How much would it cost to send one press release?” – this is a question that most agencies know well. PR agencies could really make a fortune only on individual orders. So why is such a strong need of clients met with such a strong reluctance of the agency? Why do agencies usually refuse? And why do they sometimes make exceptions?
Money grows on trees, and PR agencies say that they won’t pick it?! Seemingly the situation seems absurd, but the agencies are right. Here are why they usually don’t want to pick it. And at the end we say, but when – and rarely -they are willing to go pick it.
Customer and brand is unknown
The agency usually refuses to distribute a single press release when it does not know the customer – i.e. the brand is completely new and unknown, and when the people behind the brand are completely anonymous. Insight into the company register does not bring much information in this case. The income is uncertain and the risk too high. Customer verification is the agency’s responsibility, all the more that PR services are not cheap. If you can’t check the potential client – it’s better not to start with a single release.
There are many risks associated with the previous point, which can be expressed in zlotys or euros. If you don’t know anything about the brand or people – you don’t know if they are reliable and honest entrepreneurs. No agency wants to learn the hard way, wasting a couple dozen work hours of work for its employees. It is better to invest time into sales activities that will lead to establishing long-term cooperation with another brand.
Agencies have limited human resources – in other words – employees to whom they can entrust additional tasks. From the agency’s point of view, if there is a dilemma whether to take on a one-off task to earn some money or do something additional for a regular customer – they choose a regular customer. Predictability of financial flow is important in every industry and PR is no exception.
Entering cooperation with clients is time consuming and requires the efforts of both parties to understand each other’s principles of operation. It works much better with a client who has experience in cooperating with a PR agency. He understands why we use the terms “first on the market”, “best” or “largest” so carefully in media materials … Without understanding the specifics of the agency’s work, the client may have unrealistic expectations of the results or the tone or message of the content that the agency wants to distribute.
As Profeina, we practically always start cooperation with the client from joint workshops, during which we determine what is the language of benefits, what are the needs of target groups, what archetype the company represents etc. By the way, we explain, for example, what type of information have a chance to appear in the media and how to write a blog so that Google likes the content. Thanks to the workshops, the client no longer needs to explain many things to us, and we do not have to explain things to him. Most matters are agreed upon and, as a result, we limit the client’s involvement in the course of cooperation to the necessary minimum. We simply understand each other better. After the workshops, we prepare a communication strategy.
Without such preparation (workshop + strategy), the content that will be created may be the result of the agency’s intuition and experience, and the client’s beliefs about what the media like to inform about, his guesses about what may be important for clients – and they may be true or false. It will be quite random. Therefore, not necessarily optimal. What’s worse – it may be ineffective.
To write a press release that makes sense – you need to understand the topic. Well, maybe except for texts about simple and widely known products and services, although even in this case it may not be true. If we write about image recognition – it’s good to know who offers similar services and how they differ. When it comes to factoring – it is better to understand the problems of entrepreneurs, know the statistics on invoice payments etc. So if someone asks us to write a short message – it does not mean that we will devote little time to it. To bite into the subject – we have to do quite a lot of research, and customers do not want to pay for it. They want to pay for “distribution” often of a “information that is already written”. No way. It is not so.
If it has been quiet about the brand so far – the media are also cautious about materials provided by the agency. You have to earn their euphoria. Unless the brand actually offers something very interesting / unusual / very cheap or very expensive. Something that stands out on the market.
Concern about results
When the agency has little insight into the specifics of the client’s industry, when the brand is completely unknown, when the client provides uninteresting information, when the product or service does not stand out, when the client is deaf to the agency’s arguments and is not willing to take advantage of its advice and experience that stand behind them, when a foreign client does not want to take local context into account – then the fear of the results of such press release is completely understandable. It may turn out to be a complete failure. The work will be done and the client will be disappointed. Maybe even permanently discouraged from working with any PR agency. We don’t want it!
I have already mentioned that the customer may have unrealistic expectations for a single press release. And it’s not about expectations about the number of publications. Some customers are convinced that one-time release will not only provide them with X publications, but that it will make them known, recognizable, open the door to important institutions, etc. However, this requires constant activities. A single message sending does not bring such fruit. And even when it is extremely successful – the effect passes quickly.
Unfulfilled customer expectations – despite successful release – are the bane of PR agencies. We don’t want anyone to “soil” our image, so we often refuse.
Why do agencies sometimes give in?
PR agencies sometimes send individual messages. This is because of the opposite of the arguments behind not doing it… That is – if the brand is known, if the agency once cooperated with a given brand or different known agency worked with it (e.g. Partner from abroad), if the client has a communication strategy – i.e. has a defined language of benefits, knows the media his clients consume and what features of the product or service are important to them, if the client provides interesting information and is open to suggestions of the agency.
If the greater part of these conditions is met – then the agency may accept the task.
For how much? And why is it so expensive?
It is definitely a more expensive service than the agency’s monthly subscription fee (flat fee) divided by the number of messages in the scope of service. This is because PR agencies are combine sending press releases with a number of services that the brand needs. They send messages on behalf of the client not only once or four times a month. What are they doing? Look here.
Picasso was once asked to make a sketch at a restaurant. He valued it at 10,000 USD, which surprised the woman who asked for it. – “It took you 30 seconds!” – “No,” Picasso answered. – I needed 40 years to get to this place.” We don’t need years, but the back-end of agency work is underestimated. Writing a press release and sending it is just the tip of the iceberg.
* What do foreign agencies think about it?
They think the same thing that we have repeatedly found out in our Enterie agency network . However, within the network, we often have a situation when a customer who constantly cooperates with a given brand on his market – wants to appear on a different one once. Then such a customer has earned his trust with us and we gladly accept such work.