Should you do your own PR?

Last year, I came across an interesting article written by a lifestyle entrepreneur detailing how they saved “thousands” in not hiring a qualified PR agency. In her Business Insider article, she outlines her four strategies for success.

She writes, “I quickly realized that any time my business was mentioned in media coverage, my website traffic increased dramatically (I tracked this using Google Analytics). I decided to spend two hours a week trying to get more press mentions and tapped into the bit of PR knowledge I had from working in the industry for one year.”

So, should you do your own PR?

Here are my professional thoughts on the suggestions she outlined

Spending an hour a day on PR

1. She recommends setting up “Google alerts on topics, themes, competitors, and key phrases that are relevant to your business or industry” and drafting a pitch based on the trends and themes surfacing that week. She recommends allocating 1 hour to this undertaking. In theory, this is not a bad strategy – it’s something we do for our clients but it’s not how I would recommend a founder allocating their time. The role of a founder is to be the visionary for the company. Delegation is the key to success, not working in the weeds. While a PR agency is an investment, yes, if you believe in what you are doing, it will be an investment that will certainly pay off over time.

Delegation is the key to success, not working in the weeds. 

Not all press opportunities are worth your time 

2. Next up, she says to post yourself as a source on reporter sourcing platforms – reporters will post call-outs for the expertise they are seeking. The couple she mentions are certainly used, but one of the two is also filled with a ton of junk that would not be worth the time. An agency has institutional knowledge that can help weed out the “opportunities” that are a waste of your time. Agencies also have many other resources that are not mentioned that are far better in finding quality placements. 


3. Take a class in PR. Sure, you can do this, but it’s the equivalent of being a DIY home improvement person. You will never get the results that someone with 10 thousand hours of experience will. You may have a new tile floor, but really won’t you have to redo it in a few years when the grout starts to crack? 

Understanding the dos and don’ts when pitching reporters

4. Her final recommendation is to identify ten reporters who cover your industry and warm them up to receiving your pitches by being social with them on their feeds – liking and sharing, etc. Great advice if you have the bandwidth but don’t expect reporters to respond to your pitches. Reporters’ inboxes are overwhelming by most accounts and not always receptive to individuals pitching themselves because their lack of understanding about the journalistic process makes them more of a headache than a help. PR professionals have a well-oiled understanding of reporters’ needs and will bend over backward for their clients. If you don’t know the drill, you may burn a bridge before you even make headlines.

So, should you do your own PR?

In short, when you are thinking about tackling PR yourself,  just remember Beyonce probably never did her own. Instead, she focused on creating her awe-inspiring performances because she believed in her brand and hired a publicist.

Let us take your brand’s visibility to the next level. We’re here, ready to help your company showcase your “why” and share it with millions of people.

[email protected]

How much does a PR agency cost in 2023?

How much does a PR agency cost? It’s a question that every potential client wants to ask on the first call but rarely ever does, so here’s a look into my truth as the owner of a midsize PR agency

A boutique agency has the ability to be flexible with pricing 

While some agencies won’t take clients for anything less than $25,000 a month, the boutique agency pricing is slightly different. This is because:

  1. We’re growing, so we’re eager to land interesting clients that help grow our reputation.
  2. We generally don’t have the overhead of a large agency — people who are not “billable” like a CFO, CIO, and Head of People, so we can be more flexible with pricing.
  3. We usually don’t report to a board or investors, so we can choose to work with brands we believe in.

That said, boutique agencies also don’t have the financial buffer that larger agencies have. Meaning clients coming and going matter more. 

By being flexible, we help our clients balance their desired results with their budgets.

What is the average retainer at Segal Communications?

At Segal, we have three main practice areas – consumer, tech, and executive visibility. We provide media relations, influencer programs, social media management, and creative campaigns for each of these.

Our clients fall into one of six categories:

  1. Industry Specific Technology with 100-1,000 employees, focused on growth
  2. Emerging Industry Technology start-ups that are investing in public relations to build awareness
  3. Trusted Consumer Brands with 100-1,000 employees, focused on omni-channel purchasing (online and brick-and-mortar)
  4. Growing Consumer Brands with great products that need to get into the hands of those who influence
  5. Informers and Educators who have logged their ten thousand hours of expertise and then some and are working to share their experience and knowledge with a larger public audience
  6. Passionate Founders with a product or service that warrants staning

Most Segal Communications baseline retainers currently hover between $6,000-$12,000, but there are exceptions to that rule. The exceptions include being a longtime client who has been with us from the start, someone or something too cool to pass up, or a mission-driven organization working on something for the greater good.

On the lower end of the price range are consumer clients that have a desirable product that we can get into the hands of influencers and media. On the higher end are B2B clients with unique audiences and customers.

Agencies offer the most comprehensive range of services

The baseline retainers are just that — baseline. Most clients want more than PR; they want social media, blog writing, bylines, sample campaigns, and creative. All of these elements have additional pricing structures. Working with an agency is valuable because we are a one-stop shop for all of your communications needs. We provide our clients with a fluid ecosystem of communications services that can ebb and flow with the needs of the business. By being flexible, we help our clients balance their desired results with their budgets.

Let us take your brand’s visibility to the next level. We’re here, ready to help your company showcase your “why” and share it with millions of people.

[email protected]

Why Your Business Needs to Have a Social Media Presence

Living in the digital age, technology is now an integral part of our everyday lives. Brands have transitioned from traditional marketing practices to developing a presence and following on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube, among others. Most companies know they should be on social media but often haven’t given deeper thought to the reasons why. We’ve compiled the top three reasons why having a social media presence is a crucial marketing tool for every modern business to implement.

1. Less expensive than traditional marketing

An organic social media strategy is free! With the growing number of social media platforms, companies can create accounts to post about all aspects of their business. Whether that be who you are, what you do, day-to-day life, product features, and more, the possibilities are endless. It’s important to actively post, engage with other accounts, and utilize each platform’s features. 

