Whilst I believe any business in any industry can benefit from media coverage, investing in a good PR agency is expensive. And actually requires work from you as a client. It certainly isn’t the answer for every company.
If any of the below sound familiar, hiring a PR agency, freelancer or publicist may not be the right fit for you…
1. You don’t want to do any of the work
The main challenge I have seen with clients over the years is not willing to be a part of the PR activity. You can’t hire a PR agency and then say “ok, good luck, call us when you get something”. You have to be available to brief your PR team and answer us FAST when we need something for a journalist.
Your company won’t magically appear in the press if your PR agency doesn’t know much about you, the inner workings of the business, or you never respond to them with the items they requested.
For instance, if you’re a tech company, your PR agency won’t be able to create quotes for the media because they don’t know the mechanics or science behind your products. You need to be around for them to get these quotes and answer the tech-y questions for them.
2. You want PR to save your business
I can’t tell you how many enquiries have come to me when they are on the brink of collapse or have hardly any money in the account – but they believe I can help them.
PR is amazing. I’ve built my entire life and business around it. But it isn’t going to save your business overnight. Media outreach needs to be done in the right frame of mind and not a “we’re in the pooper, we need PR NOW!” That mindset will never result in epic results. And also puts immense pressure on your PR agency to get quick results – which aren’t always the best.
If you engage a PR agency, you have to be in it for the long haul and not rely on overnight success and for it to instantly save your business.
3. You have absolutely nothing to say
With the best will in the world and the best PR agency, no one can flog a metaphorical dead horse. There has to be something or someone that the media want to write about.
Whilst it is the PR teams job to come up with new ideas, they still need something to work from. If you aren’t creating content or anything out of the ordinary then, even with PR help, journalists won’t print you.
4. You want to see results tomorrow
The first 3 months are crucial in a new agency relationship. A lot of planning and strategic thinking goes into planning out campaigns and getting to know your company.
PR teams will often be pitching to media organisations that won’t print you instantly. A magazine may say yes today but not publish your feature for another 6 months.
PR takes time. Like marketing activities, there are PR tactics that can see short term wins but these are the exception not the rule. Unless you have a story that is so drool-worthy and the entire nation needs to hear it, you’re probably going to have to be patient while your PR sets out their plan of action.
5. You hire a PR agency purely for who they know, not their ideas
Even a PR person with decades of experience and a Rolodex of contacts that would make Hollywood jealous, they still need time to have a newsworthy story about you. Just having contacts does not automatically mean you’re going to make the front pages. If you have no story, it doesn’t matter whom your PR agency knows, they won’t land any media coverage.
6. You think 1 newspaper mention should turn into 100 immediate sales
Appearing in the media won’t instantly result in a bunch of sales. (Sorry to pee on your potatoes there if you hoped it would!)
PR is the long game and all part of building your brand credibility and awareness. This goes back to the earlier point on being available for your PR firm. Once you appear somewhere in the media, a good PR person will guide you on how to leverage the PR opportunity. For instance, if your story hits certain websites, your PR agency would guide you on how to share this across social media, your newsletter, your website etc and how to get even more people to see it.
A PR agency’s job is to land epic media coverage. They are not in charge of your sales department. If your media coverage gets people to your website but the site is poor and doesn’t give the user what they want then, yes, you may then lose a sale.
7. You probably won’t implement anything your PR agency asks you to
I’ve had many clients in the past not do any of the things I advised and then wonder why the sales didn’t come in or why a campaign “wasn’t as successful as they hoped”.
Before hiring a person or agency to manage your PR you have to be committed fully internally and work with them to create an epic campaign.