When Bad PR Happens to Good Companies

Posted on February 23, 2011 by Nora DePalmaOne Comment

The Problem With Public Relations - NYTimes.com:  we read stories like this one on the NY Times small business blog and we don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

We laugh because we know we can do so much better at public relations.  We cry because we don’t get the chance after good companies have been burned by bad PR.

How to avoid this?

1. Established PR firms know what it takes to get the job done.  Once you’ve met and established objectives, your agency should be able to set success metrics.  And not fluffy ones, either.  You should be working against hard numbers: how many impressions does the agency estimate based on the scope of work?  How many leads are expected?  How many trade show interviews will there be?  How many people will attend your event? You should agree in advance on the success metrics and receive regular reports on progress.

2.  Check references, ideally from clients who have a similar business model or business challenges.  Building products companies need PR firms with a strong track record in durable goods that have complex stories, long-selling cycles and varied sales channels.   As this article shows, people are not shy about sharing a bad experience.  Luckily, we also know that people aren’t shy about sharing a good experience.

3. Avoid onerous contracts.  Don’t sign anything that holds you hostage to an agency.  For a project-based relationship, you should be able to move on at any time.  For an ongoing relationship, you should be able to break free in 30-45 days, depending on the volume of work and the length of relationship.

What are your tips to avoid bad PR happening to good companies?

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