Best practice in public relations procurement

Choosing the best PR practitioner or agency for your company is really important if you want someone who can deliver results against your business objectives. Last night the CIPR launched a new Client Advisor Service to help organisations get their recruitment right.

When it comes to hiring a PR practitioner or agency, there are so many choices out there it can sometimes be difficult to know where to start. A lack of barriers to entry in public relations means that anyone can set themselves up with a phone and a laptop – and that you might not get the most from your investment.

It is possible to find someone who ticks all the right boxes, fits with your business and delivers more than the odd press release. Public relations is much more than media relations and when deployed strategically can be a game changer for your organisation.

Look for proof of continuous professional development

If you want someone with a comprehensive skillset, I always recommend looking for candidates who are members of a professional body like the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (I’m its immediate past president) or the PRCA.

This is a way to make sure you find someone whose PR activity will align with your organisational objectives and result in clear business outcomes, while working within a code of conduct. Remember the person you’re hiring will be responsible for managing your reputation.

An even better choice is a chartered PR practitioner. Chartered status means that person has been evaluated on their leadership, ethical and strategic capabilities, and is committed to continuous professional development (CPD).

I was the first CIPR member in the North East to become Chartered and all of my team are members of the Institute, as part of our commitment to delivering to the highest standards and being accountable.

Time served is not the equivalent of the appropriate training and qualifications, especially in an industry which is evolving very quickly.

Best practice in procurement

If you are recruiting for a new PR role in your organisation or if you want agencies to pitch for your work, the CIPR has launched a brand-new Client Advisor Service to help you follow best practice.

If you’re after a member of the team, one of its client advisors can help you prepare a job description and interview candidates, useful for companies which are new to PR, want to ensure the job description is accurate and their chosen professional can deliver fully in the role on offer.

Similarly, if you want agencies to pitch for your work and have a budget of £5,000 or more to spend, a client advisor can help you prepare a brief and select an agency.

All CIPR client advisors are experienced chartered practitioners and undertake this work at a reduced fixed fee.


Use the toolkit


The CIPR also has a procurement toolkit available to support PR recruitment. The toolkit is designed to help clients of the PR profession and their suppliers, including agencies and other service providers, to work together to maximise the value delivered by PR practitioners and PR activity.

From a practitioner point of view, having an accurate view of the job or brief makes a huge difference to how you approach the interview or pitch and critically if you even throw your hat in the ring. It’s worth following the guidance to get the best people for the job.

You can find more information on the CIPR Client Advisor Service here. The CIPR procurement toolkit is available here.