Episode 205: Annie Scranton explains how public relations works
October 8, 2019
Our guest today is Annie Scranton, the Founder of Pace Public Relations,a full-service media relations and communications agency based in New York City.
If you want to raise your visibility by getting interviewed on TV or by print journalists, this is the episode for you, since Annie explains to me the basics of how public relations work.
You can find out more about Pace Public Relations on their website, pacepublicrelations.com and you can follow Annie on Twitter at @anniescranton
Finally, we’d like to welcome listeners Aliyak K, James M, Aidan K, Burnes H, and Hussein A. who have recently signed up for the weekly Unleashed email.
Will Bachman: Hello, Annie, welcome to the show.
Annie Scranton: Thank you for having me.
Will Bachman: So, Annie, let’s start with, what are two or three misconceptions people have about public relations?
Annie Scranton: I think the biggest misconception is that it’s easy to work with a PR firm and to immediately get traction and placement for your company or your brand. It sort of has a connotation of being one of those professions that may be a little fussy or that maybe isn’t quite as serious as say being a medical doctor, and of course it’s not, but we’re not saving lives over here, but I do think that a lot of times clients seem to say, “Well, why can’t we get featured in The New York Times? Why wasn’t that reporter interested?” And I think there’s a lack of knowledge of how the journalistic process works and how media entities work in general.
Will Bachman: Okay. Let’s dive into that one a bit. So, educate us. How does public relations work?
Annie Scranton: In a very rudimentary level a client hires a PR firm, and a client could be a large company, a start-up, an individual person, a product brand, any of those, and anybody or any product or any company can benefit from public relations. So, when that client decides to hire a publicist, they are paying the PR firm a monthly retainer that is going to compensate the publicist for her or his time doing outreach to the media on behalf of that client. So we are essentially the liaison between the client and the media, and the reason why it’s beneficial to hire a PR firm is, one, I was a former journalist and speaking as a former journalist and TV producer, when you’re pitching yourself to the media you’re automatically not taken quite as seriously than you are when you have a professional organization doing it for you. That’s why PR exists as a profession.
Annie Scranton: And number two, presumably the publicist or PR firm that you hire has really strong connections with the journalists, and that means everything. Journalists and producers are really, really busy. When I was producing TV almost 10 years ago I would get literally hundreds of email pitches every day, and so I would automatically delete them if I didn’t know the person who was actually sending me the note. So, the competition is really fierce. But to go back to your original question, hiring a PR firm means that you are getting their expertise and knowledge of how the process of working with journalists works, what makes a good story. That publicist will help you craft your message and tell your story in the most compelling way that will hopefully get the interest of a journalist, and then we work with the journalist, the print reporter, the TV producers on an ongoing daily basis to make sure that our clients are represented in the media in the best way possible.
Will Bachman: Okay. Great. So, let’s walk through the stages of an engagement and let’s position as, your potential or hypothetical client here would be either an independent consultant or potentially a small boutique firm with a handful of professionals, and they’re trying to raise their profile. It’s obviously great to get featured in some newspaper or magazine or interviewed on TV or wherever, both as credibility building as mentioned in The New York Times, as quoted in Reuters or something, as well as it’s great probably for search engine optimization if those articles have a link back to your website.
Will Bachman: So, to understand the purpose, maybe as the first step let’s say you meet with someone, they decide to engage you. Is there, before you go off and start pitching them, is there a process of diagnostic, of hearing their story and helping figure out what’s the hook, or what specific thing are you going to go pitch and also figuring out what’s the target set of journalists that you’re going to go pitch? How does that initial phase one look?
Annie Scranton: Of course. There’s definitely an onboarding process that we, at my company, have fined tuned at this point after doing this for nearly 10 years. So, the first thing we do that I think smart publicists do is, we send our client a new client questionnaire to answer even before our engagement officially begins, and it goes over some really important criteria. The number one important criteria is, what are your goals? And when I say goals I mean, what are the goals for your business in general, meaning, what do you want the business to achieve this month, this year, and five years from now? And then, what are your goals with the media and how can we use the media to leverage your overall company goals? And I think without knowing what the goals are it’s very hard to be successful, right, on anything that you do.
