Public Relations Firms: You Can Hire the Best PR Firm | TJ Walker | Skillshare

Public Relations Firms: You Can Hire the Best PR Firm

TJ Walker, Public Speaking and Media Training Expert

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14 Lessons (44m)
    • 1. How to Hire a PR Firm Promo

    • 2. How to Hire a PR Firm Overview

    • 3. How to Hire a PR Firm Business Goals

    • 4. How to Hire a PR Firm Competition PR

    • 5. How to Hire a PR Firm Budget

    • 6. How to Hire a PR Firm Meeting Invites

    • 7. How to Hire a PR Firm Give Budget Guidance

    • 8. How to Hire a PR Firm The Meeting

    • 9. How to Hire a PR Firm More Meeting Notes

    • 10. How to Hire a PR Firm Proposal Request

    • 11. How to Hire a PR Firm References

    • 12. How to Hire a PR Firm Sign Contract

    • 13. How to Hire a PR Firm How to Work with PR Firm

    • 14. How to Hire a PR Firm conclusion


About This Class

Public Relations: You can find the ideal public relations firm to handle your PR needs

Public Relations firms are specialized these days and it may take awhile to find the best match for your organization. Imagine yourself working in perfect coordination with a PR firm that gets you the right amount of interviews in exactly the right media outlets you care about.

How to Hire a Public Relations Firm

This "How to Hire a Public Relations Firm" course will walk you through, step-by-step, everything you need to do to find and hire the best Public Relations firm for you or your organization. There are thousands of PR firms in the world. This course will help you narrow down the right ones for you to approach, and then interview and then, ultimately, select one. Nothing is worse than attempting a new Public Relations campaign with the wrong PR firm or no PR firm. That is why it is essential to go about your selection process in a rational way.

About the trainer

TJ Walker does not own or work for a Public Relations. Therefore the advice in this course is not a thinly disguised plug for any one PR firm. In his role as a media trainer and senior media strategist, Walker is frequently asked by major corporations, governments and NGOs around the world to help in the process of PR firm selection.

Sign up today for this Public Relationscourse today.

There is a 100% Money-Back Guarantee for this course. And the instructor also provides an enhanced guarantee.


