What to Look for When Hiring a Publicist – Forbes Advice

By Mark Macias

I recently wrote a thought leadership editorial for Forbes on what you should look for when hiring a publicist. The advice was based from my time as an Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS when publicists pitched me stories all the time. I got to see up close how most publicists don’t understand how the the media works.

You can the read that thought leadership in Forbes by clicking here. If you’re short on time, here’s an excerpt from that editorial.

Best Publicists Understand Messaging Nuances

The media has many nuances that aren’t taught in journalism or business schools. If you’re looking for that takeaway here, sorry; explaining media nuances is too vast for a short editorial. But in a simplified manner, the messaging between marketing and news is different.

Many CEOs, CMOs and entrepreneurs have a unique perspective based on their day-to-day experiences and exposures, but those stories frequently don’t come out because they’re framed as a marketing message. It’s the job of the publicist to dig deeper and reframe that marketing story into a news story.

Experienced Publicists Follow Media Practices

You can get into a lot of trouble with the media if you don’t understand their playbook. An experienced publicist knows how to be a bodyguard protecting you from negative stories. I’ve worked with a few politicians and CEOs who tell the reporter, “Hey, call me directly anytime.” I understand their rationale for this approach; they want to be receptive to media opportunities. But this is extremely dangerous.

Intuition Is A Publicist’s Hidden Gem

Intuition will take you far with the media, since much of journalism revolves around human behavior. I found during my time in journalism that most people make the same mistakes when it comes to telling their stories.

This is where intuition can play a factor in securing positive publicity. A great publicist can read tea leaves, and it’s not pseudoscience. It’s actually behavioral science.


MACIAS PR was founded in 2009 by Mark Macias – a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. The top tech and healthcare PR firm uses strategies that stem from his background inside the media.