Annie Scranton: So that’s number one, and as you mentioned when you were setting up the question, a lot of clients come to specifically only wanting to get quoted so they can get the backlinks, the hyperlinks for SEO purposes. Some clients come to us because they really want to try to use PR to leverage new clients or new customers. Some clients come to us because they want to have the overall brand awareness and legitimacy and credibility. So, depending on what avenue they want to pursue, we are going to recommend different media outlets to try and achieve those goals, but generally speaking, after our clients fill out their new client questionnaire, we will do a one to two hour kickoff meeting where we go over what we’ve learned in that questionnaire, but we also then start to loosely talk about what is their 90-day strategy plan look like, and within that plan we are discussing what were the angles and the messaging that you want to get seen in the media.
Annie Scranton: A question we often ask our clients is, “If you could wake up tomorrow and there is a front page article in The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal, or whatever publication is perfect for your organization, what would you want that headline to say? How do you want to be perceived in the media?” And then we try to really always use that as an anchor for all of the pitching that we’re doing, and then we also, of course, go over what are the media outlets that you want to target. Are trade publications important? Is business press important? Is local press important? Or is national press where you want to be focused? And then from there we’ll do a recap of that meeting, put together the strategy and then actually start writing the pitches and pitching the media, and that process usually, we do it pretty quickly, it takes between one to two weeks.
Will Bachman: The naïve person like me might assume that the bigger and more well-known the outlet, the better, like The New York Times would be the best, or The Wall Street Journal would be the best, or Financial Times or something would be the best. Is that always true, or is it sometimes actually more effective to be featured in some more niche trade publication or even a blog or something?
Annie Scranton: The answer is that every case is different but the way I could try to answer it is that, I think, both or all forms of media play a role in serving the goals of our clients. So, if anybody, any brand, gets a feature that’s positive or a mention that’s positive in The New York Times or Wall Street Journal and PR et cetera, it’s going to help them because they’re just… by their sheer volume of readers or listeners that those outlets have, you’re going to see a boost, you’re going to get a ton of emails coming in to you, your brand awareness is going to go up, et cetera.
Annie Scranton: So, yes, always, we want to keep those on our target list. However, when you have a very specific goal in mind, like if you were trying to target a very specific type of customer or client, sometimes going to those trade publications is the way to go, and I can give you a quick example, something I did in my own marketing efforts. We work with a lot of attorneys and there is a legal website called Law360.com that primarily only lawyers read. And I wrote an article that, for a Law360, that was titled the Nine Tips For Becoming A Legal Pundit On Television, and I gave my top advice. Law360 published it. As a result, I got about 10 inbound calls from lawyers saying, “I read your article. I’m so intrigued. I want to learn more about your company and PR and how it works.” And so, that themed sort of tactic can be applied for any of our clients and whatever publications their target customers are reading.
Will Bachman: That’s interesting because it might almost be that it feels more approachable if you see an article by someone in a trade journal like that with maybe their contact info at the bottom. You say, “Okay, I can contact that person,” but if you someone quoted in The New York Times, even if they seem like an expert, if you had been quoted in The New York Times on that topic it might have been less effective because, it’s like, “How am I going to contact that person? It just doesn’t seem as, I don’t know, neighborly or close.”
Annie Scranton: Well, yeah. I think so. I think appearing in a trade publication is not… You’re not like, “Oh, my God, this person’s this major EO or celebrity.” I mean, maybe you are, but you are approaching the reader, yes, in a more friendly, peer-to-peer way, almost, where in a big Tier 1 publication automatically by virtue of that, your stature is being elevated, which is great, again, because maybe huge corporations or whatever, maybe it’s going to lead to some other partnership that you may not even be thinking about, but for your target customer you’re right, there may be that sort of disconnect of, “Oh, I don’t know if I should even reach out to this person.”
