We get it — committing marketing dollars to a PR agency is a big decision. And, once you’ve finally found the one, you want to make sure your PR agency is consistently providing value to your marketing team and business as a whole. Unfortunately, not everyone pairs themselves with an aligned PR agency.
If you’re feeling like your agency might not be the best fit, check out the list of warning signs we’ve heard about to see if your feeling is warranted:
Sign #1: They don’t ask questions about your business
Does your PR agency know your quarterly business goals, prospecting challenges and product purpose? If not, is it because they haven’t asked? As you’re getting started with a new PR agency or even into an existing partnership, they should be asking insightful questions that will give them a deeper understanding of your overall business from day one. If they aren’t, they won’t be able to optimize their efforts to best support your business goals, establishing themselves as a true extension of your marketing team.
Sign #2: You get tons of coverage, then it drops off
PR is a marathon, not a sprint. But, just like a marathon, it’s easy to start off strong with a big announcement, and then quickly lose steam. Stockpiling placements in the first month is great, but if it then drops off to zero coverage the following month, you know you have a problem. Don’t let your PR agency treat you like the shiny new toy, only to forget about you until your next big announcement. They should not only be able to support your announcements, but continuously generate coverage by prolonging the life of existing marketing assets and coming up with creative angles that your thought leaders can speak to during interviews or as bylined articles.
Sign #3: You go months without media coverage
Similar to slowed media coverage, going months without any media coverage just means you’re wasting your marketing dollars. Your PR agency is there to keep your media momentum going, and “we ran out of things to pitch” should never be an excuse. Make sure your agency has a plan for months where you have no announcements so you aren’t going long periods without a media mention. If they’re building strong relationships and researching relevant thought leadership topics on your behalf, you shouldn’t have to wonder when your next piece of coverage will come through your inbox.
Sign #4: They report on paid press release pickups
Press release postings from paid newswire distributions should not count as media coverage — but many PR agencies report them like they do. Press release wire services exist so that you can pay to guarantee your press release is distributed to various news sites. This means your PR agency didn’t lift a finger to secure those postings. If they report them like coverage, you might want to start asking questions. Have they spoken with any individual editors? What’s the larger story? Are we pre-pitching the announcement for interviews or pairing it with a thought leadership piece?
Sign #5: You barely speak to the team
In today’s digital workplace, it’s easy to get caught up in email communication and completely lose sight of the benefits of speaking via phone or meeting in person. If you rarely hear your PR team’s voices after signing the contract, they likely aren’t initiating opportunities to ask insightful questions about your business (see sign #1) or taking steps to form a relationship. When you trust someone with your business’s media reputation, you want to make sure you’re a priority — and getting pushed to the bottom of someone’s email likely means you are not.
If any of these scenarios sounded familiar, you might want to start asking your PR agency a few more questions about their method and focus. If you’ve experienced all of these instances, it’s time to run for the hills. Choosing the right PR agency who will make you a priority and work as a true extension of your team is vital as you establish PR as a critical part of your marketing plan.
Want to find out if BLASTmedia is a fit for you? Contact Lindsey Groepper to learn more!