Join host, Alessandra Pollina in the first of Quotable Podcast’s mini chat series. After running a PR agency for the last 10 years, Alessandra has learned a lot working with clients. One big thing she has seen is that a lot of people don’t know what to expect or what to look for when hiring a PR agency. So listen in to hear four key things you need to know before hiring one for the first time.
In this episode, you will be able to:
- Learn what it looks like dealing with a PR agency for the first time and the benefits it can bring.
- Grasp the fluctuating dynamics of PR outcomes and schedules, and why you should trust your agency during those times.
- Find out what your business needs before you get started with a PR agency.
- Learn how strong brand messaging yields powerful results with a successful PR strategy.
Don’t let the lack of materials hold you back from starting PR. We can guide you through creating them and ensure that your brand is ready to shine. – Alessandra Pollina
This episode is brought to you by: Magic Mind
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I wanted to record this episode so that we stay on track with our podcast recordings and our whole schedule with how we do this. But I am a little hoarse, as you can probably maybe tell. Hopefully it’s not too bad right now or coming across too much on the recording. But I have a feeling that within the next couple of minutes, by the time we get to minute two, you’re going to be hearing it. And I didn’t want to necessarily record a whole episode, but I also didn’t want to get off of our recording schedule and get behind because I hate that, and not have an episode ready to release when this one’s supposed to release.
So I thought that now might be a great time to start a new little segment that we’ve been talking about doing for a little while. And we’ve been kind of planning to start doing it soon, but we hadn’t actually ever pulled the trigger on doing it or really planning it. So I figured what better time than when I’m feeling like I don’t have anything more than a super short episode in me because I can’t talk too long. Because what we’ve been thinking about doing is some little mini episodes, just like little bite sized five minute tidbits that would come out once a month. Just like a quick little PR chitchat or something like that, that would just be super tangible takeaways or how to’s or info chunks.
I don’t know. That’s not a term that we have actually said, but that just came to me now. Anyway, this is super hard for me because as you’ve probably noticed, if you ever listen to this podcast, I tend to just talk a lot and get really into it if I’m talking about something. So this is a bit of an exercise for me in doing short little conversations. So yeah, we’re going to go with it.
I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed, but we do three episodes a week usually. I mean a month. Three episodes a month lately, like for the last, I don’t know, a couple of years or a year or so. So we always have one week that we don’t release an episode. And that’s like a whole different story in itself.
It doesn’t matter. That’s just always been our sweet spot for how many episodes we can really get put together in a month. But that’s why I was like, it always kind of bothers me that week that we have nothing. So that’s kind of where the idea of doing these little short tidbit ones came from so that there will be something on those weeks. And also I just always love when someone that I listen to puts out really short episodes and you can just like I don’t know, I just like it because then I feel like really accomplished when I can hear the whole thing super quick.
And so yeah, I wanted to this part doesn’t count, by the way, as my five minutes. No, we’ll see. I think it’s still going to be short. So yeah, the whole premise, though, is that it’s not going to be super in depth, obviously, and if you have questions or want to talk about any of this more, we can. And some of them I might end up doing a longer episode about Too sometime if I’m like, wow, we really needed to go into detail on those things.
But yeah, the point is this little overview of some things you can do. So I wanted to jump into the first one. Just taking you through something that I’ve been thinking about lately, which is a few things to keep in mind when you hire a PR agency for the first time. Because I think a lot of people don’t really know too much about what to expect or they have questions. And I think this will address some of them.
So it’s four things to keep in mind when you hire a PR agency for the first time. And here we go. The first thing is that we need materials, but we can also guide you through creating them. So I never want that to be the reason that you don’t get started with PR, because I know that can hold people back a lot, thinking that they don’t have the right branding or they don’t have all the materials that they’ll need. We do need branding materials, we do need messaging materials.
We need a lot of information about the topics that you want to be known for so that we can put together pitches the best we can, and any other materials, depending on what our project is with you. And we definitely will always need photos, a good quality logo, things like that. If you don’t have all of these at the beginning, though, which we don’t normally expect people to have or small brands to have, it can take a few weeks to create them and we can definitely create them. We can either walk you through creating them sometimes we create most of that ourselves. If you fully need real branding materials, you don’t even have a logo, things like that.
I don’t think we’ve ever really we don’t really work with people who are at that stage. But if you want to update it or you want to rebrand to a certain extent, we have people, we can connect you with people to make that happen. We can facilitate that whole project. So again, don’t let that be something that holds you back. And for most of that material we create with you ourselves based on just material you have, we will figure out the messaging with you, we will figure out what you want to be known for.
All of those things. Don’t expect that you have to come in already knowing that or having that or having it written down, but also know that it might take time to create. So we might not be pitching you to media the next day after we get started working with you, because we do need to take some time to put this stuff together. It’s so important and it really sets the groundwork for everything else. So if you don’t have any of that, expect that we will need to spend a little time on it at the beginning.
Number two is that PR is always shifting. Nothing is really guaranteed or totally set in stone when it comes to really any of the things we do in PR. Outcomes, schedules, almost every aspect of what we’re working on is always a moving target and so it can be a lot to handle and that’s what makes PR potentially a stressful job sometimes. But we want to always keep you in as much information as possible. We always want to keep you up to date on where things are and how things are and what to expect.
