A quality PR brief is your way to finding the right agency partner.  A considered approach, tailored to your needs, will help you to assess if the agencies can demonstrate an ability to support your business goals. Here are our four tips for communications professionals to keep in mind when creating that perfect brief:

Business Goals:

Be clear on what you want in an agency partner.  Know how you want them to fit into your working life, and the goals that you want them to achieve.  You need to be clear on the company’s business objectives, whether this is a specific sales target, sign-ups to a service, or a quality audience to attend an event. Aim to pick out at least three business objectives, that will determine the communication objectives, and ultimately the PR programme.

Know your PR Objectives:

Once you’ve laid out the business objectives, you need to overlay your PR objectives, and outline what the agency will need to work towards and be measured by. We suggest including at least three key messages that a PR campaign should cover.  This helps the PR agencies streamline thinking around your messages, and the programme.  The objectives should ideally be SMART (specific, measurable, agreed, realistic & timed). If you don’t know your messages, then this will need work. Ensure that different stakeholders across the business, and across regions, are aligned on objectives, to save confusion down the line.

Measures of Success (KPIs):

Your potential agency partners need to know what campaign success looks like, which should align back to your business and PR objectives.  You’ll also need to know what you want your budget to achieve. Outlining clear and measurable key performance indicators (KPIs) allows the interested agencies to know what they should strive for to meet the objectives.  There are industry best practice measurement approaches to consider here too, but well defined KPIs will eliminate poor fit agencies, and save time for you and them.

Budget Clarity:

The best briefs won’t go down the route of asking what the agencies can come up with, with a blank sheet of paper.  To understand agency thinking, consider giving them an additional ‘project brief’ to test ideas.  But, for the core brief, provide a full understanding (or at least a range) of the budget available, which will allow them to create the right sized campaign plan, linked to the budget available.  This will give you a clearer idea of what can be delivered with the resources available on a level playing field. Budget clarity will also rule out some agencies, if the budget is deemed too small, or too large.

Best Fit Summary:

Investing the time to create a thoughtful, commercial-oriented brief that provides transparency about what your business is looking for in a communications partner is key.  This will help ensure that you see quality proposals and agencies, that are better aligned with business goals.  This is not an exact science, but will help allow you to select the most suitable PR partner, with the right strategy to positively drive your communications programme to the next level.