Identify differences between agencies
Once you’ve found out which kind of PR company would suit you best, how do you separate the wheat from the chaff? No coverage results, texts don’t read well and you can’t get your contact person on the phone for days: Unfortunately, not all PR agencies are what they promised to be. But what are the differences between good and not so good agencies?
1. Standard Address Lists
Some agencies often work with ready-made address lists including all contact details of all editors they have ever dealt with. At first glance, these lists look impressive, as they can list hundreds of contacts – that many of them no longer exist, some occur twice and others are completely irrelevant to the customer is of little interest to these agencies.
A professional agency would inform itself about the customer, determine their relevant target group and suggest contacts only after thoroughly discussing the customers’ needs. In the best-case scenario, the agency will also research the responsible editor.
2. Unrealistic Promises
There are PR agencies that tend to make promises quickly, for example about how many publications they can realize for their clients. In reality, these statements are often utopian. If they are nevertheless achieved, this is often due to the fact that the used media tend to be of lower quality.
Experienced agencies, on the other hand, know that you can never give a hundred percent guarantee of success. In addition, they are clear over the fact that a high number of publications don’t necessary signify a high quality.
3. Unprofessional Appearance
This can mean that the PR-Consultant appears too late for appointments, the courtesy formulas in business e-mails are disregarded, presentations are held incompletely or incorrectly or appointments are postponed or cancelled.
For this reason, the agency should already be closely observed during the pitch: How does the agency present itself and what is the appearance of the speakers like? Was the briefing provided specifically addressed? Did the agency take the time to research detailed information about the client? You can already tell at this point whether one can trust in a good cooperation or rather keep one’s hands off the agency.
What else should you look out for when choosing the right PR agency?
- It is important that mutual expectations are clarified in advance so that both parties are aware of what is possible and what is not.
- Question them: How does the agency work? How close is the contact to the desired editorial offices? How would the support work and would there be a clear contact person? What would the contact look like? Does the agency already have experience in the industry?
- Ask for references. If the agency does in fact do a good job, then other companies can certainly confirm this without any problems.
- Ask for sample texts. It’s the easiest way to find out how well the agency has mastered its craft.
- Pay attention to transparency and reliability. If the agency refuses to give references, to explain how it has implemented certain measures or why the contact person is difficult to reach, caution is called for.
- Budget adherence: Unforeseen events can always occur, but if an agency constantly wants to increase the required budget, their calculation is obviously wrong.
In the end, PR is one thing above all else: teamwork. The best results are achieved when client and agency pull together.