But a lot of time we don’t actually know all the specifics either. And that’s why there’s so much nuance to media relations and all of the things that we’re doing on your behalf when it comes to PR, because we are always kind of communicating with so many different people in a way that we want to make sure that we’re having the best possible outcomes and not bothering someone too much or annoying them by asking them the wrong questions. So sometimes clients will be like, oh, can you check in and see when this is coming out again? Because you said it might be around this time and we haven’t seen it yet and obviously sometimes that’s fine, but we also might be like we really can’t because we know that they don’t know either. And so it’s just these nuances of like when is that okay?
Who is it okay to kind of check in with in different ways? But yeah, I know that it can feel a little bit disconcerting sometimes to hear that we don’t know and that can make clients anxious and it’s just normal too. So we do try to keep you as in the loop as possible, even if it is to say that we just don’t know yet, like when that’s going to air or when the interview will take place or things like that. But we’re always in constant communication with the people that are required to make things happen. Yeah, as I said, we just can’t always keep hounding them about it or something like that.
So there’s a certain amount of patience and just kind of trusting that we’re making it happen. And also even when we think we know something, it can be pushed out, it can be changed. So even when we think something is coming out, sometimes we’ll tell a client we expect it to be published on this date and you still have to kind of know that that might not be the case and you can’t get upset if it doesn’t come out. It might get pushed later. It might get pushed earlier.
Just this week, a piece that we thought wasn’t coming out until next week, we got a notification the day before that it was going to actually air the next day. So it goes both ways and it’s just really because producers don’t always know. Editors don’t always know. They shift things around depending on what material they need to publish on different days and what changes in the media landscape, all of those things. So you just don’t always know.
And we really just need you to trust us that we’re acting on your behalf, like in your best interest, and we’re going to make sure everything works out the best it possibly can. The third thing to keep in mind is that sometimes we might push you outside of your comfort zone, but again, it’s in the best interest of your brand. We won’t make you do something that you don’t want to do, but we will encourage you to do things that you may not be super comfortable with, you might not be super excited by, if we think it will help reach your overall goals and the things that we do know that deep down, you really want for your brand and for yourself. So things like going on TV or speaking live on the radio or doing a photo shoot on site at a publication where you don’t have the same kind of control that you maybe have with like headshot, photo shoots or things like that that you’ve maybe done before. Those are the kinds of things that can have a huge impact when it comes to your PR and what we’re going to do for your brand invisibility.
And I also understand that they can feel super intimidating, especially if we secure something like that towards the beginning of working together. And you haven’t gotten super comfortable with being in the media yet, but you hired us for a reason and we’re going to always tell you which opportunities we think you should go for. And sometimes we might pitch you for things that feel a little outside of your comfort zone, but we’ll also always coach you on what to do and how to do it all along the way. So you don’t have to be worried about it. You’re not going to show up without knowing what to do.
You aren’t going it alone. We will literally be there physically holding your hand and also make sure that you have everything you need to feel super confident and comfortable leading up to whatever it is, whether it’s having the talking points, knowing exactly who and what you’re going to talk to and what you want to say to the extent that we possibly can. So we will always make sure you feel as good as possible, but we might push you. And that’s because we want to get the results that we’ve promised you, and we also want to be able to get your brand the best results it possibly can.
Lastly, I want to say that we always have a plan, but you can always give ideas or suggestions. You know your brand better than anyone else, and we really value that. So even though we go into every project with a really pretty specific plan for what we’re going to do and how we’re going to accomplish it, we are always open to your ideas or suggestions. So don’t be shy to share them whenever they come up. You can always be like, oh, I was just thinking and I really liked this idea, or I saw so and so being featured in this outlet and have we considered pitching me for that?
Things like that are always great to share, and we will always be honest if we think it’s not going to work or it doesn’t make sense or for whatever reason we don’t want to do it because we will always use our expertise first and foremost. But if there’s something you really want to be in, we always ask that at the beginning, but you might not have known. We always start out asking, what is your dream? Publications, where do you really want to be featured, if you could be featured anywhere, things like that. But I know sometimes people don’t kind of know at the beginning and then later on they might come across something.
So you can always share that. We will always try to fit things in, work things into the plan. You are your brand’s biggest advocate, biggest you know your brand better than anyone else, and so we always value your thoughts whenever they come, and you can always share. So don’t ever feel shy to bring up an idea or something that you want to ask us to include or do or talk through with you. And I would just say if you’re not hiring us, but you’re just using this in general.
If you’re thinking about doing PR with anyone, I feel like that’s something you should always feel comfortable being able to do with any agency that you’re working with, really any consultant that you’re working with in probably almost any aspect or industry. But definitely for PR, you should always feel comfortable and you can be part of the process if and when you want to, but also know that you don’t have to. You can leave it solely up to us. We don’t expect you to know anything or to have any ideas. We expect to be to just fully do everything on our own and just let you know what we recommend and what we think we should do for you.
But if you ever want to, however much you want to be part of it, that should always be possible, I think. So, I hope this was helpful. I hope that I kept that to five minutes I honestly can’t tell right now, but I think that’s pretty good. So let me know what we should name this series. I haven’t really come up with a little name for these little tidbit episodes, but let me know if you think of anything.
Share on Social, send me an email, whatever. If you have any ideas, leave a review and stars for this podcast, please, and send me a message on Instagram at Quotable Media Co Coto connect. If you have any ideas, if you have any other questions about working with us or any other PR agency or anything like that, find me there at Quotable Media Co Co See you next time.