Before You Hire a PR Agency, Do These 4 Things First

Erika Doria

Many designers will look to hire a publicist or PR firm to be a part of their company launch or outreach. This is a great move when you’re first starting out as branding and advertising expenses can be costly, however, preparation is key before engaging a PR firm for your fashion company or label.

There are some basics designers should think about when attempting to work with a publicist:

Be ready to discuss business goals

This will ensure that you move in the direction you want to go and that your PR firm can effectively help to take you there. You don’t have to have all of the details ironed out, but being able to state business and marketing goals from the get-go will help your publicist develop a program that is on-par with those goals, and get your image on track. Be upfront and honest about what media, sites, etc. you’d like to see your designs. Also, be open to constructive feedback. After all, you are relying on the expertise of this potential agency and their experience working with a multitude of brands. However, don’t be afraid to speak up for your brand vision.

Be Ready to invest in Fashion Photography

A fashion designer’s business is visual and inspiring photography is an incredibly powerful asset. People need to be able to see what you’re bringing to the table, and pictures make for a more interesting story when getting press. Let your creativity run wild, and then make sure to also photograph your product against a white background for line sheets and look books. Occasionally this is all you will need to send to an editor for inclusion in their publication. Media don’t want to see the exact same picture all over town, so use multiple models and locations. Also, consider reserving some of your best images for exclusivity.

Be Ready to establish an Online Presence

Professional websites don’t necessarily have to be costly and your publicist is going to need to be able to share your story and images quickly. Most editors won’t consider accepting items that cannot be purchased online, and fashion bloggers are more likely to cover your line if you have a site that makes it easy to pull information and images for posts (stay away from flash!). Consider starting a blog or networking with fans through social sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Be Ready to Invest in Samples

Having samples will help with product placement and allowing people (editors/reporters/stylists) to see and use your products firsthand. Without these, it will be difficult for your practitioner to move quickly on last-minute editor demands and get your products in the hands of the right people.

Don’t feel pressured or discouraged if you don’t have all of the above, just use the above as a basic checklist to get the ball rolling and get yourself off to a good start…your publicist will be proud!

About This Author

Known as the “fashion publicist’s most powerful accessory,” (San Diego Union-Tribune) and the “West Coast ‘It’ girl of fashion PR,” (YFS Magazine) Crosby Noricks put fashion public relations on the digital map when she launched PR Couture in 2006. She is the author of Ready to Launch: The PR Couture Guide to Breaking into Fashion PR, available on Amazon. Crosby spends her time managing PR Couture and mentoring fashion publicists through PRISM and Instappable, as well as the biannual NYC workshop, Fashion PR Confidential. Occasionally, she opens up limited consulting spots for emerging brands through her signature offering, The Brand Elixir.