One of the less pleasant things about being an agency is billing. Somehow, money is a taboo subject to discuss. But, it’s important to get a signed contract or letter of agreement before you start working for a client. This can save you heartache later on. This is your livelihood, so don’t sweep payment under the rug.
The way we get news has really changed since I started doing publicity nearly 20 years ago (yikes). While the traditional means of getting news – television, newspapers and radio have not gone away, the internet has really revolutionized the industry. Literally anyone can start their own media outlet. It’s hard sometimes to tell the difference between websites that are major media outlets (or at least well-read) and those that aren’t.
It’s been over 4 years now since I left the corporate world and ventured out on my own. Sure, there have been plenty of ups and downs – and there have been periods that have been slower than I liked. But last week, a recruiter got in touch with me and asked “what would it take to get you back into full-time employment,” my answer was “A lot of money.” The flexibility of working for myself cannot be beat.
With shrinking staffs at newspapers and television news, it’s not always so easy to get your client in the news. You always to be thinking of new and different ways to get the word out – whether it be by social networking (My Space, You Tube, etc.) or making your client part of another story (think holidays – Christmas, Mother’s Day, Back to School, etc.).
Instead of giving PR advice today, I’m sharing a fabulous, easy recipe for Flourless Chocolate Cake that I originally found in Bon Appetit magazine. Enjoy!
Flourless Chocolate Cake 1 cup (2 sticks) butter8 oz. semisweet chocolate chips1 ¼ cups sugar1 cup sifted unsweetened cocoa powder6 large eggs. Preheat oven to 350. Butter 10-inch-diameter springform pan (I don’t have a springform pan, a cake tin works too). Line bottom with waxed paper.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to follow up emails and mailings with phone calls. Unless you are working on extremely important breaking news, your emails and snail mail may get lost in a journalist’s “to do list.” It is much easier for them to ignore emails, and put them in the back of their minds.
Here in Los Angeles, the press seems to have become jaded about celebrities. If you host a media event, the press is interested in who the biggest star is at the event. But you don’t have to have Tom Cruise or Paris Hilton at your event to garner celebrity attention. Keep in mind what the photo opportunity will be at the event. Will it be that celebrity on the red carpet? If not, perhaps some exotic animals, or costumed performers, or dancers will do the trick.
Clients often think that publicity is free. While there may be a difference between paid media (advertising) and new coverage (publicity), the way to news coverage is not always free. Unless you represent a person or product that is newworthy in and of itself (rare, and lucky you publicists who represent these companies), publicist often have to create news in order to get coverage, and this might take money. Events cost money.
Traditionally, publicity invoice print and broadcast media. We all know that’s been expanded to include the internet.
Many people out there have no idea what the profession of public relations actually entails. They confuse it with advertising, promotions, or think that public relations is merely media relations. While media relations is a significant part of the field of public relations – the title of public relations says it all – in our profession, we get the message out to the public – very often through the media.