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Public Relations Strategies: Why PR RFPs Suck.

Ok, here I go. I hate RFPs (Requests for Proposals).  There are even templates for them like the one here.


Old school medicine photo by me.  Shot on location with Julien Smith in Montreal.  Thank you Julien for taking me here. Please share this photo.

I know they are sometimes needed, but often times the client to be does not know how to ask the right questions or what to look for in a PR firm.

When you have a group of agencies all competing for a piece of business, we’re all going to tell you the same thing: we have experienced professionals on staff, we did this wonderful thing for this client, ten minutes ago we just got off the phone with one of the leading analysts in your space, and here are some great references you can call.

The realities are this: each client is different and has its own quirks, budgets, challenges and personalities. As much as we get interviewed by the client, we need to interview the client as well.

The greatest responsibility we have to the client is not just doing great work, but managing their expectations and explaining how the process of what we do works.

While I consider the team that I work with to be well connected, it’s impossible to know everyone at every publication and research firm.

We have good relationships in place and when we don’t know someone, and we have a great client with a good management team, solid technology, proper funding, a good product roadmap, and some initial customers, we know how to cultivate the relationship so we can support the journalist / analyst.

Last night I was working on a RFP.

After I submitted it, I sent back a list of 25 questions to the prospective client that they did not address in the RFP.

Hopefully, the prospective client will see and understand how we think.


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