1. How to Hire a PR Firm Promo: So you ready? Didn't really tell the whole world more about your story. Expand your profile. Get in newspapers, radio, print, TV, cable online everywhere. You want the world to know more about your business, your service. So you want to hire a professional? You want to hire a PR firm? Great. But it could be extraordinarily difficult finding the right fit rather than wasting a lot of time hiring firing people. This course is here to help you figure out exactly the best fit for you. I'm t. J Walker. I've been helping clients with their PR needs all over the world for 30 years. And I often helped them select the best PR for I'm not a PR firm. So I am giving you the exact lessons that I use and consulting with clients all over the world to help them find the best PR firm. Sign up now. 2. How to Hire a PR Firm Overview: The relationship between a client and a PR firm is like a marriage. When it works, it really works. There's nothing better. But when it doesn't work, when people rushed into things when there's a mismatch, it is absolute pure agony. This course is gonna teach you step by step, the process that you've got to take if you want to go for that good long term marriage. Ideally, you connect with the PR firm and you work together. They become a vital business partner of yours, not for a day, not for a two week campaign or a two month campaign, but they become a vital part of your business forever. For decades, when you look at some of the strongest corporate brands organizational brands in the world , quite often you look behind the service and there's a relationship there with a PR firm that knows their needs, knows what they want and can't deliver. So let's hop right in with the next lesson 3. How to Hire a PR Firm Business Goals: before we started going through all the checklist of what you wanted. A PR firm. We gotta start before that. I need you to write down exactly what your business goals are. Let's face. Unless you're an egotist, your go isn't simply to have your face on TV. It's to drive some larger business strategy. So what is it you want to have happened because of publicity? Because of PR? Do you want to go from a small regional company to an international brand worth hundreds of billions of dollars of market kept? What exactly is your goal? So getting to write down specifically on a piece of paper on a computer screen? What your business goals are quantified is specifically as possible terms of sales in terms of your brand reputation around the world. Then I want you to write down your goals of what media placements you think will really make this happen. For some people being on prime time in the Number one news talk show, Bill O'Reilly on Fox News Channel is the last thing you would ever want. It simply doesn't help your business, and in fact it could hurt your business for others being on the front page of The Wall Street Journal isn't really worth much. That's not where your customers go. That's not where people in your industry go, so everyone is different. I can't tell you what media placements are most important for your industry, your business, your customers, your clients, your vendors, even your employees. So you've gotta decide for yourself. Where do you really want people to see you? To hear you to see interviews with your top newsmakers? Your CEO, your other product leaders. You're a political organization, a non profit. Where do you want to see your leaders in the spotlight? So before we even waste time saying, Let's go for a top 10 p R firm, we got to figure out exactly what your goals are because too often people just start off on this quest for a PR firm with sort of a general amorphous view of Ah, you know, let's just do things better. Let's get a PR firm. Let's get out there a lot more. That's not the way to do it. It's not fair to you. It's not fair to your PR firm because that can result in just a whole lot of churn it doesn't fit into any strategy doesn't help you. It's a whole bunch of one offs and frankly, doesn't amount to much other than wasting a bunch of money. So before we got in the next lesson, I need you to write down. Be a specific. It's possible. What are your goals as an organization, As a business, a nonprofit political organization, whatever it is, be as specific as possible. Do you want to be a year from now? Five years from now, 10 years from now. Then where do you want to see media placements? Now, if you are a small crafts company, your number one goal, maybe to have a huge, huge presence on Pinterest. There's no right or wrong answer here, but something beats nothing. Having some goals beats nothing. Now this is, by the way, a document you are going to share with PR firms when you go to meet with them. So do not bypass. This did not go to the next lecture. Do this exercise right now, 4. How to Hire a PR Firm Competition PR: Now it's time to start putting together a list of prospect of PR firms that might be a good fit for you. Keep in mind, there's no such thing as the perfect PR firm or the very best PR firm in the world. All of them would claim to be the best in some particular, that you got to find out the best firm for you and your organization. So I ask you to a couple of things. For starters, put together a list of people you see as direct competitors but who are just getting a lot more publicity than you are next. I want you to put together a list of organizations that are where you want to be, say, five years from now. So if