Will Bachman: Yeah. Okay. So, how does the actual outreach work? So, people, I mean, I probably have some misconceptions about it. Is it… You’re reaching out to friends who are journalists who you just have lunch with and they… or is it that you cultivate your relationships over time and you’re probably having to add value and make their life easier somehow, and they… So, how do those relationships grow over time and what’s the process of reaching out to journalists? Do you reach out to two or three, or do you reach out to 200? How does that whole process work of outreach and pitching stories?
Annie Scranton: I mean, well, we always do email pitches because I think increasingly everybody likes talking on the phone less and less these days, so I only pick up the phone to call a journalist if it’s something incredibly urgent that I think is absolutely perfect for her or him, otherwise it’s always on email. My relationships with journalists and producers has been organic because I was one. I was a former TV news producer and print journalist, so I maintain friendships with many of those producers and journalists, and then over the years they’ve introduced me to other friends of theirs and other contacts of theirs, and so, now, I am specifically I’m in a position where it’s a mixed bag of friends of mine who are still members of the media, introductions that they’ve made to other members of the media, and then also just me reaching out cold to a journalist that I would like to develop a working relationship with.
Annie Scranton: And so, that is one huge advantage of working with a PR firm, is that presumably that PR firm already has built-in working relationships with the members of the media. Furthermore, because of my background, I very much understand how the news cycle works, what their deadlines are, what types of stories they’re looking for, what types of experts they want to quote, so, that’s the job of a publicist, is to know the difference between each publication and understand all of those nuances amongst them. So, I mean, it’s something that anybody can theoretically pretty much easily find the email address of a reporter they are looking for, but what’s important to remember here is that, really, the journalists aren’t there to serve you, you are there to serve the journalist. They are able to write what they want to write about. I mean they obviously have an editor and there may be certain specific things they need to cover on certain days, but it’s not like they owe anybody any favors.
Annie Scranton: So, our job is to really spend a lot of time researching that reporter and seeing, what were the past 10 stories he or she has written? What’s their beat? What interests them? We follow a ton of journalists on social media to also get a sense of where their interests lie and it’s constant links that they’re following and what they’re interested in, and then from there it depends on the tactic we use. Sometimes we reach out directly with a specific pitch where we are saying, “Hello, reporter, we work with this client and this is the angle we think is perfect for you and we hope you’ll write about it,” obviously in a better way than what I just said, but then there are other times where we just say, “We are working with this client and we think that they could potentially become a good resource for you. Would you be open to a phone conversation or a meeting?”
Annie Scranton: Sometimes I just try to meet different reporters and producers for a coffee just to get to know them without a specific ask. So, we just do a variety of tactics to “get in” with different journalists.
Will Bachman: When you’re pitching a journalist, I can imagine three different approaches, and I’m curious what is most commonly done. Let’s say that you’re representing someone who is, let’s say, an international trade supply chain expert, right? And trying to raise that person’s profile. And, so, one approach would be to pitch the journalist, like, “Hey, you could do a feature story on this trade expert person.” But another one would be, make it more tied to the… almost try to serve them up a story and say, “Hey, I think a really interesting story would be how the tariffs on China are affecting the electronics manufacturing industry in, I don’t know, Ohio, and here’s some interesting facts about it. By the way, my client, so-and-so, could be a interesting source for this story. She has a lot of knowledge about how the tariffs are increasing their costs.”
Will Bachman: So, you’re kind of serving them up a story and just saying, “Oh, by the way, you could quote this person,” to make it easy for them. And the third way might just be like, “Hey, if you’re ever doing a story on tariffs, here’s a source.” Where do you typically land? Which is most effective?
