Why RFPs are a joke for solo PR practitioners

This post can be originally be found here

By Arik Hanson

I’m so mad at myself. I swore I was done with RFPs.

Then, I got sucked back in by the prospect of a fairly interesting gig.

Like many of the RFPs I’ve been a part of, this one was destined for the same result: “Thanks, but no thanks.”

So now, I’m all done. Finito. No more RFPs.

My solo PR friend Greg Brooks will not be happy, but I’m finished with RFPs—for a while, at least.

Since going solo four-plus years ago, my track record with RFPs is not all that great. I think I have yet to win one.

Wait, Arik, why are you telling me this? Why are you admitting that you never win RFPs?

Two reasons:

1. I’m secure enough in my work to know where I’m strong (personal referrals) and where I’m weak (RFPs). Why would I sink time into areas where I’m weak rather than focus more time on areas where I’m strong?

2. RFPs are a joke for the solo counselor. Let me tell you why.

I understand that they’re a necessarily evil for agencies. I get it. I’ve been a part of them before on the agency and corporate side. But for solos? I don’t see an upside. They’re time consuming. They typically ask for free ideas; no, thank you—I give away plenty as it is.

Last but definitely not least, as a solo, you are usually competing with agencies that have many more resources in their RFP arsenals.

Some RFPs aren’t exactly for a king’s ransom. So, not only is the organization asking for your time and your free ideas, they want them for what may amount to a mid-size project fee.

Not worth the effort. So, I’m stopping—right now. We’re all done here.

Arik Hanson is principal of ACH Communications. A version of this article originally ran on his blog,Communications Conversations


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