Companies can venture into paid advertisements if they choose with costs based on your account’s reach. However, it’s best to establish a strong organic social media strategy first.  

Many apps have enabled features specifically for business purposes, including professional or business profiles to track analytics and insights easily. Platforms like Instagram and Facebook have enabled features for businesses to sell their products directly in the app. 

2. Boosts brand awareness and engagement

With social media, you can increase brand visibility and awareness by engaging with millions of potential customers.

 Once you’ve established your target audience, creating original and engaging content is important. You’ll want to have your values and goals at the forefront of your posts by having fun and creating content that will make your company stand out. Content tailored to your brand’s values will help you increase engagement and target your audience appropriately, which can ultimately direct them to your website.

Having a social media presence on multiple platforms, including hosting a website, helps users become familiar with your brand and encourages them to engage.

3. Creates brand authenticity

Brand authenticity can be achieved through social media by establishing your expertise and authority in a field, making your goals and values consistent throughout all aspects of your company’s image, and building clear communication between the brand and your audience. 

Customers appreciate when brands they love interact and care about the support they’ve shown for a company. Social media helps brands create meaningful relationships with their customers. Your presence on social media gives your audience a glimpse into the daily operations of your business through behind-the-scenes content and speaking directly with them through comments and direct messages. These aspects will drive customers’ trust in your company.


Social media managers play a pivotal role in your overall communications plan. They craft well-thought-out social media strategies and campaigns, monitor analytics and trends, track conversations and keep your audience engaged. Ready to get started? Email us at [email protected]

Getting the Most Out Of Influencer Visits To Your Property

This blog was originally published in Hotel Online.

Influencer marketing can be a valuable means of reaching new audiences, but not every influencer will be a right fit for your property. If you’re going to go through the effort of hosting an influencer (and often a plus one or family) on the property, you should be confident they will showcase your hotel or resort in the best possible light. Here are a few guidelines to help you ramp up your hosting game.


For starters, if you want to attract influencers, it’s essential to make it a high-touch experience at the outset. Have a designated place for influencers to request a stay at your property. We recommend a dedicated email and appointing a staff member to handle inbound requests to streamline the hosting process.

Influencers love the feeling of exclusivity and special service, so taking these steps will attract more of them.


Before you agree to host an influencer, it’s vital to ensure they are a good fit. We recommend establishing a vetting system that helps determine whether an influencer will be able to match the level of value you provide. Will the value of their post(s) offset the expense of hosting, which includes the rate you’re not getting from a paying customer, housekeeping, in-room amenities (food, snacks, bathrobe, etc.), on-site dining, and the time spent coordinating a visit?  Obtaining a media kit from influencers is a great first step in determining whether they have the audience you are aiming to target. An agency can help you develop a checklist with associated values that can help automate the decision-making process.


Influencers expect to get contracts. ‘Influencing’ is a full-time job for most, and they understand the process. That said, if you are working with an influencer with a fantastic following on their Instagram channel don’t assume they will be posting in-feed. If you prefer a stationary post to a story, then put that in writing along with any preferred messaging and hashtags you’d like included. Depending on their follower count and engagement, you’ll often need to negotiate rates depending on whether you want an in-feed post, story, or combination. Provide a time frame for the influencer to share their post within, usually a specific number of weeks after their stay.

Guest Experience

When drafting the agreement, be sure to include specifics about new services or hotel features you’d want the influencer to experience while on the property and, in turn, share with the public. Whether you’ve added a new treatment to your spa menu, a new cocktail to your lounge, or have a promo worth mentioning, you should relay that before signing on the dotted line. Think about which amenities are attractive to their followers. A fashion influencer would be great for promoting an on-site shop vs. a foodie influencer whose followers might enjoy the restaurant or lounge.

Length of Stay

The excitement that builds before the arrival of an influencer can quickly leave management crestfallen when hours go by with no posts in their feed. If you want an influencer to start posting the moment they walk in the door, you need to make sure they understand that before they begin their stay. Some influencers plan their feeds far in advance, so it’s worth confirming post dates in early negotiations. Another idea to consider is to include a “flashback” post 6-8 months after their stay – your relationship does not have to be one and done. Some influencers might offer better rates for long-term packages, so consider how you might maximize your ROI.


Another benefit to working with influencers is that you have more control over the visit outcome. While most members of the travel media are freelance, they are often held to the same standards as credentialed media and are not allowed to share work before publication. Influencers are a paid (or trade) relationship; you have every right to seek post-approval before they go live. Make sure this is included within your agreement.


There are several ways you can optimize the value of an influencer stay. First, ensure that your agreement allows the repurposing of content created by the influencer with appropriate credits in your own property’s social feed. Second, if you love the influencer’s content, you might work to secure additional images to use on your channels throughout the remainder of the year. We have all seen influencers strike pose after pose; you might consider using that as a means to get more content to use well after they have checked out! This can often help you save big on in-house photography costs, while diversifying your content.

A female influencer sitting on the edge of a pool at a hotel resort.

Check-Out the Data

Most savvy influencers won’t be surprised by requests for a data report on the success of their posts. Be sure to add this as part of your agreement. It will help you better understand and fine-tune your vetting process for the future. It also might indicate that a return visit from the influencer may be worthwhile. Ongoing relationships with influencers come with the benefit of audience recognition, and can be especially valuable if your property constantly updates and adds services, amenities, and activities.

Cancellation Policy

It’s not uncommon for influencers to clean up their feeds and remove posts after a while. While we can appreciate the need for a fresh start, we recommend adding a clause to your agreement that ensures your post will live in perpetuity. Back-scrolling is common for Instagram followers, so a 6-month-old post can still provide value.

While initially daunting, hosting influencers is easy to manage once you have set up a process. We find that influencers appreciate clarity in the relationship and are amiable to most requests. Check out our blog for more tips and tricks on working with influencers and members of the press.

