VentureBeat features a great article about the value a good agency can bring to a start-up, young company, small business, medium sized business and why the large ones believe hiring aPR firm is a no-brainer. Other VentureBeat articles on PR agencies have emphasized the importance of insisting “having one of the senior-level executives working directly with you and that all communication does not go through the recently-hired college grad. It also wouldn’t hurt to know that this executive came from the ranks of journalism (I’m biased! Sorry!).
For an additional test, during the pitch and courtship period, send them an email during non-office hours and see how quickly they respond. Too many times I’ve dealt with PR professionals who didn’t respond to emails for hours, sometimes days, which baffles me. If I had been a journalist on a deadline, an hour’s delay would’ve meant me finding another contact and writing the story without your company.”