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Monday, February 7, 2011

Redux: Worst Things Your PR Agency Could Tell You

Apparently, the number of worst things your public relations agency could tell you doesn't stop at 10.  Not even close. Not that I thought 10 was the limit to begin with.  But I'm getting the feeling from the "Tech PR" group on LinkedIn that the list of worst things a client could hear from their PR agency numbers in the hundreds, perhaps even in the thousands.  Perhaps to infinity and beyond!

What I am sure of is this: no matter who you talk with, there's always at least one more thing that can be added to the list.

A couple of months ago I shared a post -- "The 10 Worst Things Your PR Agency Could Tell You" -- with the "Tech PR" group on LinkedIn. Today, this group enjoys a global membership of more than 2,700 professionals. It would be great to see membership grow to 3,000 before the group celebrates its third birthday on April 28.  So if you're a tech PR pro, check out the group and sign up!

At the time of the post, several members of the group weighed in with their own suggestions while a few others commented on the original list of 10, especially this one:  We can't get any coverage for you if your customers won't speak to the media.

Here's what they had to say about that:

"When companies partner with PR firms that leverage a PR measurement solution, the 'we can't' excuse becomes difficult, if not impossible.  With data and charts at their fingertips, clients can see how much coverage the competitors are getting and whether or not customer references are making up the majority of that coverage. As you know, it's likely the competitors will have coverage that doesn't include customers."

"An activity without a result usually falls short in terms of deliverables to the client or company."

"You need a benchmark - as PR is always comparative."

These other comments and suggested additions to the list may be helpful to your business, whether you're on the client or agency side of the house.

"Worst thing your PR agency can tell you?  'We can measure our success by Equivalent Ad Value.'  This was never relevant, today even less so, yet incredibly it still gets said by some."

One of my personal favs:  " 'We have the right contacts....' Not always true and having the 'right' contact means nothing without a good story, analysts to back up your claims and customers willing to speak."

"Agencies that are so filled with hubris, laziness or sloppiness that when asked why a client left, respond with, 'Oh, we were doing a great job but the client just moved on.' .... The real answer is that the agency wasn't doing a great job, they are more involved with themselves than with the client, and they just weren't listening." Ouch!

One contributor suggests that one of the worst things your PR agency can tell you is their address:  "I always got a kick out of the 'downtown' agencies -- the ones that think they need a midtown Manhattan or Boston/Cambridge address. ...  Are you paying for results or the view from the conference room, or worse, the office of the CEO?  When was the last time he/she pitched a story?"

Another contributor, a chap from the U.K. with a most appropriate name (at least 'surname') for a PR pro -- Chris Measures -- offers this as among the worst things your PR agency can tell you:

"Simply saying 'yes' to whatever you ask them as a client - that's not providing consultancy or any added value."

Dead on, Chris.  Simple and to the point.

If I've left off a few, please let me know.


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