Things to Consider When Choosing a Public Affairs Firm

What do public affairs firms do?

Let’s start here. Public affairs firms leverage their team’s experience and skill collaborating with elected officials, government bureaucracies and regulators, advocacy groups, and the media to deliver the best possible outcome for their clients.

When should I consider hiring a public affairs agency?

When you’re looking to engage with public officials, policymakers, and stakeholders about an issue that’s important to your organization, whether it’s influencing public opinion or a limited set of players, you need a public affairs agency to help set strategy, make connections, and implement a communications plan to create and execute the best possible public affairs campaign.

What to look for in a public affairs firm?

Gaining public affairs traction requires a firm with political and policy expertise on the ground, backed by targeted and relentless PR execution. The best public affairs firms blend several critical ingredients: experience and skill of the team members; the scope and depth of their government and advocacy relationships; and the quality and effectiveness of their external messaging and public outreach. And, in choosing a public affairs agency, there’s an ultimate reality check: Has the agency consistently delivered results and made meaningful impacts on public policy?

Relationships and connections make all the difference

You want a public affairs agency with people who know people in the right circles—and know them well. The best public affairs firms have established a wide assortment of professional relationships in the political and policy arena throughout their careers, which should include significant government experience. They have developed trust with a range of public officials, often because at one point they have worked side by side with them. They are able to tap their network, including those who hold the levers of power and effect decision-making. Their relationships and knowledge yield valuable insights and crucial strategic direction in a public affairs campaign.

PR firepower moves hearts and minds—and elevates public affairs campaigns

A public affairs agency also needs to have nimble communications capabilities across many platforms, including having trusted relationships with television, radio and print journalists and top-notch social media expertise. The agency should be able to leverage its experience and contacts on previous campaigns. You want outstanding communicators who know how to create the right messaging and then can amplify it across the spectrum of media.

5 tips for finding the right public affairs agency

1. Set your goals & objectives

It’s important to have a clear set of desired outcomes before looking for a public affirms firm. It avoids confusion at the outset and helps you sort out the best firms.

2. Determine your budget

It’s always a good idea to know what your spending capacity is, for it also helps provide focus for the public affairs agencies you’ll talk to.

3. Research public affairs firms

Doing your homework can help simplify the search. The bios of the public affairs team members provide valuable information about the experience level of the agency. Also, be sure to review client testimonials.

4. Ask a lot of questions

What’s the public affairs agency’s track record of success? How involved will senior team members be in the engagement?

5. Discuss expectations & contracts

Before you sign on the dotted line, discuss setting clear goals and expectations and also the duration and other terms of the contract.

Searching for the top public affairs firms? The Castle Group has you covered.

At Castle, our track record in engaging stakeholders, messaging the broader public and ultimately delivering results has generated highly effective results for our clients in the political and policy arena. The talent and experience of our team to engage key stakeholders along with the power of our PR muscle consistently raises awareness, wins policy debates, and delivers positive outcomes. Contact us today for help with your organization’s public affairs.

The Castle Group, Senior Advisor, George Donnelly
Written By: George Donnelly


Outdoors of the Castle Group office