GLAD YOU ASKED…
1. Why should I hire an outside person to publicize my company or product?
Due to the competition in any market today, publicity has become as important as any other part of your company or product. You need someone to handle the publicity part of the project- publicizing your product or company and targeted print, radio and television. Most people do not understand how publicity works or have the experience or time to do it. It is also easier for someone else to promote you and your company/product, because it is difficult for most people to call the media for their own promotion. Also, having a publicist lends credibility to your product, project, book, company, etc. And, people just tend to take you more seriously if you have someone representing you.
2. What is the biggest mistake you can make when hiring a publicist?
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is thinking you can do it all yourself. If your product is already “out” and doing well, but has never been professionally publicized, you can hire a publicist to position you correctly with a “first time to the media” angle.
3. Is there ever a time when I don’t need my own publicist?
No, not really. Even the most well-know celebrities, companies, authors, etc., maintain their own publicists. How do you think they become so successful? Most likely, a professional publicist is probably in the picture somewhere. Most things that make the evening news are a result of a publicist.
4. When is the best time to hire a publicist?
You should hire a publicist as soon as you realize you need exposure or more exposure. Please know that magazines have long lead times and if your strategy is to get in a magazine, get excerpts printed, you’ll want to start early so that national media placements can hit during the right season. A good publicist will take advantage of the early start.
5. How much will it cost to hire a professional publicist?
The public relations fees vary depending on the experience of the publicist. It also depends on the length and depth of the campaign and how many media sources will be targeted. Project fees are billed monthly, and out-of-pocket expenses such as long distance, postage, copying, etc., are additional. Most PR firms have a monthly retainer fee also. Some firms work on a 6-12 month contract and some by projects. The bottom line is you get what you pay for.
6. What is the most important question to ask a publicist?
One of the most important questions that you can ask is: Do you think that you can get publicity for me, my company, product, etc.? Publicists do not want to spend countless hours trying to get publicity for your company, product, etc., if they feel it does not have media potential. You want to work with a publicist who appreciates your product and clearly understands your mission.
7. How do I select a publicist?
Ask for referrals. Business associates usually know who is producing results.
Also, find a publicist who fits your values and culture and your feel comfortable with. Make sure the publicist you choose can see the “big picture.”
8. How can I help my publicist do a good job?
To start, become part of the team. Feel free to let your publicist know your ideas, or if there is an event, convention or news story that relates to your company, product, book, etc. Help your publicist stay informed. Remember, publicists are experts at media, not your subject or industry. Keep your publicist informed via email, fax, or phone – they will appreciate the extra effort and it will pay off.
9. What results can I expect?
There are absolutely no guarantees in public relations, but 80 percent of all news stories in this country are placed by public relations professionals, so the odds are really good. What you should expect are well-composed materials that are presented in a professional manner. You should expect a solid media campaign that targets the best contact at the appropriate media outlet. Your publicist will spend many hours on the phone pitching your story, idea, company, product and that he/she is persistent and does not give up. A good publicist is a persistent publicist. Quality work will land quality hits and that means more exposure.
10. What should a great publicity firm do for you?
A good PR firm will package your message in such an innovative way (via press releases and press kits) that it can be successfully pitched to local, regional, and national radio, television, newspapers, magazines, and internet publications to obtain third-party news media credibility. Good publicists will also keep you informed on a weekly basis as to their efforts and the results they expect. Hard work by your publicist does pay off and public relations are much more cost effective than advertising. A good publicist is a good writer, has gained the respect of editors and journalists, will add credibility to your company, product, book, etc., and will present your pitch in a media friendly, interesting, thorough, and well-organized campaign.