Ruh Roh! Another PR/Media Rant by yours truly, J. Kelly Hoey.
Maybe it is because it is getting close to tax season, but seeing people WASTE money is really getting on my nerves.
Case in point (again): hiring a PR firm to send out generic pitches on your behalf.
I don’t care if you’re a startup, an entrepreneur, a professional in the professional services area or small business owner or whatever! STOP doing this. It’s a waste of money to hire someone to sending nothing of value to the recipient (and I’d say it’s a waste of time too except it fueled my energy to write this weeks newsletter).
- Hire someone to produce results.
- Hire someone to achieve something you really can’t do on your own.
- Hire someone when you’ve already done some of the groundwork.
- Hire someone when you have something valuable to offer and you’re willing to offer it freely.
There is WAY more I can rant on regarding this subject — and luckily for you I already have. From a roadmap case study in Build Your Dream Network on how to connect with the media (flip to page 173 in the paperback edition, students) to numerous blog posts on buildyourdreamnetwork.com).
Hey, I live my own advice on this subject daily (pitched 3 stories to an outlet on Monday and the editor wants 2 of them), so yes, do take it from me that “Kelly’s Way”, works (at least 2 out of ain’t bad 3 times).
Am I saying “don’t ever hire PR” — NO, I’m not suggesting that. But there is a WHOLE lot you can do on your own (and ultimately give a PR professional more fuel to promote you). Recently, sharing my networking with journalists roadmap in a PR/Media Skills for Startups workshop I was leading, a founder said to me at the end “you just saved me $125,000”. LET me repeat that: Kelly’s Way, was saving the startup $125,000 AND getting the startup’s internal PR / media generation machine humming. This founder’s #BYDN aha! moment was the realization that he was rushing prematurely to hire outside PR (and he needed to lay waaayyyy more groundwork before retaining someone externally to do it on his behalf AND get the marketing ROI he was seeking). I don’t know what you think but in my balanced check book brain, $125,000 is a lot of money for a pre-revenue startup (or revenue generating small business) to be spending unnecessarily.
If you want more tools to hone your own PR chops, I strongly recommend Savor The Success’ PR School (yes, I took this course in the year I was writing my book — it helped me personally and helped me hire the right publicist when the time was right to plan my book tour and marketing).
If you’re a woman with expertise and a POV, get your chops over to SheSource, an online database of media-experienced women experts for journalists, bookers and producers to connect with.
Next, get writing — whether it is becoming more active on Twitter, micro-blogging on Instagram, updates on Linkedin, or posts on Medium or or or — ’cause journalists want to see what you really got! And sitting in an isolated shrouded tower with a “I have an embargoed story that maybe I’ll share if you schedule time to talk to me” is not going to get you the media to where you want to be.
And yes, build a rapport (dare I say, dream network) with journalists, bloggers, writers…rather than throwing out generic suggestions when you need something and hope like cooked spaghetti it sticks.