The A to Z Guide to Growing a PR Agency in 2022
As a PR agency, you play a key role in helping others grow their brands. But do you have a growth mindset for your own business? If not, it’s time to start. PR employment is expected to grow by 11% by 2030 and the total market value will reach $129 billion by 2025, up from $88 billion in 2020.
To stay competitive in the industry and get your share of increasing demand for PR expertise, you need a solid growth strategy. In this article, we’ll explain how you can build one. The sections that follow will cover how to grow a PR agency using both B2B industry best practices and PR-specific strategies.
- B2B best practices for agency growth include knowing your client, being data-driven, and making strategies scalable.
- A strong network lays the foundation for agency growth and client success.
- Compelling content demonstrates a PR agency’s ability to execute on core services like writing, promotion, and brand reputation building.
- Every new client pitch should be customized to their individual needs.
- Client success stories build confidence and trust with prospects in your pipeline.
- Focusing on internal talent ensures you can continually deliver exceptional service to your clients.
Agency Growth 101: 3 Best Practices
To grow your PR agency, start with proven pillar strategies that work for agencies across every industry in the B2B business world: know your client, be data-driven, and make your strategy scalable. Let’s dive into each of these in more detail.
Know your client
No agency can be everything for everyone, and those that try risk mediocre results. A better approach — and B2B standard best practice — is to define and pursue clients who fit your unique audience profile. There are two frameworks you can use to do this: ideal client profile (ICP) and buyer personas.
Your ideal client profile defines the types of organizations that will best benefit from using your services. It looks at traits like company size, maturity, industry, budget, location and the like. Buyer personas define the individuals within those companies who make B2B buying decisions. Personas look at traits like position, job level, demographics, and motivating factors that could impact a decision.
Here’s a simple visual that shows how the two fit together:
When you use the ICP and buyer persona frameworks to define your target audience, you can tailor your marketing and sales strategies to attract clients most likely to convert and find value in what you have to offer.
Data is power in today’s B2B business world. B2B agencies can harness data in a few important ways. First, you can use it to understand customer behavior. Analytics tools (like Google Analytics) show you how customers interact with your website, email, and other content you share as part of your digital marketing strategy. Use it to capitalize on opportunities for high engagement and eliminate what’s not working.
Second, you can use data to understand their own marketing and sales performance. Tracking and reporting on key KPIs keep teams accountable and goal-focused.
Finally, data can tell you how the strategies you’re executing for your client are performing. Smart agencies use this data to craft compelling stories and reports that demonstrate the value they provide. In this way, data can be an ongoing reminder to your clients about why your agency is a good investment.
Data is also being used at an increasing rate by your competitors — B2B marketers say this year they anticipate using up to 12 different customer data sources throughout the sales process. If you aren’t using data to drive strategy and growth, you’re likely at a competitive disadvantage.
Make it scalable
Growth strategies require repeatable actions to be performed at scale. As you work to grow your agency, find ways to create processes and adopt tools that make every tactic scalable. In 2022 automation plays a significant role in this capability, but it can also be achieved through high levels of internal efficiency and commitment to the sales process.
How to Grow a PR Agency in 6 Steps
Build a strong network
The value you provide as a PR agency lies heavily in your network. That said, maintaining a generic rolodex of press contacts is not the way to go. Focus on continually building strong and authentic connections within your niche(s) — connections you know can be of real value to clients in your portfolio. Take time to attend industry events, utilize networking tools (like social media), and keep your contacts warm.
You want to have the ability to provide a customized approach to every client’s PR needs, and a strong, diverse network helps you do it. You also never know who else you’ll be connected to in the process — press networking often leads to new and unexpected client opportunities, too.
Create compelling content
Both inbound and outbound content creation is essential to any modern marketing strategy. For PR agencies, it’s even more critical to growth as it’s indicative of your ability to execute on many of your core services: writing, promotion, and crafting a public brand personality (to name a few).
Decide what you want your own brand personality to be and be sure it’s reflected in every piece of content you create (blogs, emails, landing pages, press releases, social media posts — you name it). Create content frequently to attract potential customers, increase your brand visibility, generate new leads, establish your reputation, and keep current customers engaged.
Customize every pitch
Every client seeks PR services for unique reasons. While you likely have a niche — and hopefully have ICPs and personas defined — no two clients will be the same. Find ways to be time effective about building customized pitches for every potential client. Research their history, use forms and other tools to collect information about their needs, and come up with ideas meant uniquely for them that you can share in sales conversations.
It doesn’t need to be overcomplicated, but this kind of personalized approach goes a long way. PR clients are entrusting you with a critical part of their business or person — their reputation — and knowing you have their individual needs in mind builds important trust in your agency.
Share client success stories
Nothing is more reassuring to potential clients than a proven track record. But it’s not enough to simply tell — you have to demonstrate. Build a library of success stories so that you can choose ones that will resonate most with each potential new client. Share those success stories on all of your marketing channels as well. Just as success stories can help convert prospects already in the pipeline, they can attract new leads for your agency.
Focus on internal talent
As service providers we spend a lot of time focused on the customer, but taking time to build your own internal talent team can be just as important to growth. From marketing to sales to actual PR responsibilities, building the right team ensures you’re continually able to execute strategies and provide exceptional service to your clients.
Over to You
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