencies like FuturPR can manage and run your social media accounts. Putting effort into your social media presence is an excellent way of building your brand and connecting with your target audiences. Strategic campaigns will further increase your brand affinity, word of mouth and engagement.

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5. Speech writing and media training
Corporate training is a hot topic these days as brands embark on their journey into consumer-centric marketing. Leaders are expected to be public-facing, inspiring and relatable.

It’s crucial to have someone on your team who understands the target audience adn the message you want to convey. A professional speech writer is someone to do just that. If you are attending an event and scored a spotlight on the stage, or are preparing to be interviewed by the media, or even just need to brush up on your public speaking skills, speech writing and media training will help immensely.

Any public speaking events and communications given on behalf of your company should always represent your brand as a whole.

6. Press releases
A press release is an official statement or a document that announces something newsworthy. It is prepared by a PR specialist and delivered directly to the media. Companies typically draft press releases to announce product launches, partnerships, stellar new hires and campaigns.

Consistently distributing valuable content to the media allows brands to build credibility over time with their audiences. It is especially useful for small businesses to earn credibility about themselves and land valuable partnerships.

7. Event attendance and sponsorships
Attending industry events can be a valuable addition to your PR strategy. You can forge beneficial relationships, land new deals, promote your brand and network with media at the events. A PR agency can help while you’re on the ground by attaining media coverage and reaching out to reporters.

A hybrid PR and Marketing agency can also dip into their pool of contacts to help you secure speaking spots, run a workshop, join a panel discussion or build your presence on the expo floor with a booth.

8. Market research
Let’s not forget what our dear friend Edward Bernays advocated as the most important element to communicating and building relationships with your target audience: understanding them. That's where market research comes in.

Assessing the market share can be difficult so the right PR agency can help you uncover competitors and anticipate how the market is evolving. From topics like attitudinal, to pricing research and segmentation and more, your ideal PR agency can conduct multiple research studies for you. Your PR agency will conduct market research to understand and uncover unique insights to your target audience and identify ways your brand can talk to them.

Which brings us to our next topic....
How do I Hire a PR agency?
Now that you understand the benefits a PR agency can bring to your brand and have set your sights on taking that next step, here are some tips to help you make that journey rewarding and beneficial:

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1. Set your objectives
It might be helpful to view the potential PR agency not as an external source, but as a partner. The best results come from a company and agency whose goals and expectations are aligned.

Now it’s time to start thinking about your goals. Define what your goals are and what you want to accomplish by working with a PR agency. Not all agencies are the same or can align on your objectives so it’s imperative you find one you know can understand your brand.

2. Set your budget and expectations
Prices vary wildly in the PR Wild West. Many PR agencies adopt a retainer model which is best for brands who aim for long-term partnerships. Some agencies offer small packages which are more budget friendly.

The typical mid-tier PR agency focused in a specific niche can start at $15,000/month retainer and offer many of the services mentioned above. Higher tier agencies will start at a minimum $20k retainer. The differences between the two are not significant–though your company will be able to boast working with a marquee name.

Hybrid PR and Marketing agencies can also operate with the familiar retainer-based model but having that all-in solution will result in more bang for your buck.

Tip: Always be upfront with your budget and ask about any hidden rates or fees. You don’t want to be surprised with a nasty bill. This is one reason why retainers are so attractive–you won’t be counting any man hours and there’s no overtime.

3. Get your questions ready
After thinking through what you can and want to do, contact the agency to set up a meeting and draft a list of questions. You’ll need to know if your brand’s values and mission can align with the agency in question.

You’ll want to ask about pricing, their experience, how they respond to your brand’s goals, any particular specialties they have, core values, and if they have bandwidth to take on another client. You don’t want to fall into the funnel only to find out they don’t have the time to dedicate their time to truly understanding your goals.

6. Set transparent expectations
After you've decided which PR agency you want to work with, each party should reiterate on expectations. Make your objectives and goals clear.

You’ll want to establish together exactly where you hold your main communications be it via email, telegram or a slack channel and the frequency. Working with your new PR agency shouldn’t ever feel like a burden.

7. Time to onboard your PR agency!
This is the final and most exciting step. It’s time to collect your company’s internal documents like pitch decks, visions and values, branding, strategy and anything else you feel might help your new teammates educate themselves.

Communicate, collaborate and ready for an incredibly valuable journey into exceeding your brand’s goals.

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