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Nine red flags of a poor B2B PR agency

By Roxanne Asare

Finding the right B2B PR agency is easy when you know what you want your ‘partner in crime’ to do for your company. When you've never done PR before, or a new to the pitching process it can be a different story entirely.

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In this blog we have put together some of the biggest red flags that poor PR agencies raise to help speed up your recruitment process and have you feeling like Simon Cowell.



The agency just doesn’t get what you’re on about

A PR agency which doesn't understand your business is the most frustrating bug bear in agency, client relationships is the main cause for them breaking down. Ultimately, a lack of understanding of your position, what your goals are, and how to create an effective, specific plan has a major impact on the progression of any campaign.


Bad client communication

Fast moving PR campaigns can be difficult to get to grips with, so communication is crucial. Constantly having to go back and forth with your agency just to get a straightforward explanation might have you considering new options - after all, times-a-ticking.



Lack of transparency

Transparency is key to knowing whether an agency is doing a good job, or if you need to tell them to kick rocks. Knowing what is going on at all times, whether good or bad, keeps both parties honest and leaves little room for surprises – even if they do occur, issues can be dealt with quicker when everyone knows what's happening.


Ineffective reporting

Times have changed in the world of PR reporting and an agency using AVE (Advertising Value Equivalency) is the biggest red flag there is. These reports offer no campaign insights or ROI and are a complete waste of time and money.

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There are now a range of digital reporting methods available to B2B PR agencies, so it’s a sign of a poor agency if they don’t know how to use them or understand the benefits.


Press releases are their go-to

Nothing screams “lack of creativity” more than an agency relying ONLY on press releases. Creating newsworthy releases is not a bad campaign tactic when you have something to say but a stream of events attending, or product launches alone won't get the job done.


No media relationships

Every agency will tell you they have media contacts in all the national and key trade press...

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…but you can quickly start to see when your agency has exaggerated their relationships when the lack of coverage becomes apparent.


No forward planning

A good agency can show you the clear and defined stages of your campaign - whatever time frame it fits into - from campaign kick-off, what content is being generated to measurement and results. A bad agency leaves you with a sense they're winging it and won't fill you with confidence.


Only use content once

A good PR agency will be able to create a good piece of content and get it placed in the press. A great agency knows how to take that content and re-purpose it across your Earned, Owned and Paid media channels.


If you notice that your agency is running through their content allocation like road runner due to a “one and done” placement policy you should be asking serious questions when they come calling for more money.

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No understanding of publication readership

Low coverage results can usually be put down to a lack of understanding of a publication’s readership and what they are interested in. Your agency needs to be able to match their content with viable publications based on who is reading it, not just because the content needs to be pitched out.


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