you're a local company and you really see yourself as national and you want to quadruple your current sales by, look for the people who are already there and try to find out who their PR firm is now, for the most part that's simple. Go to their corporate website, go to their newsroom, their PR rooms, something that says for the media, look for press releases and quite often, the press release will have the email address of someone from a PR from now. How do you know it's a PR firm? Well, if it has an email address and it's not the same, you are Ella's, that company. That means it's a PR firm or P R consultants. So start gathering these names and come up with a good list again. This is why it's so important to figure out exactly what you're niches and why you can't just go for the best known PR firm. Because if you are a small local, for example, Italian restaurant and your competitors across the street is getting in all the local papers and a local TV all the time, you don't necessarily want a top 10 p R firm because they're gonna want to charge you perhaps 10 $20,000 a month. Your budget might be $1000 a month and $1000 trade of food and cash or food and drinks, so you've got to figure out what is realistic Now. On the other hand, if you are a huge, huge, huge automotive company, you don't necessarily want the PR firm that does a great job for your favorite restaurant. They simply aren't necessarily gonna have the scope and the debt in depth knowledge of your particular industry. So that's your homework right now. Let's come up with a goal of five people, sort of you see as your peers already but who are getting more publicity than you are and five who are just ultimate superstars in your industry. And they have much bigger brands, much more well known, their market camp. Their market valuation is much higher than yours if you're a business and let's come up with ideally 10 names of PR firms. Now, this may take a while, but don't simply keep going through this course until you do this. You can find this all on the Internet for the most part. Now, if you can't find it right on an organization's website, just Google the name of the company plus and in parentheses, press release. And quite often you'll find these on other news services. Other websites and you can find the companies that you can also find actual names of people because it's not just the other PR firm you necessarily want. You want this specific individual who already works in this industry who already knows the king. Media players already knows the issues you face. Could there be a conflict of interest? It's possible, but you may find a press release of someone who I was working for a competitor three months ago and they brought out a merger everyone was gotten rid of. And this person is now Frito work for you. So put together this list, I need 10 p R. Firms get their names, email addresses and the individual's names. 5. How to Hire a PR Firm Budget: the next thing you had to do is determine a budget that you're willing to commit to you. Here's the thing about PR. It's extraordinarily rare that you can just hire PR firm. Two days later, you get a front page story in The New York Times and wow, 10 billion worth of new orders come in over. It is just not the way PR works. It's more of a long term building process. It's about lots and lots of exposure over time to reach certain markets. So if you're expecting a quick fix, I wondered you right now, don't even hire a PR firm. So what I need to do now is to really think of what is a budget, a realistic budget? What can you commit to for the next year with the idea you might not see any really tangible results for six months or so. Now, I hope you get it a lot sooner. But be very wary of any PR firm that just comes in saying, Well, I'm gonna double your company revenues in the next two months. I would be very weary of someone like that. You've got to come up with a realistic budget. Obviously, if you are a restaurant and your total revenues for a year are $500,000 you already have eight employees, it may be unlikely that you can come up with more than $1000 a month. If you are a semiconductor company and you have a $50 billion market cap, well, then you very well may have $50,000 a month for the right PR firm. So you're gonna have to make this decision. I can't make this for the PR firm. Can't make this decision if you just go in and say, Well, we don't know what our budget is. Give me a couple of options. That's just not enough direction for most PR firms, and it kind of waste their time. You kind of waste your time, too. So I would urge you do some reflection, figure out what is it that you are willing to invest in communicating to the world till your customers to your prospects to the industry, to your vendors and come up with an amount and be comfortable with it? Because if you just say arbitrarily, okay, it's gonna be $10,000 a month and you're a one person shop, and if it doesn't pay off in three months, you can't pay your rent. That's gonna put too much pressure on you and the PR firm, and it's likely to be a disaster. On the other hand, if your international tire manufacturer and you're doing a 1,000,000,000 in sales anyway, to put it arbitrarily low amount of, oh well, we want to spend $2000 a month and you're working with a P R firm, and after four hours they've done all they can for that amount. It hasn't resulted in anything that's gonna frustrate you in the firm as well. So come up with a realistic