How Do I Choose the Right PR Agency for My Small Fashion Business?

With the support of a PR agency, your small fashion business will gain exposure on a level it would be quite difficult to reach on your own. It’s actually their full-time job to do the networking and relationship building you need but often won’t have time for. It sounds great, but before you settle on a partner, make sure you consider these important elements first. We’ve broken it down into an easy, 5 step plan for you to find the right agency for your business.

Find the Perfect Fit for Your Business, Not Just Your Budget

When it comes to PR agencies, not every agency will know how to best support small businesses or fashion startups in particular. If you approach your search by being budget-focused, you might end up with an agency that is not a good fit for your business altogether and provides little value for your investment. 

Make sure the PR firm knows the needs of small businesses and how to get them exposure to the right marketplaces. This is very valuable. 

Scaling Retail partners with a few key PR firms that are known for driving exposure for fashion brands. In fact, in the first season of working with an agency, one of our clients was placed in Vogue and the Boston Herald. Another found exposure in Self, Nylon, and HYPEBAE magazines! For fashion startups in their first seasons, those are golden results. 

If you’re looking to reach wider audiences like larger retail stores and high-end specialty boutiques,  the magazines that feature your brand and talk about you are vital to shaping the public perception of your business. And that’s exactly where an agency steps in.

Here’s a breakdown of how to go about finding the perfect PR agency for you:

1. Do Your Research

Gather a huge list of PR agencies you’re familiar with, and gather recommendations from your friends and colleagues. Make sure to add who your competitors are using, too. Competitors will often have their PR agencies listed on their websites. Think about what is most important to your business as you narrow it down to a shortlist. 

2. Make Contact

Send out emails, make phone calls, and talk to the people on your shortlist! Find out who their current clients are, who they have previously worked with, and what they have accomplished for those clients. And most importantly, ask them what they’ll do for you. 

3. Negotiate

Anything you receive back from a PR agency is negotiable. So, if you want a discount, ask for it! It will be up to the PR agency to say no and walk away from your business. Chances are you might just get what you want. 

4. Vet Your Proposals

Get references and talk to a few of the brands that have worked with that agency. Just because a PR firm lists that they have represented or worked with a brand doesn’t mean they actually had great results with that company. There’s a huge difference between winning business and winning business over and over again with the same client by driving results. 

5. Be Patient

Keep in mind that contract lengths are also an important part of this process. You might see six-month, one-year, or month-to-month contracts available. In the initial stages of working with a PR agency, they will need a month or two before they start to see opportunities in the market. This is not what you want to hear, but you simply won’t see results right away. Be patient: Even the best PR firms take time. Waiting six months to a year is normal before seeing the returns you want. 

Want to know more? Our post “How to Land Press and Interviews for Your New Small Fashion Business” explores alternative options if working with a PR firm is not within your current budget. And if influencer collaborations are your goal, make sure to read “What Influencers Look for in Brand Partnerships” for our best tips and tricks. 

If you’re ready to integrate a cohesive public relations marketing strategy into your sales and general brand direction, send an email to hello@scalingretail.com. Our clients receive preferred access to the public relations firms we work closely with, and we can help drive strategy and communication. Having experts on your side can make a huge impact when it comes to making the important decisions surrounding who talks about your business. 

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