When you remove your bridge, don’t be surprised when the spotlight that you were enjoying dims significantly… Perhaps not for the first six months, but it’s guaranteed after that, if the articles from a clipping service also diminishing is any indication.
This is just the way it is, as my nearly 30 years in PR have taught me.
Hiring a publicist is hiring a storyteller. If that person also has good rapport with his/her writing community, in my instance it’s wine, then that person is a bridge for you that takes you places that you’ve not been before, with his or her media relations. Those are the people that help to build a brand… on the other side of world not yet available to most vintners (in this instance)… People weren’t really open to you prior to the hiring of the PR person, pretty much.
Hiring that PR person, who has had years of solid relationships built on trust and sharing of insights with the writing community, is a brand’s stepping stone into that inner sanctum.
Employers and clients don’t always get that what they’re paying for is access (not ownership). Once they think they’ve got the ball rolling for themselves, they let the bridge go. Sometimes it works, and most of the time it doesn’t, if all of my history/experiences are correct. (While it’s no scientific finding, it’s 30 years of my own experiences ~ and the experiences of others sharing with me ~ and our observations.)
What got me to writing this is that a former client recently said this to me,
“I wonder what’s happened to Writer XYZ? He used to always write about us.”
The truth of the matter is that when he’d want that writer’s attention, he’d call me, and in turn I’d call up Writer XYZ. I’d share with the writer and tell him what was new for Client ABC. Writer XYZ would them write something with ABC’s name and/or brand included.
All I could say to Mr. ABC, after the shock of his naivete, was, “That’s strange, XYZ and I still talk all the time.”
What did I leave out in my reply to Mr. ABC? Plenty…
Later, after the conversation with ABC, I was talking with a colleague about the conversation, and she asked me, “Did you tell him what you just told me?”
I said, “No, I didn’t.”
What did I share with my colleague and not with Mr. ABC?
Here it is exactly what I said to my colleague:
ABC is just like all the others. What they don’t understand is that I’m the bridge between the writing community and them. Most writers are really comfortable with me, and will listen if I have something I’d like them to know, or someone I’d like them to know about. When they get rid of me, they’ve lost their bridge… And the writer’s on to the thousands of more brands in the world… and what’s happening with my new client.
Who knows if the next PR person is going to have the same relationship and bridge with those writers? The rapport may be great between the client/employer and the media person, but there’s no guarantee.
Obviously there isn’t in this instance I’m citing, or Mr. ABC former client wouldn’t have asked that question.
I can’t tell you how many writers will ask me to still work with them, to be the bridge between a former client and themselves, because they know I’ll always get through. It seems that they’d rather have me continue to help them, than to begin a new process.
We’re all such creatures of habit, and that’s the important ingredient (cement) with this “bridge” issue.
Do I do it? Yeah… I’ll still forward their requests, arrange for things, etc. I still get asked, sometimes even years later. My connections on the other side of clients are ever important to me… Why would I ruin that connection?