Would you like foreign media to cover your brand? Are you looking for a PR agency that will allow you to reach journalists not only in the UK, and the US but also in Germany, France, Latin America or Central-Eastern Europe? Or even many more countries at the same time? We have prepared a guide on how to conduct effective communication activities abroad.
Each country has specific economic and geopolitical conditions that affect the quality of doing business and the way you communicate with customers. Also, the media environment in each country can differ significantly. In some countries, you have to assume a substantial budget for paid activities – sponsored articles, natives or advertorials, in others you bet on frequent press releases or cooperation with influencers. There are countries where the printed press still dominates the market and those where online portals lead the way. In some, the market is dominated by state media, while in others the cards are dealt by commercial publishers or international news corporations. All these differences must be taken into account in the planned communication activities.
How to choose a PR agency
The solution will be to engage a local PR agency. The specialists employed there have the necessary experience, knowledge of the local media and developed contacts with journalists. Without these assets, effective communication is difficult.
So what should you follow when choosing a PR agency?
- It is best to cooperate with an agency that specializes in a narrow field, consistent with the client’s business profile. So, if your company operates in the field of technology, look for agencies that deal with PR for tech.
- Be sure to analyze the agency’s past portfolio, the history of its projects, achievements and results of previous campaigns. This will allow you to see how the chosen PR agency handles clients in your sector.
- If possible, ask for references from the agency’s other clients. Let the portfolio be supported by reviews.
- Consider whether it would be a better option for your company to work with an intimate, boutique PR agency, or whether you prefer a large organization. It is also worth noting in this case whether the agency is part of a larger – national or international – network of PR agencies.
- One indicator of a PR agency’s effectiveness is the length of time it has been working with clients – the longer, the greater the chance that the agency achieves its goals. Research how long the agency you are considering has been working with its clients.
- Before establishing cooperation, it is good to know the composition of the team that will be assigned to handle our project (this will help avoid working with inexperienced people or those who do not have the necessary competence).
How to establish cooperation with a foreign agency?
You can establish cooperation with a local PR agency on your own, but this is a time-consuming process and is fraught with the risk of ending up with an unreliable partner. Another option is to use the services of one of the large global PR agencies, such as FleishmanHillard or Hill+Knowlton Strategies, but with this solution, you have to expect high costs. The cheaper and most optimal scenario for most companies is to contact a network of independent PR agencies.
An example is Enterie, a global network operating in more than 80 markets (including the US and EMEA). It has been in existence since 2017 and specializes in communications activities for corporations in the new technology industry, fintechs, startups, venture capital funds, e-commerce companies and those belonging to the sustainable development sector. In addition, Enterie has experience in running simultaneous PR campaigns in several markets and provides its clients with coordinators to oversee communications activities in multiple countries.
However, regardless of whether you choose to deal directly with a local agency or use the services of an international network, it’s a good idea to learn about the specifics of the media in the country you’re interested in before you begin.
PR in Germany
Traditional media and high-circulation print press (local and regional) still dominate in Germany. In addition to Germany itself, they also reach German-speaking addressees in Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Denmark and Luxembourg. This brings the total to around 100 million potential recipients. Learn more about PR in Germany.
PR in France
In France, online portals and print titles are the most popular, among which we find a large number of premium luxury magazines. French media are concentrated in the hands of the state and a small group of wealthy owners, making individual editorial offices characterized by clear political and ideological preferences. Learn more about PR in France.
PR in the UK
Political divisions are also characteristic of the British media, and this is particularly evident in the case of readers of the printed press, who differ mainly in their affiliation with a particular social stratum. Radio and television, as well as electronic media, which are gaining in popularity, are more neutral. Learn more about PR in the UK.
PR in the US
The United States is a country with a very diverse media landscape. There are national, state and local media, representing a wide range of opinions and political sympathies. Despite the great diversity, global technology giants such as Google and Facebook have a major influence on the US media business. Learn more about PR in the US.
PR in Poland
With 38M inhabitants, Poland is the biggest UE member in Central-Eastern Europe. The press is losing its popularity. Online media are more popular, and gather really respected journalists, previously working for the printed press or TV. Local media are in crisis – many are owned by the state and are considered pro-government as a result. Learn more about PR in Poland or download a free e-book “How to enter Poland? Practical guide for entrepreneurs”.
