Pros & Cons of DIY vs. Hiring a Publicist
So I wanted to just check in with everyone, see how you guys are feeling so far. I know we talked about a lot of different things some specifics a more general but before we talk about how to craft your publicity plan how are you guys feeling good? Good, awesome. Awesome. So let's spend this last part of today talking about how should you plan? What should your plan look like? And how can you go forward so that when we talk tomorrow about all of the specifics and what emails to send and what subject lines to have the you guys are prepared to see how all of that fits into the bigger picture, which is why planning is going to be so important. So before I do that, I wanted to talk a little bit about doing it yourself versus hiring a publicist. I know this is, of course, about how to do it yourself, but I felt that it would only be fair to talk about if at any point you do wantto hire someone to work with you on this. What are some things you should look out for questions to ask them, um a...
nd how you can be really prepared if you do want to work with a publicist down the line if you have the budget, so here are some pros about working with publicists the first one is that they have contacts that you might not have, so while it might take you a couple of weeks or a couple of months to build your media list, they already have access to all of this list, and they've been sending e mails to them sometimes they know them personally, so they already have aa lot of relationships with these journalists. So what? That's? One of the advantage of working with publicists, and they also have more immediate access to the journalists because, as I said before, they've been working with them for a long time and they're more likely to pick up their phone calls when they call and teo take a look at their clients products when they approached him about a new client that they're taking on, and they could also get you a lot of press coverage in a short amount of time because they know what they're doing. The learning curve has already sort of they've been through that they know what works? Some of them have been doing this for twenty years, some of them five years, but they really do know what's working, and they've tested a lot of things to really see what the outlets that they're working for are looking for andi also have different. The right links to celebrities and stylists and editors and we're going to talk about celebrities on the three but I know when I worked with the publicity company they had on in there office they had a place where they had outfits and accessories that and they were based in l a where celebrities going just come in grab whatever is there for maybe a movie or something else they were working on and that's not something that we have access to as entrepreneurs that are just starting out so this is a really great way tio get right in front of the celebrities that are actually looking for jewelry to wear on sets or maybe close to where or things like that. So these are some of the pros about working with publicity firms but there's also some cons and the first one is obviously that this is a he huge investment so as I was mentioning before sometimes they can charge a thousand dollars a month sometimes khun b ten thousand dollars a month especially if it's a firm that already has a kind of track record they have success in doing this they know what they're doing it's ten thousand dollars a month so if you can afford that that's awesome you definitely should go for it but if you don't have that budget yet that's definitely going to be something that's going to be in the way of you working with the publicist and they also a lot of times they ask you to sign on with a minimum contract, usually it's about three months, sometimes it's six months and that's because it does take a little bit of time too, get things going for them to get to know you to write your story, you know, it's not something that where you start working with the publicist and the next day they already have a lot of contacts for you and on a planet takes them some time to get a plan ready, come up with different story ideas think about who they're going to pitch, what angles they're going to pitch, just like it would take you some time to get prepared as well. So that's why they usually require a minimum of contract off three to six months so that's something that you should keep in mind if you do the side to work let's, say, with the publicist that's one thousand dollars a month it's going to cost you at least three thousand dollars total if they require you to do a three month contract or more and the other con might be that they can't tell your story as well as you might be able to, because you're in it, you know your story better than anyone else can, even when someone's reading it on your site there's no one better to tell it than you and that's why working with a publicist sometimes can be a little impersonal, and they don't always talk about your story. A lot of times they just talk about your products on dh, then the media love stories, so there could be a little bit of a disconnect there because they're just focused on your products, and they also worked with other clients at the same time on dh, you're not the only one that they're working with. Maybe if you're paying the ten thousand dollars a month fee, then you might be the only one, but if you're paying one or two thousand or even five thousand, they probably have at least four or five other clients that they're working with at the same time that they're working with few. So all of their time is not spent just on working, if you so, you might not get that attention that you ideally would want if you're spending thousands of dollars a month. But if you do decide that you do want to work with a publicist and you have the budget for it, here are some questions that you might want to ask them before you sign a contract, because they will ask you to sign that contract, so you want to ask them who on their team are you going to be working with and what's their experience? If you have a handbag line, are they