THE Creativity Chronicles

A journal of creative thoughts, content commissions I'm working on and where I'm at right now. The life of a creative copywriter.

"Creativity takes courage" - Henri Matisse

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Things you need to know about PR

February 10, 2017

Things you need to know about PR… BEFORE you hire me to work on a PR campaign for you. PR is not code for “get you in all the magazines free of charge in 6 weeks”.  The number of businesses I’ve spoken with who think PR is the cheap option to get customers.

That’s another thing – PR might not get you customers. Yep, I said it! Sure, it will raise your profile and you can say you’ve featured in (insert prestigious magazine title here) but it doesn’t always translate into customers.

PR is a long game. If you are expecting to hire someone for 4 or 5 hours and feature in all of the magazines and have people flocking to you it might be a tad unrealistic. I’m currently speaking to a big wedding publication for a product I’ve been talking to them about for most 6 months. Only now are they looking at featuring it and since they are an issue ahead on a bi-monthly publication, I reckon the product will get featured around June, around 9 months after I first told them about it!  Yes, sometimes it’s quicker and it depends on a lot of stuff but there is a lot of time invested in lining up the shot.

If you have a limited marketing budget spend it wisely – look at social media advertising (a really targeted way to get a great ROI) or perhaps email marketing or even blogging (can still take a while to get results but at least you can see the progress physically on your site)

If your product is sh*t PR won’t help you. Save your money. Spend it on upping your product game or a better premises or a business coach, or alcohol.

Believe it or not, I’m not browsing fashion outlets online when I’m working for you.  You have to be able to trust your PR person.  They are doing the best they can but if you want them to get you in within 2 hours of representation at no cost except their time we have a different word for that.  It’s called “advertising”.

It’s not news just because you’re new. I hate to break it to you but your brand spanking new product or venue doesn’t automatically become interesting just because you’re new.  You have to be different, unique or of interest to people in some way because “new venue” “new product” “new range” just reads to us like “same old, same old, same old”

Lastly, be honest – it’s the most important one but if you have a tight budget, don’t know if it will work for you or don’t understand what’s involved, talk to your PR person, communication is our forte after all!  Better that than losing the plot a month or two later because you thought you would be in at least ten magazines by now.

It’s important to me that if I’m partnering on a PR contract with someone, that they understand results aren’t guaranteed, any coverage is a privilege (these magazines will only print it if it’s interesting or they are being kind to us), that there has to be trust and that we’re only human.  It’s also imperative to understand PR might be earned media and not paid media but that doesn’t make it cheap! And when you do land genuine editorial content, it’s much more powerful than an advert.

So, if I haven’t totally terrified everyone, here are the pros to working with a professional PR: we have the contacts and we know what publications are looking for and when is best to approach them, it looks more professional to work with a PR representative, we’re faster and can get direct links and we can advise on stories and angles that work best.  If you’re willing to play a long game, invest a little and build a long-term relationship with us then you’ll usually find it’s a win-win scenario.  After all, you only need to be mentioned by some of the big publications once to be able to use it in your marketing forever, and how much is that worth to your brand?

So remember, PR stands for Progress, Performance, Partnership and Promotion

  1. Bryony says:

    Love your honesty Jess! No PR smoke and mirrors here, refreshingly honest and mindful of the needs of unique businesses – as with all the blog post of yours I have read is morning – with my way too milky for your tastes coffee – beautifully written, engaging, inspiring and smile provoking – all big ticks in my book!

    • Jess says:

      Thanks Bryony, I’m pleased you enjoyed the piece. Haha I doubt it’s as milky as you think, we shall see when we get to meet! 🙂

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