How do you know which PR agency you can trust?
For an industry focused on reputation, PR doesn’t have the best rep going. A lot of this comes down to misinformation about what PR actually is and a bunch of people flogging ‘PR services’ without the proper qualifications, experience or intentions.
The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) has recently condemned firms practising ‘black PR’ tactics, which go against its code of ethics. These ‘PR companies’ plant misinformation online, proliferate it using fake social media accounts and try to manipulate search engine results.
This puts businesses like yours in a difficult position when you’re looking for expert help to increase customer recognition of your brand. So, which PR agencies can you trust? Here’s what you need to consider:
What is real PR?
According to the CIPR: “Public Relations is about reputation – the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you.” Sounds simple enough.
The role of PR agencies and in-house public relations departments is to facilitate this by sharing what your organisation does, what it says and encouraging other people to say things about you. This involves having conversations with your target audience using the right communications channels.
Importantly, all the messages you share with your customers have to centre around the truth. Reputations built on falsehoods and manipulated facts will fail. Your business will find it easier to live up to its desired reputation if your brand PR is authentic.
Every business owner will have received unsolicited emails from individuals claiming they can help you rank on page one of Google or gain thousands of new social media followers.
The saying ‘if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is’ applies to both of these offers. Using link farms, which create hundreds of links back to your company website to try to boost its presence on the web, and buying fake followers will only backfire in the long run.
Simple ways to spot people practising ‘black PR’ are poorly written emails and messages sent from Gmail addresses rather than one including a legitimate company URL.
Our best advice is to delete these emails.
What to expect from a PR agency you can trust
If you want to find a PR company you can trust to help boost your business’ reputation, gain you more exposure in the media and improve your online presence, then here’s what you can expect:
- They’ll be members of a professional body, like the CIPR or PRCA, which both require members to adhere to strict codes of ethics and conduct
- They should be able to prove their experience in PR, media or marketing and, ideally, will hold industry qualifications
- They’ll be able to prove their worth with case studies and testimonials from existing clients. They may have even won industry awards for their work
- They’ll offer to get to know your business before making promises about the results you can expect.
If you are looking for an experienced, qualified and trustworthy PR agency to support your business objectives then we can help. Amplify PR is a Southampton-based PR agency run by award-winning PR consultant Lisa Preston. Lisa is also an Accredited PR Practitioner with the CIPR.