by Charles McAteer
Looking to engage an agency? Avoid these common mistakes.
Picking an agency that dabbles in PR
It may sound obvious, but ensure that that the team you are engaging are actually PRs as opposed to advertisers or marketers who are simply going to outsource the PR work. It will save you money, time and headaches.
Choosing the budget option
You should get what you pay for. I’m not suggesting you throw as much money as possible at a PR campaign - I would actively advise against it to my prospective clients, however if you go for the budget option you will receive poor results.
Effective PR requires investment over time to build momentum, so be wary of agencies happy to provide cut-price solutions for short periods of time. They will be reluctant to provide you with any specific deliverables.
It’s exhilarating to see your organisation in flashing lights but for meaningful success it’s important to avoid the curse of ‘Vanity PR’- ensure that your PR strategy is closely aligned to your business objectives. A couple of questions to keep in mind: why do you need PR? Who is it that you need to speak to or influence? Have you agreed on a way of evaluating the success of the campaign with your agency?
It’s really important to internally and externally define clear objectives when engaging an agency. Failing to do so can result in a costly business expense with no tangible ROI- awareness for the sake of awareness is rarely effective.
You are right to be cautious when engaging an agency, but when that decision is made it is important to have full trust in your chosen agency. An agency that understands your needs and has the right skills to do the job, will have their hands tied if you do not put trust in the partnership. It is important that the agency can be agile with its creative licence to ensure they achieve the best results for you.
One of the worst mistakes that a company could make is not being honest with the agency when engaging them. It is a PR’s job to put you in the best light, by hiding skeletons you are only going to make their job more difficult. Be fully transparent with your past mistakes! This way the agency can prepare and counteract negative press. They may even be able to spin it and turn what could have been a crisis into a positive story.
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