Annie Scranton: Somewhere in between two and three. I mean, a feature on a company like… it’s got to really be, usually, like more of a trade publication would be a place that would do a feature on a client or a smaller sort of niche blog or website or podcast, or something of that nature. But when it’s any main stream media, I think the thing you want to avoid is pitching, like saying to the journalist, “Hey, here’s a story I think you should write about,” because you want to always be deferential and make them feel like it’s their idea, but certainly, if you’ve researched a reporter and you know that they’re covering the tariff trade situation and how it affects different businesses, you could write something like, “I see that in your past few articles you’ve explored how the trade war is affecting manufacturing and it’s affecting paper production, and whatever. And if you’re ever thinking about shifting into how it’s affecting electronics distribution, we have somebody who can speak to that.”
Annie Scranton: Then, furthermore, you want to definitely include how it’s affecting, like give a quote or two, or some bullet points from your client on how it is actually affecting them, and then end it by saying that even if this isn’t a particular angle that they’re interested in, you are very happy to always connect the journalist to your client if there’s ever a tangential story where you think they’d be able to lend an expert quote or help in some thought leadership way.
Will Bachman: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Okay. So, it’s introducing people as knowledgeable sources on a potential topic that that journalist covers to help them out.
Annie Scranton: One hundred percent. Absolutely. Because if that’s their beat and the trade war stuff is like not going away any time soon it doesn’t seem, so, they’re probably looking for new and interesting people to quote. But where you have to be flexible is that, it may not be the exact story you want published, but just by virtue of getting your name and your company quoted or mentioned in that, in any piece that a big reporter is writing, it’s going to help your brand and your image.
Will Bachman: When you read stories in the paper or on the news, and TV news, can you typically sense who may have pitched that story to the journalist? Sometimes it’s obvious even to me, if it’s some kind of report that just came out and a bunch of people are quoted, but there’s one person who’s quoted more and that person isn’t the author, you kind of figure, “Okay, that person was probably the one who pitched the story.” Do you have a sense of that? Can you tell what happened behind the scenes there?
Annie Scranton: Yes. I mean, particularly, obviously, when you see who the guests are on cable news, there are people are pitching them so you know who’s behind those bookings. On the other hand, though, a lot of times for TV news at least, the anchor or the senior or executive producers will ask for specific people or will ask for someone from a specific organization to go on and give that point of view. And you see that more commonly when it’s a debate segment and maybe there’s someone on the left and someone on the right. There are certain people who are interested and enjoy doing “opposition media”, meaning, if you’re right leaning you’ll do CNN or MSNBC or vice versa.
Annie Scranton: So, I mean, that’s sort of obvious, and when you’re reading an article and there’s a new poll or a survey or something, of course it’s the place, it’s the organization that put that together that’s pitching that. That’s how it got placed in there, for sure, but a lot of times there are just different working relationships, different things going on behind the scenes that we don’t even know about that are the reason why a story got published, and it could be as simple as the journalist is friends with somebody, it could be as simple as the editor has some sort of interest in making sure they’re covering whatever type of outlet, so there’s a lot going on behind the scenes. But usually, yeah, at this point, I can pretty much tell.
Will Bachman: For those of us who would love to get mentioned in the paper or be on the news, what are some things to do that would… that journalists look for that would build… that you need to do to build up your credibility in order for them to want to talk to you or to quote you. I mean, so, if we go to our example of the trade expert who does international supply chain consulting. If you just say, “Oh, this person knows all about supply chain,” and maybe they were at a top-tier consulting firm and now they have their independent practice and it says on LinkedIn that that’s what they do, but they don’t have any white papers or podcasts or publications or a blog or anything, it might be hard to convince a journalist that the person knows what they’re talking about, as opposed to either a professor or someone who has an active content generation platform.
Will Bachman: So, what does it typically take to get a journalist to say, “Oh, yes, this person has clear credibility and I’m willing to talk to that person.”
