Myth: A top Manhattan PR firm will get you more publicity than a small boutique firm.

Um, not necessarily so, and certainly not in this day and age. I could give you several examples where this has not been the case, and the author really suffered because of it.

So it’s time to bust a very common book publicity myth…one that I have seen authors buy into and regret. “It just didn’t get the results I expected,” is a common response. The idea that bigger is better is just one big myth, and it’s time to bust that one forever.

Truth:  It’s ego talking. It sounds really great to say, “My publicist is located in Manhattan with a company that is very-well known and they are going to get me seen everywhere,” but is that really the case? I could share with you two or three authors who decided to go with the name of the firm or the address (Manhattan) and later cried because they go nowhere near those kinds of results. Quite frankly, It’s time to keep the ego in check.

What if I told you that just recently I learned of a situation that almost brought tears to my eyes.

I met with a potential client about a year ago now. I knew I could land several interviews immediately, in additional to other longer lead opportunities. We had a great conversation, but ultimately he decided to go with the big Manhattan PR firm instead. They’re more connected, right?

Not in this day and age.

 

Anyway, about 9 months later he crossed my mind and I decided to reach out to him to find out how things were going. What he told me really cut me to the quick: He spent $70K on this PR firm and they got him nothing. Nothing! I am completely blown away by this. It’s inexcusable!

I talked to him, did some research, and looked over their plan. The only thing they focused on were current events and tying him and his book into those events. This is definitely one strategy, but there are so many other possibilities, which they ignored.

There is absolutely no excuse for this.

I can’t figure out why this firm continued to take his money each month when absolutely nothing was landing!

I mean, if you’re not getting any results for someone, at some point you need to cut them lose.

The bottom line: They did not have his back.

The problem with some big firms is that it’s easy to just collect the money and look the other way. “It’s so and so department’s fault.” I really felt for him. I know that we all work hard for our money, and when we hire someone to do a job for us, we want them to do a GREAT job, and if they can’t, they need to let us know so that we can reevaluate.

Whoever you go with, you must be absolutely sure they care about you and they have your back, 100%.

If you’re looking for a publicist and/or PR firm, find someone who believes in you.

Here are the five things I look for when considering taking on a client. You might consider creating something similar when looking to hire a publicist.

I call it: A Manifesto For My Potential Clients

1.  Do you and I both love the material? I know it may seem hard to believe that you might not love your own material, but it is important that you feel very connected to it. Sometimes when writing and presenting ideas that are most important to us, there can be a disconnect. Be sure it resonates within you so much that you feel very proud of it. I have to love the material because in order to go out and shout it from the rooftops, I have to believe in it, and you, 100%.

2.  Do I believe media will love the material? There is no point in taking the time and expense to build a national campaign and then execute it if I don’t believe there will be a demand for it. As we discuss campaign ideas, we need to cover angles and hooks that I know media will love.

3.  Are you mediagenic, and if not, are you willing to be trained? In this day and age of cameras and microphones everywhere, you must be able to look calm and natural in situations that are very artificial. Take the situation of being in a national television studio. It is the most artificial environment you can imagine, with cameras moving around, hot lights blaring down, the red dot on the camera staring into your face, other people who are behind the scenes talking softly. No matter what happens, you have to be at the top of your game, looking confident and self assured, and speaking in sound bites. This does not come naturally and requires media training.

Facebook Live, webinars, and anywhere there is a camera is something you need to be trained and ready for. We’ve all seen how lots of people can ramble and come across as silly. Let’s not let that be you.

4.  Do you have a platform and is it where it needs to be for success? This is so important. You don’t have to be there immediately, because I can work to help get you there, but once you launch everything must be in place.

5.  Do we have chemistry? I  only work with people where that is the case. You see, we are collaborators in this adventure. Going after media, particularly top-tier national media is a partnership. Now that the world in more open, it is the two of us working together that make the opportunities appear. It is the two of us together grabbing them and making the most of them. Gone are the days of your publicist doing all the work for you. The results are created by both of us. Success is created by both of us. If we haven’t made it as far as we’d like, it falls on both of us.

6.  Are you available? Is my number, email and text almost as important as your spouse’s? I know this question may seem a little crazy, but when you consider large, national media outlets responding positively to us, there is a very short window to engage with them. While we’re doing an outreach campaign, we need to be able to discuss the timing immediately — or ASAP!

Other considerations: Are we having fun yet? There are times when this work is hard. There are times when it doesn’t seem fair (I know you should be on the today Show, but I can’t FORCE the producer to say yes.), there are times when it gets frustrating. Through it all, can we say we are having fun?

Book publicity today is different than it has been ever before, but I find that incredibly exciting and fun. We get to try new things and seek out opportunities. In some ways, the opportunity for visibility, credibility, and coverage has never been better. We just have to get started and keep going.

To your success!

P.S. Time to connect on LinkedIn, if we aren’t already. Let me know what you’re up to: joanne@joannemccall.com.