PR can be a big investment, especially if you are a start up. Equally it’s a time commitment and cannot be totally delegated, no matter how skilled the PR agency is. To get the most of your money – and ensure a good relationship with your agency – there are some important questions you should ask and factors you should be aware of:

Is the PR team excited about what you do? They are representing you and need to be as passionate as you are.

Be sure they understand your business – do they have relevant experience and know the media you want to get to?

Get references – even if the chemistry seems great, talk to other clients to be sure they deliver once the contract is signed.

Do they ask the right questions? The best PR people don’t just agree with what you say, they advise you. This can involve asking sometough questions and addressing weaknesses you hadn’t considered (after all you want to be prepared when a journalist does the asking).

PR is a process not an event. Do you want to use an agency on an ongoing basis or is it for a particular launch or milestone? If it’s the latter, keep in mind that relationships take time to build and you’ll achieve more from your PR spend if you consider a longer process.

Find out how important a client you will be to the agency. If you are not spending as much as their other, larger, clients then keep in mind that you may not be getting attention from their most experienced teammembers.