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Why We Fired Our Terrible PR Firm

Posted by Jason Wells on August 22nd, 2012 at 8:28 am

I want to tell you a tale of sadness and woe. This story is about LogMyCalls firing our PR firm.

In December 2011, LogMyCalls entered Beta. Our goal was to ramp up the coverage we received during the Beta period in preparation for our hard launch in May 2012. We evaluated several PR firms to help us with this task. After a few weeks of checking recommendations, digging through proposals and gathering data, we made a decision. We settled on a PR firm that is well-respected and fairly well-known. They assured us that even though we were hardly their largest account, they would still work hard. We were excited about working with them and so we signed the contract.

5 months later we fired them because they failed.

In 5 months they generated zero placements and few analyst reviews. They were terrible. To spare their reputation I won't reveal their name.

Why Did We Decide to Fire Them?

Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months without results. They just simply weren’t producing anything useful. No placements. No buzz. Nothing. We had recalibration meetings with them. We had frank, and honest discussions with them about how upset and frustrated we were. But still, nothing changed.

We were getting progressively more fed up

Then, one day a member of our marketing team decided to take matters into his own hands. He started calling editors of major marketing publications and blogs. He asked them if we could produce guest content  for them, if he could write articles about LogMyCalls, and if they would be interesting in reviewing LogMyCalls.

He called 4 that first day. They all said yes.

These were editors and publications that were on our PR firm's list. Our PR either hadn't contacted them or hadn't pitched well.
This was the straw that broke the camel's back. We realized that it was silly to continue to pay a PR firm when we could--evidently--do the job better. So we fired them. (The ‘break up’ wasn't pretty, BTW).

Firing them was the best thing we ever did.

Since we fired them we've had an average of 4 hard placements a week. That's almost one a day. We write guest blogs. We send out press releases. We newsjack. We do everything and anything we can to generate publicity and buzz.  And so far, it is working. We've had investors contact us, clients reach out, leads generate and deals close, all because of our new internal PR strategy.

To see some of our placements visit LogMyCalls.com/in-the-news

We Should Have Fired Them Sooner

Every week during our meetings the PR firm kept saying that they were 'right on the edge' of getting a bunch of placements. 'Next week is the week,' they kept saying. This continued for months. Next week never was 'the week.' Instead of getting placements we just wasted a bunch of money and a bunch of time. Fortunately, we fired them and things got back on the right track.

Are PR Firms Bad?

No, of course not. But this one was. They were terrible (terrible is a kind word).

When we talk about our experience with this PR firm that shall remain nameless, we refer to it as our 'PR firm debacle.' Debacle is a kind word. There are other words that describe our experience more accurately but should not appear on a reputable blog like this one.
PR firms aren't bad. However, you have to seriously consider whether or not you have someone internally who can do a better job.

10 Responses to “Why We Fired Our Terrible PR Firm”

  1. Which is why I believe clients should be pitched based on your results for others - reports - not always or only proposals. Reputation is good. Results are better. Good decision!

  2. Unfortunate, and sadly not uncommon. In this situation the client should not have waited months to make the decision. A good, specialized PR firm should be able to scale quickly and start delivering tangible results in *weeks*...

  3. Brant Emery says:

    This is why PR is losing ground in the digital age. With the focus on content, not on stories, it's much easier to find leverage with media and publishers. Opportunities that are beneficial to both, you provide new topics, they provide the reach. It's sad that your PR firm ended up being 'one of those', but hey, at least you got a good story out of it. ;-)

  4. Glenn Johnson says:

    I understand the frustration. I have decided to start helping companies get press after 32 years on the other side of the presses.
    One of the reasons is because as a senior editor I often found myself at the other end of "pitches" from PR companies. Far too many of them knew almost nothing about how we work in print, wire services and broadcasting.
    Sometimes it was something as simple as taking calls when you were on deadline. Other times it was a pitch for something that didn't jibe with your audience -- like playing the Sex Pistols on a Classical station.
    My advice is take a few minutes to really feel out the person you want to entrust with your future revenues.

  5. While it can sometimes take a little while to get the ball rolling, a PR firm should have enough connections in place to get things moving at a reasonable pace. It sounds like your account was just pushed to the back burner and no one at the PR firm wanted to take responsibility for it.

  6. worked at PR firm.. they knew their stuff. traditional PR...
    the problem is too many "digital" PR firms drank the social media kool -aid and forgot about their core business.

  7. Matt says:

    Sadly common, and very bad for a profession with a lot of hard-working, creative people that would never sit back and waste a client's money. How long did they think the gig would last, especially with a startup, where every resource is precious?

  8. Ana Reano says:

    Hope you guys compensated your Marketing employee 4 saving your Debacle! Show your appreciation to your In-house employees where it matters :) Unlike my situation, I work in-house for a Financial Advisor; constantly pitching Journalists & get placements on a weekly basis as well, along with producing all the marketing material etc...calling me "amazing" to your partners doesn't put green in my pocket & pay my bills, no raise in 2 years!! Looking 2 jump ship & if they wanna keep my expertise then they can pay me the agency fee ;)

  9. Dan says:

    That is a really poor piece of journalism. Good for you that you landed this srory. Shame on imedia for not screening their stories properly or requiring proper grammar. This is truly depressing.

  10. Ken Jacobs says:

    Sounds like a disaster. That said, there are always two sides to every story. Would love to hear the PR firm's perspective on this tale.

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