PR professionals have nightmares all year long that are much scarier than anything to do with ghosts and goblins. Ours actually pertain to real people – the clients we serve. Forget black cats, this Halloween we are highlighting the most terrifying clients to cross a PR pros path.
The Micro-manager: We’ve all had this one. They give you a deadline for a document on Tuesday and on Monday ask when they will be able to see it.
The DIYer: I’m not talking about a client that wants you to do it all yourself. I’m talking about the client that gives you an order and then does it themselves. For example, they ask you to say contact a reporter and then they reach out themselves. Or, they ask you to change a pitch and then send you a new version just as you are finishing up the re-draft.
The Unforgiving client: Not sure who this client crossed or crossed them in the past but making a mistake with them is not a pretty sight. They may either treat you like a blithering idiot for the remainder of the relationship or ask for you to be transferred off the account. Yikes!
The Love You/Hate You client: Oh, this one may be the worst. They praise you daily and then two weeks go by without a placement and the horns come out. Suddenly, you’ve produced no results for them and are the worst agency with which they’ve worked.
The Inhumane Client: This client just has no respect for anyone. They throw out new deadlines and assignments on Fridays at 5 for a deadline of Monday at 8 a.m. They only give criticism for a front page placement or any other success.
The Never satisfied Client: This client is insatiable. You have 15 meetings in NY set up? Well, it looks like we have two slots left – why aren’t those filled? Why did this last Facebook post have less likes than the former? “You got us on the TODAY show – great? But our segment was only two minutes.” Sheesh!
The “I Want my Money Back” client: You don’t want to meet this one – trust me.
The OCD client: Everything has to be in Calibri and 1.75 spaced. You have to spell out every little detail in summaries but keep it to 250 words. Everything – memos, emails, etc. must be in AP style.
The Ad Person in a PR Title Client: The client who edits your pitches so that she can insert “marketing messages” into the copy and thinks that media will simply pick up whatever you send out and run it verbatim. The client who is only satisfied when the story resulting from an interview reads like an ad, or who keeps pushing you to pitch a business/workplace story to a morning show who only covers fluff.
The “Ellen”/”The View”/TODAY-obsessed Client: It used to be “Oprah” but now everyone seems to want “Ellen,” “The View” or GMA. And they don’t have a celebrity or a budget to do audience giveaways. Right.
The Talker: This is the client who can talk the birds out of the trees and eats up your whole budget with calls and face-to-face meetings to discuss minute issues or even her personal life. She seems lonely and needs her agency to make any decision, big or small.
Strategy Seeker: “They get great media results, but don’t give us any strategy.” Many a client has arrived on our doorstep with this lament about their previous firm and the reality 99% of the time is that they don’t have the budget for strategic discussions or any of the big program ideas we threw into the pitch to get the business. But a month into the account they are screaming for the hits.
The Make Me Look Bad Client: The client who asks you to pitch top tier media promising juicy data or key interviews and then leaves the reporter … and you … hanging out to dry when they don’t deliver. Nice way to get your agency person blackballed from a reporter she will likely need to pitch for another client long after this client is long gone. This is also the client who begs for media placements and beats down your door to get “results” but who “forgets” to return the calls of a “Today” show producer for 2 days after your release goes out.