Ready to get started with your customized influencer strategy? When we work together, your brand does more than show up. It shows up with a story, a purpose, a unique reason for being – and it makes an impact.

[email protected]

5 Steps To Prepare For A Media Interview

Just because your CEO or top-level management players are industry experts does not mean they have the skills necessary to prepare for and master an interview or top-tier media coverage. Whether your interview is designed to promote an upcoming event or launch your newest product, or the result of a crisis, the way the interviewees appear, sound, respond and behave during the interview make a big impact on viewers and followers. 

This is why we always recommend working with a professional PR team – even if it’s only a one-time, interview training consult basis. The professional tips you will glean, and the opportunity to have practice runs are vital to the impression you make on the audience. 

Train For A Media Interview In Five Steps

Our PR firm has worked with entrepreneurs, company management teams, and leading social media influencers, preparing them for media interviews and other public coverage. While we always believe authenticity is best, we also know that learning to control voice modulation, to breathe deep before delivering a passionate response, and practicing to answer questions succinctly is essential to making a good impression.  

It’s also as essential to know what not to answer as it is to answer questions well. And, never underestimate how important it is to make a good impression, even if it is in the middle of a crisis. Confidence, honesty, composure, integrity – even in the worst of situations – all go a long way towards earning respect from followers, customers, and prospects. 

Research the publication/channel and the interviewer

You should never say, “Yes,” to an interview until you’ve completed this first step. It is important that you are very familiar with the media outlet, as well as the interviewer or journalist(s), so you know what to expect. You should watch or read as many previous interviews from the interviewer as you can. If the interviewer is also a journalist, you’ll want to read a fair amount of articles they have written.  

Opting into an interview that is designed to be controversial or to intentionally put you on the spot is never a good idea if you are new to this. While big names and corporations may have the occasional, anecdotal idea that “even bad press is good press,” that is almost never the case for small and medium-sized businesses. You want your top-tier mentions and presence to have a positive impact – the majority of the time. 

In addition to familiarizing yourself with the voice, angle, and points-of-view an interviewer or media personality is most likely to take with you, your knowledge of their work makes a positive impression. That can reap bonus points down the road – like having an immediate “in” the next time you’d like to gain an interview to promote a product, service, or event.  

On the flip side, knowing who you are dealing with may cause you to wisely bow out with a, “no thank you,” to their interview or guest spot invitation; or can help you to prepare stats, figures, and statements if you sense there may be a bit of a clash ahead. 

Ask for the list of questions ahead of time

Interviewers plan ahead because, like you, they want to appear prepared, organized, and confident to their audience members. They should be able to provide you with a list of questions they plan to cover, although the wording may vary a bit from the paper to the personality. Keep in mind, however, that knowing the questions ahead of time is not a fail-safe plan.  

Of the hundreds of professionals and celebrities we have coached for interviews over the years, we can count on two hands the number of interviews that only included the questions provided for preparation. In other words, be very prepared for the interview to go “off book.” Some of our team of all-star PR pros were journalists and interviewers in our previous career lives, so we understand exactly how enticing going “off book” is as it gets your interviewee out of the rehearsed routine and into the realm of unplanned, unscripted, and unedited.  

That said, the combination of a prepared list of questions, your research on the media outlet, and the journalist or influencer who plans to interview you, and your sense of the audience (see #3 next) will be plenty to guide your practice responses. You may also determine that Your Research + Their List of Potential Questions = A “No Thanks: we’ll pass on the interview,” because the potential drama or fallout is already written on the wall.  

Feel free to ask them more about the interview or the “bigger picture” aim and the point of your time together before you formalize your yes or no RSVP. For example: 

  • What is the story about and how does it relate to your company? 
  • Where will the interview take place? Your office? Theirs? Off-site? Or ZoomThis is especially important now with COVID-19, but it also helps you to prepare. For example, if the interview or media coverage is taking place on your turf, in response to a crisis, you don’t want your logo in the background.  
  • Is the interview live or pre-recorded? If it’s pre-recorded, be prepared for the editing reality of a long interview being recapped or reframed into a short clip. 
  • Will anyone else be interviewed? For example a disgruntled customer or employee? A competitor? A pressure group’s rep? That will help to frame your tone. 

Get a clear sense of the media channel’s audience

You have to intimately understand the needs, wants, and concerns of your brand’s target audience. You will need to do your homework about who the media outlet’s audience members are: age, demographics, opinions/leanings, and pain points. Watch, listen, and read a fair amount of materials they produce or publish. Their social media channels are also an excellent place to glean audience/follower information. 

Having a sense of who your interviewer’s audience members are will help you strike the right tone and “energy” when you speak, to gauge your language, and to avoid topics or statements that could be inflammatory, offensive, or a trigger to a notable percentage of the audience. This is not at all to be confused with being fake or acting like you are something that you’re not. In the bigger-picture plan where you may garner future followers or customers from the positive impression you make, the audience members will encounter you again. If you aren’t consistent in who you are, they’ll notice and it will compromise your brand’s authenticity. 

Being truthful and authentic – albeit wisely nuanced – is important in the long-term. While certain politicians or stars may get away with bold-faced lies, most brand representatives are offloaded by their companies pretty quickly when they’re caught being dishonest or unethical. 

Know how to answer the tough or off-limit questions

The minute you are triggered or uncomfortable about a question, it will show on your face, in your nervous stutter, and resulting body language/fidgeting. For this reason, you must train yourself and your employees on how to respond to what you consider “off-limit questions,” or the questions that are unable to be answered by yourself or the delegated interviewee. 

