6 Important Steps to Hiring a Publicist

Are you looking to hire a publicist and wondering which publicist would be the best fit for your brand? Whether your goal is to raise brand awareness, generate new leads, or get featured in the media, this post highlights six steps you can take when hiring a publicist. 

Before starting your research, here is a quick tip to keep in mind: Publicists have different specialties and offer various services. While some publicists may only provide traditional media outreach campaigns to present your brand for media coverage in a newspaper or magazine, other publicists or public relations agencies provide coaching services for public speaking and brand communication strategies.

Understanding areas of specialization will help you narrow your search to those publicists within your industry. After spending 16 years working as a publicist in the music & entertainment industry, I understand how confusing and overwhelming the process of hiring the right publicist for your project can be. After reviewing the following six steps, you will better understand vetting the right publicist for your brand. 

1. Know what your goals are for hiring a publicist. 

As a business owner, it is up to you to determine what your goals are for hiring a publicist in the first place. Publicists achieve results based on your brand’s goals and campaign objectives.

Knowing the purpose of your campaign will help you find the right publicist for the job. To help you narrow down what your goals are for hiring a publicist, consider the following questions:

  • Is it to get more media coverage? 
  • Grow and increase social media engagement?
  • Create a content calendar to highlight a specific product or service?
  • Increase brand awareness? 
  • Generate leads? 

Once you specify the goals for hiring a publicist to represent your brand, you will be better equipped to hone in on the right person or PR agency for you. Knowing your goals will also help the publicist with creating a personalized campaign strategy to achieve goals.

2. Find a publicist who specializes in your industry.

When looking for a publicist, it is crucial to look for someone who specializes in your industry. Publicists help brands get featured in media outlets such as newspapers, magazines, blogs, podcasts, and radio & TV. If you have a fashion brand, look for a publicist who has experience working with fashion brands. Another example would be if you run a company specializing in software for startups, then search for publicity experts who have previously worked with similar companies.

In some cases, specific industries intersect where a publicist with a background in planning corporate event marketing and planning can utilize that skillset to help a client who, for example, is an author planning a speaking tour or book signing for their new book. Hiring a publicist who is proficient in this regard could potentially be ideal.

3. Please do your research on the publicist to determine whether they are a good fit for you.

Start with doing your research on the publicist and their clients. You can use a tool like Google Alerts to help you find out if the publicist has been featured in any media outlets during their career. You should also check out the websites of brands who have worked with them; this will give you insight into how successful the publicist has been.

Hiring a publicist is a collaborative partnership that can last for months or years, depending on the type of campaign or service your publicist provides. A good rule of thumb is understanding who you will work with and how they communicate and oversee their clients. When speaking with them and learning more about their process, ask yourself is this the right business partnership for me?

A few additional questions to ask to learn more about how a publicist works are:

  • Do you work independently or with a team?
  • Who would be my point of contact throughout the campaign?
  • What campaign-related reports are provided, and how often?
  • What’s expected from the client / What does the client need to provide?

4. Know what you need from the publicist.

One of the common issues I have experienced throughout my career as a publicist is consulting with potential clients who need help understanding what a publicist does and the role a publicist plays in helping to build a brand. Before you talk to a publicist, ensure you know what your company is looking for in terms of services and ROI.

This means understanding what a publicist can do to help you reach your goals. Determine what roles the publicist will play within your organization.

Will they only be responsible for media outreach? Or do you need help with social media management as well? You should have an idea of what type of work they specialize in so that you can see if it matches your needs.

5. Ask questions about their process. 

Before you talk to a publicist, be prepared to ask questions about their campaign process. It would help if you asked them how they work and which platforms they use to manage a client’s project or publicity campaign. Be bold and ask about their track record.

You should also ask them if they have any resources or project samples that they can provide to you. Are there articles or blog posts that they’ve written? Do they have access to certain media outlets in your industry? Most publicists have an online portfolio of articles, media clips, and campaign work. 

6. Ask about their media contacts and what publications they will pitch to for your brand.

It would be best to ask the publicist about their media contacts and what publications they will pitch to for your brand. Knowing this will remove any guesswork from you wondering which publications your brand may be featured in. You can also ask how many pitches they send out each day, week, or month. This will give you an idea of how effective their outreach is and whether hiring a publicist for a specific project is worthwhile.

Wrap Up

It’s important to know what you want from a publicist and find one who can deliver the right results for your brand. Before you hire a publicist, you will want to confirm they have the experience and qualifications relevant to your industry. Doing research ahead of time will help ensure you find the right publicist for your brand.


Keetria is an entrepreneur, wellness advocate, and brand strategy coach for creatives & entrepreneurs with 16 years of public relations expertise working with some of the world’s leading brands, startups, media personalities, and entertainers. If you want to work together, don’t hesitate to reach out!


Here’s 5 Ways to get Publicity without a Publicist

Though publicists are certainly useful if you want to get an inside scoop on an industry based around who you know, there is no reason that you can’t build up your own relationship with the press by yourself. The key is to make things easy for the people you want to write about you and do a lot of the work yourself.

So, here are 5 things you can do right now.


If you want to make a splash in an industry, you really need to know as many people as possible. This is where networking comes in. Get yourself some cards and know what your mission statement is going to be that day. Set yourself some targets: how many people are you going to talk to? How many people are you going to give cards to? How many cards do you want to receive?

Use Social Media Like a Pro

Make sure that you follow lots of relevant people in your industry on social platforms like Twitter and post regularly. Actually, Twitter is great for this because it is just informal enough to make conversation feel more natural. When someone follows you back (especially an editor or journalist) make sure you send them a personal message introducing yourself and ask if they would like to hear about your work. This is the best way to get their attention and show that you have something interesting about you.

Make Yourself Newsworthy

If you don’t have anything to tell people then there is no way you are going to get any publicity. The first rule of publicity is that you need something to publicize! You don’t have to make things up or do things just because they will bring you publicity, instead you should think about what makes your brand so unique and then see where the stories come from naturally. For example, hiring a new team is a good story or releasing a summer collection is another one.

Write Your Own Press Releases

If you have some exciting news to share, write it into a press release and then send it to the most relevant editors in your industry’s media. Rather than share with just anyone, do some research to make sure that you are sending to the right person. The rule here is quality not quantity so you may need to write a couple of different versions of your PR to make it more likely that it will be used.

Always be Ready with a Portfolio

When an opportunity comes along, you don’t want to miss out because you weren’t ready. Having a portfolio that you keep up to date will make things a lot easier. Keep track of recent successes, new products or services, what makes your brand different and a few stories you can share. You should also have plenty of images you can share in case a publisher only wants unpublished pictures. With this in mind, update your photography regularly including headshots, product pictures and other relevant images.