9 Signs You’re Being Scammed By A PR Agency

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If you’re new to the public relations world, it can appear scary and confusing. We get it, we’ve all been there. That’s why it’s important to stay informed. By choosing a reputable PR agency (we know one!), you can boost your brand or business’ reputation! Not to mention the extra media coverage! Here are nine signs you’re being a scammed by a PR agency to watch out for:

Your publicist is not informed.  

Your publicist should know, well… something! If they have never worked in your industry or niche before, it’s not a smart idea to work with them. If they have no strategy involved to uplift your business, that’s a red flag, as well! You hired a publicist for the knowledge that they have! If they can’t prove that they have that knowledge, then you’re probably getting scammed.

You are not guaranteed coverage. 

Working with a PR agency that doesn’t guarantee you any media coverage could be a sign that you’re getting scammed. Imagine walking into a movie theater and buying a ticket for merely the chance to see that movie! Sounds ridiculous, right? It’s a similar situation when you’re working with a PR agency that doesn’t guarantee press coverage! 

Yes, getting larger media successes takes time. At Otter PR, we always make sure our clients are aware that it can take up to three months to get a larger media success. However, that doesn’t mean you aren’t able to achieve smaller media successes in the meantime! Make sure you’re working with a PR agency that is pushing to get you covered. Otherwise, it could be a scam!

The coverage you’re getting is not high value. 

Perhaps you are working with a public relations agency and they are getting you media coverage. On paper, it may appear that they are doing their job. However, it’s important to get a closer look at what kind of websites your story is being published to. They could be publishing you to websites that aren’t trustworthy. Or, they could publish to you websites that are known for posting scammy content. 

You’ll want to make sure that you’re validating if your media coverage is quality! Using tracking platforms like Meltwater or Coveragebook can help you determine that. They sort of work like Google Analytics. They can tell you the type of traffic a website gets, the amount of views, and the clickthrough rate, as well.

The agency heckles you into long contracts

Here at Otter PR, we want to earn your business every month. That’s why we don’t do long contracts! You’re not forced to receive more services from us for longer than you need. It’s a red flag if a public relations agency is pressuring you to get into long term contracts! They could be forcing you to spend more money on them than you need! 

The agency does not have client references.

Client references should be one of the first things you look at when considering a PR agency. You could be getting scammed if the agency doesn’t have any clients to reference. Client references are the proof you need to know that the agency you’re working with actually gets work done that produces results! If your PR agency does not feature client references on their website (which is a red flag in itself; who wouldn’t want to brag about their client successes?!), make sure to ask during your consultation! 

The agency has no social proof.

Regardless of the industry, if any business wants to be successful these days, they’re going to be on social media. If you can’t find the social media profiles of the agency you’re working with, it could be a sign that they are not legitimate. Any real company will want to put the work into creating social media profiles that positively reflect their business as social media is one of the most popular forms of marketing these days. 

Similarly, not having a working, professional website, is a red flag as well. Every business has a website these days! A lack of an easy, modern way to find out information about the agency you’re working with is a sign that you could be getting scammed! 

They avoid talking about negative possibilities.

We get it. No one likes to think about negative outcomes. However, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be considered! If a PR agency does not want to talk about the possibility of a negative outcome, that is a sign that they aren’t prepared to deal with it. A sign of unpreparedness is also a sign of a scam! 

They don’t provide you with updates or reports.

As your PR agency, they should be wanting to keep you as updated as possible when it comes to your PR campaigns. If they aren’t able to update you or they are really secretive about their work, it could be a sign that they don’t really know what they’re doing! Make sure you’re asking for updates and reports as you work with a PR agency to avoid getting scammed. 

There is no way to back out of a contract.

Make sure to always read your contracts before you sign them! If your PR agency does not offer you a way to back out of a contract, they may be trying to lock you into a situation where they can waste your time and take your money. Make sure to carefully review any contracts and for an extra measure of safety, work with a PR firm that offers month to month service instead of long term contracts (like Otter PR!).

In Conclusion

While working with a PR agency is a great way to expand your business’ reach or improve your brand’s reputation, it’s important to make sure you’re staying smart about the agency you choose! As long as you keep these tips in mind, you should be able to avoid getting scammed by a PR agency!

Deven McCray

Deven McCray

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