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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Fortney

So, You Think You Can't Afford PR. Here's Why and How to Hire a Publicist.

I hear it time and again but you think you can’t afford to hire professionals to help you with PR? It’s not true, well not always.

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Look, there is a saying, "you get what you pay for" and a good publicist doesn't work for minimum wage, especially if they have the education and more than two decades experience. So it is a delicate balance. The key: you have to understand the value to your business! Is it worth it to you to hire someone who will do well now or hire someone who is inexpensive and might do a so-so job?

It's an investment that will either make a return or force a loss. Your choice. Public relations can be a tremendously powerful tool to grow your business. It only takes one highly targeted placement to create overnight success.

One of my clients was included in a national magazine’s holiday gift guide followed by two additional, extremely targeted placements that occurred over two months. It changed the face of their business overnight and catapulted it to a new level of awareness among retailers and consumers. Over the last 18 months of working together, the company quadrupled sales with a strong and affordable (but not basement bottom prices) public relations program that boosted sales. Another client, a small retailer, tripled business in 10 months after introducing them to a local writer who came to rely on them regularly as an expert.

Public relations can be powerful, but the right person or agency is an investment that can have positive long-term effects on your business and ability to grow. Often business owners call large corporate PR firms only to be so disappointed by the colossal expense that they may feel as if they will never be able to achieve their dream of being a successful business owner. You can afford professional, high-quality public relations that can grow your business and show a return on the investment with the right partner - a boutique or individual professional. The alternative shouldn't even be on your radar.

So, You Think You Can't Afford PR. Here's Why and How to Hire a Publicist.

You just need to look in the right place. Find someone who can work with your budget and educate you on the basic short-term costs and long-term benefits. You want someone who can think and act strategically for the best results. The real keys are finding a professional who: • sees your story and knows how, and who, to pitch to generate results • specializes in small business, small enterprise and startup organizations • understands trends, importance of demographics and has real experience as a journalist • is strategic in looking at short and long-term programming • really understands what it’s like to be a small business owner or entrepreneur • is committed to being a team member and to your success • sees the potential long-term relationship with you and business potential for both parties • truly believes in your business model and/or concept • is results oriented and can make things happen on a limited budget In turn, you have to be as equally committed to the “partnership” by acknowledging that you will eventually need to grow your budget as a result of the dedication, and results, of the professional you end up working with. What you can end up with is a lasting collaboration, as needed, that results in notable growth for your business. Remember that marketing that builds a brand is a long-term and patient process that requires ongoing frequency of message delivery and perseverance but with strategy that supports it.

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