What is your PR agency saying about you?

David Smith wonders why PR isn’t always as smooth as it should be.
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I've been running ToyTalk since 2006, and that means I have worked with dozens, perhaps even hundreds of PR people.

The best ones make this job a joy (and really very easy). They are among the most enthusiastic people in the industry, always pleased to see you at events, always happy to talk or respond to an email, always looking for ways to help you do your own job better – all of which leads to more coverage for their clients, so everybody wins.

One of the hard lessons I’ve learned, however, is that not every PR person is one of the best.

For every polished press release we receive (basically making it possible to have a story live on ToyTalk very quickly), we receive less polished ones.

We’ve had press releases that don’t talk about any products, just undefined ranges with no specific details. We’ve been teased with mention of ‘many other great toys in this range’, and left dangling (quick tip: press releases should never tease). We’ve read about great toys, only to find ourselves wondering when they are going on sale, or how much they will cost.

All of this means you have to go back to the PR person for more information, and that’s like putting a hurdle between the product and media coverage.

Don’t assume that every website or publication will be willing to jump that hurdle – they may be feeling lazy that day, or just have many other, easier options to write about.

Tragically, even with the best PR people, it pays not to get too attached to them because chances are they’ll have moved on in a couple of years and you’ll be starting from scratch with a new account manager.

This shouldn’t be a big issue – but it is.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve built up a great relationship with a brilliant PR person, only to suddenly find that the press releases have inexplicably dried up.

It sometimes takes weeks or even months to find out that a new account manager has taken over, or a new agency is now handling that particular toy company’s PR.

This isn’t a complicated business. We (and many other media outlets) want to write about your toys.

Every now and then, it’s worth checking that your PR people realise that.

Agree with David? Let us know in the comments section below.

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