Camelot's existing seven-year licence to run the lottery expires in 2009.
On the PR challenge ahead, NLC head of comms Sarah Hanratty said: 'The strategy will be to make sure everyone is aware that the commission is running a fair competition, that the bidders are aware of the key stages, and that lottery watchers understand the complicated process.'
She said the brief would span strategic advice, corporate reputation management, media relations and public affairs.
'We'd also be looking for small targeted campaigns and events to help us engage with the public,' she added.
The commission is expecting to evaluate bids for the £100,000-a-year contract at the end of August, with initial interviews in early September, final meetings later that month and a contract award by early October.
It hopes to have an agency on board in time to help the three-member in-house team communicate a 'statement of main principles' in the autumn, setting out how the competition will work and its timetable.
The NLC said this statement will be the result of ongoing consultation with interested parties including leisure companies, gambling organisations, technology suppliers, government and analysts.
The commission has used HBL Media for comms surrounding its regulatory activity since 2003.
The NLC replaced Oflot on 1 April 1999 to regulate the operation of the National Lottery.