7 Things to Know Before You Hire a Publicist


Article by Yetunde Taiwo Shorters
Photo Credit: Nancy Schoenmakers
Magazine: Issue #27

7 Things to Know Before You Hire a Publicist

7 Things to Know Before You Hire a Publicist

What do publicists do? They leverage media relationships for their clients to maximize their exposure by millions, so they can increase exposure and growth that in turn influences your profits. In my 15 years in Branding, Publicity and Marketing, I know that people consistently mix the 3. These 7 tips will help you be conscious of what you need, so you can work with your publicist to make the most of your product or service 

1. KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BRANDING, PUBLIC RELATIONS, ADVERTISING AND MARKETING? - The job of your publicist is to provide PUBLIC opportunities to help expose your product, service or expertise. It provides opportunity for the marketing person to convert that publicity to dollars. But you have to repeat it multiple times (advertising) so that people remember. You usually need all 4 on your team for a very effective strategy.

2. BE CLEAR ON YOUR CUSTOMER PROFILE - If you have an idea of your target audience, It can help you identify which publicist to go for and can put your publicist to work faster. You should know the following as a business owner before you hire a publicist: 

  • Your gender market i.e. – Male, Female, Boys, Girls, Students
  • Their Age demographic i.e.- Age 10-18, 20- 25, 30-45 etc.
  • A clear value statement of what you will be providing to themWhy they should pick you over the competition

3. INTERVIEW YOUR PROSPECTIVE PUBLICIST - Public relations is one major way to get exposure to millions of people at one time. That opportunity is invaluable. So before you make that financial commitment, you should interview your publicist. Here are 5 top questions you should ask your prospective publicists.

  • What are the top 3-5 results they can share with you about their successful campaigns?
  • What major media do they have good relationships with?
  • Are their efforts more prominent on print, TV, radio, online?
  • Do they focus on local, national or international publicity?
  • Do they charge by results (À la carte) or with a monthly retainer?

4. PICKING YOUR PUBLICIST - Declaring your customer profile helps you almost immediately identify the publicist you should approach. Find and contact publicists that have experience in your industry, genre or target market.


5. BE FLEXIBLE - You may come ready with your customer profile, branding etc. and your publicist says “you need to re-brand, what you have now is not going to work for the media you want to receive.” Be flexible. Make the changes. If they can show you proven results of their success conversion, invest in updating your brand to get the results you desire.

6. HAVE A REALISTIC MEDIA WISH LIST - A wish list is the ideal media you would like your publicist to get you into via TV, Print, Online or Radio. Be realistic about the type of publications you want to get in. If your brand is aligned with that media’s image then you have a higher chance of getting featured. But remember it may take weeks or months. 

7. BE PATIENT - Public Relations is “RELATIONS”. It’s building a relationship with the world about your offer. Just as you don’t always open your door to every stranger that you meet, you have to see your new brand as a stranger to the public, but the more they get to “know you” the more they feel more comfortable with you. Twitter is a perfect example. Most of us who joined twitter when it started were not immediately tuned to it and now, even if it is not used, many people have Twitter accounts. That took almost what: 7 years? YES, so be patient and give people a chance to know what you, your product or service is about.

Everything you say or do is Public Relations” - (Anonymous). Be aware of how you are relating to the world. Imagine if your product were a person, what kind of person would you want to be friends with? That should help you be intentional with your brand and it’s message to get Global Publicity so you can dominate the world. GOODLUCK.

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