5 times you shouldn’t hire a PR firm

Being thoughtful about your business strategy can provide long-term benefits to your company.

By John Boyanoski, president and owner, Complete Public Relations

This is going to sound strange, but I am about to tell you why you shouldn’t hire me or my business.

As a guy who runs a public relations firm, I can honestly say that not everyone needs a public relations firm on retainer all the time. Or even some of the time. Not saying a PR firm can’t be a great asset to a small business or a large business or a nonprofit group or anything in between. Actually, a good firm can be an amazing asset for building brand goodwill, sharing a story with potential clients and investors, or working you through a crisis. Those are the reasons people hire public relations firms. They have something worth talking about and want to share it.

However, there are many times that hiring a public relations firm is the last thing you need.

  1. You’re looking to increase sales: A good public relations plan will raise awareness but won’t necessarily get people through the door like targeted advertising does. I wish that were different, but it isn’t. Now, a good PR plan on top of an advertising plan can do wonders, but announcing a sale just through a press release isn’t going to get you much ROI. PR people are not sales people. That is the main reason we chose public relations. We prefer writing over cold calling.
  2. You don’t like talking to the media: Believe it or not, we have set up interviews for people who have hired us to set up interviews and then they completely froze at the idea of doing an interview. I just set a record for using “interview” in one sentence. I’m not proud of that, but I needed to make the point. A PR firm’s No. 1 goal is to get you in the media. That means talking to all kinds of media members. A good firm can work with you on overcoming fears, but if you simply won’t talk to the media, then using a public relations firm is not a good use of your money or time.
  3. You’re not ready: A public relations firm can do a lot besides handle media calls. It can create content for blogs and websites, plan events, write newsletters, host events, and do all the fun stuff that goes along with social media. What it can’t do is make your business ready to handle that. If your website is out of date or your sales protocols aren’t in place or you can’t ship your product, don’t bring in a team to announce any of it.
  4. You have nothing to say: Public relations is a tool to help build credibility and goodwill in the public. We often say it is fire insurance for when things go bad. If you have good publicity and people have a favorable view of you, things tend to go better when a crisis comes your way. And crises do come. However, if you aren’t doing anything that good or it’s not very often, public relations isn’t going to change that. A firm can help you change that, but unless you are willing to change, then nothing changes. Just set another record. Most times using the word “change” in a sentence. Again, not proud.
  5. You saw your rival do it: We often hear this from our clients. They tell us their rival company or another business in their field hired a public relations firm after seeing our client in the media. While imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, revenge and self-satisfaction are not reasons to hire a firm. Make your own destiny and choices.

The takeaway from all of this is that public relations can be a valuable tool. Public relations for the sake of public relations isn’t really worth your time.


John Boyanoski is the president and owner of Complete Public Relations, a media relations firm based in Greenville and serving the Southeast. Learn more at www.completepr.net.


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