Responses to these questions begin something like: 

  • I’m not able to answer that, but what I will tell you is… 
  • I’m the (Job Title) and that question would need to be directed to our (appropriate Job Title) 
  • You’ve touched on a confidential matter and I’m not at liberty to answer that… 
  • I wish I could answer that directly but we don’t have all of the facts yet… 
  • While I’m not qualified to respond to that, you should speak to (qualified expert they could ask…) 

Also, be extremely cautious about what you share “off the record.” If the journalist asks to go “off-record,” politely decline. If they make small talk before the interview or during breaks, know that anything you say can be brought into the interview or used at a different time. Pleasant neutrality is the theme of any and all “off-record” conversations. 

Practice makes comfortable when it comes to your upcoming media interview

One of the main reasons we recommend consulting with a PR agency to prepare for a media interview is that repeat, educated, and informed practice makes comfortable – if not perfect. Even if you handle your company’s PR in-house, for now, the ROI of investing in professional media interview training and practice is invaluable. In some cases, it can transform the trajectory of your brand’s reputation. 

In addition to expanding on all-of-the-above, your PR consultants will practice with you, spinning potential interview directions and helping you develop a comfortable “on-camera/mic/page” persona that may not come naturally if you haven’t had experience in the media limelight. 

Contact Segal Communications to begin preparing for your upcoming media coverage. We’ve got your back and will make sure your brand puts its best foot, voice, face, and impressions forward.

How Public Relations And Marketing Work Together

When your in-house marketing team hears you’re thinking about bringing on a public relations agency, odds are they will be a bit nervous or potentially miffed. Even if they know that wider outreach and media relations are critical to your brand’s growth and public image, knowing your moving from a DIY to a professional PR approach can make marketing pros feel as if they are now having to bow down to a foreign company that doesn’t know the company and its brand like they do. 

This is entirely understandable. And, the truth remains that brands experience greater recognition, growth, and exposure when public relations and marketing teams work together. Helping your marketing team to understand this will be a symbiotic relationship and finding a PR agency that is compassionate and works in collaboration with your marketing team is key to the process. 

In a SpinSucks article about the importance of collaborative public relations and marketing efforts, author Jessica Canfield writes, “…[PR and marketing teams] share similar goals of building the brand and engaging audiences. And their complementary skills allow them to collaborate on rich, engaging content that drives results.” 

So, while they probably shouldn’t share an office, it is essential that they work together to achieve their overarching goals. 

Marketing Data Is Essential To Your Public Relations Efforts 

While this is not necessarily the priority for the PR team, we think appealing to the marketing team’s prowess is a smart way to go about the transition. If they have done a great job at tracking benchmarks, data, and analytics, they have already done so much to help the incoming PR team.  

A few years back, The International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC) co-hosted a Measurement Week in NYC where attendees listened to multiple industry leaders speak about how integral marketing professionals and their statistics are to the PR cause when it comes to measuring the results of our efforts. 

These statistics are invaluable for looking at where you are, helping your PR team to shape where you want to go or what you’d like to change, and then working together to get there. As the PR professionals work to generate new promotional outlets, reframe your story (if necessary), and to gain more media attention, your marketing team will be helping to share, promote, and celebrate the increased audience and will have the data to reflect whether or not “it is working.” 

Public relations professionals need to know: 

  • Are they working? 
  • Where they are working? 
  • Which target audiences respond to, engage with, or share certain stories, events, or launches. 

Without your marketing team’s hard work and metric data to analyze, we would be firing blind. So, first and foremost, your marketing team should always feel essential to the PR cause. 

Engage with audience members across “the right” social media channels 

In a TrendKite article, PR and tech expert Lacy Miller wrote, “PR will always be about brand reputation and storytelling but that does not mean the technical aspects of the practice can be ignored,” emphasizing that public relations agencies will increasingly rely on marketing automation, social listening, SEO, measurement and PR tools throughout all campaigns.”  

This is a good segue from our former point about analytics because successful analytics rely on knowing which social media channels or platforms are the most useful at any particular moment and for specific campaigns and goals. 

A large majority of public relations professionals have a love of marketing and promotion but it is viewed through the lens of journalism and media. We are media relations whizzes, and we can amplify your story through our experience-driven connections. Your marketing team has similar “connections” in the technology world in the sense they typically have their fingers on the pulse of the most happening social media platforms of the moment. They also have a data-based awareness of where particular target audience members spend the most time. 

As we work to create different pitches and angles to frame your story – selling it to new prospects and building loyalty within your existing customer base – we rely heavily on your marketing team’s inside-scoop about which channels are the most active, which ones feel best for starting a particular conversation, the best voice or tone to use in the media, etc.  

Create a streamlined, value-driven content marketing strategy

Sure, some people sit down to watch the evening news, but most rely on their personal networks and the content-driven, 24-hours news feed to remain informed. Thus, traditional PR pitches fall flat because even the tried-and-true journalists know to only promote content that will inspire audience engagement. Similarly, content creation is what breathes life, energy, and continued engagement into successful campaigns. 

As a result, the Content is King mantra continues to prevail. Written content is the way most of us receive our information these days, and while your PR team can create content all day long, it’s always a major bonus to work with a savvy marketing team as we create streamlined, value-drive content marketing strategies in a synergizing way. In the aforementioned SpinSucks article, Jessical Miller states, “PR reaches new audiences and builds company credibility through third-party validation.” 

Content marketing keeps audience members engaged with your brand and that’s essential to continuing the good work the public agency will continue to do on your behalf. 

How public relations and marketing work together? 

The best way to ensure your PR and marketing teams work together is to build the bridge as fast as possible and continue to foster communication and relationship between the two departments.  

If you are contracting with a PR agency, they will have their own brick-and-mortar office, so sharing space isn’t an option. However, it is perfectly reasonable to bring the two teams together from the get-go as the PR firm begins to download the ins-and-outs and nuances of your brand. Once they are completely onboarded, keep the communication channels open and collaborative. Set the tone that this is a partnership or a symbiotic relationship and continue to make sure that’s the case. 

