The Basics of Getting the PR Your Business Needs

If you are going to hire a person or firm to create and share your brand's information, here are a few things to keep in mind.

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By Deborah Mitchell

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Public relations is an important part of a business's marketing strategy. It is the way to create buzz and attract customers.

I was surprised when Angela Jia Kim, founder of Savor the Success, revealed a few months ago at an event where I was speaking that some female entrepreneurs haven't jumped on the PR bandwagon. Reluctant to seek out public relations assistance, their reasons varied, including, "I feel that PR is out of my league," "I am unaware of how to get PR," and "I don't know what the process is."

It is up to you or your PR person to get your brand's name in print, whether it is in a newspaper, magazine or online. Show producers can find a new expert on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, often by following and "liking" the timelines of individuals who post interesting, informative and entertaining information. Like many other television producers, I love to find the "new" expert. We also use Google, so your goal should be to get your name or brand to come up at the top of a Google search. Getting booked on a television show is a major accomplishment, and if it is a national show, then that's even better. One booking can lead to others.

Related: 4 Ways to Get Publicity on a Budget

If you are going to hire a PR person or firm to create and share your brand's information, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Grab the spotlight

A professional firm can help you harness the power of the masses. Here are a few limelight opportunities that a pro can secure for you: writing an op-ed or a white paper, prominent advertising space, live and online events, speaking engagements, meeting with influencers or even a spot on a TV show -- to name a few. A PR firm will assist you in generating the type of content that will keep you in the media.

Results are measurable (and immeasurable)

Since PR results are earned, it is a good indicator -- for you as a business owner -- of how well your brand is doing. You can measure your clout using anything from simple free tools such as Google Alerts to more sophisticated websites such as

Related: 6 Reasons Your PR Is Failing

PR is a moneymaker

Revising the color scheme of your website, designing an attractive media kit or getting invited to write a piece for a renowned website may seem more like motion that action. In reality, a brand's image is made up of all sorts of details that are accessible to your potential clients through search engines. Even with a solid business model, most people will not trust you with their money if your website is a mess or your documentation is outdated. Professional PR creates a coherent, consistent image that will turn your business from a name to a brand.

Public relations goes beyond reputation management. It is the surest and fastest way to start meeting your branding goals. Set aside a fraction of your budget in 2015 for PR.

How much will it cost? According to PR senior media consultant Lyndsay Christian, "When it comes to fees, publicists bill hourly, daily, weekly or by monthly retainer. A retainer is a fee the client remits to secure services. Some retainer contracts can be secured annually, too, depending on client needs. A fee can be anywhere from $500 to $15,000-plus a month."

She adds that all deals are negotiated upon signing a contract to secure services.

And while they say that there's no such thing as bad PR, if you are going to get PR, then make sure it is good PR!

Related: 5 Tools to Fuel Your Company's PR Machine

Deborah Mitchell

CEO & Founder, Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

Emmy-nominated network television producer Deborah Mitchell is a veteran of ABC and CBS News, a member of the Producers Guild of America, and a board member of the James Beard Broadcast and Media Awards Committee. Through Deborah Mitchell Media Associates she will create your online personality with a customized website, book you on the right television show, manage your social media profiles and finally connect you with the best and brightest digital influencers. Mitchell is author of So You Want To Be On TV

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