Everyone is always asking me what vendors publicists want their clients to start using before launching a PR program . I believe sharing a list like this is one part helpful info, and one part insight on strategy. I’m also admitting here that PR people do not have the market cornered on all activities related to the success of an overall communications plan. Particularly for entrepreneurs, small business, authors and artists– these are vendors you need to use in with your PR person.
1) Web designer: While there are endless vendor possibilities for this one, it is extremely important that you are dealing with someone who is having YOU ask the right questions before you get started. Do you need your website to function as a blog? Do you you already have a designer? Do you need a shopping cart? A wonderful example of a good client questionnaire can be found at http://www.websydaisy.com/contact.html. And why does a PR person need you to have a decent, well thought out website? She won’t want to pitch journalists unless there is a nice place for the reporter to visit. Your PR person will be working with your web designer to create a page for media to visit in case the content of your website is a bit lacking. For some clients if the site is extraordinarly user-friendly and well-organized, a media room may only have basic PR contact info and an electronic press kit. Depends. Please note: never have journalists sign in to get into a media room. Make it available, accessible and transparent.
2) Video Production Company: PR people will always want decent b-roll (general footage of your company or interview with you) to be able to post on the site or on video-sharing sites like YouTube. Press releases are often accompanied by other media in order to generate more interest from reporters. If you’re an author, do some research on book trailers and other short promotional videos. If you’re a company, know that video on your website is becoming the rule, not the exception.
3) Photographer: PR people will need excellent head shot of you, perhaps some candid shots of your company, and product shots if necessary. Please don’t use your digital camera!
4) Graphic Designer/Branding Company: Certainly this depends on the scope and type of business you have, but your PR person wants you to have invested in a nice graphic identity before introducing you to the world. Hire a real designer or a real agency. If you simply do not have the budget for that, check out low cost online tools like www.logomaker.com. Anything is better than using a standard font.
5) Press release distribution service: You should invest in setting up an account with one of the following distribution services– PR Newswire, BusinessWire, MarketWire or PRWeb. All offer different price points and services, as well as levels of measurement so you know where your press releases appear.