You can do this by including both teams in strategy meetings, having a monthly working lunch where they can share their experiences and throw out ideas, or hosting weekly team huddles (Zooming is always an option) with clear itineraries and goals. You’d be amazed at what a well-designed 30-minute meeting can bring about.

Public Relations And Marketing Make A Winning Team

Would you like to hire a PR firm that understands how invaluable it is for public relations and marketing to work together to achieve success? Contact us here at Segal Communications.

What Is A Media Outlet, Anyway?

In the beginning, it was your words in simple print – your brand vision, your mission statement, your first launched website. Then there were the blogs and social media connections, not to mention hefty Google ad marketing expenses, that grew your network. From there, your products and services, as well as your in-house marketing efforts, continued to grow brand visibility and profits. 

Now, however, you’re ready for “The Next Level” of brand exposure, and that depends on high-quality (top tier) media coverage. 

PR Agencies Promote Top-Tier Visibility On Media Outlets 

Unless your small- to mid-size company has incredible connections or happens to create that one-in-a-million product or service that puts you on the nation’s radar, you’re going to need some professional PR help. 

Without developing the right connections with media outlets that go beyond your local area’s freebie or subscription newspapers, or occasional spots on a local radio station, you will struggle to garner published press releases, interviews, or – what we refer to as “top tier placement” – by more major media outlets.  

But what are those said media outlets, anyway? And how do you learn which media outlets are the best to get certain messages out, to a specific target market/audience, about a particular type of product, service, or good work you’ve done? That is easier said than done, and it requires an understanding of the various types of media outlets available to you, as well as which ones are best to work with for any given situation. 

Media Outlet Types: The Big Five 

There are five general categories of media outlets. We’ll go through each of them below, giving a general description and explaining how you can best use them to promote your brand.  

Again, even if you aren’t employing a full-time PR agency, contracting with a reputable firm exclusively to help you build media recognition is a smart and budget-savvy way to get a great bang for your PR bucks. 

Social Media 

The most powerful thing about social media is that it allows you to connect directly with your brand’s followers and prospects. This is a very personal way to communicate, and odds are that many of your long-term followers feel like “part of the family” if you actively engage with them via Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, and so on. 

Social media outlets are ideal for sharing: 

  • Information about yourself AND others (don’t forget to share the wealth by sharing other, similarly aligned brands to gain bonus points) 
  • Photos, videos, infographics, studies/research, etc. 
  • Links to other media outlet features and spotlights 
  • Your stories in vignette form (or long format in the case of YouTube video options) 
  • Information galore (with blogs being a wonderful way to share longer-format pieces) 

Routine, frequent posts are the key to successful social media branding. Ideally, brands should be interacting at least three or more times a week (daily is ideal). Otherwise, it’s impossible to generate the level of momentum you need to expand your network. 


Newspaper features offer both long- and short-format options for brands to make themselves known in the community, and the greater world-at-large. Even bigger regional, state and national newspapers still prefer to share news from a local- or community-based angle. 

Depending on whether you are promoting upcoming events, volunteering or community giving experiences, post-event recaps/coverage, new or re-launched products, and services, or your solutions to current events or issues, the newspaper offers perfectly segmented opportunities to share. Those include: 

  • General assignment/general news 
  • Lifestyle/Features   
  • Op-Ed page/Letters to the Editor 
  • Health  Business 
  • Consumer  Education 
  • Calendar of Events/Events  Political 
  • Photo Desk 

The general news is typically fielded by the city or managing editor. You can find their information, as well as the section editors’ and beat reporters’ information on the newspaper’s website.  

It’s essential to pay close attention to how they want to learn about your event, deadlines for submittals (often weeks ahead of deadlines), etc. Not following their instructions to the letter means not getting your information through their outlet.   

Also, odds are – unless you’re already “famous,” they will not invest in available staff to take pictures or cover your events. Cover your own events with professional photographic/videographic style so you have compelling visual content to round out your submissions. 


Again, like their larger newspaper counterparts, television journalists know that stories with heart are the way to win an audience. Television networks work hard to create angles that generate feelings in their audience through the combination of text/scripts, visuals, editing, and music/sound.  

Television segments can run the gamut from standard commercials (expensive) to spots on specialty programs positioning you as the “expert” in your field. In that case, your brand’s representative should be completely comfortable in front of the camera, having the ability to remain calm, answer off-thecuff questions, and to make tech/science/complex concepts easily comprehensible to the audience. The ability to share quick and compelling soundbites, succinct information that gets to the point, or your brand representatives’ ability to be captivating in their appearance, attitude, or voice is a bonus. 

If you are able to generate enough interest that a TV station is willing to cover your event, more power to you. That’s a wonderful way to share your brand with thousands or even millions of viewers, especially if audience members respond positively. That puts you in position for more features by them in the future. 

Like newspapers, TV stations need at least two to three weeks warning, possibly more, as they are always working ahead. News releases and media alerts should follow the station’s guidelines, available on their website. And, as you can imagine, the bigger the TV network the better connections it is to have if you want to catch a glimmer of their spotlight. 


The great news about radio is that your spots can be ultra-short and sweet (think 10 to 30 seconds), repeatable (because they are recorded and re-used in breaks between songs and segments, or they can be on the longer side as you sit in as an expert interviewee or the radio station chooses to broadcast live from your sponsored event. 

Again, those who present on your behalf via radio stations should be personable, warm, and have a voice that soothes rather than grates on the audience members’ ears. Depending on the station or the event, your audience may be smaller and niche-oriented, or you may make yourself visible (or, shall we say, “audible”) to thousands. If you’re a small business, and none of your key players have a “radio voice” it can be worth it to pay for voice-overs for commercials or promotional spots that don’t require an “expert” on hand. 

Words and scripts are essential because unlike newspaper or TV spots, where visuals are as important more so than the text, radio depends on words and expressive voices to tell your brand’s story 

Not surprisingly, radio stations typically prefer a lead time of three weeks or longer. 


