Last Updated Apr 23, 2010 10:36 AM EDT
For any consumer-oriented company, staying firmly planted in the public eye is a must. The obvious route to this through a public relations agency. But, before you hire one, stop and think for a minute about the real reasons you're spending all that money. US blogger Aaron Kwittken has plenty of reasons not to bother:
- You want the Big Screen Dream: If you are solely hiring a PR firm to get your product featured in a movie or television show, be prepared for disappointment. Brand placements are hard to get. Your and your PR firm's time, energy and money will be better spent on activities that will get your company noticed through other media.
- You want to pass the buck: Hiring a PR agency will mean that you spend more time on PR, not less. If you are the company mouthpiece, be prepared to be on call all of the time. If it is doing its job, your PR agency should asking for progressively more of your time for speaking on behalf of the company in all the media channels that it identifies for you.
- You've got the cheapest PR agency you could find: Hire the least expensive agency and you will get the least effective results. You can expect little or no attention from the agency's principals. Be prepared to chase down your account rep for ideas, activities and updates because they are likely to be the least experienced.
- You think any PR is good PR: If you get billed by placement, the PR firm is going to get your story in every possible title it can, at the risk of compromising the quality of the pitch and the relevance of the outlets being targeted.
- Your PR agency promised to put your name everywhere: Quality and not quantity is key to strategic PR. Volume follows great stories. So don't sign up for a firm that only promises quantity.
- Your PR agency promised hits within 30 days: Stay away from agencies that promise to get you a placement within a short time-frame. Many PR firms have a list of media that they target over and over again and such media may be totally inappropriate for your business. Smart, sustainable, credibly earned PR campaigns take time to develop and cultivate and there is no 30 day route to campaigns of this calibre.