Location. Location. Location. In real estate it’s all that matters. In Beauty PR, you’ll hear the same, but it couldn’t be any further from the truth. At one point, before the internet ruled the world, face to face communication was the way to make big things happen in public relations, but that’s not how it works anymore. Like virtually every industry, the media has moved almost exclusively to digital communication.
Freelancers Rule the World
More and more publications are doing away with staff writers and working with freelancers. This means a workforce that used to be contained in Manhattan offices, working 9-5 is now roaming freely, working odd hours from anywhere they want. While editors may still reside in NYC, the people you want to connect with, the ones pitching stories and doing the writing, can be anywhere. From the suburbs of Florida to major cities in AZ, writers are relocating and still writing for some of the largest publications today like PopSugar, Allure, Glamour and more.
Combine this move with industry downsizing, tight deadlines and low budgets and you can quickly see how difficult it is for writers and editors to justify taking time out of their day to meet in-person. Those mid-day coffee dates at Dean & DeLuca that Sex and the City made look so alluring just don’t happen anymore.
The days of blindly shipping samples to magazines for them to sit in a stock room are over as well. As freelancers become the norm, long-term relationships with them as individuals matter more now than ever. Being a resource for them when they’re in a pinch is where publicists truly bring value to the table. This means answering emails and texts on the fly, not picking up the tab at happy hour or going to the same yoga class in Midtown.
Years of consistently working with them, helping them hit their deadlines, make a publicist second only to the person cutting them a check. In fact, some of the most successful writers we regularly work with write for a half-dozen or more publications, communicating with their personal email. They’re not on staff and they’re not in New York, they’re simply writers working the gig-economy in need of a firm that understands how they work.
It’s all about Results
Relationships aside, results always speak for themselves. If you’re convinced a firm in New York is a must, make sure you ask to see full PR reports. Reputable firms will want to show you what they’ve achieved for their clients from top to bottom. Those looking to hide a lack of results will often lean on one or two major hits, without showing you any of the second or third tier placements that help make campaigns successful.
Beyond that, look for diversity in placements. Knowing one writer, at one major publication, only goes so far. Being able to successfully pitch to in-house teams as well as freelancers working for multiple publications is what creates long-term success. But remember, being in New York isn’t a pre-requisite.