Magazines are a niche audience dream market for advertisers. The only people who pick up and/or subscribe to magazines are those who are aligned with the magazine’s core values or features. Magazines are a fantastic collaboration of print and visual content and give you the ability to reach both your local market as well as national or international niche/trade publications. 

Unlike the two to three week lead time required by newspapers, TV, and radio stations, magazine issues are planned months in advance. You’ll want to begin communicating with key editors/writers (again, you’ll find these on the magazines’ websites) at least three to six months in advance unless specified otherwise. Also, rather than a typical press release or similar, AP-style content, magazines will also respond to high-quality photos or graphics that support the content so they can get an idea of whether it’s a good fit for their brand and style. 

There’s no doubt that the right network connections (and a history of successful features) pave the way to top tier media coverage. Working to make those connections will pay off, but if high-quality media exposure is a goal for your next level of brand development, you are better served by forging a partnership with a good PR agency. 

Is Your Business In Need Of More Exposure?

Looking to forge a partnership with a media-savvy PR agency that gets results? Contact us here at Segal Communications. We can’t wait to tell your story. 

10 Steps To Better Handle A PR Crisis

The impact of a PR crisis is like a shot heard ‘round the world. What used to take a matter of weeks, months, or even years to leak out can now be spread through the vast social media network in a matter of minutes and hours. The more prepared companies are for the potential of a crisis, the more able they are to take essential steps to handle the fallout. 

Having a crisis management plan in place gives you a go-to manual or guide that you can review when your media coverage goes from golden to murky. If you’ve enlisted the support of a professional PR firm, speak to them about whether they have a crisis management plan in place for your business.  

If you’re currently on the DIY public relations track, use the following information to craft a crisis management plan and then carefully review it with key investors, management, and staff. 

What Could Go Wrong When You Must Handle A PR Crisis?  

Let’s do a quick review of what a PR crisis looks like for the average business owner. We like the 5 broad categories Hubspot uses to define the types of crises you might have to handle over time: 

Financial. Financial crises span the gamut from insider trading or embezzlement to mismanagement of funds, plummeting stock value, or the basic inability to pay your vendors’ bill. 

Personnel. Whoopsie! Someone in your company (probably someone important) did something they shouldn’t have – lied, cheated, stole, made a racist comment, or participated in some other legal or unethical act. 

Organizational. Your organization took advantage of its customers to profit or to glean information that wasn’t yours to glean without permission. 

Technological. Usually, this means your servers crashed or are glitching in a way that interferes with customers’ use of your website, software, etc. Once is typically not a big deal; repeat incidences create distrust and a feeling that your company isn’t as stable – or conscientious – as it should be. 

Natural. Whew! As this goes to press, we’re all in the midst of a natural crisis: COVID-19. Sheltering-in-place has been brutal for businesses, especially restaurants and coffee shops. This one has had long-term effects. Other times, a brief power outage (PG&E power outages during fire season in California, for example), or a major natural disaster (hurricane Katrina) can prevent digital and brick-and-mortar business and/or communications. 

An overarching crisis management plan should address all of the above, putting special emphasis on the ones more apt to affect the way your target markets view your brand.  

If those categories don’t resonate with you, consider these definitions of a general scenario you would consider being a PR crisis. These were used in a PR News survey, and the percentages presented in their findings: 

  • When more departments than my own need to be involved33% 
  • When it needs to be on the CEO’s radar63% 
  • When it’s related to a previous issue34% 
  • When a situation was entirely unexpected43% 
  • When share count or social visibility reaches a predefined point33% 
  • When a high-profile press outlet picks it up60% 
  • When a high-profile influencer gets involved47% 

Pull Your Brand Out Of A PR Crisis With These 10 Steps 

In our experience, every crisis management can be turned around with the following 10 steps.

Be prepared and proactive

Don’t think of a PR crisis as an “If.” Instead, consider it a “When,” and then pat yourself on the back if you retire before you ever need to implement your plan. Being prepared, most specifically with the creation and implementation of a crisis management plan is essential to your ability to act swiftly, articulately, and in an organized way. 

Assess your vulnerabilities

Take a good hard look at the areas where your company seems the most vulnerable and make a list of the potential communications or PR hiccups most likely to affect you.

Align with a PR agency if you haven’t already

This doesn’t mean you need to hire a PR firm. Your business may not be big enough (yet) to benefit from the financial investment. However, PR firms also offer more a la carte services – helping you to organize a big event, to support a product launch, etc. – and these can help you establish a baseline if you need their PR crisis management services in the future.

Identify your crisis management team

Typically, the CEO would head this up, but if the CEO is a part of the scandal, you’ll also want a Plan B. Other members include your in-house PR/marketing spokespeople. If they are currently inexperienced in this realm, work with a local PR firm and invest in some training so they are prepared. If you have legal counsel in place, include them in the crisis management training as well. They need to understand that the boilerplate, “no comment…” looks like “our clients are guilty,” in the public eye.

Train the team

We can’t emphasize this enough. Your stated PR crisis management team must have thorough and ongoing training. It’s not a one-and-done type of thing. The people you select need to have the right skills, knowledge, and reflexes to handle whatever is thrown at them. 

Regularly review how to handle a PR crisis with the team

Segueing from the idea of “one and done,” your crisis management plan – and the team you’ve identified to activate it – should be reviewed on an annual basis. Putting it on the shelf and allowing it to collect dust puts you at risk for having an outdated plan and a crisis management team that no longer works for you. 

Create a communications template

You’re expected to respond immediately when a crisis occurs, but you want to make sure the team is all on the same page. Thus, it’s a good idea to create communications templates you can implement ASAP in a way that honors your investors’/customers’/followers’ expectations but without giving too much away until you’ve had time to regroup.

Get everyone together ASAP

In addition to your crisis management response team, you need to get all customer-facing team members together. Share what happened, the response plan, what to say and not say, etc. They are also your on-the-ground reporters about what your followers/public are saying across social and general media channels.

