Good publicity is valuable in the development of a new business. Those who decided to get publicity can cooperate either with a public relations agency of with a full-time employee. In both cases this cooperation may become a success or a nightmare.
In this article you will find some tips on how to avoid a sad experience and get a successful one.
- Never start until you are ready.
If you are not sure what you want to accomplish do not hire a PR firm. First of all you have to define your goals in order to avoid hasty decisions. Moreover, one of the common mistakes start-up companies make is hiring a firm too early in the development cycle. As Brian Pitts, director of media relations for Porter Novelli Convergence Group, a public-relations firm in Chicago, says: "Start-ups need branding, but there has to be something to brand".
2. Ask for proof.
Every agency likes to boast about its accomplishments in the field of public relations and somewhat exaggerate the results. So, do not hesitate asking for proofs. You also should ask to have a look at the samples of their work including different press materials. The next step you should take is to call the reporters and ask what they think about this agency.
- Examine your account team.
Some agencies may assign junior personnel to work on your account. All they will be able to do is to arrange one media interview a month for you. As Mary Devincenzi, a partner with Big Sky Communications Inc., a public-relations agency in Campbell, California, advises: "Look for an agency that ensures senior-level and partner involvement at the beginning and throughout the course of your relationship. Be sure to meet with your account team before hiring the agency, and check out their bios for proof of the experience they claim to have".
- Let your expectations be realistic.
Study what can and cannot be done for your company as far as public relations is concerned. You may be sure that your company deserves to be on cover of the most popular newspapers and magazines, but the reality shows that it may never appear there. "PR is an investment, not a guarantee," says Ms. Challenger, vice president of marketing of Site59.com "It may take entrepreneurs longer than they'd like to achieve the results they want."
- Be both a client and a partner.
If you want to see good results of the work with your public relations agency, you must not only observe but also participate in the PR process.
- "Don't be a bottleneck in the process"
Help the agency you hired to do their job for you by reviewing and approving (or not approving) its draft materials; responding quickly if they need some additional information; and by paying your bills in time.