If you’re a startup, non-profit or traditional business you’ve probably been faced with the dilemma of choosing the right marketing firm. There’s advertising, marketing, public relations, brand management and the list goes on. We all know these terms what they mean and that we need to be considering them for our brands but when we have a specific issue at hand, where do we to turn? Most people send out a request for proposals and consider hiring an agency to outsource these responsibilities, but the question comes down to: What type of marketing agency does your brand need?

Choosing the right marketing firm isn’t an easy thing to do and many agencies provide similar solutions. Take a look at a few common issues most brands consider when they’re ready to choose a marketing firm. 

“I’m having brand awareness issues.”

 This is an issue for start-ups as well as organizations that have been around for years. It’s absolutely necessary for companies to have brand awareness, but do you want “traditional advertising” or third-party credibility? Depending on what you’re looking for—having complete control over the messages about your brand (advertising) or having reporters, journalists and influencers write about you (PR), you can hire an agency to increase brand awareness. 

If you want to call the shots and have control over your messages, you should hire an advertising agency. If you’re looking for stories to be written about you and engagement with third parties, you should hire a PR agency. The lines can get blurry here, as many use the words PR and advertising interchangeably, but there’s a big difference between the two. Advertising is paid media, and PR is earned. An advertising agency can promote your brand through television commercials, while a PR team can create engaging content in hopes that influencers will talk about you. It’s not always this black and white, but from an overview of key differences, most PR teams hope to earn coverage without having to pay.

Related Story: 11 Tips for Getting More Exposure Out of Press Coverage

“I need help with search engine optimization (SEO).”

 Advertising and PR can definitely help boost organic searches for your brand throughout the search engines, but if you’re looking to optimize your website and drive in more traffic, you should hire a digital marketing agency. These agencies dive into the depths of what keywords your brand should be trying to rank for, and with efforts like digital outreach, you can get great ‘PR placements’ with a link to your site for users to easily get to.

It’s always ideal to be on the first page of Google when trying to rank for specific terms related to your brand, and a digital agency that specializes in SEO can help you get there.While it’s also ideal to have quality websites talking about your brand, for the SEO value it’s best to earn links back to your brands website. 

These links will also help your ranking through Google’s eyes. This is more than brand awareness and PR. It’s about earning credibility from the actual website itself, which can help boost your rank on Google. SEO teams will also monitor backlinks to your site, to ensure you’re playing within Google’s guidelines of best practices and not earning links from spammy websites. 

Digital marketing agencies will also consult on what changes you should be implementing on the backend of your website and how to make it more user-friendly.

“My social media skills are lacking.”

 Social media is now one of the first places people go when logging into their computers or checking their smart phones. It’s becoming second nature to us and has become extremely important for brands. When looking to increase your followings, engage with your fans or increase your brand presence, you should be hiring either a PR agency or a social media agency. Both of these agencies will create social campaigns, content and quick-win solutions around trending topics. 

PR and digital agencies havecommunity managers on their social teams that devote their time to social media engagement, customer service and crisis management. These teams also take into consideration when to post content on your social platforms.

Obviously these aren’t the only issues brands often face, but a select few with recommendations. You’re not only limited to these solutions. There are far more detailed explanations and different actions to take in order to provide solutions to reach your brand’s objectives. But remember, identifying the core issue(s) will allow you to understand what type of agency your brands needs when it’s time to choose a marketing firm.

*A big thank you to Samantha Isdale, SEO analyst at Wpromote, an award winning Digital Marketing firm.*

Need media placements fast?
Need media placements fast?