Okay, so LBS was founded by a group of publicists so we are biased. However, we also know the limitations to doing your own PR. Can you get press? Absolutely. I mean we wouldn't have created this community if we didn't want you to have success pitching yourself. So what does a publicist or a PR agency have that you can't handle in house? Relationships and breadth of contacts is the short answer. Finding the right PR team can lead to event integrations, co-branded collaborations and new press from updated contacts along with social media, influencer and marketing assistance. PR agencies and publicists are navigating your world as well as adjacent worlds every day. Opportunities hit inboxes of established PR agencies without event trying. They have an extensive network of not only editor contacts, but also client contacts [past and present] and general industry contacts. A good agency will leverage every contact they have to help you grow your business. A good agency will help you grow your business and they can often help you do it faster than you could do it yourself.
Here is a step-by-step guide to determine if you should hire a freelance publicist or PR/marketing agency and how to choose them:
1. Do you have the budget? No one ever wants to talk numbers, but here is the honest truth. Anyone offering you any kind of PR for a fashion, beauty or lifestyle brand for anything under $1000/month either is stealing your money or doesn't have contacts stronger than you could create yourself. So if you have less than that do your PR in house until you grow the business a bit more to be able to afford a retainer from someone reputable.
2. What are your goals? It is important to think about what you want to get out of your PR agency before you consider. Common goals that brands have include boosting sales, red carpet or celebrity placements, print, television and digital media placements, social media management and influencer seeding. These are all very different goals not served by all agencies and certainly not by a freelancer even if they are amazing.
3. What should you be spending? What you should be spending depends on the type of brand you have, how easy you would be to place, what specific goals you have and require of your agency and the caliber of the agency. $1000 is not going to get you a top tier agency providing you with press outreach, red carpet and celebrity placement as well as influencer seeding. The average retainer of top agencies in New York and LA typically starts at around $3500 and can go up to $100K a month depending on the range of products you have, the work required and what deliverables you are seeking.
4. What agency should you go with? This is the part that is so tricky. All agencies and PR people have ebbs and flows in their business. When things are slower they might be more likely to take on a client not exactly in their niche. Look at what they have done recently. Stalk them on social media. An agency that gets a ton of placements for children's clothing brands is not going to be the right fit for your ready-to-wear, shoe, beauty or swimwear brand targeted to adults. Publicists are sales people. It is what they do for a living, so it is important to know what questions to ask and how to cut through the BS to find out if they are the right fit for you.
5. Should you go with a freelance publicist or an agency? So a freelance publicist doesn't have the same overhead that an agency typically does. It often means you can get a better deal and rate from them. It can be particularly amazing if you can find someone with a ton of experience that you may not have had working on your account at a larger agency with a smaller retainer. An agency typically gets you more heads in the game, but be careful that your agency doesn't have a structure where only one person manages the account. If you are paying an agency rate you should be getting collaborative benefits as well as benefits of collective contacts.
We offer agency matching and have access to literally over 10,000 publicists around the world. We can help you with your search and also tell you the questions to ask and even assist with the interview process. Hiring a PR agency is a huge investment and we take that seriously. We offer consults starting at $200 for a 45 minute call and introductions to at least five agencies or freelancers that could be a fit. We can do something more in-depth and custom for you too. Learn more by emailing us today!