There are a lot of pains and a lot of gains in the public relations industry. Some things are understood, while others things are not… by both the clients and the media. The business is changing and so are the rules.
I operate my business very transparently. I’m not going to sugar coat things or send false promises your way, so if you want to know some things, sit back… here are eight things you didn’t know about the public relations industry.
It’s not about sending emails. It’s about building relationships. My contacts in the media don’t owe me anything, so I need to maintain good working relationships with them in order to do my job successfully. Luckily, I worked on that side of things for 10 years and have great relationships with people in the industry. True story: I have seen stories turned down because of the less than likability factor of the publicist handling the client, even though the client was a great fit for a story. Also, I have earned many clients publicity after sending a Facebook message to a friend.
Media relations take time. If you want to see results fast, buy an advertisement. If you want to see more meaningful results over time, hire a publicist. Timing is everything when it comes to earned media. Just because it’s not in print today, doesn’t mean it won’t be in three months. Be patient.
We can only lead a horse to water. If you want publicity, that’s on me as a PR professional. But if you are not doing your part as a business owner to get that horse to the drink the water I led them to, there is only so much I can do at that point. For example, if your website needs help, I will refer you to one of the website developers I work with. What you choose to do after that is out of my control. I once had a client who wanted me to promote her business, but her website wasn’t completed yet. If your online store isn’t open for business, what’s the point of media coverage?
Our work never stops. News is a never ending cycle. It’s just about impossible to take a day off. It could mean a missed opportunity. (That’s why when we reach out to you with a question or request for a certain picture, we need it ASAP.)
There is a level of skill and expertise to what we do. I am providing a service that has taken me years to learn through a variety of different experiences. Just because you have a Facebook page or Instagram account does not mean you know how to strategically promote a business via social media. If I had a dollar every time someone told me they didn’t need social media help because their nephew was doing it for them in their spare time…
What you pay for may not be what it seems. Don’t be fooled by the big, beautiful office and fancy website of a well known firm. Many times, the people running the firm won’t even send an email on your behalf. After you pay your retainer, your campaign is given to a low level staffer to do all the work. Make sure you know who is really working on your account.What is published or aired is usually out of our control. Remember, we don’t write the articles or direct the live TV interviews. Instead, we make you look good so other people want to tell the story we’re pitching them. Sometimes, you may not like the way something is written or the way a question is asked. That’s public relations – how someone in the public is perceiving you, your brand, or your business. I once represented a baby product and around National Reading Month. During that time, I used the product to promote reading to infants and included the benefits of doing so. Well, one writer I pitched happened to have a child who was deaf. She did not believe reading to infants was beneficial at all. Needless to say, she didn’t write an amazing review. Sometimes, these things happen.
No one wants to give you a free commercial. It’s your business and it’s your product, so of course you think it’s the best thing since sliced bread and makes a great story… but so does every other entrepreneur. It needs to be more than that to earn media coverage. For this reason, let your publicist guide the process of developing the newsworthy content for the media.
Interested in learning more about public relations? Well, you’re in the right place. Not only do I fill this blog with tons of PR information, but you may love my new online course, Master your PR. It teaches you exactly what to do to earn your brand media exposure without spending big bucks on public relations.
Because of my decade of experience working on-air, then in public relations – I know what works and what doesn’t… and I’m going to share it all with you! I’ve gotten clients featured on the Today Show, the Rachael Ray Show, in the Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, Men’s Fitness, Food & Wine, Entrepreneur, and much more.
I attribute my success to two things:
Maintaining great relations with colleagues in the media industry
Telling great, newsworthy stories
While, I can’t give you my relationships with media professionals, I can tell you how to start them, build them, and keep them. I can also direct you, so you’re able to find your brand’s story, craft it, and pitch it to the media.
I’ll teach you all of this, step-by-step. By the end of Master your PR, you will know:
How to find your brands story
How to find the correct media, then pitch them effectively
How to talk to the media so you and your brand shine
How to become a regular on TV as a panelist
How to earn yourself publicity as an expert in your industry, and much more
To be honest, I never cared too much about National Small Business Week. I didn’t even know there was such a thing. But now I’m a small business owner, so FYI, it’s the first week of May.
