5 Reasons to NOT hire a PR agency…

PR Director of Right Hook Communications, Wesley Gunter, doesn’t want you to waste your


I know many of you must be wondering why anyone would turn down a client if he’s willing

shove a truckload of cash down your throat to do whatever he/she wants.

Personally I have a problem with the whole ‘shut up and do as I say because I pay you’ mind-

set. Now don’t get me wrong… I love money. Who doesn’t? But doing something for the

sake of money that goes against my principles and better judgement would basically make

me nothing better than a well-paid prostitute. If you’re wondering what this rant has to do

with this article, hold your horses I’ll get there soon.

Hiring a PR agency can be a long drawn process with many things to consider about it such

as the size of the setup, their portfolio and cost. Before you size up any of the players to see

which one is best for you the first thing you should do however is to ask yourself ‘Do I really

need an agency?’ If any of the following points below apply to you it’s probably best you

don’t shop for that PR agency yet.

1. You have no idea what PR is

Here’s the scenario. You’ve got friends that tell you it’s about time you hired a PR

agency for your business because its time you did and they’re raving about how PR

has helped them increase their sales etc. You on the other hand have no idea what

PR is but are desperate to inject some pizzazz into your fledgling business. So is PR

the best step forward? Maybe. However, before you start calling up the agency and

preparing your chequebook do some research online on what basic PR is all about. If

you by now don’t know that the acronym PR stands for ‘Public Relations’ and not

‘Press Release’ you need to do some serious research online. Look through case

studies and PR agency portfolios as a start so you can get a sense of whether PR may

be relevant for you. The point to remember when you meet an agency is to ask the

right questions so you don’t come across as someone clueless and willing to pay for

everything but the kitchen sink instead of what you really need.

2. You’re not quite clear about your brand message

Whether you own a restaurant or a car cleaning service, if you don’t know who your

target audience is or what is your product’s USP (unique selling point) you’re not

going to be able to sell it to the media. A PR agency can definitely get your message

streamlined and sell it more effectively to the media but if you are not sure at the

start about the message and change your direction midway through the PR

campaign you’re going to waste serious time and money.

3. You don’t know what you want

There’s nothing more annoying for an agency than dealing with a client that knows

what they like but doesn’t know what they want. If you don’t have a clear set of

objectives for your business goals and expect your PR agency to put you on the front

page of a newspaper you probably need to go back to the drawing board.

4. You have bad internal communication processes

If you’re having issues communicating with your team and tend to disagree internally

occasionally on the way things are going within your company you can’t expect an

outside party to help you. Situations where business owners are at loggerheads or if

there are too many parties involved (shareholders, investors, etc) usually result in

missing deadlines and a messy outcome when it comes to PR. It’s also pretty

confusing for the agency dealing with you if they don’t know who is giving the right


5. You’re looking for someone to follow orders

Going back to my initial rant at the start of the article, this is an issue most agency

professionals face in PR– being micromanaged by the client. Many clients tend to

feel a PR agency’s role is an extension of their marketing department and to churn

out more sales content to the various publics including media (such as sending out

press releases every week). PR agency practitioners are experts in what they do

which is why clients pay them to get the job done. We really don’t need clients

telling us how to do our job. If you really feel that leaving your campaign in the

hands of an agency is too much of an issue, hire a marketing executive.

In summary you really need to get your internal act together before you invest in the time

and money to engage a PR agency for your brand. Apart from that, you also need to see an

agency as an asset to your team and not just a vendor.

If more clients see their agencies as strategic counsellors instead of worker bees this would

certainly pave the way for a more effective client agency relationship.

One last point to add. If any agency is willing to do whatever you ask for the sake of a fat

pay cheque its time you looked for another one.

#5reasons #pr #righthook

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