going to assign it to someone who talks about beauty product? Or are they going to assign you to work with someone who actually covers handbags and accessories and has a lot of contacts at fashion magazine? So this is really important to know, because the experience of the publicists you'll be working with is has to be a good match for you. And this is something that I checked in with when I first hired my first publicity. Firmas well, and he also want to know about what other clients have they worked with and what word their results ended, what industries? I know a lot of times they'll post this on on their website so you can see all of the media mentions that they've gotten for their other clients, but you want to ask them specifically, what did they dio because those other media mentions might be from their colleagues? Or maybe someone else had the company and not specifically their own media mentions. So you want to see who have they worked with and what were the results and where those clients in your industry as well, and along the same lines, he also want to ask them. What results can I expect from you? And the thing is they're not going to be able to guarantee any results because none of this is guaranteed and I know I've worked with clients doing their publicity and it's never you never know what's gonna happen, so they might say, you know, I really can't guarantee you any results which they're probably going to say, but they're going to say, you know, I'm going toe pitch you to fashion magazines, and then I'm going to talk to celebrities, and I'm going to pitch you to these blog's and then also share your story as an entrepreneur. So you want to know all of that just to make sure that it's a good fit because if you're thinking you're going to be in magazines and all they do is maybe product placement in movies and that's not going to be a good fit for you. So you want to make sure that you know, eggs exactly what you can expect, and while they can guarantee results, they could definitely tell you what they'll be working on for you and your brand. And you also want to talk about your contract, so as I mentioned, they're going to have a sign, a contract you want to read that contract really carefully to make sure that you agree with everything that's on it, and if you do the sites of work with them and something in the contract doesn't work for you just mention it and say, hey, I agree with everything except point f can you you know, can we work on that? Can we change some things to make sure that we both agree with that and all of the contracts are negotiable? They probably would prefer you not to negotiate anything but just know that you do have the power to negotiate if something doesn't doesn't sit right with you and sometimes you'll see things in your contract like they'll want you to pay for sending out samples or to pay for their faxes or their phone calls or things like that so just make sure that that's okay with you or not okay with you before you go ahead and sign their contract and a couple more things you also want to ask you know what happens if I'm not satisfied if I see that a couple of months have gone by and I have a longer term contract, can I get out of the contract? What can I do? Can if I can get out of it? Can you give me an extra couple of months because I'm not really happy and sometimes they might say, well, we can't guarantee anything, so if you're not satisfied then I'm sorry there's nothing we could do or they might say, you know, we wanted to be really happy with what we're doing and if you're not happy with what we're doing for you, we can either extend your contract for free or we can let you get out of it if you give us thirty days notice but again it's something that could be negotiated with them and you also want to know what's included in their feet and what's extra so as I was mentioning sometimes the most of time they will expect you to pay for any shipman, so for example, if they request samples from you and they have their samples in their or your have your samples in the office and they need to send out samples to a magazine, you're probably going to get charged for that. So you wantto make sure you know, are they using fedex overnight, which cost up to sixty dollars or are they going to send it via priority mail? And how much is that going to cost you extra? And sometimes this is all included in their feet, but again, until you look at the contract and see what their terms are, you're not really going to know what to expect. So pay attention to that as well, and a couple of other things that you might want to look at is will you be able to see everything before they send it out and a lot of times they'll say no but if you really insist they might show it to you, I know interestingly enough, when I was working with the publicist that I had hired, she had sent out a press release to someone that I knew and then that person send it to me and she said, did you really send this out? It doesn't sound like you, um, and I looked at the press release and I was thinking, oh, my god, I never would have sent that, so, you know, I don't know if she would have shown it to me before, a lot of times they don't, but if you really want to see things and you can negotiate that into your contract, they might be able to do that for you again. It all depends. I know when I work with clients and they want to see something, I'll send them the first thing that I'm going to send out just to make sure that they agree with it and they feel comfortable with it on dh, then I'm not going to send every single pitch that I send, but I do want to give them an idea because I feel like they have a right to know what I'm sending out there on their behalf so that's, something you can negotiate and the last thing you can ask them is how often will they get a report? Or will you get a report from them? Because you're thinking you're spending thousands of dollars a month, you're probably going to be hearing from them on a daily basis with updates and things like today. I sent out your pitch to fifty fashion magazines tomorrow, I'm gonna speak with the celebrity stylist