Hundreds of PR service firms are itching to help PR pros do their jobs better but much more information is needed about the firms so that PR people can make intelligent purchases.
Some of the firms are spending as much as tens of thousands of dollars to reach prospects at three and four-day PR conferences but the low renewal rate of the exhibitors indicates they are not satisfied with sales.(http://tinyurl.com/8pwjcz3)
While nothing can top in-person visits, conferences only last a few days while a web exhibit hall, such as theO’Dwyer “Find the Right PR Service” database(http://tinyurl.com/cev4fka) is open 24/7/365, is easily downloaded, interactive, and can be updated throughout theyear. Traffic is in the tens of thousands rather than a couple of thousand. Cost-per-thousand of reaching prospects is dramatically lower.
Basic Info Needed on Services
There’s almost no information on how the services charge such whether it is on an hourly basis, by project, orby monthly retainer. We know of no service firms that supply client lists.
Two of the most popular articles on odwyerpr.com are the “How to Hire a PR Firm” (http://tinyurl.com/yewzyse)articles by this writer and Fraser Seitel(http://tinyurl.com/9d4durd) author of the leading PR text,The Practice of PR.
Numerous corporate executives told us how they judge PR firms and Seitel drew on his experience as a client while working at Chase Manhattan Bank.
We will do research for such an article and hope that Seitel will too.
The service firms need a small board of directors who can work on definitions. The blizzard of often highly technical services being offered is daunting even to experienced PR people.
Kirk Stewart, now with APCO but then with Manning,Selvage & Lee, told the PR Services Council in 1991 thatPR firms want accurate estimates; ability to meet deadlines,truthfulness concerning their expertise and in reporting results, plenty of service, and high quality work.
Disclosure, Rankings Helped PR Firms
PR firms in the 1970s had started to grow rapidly as companies turned to them for creativity and media contacts.
Clients had a good grip on the ad agency business because the Redbooks listed thousands of ad agencies and Advertising Age published an annual ranking of hundreds of agencies.
The O’Dwyer Co., founded in 1968, immediately noticed that there was no directory of PR firms with basic information.
Our background was covering advertising for eight years on daily basis for the former New York Journal-American and Chicago Tribune.
We set out to duplicate what was available in the ad business, namely list agencies and their people and accounts and compile a ranking of PR firms.
There was plenty of opposition to disclosure but PR firms soon realized that openness was the key to growth,particularly when their competitors were thriving by doing that.