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PR Agencies: How Not To Pitch A New Client

March 30, 2011

Earlier this month, we took one of our clients to meet with the founders of three different, award-winning technology PR firms.  The back-to-back meetings were the result of evaluating approximately 10 different firms over a three-week period.  We know and work with a lot of firms, but when it’s time to help find a PR agency for a new client, we always meet with and evaluate our short-list of contenders before putting the agencies with the client.  That way, we can be up-to-date in evaluating the PR firm’s actual team members, their capacity, track record, individual experience, strategic thinking, creativity and rule out any conflicts of interest.  That leaves the meeting with the client to be mostly about the impossible-to-vet chemistry and fit.

But even with the best laid plans, one of the PR agency turned out to have a reputation problem.  A year-old reputation problem.  When the client did a simple search on the PR firm, a post that was very critical of the agency appeared in the top search returns.  It wasn’t the critical post that was the problem.  It was that it was more than six months old and that the PR firm had done nothing to remove it.  Why trust my image to someone who is unable to manage their own, asked the client.  (Note to PR firms:  look into Reputation.com.) Lesson learned: manage your image, especially if you are in the business of PR.

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