Pleasantly Persistent PR Blog

Approaching a Publicist as an Asset
(to Make the Most of Your Investment)
March 3, 2023
Very often publicists are viewed as an expense by a client. This is understandable since publicists of course cost money. But there are major downsides when clients approach publicists simply as a spending line item.

Below I go over the importance of viewing a publicist as an asset and how this benefits the client, publicist and the campaign.
The Problem with Approaching a Publicist as an Expense
Publicists are professionals with a niche skill set. Clients rely on publicists to perform work they cannot do themselves because they lack the abilities and networks.

Publicity work also requires a massive time commitment. Many hours go into researching appropriate media outlets, crafting pitches, following up with contacts and scheduling appearances. Most clients do not have the availability to commit themselves to a successful public relations campaign.

Giving a publicist the room to perform their job, and treating them as a professional, means that a publicist can work at their best. Conversely, not respecting a publicist's time or duties and approaching them as expendable, is not a great way to get the most out of the publicist you have hired.

Sometimes this stems from clients not appreciating that publicity, and securing media interviews, is a time-intensive process. It can take many weeks of running a campaign before media interviews are booked. Clients can become understandably impatient, but acting out in frustration at a publicist is counterproductive.

Of course, a good publicist can rise above challenges presented by clients, but unprofessional client behavior can nonetheless be a distraction, making it difficult for a publicist to perform at their peak.

The big takeaway: to make the most of your investment in a publicist, be respectful and trust them to do their job. If you aren't sure about something - ask a question to clear up any uncertainty.
Not All Publicists Are Equal (You Get What You Pay For)
The above takeaway has the caveat of getting the most out of your good publicist.

As with any profession, there are variances in the quality of publicists. Not all publicists have the same capabilities or track records. Additionally, publicists will have different areas of expertise. For example, some excel with digital print coverage, while others focus on booking TV interviews.

When choosing someone to represent you, be sure that their niche aligns with the campaign you envision. Ask about their past campaigns, successes they accrued by way of media spots for clients, and the time frame of this work.

There has been a wave of market disruptions and workflow adjustments across virtually every sector in recent years thanks largely to emerging technologies, and public relations is no exception. The pandemic and its fall out, for example, have altered the way publicists connect with the media. Gone are the days of reaching contacts by phone.

What's more, publicists today must have some working knowledge of digital marketing efforts as they coincide with and complement traditional PR duties. New avenues of publicity are becoming available. Which will stick? Which should a client pursue to garner attention for their book or product?

Podcasts are a great example. Several years ago an author may have not put much value on podcast appearances. Now some of my clients only want to appear on podcasts. (I steer them away from this limited method.)

The point is that a great publicist will have a history of wins over many years, as well as recent examples showing that they understand industry trends and have up-to-date contacts. They will also be able to speak intelligently on how a PR campaign fits into larger marketing efforts. Such a publicist will cost more money than one who does not have these qualities.

When weighing your PR options, keep in mind the distinction between agencies and solopreneurs. Agency fees are considerably higher due to overhead costs. Freelancers cost less, but that does not mean that they are any less capable or professional.

The big takeaway: you get what you pay for in a publicist; going the cheaper route may mean you are wasting your time and money in not generating the coverage that you deserve. A good publicist of any cost can validate their worth.

Advice for Young People Entering Public Relations
I enjoy mentoring young people entering public relations or considering it. My advice to up-and-coming PR professionals is to know what you bring to the table. Align your costs with your value to your clients. This goes far in ensuring that your client is happy with the work provided and fosters your sense of job satisfaction in that you are appropriately compensated.

One way to avoid being treated as an expense is not negotiating fees. Set your price and stick to it. Adjusting your fees communicates to the client that you are unsure of your value. This can undermine their confidence in you, even if they choose to work with you. This can also set the expectation in a client's mind that you will meet every ask, creating a client-publicist collaboration that is not optimal and undermines your work performance.

The big takeaway: ensure that your fees are commendable with your abilities and experience and do not negotiate on them.
A client-publicist relationship can be a win-win for both parties when expectations are properly set in advance. Learn more about getting the most from your publicist by reading more of my blogs. Choosing a publicist is a big decision and deserves considerable research and evaluation.
Feel free to contact me
Julia Brown
Book publicist
Phone: +1 619-888-7956
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