Working With A Publicist

August 31st, 2010 by Rob Berman Leave a reply »

All companies seek favorable attention and mentions in the media.  Companies can directly pay for ads (print or Pay Per Click) or use Public Relations to have stories written about their company.

Working With a Public Relations Professional

Editors, the gatekeepers of the various media are bombarded with Press Releases and other missives.

PR has been used successfully to “get out the message.”  Many companies handle PR in house with someone assigned to the task.  In smaller companies, it may be the owner or a senior manager.  In larger companies, staffers in the Marketing Department or Corporate Office handle these tasks.  Do you need a publicist? It is crucial to understand the responsibilities of the publicist.

Responsibilities of the Publicist

  1. Understand the products and services they are publicizing.
  2. Understand the needs of the media where they are pitching the company.
  3. Identify opportunities for positive media coverage, which capitalizes on the company’s mission and objectives.
  4. Function as counsel with respect to external communications.
  5. Develop communications strategies around key issues.
  6. Promote a positive image of the company.
  7. Create publicity around products and services.
  8. Consider potential crises and create written plans to avoid or mitigate the crisis.
  9. Monitor media mentions of the company and advise management of positive and negative mentions.

10.  Maintain existing and create new relationships with media figures that may be able to help the company.

The Takeaway

Whether your publicist is an internal employee or an external vendor, their effectiveness is multiplied when the business person fully understand the role of the publicist.

Those are my ideas.  Over to you.  Please comment below.

  1. Do you handle your PR in-house or do you contract it out?
  2. Have you recently considered changing from in-house to contracted services or vice versa for your PR needs?
  3. How effective do you feel your PR efforts have been?

If you would like to contact me, you may do so by visiting my LinkedIn page or e-mailing me at rcberman2 (at) yahoo.com.

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18 comments

  1. Hi there, You have done an excellent job. I will definitely digg it and personally recommend to my friends.
    I’m sure they’ll be benefited from this website.

  2. Like Keyuri, I’m a sole proprietor with a limited budget. I haven’t had much opportunity to issue a press release up until now but I’ve been in a more proactive mode and have an upcoming opportunity. It’s definitely something I need to be doing. For me, it’s harder to recognize the opportunity than to write the release.

  3. Good points. However, having worked in and with top media world wide I would add that you have to create news in order to get an article published on a page where it will be seen, or published at all.

    It’s not difficult, it’s just a question of how you editorialize it. Just as when you interview someone you have to make sure you he/she says something that makes an interesting headline that attracts attention.

    Unless of course you are a huge advertiser because then they will cover you anyway.

    • Rob Berman says:

      Catarina:

      You need to know your message and have sound bites ready to go. If you script out what you are trying to accomplish with PR interviews it goes much better.

      Rob

  4. Susan Oakes says:

    Hi Rob,

    When I worked in larger firms we used an outside agency. As I was interviewing them I ask each to present case studies that contained measurable objectives and results Only 1 was able to pass the test..

    Now being a small business owner I tend to do it myself although I if I had a large enough project I would hire a company and interview them in the same way.

  5. Paul Novak says:

    Hello Rob. Good points here.

    As a freelance writer, I’ve put together more than a few press releases, reviews, and promotional pieces for companies enegaged in PR campaigns. You are absolutely right, and it is vital that anyone doing the work for you has an EXCELLENT understanding of the company that has hired them.

    I have seen all too often where PR is done poorly, or even inappropriately, because the persons handling the job approached from a one size fits all angle, and tried to shoehorn the account into their own rubber stamp methods.

    • Rob Berman says:

      Paul:

      You are so right about the one size or approach fits all that some firms employ. The PR firm or publicist needs to understand you business in order to help it grow.

      Rob

  6. As a sole proprietor with a limited budget (ugh), I am my own PR specialist! The steps you outlined above are indeed helpful. #2 is important to me so that I make sure my efforts are targeted to the right people in the right markets. I also agree with Julie’s comment that relationships matter by leaps and bounds. This is, where I believe “tipping points” lie.

    • Rob Berman says:

      Keyuri:

      I agree about the tipping point. Relationships are really important in PR. However, a company needs to be leveraging these relationships in the best way possible to further the goals of their client.

      Rob

  7. I had someone help me with some PR initially. I think he was used to dealing with big companies. It took him forever to get to the meat of the plan. He had great ideas but in the end I had used all of our money for him to develop the plan and there was nothing left to execute it.

    I now do my own PR but if I was going to hire a specialist I would do more research and I would want a plan with measurable results. It was an expensive but in the end a good lesson.

  8. Rob, great ideas. I think #10 is the most important point here. Many companies will hire an outside PR firm specifically because of their existing relationships with key editors in their particular niche. It is these relationships that are going to get your story where it needs to be. In my last corporate position I worked with the PR firm in your #’s 1-9 but it was #10 that compelled us to hire this outside PR firm.

    • Rob Berman says:

      Julie:

      I recently reviewed a proposal for PR services being pitched to a company. I advised them to hold on and adjust it to make it more measurable and more concrete. The response was, “they will get me in the media and that is all I am worrying about.”

      Money was not the object for those guys. You can still get media and a measurable campaign.

      Rob

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