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10 Things to Get Before Hiring a PR Agency

The Pre-PR Checklist: 10 Things to Get Done Before Hiring a Fashion PR Agency

While any fashion PR agency worth noting will be well-equipped to help you develop your brand, provide strategic guidance and creative direction, for brands with limited budgets there are several things you can do ahead of the gate to ensure that your PR team is able to quickly mobilize to get the word out about your brand. Once you've got these, the next step is to become your fashion publicist's favorite client!

Brand identity

Why are you in this business? What are you trying to say? How are you similar to and yet different from your competitors? What is unique about your design team, the way you sourced your fabrics, the idea for the name of this season's collection? Begin to think like an editor and come to your PR team with as much information about what makes you you. This cuts down on the sleuthing and increases story angles.

Target customer

Many brands make the mistake of trying to appeal to everyone, thinking this will help increase their changes of success. The reverse is actually true. If you can come to your PR agency with a clear picture of who your clothes are made for, your PR team will be able to come up with strategies and tactics designed to appeal to that customer, not her 70-year old grandmother.

Style sheet & logo files

A style sheet lists your brand colors, fonts and any directions related to how your logo or tagline can and cannot be used. Send those clear directions as well as your logo in it's original form (usually EPS) as well as hi-res and low-res versions. This cuts down on unnecessary back and forth and helps keep your press coverage on-brand. You never want someone doing a google image search and choosing an old logo to accompany a post.

Well-branded, social-media friendly website

Your website is the foundation of your online presence and it's important that it clearly and effectively communicate your brand identity. Images should be able to be pinned on Pinterest, and liked on Facebook. Product images should be named appropriately - ie MarlyRoseFloweredDress.jpg and have alt-image tags "Marly Rose Flowered Dress."  There should be a clear email sign up in place, as well as social media links and information for press inquiries. Stay away from Flash or templates that don't match your brand.

eCommerce

Many editors and most all bloggers won't cover a brand unless it's available online. While it is fine to list different that your dress is available on ShopBop or boutiques across the country, it is best to enable eCommerce on your site. This also gives you control over unique coupon codes or added incentives that you can offer specific bloggers or celebrity weeklies who cover your line.

Headshots

While you might be most eager to see your collection photographed, you could also be the subject of a story. Have headshots taken of all the key members of your team and provide your PR team with a few different shots for each stakeholder for variety.

Social media presence

Get your Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and blog up and thriving. You don't need to have 100,000 fans, but you do need to be in the habit of consistent and quality posts. If the task of managing so many different platforms feels overwhelming, spend 15-30 minutes a day on 2-3 to start.

Photographs

You'll need two types 1) images of your line by itself or on a model, shot against a white background with minimal styling and 2) editorial images that communicate your point-of-view. Ideally, provide these in both hi and low resolution.

Samples

Be prepared to provide your fashion PR agency with several samples of your line. While photographs are great, nothing beats seeing a garment in personl. It's important that your publicist is able to show your line during showroom and market appts, to send pieces over for consideration and to increase your chances of landing coverage. Depending on your price point, it's ideal to have a full set of samples available for PR purposes.

Realistic expectations

A PR program may take anywhere from 3-6 months to gain momentum, so be patient and be sure you are ready to make the investment. However, by following this list you will make your publicist's job infinitely more straightforward and have everything in place to help her do her job and increase your results.

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About the author: Crosby


Known as the "fashion publicist's most powerful accessory," (SD-UT) and the "West Coast 'It' girl of fashion PR," (YFS Magazine) Crosby Noricks is a brand strategist, author and founder of PR Couture. Crosby was included in the iMedia 25 Class of 2012 Internet Marketing Leaders and Innovators, and enjoys helping fashion and lifestyle brands connect with their audiences in meaningful and creative ways.

One Comment

  • Lauren Bane
    Posted May 6, 2013 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    I find it fascinating how all these items are put together to make up PR. I am a student studying PR and looking at all that you mentioned blows my mind to think that this is what I’m being taught in school. I love reading about your tips because it’s not from a book or a lecture, but from experience, and I feel that is very valuable. I am finding through more PR firms and the business itself, you do need to stay connected in social media. People are able to follow you easier and are more likely to visit your website. I love your site and the posts are very educational to me.

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Meet Crosby Noricks

Hi. I'm Crosby, the founder of PR Couture and a fashion brand strategist. I care about supporting and celebrating fashion publicists as well as helping rad companies connect with their audiences in more meaningful ways. Recently, iMedia included me in their annual list of 25 Internet Marketing Leaders and Innovators, along with people from Starbucks, Twitter and Volkswagon, which I think is pretty neat. Like Elle Woods, I am a Gemini-vegetarian (that's about where the similarities end). Let's connect: Check out my full bio, Brand Elixer sessions or shoot me an electronic communiqué.