The other day a friend was asking me about sourcing PR help.
Basic questions about what to look for when engaging the services of an agent or agency.
The conversation got me thinking about how easy it now is to check out a potential agent or agency.
Go to a blog, Twitter feed etc and a person’s thoughts are readily on display.
But caveat emptor: The biggest mistake you can make is confusing someone’s digital profile with competency.
A blog may have large readership. This says little to nothing about what the quality of service the blogger will provide.
Yes, people do indeed read blogs that they think are useful and can learn from. However, blogs also gain traffic based on readers’ perceptions about the blogger (specifically, is he/she funny, nice, controversial etc – all things that have nothing to do with professional competency).
Much of what is published in the blogosphere, especially the PR/marketing/social media segment, is reductive schlock. Think about the zillion lists posts of advice that are written each day. They are a great fit for the way we read online. But, just because someone writes list posts of trite advice that gain mad traffic does not mean that they can execute. And execution, in business, is EVERYTHING.
Basing hiring decisions on elements of a Twitter feed (the number of followers a prospective agent/agency has or their influence score) is even more dangerous. Many an incompetent fool has 10 000 Twitter followers and gets retweeted a lot.
When you’re looking to hire PR help you should do your homework by checking a prospective agent’s online profile. But make sure you go beyond doing only this. You need to see what real world outcomes they been involved with.