By Mark Macias
I frequently meet with tech startups who ask me, “why can’t I do PR on my own?” Many of these smart entrepreneurs tell me they already have great contacts in the media, so why should they hire a PR firm?
Many people wrongly believe securing a story in the news or on TV has everything to do with who you know. Yes – a contact will help but it’s more like an assist. It’s not a slam dunk. I’ve written about that misconception extensively in the past, so I won’t go in-depth here, but there is another PR lesson that the picture (above) better explains. During my time as an Executive Producer with NBC, many publicists tried to woo me with drinks or dinner, thinking it would lead to a story on TV. You can be married to the Executive Producer, but if you don’t have a strong narrative or interesting story to tell, your startup or business won’t get publicity.
I’m not a gemologist, but I know a rock doesn’t transform on its own into a beautiful diamond. It takes time, precision, perfect cuts and polishing to present the diamond in a way that we expect. It’s no different with a story idea – or for that matter – contacts. It doesn’t turn on its own into publicity. It takes the refining of an idea that develops it into a news story. It also takes a craft to develop the pitch in a way that gets reporters’ attention. That requires proper execution. You can write the best media pitch, but if you send it to the wrong reporter, you will fail. It gets even more complicated when you are actually designing and executing a full-scale media campaign.
So if you’re considering doing PR on your own, I will tell you, of course you can do it. The better question to ask is how long will it take to succeed and how many hours will it require?
Macias PR was named the 2015 top “PR Consultant Firm of the Year – USA” by Finance Monthly. The firm was founded by Mark Macias – a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. Macias is a weekly contributor with CNBC.com and author of the communications book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media, which has been featured in the NY Times, Fox Business, NY Post and others. Macias PR has run media campaigns for tech startups, financial groups, service providers, nonprofits and politicians.