Thursday, September 17, 2009

The REAL DEAL about publicity...

It's here, THE post you've been waiting for!

Why is PR/publicity important to a business or a professional?
Let's look to one of my favorite fashionable people, Rachel Zoe, Hollywood stylist to the stars, as an excellent example to illustrate my point. Imagine what this fabulous woman accomplished with celebrities raving about her, magazines constantly wanting to feature her, the media frenzy surrounding her when she's out and about networking... these being elements of good PR that helped create her brand and reputation. Good PR and image, though, do not come about by chance or without a focused and carefully directed effort aimed at predetermined goals.

What is PR/Publicity for the wedding industry?
It is a set of carefully planned and executed actions and activities aiming at a goal, usually, to promote the professional or business and elevate their image and stature in the field. The ultimate purpose from these efforts is to increase effectiveness, success, and the business itself. A plan is developed accordingly to pursue specific goals. The plan may include publishing, networking, promotion, advertising, etc. These plans require regular and constant review, assessment, and revision to ensure they remain up-to-date and relevant. It's important to keep in mind success of the publicity plan doesnt happen over night. I tell my clients think of this as an investment in the future of your business. Look at the big picture.

Cant I do it myself, do I have to hire a publicist?
Of course you can do the work yourself. Actually, it boils down to interest and priorities. What I mean is if you have the interest in spending time doing this sort of work and the follow-up it requires to meet deadlines on a regular basis, then you should consider taking it on. Second, it has to do with priorities. Some photographers, for example, would rather spend their time and efforts focusing on photography and building or improving their business, networking, editing their work, client meetings, album design etc.. rather than spending their time and effort on the workload of publicity. Of course, skill and knowledge of the inner workings of publicity work, publications, industry contacts, etc may make a big difference in both success and willingness to devote the time and effort required for effective results.

If you decide to invest in a publicist, choose one carefully to ensure they are focused on your type of business or profession and develop a mutually satisfying working relationship with them to enhance results. Also, examine the kind of knowledge and experience they have to handle situations for you that you may not be aware of or at ease handling. Make sure they have a track record of clients (esp. one in your field) that says something about their success.

Having a publicist in your corner certainly can facilitate working to get you published while providing you with someone for independent ongoing advice and feedback on publicity planning, networking opportunities, marketing and promotion, assistance in creating and developing your brand. For example, some of my clients’ most memorable ideas developed while we were just chatting and brainstorming..

When is the right time to hire a publicist?
You have to be ready in terms of the quality of your output, the creativity and originality of your work, and your professional artistry, when attempting to launch a publicity project. Your work must reach a level of quality as judged by your peers, clients, and other independent indicators of success. At that point your work should be ready to compete for attention, recognition, and reward through publicity and publication. It is then that your work can compete effectively against the backdrop of a marketful of competition. At this point you must have a sufficient amount of quality material for your publicist to work with. And you must be flexible and receptive to work with new, different, and bold ideas from your publicist.

Remember, in the end, your publicist’s role in your business is all about working to make you bigger than life!

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