How to tell if your PR person is ‘doin da dance’

How to tell if your PR person is ‘doin da dance’

I  had coffee with a fairly new client today. We had a great talk that included his experiences with a previous PR firm. Although he spent thousands of dollars he didn’t get his expectations met. And so at the end of the contract he was discouraged and the PR firm had a dent in their reputation. Now it’s up to me to redeem his belief in our industry. You know what? I may not do that much differently from the old firm except that I refuse to ‘do the dance.’ Here’s what I mean.

PR is a squishy, unpredictable business. You can make a quick phone call one day and land a huge fish or you can spend three months sending elegant pitches, following up on time, and get nothing. Most business owners know that but you can’t help worrying when those placements aren’t coming in…after all it’s your money. Here’s where the problem starts. Many PR firms decide what they need to do at this point is make you feel good. They come in with some great charts, reports on the flurry of activity that’s going on, hints at big things that may happen….you know…it’s THE DANCE. You feel really good after the meeting but then a week later nothing’s changed and you worry again. And worse, you start to feel like a nag for asking all the time.

I’m telling you, trust your gut. This isn’t rocket science and it’s really easy to see if things aren’t going well. If your PR person is good, they’ll be knocking at your door looking for new angles or trying to expand the media list, or even trying new channels. If things aren’t working, they’ll tell you and ask for your help to find more interesting hooks.

If they’re not so good, or a traditional firm that’s just interested in adding up retainers each month they’ll do the dance. So when your meetings start to look something like this…

it’s probably time to look elsewhere.

12 Comments
  • mackhodgson142
    Posted at 13:02h, 12 March Reply

    i dont like these kind of business in which you spend money without think what you are going to earn.
    anyhow this can be a good experience.
    hotelomania

  • Jack
    Posted at 11:13h, 15 March Reply

    Helpful post, even if .. i can’t agree to anything here.. 😉 But that’s ok.

  • hypnose
    Posted at 05:31h, 15 March Reply

    You have some honest ideas here. It looks like you have done a research on the issue and discovered.Anyway thanks a lot.I think most peoples will agree with your blog.Keep it up.

  • Paul Svejda of Orlando Florida
    Posted at 01:02h, 18 March Reply

    Interesting post now i got some ideas what to expect from my PR guy. And the video was great btw 😀

  • Australian Detox
    Posted at 02:17h, 18 March Reply

    Most industry owners be on familiar terms with that but you can’t help distressing when those placements aren’t coming in…after all it’s your money. Here’s where the quandary starts. Many PR firms decide what they need to do at this point is make you feel good.

  • Lou
    Posted at 11:34h, 25 March Reply

    Interesting article, thank-you, adding the video is a great idea.

  • glass
    Posted at 21:34h, 28 April Reply

    I think pretty often clients have expectations that are just way too high. If I have a company that makes widgets, it doesn’t mean that a PR firm can get me on front pages of all newspapers.

  • Toni@cheap iphone
    Posted at 22:03h, 04 May Reply

    Glass,
    I agree, that’s why I prefer to pay for results and not on monthly basis.

  • Spray Foam Insulation
    Posted at 10:16h, 26 May Reply

    I think past history of a good indicator of how good the firm is.

  • John
    Posted at 10:23h, 03 June Reply

    An absolute minefield, there’s plenty of people out there just happy to take your money

  • Dave
    Posted at 01:30h, 15 July Reply

    There’s so many bad PR firms out there, this is a good help thank-you

  • Pingback:Choosing a PR person | Wax Blog
    Posted at 09:17h, 21 February Reply

    […] wrote a while ago about how to tell if your PR person was “doing the dance” .  In other words, are they full of rosy promises accompanied by a fat retainer that never really […]

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