By Jack O’Dwyer
PR firms that are thinking of joining the O’Dwyer rankings this year and that are looking for reasons to do so should consider the following benefits.
1. Third party endorsement is obtained. This is the bedrock principle of PR—others recognize you. The O’Dwyer Co. has been doing PR firm rankings for 40 years and its name is well known in the business world.
2. It proves you are a PR firm. Complying with the ranking rules, including supplying top page of latest corporate income tax return and W-3, establishes you as a PR firm rather than an ad agency or other type of business. PR firms have distinctive financials—at least half of income is used for staff pay. The ranking measures counseling and media contact services, not advertising or production expenses.
3. Promote your specialty practices. PR has moved mostly to the agency side where extensive special practice areas have built up over the past 20 years. O’Dwyer’s had 90 rankings in healthcare and 84 in tech for 2010. Specialty rankings totaled 594, up 20%. Only O’Dwyer’s does such rankings which are usually at or near the top in Google searches for those categories.
4. Gain year-long visibility. The O’Dwyer rankings are prominently displayed for the next year on odwyerpr.com. Ranked firms are highlighted in the index to the 539 firms that are in the O’Dwyer online directory. O’Dwyer’s magazine each month highlights one of the specialty rankings.
5. Associate with biggest PR firms. Put your firm on the same list with the largest independents, virtually all of which are in the rankings. Smaller firms are also looked at since there may be account conflicts for some clients at the biggest firms. Some clients also prefer a smaller firm.
6. Use your ranking in new business pitches, PR and advertising. Display the O’Dwyer seal. Stories on your firm in odwyerpr.com or the newsletter or magazine will refer to your ranking. Publicize your ranking locally.
7. Boost your Google standing. Businesses are rated by how many others link to their sites and what kind of sites have links to the businesses. A link on odwyerpr.com gives you a higher rating since the O’Dwyer website is updated throughout the day with original content—a key fact recognized by Google and the other search engines. Traffic will increase to odwyerpr.com in 2012 since we have an expanded Google search capability that captures everything on our website, newsletter and magazine back to Jan. 1, 2000. Try it!
8. Your recruiting is helped. PR pros, including those entering the market, want to be with a firm that has the national recognition that an O’Dwyer ranking provides. They want to be with a “name” firm.
9. Clients tend to go with an established firm rather than one with little visibility.
10. The rankings establish PR counseling as a solid industry, especially benefiting the ranked firms.