It's surprising that in this day and age so many business leaders still look to PR firms as a magic bullet for marketing problems.
PR firms can't work miracles. In fact, for some companies, hiring a PR firm is a major business blunder.
Why? Because some companies aren't very newsworthy–at least not now. Rather than investing all of your trust and resources in a PR firm, you might want to consider putting off your decision, especially if you find yourself facing one of the following scenarios:
- Limited resources. There no way around it–PR firms can be expensive. If your company is short on cash, you should definitely hold off on hiring a PR firm. You may be able to afford a PR firm at the cheap end of the spectrum, but you'll get what you pay for. A better solution is to spend time focusing your PR messaging and conducting your own PR campaigns until you can afford a professional.
- No industry differentiation. Successful PR firms are skilled at exploiting your company's unique characteristics in the media marketplace. If your company is located in an industry that is characterized by commodity products or in which there is little differentiation, the PR firm's ability to generate publicity will be negligible.
- Lack of new activity. They call it news because it reports about new things – not the same old, same old. If your company is plugging along in a maintenance mentality your PR firm is going to have a tough time capturing the attention of reporters. Wait to hire a PR firm until you are serious about the possibility of a product rollout or other major announcement.
- Short on time. Don't hire a PR firm because you don't have time to deal with PR. A good PR firm will deliver results, but to do it they'll require your active engagement in the development and implementation of a comprehensive PR strategy. Most business leaders discover that hiring a PR firm actually increases the amount of time they spend on PR.
- No clear message. To do their best work, PR firms need clear messaging. A PR firm can help clarify your messaging, but if you don't have any idea about what you want to say then you probably aren't ready to bring in a PR professional.