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For the past years I’ve worked in PR/Communications/Marketing. I’d say, PR is by fay my favorite biz tool to grow your business, and especially FREE PR, because:
So you should start immediately. But wether it’s regretting of hiring a PR company, or doing it yourself.. your PR strategy + efforts shouldn’t cost you money! I have written The Ultimate Guide To PR & Free Publicity to get you started. But I can’t repeat it often enough: it can be done for free! New entrepreneurs often think that if they spend some money, the success will come. Sometimes this works, but often this isn’t the case. Don’t throw away money without a clear strategy!
Startup founders, newly content creators and long time creative entrepreneurs all benefit from a press mentions here and there. But don’t use your startup budget for hiring an expensive PR company with a commitment for at least 6 months!
I know, as a former PR/Communications/Marketing employee/freelancer that PR isn’t bullsh*t. You need it to grow your biz. But I also know it’s something you don’t wanna spend a lot of money on. Here is why:
Basically: if you hire a PR company, you don’t know what they’re ACTUALLY doing. You know they’ll hook you up with some interviews and press mentions in your favorite magazine, but what are they doing exactly? It’s like Facebook advertising without a strategy: you’re paying for the moment instead of the long term. You’ve no access to their press contacts, so you’re just paying them for some press coverage to do it a few months later all over again.
They basically spam their contacts with your biz. YEP, there I said it. They spam journalists with your biz. Most PR agencies just pitch their clients to journalists… and as a journalist I know how annoying this can be. When I was newer to the writing game I wrote every now and then just about something that my PR relations wanted. Sort of to do them a favor. But I knew I would never write about that product / brand again. It’s useless for YOUR brand, maybe even worse than approaching them yourself. As a journalist I know how journalists want to be approached.. unfortunately PR agencies don’t know this.
They don’t have your biz experience and they don’t know what your company is about. Of course, it’s your task to tell them, but do you really have time to sit down a few times to take things through? you pay them right, so they should magically know all of this. That’s their job! Well ehm, they don’t. They probably just spam journalists like how I used to be, journalist they’ve worked years and years with and ask them a favor. To write about the newbie on the block so they can get paid and move on. There is no real investment here.
Maybe their portfolio is impressive. But that doesn’t mean a thing for a small biz. They worked with the biggest brands out there? Remember that they worked with them. They’re no longer clients. Or maybe they are. But that’s because the ‘Don Draper’ of the PR agency works on that client, it has nothing to do with your biz. You’ll probably get the newbie, that doesn’t have the right contacts yet, you pay for what you get you know. Do you think your biz is ready for press mentions but are you not sure? Download the guide above to receive your free PR checklist.
Don’t be too impressed by all the press mentions they email you. Sure, it’s a large list. But did you know these are all copypaste publications? They sent out the press release, and it got picked up by standard newswebsite that copypaste every press release they get.
You need to do the work anyways. Unfortunately, you know best when it comes to your biz. So when they hook you up with an interested journalist, you still need to do the work. Which means in this case, meet up with the journalist, sit down for a long coffee talk where you can talk all about your biz. Journalists often ask the same standard questions first, and come up with maybe 3 new interesting questions. So you’ll just repeat what you tell everybody about your company.. there is not really a challenge here. And the PR agency? They just work on other clients during the lost hour (or two!) of your life. Well.. do it for the publication right?
You have no clear idea about the hours they work on your biz. You sweet biz! Your baby. You pay them, but you have no clue how many hours they actually put in your business. They basically work on other clients too, and maybe spend like 5 hours a week on your biz. While you pay them your hard earned money. While you pay yourself maybe $1800 a month (with like 80 hours a week!), they charge you $5000 a month for maybe.. like.. iek. 5 hours a week? Is it really worth it?
So when do you know if your business is even ready for some good ol’ press coverage? Don’t jump in the PR wagon too early on, it will RUIN your everything. Believe me. If you don’t have your sh*t together, you don’t have clear branding or you can’t even tell how you started and what your biz is about… forget about reaching out to the press. Download the checklist below to see if your business is ready for press coverage.