You want to do PR, you've got a budget assigned, now all you've got to do is find a PR company to do it - easy, right?  Finding the right PR company, like starting any truly useful relationship, takes time, attention and management.  All too often organisations think 'We'll have a beauty contest, invite a few agencies in to pitch, grab the best ideas and choose whoever seems the prettiest'* or the new marketing director just wants to bring in the PR team that they worked with at their old company or the Americans want a global PR company so the UK just has to get on with whoever has been selected.  

Think about the time involved.  First, you've got to write a brief that brings together the business plan, what everyone in the senior management team thinks should be happening PR-wise, an outline of the marketplace, a review of what has been happening that might be called PR as well as a view of the marketing plans.  Then someone has to chose agencies, which means doing a bit of research, actually it can be quite a lot of research, talk to the agencies, decide which ones should be invited to pitch, then organise the day - or days - of pitches.  Someone has to come up with an outline of what are going to be the key factors in the decision making process.  Is price the most important thing or the fact that the agency - or the people in it - has experience in a specific area?  Lots of people want the PR people to have lots of relationships with journalists, thinking that all you have to do as a PR with a relationship with a journalist is ring up and then the journalist will write anything you want.  Actually, you can take a good story anywhere and it doesn't matter whether you have ever met the journalist in question or not.  What is important is knowing how to approach the media and how to build an attractive story.  Then, and only then, everyone has to sit in a room and listen to all these PR people have a wonderful time pitching and make a decision about which agency to go for.  Then there is negotiating the contract, making sure that both sides have some skin in the deal.  After that, you've got to teach the PR company about your organisation, product and customers and get the programme moving.  

Sigh.  Sounds like a lot, doesn't it?  Outsource the process to me and let me help.  It is often easier for an outsider to get at what everyone in the senior management team expects from PR - I am politically inert as far as the organisation is concerned, so no one has to impress me, I am a practical solution to a busy situation.  

So often people don't want to include budget guidelines, which is depthlessly irritating when you are pitching.  Yes, I can come up with wild, glamorous ideas any day of the week - not a lot of point if what your budget is limited and you have PR requirements that have to be fulfilled from your parent company's dictates.  

I've read lots of briefs - and pitched for lots of companies that didn't even write a brief - so I know what makes a good brief and what makes a poor one.  I understand both the agency point of view and the organisation's.  I can help you make the most of your budget, decide what allowance to define for direct costs (or out of pocket expenses) and whether working with a freelance PR person or a PR agency works best, and what size of agency is most likely to work best with you.  I set out a review cycle so that there are check points along the way for both you and the PR company which should help guarantee a positive and productive relationship.  

Let me be your matchmaker and help you to a good situation.  

* yes I have lost a pitch because the only blonde on my team was male ....