How to write a PR Brief or Invitation to Tender (ITT)
The PR pitching process is a costly and time consuming business, both for your organisation and the PR agencies invited to take part.
Ensuring you start with a thorough PR Brief not only helps an agency create a pitch that is on message with your organisation and its vision and values, it also helps focus your mind on exactly what you want to achieve.
A detailed PR Brief is the blueprint to enable you to choose the pitching agencies wisely, so here’s what you need to include:
- It’s useful to start with some background to your organisation; its brand identity and vision, information on the markets in which it operates, its customers and stakeholders, and its main competitors.
- Your communications activity supports your business objectives, so ensuring that pitching agencies have both the plans for the business and your objectives for what you’re trying to achieve with your PR campaign is extremely important.
- On the subject of communication, it’s helpful to explain what other marketing channels are being used by the organisation and how these are being measured. There’s no point in the PR agencies adding services into their pitch if they’re already covered.
- Who are you trying to reach with this PR campaign? The more information you can give on your target audience, for example their demographics and psychographics, the better the agencies will know how to reach them and what messages to use.
- Be clear about your goals and what success looks like in terms of measurable outcomes.
- Be specific about what you would like to be included in the brief. If you want to know whether an agency has the required credentials and previous experience, references or case studies, ask them to include details.
- Knowing the timescales for the activity is important. Are you looking to appoint an agency on retainer or for a single project? If it’s a one-off campaign with a launch date then it enables agencies to consider whether they have the resources to carry it out.
- Leaving a budget off the brief can really hamstring an agency. There’s no way of knowing whether the ideas they come up with will be affordable. It may even deter some agencies from pitching because they may think you’re not serious or, worse still, that you are fishing for ideas and have no intention of hiring anyone.
If you include all these elements in your PR Brief, you’ll be far more likely to receive focused pitches and presentations. This in turn should make your job of selecting the right agency for you much easier.
Finally in terms of best practice, you could also:
- be available for questions so agencies can interrogate and fully understand the brief
- be clear if questions asked by the agencies will be shared among all pitching groups
- give a timeline for the pitch process, so agencies aren’t left hanging on for months on end
- give feedback
And very importantly respect copyright. Any ideas an agency pitches are their property. If you like the ideas but for whatever reason don’t choose the agency, discuss buying their ideas.
If you are reviewing your PR, we would be happy to discuss our credentials with you.