I came across a blog last week entitled “10 reasons why you should get rid of your PR firm”. Personally I feel all the reasons are rubbish, well for Big Cat at least.
In response to the blog I thought I’d do my own “10 reasons why you should hire a PR company”
Now I’m not one of those types that thinks every company in the world needs a PR firm, it all depends on circumstance, resources, what you actually want to accomplish and whether or not you can achieve it yourself.
Most PR companies deserve your time because……
1) We know our market
There are a vast range of resources out there which allow PR companies to analyse their market, whether it be software such as Media Disk which allows us to find the right journalist for the right story, or online websites such as Mintel which contain a whole wealth of stats and figures on any topic you could imagine. If you want to know your market you’ve got to put the time and research in.
2) We speak English
Many PR firms have a number of B2B clients which specalise in technical goods that Joe-Public aren’t interested in. Due to the type of market, much of the material has to be technical as well, however you have to be careful not to overload it. If you’re writing for the trade press, the reader will know much of the technical info already so you can get straight to the point. There’s no need to skirt around the topic, most times its better to dive in straight to the point.
There’s also an opposite to this. As PR’s we’re often asked to “flower-up” a release, make it more interesting and appealing to the reader. Again, this is another trap that a good PR knows to avoid. It’s ok adding the extra multi-syllable word here and there, but you have to be careful not to overdo it, otherwise your release ends up looking like an 18th century novel rather than an article for a newspaper.
A good PR can write a release to fit any subject area, whether it be B2B or for the general public. Through research, practice and meticulous proof reading you can ensure that any release is ready for its target audience and is easily understandable.
3) We’re not journalists
Journalists are 100% essential for any PR. Building rapport with journalists makes life a hell of a lot easier, and I’m not on about sending them gifts (which I’m sure they love), just treat them normally. A couple of my closest friends are journalists and the one thing they hate is people who brown nose. Just show a general interest, they’re not aliens (which surprisingly many people still believe). It seems (despite how much both sides disagree) journalists and PR folk are more a like than either of them realise.
4) We care
I’m relatively new to the industry however I still get a buzz when I get a piece of coverage, it doesn’t matter how big it is or whether its national or in a small local paper, to me coverage is coverage. Hopefully I’ll always feel like that.
One thing I can’t stand is blanketing out a press release to a million journalists. If you’re a good PR you have your contacts and know who to target. If you’re venturing into a new arena, do your research and pick up the phone. However its better to find out when journalists aren’t on a deadline though and time your calls for then.
Sending out a release to 14 titles isn’t a result to me, it’s not until I see the story in the appropriate publication that I know the job is done. I’m pretty sure this is how the client feels as well as telling them the release has been sent out isn’t what their paying for.
5) We manage our resources
I’m going to use the old cliché here and say that all businesses are under pressure to generate the same if not greater results on far fewer resources. However its upto the good PR to keep tabs on the resources and manage client expectations accordingly. Over-servicing has become essential over recent months, however the majority of the time its the only way to get the results. Quality should always overcome quantity.
6) We’re good at publicity
This is sort of self-explanatory. How else would you know about a good PR company unless their good at publicity? There are so many platforms to promote a company whether it be via newspapers, trade titles or social media. However word of mouth and recommendations still seems to be the best way to get new clients.
7) We don’t like ruts
Any good PR loves a challenge and something new to dig their teeth into. That doesn’t necessarily mean a new client though. It’s a PR’s job to make their own work interesting, that’s the challenge. Injecting life and new ideas into a campaign not only keeps the client happy but also the agency team.
8 ) We choose good clients
We’re not all money grabbing Fat Cats, many of us like to pick who we work with and for very carefully. There are a number of PR firms in Birmingham, including Big Cat who are proud of who they work for and the results they achieve. A lot of the time people think its the client that chooses the PR firm, but the PR firm has to have some say in it as well otherwise the campaign will never succeed.
9) We make the industry look good
All in all the majority of PR agencies do a dam good job. Every single one is different, each with their own methodology, quirks and perks. I’m not saying that all agencies are fantastic, far from it, however they don’t deserve the bad reputation which they seem to have developed over recent years.
Some of the countries greatest product awareness stunts were designed and implemented by PR firms, so next time think before you come out with a comment such as “Oh, you’re one of those.”
10) We love what we do
Simple as that. We, the team at Big Cat love what we do. We love our clients, we love our work and we love each other (well most of the time). Becuase of this we do a damn good job, and this is why we continue to work with some of the best clients in the country