When Should PR be Brought into the Mix?

By Anne Buchanan, president at Buchanan Public Relations LLC

In the last ten days, we have received two phone calls from prospective clients seeking PR support for upcoming initiatives.

In both cases, they were calling us months – possibly even a year – too late.

The first call came from the U.K. A significant dignitary planned to visit the U.S., and the caller hoped we could generate some media interest. The visitor, the venue and the reason for the visit were all interesting. The problem? The visit was a week away.

The second call came from an entrepreneur who was about to select the winning entry for (what he hoped to sell as) a reality TV show. The winner would spend the next year being filmed on an adventure. Again, all the ingredients of a great story. But the announcement the businessman wanted press coverage for was ten days away.

In both cases, we declined the work.

Sure, we could have dropped everything and thrown ourselves into these projects. But, a) that’s not fair to our existing clients b) it’s not fair to our employees and c) the amount of work – not to mention budget – required to pull off a successful event on such short notice would rival those of any crisis.

But there’s an even bigger cost associated with not involving PR sooner.

PR folks are the ones who hear an idea – and then think of 20 other ways to make it bigger, better and more creative. A year-long trip being filmed for reality TV? Run it like a media tour and set up interviews along the way. A foreign dignitary attending the equivalent of a massive family reunion? Invite all of the reporters in the U.S. who share the same last name.

By waiting too long to involve PR professionals, clients leave great ideas on the table. And that can mean fewer prospects, customers and even sales.

Call your PR colleagues or firm at the beginning of a new initiative. We’ll tell you if it’s too early for us to engage. But chances are high that the wheels will start turning in our heads. We’ll ask smart questions and envision additional opportunities that might never have crossed your mind.

When you do think PR should be brought into the mix? Let us know in the comments box below.

This blog originally appeared on the website of Buchanan Public Relations LCC.

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3 Comments

  1. Brianne Miller Reply

    Love the name idea – we’ve done it in the past and it always works! Also, once we pitched some business simply because the contact’s name was David Landis…hahahahaha!

  2. David Cumpston Reply

    Great post, Anne, thank you. It’s indeed never too early to bring PR into any conversation – I remind our clients of this all the time.
    – David

  3. Craig MacLellan Reply

    Totally agree with you Anne. PR should be part of the strategic planning process – not a tag-on at the end!