Are your public relations efforts not driving expected results?

If you hired a public relations firm and feel like the work they do just isn’t driving results, I’m sure it’s because you don’t see any new, qualified leads for your business…or not enough to make the investment worth your while. So you have to find out why. Is it due to lack of a good strategy? Do they lack mortgage industry experience? Or is it because they’re just not getting enough exposure in front of the right audience? Or is it possible that you need to do more than just PR?
Since there can be a lot of reasons behind why your PR firm isn’t meeting expectations, I thought I’d point out six of the more popular ones for you to contemplate…

Watch out for these 6 reasons for poor results from your PR efforts!

1) Your company may be better off leveraging other tactics instead of, or in addition to PR. This is the undisputed #1 reason! If your PR agency is too narrow-focused and the answer to everything is just more press releases and more story pitching, you might consider working with a consultancy that can provide a broader range of communications solutions and has solid mortgage industry experience. Besides, PR encompasses a whole lot more than media relations activities!

To drive new business, you need a well-rounded strategy that reinforces the press you’ve been getting. The strategy could include direct marketing, on/off-line advertising, email campaigns, integrating social media exposure and more. PR is not always the best or the only solution. I’ve almost always found there to be other needs even when starting up…like updating collateral, a well developed prospect list with emails, website improvements to enhance conversions, etc. Or, maybe you have a brand problem that needs to be dealt with first!

2) The agency doesn’t have media contacts/relationships in the market(s) you serve. I felt compelled to bring this one to light because this is not a reason for less than stellar PR results…so long as you’re working with a reputable agency. Chances are high that many of the contacts a PR person worked with in the past are no longer with the same media outlet, and/or may not be covering the same area. PR agencies use media databases to find the right contacts to target anyway. A good agency knows how to easily develop a master list of contacts at key media outlets, rank them and discover how they like to be contacted and what they like to write about or report on. You’re much better off evaluating an agency based on mortgage industry expertise and examples of coverage they’ve gotten in the past than evaluating them based on their supposed “relationships” with specific editors or reporters.

Let me tell you an insiders’ secret…media reps need great stories because they have a job to do. You won’t receive special treatment because you’re working with an agency who’s management plays golf with the reporter, because the children play together, on the same PTA committee or just because your agency got pickups from certain media in the past. The media will respond to PR professionals, whether or not they know them, as long as they have something newsworthy and it’s presented in a way that gets their attention! This requires skill. If this were not the case, very few agencies in the United States would ever survive.

3) What you want the PR agency to do is not what you really need. Clients should look for a mortgage industry PR firm that will consult with them and develop strategies and not just do as they’re told. You are paying for their expertise, aren’t you?

4) Your expectations for PR are too high too soon. It’s not unusual for you as a client to have high expectations for your investment…and you should! However, if you’re a relative unknown, it takes time to build a foundation for high level exposure.

High level exposure means different things to different companies. For example, high level exposure can mean a segment on FOX Business, the evening news in a major market, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, etc. Acquiring this high level exposure doesn’t take forever, but a foundation needs to be built to catapult you to that level. So, make sure your agency has the “know how” to get you there by discussing the strategy with them…and be sure to ask for mortgage industry references and examples. A reputable agency will help you manage your expectations and be overtly honest with you rather than wait until after the contract is signed.

5) You don’t have a big enough budget to “move the needle.” In every situation there’s a minimum amount of money that’s necessary to get reasonable results. Rather than tell you that your budget is inadequate, some PR agencies will take what they can as long as you can pay…until you realize they’re not really performing or they’ve passed you on to a junior account executive with little to no supervision.

This is a lousy way to do business but it happens more frequently than you could ever imagine. Like your father always told you growing up…”there’s no such thing as a free lunch!”

6) Your account manager at the agency is not someone you were made aware of. Many agencies will hand off your account to a “junior” rep who simply doesn’t have the experience to get the results you deserve. Your rep needs to be able to think big on your behalf. That requires experience and creativity. What’s going to drive media exposure at the next industry trade show? What will be the big draw at your next event? What mix of tactics will work best to get the word out and to what extent should those tactics be leveraged so that you don’t spend too much money/time on one and too little on another?

In order to combat some of these items, consider working with an agency that can do more than just PR, or has more than just media relations expertise, and therefore has more tools to get the job done. This will give you and the agency the ability to work together to accomplish a goal without any bias as to what tactics to leverage. This ability to combine different tactics to achieve a desired outcome simply allows you to optimize how your dollars are invested to bring about the best possible results.
Do you have anything you would like to add? Let me know in the comments section!