I’m a big fan of small business news and WalletHub has just released the best small cities to start a business… and one is just a hop, skip, and a jump from where I started my public relations firm in Coral Springs. WalletHubs data set ranges from “average growth in number of small businesses” and “prevalence of investors” to “office-space affordability” and “corporate taxes.”
So, the top 10 best small cities to start a business are:
10. Deerfield Beach, FL (right by me!)
9. Cheyenne, WY
8. Dothan, AL
7. Clearfield, UT
6. Inver Grove, UT
5. La Vergne, TN
4. Jefferson City, MO
3. Brighton, NY
2. North Chicago, IL
1. Holland, MI
Another fun fact: I’m also very close to Miami Beach, that has the highest number of startups per 100,000 residents, 246. That is seven times higher than in Salisbury, Md., the city with the lowest, 35.
Let’s be honest, we all waste a lot of time. I’m sure many of you reading this hate meetings for this reason. If it’s an hour long, I’d bet about 10 minutes of it was productive. Then, there is the meeting to talk about the meeting. I could go on. If you haven’t noticed by now, I love finding ways to be more productive.
Here are my top six ways to increase productivity:
I stopped commuting.
To me, it makes no sense to spend time sitting in rush hour traffic, twice, to sit in front of a computer at work all day. Obviously, this pertains to me working at a public relations firm. When I was a TV reporter, commuting was essential. That’s not a job that can be done from home. But many jobs can be done from home in front of a computer. When I didn’t spend time getting presentable for public and commuting to work, I gained an additional 2-3 hours a day. Now, that’s productive! Want even more details? Click here to read my article in Fast Company.
I have a to-do list.
And it is detailed. I am very organized, so I actually have two to-do lists – one in general with no deadlines, and one more immediate with deadlines. I make sure it’s ready to go before I start working, so when I’m ready to begin no time is wasted. (Yes, that means you have to work a little bit on Sunday night, but it’s worth it Monday morning!)
I eliminate distractions.
I used to leave all the tabs on my computer open. When I would see an email flashing in one, I would stop what I was doing, open that email, and deal with it. It may have taken two minutes of my time, 20 minutes, or even more. Then, I would go back to what I was originally doing. Not only is this inefficient, but it’s also a great way to get off track. Instead, I give myself a task to do – with those tabs closed and my phone face down. I don’t want to see it light up with a notification! Unless it’s a life saving emergency, which I’m sure it’s not, it can wait.
I work when it works.
For some reason, I’m more productive at night. Some people are great in the morning. I’m good in the morning, but great at night. Around 3pm-7pm, I’m distracted and just in need of a break, so I work when it’s best for me. But some days, I’m great at that time. It really just depends on what’s going on in my life that day personally and professionally. I am a firm believer that not everyone needs 40 hours a week to do their job and not everyone needs to do it between the hours of 9am-5pm. If that were the case, what a coincidence that would be!
I schedule everything.
Like, ev-er-y-thing. And I set reminders. This helps me plan out my day, week, and month. If you know what is happening, you will be more productive because you have a plan to follow. Use working out for example: If you say, “I’m going to the gym this week” you probably won’t go or you’ll put if off. If you say, “I’m going to the gym Tuesday morning at 9:30” you will probably go because it is a scheduled plan.
I get to the point.
I don’t want someone to take up my time by sugar coating and beating around the bush… and I’m impatient. I’d much rather prefer someone just get to the point, so that’s what I do. It’s also a great way to get rid of any confusion! When people know you are a straight shooter, they are more trust worthy and you know you won’t be playing a guessing game. In business, that is a must!
Finally, since I brought it up, my advice on getting out of a meeting: Take that list of things to do and devote the meeting time to getting it done. Tell your boss and ask someone to brief you on what was discussed. That = productivity!
Do you want to promote your brand? You can! Sign up for my online course to learn how you can promote your brand by doing PR yourself. Click here to master your PR. Want to try a bit for free? E-mail me at Christina@MediaMavenAndMore.com.