How to brief your PR agency

Written by Trish McGee

The communications landscape continues to evolve and how an organisation briefs a potential agency has shifted in turn. 

Presenting a PR consultancy with a clear and concise brief is crucial for an impactful communications campaign. 

With 25 years in the industry, IMPACT shares its four tips for effectively briefing a communications agency, setting you up for a successful and collaborative partnership. 

1. The foundations + the reverse brief 

Ideally, your PR partner should be an extension of your team, but they won’t be privy to everything there is to know about your business (but we will try!). This means, the strategy they deliver will only as good as the brief you provide. 

We know your project is part of a larger company strategy. You might not think it important, but we really want to know what is the strategic opportunity for the business, what is the business challenge that needs solving, what solution does the board or the CEO want, why is it a marketing problem? And what are the business’ KPIs in relation to this project and how will success be measured? 

Knowing the answers to these questions helps us to understand how your communication goals ladder up to your business objectives.  

Be sure to include any watch outs or external issues affecting the organisation that might affect the results of a campaign.  

At IMPACT we like to utilise a ‘reverse brief’ to ensure we have understood your needs correctly and are aligned on the foundational elements.  

2. Set a clear budget and timeline 

Clearly defining the scope for the PR budget and establishing a timeline allows for KPIs to be set, efficient resource allocation, and open communication, ultimately leading to a successful and cost-effective campaign. 

However, the pitch process is a considerable undertaking; it’s an investment in the client relationship and the brand. In fact, according to CPRA Agency SIG, best practice is for clients to pay for the strategy. If you want a great result, pay for the pitch. As a rule of thumb, agencies aim to spend about 5-10 per cent of your budget on the process. 

If you have a budget in mind, be as upfront as you can or provide a range. This will help both organisations determine whether the partnership is the right fit from a financial standpoint. Most will have a minimum budget that they will work to.  

3. Trust your partner! 

One of the most important steps is trusting your PR agency partner during the briefing process. Their success is your success! 

To get the very best out of your chosen PR agency, don’t be afraid to be open to feedback, questions and collaboration. It’s important to remember that you’ve chosen them for a reason, and to consider the agency’s expertise and their insights into the media and digital landscape. Be open to their suggestions and recommendations. 

4. Results take time 

As part of an agency’s recommendations, you can expect to see proposed channels to execute a campaign based on your audience and objectives. These could include traditional earned media, social media, events, influencers, or other digital platforms. 

Whichever avenue is chosen, it’s important to be realistic as results take time.  

For example, it takes time to build up your organisation as a trusted and go-to contributor for media. You won’t be able to dip in and dip out with months in between, expecting the same results. If there is a gap in the market, journalists will move on to the next source (most likely your competitors) and the process will need to start all over again.   

Do you need assistance with a PR brief? Contact Trish at 

Written by Trish McGee 

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