A Public Relations Agency acts as an intermediary between a person or a small business and the press/public. Usually their brief is to ensure the client is presented in the best possible light. Supposing a client was our 'Mr Wilson' of Wilson's Collector's Fairs and his marketing was unclear and uninspiring.
A public relations agency would step in and draw up an innovative marketing plan, focusing on strong copy for brochures and leaflets, preparing the A4 treasure find stories in the photograph stands and taking video film and approaching production companies etc. In fact, any ideas to build your client's business and increase their profits.
So, do you need any special qualifications? The answer is no. If you have an understanding and passion for marketing and are willing to research any type of business, you have all the qualifications needed to start up your own PR Agency. In the early days working from an office at home, should be sufficient.
Advance Features Lists
There is an interest magazine for most businesses. Monthly magazines often plan their main features up to a whole year in advance. The schedule is typed out as an Advance Features List. These are freely available. Simply call the advertising department and ask for one to be sent to you.
Once you have as many lists as possible, clients who approach you are bound to be involved in a business that at least one of the magazines has a feature planned. As long as you contact the relevant magazine three months before the issue publishing date, they will be open to editorial and photographs from you; and you can provide free advertising for your client. For weekly publications, the lead time is still usually several weeks.
If your client is launching a new product, you could organize a press conference. But be careful. They are expensive and if not well attended, it could damage your reputation. So, unless your client is a high profile figure often in the public eye, a safer option can be to organize one to one briefings.
Choose a suitable restaurant. Invite a national journalist and a trade editor to a lunch for an interview with your leader of industry. Make sure your client turns up at least 15 minutes before the journalists. Also, before the appointed day, confirm the invitation to the journalists in writing and ring up on the day before the function.
Another option to the press conference is to throw a party for journalists. Christmas time especially lends itself to parties, where the journalists can meet up with rivals and friends in the business, swap stories and gossip.
Small presents are acceptable but overt bribes are not!. However, offering free drinks is not wise, as too much alcohol could lead to problems.
What do you charge your clients? Public relations agency fees range from a few hundred to thousands of pounds. The fairest way is to assess the work on an hourly rate basis. Clients can pay your public relations agency by the individual project or go on a retainer rate. Check each client is respectable before you take them on.