How to Know When it’s Time to Hire a Publicist

7 key ways to know if it is time for you to hire a publicist.

Lately, I have been inundated with friends and friends of friends wanting to know if they should hire a publicist, asking for a little direction, wanting to “pick my brain” about the mysterious world of publicity.

These days it seems everybody and their dog (no, really) has a publicist. So, how do you know if you are ready to call in the professionals and what do you need to know before you hire a celebrity publicist?

Although I represent hospitality brands like the Golden Door Spa, I’m also what the industry refers to as a personal publicist. That means I handle people. Usually they are actors, but I also represent experts like interior designers, lifestyle experts, and celebrity trainers. Understanding a little bit about how publicity works can really help maximize results and hopefully save you some money. Check out the below and if you think you are ready, have your people call my people!

7 Important Things to Know Before You Hire A Publicist

1. Competition is Fierce, So Timing is Everything

While it’s true that some people just get lucky, your project is really the biggest determining factor of whether or not you are currently press worthy, and thus need to hire a publicist. It helps to already have a platform such as a book coming out, a television show or film premiering, a product line, a huge blog following, celebrity clients etc.  With so many shows, networks and experts these days, the competition for magazine features and talk shows is tougher than ever.

If you pay attention, each season you will notice that there are a handful of new television shows that get ALL the attention. This is because editors screen all the pilots in advance, so they decide long before the show premieres which ones to champion. A publicist can get you access to the “big leagues,” but you want to be confident in your project.

For experts, having celebrity clients really helps, but at the end of the day, everyone wants to be wowed. So go out and wow them! One of the greatest misconceptions is that publicists can make water into wine—that is get publicity for someone who has nothing going on. There are always exceptions to the rule, but that is usually not the case.

2. Do Your Research

I really think it can be detrimental to your self-esteem to compare yourself to other people, but when it comes to publicity, it’s my one exception. Before you hire a publicist, it would be a good idea to come up with a list of 3-5 people who you think are similar to you. Then google them to see what kind of publicity they have gotten. That can at least help you gauge what kind of publicity you are likely to garner and if now is the time to take things to the next level. And remember to really be honest! Don’t google “Kate Winslet” if you haven’t won an Oscar (yet!).

3. Publicists Need Lead Time

Publicists need at LEAST one month, preferably longer before whatever you are promoting comes out in order to pitch and secure short-lead press. In order to secure long lead press (I.e. monthly magazines), you need a 4-6 month lead time. For magazine covers, and some design magazines, it can even be eight months! Don’t wait until the last minute to start taking meetings.

4. Money, Money, MONEY

Having a publicist is a big investment—like a five figure investment. But, one that can really pay off. A publicist works on a monthly retainer, so you definitely want to be financially prepared. If you are struggling to pay your rent or mortgage, as Suze Orman would tell you, you can’t afford it. Which brings me to…

5. Be Patient

It takes more than one month to see results. I usually tell my clients that you should really give your publicist a solid three to six months before deciding if the investment is paying off. So, when you begin with a publicist you really want to have your ducks in a row. Have your website up and running, have high res images of yourself, product, space, etc. saved in a Dropbox folder that is easy to share.

6. They Like Me! They Really Like Me!

This may be the biggest key to life in general. If people like you, they will want to date you, be your friend, help you, work with you. If editors, producers, directors, television bookers, etc. like you, they will want to work with you again and again (provided you meet the criteria in number 1). And a little insider secret, if your publicist likes you, she will work extra hard for you because it makes her happy to see you succeed!

7. It’s All About the Bottom Line

There is a reason Kim Kardashian continues to grace the cover of almost every single magazine. She sells them. Plain and simple. Same goes with talk shows. It is the job of the producers and bookers to raise the ratings of their show.

Therefore, they want to book guests that are fun and connect with the audience. It is no longer enough to be an actor with a successful show on the air. Talent bookers and producers expect their guests to be personable, fun, and entertaining. If a guest is boring, chances are they won’t get asked back. I often refer new clients to my friend and media trainer LeeAundra Keany, who not only helps with public speaking, but also helps those who want to be on television tweak their non-verbal communication.

If you would like more information about the types of pr services my company offers, click here.

PS. 9 Free Ways to Promote Your Business

Wondering if it's time to hire a publicist? If you think you might be ready for a publicist and you're looking for PR tips, this post is for you! #publicist #publicity #pr

6 thoughts on “How to Know When it’s Time to Hire a Publicist”

  1. This is not my world, but I found this post very interesting! I’ve always been curious about the magic behind the scene. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Sigh, wish I were doing something publicist-worthy! If I ever do, you know who my publicist is going to be, if I’m lucky enough to get her.

  3. Molls –

    I loved this. And I can say a big AMEN to number 5. We need time to build relationships with the press – from a publicist side, if you speak with a client who doesn’t want to talk strategy, you should NEVER sign that client. They want press but don’t want to put in the time to come up with legitimate story angles.

  4. Would you be able to help me publicize a children’s book that was published traditionally, but has not hit the bookstores (for whatever reason my publisher has given)…? If so, how much per month would it be?


  5. Pingback: 5 Free Ways to Promote Your Book (Straight from the Mouth of a Publicist)

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