PR is a wonderful tool that can lead to growth and expansion but if used poorly it can lead to some embarrassing moments for your company.
By Karla Jo Helms
If you have ever browsed the Internet and read content on a website, there is specific subject matter that you view on a website before you scroll down to see the rest of the page. In Internet marketing, this is known as content that is placed “above the fold.” Most website owners put the most important information they want the visitor to see above the fold. On certain websites, business owners will compete for visibility for that spot above the fold.
The same holds true with Public Relations – if not done right a company will not get the attention it deserves, or in other words will be “below the fold.”
PR companies that do not have a clue about how to keep you in your target market’s mind can be detrimental to your marketing efforts. The problem is that many businesses do not understand what to look for in a PR company – knowing the difference between a PR firm that does not know how to use PR and an accomplished company that gets results is vital. So how can you tell when you are stuck with a company that does not know how to use PR?
Don’t get me wrong, press releases are an essential part of PR however they are not the only avenue of PR. If the company is using press releases as the only avenue for promotion and it does not seem to be getting you anywhere, this company does not know how to use PR.
- They Don’t Ask Specifics About Your Company
If the company does not interview you thoroughly and do an evaluation of your company then this is a sign they do not know how to use PR correctly.
If they are not interested in your market research, who your target market is, and the inner workings of your company then the PR they create will be speaking to the wrong audience.
- They Seem to Create a Lot of Noise
If your PR is made up of a lot of different events that do not seem to relate to one another or to the bottom line, you have a PR company that is creating a lot of noise but they do not know how to use PR properly. They may create a lot of different activities, but try asking them how everything comes together and they will most likely not be able to answer your question.
- They Don’t Seem to Have Knowledge in Business Management
If you try to discuss your company operations with the PR firm and their eyes start to glaze over or they brush it off, then you are dealing with a company that either has their own agenda or they are not skilled in business management. If they don’t understand how a company operates and some of the issues executives and staff face on a daily basis, then there is no way they will be able to create PR that works for your company.
- They Cannot Relate PR to Marketing
If the PR firm is “advertising” your product in their public relations efforts, it is time to get another company. While it is important to understand your marketing efforts, PR should be a prerequisite to your marketing so you get the most out of your marketing dollars. PR creates the credibility first that then gets people interested in your marketing messages. If they are trying to peddle your product then they don’t know how to use PR for its intended purpose.
- They Don’t Seem to Do Homework
For each PR strategy they use, they do not consider all of the possible angles that could arise for each avenue. In other words, they are unprepared to handle things that can crop up that could be detrimental to the reputation of your company. Once a mishap occurs they also do not have a clue as to how to place your company back in the good graces of the public again.
- They Do Not Create Profitable Images
Profitable images are an essential part of an overall PR campaign. If the PR firm does not know what you are talking about when you ask them to create profitable images, then they do not know how to use PR to the best advantage. Profitable images keep your company image in the minds of the consumer through events, press, and buzz – they leave an illustrative concept of you and your company emblazoned in the thoughts of your prospective clients and the community.
The “Proof is in the Pudding”
PR is factually and actually about proof – if your PR is not creating tangible products then it is not being done right. With correct PR, your investment will come back to you many-fold and when you see the difference in the results a top-notch PR form can provide right now and for the future profitability of your business, you won’t be fooled ever again.