Do you REALLY need a publicist?

In today’s DIY era, many small businesses  have taken it into their own hands to do as much as they can for their business to keep cost down, including  public relations and marketing efforts. The idea of having a publicist can seem very grand, as T.V. portrays a sexy woman or crisp fella strutting along the red carpet or taking a host of photos with some of the industry’s top media. The reality is that is just a small portion of what a publicist does.

In the entertainment industry, a lot of times I hear that publicists are not being very productive or very useful in small businesses and brands. Furthermore, it has been said that most charge an exponential amount, but don’t deliver on the promise. I can’t doubt that this may be true in some cases; however in my journey of public relations I find that many just have the wrong understanding of what a publicist does and the line may sometimes become fuzzy.

Below is some clarity to help you in your PR needs:

1. We are not managers– When it comes to financial stuff, generally a manger or some other financial person handles how you generate and spend your money; all that is handled within your business and is irrelevant to what a publicist does. Also, we are not responsible for booking gigs; however setting you up for interviews with press, magazine features or other buzz generating event is our specialty.

2. We are not personal assistants– That mean handling all your business meetings and coordinating your schedules is really not what a publicist does. Even when the call or arrangement is PR related, there is procedures and processes for inquiries regarding clients; typically an email or phone number is provided for direct contact to the publicist representing the client. The client should never be a middle-man or third-party in the communications.

3. We are contracted professionals  for your business– If you hire a painter to come paint your house, all you do is get a quote on cost, tell them what you want, your goals and objectives, set a deadline, and come back when it’s done; the same applies for a publicist. Although we technically work for you, we are contracted to do a job that we specialize in, so that means typically we need our creative space.

4. We do not sell products or develop marketing campaigns– A publicist generates buzz around the brand or products. We develop brand campaigns which means is all about the business and its growth. We want the public to be familiar with the business, quality of products or services and how it is beneficial to the consumer. We do in some instance promote products, but the idea is for the public to be familiar with the brand behind the product.

5. Your budget will determine if you will need a publicist– You can’t make a dollar out of 15 cents, and you really can’t expect buffet style services if you only have enough for a value meal. Budgets are set to allow the publicist to work off what you can afford, which means if you have little to no funds it’s best to DIY.

I know this topic is pretty straight forward with no pun intended; it’s just a simplified way to prevent unsatisfied services. And just because I listed some of the roles does not mean that we don’t extend ourselves to go over and beyond what we do out of passion and wanting to see the business succeed, but for certain that can leave a spoiled client and fuzzy business lines. With any contractor you hire, you want to be sure you have researched their work and have spoken to others who have had work done as well.Ultimately, what you put in your contract is what you should deliver on as a publicist, and that will always keep the client happy.