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Today, while browsing the PR news, as I do every day, I ran across a news release announcing the usual type of business deal: company X appoints Y firm as new PR agency of record. I followed the release to find out more and see if it was worth being featured on a PR news site. Apparently I ran right into a good story, but for the wrong reasons.

The company in question looking for a PR agency to handle their strategy and implementation and coordinate their PR efforts is Holben Hay Balzer CPAs, part of the Holben Group, a Denver-based accounting firm. They chose a Denver-based PR firm, Absolutely Public Relations. Is it a coincidence that the last names of a the HHB managing partner and the woman running the agency are the same? Probably not.

Moving on, I go about reading of HHB’s PR campaign handled by their new agency of record: communicating a name change, promoting one of their partners as the company’s public image and of course, you guessed it, a full flavored social media PR campaign: blog, Facebook page, Twitter accounts, the big guns.

Visually, all websites involved fail to look very appealing. While it is understandable for a new client to have a shaky looking website (you can advise them on getting a redesign and update their logo), a PR company should know that well, like it or not, how your website looks is important. Never mind the awful images, the fact it looks like a child’s play or that they do not really have a logo and their name is graphically inconsistent over the website, they also use difficult to read fonts, you need to scroll to get a look at their entire main menu.

The HHB Twitter accounts are powered by automated tweet feeds and they haven’t gotten the hang of the whole conversational aspect as of yet, the Facebook page and blog only feature HHB corporate news, so the social media strategy seems rather poor to me.

I went on to check the Absolutely PR Twitter account, and it’s pretty much the same. Thank God for automated feeds that you can connect to and have them update your account and for other people who do the same who you can follow and use as retweet material! Oh, and thank God Guy Kawasaki happened to speak at a conference back in… 2008, otherwise the Absolutely PR owner/founder would have never been introduced to blogging and Twitter! I get it, you teach your client to do what you’re doing. What I don’t get is why on earth they’d advise them to get a Blogger hosted blog. Absolutely has a blog attached to their domain, which would have made sense for HHB as well! The blogging platform they chose should have had no effect on their decision where to host the blog.

I officially declare this the PR Goof of the day! And my personal advice: if your site looks like crap, if your social media skills are close to zero, don’t go bragging about being chosen to do the same low quality work for someone else! It makes you and your client look bad!

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