10 Ways to Tell If Your PR Agency Just Isn’t That In to You

Kimberly N. Alleyne

Managing a relationship with a PR agency can be either sweet or sour. Many great campaigns have failed to shine due to shabby PR/comms strategy. Unfortunately, money is a great influencer on the two extremes. Organizations with large budgets, and/or super sexy campaigns typically get more attention. Sometimes it’s not about the money or campaign sexiness at all. Sometimes campaign results simply all depend –much like a romantic relationship– on the agency: level of interest, professional maturity of the rep who is assigned to your account, and her/his level of commitment.

As a former PR agency staffer (twice over), and former co-owner of a boutique PR consultancy for six years, I have deep insight about the mechanics of the Comms Pro-PR agency relationship. I’ve had relationships where we made magic and music together, and others that were drama-filled, painful and ended in bad break-ups.

Here are 10 ways to tell if your PR relationship is working, and whether you should put a ring on it:

  1. They send press releases for your approval the day of the event you’re publicizing.
  2. The agency never checks in with you to see what’s new.
  3. Disengagement— Your assigned rep cannot describe you campaign or its goals, does not acknowledge campaign milestones, and does not understand the difference between traditional and new PR.
  4. Your assigned rep cannot remember your name, or gets your name wrong.
  5. You always have to make the first move: You’re the one who has to think of ideas to move the campaign or strategy forward.
  6. You’re doing all the heavy lifting–Story mining, writing press releases and media advisories, and even pitching.
  7. The agency never produces any news clips, or the clips it does produce or with less than ideal outlets whose audiences don’t fit your target, or have limited reach.


Complacent, Content, and Checked-out

8. They never ask to see you or make time for you.

9. They never call or write you–Except when the invoice is due. And they don’t even call the “day after” a big event or launch to debrief and discuss lessons learned.

10. The agency never mentions taking the relationship to the next level.

If your agency is giving your grief in the form of any of the above points, then it may be time to cut your losses, and move on to the next. You deserve better. You deserve to be with an agency that knows and appreciates your value.

What has your PR agency done for you lately? How do you manage the relationship with your PR agency for maximum effectiveness? Please leave me a comment.

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