Advice from a Seasoned CMO on How to Chose a PR Agency

Experienced CMO Arun Krishnan has had almost two decades worth of strategic marketing communications experience. He’s led international efforts for companies such as IBM and Stein IAS. We worked with Arun at Pontiflex and the partnership resulted in hundreds of press placements in publications like The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Entrepreneur, AdAge, and MediaPost. We recently sat down with Arun and asked him what he looks for when selecting a PR agency, and here’s what he had to say:

“In my experience, many PR agencies will claim to have deep relationships with every reporter or influencer in the space. In some cases, this might well be the case. But given that most reporters (the ones that matter) are honest and insightful people who want to run content that matters to their readers, the fact that your PR agency knows a particular reporter might not matter.

When I look to hire a PR agency I ask the following three questions:

  1. Do they demonstrate a sustained track record of coming up with counter intuitive and compelling angles and stories?
  1. Do they understand the broad trends in the tech industry?
  1. Are they going to pull a bait and switch? In my experience, the most senior person pitching me will often disappear after a contract has been signed. It’s very important to me to know whom I am going to be working with every day before selecting a PR agency.”

We agree with Arun. Select an agency employing PR professionals that you’d like to work with, because those people will become an extended arm of your marketing or communications team. Choose an agency with a proven track record of developing intriguing story angles in your industry or a similar discipline. If you follow this advice, you could be more successful with your communications efforts than you might have imagined.

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