A week ago, I taught a PR 101: Small Business Publicity Class at General Assembly Los Angeles. The session focused on the tips and tricks to providing the information to increase your chances of encouraging a reporter to cover your company’s story. One of the questions asked during the session was, “When should I hire a publicist?” It’s a challenging question for small businesses. Here’s my take:
You need help crafting your story
Sometimes you know what you do, but have a hard time articulating why. Or you deliver so many key benefits and message that the message becomes muddled. A publicist can help you distill the information into a messaging platform so that when you communicate, your message is crystal clear and the audience knows specifically how they benefit.
You want to grow
The beauty of publicity is that it’s relatively cost effective. It’s cheaper than advertising and securing a story in a publication, newspaper, blog or on a news show has longer shelf life and more credibility.
Your company is experiencing growth
Companies are so successful that they grow from local to regional or from regional to national. Because of the hyper growth, they may bring on a publicist to help them deliver their message to reach a new market. Or they introduce a new product or service to a new audience. A publicist can help shape the messaging and help the company enter new markets or regions.
You need to devote more time to your business
Some businesses just want to offload the public relations function so they can focus on the nuts and bolts of the business. This is especially true of companies introducing new products and services.
I want to generate media coverage but don’t know what story to tell
This is especially true of business to business companies that introduce one product every two years or service companies. The key here is that there are other opportunities to generate coverage beyond the company’s products and services. What makes you an expert and how can you position yourself accordingly among your target audience? Speaking engagements? Thought pieces? Expert source for the media?
There you have it. Speaking of General Assembly classes, I’m teaching another Publicity 101: Small Business Publicity Course on Tuesday, December 2.