Annie Scranton: Well, the number one thing is, if you’re an independent consultant or part of a company, there has to be a website where people can go and read about your bio. If you don’t have your own website, then… like a LinkedIn is not sufficient usually for a journalist. So I would say, the number one thing would be to have a website. It could be super simple just with your name, your bio, your past clients, a bit about your expertise. And then the other thing that I think is very important is to start a blog section on that website where you’re writing every day if you can. It could be very, very short, but if you’re writing and you are choosing to opine on day of news very topical things that pertain to your industry, that is an automatic way that a journalist is going to see that and read those short pieces and say, “Wow, they’re really following the news, and they really have cultivated some strong opinions about how the trade war’s affecting A, B and C.”
Annie Scranton: And those can get certainly reposted on LinkedIn and whatever, and that’s number one piece of advice. And then, number two, I think it’s really important to have all of your social media be aligned with one another, meaning your Twitter and your LinkedIn, whatever you have like public facing should all be under the same handle and have the same feel to it. I think whatever you can do to get as many followers as you can, I think that’s another way to just show that you have a basis in your community and people are interested in keeping up with you and what you’re doing.
Annie Scranton: Yeah, I mean, but to sort of play on the other side of it, it is hard to compete with somebody who has a position at a university or has just written a book on the subject, or whatever. But, if you can get to the right person and have your digital footprint really looking polished, I do think that there’s a strong possibility that you could be quoted.
Will Bachman: Interesting. So, when you talk about aligning your social media, the public facing stuff, that’s Twitter. What else are you including beyond Twitter? Are you including Facebook, are you including Instagram, are you including…
Annie Scranton: Well, I think it depends what your brand is and what you’re… Like, for me, in PR, we have an Instagram, we have a LinkedIn, we have a Facebook, we have literally all of it because our clients can come from any of those areas and many of our clients are on all of those different platforms. But I think most likely for your listeners and in general, I think Twitter and LinkedIn are the two most important.
Will Bachman: Okay. Let’s talk about, for an independent consultant or a boutique firm. What could you realistically expect to get from public relations, and with the typical fee structure that we should expect. And let’s say that we’re, again, using our hypothetical example of this person who’s maybe a McKinsey alum, was an AP, associate partner at McKinsey, he’s now an independent consultant, does international supply chain consulting. The person has worked in China, some, maybe they have a blog or a podcast that they’re not doing every day but they’re publishing something maybe once every week or two. What would it take for that person to, if they wanted to hire a public relations and get quoted in places, how much would it cost roughly? What should you expect and how long does it take to get impact and to start seeing pieces? Walk us through that a little bit.
Annie Scranton: Sure. Rates for PR firms can really drastically vary. In New York City or for any international, I think, 5,000 a month is on the lower end and it can certainly go up, but I would say for an independent practitioner or small boutique firm, probably around 5,000 a month would be realistic to expect. I mean, our firm works really fast in terms of pitching and trying to get results, and I would say that most of our clients start to see traction within about six weeks, because there is, of course, a little bit of prep time. Unfortunately, when you’re pitching journalists, it’s not like the journalist receives an email and then the next day there’s an article. There’s a lot that goes into it, and that goes on behind the scenes, of course.
Annie Scranton: So, I would say that usually most engagements are, on the very short end, three months, most are about six. Some people sign a year-long contract, and what we would try to do then is say, this person is blogging twice a week, as you said. We would try to say, “Well, can we take any of these blogs and turn them into an op-ed somewhere? Or, as a contributor article somewhere? Or, can we take quotes from it that’s pertaining to the trade war and pitch it to these 15 journalists that cover that beat specifically and see if they would be able to use those quotes in another piece.”
Annie Scranton: We would also try to set up introductions, meaning coffee meetings, phone introductions to different journalists because at some point we do remove ourselves from the process and we want our client to speak directly to the journalist, because, obviously, they’re going to be the best at explaining it, and the process to, though, is really more successful the more involved the client is.
Annie Scranton: So, meaning, if we send you early in the morning, there’s this hot trade war stuff, there’s new stuff with China, like, what is your point of view on it? What do you make of this situation? If the client can get us some talking points within an hour, we have a better chance of turning it for a day of story that day. So, it’s what you put into it is a little bit of what you’re going to get out of it.
