I’ve worked on both the agency and client side in various PR functions. One thing I grew to hate was creating (or reviewing) status reports. For those of you not familiar with status reports and weekly updates that the majority of PR agencies create, they go something like this:
- 3-5 bullet points (at most) of something that was actually achieved in the week (placements appeared, secured placements, interviews conducted, etc.)
- 30-40 bullet points of ongoing work – a long list of attempted contact (called and left message, journalist wasn’t available, suggested we call back next year, etc.)
Now I realize some agencies do a better job at this than others, but really, where’s the value in all this “potential results” discussion? If you were to just focus on the actual results accomplished, the reports and calls would be much shorter.
Status reports and weekly updates are useful vehicles to communicate activity to clients. But often, they mask what’s actually going on – there is way more effort exerted than results generated. Of course, my point of view is from that of a small agency working with small clients. Typically tech startups that have a harder time generating publicity than a “sexy” client with a bigger budget. For example, I’m sure the status reports and weekly updates for an account like Facebook or Twitter are fascinating. But what about the companies you’ve never heard of? They’re thin with output, though their budgets may be in the $5K-$10K per month range.
Are 5-10 placements per month worth that investment? It depends on where those placements appear and what the goals and objectives of your campaign are. Of the 100 or so accounts I’ve been a part of, more often than not the ROI just doesn’t add up. [Read more…]