How Not To Hire A PR Agency

Aaron Kwittken, in a recent “PR Post” column for, outlines the “common pitfalls” to be avoided in hiring your PR agency.Make sure you click through and read the whole thing, but here are some highlights:

  • You Want to be on Oprah: Yes, he’s serious, though you shouldn’t be.  Not only are the odds against you, but it “sends a huge red flag to the agency that you have no idea what PR is all about. “
  • The Agency is Willing to Take Equity In Lieu of Cash: Says Kwittken, “[m]any companies assume that agencies that accept equity in lieu of cash will be more incentivized because they will have ‘skin in the game.’ This is not accurate.He points out that agencies that do this are either betting on the outcome or think that a “magic formula” that has worked in the past will work again.  Either way you run the risk of taking a back seat to paying customers.  If you must, arrange for a mix of cash and equity.
  • It’s the Least Expensive Agency You Could Find:  You do get what you pay for, and paying bottom dollar will get you little or no attention from the agency’s principals,  assignment to the least experienced account executives, competition with too many other clients, not enough work put in on your behalf, or all of the above.
  • The Agency Is Guaranteeing a Minimum Number of Media Placements:  This point is related to the above; and Kwittken also notes, “[v]olume follows great stories.”  There is no substitute for a great story and no truly strategic agency would claim otherwise.

Great advice throughout Kwittken’s post.  Got any stories about your own mistakes in choosing an agency? Share them in the comments!

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