Will Bachman: Do PR firms typically specialize in an industry or a functional area so that maybe they build up relationships with journalists who cover the tech industry or the interview industry or something? So, is it typically… Can a folk specialize like that?
Annie Scranton: There are. There are certainly lots of PR firms that have specialties. Travel, beauty, tech, yes, all of that kind of stuff. One hundred percent. But then there are a lot of firms like myself that are generalist PR firms, meaning they get all types of clients because for us, the common thread with all our clients is getting them traditional media relations placements, so placements on TV, print, digital and radio or podcast. So the answer is yes, and there are benefits to both, I think, in my opinion. Finding a PR firm is something that is really personal because any good and ethical publicist will tell you, there’s no guarantee when you work with a PR firm that you’re going to see these great articles and these great results and this great momentum.
Annie Scranton: What we can guarantee is that, we’re going to advise you and craft your messaging and tell your story in the best way possible to get the maximum number of positive responses from journalists, but at the end of the day, I can’t control what a journalist decides to write or not write, or what a producer wants to put on TV or not, and you do need to be willing to take that leap of faith. But if you do your research on your PR firm and you talk to past clients and you see examples of the type of stuff they’ve done, you should be able to have good results.
Will Bachman: How do you recommend that people who… We’ve done all this work to get a interview with a journalist and now, let’s say, one’s lined up. How do you recommend that people prepare for these discussions with journalists? Do you help people rehearse? Help people avoid saying ‘like’ and ‘um’ and ‘kind of’ and all of those annoying things like I probably have?
Annie Scranton: Yes.
Will Bachman: Or, what’s the best way to prep for those media appearances?
Annie Scranton: Okay. So, if it’s a TV interview, we typically, we don’t require it but we recommend strongly that our clients get media trained prior to doing a live TV interview. And there’s two reasons for that, or, there’s a few reasons for it. The first reason is that, if you’re doing a TV interview and it doesn’t go well, you will never be asked on that show or network again, and it will be very hard to get another interview. And any other competing network after that. So, the first one is super important you need to make sure that you nail it.
Annie Scranton: What you just said is the second reason, certainly working on little quirks or filler words that we say a lot like ‘um’ or ‘like’, are definitely something that working with a media trainer can help you to do less of. And the third reason is that, doing an interview is a very fine balance between listening to the reporter’s question and answering that question, mixed with making sure that you are getting across the message and the branding for your company that you want to get out there. But, it’s a really terrible move when someone does an interview with a journalist and instead of really answering the journalist’s question they’re just pivoting back to talking about their own company and their own stuff. Reporters hate that for obvious reasons, and so that’s something that a media trainer can work with you on how to weave in your company’s own messaging in a very organic way that’s not going to seem overtly salesy.
Annie Scranton: When we’re doing an interview, when we’re setting our clients up with an interview with a print or digital journalist and it’s not recorded, we prep them by giving them a packet ahead of time, that’s going to have information on the outlet, on the reporter, links to several of their past articles for them to read. All of the information that we could ascertain about what types of potential questions the journalist is going to ask, and then go over with them, “Here are some key messaging points that you’re going to want to try to get across.”
Will Bachman: I must admit I have never heard of the concept of a media trainer, it’s not that I can recall. I suppose it’s an obvious thing that it would exist. Tell me a little bit more about that. Is that something that your firm offers, or are there folks that you refer people to? Tell me a little bit about a media trainer and how that works.
Annie Scranton: Yeah. We have someone in New York who we refer all of our clients to, who’s been doing this for years and did it internally at national TV networks grooming up-and-coming reporters, so he is really skilled at what he does.
