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Are You Ready to Hire a PR Firm? Part Two

Are You Ready to Hire a PR Firm? Andrea Burnett PR

We recently saw this article by Gini Dietrich on PR Daily about knowing when you are ready to hire a PR Firm, and we loved what Dietrich had to say about growing a business through publicity. We decided to put together a series that shares Dietrich’s article, and along with a few of our own ideas about the hiring the boutique firm. You can catch Part One Here.

Here is Part Two of how you know you’re ready to hire a PR firm:

3. You have realistic expectations.

Dietrich from PR Daily: If the PR firm is worth its salt, you will spend some money on it and can expect a return on your investment anywhere from two to five times what you paid.

But it won’t happen overnight. It won’t even happen in 90 days.

It will take at least six months for you to begin to see a return. That said, most firms will be able to give you metrics to track from day one that show whether you’re on the right path. Ask for those.

ABPR advice to the boutique client: You also need to be realistic about what publicity can and cannot do. Many times we’re asked by our clients to get them on the Today Show. When we do, and their book/product/service orders don’t explode that day or the next, they wonder why not and what went wrong. Being realistic means knowing that there are no guarantees in this business. Just because you’re on America’s top rated morning TV show doesn’t mean you’re going to be an overnight success. Building a long-standing successful business also means focusing on the long term — top tier PR exposure over months and months.

Also important to remember when you’re slogging to get your name out is Don’t Forget the Little Guys! PR is no longer just about pitching to outlets with the highest circs and unique visitors. What we see now is the “trickle up” theory: the more hits you get on smaller, more targeted blogs, the more the bigger players start paying attention. So, when we pitch you to a blog with under a million unique visitors a month, just remember this is part of our strategy!

4. You asked yourself if you have time to spend with the firm.

Dietrich from PR Daily: Communications does not happen in a vacuum, and your involvement is necessary. If you or someone on your team doesn’t have at least an hour every day to spend on PR, you’re not ready to hire a firm.

Without your help and involvement, the PR firm will only get so far. They don’t know your business as well as you do and, as it turns out, customers, prospects, journalists and influencers would rather talk to you than some middleman. Your PR firm can create those conversations for you, but you have to have them.

ABPR advice to the boutique client: Amen Dietrich! Communicating with your PR Team is so critical to our success on your campaign. However, here’s another thought about communication that you should also consider to keep you balanced:

Over Communicating can also be a problem. When you hire a PR firm for the first time, you’re naturally going to want to be very engaged in the campaign and the process. But, the more you want to meet with us, the less time we have to actually do the work.

You should have a weekly call with your publicist, but you should make it a quick 5 to10  minute check-in with a status update.  Every other week, they should give you a full report (we do ours via email). The report should share the media outlets and various social media channels your publicist has pitched or engaged, and any confirmed hits. You can also ask them to share metrics in those reports (uniques on each hit, social reach, etc.) but please understand that the smaller agencies and freelancers typically don’t have the bandwidth to craft detailed reports on a daily or weekly basis. We need time to make the magic happen. Trust us to get the work done and give us the room to do it.

Do you have any suggestions for first-timers? Stay tuned, on Thursday we’ll have Part Three of our tips for  hiring a PR Firm.






  1. “Building a long-standing successful business also means focusing on the long term — top tier PR exposure over months and months.”

    I really appreciate this blog post because setting expectations so key. I began my job search coaching business in 2012 and it has taken me at least 18 months of solid PR (writing articles and providing interview for small and large outlets) to get traction and attention. I am so glad that Andrea set my expectations appropriately.

    Today, if I write an article or do an interview, I do not hound my publicist or wait by the phone. It’s a slow but meaningful process and it is paying off!

  2. Your first sentence in the answer to #4 made me laugh out loud! I really love your point about over-communicating. In fact, I just had to have that conversation with a client. Do you want to use your budget having us in check-in meetings every day or do you want us to do the work? There has to be a level of trust, as well.

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