Thinking of hiring a public relations agency like Media Maven or a publicist like myself? Any business or brand wants exposure. If people aren’t aware of you, how are they going to find you and become a client or customer?! They won’t, but still, there is one big thing that holds people back from hiring a publicist: Knowledge of the business.
Many people don’t understand how the business works and once you hire a firm or publicist, it can be a learning experience. Before you shell out any money, please keep these things in mind before hiring a publicist:
1. Find out how they work.
When I say “they” I mean the person working on your account. The actual person. At many PR firms, the person selling you on hiring their firm, isn’t the person who will be working on your account. Make sure you know who you will be working with and what their experience and connections are. Don’t fall for the person making the sale. I once worked for a man who would over promise on the deliverables, then hand over the account to a new employee and say, “It’s my job to get them, now it’s your job to keep them.” You don’t want that.
2. Know your goals.
As a media specialist, that is what I base my work on – what the clients goals are. Why do you want publicity and where do you want it? The more specific you are, the better. Chances are, you want to be where your audience is. That’s a great starting point when deciding what your goals are. Also, have realistic expectations. That leads me to a red flag…
3. Have realistic expectations.
If it was easy to get you on Good Morning America or in Entrepreneur Magazine, then every PR firm would have bragging rights until the cows come home. You’re not going to get national media coverage every week. That’s just not the way it works. We wish it did just as much as you do. So listen, when someone at a PR firm starts talking like, “I can get you covered in this magazine or an appearance on that show,” make them put it in writing because chances are they are just selling you with great hopes and dreams.
In the world of PR, we cannot control writers, producers, bookers, etc. We cannot guarantee coverage in anything just like a doctor can’t guarantee to cure your sickness, but like a doctor, we will use our time, experience, and expertise. If any PR firm starts making promises like this, either get it in writing… or run.
Like any business, you want to vet who you hire. Hopefully these three things will help you when you’re shopping around the very saturated world of PR. There’s a lot of firms and there’s a lot of soloPReneurs. You have a lot to choose from… and now, you have homework before you make your decision.