I recently wrote a column for Entrepreneur Magazine on the importance of getting your publicist on your side. The editors must have liked the editorial because they published it behind their paid wall.
You can read the column here, but if you don’t have a subscription, I’ll share a little more about how to get the most out of your publicist.
Over the years, I’ve worked with entrepreneurs, CEOs, physicians, politicians and other leaders who had fairly strong personalities. Most of these clients are leaders in their industry, so they’re used to communicating in a direct way. In some cases, their brevity might have been confused as being abrupt or short.
As an entrepreneur myself, I understand their form of communication. I also can relate to their stress, so I never took it personally. But not every publicist has the same experience.
Here’s an abridged version of my Entrepreneur column on how to get the most out of your publicist.
You Don’t Own a Publicist’s Life Outside of Work
It’s easy to believe when we pay for a service, we own the experience. And that is partially true with PR. If you’re paying for a media campaign, you should be able to call the lead strategist and discuss progress or media updates.
But at the same time, it’s important to be conscious and respectful of the publicist’s time. This is especially crucial if the publicist is working around a smaller budget. Do you really need to make that call at 11pm or on a Sunday evening?
Unless it’s a crisis, respect the publicist’s time outside of business hours. This is important to remember during COVID when it feels like we are all working longer hours. Publicists will work harder for you if you give them time to recharge with family.
Bring Empathy to the PR Relationship
I sadly lost my father to COVID in July 2020. I didn’t tell my clients because I didn’t want to burden them with my loss.
At the time of my father’s passing, I had a relatively new tech client from the UK. Throughout the month, I got nasty Whatsapp messages from the CEO and aggressive questions that were completely unprofessional and unmerited. My PR agency placed several stories in July with PC Mag, CNET and ZDNet, yet the CEO was impossible to please.
The point: bring empathy to every relationship with a publicist. You don’t know what they may be going through, or the personal stress they may have at home.
Small Acts of Kindness Move Mountains
My wife and I gave birth to our first child during the pandemic – and I shared all of our milestones with my clients leading up to our son’s birth.
Imagine the surprise when my digital health client sent us gifts for our son to our home. I don’t remember giving the VP our home address, yet we received several gifts over different days. I will always remember the kindness he gave my family at a monumental time.
I’m not suggesting you go out and buy presents for your PR team or send them birthday gifts. Just listen to what is valuable and important to them.
If there is a small act of kindness you can share that shows them you were listening, they will be your biggest advocate and ambassador for your product. And isn’t that what you’re paying the publicist for?