Five Tips to Finding a Good Communications Partner

Your multimillion dollar idea could put those Silicon Valley tycoons to shame, but… You’re not an engineer. In fact, the closest you’ve gotten to code is that episode of CSI Cyber you saw once.

Or maybe the app is already built, but nobody knows about it. You’ve got the product in hand and now need a strategy for content, social media, media relations and more.

Wherever you are in the process, whether creating a brand or promoting a product, finding a good fit with a communications agency is crucially important. At times they hold more impact over your brand than your own Marketing department. And, a great placement could garner you more leads than even your top salesperson. But, finding the right fit isn’t easy. We have five tips for how to find the ideal communications partner:

  1. Do your homework: Whether going through Clutch reviews, using Design Rush, or checking out their website, learn more about the agency before you even reach out to them. Do they consider themselves experts in web design, brand development, B2B publications or consumer-focused outlets? Are they a boutique agency or can they handle huge, multifaceted campaigns? (We are recognized as a Top Digital Marketing Company on DesignRush.)

  2. Know your budget: This is critical for picking a partner. The major communications firms won’t get out of bed for less than $25,000 a month. Smaller firms, like Bear Icebox, work on retainers that are much less than that and often tied to the client’s goals. Pricing also varies for the number of services you’re looking for. If it’s a complete package — from web, brand and app creation, through content strategy and development, on to paid digital campaigns and PR support — you’ll need a larger budget than if it’s just one of those services. There’s also hourly and project-based pricing, which could fit your needs better, depending on your timeline and goals.  P.S. Design Rush can help with this too.    

  3. Have a screening call: Meet the people who will be working with you. A good communications person is like a good lawyer or accountant; you need to have a good feeling going in and trust their judgment. If you ever run into a crisis with communications, you’ll need that relationship to be in a strong place before you commit. This also allows your prospective agency to learn a bit more about your needs and develop a proposal that appropriately meets your goals.

  4. Talk with someone who has used them before: The agency may be able to provide references or you can find someone who has used their services, you’ll learn a lot about the company, how they operate and how they view their clients. Chances are, you’ll have questions that you didn’t even think to ask and definitely aren’t on the company website, such as how responsive the team is. Learn more by talking with a client and get an unbiased opinion.

  5. Ask for a trial: If all else fails, the company may be willing to provide a small contract, between 30 and 90 days, for you to see how it fits. There could also be easy-out clauses, such as 30-day notices that allow you to move on with a minimal investment if it’s not feeling like the best fit. At Bear Icebox, we never ask for more than a 90-day commitment; we want to continually strive to keep our messaging tied to the landscape around us and meet our client’s expectations.

Here are the five pieces of advice that we’d give to anyone looking for a communications firm. Of course, we wouldn’t miss the opportunity to invite you to learn more about us by sending an email or scheduling a call.

But, regardless of who you pick, we hope it’s a good fit. Good luck on your communications journey!

Bob Spoerl