Will Bachman: Do you want to share his name? You’re welcome to…
Annie Scranton: Sure. His name is Michael Sorrentino, and he’s actually my husband, and so we do work together in that capacity. I’m always very upfront with my clients about that, but he gives the best service possible to them. He knows I would kill him if he didn’t. But what happens is, he has a studio on 37th and Madison, and I should mention his part-time job is doing video production, so making videos for his clients, but this is something he does in conjunction with that. But at his studio in Midtown, he has a green screen studio so he is actually able to create what an actual in-studio live TV interview would feel like, and then he does an hour or so of prep when you first get there, sort of just the basics. Where to look. What kind of intonation you should use? How do you put an earpiece in? How should you sit in your chair so it looks like you have good posture? What should you wear to the interview?
Annie Scranton: I mean, there’s a lot when you think about it that really goes into it, because there’s nothing worse than doing a TV interview and then watching yourself back and not liking the way you look or how you’re perceived on air. So he’ll go over that, and then based on the information that we give him, he actually does a mock interview, does several of them, and he records it, and then you watch it back with him in the studio which can be painful for some of our clients if they don’t like the way they sound or they have improvement to do. But, literally, all of them are so grateful for the experience because imagine if they had just walked into a studio cold, and hadn’t done any of that prep.
Annie Scranton: It’s going to make you feel so much more comfortable because it can be nerve-racking to walk into a studio and all of a sudden there’s 15 people in the studio, like there are camera guys, audio guys, lady guys, there’s hot lights, there’s an anchor who does this every day, all made up and looking glamorous, and when you come in you want to be feeling really good because that’s going to contribute to you giving a good interview.
Will Bachman: Wow. Definitely. Sounds like going into that situation, you’ve done all this work building up credibility and you’ve hired a PR firm, spent all this money getting on the show, you definitely want to invest in some media training, seems.
Annie Scranton: Yes. Because if you, like I said, if you don’t and it doesn’t go well, it could be the worst thing. So you want to make sure that you’re going to be able to knock it out of the park.
Will Bachman: Yeah. Makes sense. So, what would your tips be on how to find and select a PR agency? So, it’s a little bit tough from the outside. The publicist seems very personable and friendly and stuff, but how do you know in advance who’s the most likely to deliver and deliver impact?
Annie Scranton: I think referrals are absolutely number one. If you can have a referral from a friend or a trusted business colleague or a partner or something, that’s always the best thing. So, I would say, my first piece of advice would be to crowdsource people in your network if they work for the PR firm and what their experience was with them, and if they would recommend that person. I think once you… and I mean, obviously, there’s just good old Google for searching and trying to find them on your own. I think once you speak with a publicist or have that introductory call, the next critical thing is to speak to their clients.
Annie Scranton: I have many clients, just had one this week, who’s, I think, about just signed with us, but he wanted to speak to two of my clients as a referral prior to signing the contract with us. And so, of course, we referred him to two clients because there is nothing like hearing it straight from the horse’s mouth, how the firm works and where their strengths lie and what their results are. And then a lot of our clients, which I think is to their benefit, add in a 30-day out clause in the contract, and we never put up a fight with that because we don’t really get those types of problems. Usually it’s working out and we have happy customers. But I think that’s just a way to add in a little extra security if and when you do decide to hire a PR firm.
Will Bachman: Okay. Great. Well, Annie, this has been hugely informative for me. I did not know much about PR and I feel a bit more educated now. For someone who wanted to follow up with you, what’s the best place for them to find you online and reach out?
Annie Scranton: Sure. Our website is pacepublicrelations.com and I am on Twitter at @anniescranton, and I’m also on LinkedIn at Annie Scranton as well. And hope to hear from any of you who are listening.
Will Bachman: Fantastic. And for anyone who wanted to reach out to Michael Sorrentino about media training, what’s the best place to find Michael?
Annie Scranton: He is online at sorrentinomedia.com. He shares a name with the Jersey Shore cast member, The Situation Sorrentino, so he’s kind of hard to find on Google if you just Google Sorrentino, so you would want to just go to sorrentinomedia.com and that’s where he is.
Will Bachman: Fantastic. Annie, thank you so much for joining today. This was awesome.
Annie Scranton: Thank you.