Last Update: April 28, 2015
You say you want PR, but can you handle it? Once you sign with a PR agency – whether it’s a large firm, boutique agency or one woman or man shop – it’s not over for you. Bringing PR into your brand’s equation is not only an investment on your budget, but on your time as well.
Before thoughts of media stardom start swirling through your head, be sure you can answer yes to the following questions.
1. Do you have a budget?
Remember, just as with most things in life, you get what you pay for. Well, PR is no exception. Most PR agencies work on monthly retainers which are required up front. Rates? Can go anywhere from $1000/mo – $10,000+/mo depending on the agency/firm and the scope of your brand or project.
Oh! and forget about pay-per-placement. Given the time intensity and consistency of media outreach, you will be hard pressed to find any publicist (even newbies) to work on anything besides a monthly retainer or flat project rate.
2. Do you have a website or e-commerce presence?
I think (I hope) having a website goes without saying, but if you’re a brand seeking PR these days, having an e-commerce presence (whether it’s your own e-commerce or through an e-retailer) is crucial in not only securing press, but in getting you revenue.
While getting into stores is of course absolutely great, sales are limited to that store’s particular region. Having an online sales presence, meanwhile, opens up your product to consumers everywhere (well, so far as you’re willing to ship).
As far as media is concerned, with the power of the blogosphere growing by the day, online media is a huge and influential area of opportunity for exposure. The catch? They won’t run you unless they can link to you. If you’re expecting online press you must have an outlet, online, where consumers can buy your product. It’s all about instant gratification my friends. Don’t have a website? Get one. Don’t have e-commerce and/or an e-retailer? Make it a priority.
3. Do you have visuals?
A picture truly is worth a thousand words when it comes to promoting your brand. I cannot stress enough how important it is to invest in quality photography before seeking out any kind of PR campaign or project.
For example, if you’re a fashion designer, you need to provide your PR agency with not only images of your line on-model, but off-model as well (known as “product shots”), in addition to your logo, headshot, and of course Look Book. And don’t forget all images must be in high-resolution (300dpi). Trust me when I say DO NOT skimp on visuals. They can make or break the promotion of your brand.
4. Do you have samples?
Fashion and accessories designers – be prepared to loan at least 1 full set of samples to your PR team, and most likely give or “gift” additional samples to select media throughout the course of your PR outreach. Beauty and lifestyle brands – media will typically only write about you if they can try the product first, so be prepared to have plenty of inventory on hand for your PR team to consistently send out to press. And no – samples sizes (with some exceptions) won’t cut it.
Hair salon, spa or other service? Be prepared to offer comp treatments and services for editors and media to try out. All said – we know every time you send out a nonreturnable sample or provide a comp service, it’s money out of your pocket. Your PR team will be screening all sample and service requests to assess which ones are worth committing to, and which ones aren’t.
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