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How to make sure you’re getting the PR you deserve

Over the past 5 weeks, I’ve posted a series of 5 tips to help you make sure you’re getting the PR you deserve. Responding to several requests, here they all are together, in summary and at a glance:

1.How much is your PR budget – and what do you want it to achieve?

Whether or not you already have an in-house PR person, or employ an agency, or are wondering about the merits of employing a part-time/interim/freelance PR consultant, there’s a misplaced belief that if you tell agencies how much you want/can afford to spend, they’ll simply inflate their fees to match your estimates. But NOT being transparent about your budget is like walking into a car showroom and being told you have to GUESS how much the cars are.

The problem with keeping your budget under wraps is that you risk wasting everybody’s time.

If you only have a 50p budget, you’ll get what you pay for. But an agency that offers you a £5,000 PR campaign for £1,000 is either lying, or won’t be in business for long.

2. Don’t expect instant results

Remember

  1. Neither you nor the PR can dictate where, when or even if your story might be used by the Press
  2. Journalists hate being called up (nagged) by companies asking where, when or even if their story will be used
  3. Have a knowledgeable and competent spokesperson on standby to answer follow-up questions from the media.

3. Be realistic about your PR goals

Set goals that are achievable for your PR agency – Which key publications would you like to appear in, what messages you want to convey to the buying public, where do you want your brand to be displayed or which “celebrities” do you want to see endorsing your stuff?

4. Make sure the “pitch” process is fair

If you’re putting your business PR out to tender, you’ll want to do your homework first on potential providers. You’ll want to look at examples of their work, which is okay… but PLEASE don’t ask us to put together a pretend pitch for a pretend project!

This is common practice in the PR industry. Not only is it unnecessarily time-consuming (wasting?) and demeaning, it suggests that what you’re really doing is trawling for PR ideas without wanting to pay for them.

5. Know where the pitch process ends, and the work begins.

Be clear in advance about what’s involved throughout the pitch process. Let the candidates know this in advance. Decide on how you’ll pick the right agency for you and then get them signed up.

Comments: Alida Winter, blogger: It will always be a risky business

NEXT TIME: How to reach out and find your ideal customer prospects

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