budget that you are prepared to spend and you can just write thes checks. It's not for the next year to at least for the next six months without blinking, and I come up with that budget right now. 6. How to Hire a PR Firm Meeting Invites: it's now time to reach out to these firms and try to set up time for a meeting. So you've done your homework so far, you should have couple of things. The first is a specific one pager that lays out exactly what your business goals are. Short term, long term and what your media objectives are. The other thing you should have is specifically names of 10 P R firms and contacts. I would now right to allow 10 of these firms and say We're reaching out to you because we're looking for a new PR firm of record. We are only talking to a few firms, and we found you because of other people. You already represented our industry and you seem knowledgeable. You need to let them know you're not just sending out a press release 2 300 PR firms. It's not just a gigantic request for proposal, because really good firms they don't like to waste time with that. They need to know that you did some of your homework and you know they're actually qualified. So put in that paragraph something that suggests you've done your homework. You know, they already knew about your industry. And don't you're looking for new representation. Now give them your one pager on what your media goals are, what your business goals and what your media goals are, and then say that we would like to meet with you as soon as possible. Now, if you are looking for, for example, a New York City based PR firm and you're in Cleveland, you can perhaps schedule a time three weeks out and you're giving everyone on opportunity on a one or two day window. So you got to figure how to schedule this. But I would do two things. I would email them the specifics. You already have email addresses. I would also call these days. So many people get so much spam every day. It's easy to ignore an email or just gets lost, but a natural phone call from someone who says I am a prospect and I am interested in hiring you in my experience, very few PR firms ignore that, although some dio if someone is ignoring your call when you're saying I want to hire you and give you money, well, that tells you everything you need to know about why you shouldn't hire them because if they're not even returning your calls and the relationship hasn't started in your saying I possibly want to give you money How quick do you think they're going to be to return your calls? Hit If you already have signed a contract and they already know money is coming So ideally , you reach out to about 10 and chances are some people just won't get back to it. All others will say, Wow, we're in such crisis mode. We're doing so much work for so many clients Now, we really can't think and do this justice to give you a great proposal anytime in the next two months, you may want to scratch them off the list if you want to get going further. So out of the 10 people you invite the 10 firms you invite, ideally, you end up with meetings with about five. So that's your homework right now. Send a nice personalized email, address them by name And if you don't have the names yet because all you have is the PR from call the PR firm. Explain how you are. I'm the X Y Z air conditioning company. I am looking for representation. I need to talk to your account executive who already handles the ABC air conditioning company at which is someone else in our industry, but perhaps a different niche. So find out who it is, right to them personally and call them personally and let's go ahead and get these meetings very important. 7. How to Hire a PR Firm Give Budget Guidance: before the meeting actually happens. Some of the PR firms may call you and say, Hey, we want to give you a very specific proposal that really addresses your needs, but we need some guidance on budget now. You don't have to tell them the exact amount, but I wouldn't tell them arrange. I mean, let's say you I have 10,000 in mind. You very well may want to say, Oh, in the 7500 to 10,000 range. If you say 10,000 then that's kind of the base level. They give you stuff that goes up to 15 and 20,000. I do think you do yourself a disservice and the PR firm a disservice. If you say well, we're just open. I mean, no one is completely open. If you're really thinking of $1000 you can only afford $1000. Then why waste everyone's time if they're coming up with a proposal that has every bell and whistle, and that is a $100,000 a month retainer and the services for that, so I would give them guidance now If they don't ask, I wouldn't necessarily put it out there let's see what they come up with. But if they do ask, I think it's fair to them and it's fair. Do you give guidance on what your budget is before the meeting? 