5 Ways Your PR Agency Makes You Look Bad

I receive bad pitches every day here at The Future Buzz. And while I do not out them publicly, many of these PR pros and agencies do succeed in leaving a bad taste in my mouth about the brand.

It’s not that I mind receiving pitches. But I don’t like my time being wasted, and this is why the “spray and pray” approach to PR needs to stop. It only succeeds in making these PR agencies, professionals and brands look bad.

So with that here are 5 ways your PR firm is making you look bad from my perspective as a blogger:

1. Pitching a blogger to write up a competing brand of their employer

This one is so consistently terrible it amazes me. I’m surprised I need to write this but here goes. Dear PR pros: most bloggers (ready for the shocker?) work for a company by day!

If it was just a PR pro asking me to write up a competitor in a positive light or share their news this wouldn’t be so bad. But many actually take the time to go a step further and ask me to badmouth my current employer. Obviously that’s not going to happen, and it’s clear most of these PR pros don’t even take the time to look for who employs a given blogger (hint: it’s posted on every blogger’s about page).

2. Clueless as to what we cover

This is a marketing and technology blog. So, if you have a new start-up, that’s wonderful. But if it isn’t relevant to communications professionals it’s not relevant to us. So asking us to cover your new social game (merely because it is social) is not going to fly. Go after the right bloggers in the right category.

3. Thinking we’ll re-post your lame-o-graphic or “viral” video

We do on occasion share infographics, videos and other creative content here. But they have to be relevant, interesting and ideally you’re sharing with us first. If it’s already been posted all over the web, this actually decreases the chances we’ll cover it (I’m still not sure why PR people keep highlight that as a selling point).

4. Offering up case studies that show KPI improvements (but not outcomes)

Case studies are actually fine …but if you’re going to pitch them, have a completely fleshed out case study. By fleshed out, be ready to show investment dollars as well as outcomes (read: conversions, revenue) not fans / followers gained for social case studies. If I’m going to run a case study I didn’t organically find / think is cool on my own, you have to sell it by sharing the full story of data.

5. Salesy or spammy guest posts

I’ve already written up my frustration with guest bloggers here. But PR pros should know better. My other issue actually goes beyond quality to the formatting of content: how does every PR pro not understand to do things like submit a bio with a guest blog post, add H1s to longer content, etc? Should be common knowledge, but it’s not.

The solution to all this?

Vet your PR firm or consultant carefully.

Do things like ask to see your their pitches to specific bloggers in a matrix, showing they have done their homework. Seriously, your reputation is on the line here, as a client-side marketer or entreprenuer you should be in the know for how your agency is representing your brand. It’s all too easy to be outed in public for any of the above things (or more). You would have to really trust your PR team to not require this, and perhaps with the right agency this makes sense (or can be built over time). Just be sure you can.

In a connected society, PR is too important to leave it to someone who will make you look bad.

Post image via 50 viral images part 8.