Q: I need more people to know about my business/book/project. Should I advertise, hire a marketing firm, get a publicist, or just do it all myself?
A: This is where an experienced communications professional can make a world of difference. All businesses and professional projects have different needs. What are your goals? Who is your audience? What story do you have to tell? How can you make that story into something attractive to the media? What media outlets would be most interested in what you‚re doing? How do you best reach out to them? My experience can help you sort out all these issues and allow you to implement a communications plan that will meet your specific needs and goals.
Q: I think I have a really unique story, and I know you’ve landed clients on Oprah before. Can you do that for me, too?
A: Unfortunately, nobody can promise you a spot on Oprah or any other national media outlet. There are a variety of factors involved in who or what major media outlets choose to feature that there are simply no guarantees. Obviously, reporters and producers are always interested in stories which best serve their audience and their bottom line. You may want to ask yourself: 1) Is my business ready to make that leap, and why now?; 2) What can I do for them to provide dynamic content (not just what can they do for me); and 3) Is getting a national media “hit” just good for my ego, or is it really good for my business? Certainly, a story on the Today Show or Larry King Live wouldn’t hurt, but those goals are only one part of an overall strategic plan that includes messaging, media training, timing for product or initiative launches, news cycles and a number of other key factors.
Q: I think I’d be pretty good in interviews with the media. Do I really need media training?
A: Media training is absolutely essential to handling interviews with poise and focus. An interview situation can get away from the topic at hand and lose the message that you’re trying to deliver. Top-quality media training from an experienced communications professional will enable you to be prepared and confident on the mic, in front of the camera, or in a phone interview. Media training will allow you to make sure that your message gets delivered with crystal clarity.
Q: What’s the difference between hiring a publicist and a PR agency? How much does that usually cost?
A: An independent publicist generally operates as a contractor and/or consultant. She may charge a per hour, per project or monthly retainer fee depending on the scope of the project. A typical hourly rate for a publicist runs anywhere from $50 to $200 per hour. A PR agency may assign an account team to your project, and more typically charges a monthly retainer, though each client is unique. Before you make the costly decision to hire a publicist or PR agency, a communications audit may help you save valuable time and money.
Q: Can I just hire you to do a press release and send it out for me?
A: Many small to medium businesses may not understand the strategic complexities of implementing even a seemingly simple PR plan. Writing and distributing a press release is a good start, but it’s a tactic, not a plan. Press releases are made available to news organizations and inherently have a short shelf life with journalists. Your goal should be to establish and maintain long-term relationships that will grow with your business. Therefore, I would strongly recommend a proper consultation to see when and how a plan can be drawn up and executed.
Q: How is your business structured, and what are your hours?
A: I am an independent consultant located in Austin, Texas and I do all my own stunts! I believe very strongly in work/life balance, and am committed to providing the most excellent service to a small group of clients at any given time. My hours of operation are Mon. – Fri. from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. CST. I am always availabIe for urgent matters and media calls 24/7. I generally book clients 1-2 months in advance for short and long term projects. If I am booked up, I am happy to refer you to other excellent publicists and communications pros.
If you have any other questions, please drop me a note at: firstname.lastname@example.org.