8. How to Hire a PR Firm The Meeting: So now it's time to meet face to face with the PR firms. I would recommend you set aside not four hours. You don't want to take up that much of their time, but an hour and 1/2 for the idea, an hour with the idea that it could go to one hour and 1/2. You want to give the PR for enough time to really give you a sense of who they are, what they can do for you and for there to be a real exchange to see if there's chemistry there. You also want to keep it about the same amount of time so you can give a fair comparison with the other firms, So let them know in advance how much time now face to face. It's time for the meeting. Here's what I think you really want to get out of this meeting. You want to get a sense of Do they care about your organization? Can they really deliver that they have the skill set to? They have the contacts now. Ah, smart PR person can promote anything. But if they have to learn all the media contacts from scratch, it's a lot more work from them, and maybe they're not interested in that. So that's why I have stressed. Find people who already know about and care about what you do if you're a mutual fund. There are only a handful of PR firms in the country that specialize 100% of mutual funds. They're not the firm you go to if you have a new toy and you want to see that toy on the Today show. But they know the exact Booker's on CNBC and Bloomberg and Fox Business News, who book mutual fund manager So they're not having to reinvent the wheel. They're already talking to those people every day. So that's a part of what you want to find out in this meeting, for starters, rather than just telling everybody everything about you in every meeting. Ideally, you've done that in the one page memo to them. Plus, they've been to your website. I would just sit back and listen to them. Thanks for your time. What are your thoughts on possibly working with us? There's no one magic question or phrase. You do want to hear what this firm says, how they present themselves because how they present themselves to you may in many ways be similar to how they present you to the media. Now the big mistake a lot of PR for firms make is all they do is talk about themselves. We've won this many awards in the PRS a industry, and we've done this and were well recognized. And our stack of clips is this. Be careful about people like that, because if all they're doing is talking about themselves, they just haven't given any thought to you. Now the other extreme. I'd be very careful if someone comes in and they have just done 80 pages of work and sample press releases and mock up videos. If it's obvious they've spent two dozen hours of work on you and you told them, Hey, this is a $5000 a month account. I'd be careful about someone like that, too, because it suggests they're really not very busy and there, perhaps a little too desperate for the work. You should not expect a PR firm to give you a tremendous amount of work for free. I mean, that's just not what good reputable firms do there. Used to paying for their work. But I do think you can certainly expect them to tell you their approach. I would ask them specifically, How do you see our organization? How do you see our from what do you think our main messages are? What? What do you think is most attractive about us to the media? Those are questions I would ask people, but I would not ask them. Tell me exactly what you're going to do in this campaign every day for the next week, for for the next six months. You can't expect them to put our our our our of work into a project where they're not being paid yet. But I do think you want to get a sense of their approach. You do want to get a sense of the people they already know who are important to you. You do want to get a sense of their knowledge of your industry, and you want to get a sense of who they are as people because if this all works out, you could be talking to this PR person daily basis. Certainly when there's a crisis, you could be talking to each other at midnight. You could very well be traveling with each other to conferences, conventions, meetings. So there needs to be some kind of a cultural fit. I don't mean they have to be clones just like you. And yes, things could be complementary. And it's good to have variety. But you do need to feel comfortable with the people guiding you on how you communicate to the rest of the world. Because some level, it's it's very personal because it's you having to stand up and go on this talk show or talk to this reporter or have your face on the front page of a publication. You need to feel comfortable with the people giving you advice. So in the meeting, I would recommend that you ask general questions. How would you work with us? What do you see is our strengths. Tell me about others in the industry you've worked with. I think that's a lot more important than saying, You know exactly how many tweets a week are you gonna do versus post on Pinterest? I don't think it helps you to narrow down the specific tactics at that point. What you're trying to do is figure out. Is this potentially a good fit because there may be more than one firm. If you've done your homework the right way, you know, any of three or four might be a good fit for you, But I do think you need to get some sense of whether they make the cut so you can tell you want to be able to tell a few firms. Okay, We really like you. We would like a formal proposal from you. That would be the next step. So take careful notes. I would recommend that if it's you and a number of colleagues from the organization to caucus at a coffee shop around the corner, if you're meeting at the PR firms office and take some notes on how the meeting went, what did you like? Were there any concerns and put down everything? I mean, if you are a fashion company and you are selling to tour clothing and the people you met with, we're all in raggedy T shirts and dirty jeans, and they were doing it for style purposes. It might not be a good fit. So take specific notes on how each meeting with what did you like? What did you not like, And then let the people know Thank you for your