March 31, 2011

Burned by a publicist? Tips for finding a good one.

You’ve likely heard the saying “There’s no such thing as a free lunch,” but probably never “There’s no such thing as a bad publicist” Have you ever worked with a PR company and not gotten the results you wanted?

I frequently receive calls from frustrated business owners who have suffered at the hands of an unsure publicist. I don’t think most publicists set out to waste their clients’ money and time but, unfortunately, some do just that.

Perhaps you’re one of the many people who has invested thousands of dollars in publicity, only to receive little or no return. Disillusioned, you pulled that steaming box of Stoffer’s mac ‘n cheese from the micro (it’s all you could afford after forking out thousands for something that did you no good) and settled into a couch coma, glazed over eyes set for an evening of The Bachelor.

You want to call it PR quits, yet, you know public relations has merit—and you want to trust in it. There’s hope.

Here are eight tips for finding the right PR firm for you. Take this advice and vet away, my friends. And add to the list, if you have any additional recommendations.

  1. How many years have you been doing PR?
  2. Who will be handling the day to day operations of my account?
  3. Are there junior members on your team? Will they be doing most of the work?
  4. Can I speak to two past or present clients?
  5. What roadblocks to my success do you see? Can you help me overcome them? If so, how?
  6. Alternately, why do you want to work with me? What are my selling points?
  7. Can I speak with a member of the media with whom you’ve worked?
  8. What can I realistically expect from this relationship? (Gosh, that question transcends PR.)

Remember, PR is not advertising. You can pay to place an ad, but if you want to elevate your reputation, you need third-party endorsements. Social media and getting press are two fine ways to do it.

About the Author

Brook Larios

Brook Larios

Brook's 14 years of professional communications experience spans newsroom reporting, national nonprofit and luxury public relations management and building a successful pr agency founded on uncommon connections and creativity. She's a lover of horses, fitness, reading, nature and good conversation. Zany and approachable, Brook prefers removing the surface rather than scratching it.