When a meeting planner wants to hire me, or a PR firm wants me to train their staff on how to generate publicity, or someone says they want to join The Publicity Hound Mentor Program, the first question I ask is, “What, exactly, do you want me to help you do?”
Occasionally, somebody says, “I want you to get me on ‘Oprah’.” Or “I want our PR clients to end up in one of those fun features on the front page of The Wall Street Journal.”
When I hear that, I know this won’t be a good fit.
Michelle Tennant, a member of The Publicity Hound Mentor Program, knows the feeling. She’s the owner of Wasabi Publicity, a boutique PR firm in Saluda, North Carolina. And she’s heard her share of unrealistic expectations.
Here’s another one. You’re a publicist and you have a 12-month contract with an author. You’re two months into the project and the author is griping because her book hasn’t gotten into any big national magazines yet. Michelle would tell you it’s your own fault, if you never explained before the contract was signed that sometimes it takes up to six months or even a year for national magazines to bite, particularly since so many of them work six months out.
Addressing expectations before you sign the contract helps avoid those kinds of problems. In the January/February issue of The Publicity Hound subscription newsletter, Michelle writes about things that publicists and PR people must do to make sure that they can deliver exactly what clients expect. Or risk working with the Client from Hell.