Reading time: ~5 min.
About to hire a PR firm or freelancer? Already working with someone? Perfect, you’re on the right blog post today.
In this brief ‘how-to’, you will learn the untold “secrets” of marketers who have burnt money on PR in no time. Soon, you too will be shouting, “why did we even bother with PR? It did nothing!” 😉
1. Keep all the news away from them.
Keeping your PR firm in the dark about what’s happening at your company is a must. Why inform your PR agency as to what’s occurring when you can instead dismiss calls and follow-up emails, then point a finger at them later? Better yet, keep all communication — no matter how intricate — on email or Slack. And forget calls altogether. Remember to tell them something newsworthy every two or three months and expect them to land tons of relevant press coverage on it, even after they advise you there’s no story and they offer you alternatives. What do they know?
2. Wait for them to read your mind.
Do keep your PR firm guessing at all times. The relationship will be very healthy for all; nobody will walk on eggshells and your PR pros will spend extra time on your account. Every quality PR agency should get you above the fold in the Wall Street Journal when they’re guessing about your current messaging. Skip sharing details on your ideal customer persona like what media your customers regularly consume. Don’t forget to later say to your PR firm, “we didn’t see any results on all the stuff we gave you.”
3. Be unavailable to the press.
A seasoned executive will book a vacation to begin on the day their news is distributed to the media. When your PR firm shares questions or interview requests from the press, don’t reply in an orderly fashion. Do not set precedent around communication. Instead, randomly turn on your OOO message and ghost your PR agency for a day or two. Remember, when you do reply and want to do the interviews, it’s all about you. Journalists have nothing better to do than to wait for you to get back to them. Tell your PR partner that you’re available to take calls in one hour with the reporters who asked to speak with you last week. They should immediately jump and make the reporter happy that you’re free!
4. Insist the PR team add as much jargon as possible, to everything.
Skip over the real benefit of your services or products and just use business jargon. Your number one goal is to have reporters delete your PR firm’s email, and when they see them at a conference ask, “what was your client trying to say in that press release?” And, “why was the release headline a paragraph of acronyms I don’t know?” Establishing authority by confusion is wise and respected. Your top executives will certainly be thrilled you got across everything you want to the PR firm. Unable to secure downloads of a whitepaper or eBook? Get that language into a press release STAT and put it over the wire for hundreds of dollars.
5. Skip strategy and repeat, “we want everyone to know who we are.”
Talking to the press is the fun part, so skip strategy. Why settle on messaging or explaining how you solve problems for your audience when being mentioned by any media outlet and mass impressions are what really moves the needle. Tell your PR firm to get you in the news and you’ll determine what was worthwhile or not. In a snappish fashion, never go into detail about how you’re different than the competition. This approach will surely be appreciated by your PR partner and will nearly guarantee a feature story in top publications. PR folks prefer to not know why your business exists in the first place or why it’s growing. Inspire them with things like, “why is my competitor in Fast Company and I’m not?” and “who do I have to pay at Inc. magazine to write about us?”
Do you know a better way to burn money with a PR agency? Please share it below so we can all learn from it.
This article originally appeared on my Medium page.
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