Public relations and publicity just got easier, thanks to the exploding virtual assistance industry.
That means virtual assistants–independent contractors who help clients with a wide variety of tasks virtually, sometimes from thousands of miles away–are adding publicity-related skills to their offerings.
Some virtual assistants are writing press releases, creating and distributing media kits, updating media contact lists, ordering reprints of newspaper and magazine articles, writing and submitting articles to online article directories, researching podcasts and blogs where the client can generate publicity, ghostwriting blogs for their clients, and finding ways to recycle the client’s publicity.
Publicity skills and so much more
As if that isn’t enough, VAs who work for clients that write books are also looking for book reviewers. They fill orders and ship products, do keyword research and even remind clients when it’s time to send thank-you notes to the media.
If the client is a speaker, some VAs even help book speaking engagements, write press releases about the client’s upcoming gigs, and send invoices to meeting planners, complete with a breakdown of the client’s expenses.
In most cases, they do not and should not directly pitch ideas to the media on the clients’ behalf. As a former newspaper editor, I think that sends the message, “My client is too busy to talk to you, so he sent me instead, and he wants publicity.”
Some VAs have full access to their clients’ financial statements. They have their clients’ credit card numbers, and they even write checks and process payments through PayPal.
How to use a virtual assistant for public relations or publicity
Hiring VAs to help with any aspect of public relations or publicity is a great solution for:
People who can’t afford more expensive publicists or public relations agencies
Publicists or public relations practitioners who want to outsource publicity and public relations tasks
Companies and non-profits that have lean public relations staffs
Business owners who want publicity but that don’t have time to do all the tedious grunt work a publicity campaign entails
Businesses that have one virtual assistant but need a second one with a different skill set
Authors that are ready to launch a book, or authors whose new books require them to attend to things such as book signings, media interviews and other special events
Speakers who are on the road frequently and need a virtual assistant to manage the office as well as a publicity campaign
Anyone who hates doing certain types of general chores like website maintenance, invoicing and database management, or publicity-related chores like obtaining reprint rights and updating bios
A variety of trade associations for virtual assistants makes finding a virtual assistant who can help with publicity much easier than it used to be.
Isn’t it time you hired a virtual assistant to help with your public relations tasks, and publicity? (See “Craigslist: A Valuable Publicity Tool.”)