There Are No Shortcuts When It Comes to PR. Here’s How to Set Your Expectations
One of the hardest things to do as a publicist is to set the right expectations going into a campaign with a new client. On one hand, it’s important to set goals and discuss a client’s top PR wishlist. On the other, it’s important to explain that reaching those top goals will take time. The length of time can be months to even years. It just depends on the client’s platform and expertise, media experience, budget and the kicker—timing.
And while I’m always very careful to set clear expectations at the beginning of every campaign, inevitably I have clients that come to me just a month or two in, wondering how we can ramp things up for faster results. I’d love it if there were a shortcut. It would make my life easier and probably my income much higher. But the hard truth is that there are no shortcuts when it comes to PR.
Here’s What You Need to Know To Set Your Expectations:
1. PR hits can have a long lead time.
I’ve gotten hits for my clients that have gone LIVE the first week we are pitching. And I’ve had hits that take 6-9 months to go LIVE. It all depends on the outlet—how far they plan in advance, their editorial calendar, what is in the queue ahead of you. You have to be in it for the long game. Don’t expect immediate results.
2. We can’t approach top tier outlets until we’ve laid the groundwork.
Everytime our team approaches the media with a story angle or idea for a client feature or interview, we need to be prepared and strategic with our approach. Oftentimes, if a client doesn’t have any PR experience, the first few months are spent laying the groundwork. This can mean establishing LIVE article links at smaller, niche outlets, and scheduling interviews with outlets with smaller audiences.
We know many of our clients want to be in outlets like Forbes, Fast Company and Success. But here’s the thing, we need to be able to approach our contacts there with previous coverage and interviews. Many times they won’t even consider a client who is too green when it comes to PR. If it were easy to get top tier PR hits, everyone would be in them.
3. We aren’t holding anything back, just being strategic.
The first 4-6 weeks spent working with a new client can be hectic. Not only are we working to familiarize ourselves with our client’s content and expertise, but we are sending a lot of pitches out to get those initial coverage hits. It’s all about establishing that base at the beginning of a campaign.
As we move on into the later months of a campaign, we are more strategic to hit those top tier opportunities. It’s not uncommon for the bulk of our work to be building out specific pitches and ghostwriting articles for our clients. Don’t worry, we aren’t holding back. We are pitching everyone we can at the appropriate times, it’s all part of your overall strategy.
All of this said, I totally understand where customers are coming from when they want to see results. Hiring a publicist is an investment of time and money. We love it when clients want to take an active role in their campaign. How can clients focus their energy to maximize their PR campaign? Here are a couple suggestions:
- Keep an eye on the news and let us know when you want us to pitch you on a particular topic. We always keep our eyes open too but you are the expert in your field. You might see a topic that you have a fresh take on.
- Listen to podcasts in your area of expertise. Let us know when you find a podcast you’d be a fit for – and tell us why! The more we can personalize pitches, the better.
- Keep us updated on everything going on in your business. If you have an event coming up, let us know. New book coming out? Again, keep us in the loop. We can use all of it!
Interested in discussing how to reach your top PR goals? Schedule a free discovery call with us today!