6 Business Mistakes Every PR Pro Should Strive To Avoid

Oct 03, 2022

PR isn’t the easiest industry to break into, and that’s putting it lightly. When you’re just starting to build your agency, it’s easy to get caught up researching and implementing everything you need to do in your business. But honestly, knowing the things you shouldn’t do is even more important! Avoiding common business mistakes PR pros run into is the key to setting yourself up for success right off the bat. 

6 Major Business Mistakes PR Pros Need to Avoid in Their Agencies 

You can't move forward in your agency if you’re running into the same roadblocks over and over (and over and over…) again! Knowing what you need to avoid as you launch your agency will allow you to side-step the obstacles you’d face otherwise. Here are six business mistakes PR pros need to know so you can fast-track their success and build a strong foundation for your agency.

Not Getting Your Legal Ducks in a Row ASAP 

Setting up the legal side of your agency is seriously boring (and I say this as a former lawyer!), but it’s so vital to your success. Not giving your contracts the attention they deserve can hurt your agency down the road. 

Contracts are your agency’s safety net! Serving a client without a contract is one of the biggest business mistakes you can make. You need to take the time to clearly outline the scope of your work, the terms of your agreement, and any legal consequences that will result from a breach of contract. This will protect you when a client doesn’t pay their retainer or constantly adds on work without compensating you accordingly.

It’s more than worth it to invest in a contract lawyer to advise you on the verbiage of your contracts and make sure you’re covered from all angles. We also have contract templates and tips inside The Agency Accelerator that you can take advantage of as you’re crafting your contracts! 

Related: How to Expertly Manage Your Client Relationships

Treating Media Relationships Like They’re Not a Priority 

Maintaining strong client relationships is basically PR 101. You need to commit to nurturing those partnerships and prioritizing them as you grow and scale your agency! But as a PR pro, all of your relationships are important — and that means you need to prioritize your connections with media contacts, too. 

This is one of the most common business mistakes new agency owners make. At first glance, media pros seem like a means to an end, or a tool or land press features (I mean, they are the ones writing the articles). But they’re people, too! You can’t consistently score epic placements for your clients without having good relationships with your media partners.

It’s more than just a great first impression. Nurture your media relationships just like you would with clients, and put the effort into maintaining communication and being a great resource in your niche.

Skipping Out on Investing in Your PR Education and Finding a Mentor 

I’m not talking about getting a communications degree here — PR pros are lifelong learners who are always upleveling their skills and diving into new industry technology. Your education doesn’t stop when you launch your agency! Keep up with what’s new in your niche, join programs and support networks (like in The Agency Accelerator and The Pitch Lab), and commit to learning new techniques and strategies.

Finding a mentor you really click with is incredibly valuable when starting your agency. They can advise you on some of the business mistakes they wish they hadn’t made, and point you in the right direction when you’re facing a tough decision. Your mentor has already been through this, so let their expertise guide you!

Waiting Too Long to Hire a Team or Delegate Tasks 

Be an entrepreneur, not a solopreneur. Honestly, thinking you can do it all on your own is a business mistake in and of itself! You can’t reach the success you’re dreaming of without a stellar team by your side. 

Spending so much time in the weeds of your agency does nothing for your business in the long run: you’ll run yourself ragged trying to manage every little thing. You need to focus your energy on becoming the thriving, visionary CEO you want to be. Hiring a team you trust and delegating the day-to-day work to them is the only path toward scalable growth! 

Charging Way Less Than You’re Worth 

This is one of the most common business mistakes PR pros make, especially at the begging of their agency owner journey. Charging too little for your services is a disservice to yourself! People often think that having a lower retainer fee than their competitors will lead to more clients and success, but that’s just not how it works. 

Not charging enough for your services is a huge business mistake for two reasons: 

  • Clients who only care about getting the best deal aren’t good partners (they’re usually your most frustrating clients!) and won’t be the right fit for your agency
  • You’ll struggle to maintain strong profit margins, which will hold you back from growing to your full potential

Your goal should never be to lowball your competitors in a race to the bottom. Providing valuable services to clients, generating powerful results, and delivering clear ROI will actually bring you the success you want! 

Not Focusing on Your Agency’s Client Onboarding Experience

Once you land a client, you have to keep them in the door. A stellar onboarding experience is your first step to building trust and getting them excited for what’s ahead. You can’t just impress them with your proposal and leave them out to dry! 

Put the effort in to craft a strong client onboarding experience before you launch your agency, then tweak it as necessary once your business is off the ground. Skipping out on this step is a major business mistake you can’t afford to make. A partnership that begins with your client feeling confused, overwhelmed, and unsure of what to expect will not last.

Knowing what not to do when building your agency is even more important than knowing what to do! You can’t be a true PR pro without it. Avoiding these 6 business mistakes will save you time, money, and frustration in those crucial first few months of your agency.