time, But we'd like to be in contact with you in the next few days to let you know about possible next steps. Do that, and we're making real progress on finding the best PR firm for you. 9. How to Hire a PR Firm More Meeting Notes: I want to give you some more tips on what to listen for when you are in the meetings with these PR firm. I'm not suggesting you necessarily have to ask these questions, but there's nothing wrong with doing that, too. But I like to put out general questions and see what comes back. For starters, I want to see how this PR firm talks about the businesses they've helped and how, as opposed to placements. So, for example, if your mutual fund and you're meeting with a PR firm and they talked incessantly about this one client who they've gotten on CNBC three times a week for the last six months, it's interesting. I wouldn't discount that. But if you're meeting with another PR firm and they say, Well, we met with this mutual fund 11 years ago when they had $50 million under management. We've been working with them ever since. They now have $20 billion under management, and we continue to work with them to this day. That gets my attention. That makes me think OK, rightly or wrongly, this PR firm get some kind of credit. They're also good at building relationships, and if nothing else. Luck seems to be attracted to them, so I'm a lot more interested in PR firms that can talk about how they helped business is the big picture. Your mutual fund, going from $50 million in management to 20 billion, is obviously extraordinarily significant. So listen to the PR firms how they talk about their clients. If it's simply in tactical terms of Oh, this front page headline. This magazine story doesn't mean they won't necessarily work for you, but I'm a lot more impressed by people who can talk about PR within the context of larger business goals. Now, here's reality. There are many PR people, no media cold, great a PR, but just know nothing about business. Sometimes they can help you, sometimes not. There's a much smaller subset of people who are great business people who happen to be in the PR business and use their PR skills, their talents to help build businesses. Those are the ones you really want to deal with. The most other things I would like to hear come out of the PR firm during this meeting. I would like for them without you mentioning it for them to just be so excited like oh, such and such editor at Money magazine would love. They would just absolutely love to profile someone like you or I see you as a perfect guest for squawk Box. Whatever it is, I want to see the wheels turning, and it's a little bit of excitement coming out like they can't wait to start pitching you rather than you saying, Well, where do you see getting placements for? I'd like to see that come out, and I would like to hear from them what they think is unique about what's special about you . Ideally, if they've taken this meeting seriously, they've done a little research. They they haven't just gone to your website. They've checked out some of your competitors. They have looked at some of the media coverage, and they can give you a much better sense of where they see you in the marketplace. How to reporters, bookers, producers, editors, See you? And also, how does this all fit into their social media strategy? There some firms that we'll get you 10 billion fans on Facebook and generate hundreds of millions of dollars of growth for you and couldn't get you on the local CBS affiliate it to in the morning. But it might be a good fit for you, their other companies that could get you on the Today Show on Oprah's new show on Good Morning America every day of the week but don't even know what Twitter Facebook is. Believe it or not, they'll tell you they do. But there are some who really don't know anything about social media. You've got to figure out what works for you and whether you think it's a good mix. So wait to hear what they talked about. So these air more things you want to be listening for in your meeting with the PR firms. 10. How to Hire a PR Firm Proposal Request: Here's the next step you've met with, ideally, at least five PR firms. You and your colleagues need to sit down, look at the notes. Really talk about who you liked didn't like. Now you're not making final decisions yet. What you're trying to do is eliminate ones where there's either a conflict of interest or you just know it absolutely isn't going to work. Ideally, you come up with at least three firms and then you call those firms and say, Look, we're very impressed by you. You're one of our finalists. We would like to request a formal proposal for you on how to work together again. At that point, if they haven't asked, hasn't come up, they're gonna ask you, what kind of budget do you have in mind? You need to give them something specific, and if you want to give them two options, that that's fine. But don't just say, well, you don't give us 10 different that's wasting their time. Also, you need to let them know they are a finalist. It's not just a cattle call where we're asking for 100 proposals from 100 different PR firms. They need to know it is a small group. If they ask for the exact number, just say Look, uh, fewer than there are fingers on my hand is what I would say, and that gives them sufficient motivation to put some time to put some effort into, because you do want to look at the proposal on, obviously, filter that and with your own sense of who they are after your meeting. So that's the next step. Caucus with your colleagues. Or perhaps it's just you and figure out who can you eliminate because they just didn't seem interested? Didn't seem like a good fit. They worked with your direct competitors, ER, and it's just a conflict of interest. Figure out who is still a viable option here and let them know they're finalist and ask them for a specific proposal. 