There is a plethora of PR companies to choose from, so how do you decide which rep will work the hardest for you? Here are some key characteristics to look for:
- Someone with media connections. Many PR companies simply send out press releases through wire services and call it PR, but if you ask the majority of media professionals, you will find that most have never even heard of the most popular wire service sites. Real connections are a PR professional’s most valuable asset. Their name and respect among the media is what will get your name in the news.
- Someone whose clients are frequently in the news. It may seem obvious, but note how often a company’s clients appear in the news. Is it sporadic or do they get their clients monthly coverage? What they’re doing for their current clients is a good indicator of how often you can expect similar coverage.
- Someone who stays calm and takes action. PR professionals need to have the ability to stay calm and productive in stressful situations so that they can manage any PR crisis efficiently. If you know individual reps at a company, follow them on Twitter. Look for a rep who can turn any bad situation around, not a rep who tweets about how ruined his or her day is. When life gives you lemons, your PR rep should be able to get you an interview – or even an endorsement deal – about the benefits of lemonade.
- Someone who offers guidance. Does the PR company offer media training and consultation? Without these services, you may not look or sound your best during interviews. It is your PR rep’s job to work with you on polishing your interview skills, yet this service is often overlooked. Find someone who takes the time to consult with you before every press opportunity.
- Someone who puts their clients first. PR doesn’t end at five o’clock. You want a rep who will hop off a treadmill to take a call from a reporter at nine o’clock at night to secure coverage for you. You want a rep who goes above and beyond to think of creative ways to promote you and who puts their company and clients first. And finally, you want a rep who will tell you the truth instead of what you want to hear. Otherwise you will find out the hard way that that blouse really was too sheer under studio lights.
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