If pitching press releases to reporters sends shivers down your spine, or time is a serious issue, than hiring a publicist could be the best media marketing option.

But how do you know who to choose, what to expect, or even, what’s a reasonable fee, to ensure your needs are met on budget and on time.

Well, I’ve prepared a list of questions below to help you determine just that.

But I do this with a caveat: you really are your best advocate, you know your message best and you know how far you’re prepared to go, to get your message across.

Ultimately, journalists would also rather hear from you as well.

But for those who don’t have the time to learn DIY media releases and news pitching properly, here are a list of questions to help you find the right PR fit.

Please note these are foundation questions, to help you get started.

  • Who – inside the organisation – will be handling my PR?
  • Are they a reporter/journalist? (You’ll often pay extra for a journalist working on your campaign).
  • Which news outlets have they worked at? – How long did they work there?
  • Where have they been published (outlets, countries and states)?
  • What PR campaigns have they managed (specific campaigns, brands and whether they were regional, statewide, national or international)?
  • Where did those campaigns get media / published (what’s your conversion rate)?
  • What was the return on the client’s investment?
  • How much free publicity (how many millions of dollars in free advertising) have you generated for your clients and over what time?
  • Have you won any awards?
  • What results have clients seen in terms of sales, sponsorships, leads, speaker invites, head hunting?
  • How many outlets will my media release be sent to?
  • How many follow-up phone calls will you make?
  • At what point do you give up?
  • Do you places bonuses on performance – that is, you get me on prime time TV and in national newspapers and I pay you a 25% bonus. (When I had my PR agency we offered that all the time).
  • Where would you send my media release first?
  • What’s your game plan for repeat media exposure?
  • What will I pay per media release / distribution.
  • Do you charge separately for distribution?
  • How do you distribute media releases? (Wire services or targeted distribution).

When giving your potential publicist the ’third degree’, bear in mind that you will need to go on many dates together.

Monetising the media, or making profits from your publicity, takes multiple appearances.

And because of this, the publicist will want to lock you into some kind of retainer.

Typically these fees – for a proven performer – start at a minimum of $2500 per media release / per month.

In larger cities, press release packages start at $5000 plus distribution; while I myself, knocked back $20,000 just before Christmas last year.

Why? Because I’d rather teach you – the small business owner – how to ‘fish for yourself’; so you are not reliant on media release turnaround times or retainers.

For example, if a story is breaking in the news and you have the opportunity to add value to the public conversation, drop in one last question to your publicist …

“If I see something on this morning’s news that I could add value to, that I could ‘news jack’, how long would it take to turn around and distribute a media release?

“Would it be that same morning, and if so, would I need to pay a bonus fee?”

And therein lies the magic and power of learning how to write media releases, properly, yourself.

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