Just like every other kind of shopping, finding a PR agency in Toronto, or anywhere else for that matter, is involved in very little actual searching, and a great deal of choosing and deciding.

The possibilities are vast, with a multitude of companies offering seemingly the same services. At the same time, you know that even comparing apples with apples, some are better than others, and it matters which you choose.

Daunting? Not at all, especially once you go through this list of factors. After reading this, choosing a Toronto public relations agency will be a breeze. Well, maybe not a breeze exactly, but not a hurricane anymore, either. Enjoy!

Examine the scale of the company

PR agencies range anywhere between a boutique-sized 3-person agency to giant operations employing over 1,000 professionals spanning offices in a number of countries. The big corporate agency might not give you the personalized treatment you require, and the small boutique company may not specialize in the sectors you want to reach.

Do they know the field?

We need to clarify this. We don’t mean their field - we mean yours. PR in one industry is not the same as PR in another. The audiences, brand language and other factors differ between a clothing brand and a travel agency’s office. The PR strategies will not be the same for them. It’s best to go with a Toronto PR agency that has developed and maintained successful public relationship strategies for clients in your field.

Meet the people who will work with you

If you met with several agency representatives that you liked and who got you on board, ask if they are the ones who’ll be working with you directly. Some companies will get clients to meet with key representatives and then switch them over to the actual staff that will be implementing your campaign. You really should meet those people too, before you sign on.

Talk about the money

You get what you pay for. While it doesn’t mean that a $1-million contract will get you a million-dollar result, the opposite is definitely the case. A suspiciously cheap price tag can be a sign of inexperience or incompetence, or both. Go for the healthy average and you should be just fine. Also, make sure you know precisely what you’ll be getting for your money. A full breakdown of costs and deliverables should be presented right from the onset, so you know exactly what your money is getting you.

Follow your gut

Yes, this is also an important tip, and here’s how you make it work. When you are there, take a walk around the offices. Are the employees happy and energetic? Are there pictures of family on their desks; is there a feeling of contentment around the office? If not, walk out. A PR agency delivers communications and emotion. If they look like they lack either of those components when they work amongst themselves, how can they deliver it to your audience?

PR is an art, and art is craft intertwined with emotion. Look for a competent Toronto PR firm that has that vibe you can relate to, and it should work magnificently.

Good luck!