on wednesday. I'm going to do this other thing, but that's not the reality of it. What happens is that that you signed the contract, they go off into their work and you might hear from them once a week, or you might hear from them once a month on it's, not something that they're going be talking in with you on a daily basis, and at first I didn't really understand that, because I thought, well, I'm spending so much money, kid, you know, don't you have two minutes to just write to me every day? And as I started to work with clients and take on clients, and I was working with, you know, four, five clients at the time, I realized that it was so much extra work just to send in those emails every day that I realize that the only way I could do it is to send them up there once a week on, and if they have more clients, they're probably going to be sending you. An update just once a month. So you want to make sure you're comfortable with that, and that works for you? Because if you're the type of person that's who really hands on and you want to know everything, which a lot of us entrepreneurs do, like, we want to have a hand in everything we want to know all of the stuff that's going on. That might not be possible if you end up working with a publicist. Publicist. So just make sure you're aware of all of these things to look for. If you do have the budget to work with a publicist, sell anyone have any questions about working with publicists? I know this is more about how to do it yourself, but if you ever do decide to go that route, just keep that in mind. I got it. Okay. So now, let's, talk about doing your own publicity, which is why all of you guys are here today and watching online. So this is great, because if you are on a tight budget, or if you have no budget, you can really do this yourself. If you have an email account, and if you have access to the internet, where you could do research, you can be your own publicist and do this yourself and the other great thing is that you can learn as you go along, I personally love learning the things I love trying out what's working what's not working. So for me trying to figure all of this stuff, trying to figure out this super exciting, I just love it, I know other people don't like it as much, but if you're going to be doing this yourself, you're going to be learning a lot as you go along and you're already learning a lot and discourse, but you're going to be learning even more once you actually start doing it, and you're going to see what's working for you and what's not working for you, and I mentioned this before, but really, no one can tell your story as good as you can tell your story, and they might know your story, but you really you're in it, you know why you're doing this? You know what your products do, you know, the benefits, and no one can really tell that to the media as as well as you can. And another great thing is that you can really form relationships with editors. I know when I had my t shirt business, I had a couple of editors that I got to know on ah, really. Like a more personal level so that when I started working with other entrepreneurs to help them pitch their products those air the first editors that I reached out to because they already knew me they knew who I wass um and they were willing to listen to what I had to say and I was able to get a few clients in their magazines because I had spent all of this time forming relationships with them and even if you're not going to be working with other clients when you do pitch them for something else or maybe you have a friend who has a business that maybe you might want to introduce them tio this is going to go a really long way and you're going to be right there talking to them all the time and they're going to know who you are and if you do want to pick up the phone and call them, they're probably going to answer your call because they know they know who you are. And lastly, this is one that I love is that you're going to be directly responsible for your own success so you can blame it on anyone else you know you can say it's my publicist didn't do a good job or the economy's not going well or all of these other excuses that we often come up with when things are not working but if something is working how awesome is it to know that you know you pitched an editor at a magazine and three months later there's your product in their magazine and you have all of these sales coming in as a result from that? So could you imagine how good that would feel? I know some of you that already have how do your products in magazines have already experienced that? But if you haven't, then this is definitely something the you guys can look forward tio when you start pitching your products again, but there are a lot of great things about doing your own publicity, but there's also some cons that I think you need to be aware of as you're doing this. So this is my take a lot of time, especially if you are building your own media list if you are starting from scratch and you really don't know who your customers are yet or you don't know what your unique selling proposition is or how to position your products is going to take a lot of time and a lot of searching for you to come up with all of the answers that you need, especially for building a media list and you also don't have the relationships that pr professionals have excuse me that they have so they already know who they're going to be targeting you're probably going to be starting from scratch, not really having any relationship and I know when I started, I certainly had no continent. You know, no contact with the media and no relationships. But again, you sort of build it from the ground up as you go along, and you also don't have the experience and expertise. Some of these things took me four years to learn. Some of them. I learned pretty much right away after sending my first email. Some of you are learning the lodge's by being in this class. But again, you don't know as much as someone who's been doing this for ten years for twenty years and that's what they're an expert at. So it couldn't be a really steep learning curve.