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.
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.
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