Ask every Bristol PR agency you meet this one question

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Neil Millard

Posted on 13th January 2018

Cards on the table. There are plenty of used-car salesmen in the PR industry and if you’re not in London – where there’s far more choice – it can be a daunting task being asked to hire a Bristol PR Agency.

One quick example: we’ve got a client who interviewed a PR firm and was told that it would take around a year to get any results.

A year! ……………………. A YEAR!!

They’ve since had bags of coverage with us in just a few months in publications as illustrious as The Times, Daily Telegraph, City AM and Evening Standard.

And that’s the point isn’t it? Isn’t coverage the most important thing? Not fat pitch documents, not flashy business cards (we’ve got those, too) and empty promises?

When we speak to firms, every one of them says coverage is important but it’s often something they forget to ask for proof of. It’s like buying a house without actually seeing it beforehand. 

It’s madness and it means a lot of companies end up on an expensive merry-go-round once they realise their agency isn’t really up to scratch.

Insist on seeing evidence up front and don’t waste your time on anyone who can’t produce it. It should be the first thing you ask a company like ours. After all, you are trusting us with your money, your brand, your reputation and your livelihood.

So when you get out there and meet a Bristol PR agency, ask them to show you some of the coverage they have won for current clients – and a good agency should be able to show you great media exposure from just the past few days.

I’m not just talking about whether they have picked up the phone to a journalist who put out feelers on one of the PR industry platforms that I’m not supposed to tell you about (yes, sometimes it really is that easy).

Find out which stories they built from the ground up, from the initial seed of a good idea to landing that puppy in the pages of a national newspaper. Do this and you’re going to find yourself whittling that shortlist down to one or two pretty quickly.

The truth is many PR firms simply lack people with the right experience – and that is true whether they are a Bristol PR agency, a Bath PR agency or a big London outfit (quite often bigger doesn’t mean better).

Don’t make the mistake of asking them if they know what a story is. Most people conflate this with knowing how to read. They think that just because they can read a newspaper they know how a story is put together.

But that’s a mistake. Just because someone can read a story and tell you why it’s newsworthy, doesn’t mean they can create exclusive stories for you on a regular basis that journalists actually want to use.

Remember these THREE basic rules and you might just come out of this alive.

  1. If the first thing a PR consultant asks you is how much your budget is for surveys….. run!
  2. If the second thing that PR person tells you is that you work in a sector that doesn’t lend itself to PR…. run FASTER.
  3. Finally, as the hairs on the back of your neck stand inexplicably on end, if they tell you a three-month notice period is standard practice in the industry… SLAM THE DOOR BEHIND YOU AND LOCK THEM IN.

Happy hunting! And if you have any Qs, get in touch here.

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