Take a short- and long-term view

Is this something that will have an immediate, short-term, and or long-term impact on your business? Your response should be planned accordingly – and viewed with the same lens. Don’t do/say anything that can come back to bite you later on, which can cause a PR crisis aftershock – sometimes more damaging than the initial impact.

Learn from the process

Everyone will learn from the process, and these learnings should be incorporated into your next PR crisis management plan. That said, pay attention to other company/brand crises and watch their response like a hawk. Learning from others – what went well for them and what didn’t – is a smart way to handle your own crisis with greater grace and integrity. 

Segal Communications is a professional PR agency that specializes in crisis management. We are happy to help your brand create a relevant PR crisis management plan, or to manage your crisis response. We’re also happy to train your PR response team to help prepare them for all of the future possibilities. Contact us to learn more 

Five Essential Steps In PR Campaign Planning

Remember when you learned to write informative essays using the 5 W’s (Who, What, Where, When, and Why)? Understanding how to manipulate the five Ws also translates directly to the five essential steps for PR campaign planning.  

In this case, however, you’ll change the order around just a bit – getting clear about: 

  1. Why: Why are you launching this campaign? What are your ultimate goal(s) or desired outcomes? 
  2. Who: Who are you trying to reach? And who are the connections you have that can expand your network across bigger, larger channels? 
  3. What: What communication approaches and verbiage will you use to communicate with the public? 
  4. Where: Where do you plan to engage target audience members? 
  5. When: The timeline that will track the start and end to each of your communications?  

5 W’s Of PR Campaign Planning

If you and your PR team are not clear on these key steps in a campaign’s framework, it will be a struggle to gain the momentum required to make the campaign a success.

The Why: Setting clear goals is your first step 

Establishing the campaign’s ultimate goal(s) is essential to know where you want to end up, and who and what you’ll leverage to achieve that. While “increase sales” may be the obvious goal, each of your campaigns should tackle that ultimate goal. 

And, of course, there isn’t just one Why in a campaign; there are several: 

  • Why are we doing this? 
  • Why are we using the words and verbiage we’ve created? 
  • Why are we using these particular outlets, platforms, or PR channels? 
  • Why are we doing it now?  

These “why” questions aren’t a one-and-done event. Rather, they should be asked every step of the campaign’s way so messaging, targeting, outlets, timing, etc. are always aligned in the same, thoughtful direction. 

If you go about things willy-nilly, without a focused approach to the various “whys,” a campaign can take on a chaotic life of its own, and the final destination may be far from where you intended it to be. 

The Who: PR campaign planning should have a target audience  

There will be plenty of Whos to consider, from the audience members you want to reach out to and engage with, to those who help you publish, promote, and share the messages you send out into the world. 

In addition to your obvious targets – the people you want to sell products and services to (current and prospective customers) – there are other Whos worth considering such as: 

  • The internal stakeholders (board members, investors, key company players) 
  • The general public 
  • Colleagues or competitors 
  • Vendors, partners, and/or sponsors 
  • Influencers, community movers-and-shakers, and celebrities 
  • The media 

Come back to this list over and over again throughout the campaign journey (always keeping the Whys in mind), so you reach out to the right people, at the right time. 

If you are launching a new business or are still in the beginning phases of developing brand awareness, you’ll use a DIY PR approach, leveraging your personal/staff contacts and community network. Once you are big enough to work with a professional public relations agency, you’ll find that their Whos are part of what makes your investment worthwhile because they have the network contacts and media VIP lists required to launch your campaign in bigger and better ways. 

The What: How will you create and generate effective content and messaging?  

From your initial announcements and content that addresses your target audience’s immediate questions, the What is all about content, messaging, and more content and messaging. 

The smaller “Whats” of the greater What is in perpetual motion. With each message, promotional content piece, media spotlight, etc., you’ll always address the questions: 

  • What are we trying to say here with respect to our audience? Keep in mind these messages may vary depending on the target demographics or a particular channel. For example, if you gain a spotlight on a talk show about mindfulness, you’ll use a different language and approach than you would during a local sports show feature.  
  • What questions will the audience have for me? If you’ll be speaking in an interview, you’ll have practiced a range of responses. If you are producing text-based content, you’ll want to have links to your FAQs where prospects can learn more. 
  • Are there tough questions to answer? If you foresee tough questions, prepare, prepare, and prepare some more. If you contract with PR firm, be prepared to undergo training around these questions so you know how to answer them, or how to pause, remain neutral, and formulate the most appropriate response.  
  • What communication channels make the most sense for this message? Blogs and press releases are an entirely different species than Tweets and Facebook posts. Keep messages aligned within the parameters of potential channels or platforms. That said, your messages should always have a unified theme. If a family gathers at dinner and discusses what they learned about your campaign from their individual information streams, the basic gist of your message should be the same across the board. 

The Where: Where do you plan to get the word out? 

Along those same lines, an essential step in your campaign planning is deciding where you plan to get the word out. Cover all of your bases, including:

  • Your website 
  • Newsletters 
  • Social media channels 
  • Your blog 
  • Traditional media 
  • Advertising channels (including print, TV, movie theater ads, radio broadcasts, etc.) 
  • Podcasts 
  • Press conference(s) 
  • Newswire distributions 

The list goes on. Again, without onboarding a PR firm, you will need to access in-house and network connections to coordinate the best “in” to access channels outside of your own digital platforms. 

The When: How do you create a savvy timeline? 

Finally, you need to create a campaign timeline. And, you’ll need to work backward. This is a challenging thing to learn when you’re new at PR campaign planning, but practice makes better – if not always perfect.  

First and foremost, make sure all of your stakeholders, investors, and key players understand the timeline so nobody releases information before it is supposed to be released. The wrong “spoiler alert” can blow (or deflate) the whole campaign. 