11. How to Hire a PR Firm References: you've asked for the proposals and you've asked for it by a specific date. Make sure there's a mutually agreed upon date. Now, don't say has to be tomorrow and expect them to come up with a 50 page document for you. Ask them when they could do it and say it would really like to have all of our proposals within the next two weeks. See if they can work within a reasonable deadline. Now here's the thing. Once you get the proposals you need to focus on beyond, just does it make sense is that showed creativity? Does it work? Once you look at it, you do need to do to very specific things. Find out who in that organization you're working with, who is your account representative. And then you need references for that person, not for the agency for that person. Because here's one of the dark little secrets of PR firms. The person giving the pitch is quite often the superstar of the agency. It's often the founder. They're good, they're great. They can sell ice to Eskimos and all that stuff, and they can sell you. They can get you excited about it. They sell. You get that contract, get that monthly retainer, and then you never see that person again because your account representative is a 23 year old who was working with 14 different clients and 14 different industries who is just out of his or her league. That's what does happen. So you need to really figure out who exactly is going to be your point of contact, because you're not going to get that top person who founded the firm, whose famous is in the media every day, who is representing all sorts of celebrities. And this you're really willing to pay top dollar. You know, you do get what you pay for quite often. No. Sometimes you don't get what you pay for, but it's very rare NPR that you're gonna get a whole lot more then you pay for so if it is a 23 year old. But it's someone has worked in the industry for two years and does a lot of great work, and you met that person at the PR pitch. I wouldn't necessarily disregard that firm, especially if it's a youth oriented industry. If you have some new computer application on dating I'd much rather have a 23 year old account executive and somebody who looks like May old and gray hair. But you've got to find out who in the PR firm is gonna do it. Now. If you're working with a one person consultant, it's obvious you already know that if it's a three person PR firm and everyone is sort of established principle and you can have access to World three, it's perhaps not an issue, but any larger firm, you need to know exactly who you're working with and you need references for that individual, not the farm firms could be great, and individuals can no nothing and be awful. Firms can be awful, but this individual might be great and do good work. So that's the next step. Find out who is going to be delivering these wonderful ideas in the proposal and call references and find out. What do you like? What do you not like when you're calling references? Ask people. Do this PR firm help your business. How often did you hear from them? How much of it was what they initiated versus what you initiated, then showed me all this great press they did for you. Do you give them the credit or were you doing this yourself? So find out exactly what the references say and the references won't return your calls. That's saying something to 12. How to Hire a PR Firm Sign Contract: it's decision time. I'm not a big fan of the society of meeting with people 34 times before you make a decision . If you met with firm talk to them for 60 90 minutes, they've given you a detailed proposal. I think you know enough to really get going to have meeting after meeting at some level can be seen as exploitation. You're trying to pick the PR firms brain for free. I wouldn't do that. It just sets the relationship off on the wrong foot. You have the information you need if you've done your due diligence, if you go on through step by step. Everything I've talked about in this course, you should have a very good understanding as to who is the best firm for you. So go ahead, make your decision. Call them. Notify them. Now some firms ask for a year minimum retainer. Sometimes they ask for six months. Sometimes they say, Let's just work together. We don't want to work with you unless you're happy and it's a handshake, there's no one perfect way of doing it. A lot of PR firms want at least a six month minimum retainer because any time they take on a new client. There's a tremendous amount of upfront time research putting together your profiles, making initial pictures that simply aren't going to pay off for one or two or three, or sometimes even four months. What they don't want to do is spend a whole lot of time up front, often at a loss, and then have you say 2.5 months and well, you know this isn't working. We were expecting to be on the front page of The New York Times three times over. We're cancelling. That's not fair to them. They don't want that. It's really not fair to you, either. You want to give this new relationship some time now. I would certainly