Updated: Dec 15, 2018
5 questions to ask yourself before you hire a publicist...
1. Do I have news to announce?
Before you go ahead and commence working with a publicist, ask yourself this question. Are you launching a new product or app? Is your company celebrating a big anniversary, a new partnership or shift in direction? If so, you will benefit from working with a publicist to craft your message and share your news with the right people. When you have something to announce, there is no question that making a big splash to get some attention is going to help you and your business. Though spending a few thousand dollars to put your press release on sites like PRNewswire can seriously help your SEO, that is not the way to get your news in front of the right eyeballs. You want to bring your news to the writers and reporters who will share it with your target audience - your potential subscribers or customers!
2. Have I been in business for at least 6 months?
Kudos to you if you just started your business! In 2016, I left my job at a large NYC PR firm to go into business for myself and it was the best (+most terrifying) decision I've ever made. If you just started down your own path, there is so much to do. Setting up your corporation, finding a lawyer you trust, investing in equipment or supplies that you need, and getting going on your business goals. Give yourself time to adjust to this new norm and put PR on the back burner. Write it down on your laundry list of wishes pertaining to your business and stick it in your top drawer. Revisit once you feel secure in your day to day business activities.
3. Do I have a budget to work with?
Such a big one. A good publicist is a professional and they will charge as such. As with everything, good work isn't cheap and cheap work isn't good.
I treat my clients as partners - we partner to bring attention and awareness to your business or product. I take on a client's cause, myself. Their wins are my wins and their losses are my losses. I am fully aware of their business and what they have coming down the pipeline. Clients that have found the most success working with me keep me informed of everything they have going on. There have been times that a client "rambling" on about something they are passionate about or reacting to a trend in the industry has led to me creating a really successful media pitch. One of the best ways to get into press roundups is to be a resource for journalists to quote i.e. having opinions and articulating them well.
4. Do I wear lots of hats + need someone who can work solely on PR?
Are you super driven and pick things up quickly? Maybe you can run your own PR campaign - research the right people to pitch, dig up their contact info, build relationships with them, research best practices for your social presence, the way you position yourself among your competitors, etc. But don't be fooled - it takes a lot of time! PR people have gotten their degrees and trained for years to do those tasks. Just as you wouldn't take on your accounting responsibilities, your taxes, human resources or legal needs, you should not attempt to do it all yourself. Prioritize what you need and hire professionals that specialize in these duties and focus on your business.
5. Does my image (or my company's image) need some TLC?
Has something happened - bad press? a scandal? misunderstanding? Is your company's narrative outdated and not reflective of your progress? Enter PR. This is a good reason to keep an ongoing relationship with a publicist i.e. a retainer. This way you know you have access to someone who knows you and your company and can provide immediate assistance.
If you answered 'yes' to any of these questions, you're ready to explore adding PR to your business plan.
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