Finding the right PR firm is no easy task for any company. And of course, having the perfect PR firm for your brand is essential to growing your business.
I have hired a few different PR firms over the course of my career and, at the time, I thought some were better then others. Looking back, I realize they were all equally as qualified; the ones that did better simply did so because our brand was in their wheelhouse. Some couldn’t get us great press because our company was not what the firm specialized in. Therefore, they didn’t have contact with the right editors to garner us editorial coverage. In the end, who was good or bad had more to do with my hiring then their ability.
Here are my top tips in finding the right PR person for you
Know the exact type of press you want to get in your first three to six months
PR agents may charge a steep retainer, so you have to make the most of your time with them and knowing where you want to be featured is key. Do you want TV interviews, trades, or editorial magazines? Do you want to promote and get press through events?
If editorial is your greatest desire, you need to make sure your press agent has great ties to these editors. Also, that they know how to create a story to pitch. If you want to promote your brand through events, go with a firm that does show stopping event production over traditional PR.
When I had my fashion B2B tech company, I worked with a media relations specialist for three months. In those three months, she was able to get me into WWD, whereas in the 12 months my fashion PR person worked for us, she could not. I realized fashion publicists who how to get press for clothing lines, may not also also know how to garner press for fashion tech companies. The second I went outside of traditional fashion PR, we got what we wanted.
Don't fall for promises, look for proof
Most PR folks will say they can do the job even if they don't have a proven track record in your space. However, that's business and it’s your job to know who the right fit is, not theirs. There are no guarantees in PR. They may or may not get you press; either way, you have to pay their monthly retainer for however long you have hired them. So, you must know if your brand is in their wheelhouse before you start writing checks. Normally, it takes four weeks to know if things are working or not. By six weeks, you know if the relationship is right for you. Speak to previous and current clients and ask for case studies from companies similar to yours.
When I found a publicist for my client Isabella Rose Taylor, we knew in 6 weeks she was not the right fit, so we cancelled the contract. When I replaced her with another boutique agency, my client starting getting on The Today Show, Steve Harvey Show, Katie Couric, Associated Press, and the list goes on. Now, she has a capsule collection in Nordstrom. The right PR person will be obvious to you within four weeks of your hire.
Find great publicists through referrals
Ask around. Find a comparable brand, and ask them whom they recommend. There is no better way to find someone to work with or marry then by referral! It takes time, but usually it gives great results.
The right PR firm at the beginning of any brand can accelerate its growth exponentially. Press is not cheap- do your homework, don’t sign more then a three-month contract, and know where you want be seen.
Liza Deyrmenjian is the Founder of Fashion Business Accelerator 360, an unparalleled platform for online Fashion and Lifestyle business education. She works with industry leaders and experts to teach 4-week online courses to fashion innovators and around the world. Prior to launching FBA360, Liza consulted young designers in creating million dollar fashion businesses, many of which have been featured in Elle, InStyle, WWD, and on national shows such as Oprah and Good Day America.
Check out FBA360’s website, fashionaccelerator360.com, and their upcoming 6-week online Career Launch Bootcamp, beginning October 29th. The workshop will connect you with fashion-industry leaders to help you shape your fashion career, including Angela Matusik , Executive Editor of InStyle, and Amy Levin, Founder & Creative Director of CollegeFashionista.com.