As you review the channels available to broadcast your message, you’ll need to work backward to figure out a savvy deadline schedule. Each columnist, newspaper, monthly publications, news channel, and so on have their own deadlines for when (and how) information needs to be received. You need to sync your timeline – and messaging – in accordance with their deadlines. Finally, you’ll need to correlate and sync the release of pertinent information across all channels.

Searching For A PR Agency?

Looking for some assistance so you don’t miss any of the five essential steps in PR campaign planning? Contact us here at Segal Communications. We can work a set amount of time to help you set up your campaign, or we can work with you every step of the way to ensure your goals are met as planned.

How Much Does A PR Agency Cost?

The subject of public relations agencies and the average cost is a complex one because the fees associated with PR services are not set in stone. Depending on your brand and what it needs, your PR agency of choice may provide a one-time service for a big event, or they may step in to handle post-crisis management for a set or hourly cost. If you need more comprehensive PR work to grow your image and your followers, to rebrand, or to handle the communication and publicity stream for the long-haul, you may be paying monthly retainer fees. 

Each of these public relations scenarios requires a different strategic approach, and the associated costs are variables. It is impossible to give a black-and-white answer to questions around how much a PR agency costs. Ultimately, it depends on what you need. 

PR Agency Cost And Variables 

Instead, we can give you a very generalized overview of standard PR costs and the variables that play into those costs.  

If you are a small company or a newer kid on the brand block, you may find it wise to hone your DIY public relations skills, reserving the PR budget for special, unique, or more-than-you-can-handle events. Once your brand is big enough, and you’ve outgrown your DIY PR britches (meaning, you ain’t got time for that) you’ll know it’s time to branch into the bigger PR arena. 

Visit our post What Does a Public Relations Agency Do for more specifics about the services we talk about below. A basic rundown of PR services looks something like: 

  • Reputation management 
  • Media relations 
  • Media training (coaching your peeps on how to interact, engage with, respond to media) 
  • Social media 
  • Community outreach 
  • Event planning 
  • Speech writing 
  • Content creation 
  • Market research 
  • Crisis (or post-crisis) management 
  • Product/service launches 

Most PR agencies bill clients based on estimations of the number of hours per month it will take to get the job done. As a result, PR agency cost is charged via: 

Retainer Fees (PR Agency Cost For The Longer-Haul) 

If your company is looking for a long-term, heavier hitting PR approach, such as reputation management, public communication, and outreach, content creation or internal copywriting, etc., the agency will probably require a retainer. The current average monthly retainer fee for PR services ranges from $2000 to $25,000 per month. That said, large corporations spend hundreds of thousands per month on industry-recognized public relations firms. 

Note that retainer-based services are all longer-term in nature. You can’t manage a brand’s reputation for a month or two; it takes exponentially longer than that to develop positive brand recognition, a reputation, and to grow that reputation over time. At that point, reputation management requires consistent marketing, public outreach, and communication to maintain a media-worthy brand presence.  

In some cases, the retainer is a set price, and together you’ll negotiate what you get for that fee. So, perhaps your $2000/month retainer fee will cover specific services: a few blogs per month, at least one top-tier media feature, a press release, and so on. Other times, larger and more successful firms may require a base retainer just to work with them, billing on top of that for services or output they provide for you. 

Since monthly retainers may be a bit beyond what small or medium-sized business budgets can accommodate, especially earlier on in the brand development phase, many companies start out using PR agencies in a more a-la-carte style. 

Project-Based Costs 

Perhaps your company is capable of handling the day-to-day PR needs for now, but an upcoming launch, promotion, or event requires more work than the in-house team can provide. In that case, PR agencies can be contracted for a single project or two at a time. 

You will sit down to discuss the project scope. Together you and your PR agency will come up with a list of services or output required. Once you’re in agreement, you will get an estimate for project-based services. It’s a one-and-done deal, so to speak. The good news about using a PR agency to support an upcoming project or event is multifold.  

First, your own team gets to continue doing what they do best – without the added stress or workload that takes away from their well-matched and experienced offerings. Secondly, you get to experience a professional PR approach to handling your projects, providing the opportunity to observe ideas and tricks you never would have thought about or been able to execute in-house. Finally, you gain great exposure to the PR agencies available in your area, forming relationships that will ease the way later on when you’re ready for broader scope or longer-term, retainer-based work.  

Hourly Rates 

Then, just like any business, a PR agency may charge you by the hour. The average hourly rate ranges from $125 to $500 or more. These rates are set by who did what for a given project or service. As you would imagine, junior staff are billed at less per hour, while more experienced managers and executives are billed at higher rates. 

Just as a set retainer can be a gamble for PR agencies who may underestimate the hours/costs required for a given account, hourly rates can be a gamble for your company. You may balk at a monthly retainer fee, only to find the hour rates wind up equalling or exceeding those. Finding a PR firm you trust is key to feeling good about the payment method you choose at the start. 


If you’re reticent to commit to a monthly retainer fee, but it looks like your account may require expensive hourly rate totals, the agency may offer a payment-by-result package. This is like a middle ground to soothe wary clients because you pay a lower base fee (sort of like a retainer) and then get billed by the month, according to stats-based results.  

Most reputable PR agencies do not offer a “pay-per-placement and if they do, it should be a red flag not to work with them as they may use some shady methods to get you coverage. That said, some contractors do offer this as an option but if they don’t get traction for your product, service, or brand launch after a full day of pitching may not be incentive to pitch that 9th hour. With a retainer or project fee, you can rest assured pitching will continue no matter what.

We’re Here When You’re Ready

On the fence about whether or not you need a professional PR agency by your side? The creative team at Segal Communications would love to hear your concerns. We’ll show you how we work, what we’ve done for clients in the past and present, and how our agency can tell your story in newer, bigger, and more marketable ways. Contact us and we’ll start dreaming and scheming together.