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Know where the pitch process ends, and the work begins

Number 5 of 5 tips to help you make sure you’re getting the PR you deserve.

So you’ve put your PR out to tender. You’ve received initial expressions of interest from possible PR providers. And you’ve invited a shortlist of providers to pitch for your business. You’ve received all of the proposals and you liked some more than others. So, you ask those agencies to put a calendar together for the coming year. (At The Naked Marketing Company we call it a “Calendar of Activities” and it covers marketing campaigns, sales support, PR activities and social media marketing).

Now, you should be ready to arrange in-person pitches/presentations from the 2 or 3 you’ve shortlisted, from which you’ll choose and appoint your preferred supplier.

Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? So why do so many businesses at this stage ask for further proof that we can do what we say we can do by asking for our business and media contacts? Is it so they can contact our contacts direct and so cut us out of the process?

Your potential PR providers have done all this work preparing their pitch, involving a number of people over a length of time, and STILL you haven’t appointed. It’s hardly fair… or “professional” on the part of the appointing company. Yet we PR types are supposed to put on a brave face, jump through hoops, accept all this delay and discourtesy.

So if you’re thinking of appointing a PR professional, please 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.

Then, at last, they can get on with their work



Ron Whittington, PR and comms, Florida: We never provide that level of detail for that very reason. Maybe the media outlets, but never specific contact names. Certainly, never give a full, exact PR plan. Once, I had a client break out pieces of a proposal (website, brochure, media pitching, etc.) and farm them out separately to other consultants. Sad what some folks will do after you’ve already laid out the plan for them.

Nan Johnson, Director of Communications, Richmond, Virginia: Ron’s exactly right. Don’t “give away the farm” when pitching new business. Walk away from a client like this.

Secret Ophelya Bridgewater, Dallas/Fort Worth Area: You have some of the best content! Thank you!

Lilian Sue, PR, Vancouver, Canada: Very important to make sure your budgets line up before ever even speaking about the actual projects.

NEXT TIME: Summing up – 5 tips to help you make sure you’re getting the PR you deserve.

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