Knowing more about how PR agencies work can help to improve your relationship with them
The PR profession works hard to disassociate itself from words like scheming, deceitful and dishonest. Still, you should know there are some things that PR firms lie about.
Of course, most PR firms don’t intentionally set out to lie, but even the ethical ones sometimes get caught up in the excitement of getting and keeping clients and communications issues can result. However, once you understand the nature of these lies, you can make more informed decisions when it is time to hire your next PR firm (or fire your current one).
Lie # 1. "Your product is fantastic."
If your product is a food or household item, this is easy to say. However, if your company produces industrial machinery or some other hard-to-explain product that most consumers (and PR professionals) don’t actually use, then saying it’s great is basically a lie. This doesn’t mean the PR firm won’t do its best to promote your product and help increase sales, but since they are not an end-user, they will never really know.
Lie # 2. "Your company’s standard story is worthy of media attention."
A PR firm may initially tell you that they can promote even the most boring details about your company and get maximum coverage. Then, you will wait forever for these stories that will never materialize.
The truth is, many companies have a great story but don’t really want to tell it because it may be a little embarrassing, it mentions competitors or it reveals flaws. Nevertheless, this is exactly the kind of information that will attract media. They want heartfelt stories about the challenges you faced and accurate information about the people who helped in your success. The right PR firm will help you craft your story into a wonderful pitch that will interest both journalists and consumers; if you let them.
Lie # 3. "You need to crank out tons of content every week."
When most companies hear this, the tendency is to flood the news media and social media with dull, mediocre press releases and blogs no one wants to read. A great PR firm will help you develop a comprehensive content management plan that will serve to increase your visibility and work alongside your overall strategic goals.
Lie # 4. "We can get you a placement in the media outlet of your choice."
You may see stories featuring your competitors in various news outlets and insist that your company should also have a presence there, but this is not always the best strategy. Also, what you may be seeing is actually native advertising, which is when a company or PR firm pays to place a story in a particular publication. These typically amount to little more than long advertisements disguised as an article.
Instead, your PR firm should take the time to explain why actual articles written by journalists will serve you better in the long run. They should also work to have your company featured in the news outlets best suited to improve your reach and enhance your brand for your target audience.
Lie # 5. "Although we are underperforming, just give us more time and we will show results."
PR takes times. Often the best PR results come from years of proactive strategies and implementation. That said: There may be times when you know the relationship between your company and your PR firm just isn’t working out. Perhaps they haven’t given you the level of service you expected or there is simply a difference in work styles. If you have been honest about the reasons for your displeasure and are still not satisfied, it may be time to find a new PR firm.
At Axia Public Relations, we make sure you get the most from your PR initiatives and goals. We set measurable objectives and have ongoing, constructive dialog with our clients to provide the best service. Contact us today or download our free e-book, Maximizing Your Public Relations Investment, to learn more.
Lisa Goldsberry is a writer for Axia Public Relations with more than 15 years of public relations experience. She specializes in business, higher education and technology PR. Connect with Axia Public Relations on Twitter at @axiapr.
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