Where PR agencies start
The first task of a local PR agency should be an analysis of the client’s needs and product, as well as an audit of its existing communications activities. On this basis, a comprehensive PR strategy should be drawn up, tailored to the local specifics. Its development (and adherence) will allow efficient implementation of image activities and quick response to opportunities for media coverage. It will also ensure consistency of communication and standardization of materials provided to journalists.
“For a foreign client who starts working with our agency, I always have one piece of advice: be realistic! Unless you have a technology or service that is a market game-changer, you need to understand that PR is a long process. In the shorter term, publications in specialized industry media will work better. They are the first step to building recognition in business titles and national media” – says Ranbir Sahota, CEO at Vitis PR (part of the Enterie network)
What should a PR strategy include?
- a detailed description of the company,
- a description of its product or service and its distinguishing features,
- indication of the personas (individual and institutional audiences) for whom the product is intended,
- the most important assumptions of the language of communication (vocabulary used and phrases to avoid),
- the main messages of communication,
- identification of experts whose role will be to represent the company in dealing with journalists,
- identification of media contexts and the list of media to which the communication will be addressed.
When signing a contract with a PR agency, it is also worth defining and writing into it a fixed scope of cooperation. It can indicate, for example, the minimum number of press releases sent to the media each month, and the number of posts published on the company’s blog or social media channels. In addition to the basic scope, it is also good to specify what optional activities the agency can undertake.
Having the aforementioned strategy, it is also good to take additional actions, among which the most helpful can be:
- advance preparation of the press release template, press footer and necessary graphic materials (logos, photos of company representatives, etc.),
- gathering reports, presentations and any other materials that may be helpful in preparing the media release,
- development of a Q&A document with potential questions that journalists may address to the company,
- prepare a detailed written crisis communication plan for the relevant market.
Foreign versions of press releases should not just be translations of universal materials created inside the organization. It is worth supplementing them with local information or statements of local managers.
PR activities abroad are good to start with a direct presentation to potential business partners and journalists. A good opportunity is various events and industry conferences. Ideally, such an event should be held directly in the country where you are communicating, but thanks to online broadcasts you can also take part in events organized in any corner of the globe. The most attractive events should be indicated by a local PR agency, and you can also entrust it with the organization of all the details related to participation in the event – getting media patronage and securing accreditation for journalists.
How much does PR cost abroad
The cost of PR projects depends on a number of local factors, as well as the scope of communication activities carried out in a given country. Among other things, the price will be influenced by whether you are interested only in media relations activities or more extensive forms of cooperation – such as employer branding services, running social media channels, working with influencers or organizing events.
Here are some examples:
- In Germany the cost of a single dispatch is about €1,800 euros. Fixed monthly subscription costs 3,000 – 5,000 euros per month
- In France the cost of a single dispatch is about €1,700 euros. Fixed monthly subscription costs 3,000 – 6,000 euros per month
- In the UK you will pay 800-2,000 pounds for a single dispatch. Fixed monthly subscription costs 1,800 – 4,000 pounds
- In the USA the largest national and global PR agencies, as a rule, do not accept orders of less than $15,000 per month. Our single shipment is around $1,800, and for longer cooperation expect $2,000 – $20,000 each month
- In Poland you will pay about €1,200 euro for a single dispatch. Fixed monthly subscription is the cost of 1,800 – 3,500 euros net.
How to check the effectiveness of PR agencies’ activities
There is no universal way to measure the effectiveness of a PR agency’s activities, because the indicators are selected each time according to the scope of work carried out by the agency. KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), depending on the scope of cooperation with the agency, may include:
- number of publications, their reach brand reputation – it can be measured, for example, by the number of publications initiated by journalists themselves, invitations of company representatives to interviews or citations of materials created by the company,
- influence in social media – it means the number of shares of publications in social media channels independent of the brand and agency,
- SEO reach – understood as the acquisition of links to the company’s website,
- sales support – measured by the number of customers gained through publications, SEO or other activities undertaken by the agency.
Are you interested how Enterie network worked in a few markets? See case studies about our work for fintech.