Instructions for 2023 Rankings Based on '22 Net Fee Income

Deadline to submit: Mar. 13, 2023

Download Rankings Instructions (PDF)

PR firms that are thinking of joining O'Dwyer's rankings 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 over 50 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 the top page of your firm's 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 25 years. For example, O’Dwyer’s currently has 81 ranked firms in healthcare and 74 in tech based on 2021 fees. Firms are ranked by 20 specialties. 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 a year on Ranked firms are highlighted in the index of firms listed in O’Dwyer’s 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 firms, 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 posted to or the newsletter or magazine will refer to your ranking. Publicize your ranking locally.

7. Boost your SEO and 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 gives you a higher search engine optimization 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.

8. Your recruiting is helped. PR pros, including those entering the market, want to be with a firm that has the national recognition and data 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. The O'Dwyer rankings are the basis for scores of PR firm searches and referrals from other firms every year.

10. The rankings establish PR counseling as a solid industry, especially benefiting the ranked firms.