One of the most frequent complaints I hear from Publicity Hounds is the one about what went wrong when they hired a big PR firm, or a lousy publicist.
The nightmares sound like this. Whopping monthly retainers but few media placements. Fresh-out-of-college graduates with little PR experience assigned to major accounts. Sweet-talking publicists who promised the world but had no media contacts. The sinking feeling that an agency’s huge fees were used not to hire talented employees but to pay for the 30th-floor view of downtown. Unexpected and inflated extra charges for things like faxes and phone calls. Some clients even admit failing to do the most basic task before hiring a publicist–checking references. Publicity Hounds often need PR firms or publicists. But they don’t know how to find the one that’s the best fit. They don’t know what traits to look for or what tough questions to ask candidates. They are clueless about the role that chemistry plays between the PR person and the client (hint: a lot). And they don’t know when to help and when to stay out of the way once a PR firm is hired.