Entrepreneur Magazine – Are You a Good Candidate for PR?

Not every business is a good candidate for PR. And if you reach out to the PR firm at the wrong time, there’s a good chance that they won’t tell you that you’re wasting money on PR.

Big shocker, especially since I own a PR firm but it’s the honest truth.

I recently wrote a story for Entrepreneur Magazine that detailed which types of businesses are wasting their money on PR. You can read that editorial here.

But if you’re short on time, here’s an abridged version of the advice I shared with their readers.

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Tech Publication Grit Daily Asks MACIAS PR for Advice for Startups

The popular tech publication, Grit Daily, recently turned to MACIAS PR for PR advice. Their editors said they wanted to help their readers, entrepreneurs and startups who were struggling to find the best PR agency for their business.

You can read that full Q&A here.

If you’re short on time, here are two questions that our founder, Mark Macias, answered about finding the best PR agency for your business.

What should you look for when hiring a publicist?

MARK MACIAS: I’ve found the best publicists have a deeper understanding of how the media works from the inside. They have an intuition that spots trends and news stories before others.

A great publicist also understands the nuances of the media – because messaging is always a subtle sell around news. Experienced editors and journalists can spot an advertisement within seconds of hearing a pitch, and if it remotely sounds like a commercial, they won’t run it. The best publicity campaigns are able to weave themselves into the news fabric or pop culture.

Intuition is another overlooked factor. Journalism is usually centered around human behavior. It’s about connecting the invisible dots around people to form a story. And that’s not reading tea leaves. Intuition is a component of behavioral science.

How much should a startup pay for PR?

MARK MACIAS: Prices and approaches vary by firm, but it helps to understand how the payment plan works. You can pay by the hour, by the media placement or under a retainer.

I’m a firm believer that nothing is free in life, so if a publicist claims you only pay if they make a placement, I’d ask a lot of questions. It costs time and money to generate organic (earned) media. And a press release does not fall under that definition. It takes time to write a successful pitch and find the right reporters, and resources to secure the story. If someone offers to do work for free, I would question their experience and PR understanding.

Paying a lawyer, consultant or publicist by the hour scares me. If a story isn’t catching on, it’s easy to add more time – and under this payment plan, hours add up quickly. Personally, I prefer retainers because the cost won’t fluctuate, even when unexpected issues arise. And if the firm or consultant is reputable or cares about your business, they will likely add extra hours to ensure they meet your expectations, regardless of what happens.

MACIAS PR has a free PR calculator to help you get a real idea of how much PR would cost for your business. Click here to go to that calculator.

How to Gain Traction after the Media says “NO” to your Story

Every publicist or entrepreneur will experience it at some time or another. You pitch an idea to reporters and hear crickets in return.

So what should you do when the media ignores your ideas or worse, says no?

The above podcast episode provides some insight on what our agency does in this situation. A lot of these tactics come from my time in the media when we had to salvage a story that went south.

If you’re on the go, you can subscribe to our Always Fresh PR podcast by clicking here. You can also read more tips on re-framing your story for coverage by clicking here.

Why Empathy Takes your PR Campaign Further with Better Results

Want to get the most out of your PR firm or publicist? Try showing a little empathy with your team and see how it leads to better results.

Most experienced entrepreneurs and sales leaders understand the value of empathy, but unfortunately – when it comes to outside vendors – it’s frequently forgotten. I’ve observed and experienced this inside and outside of the PR business. 

As a former Executive Producer with NBC, I always showed empathy with my producers and reporters because I genuinely felt their pain. I recognized when employees needed a break to recharge their mind and body, or when a family issue needed time outside of work. It might not have been financially aligned with the corporate spreadsheet but it always inspired more productivity and loyalty.

Plus, it was the right thing to do.

In this era of tight employment and waning worker loyalty, empathy needs to be on a higher level. You can’t fake it because workers will see through it in time. 

Unfortunately, when it comes to hiring an outside PR firm or publicist, we don’t get to experience empathy until after the contract is signed. Over the last decade of running this agency, I’ve seen how clients who value our work with a spreadsheet are typically the most difficult. They ignite more stress. In the worst situations, they believe they know more about the media than me and undermine every decision.

Here’s a closer look at some of the warning signs that suggest you might need to do an empathy check. And if you have empathy, trust me, the best pr firms will always want to work with you and usually at a lower price.

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Forbes Article – 3 Tactics for Standing out from Noise

By Mark Macias

It’s never easy standing out from the noise in a cluttered space, but if you’re going to survive as a startup, you have to figure out this formula fast. Otherwise, your business, product or new technology might never have a chance to catch on with the masses.

I elaborated on this approach in an article I wrote for Forbes, called –Three Tactics For Standing Out From The Startup Noise. You can click on that link to read but here is abridged version if you’re short on time.

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Marketing to Gen. Z – A Closer Look at their Post Pandemic Views

How quickly the world of tech and business move. It seems like yesterday we were discussing how Millennials were disrupting the workforce. But there’s a bigger change in business that is right around the corner.

In less than 5 years, Generation Z is projected to overtake Millennials when it comes to buying power. If you’re trying to sell any product or service, you better learn quickly how to target this sophisticated group of consumers.

Unlike previous generations, social media won’t put you over the finish line. And you can forget about TV commercials. So how do you reach and motivate Generation Z? Read on to see what our online survey found.

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Branding Fundamentals Critical to PR

By Mark Macias

Forbes recently ran an article,  “16 Branding Fundamentals New Businesses Should Remember.” As part of their research, their editors reached out to me asking what branding advice I have for their readers.

I didn’t want to give the obvious, so I thought about my own clients and mistakes I’ve seen them make over the years. Here’s what I told Forbes.

“The CEO is a crucial component for any successful branding campaign. Think Jobs, Musk, Zuckerberg—you know their companies. I’ve worked with a lot of brands that don’t like to use their CEO in the media and I don’t understand it. Any CEO must be receptive to speaking with the media, discussing business trends and thought leadership with reporters. The best publicists know how to leverage the CEO.”

Leverage Your CEO with Branding

A few years, our agency worked with a digital health brand that didn’t want to give us access to their CEO. I understand the CEO is likely busy, but the corporate gate-keepers actually made our job more difficult. How could we identify trends or position the brand as a leader if we weren’t given access to any of this insight?

I tried to share my concerns with their marketing team but they assured me the CEO didn’t want to speak with the media. Making this even more frustrating, their biggest competitor was leveraging their CEO for an IPO.

Don’t make that mistake. If you’re CEO, leverage that title and experience for media coverage. I understand if the CEO is shy, but the top sales guy needs to be over-exposed with the media.

Here’s more tips from other peers if you’d like to review that Forbes article by clicking here.

ABOUT MACIAS PR

Finance Monthly named MACIAS PR the 2017-2020 Strategic PR Firm of the Year, and PR Firm of the Year. Our founder – Mark Macias – is a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. He’s also a PR contributor with CNBC and Forbes, providing media analysis, insight and crisis advice on timely business topics.