After the discussion about LinkedIn, blogging and Marilynn Mobley’s new assignment, her presentation at the ProWIN luncheon last week moved onto more traditional questions about her industry plus a series on knowing when you are ready to hire a PR Pro (vs. doing it yourself or not doing it at all). She gave a few examples but the point that I really wanted her to add was about getting your business ready to hire a PR Pro. She mentioned being prepared to support the new business and media opportunities but didn’t have time to touch on other important details of getting your house in order.
Once you (or your agency) starts reaching out to the press, reporters are going to look beyond the pitch to see if the company or individual can really substantiate the claimed expertise (do they have substance). Think of it like claiming to have a 100 MPH fast ball. If you tell folks you have it, you better have evidence to support it.
Earlier this year I was invited to pitch to a young and fast growing professional service business. They wanted help with PR but a quick peek under the covers revealed they weren’t ready. Before you find yourself in the same uncomfortable position, run down this check list:
1. Do you have buy-in from owners or executives?
2. Do you have experts in your organization who are willing to talk honestly with reporters?
3. Is management going to permit you to share details about products, people and the company?
4. Are you willing to invest for 3-6 months before seeing results?
5. When people see you at a trade show, read your collateral or visit your website, are they going to be greeted with the consistent, professional message and image that you are trying to promote with PR?
If you’ve said no to any of these questions then I’d challenge that perhaps you are not ready. Trust me: PR pros don’t want to turn away business but they always don’t want enter a partnership they cannot win. Do yourself a favor, resolve or be prepared to resolve these internal issues before you go outside looking for assistance promoting your organization. You’ll be much happier with the results.