How To Spot A Bad PR Person

Whenever I’m speaking to a prospective client, I make a point to put myself in their shoes. PR is an investment, and with the wrong partner, your valuable marketing dollars can go to waste. On the flip side, with the right PR partner, your ROI has the potential to be limitless. So to ensure your time isn’t wasted when vetting out your PR rep, keep the following points in mind. And if your prospective partner ticks off any of these boxes, make sure to cross them off your list pronto.

Warning Sign #1: they guarantee a set number of media placements, and/or a specified date as to when you can expect to receive editorial coverage

It’s my job to try and convince a journalist to write about my client (and I’ve got a good track record for making it happen) but any good PR person will tell you that they don’t have control over how often, and by when, a client will see coverage. Good PR doesn’t happen overnight, and a consciousness rep will spend time crafting pitches that are targeted to the interests of each specific journalist. If your prospective rep promises to be in touch with say, 100 editors a week on your behalf, be assured they’re sending out mass email blasts. The media don’t care for the spray and pray strategy, so neither should you.

Warning Sign #2: they have you doing their job — or you question if something they want you to do should be their responsibility

A good PR rep should be an extension of your marketing team, and need minimal assistance from you once they’re up to speed on your account. So beyond answering questions, approving press materials, being available for interviews, and providing things like high-res images to support your rep’s PR efforts, you shouldn’t have much else to do. You’re paying good money for a professional to do it FOR you…and do it well. If you find your partner talking about having you do things like individual editor mailings yourself, it’s time to move on.

Warning Sign #3: they promise you a media placement in a specific outlet

A guaranteed placement in a specific newspaper or magazine is called advertising. Enough said. You don’t need a PR rep for that; you just need the publication’s rate card.

So before you sign on the dotted line, make sure to think wisely.