be careful about anything more than a year. But if they ask for a year and you're not comfortable with that, certainly asked for six months. But if a firm is not willing to work with you unless you give them a commitment of at least six months, I wouldn't write them off for that. There is a very legitimate reason for that because they have to spend a bunch of time up front and they might not be able to bill you for all of that time. You've got to know exactly what's going on, and you do need to be comfortable with their billing system. Now, we haven't talked about that in great length and this course, but obviously when you're looking at their proposal, you've got to figure out exactly how you're gonna be built. So there. No surprises. Nobody likes surprises. But keep in mind that firm is in business to make money. So go ahead, make your decision, sign your contract and let's begin. 13. How to Hire a PR Firm How to Work with PR Firm: So you've signed the contract, you're ready to begin. That's it, right? It's not that simple, because you may have done all your due diligence found the perfect firm for you. And yet this relationship goes nowhere and you're constantly frustrated and you are getting no publicity. Whose fault is that? Well, it might be the PR firms for, but it might be your fault. Let me tell you how you need to work with the PR firm if you want to get results. For one thing, you got to return their phone calls. And, I mean, not this week, not tomorrow, not this afternoon. Now they are pitching you talking about you, too Busy producers. Booker's editors who are making snap decisions. You might be the perfect person to substitutes for someone on the evening news tonight, but if you don't get back within five minutes, the opportunity is gone forever. So these people need to have your cell phones. They need your PR firm. They need to know they can call you any time of day or night. If you really want to get the most out of this and you got to get back to them so that's a part of it is being very, very responsive when they ask you your thoughts on a particular industry. If you are a financial analyst and all of a sudden the stock market is down 200 points and your PR firms can give us a quick analysis, don't send it to them tomorrow. Send them three sentences in the next 10 minutes. You've got to be quick in giving them your point of view on something that's absolutely critical if you want to be included in stories, industries, about trends on your industries. And if you want to be a part of stories that aren't just about you, you've got to be quick giving your point of view. Finally, you have to be a constant source of ideas for your PR firm. I know you think you're paying them for ideas. But the most successful companies, the ideas air generated internally, you know your business better than a PR person who covers 20 other companies, perhaps 20 other industries. So you've got to constantly be looking for news hooks, initiating that, giving a quick summary, forwarding a link to an interesting article that you think somehow relates to you. You need to be communicating on a daily basis with your PR firm in order to get the most out of them. Because unfortunately, here's what happens in many cases with PR firms, you do all this work, finding the perfect firm, and then they put forth a couple of ideas for you, perhaps get you tentatively booked on a couple of shows. And then you say, You know, not a good time, not convenient. You say no three times in a really that's human nature. People say no to you. Stop initiating Next thing in Now four months have gone by your like. I haven't heard from the PR firm. I wonder why they're just lazy. Well, it's a two way street, folks. You've got to react instantly to any request from your PR firm, and you have to initiate constantly if you're going to get the most out of them. Because if you do sign a contract and you have rebuffed their 1st 345 efforts, here's that one of the ugly little secrets in the PR business the most profitable PR client for a PR firm is a client who sends a check and never ever calls. You don't do anything for them. They're not asking anything of you. You just you cash the check. No PR firm wants to say that's their business model, and you're not gonna build a great reputation long term. But it's a very profitable way to run it industry or to run a PR business. If you just get people to send checks and you know to do anything, you don't want to be a part of that. Obviously, that's throwing away money. So I do want to caution you. Picking a firm is just the start. It's a relationship. Like anything else, it has to be nurtured. It requires constant communication, responding any time they reach out to you by email, text, phone and not just waiting for them to reach out constantly initiating to them. 14. How to Hire a PR Firm conclusion: thanks for joining me in this course on how to select a PR firm. If you followed all the steps, I suggested Really researching on the best firms for you in your industry. People who are already doing it, meeting with at least a handful, asking the tough questions, giving them an opportunity to give you a proposal. Checking out their references, really letting them know in advance what exactly your goals are. What are your expectations If you do all that, I think that you have positioned yourself for the maximum odds of getting what you want from your PR firm and ultimately from the media and helping your business, Good luck.