Thursday, April 23, 2009

Lead Times

I am so grateful and thankful for the awesome press I have gotten lately. I guess if a PR person can't do well getting their own press than how can they do well getting others? With all of this great press comes a lot of inquiries which rocks! It is awesome and I am so very thankful for all of the interest.

I feel I must put a note out to those interested in my potential services and as I reiterated at the VT Travel Industry Conference, PR (whether it's traditional or social media) takes time and patience.

Think of it this way, if you are a paying client, and I tell you I need to push one of your deadline driven projects or cannot respond to the media and their lead times and deadlines because I have to go to a bunch of new business meetings, how would that resonate with you as your PR provider? I would imagine not very well.

It is for this exact reason that I work on longer lead times for new business.

I don't know everything and I certainly don't know everything about running a business, but I do know if I neglect my personal life and health so I can fit everyone in, than my reasons for starting this business in the first place are completely in vein. I also know that all of my wonderful paying clients have made a commitment to me and I to them and I must honor and respect that even if that means a new potential client's deadlines do not become number one.

Rachel Carter PR is a one person operation. I have assistance from my fantastic significant other who acts as my mailroom assistant, courier, banking assistant, photographer, and sometimes research assistant, but that can only go so far and I want to make sure our engagement and commitment to each other is not secondary to my business. This is a continuous struggle that I am tackling as my number one priority this spring and summer.

I have had interns in the past and currently am working with an apprentice to be able to take on some of the work load, which is at my discretion, not at the request of a potential client. I do not currently have any openings for interns.

I also do not want to grow into a larger structure, but want to focus my business on being sustainable as a one person operation so I can be true to my values and life goals.

There are many reasons marketing agencies with PR departments exist and one of those reasons is to offer clients with limited wait time because there is the staff structure to support new business opportunities.

To all prospective clients - I want to help you with your PR efforts and I want to be able to work with everyone who wants to work with me. To do so, I need some help on your part. Here are a few guidelines to help me help you:

1.) Do not wait until you are ready to start implementing PR to try to make an appointment. There are two reasons for this - one is so you can get on my schedule and the other is because you should be thinking about PR as you get other marketing efforts coordinated.

2.) Understand I work on a month lead time to schedule new business meetings. This is because I bill monthly and have my scope of work planned out for the month and need to allow for last minute deadlines and issues for my clients as well. Please remember, I do not have mini me's to help out in time crunches. It is never too early to schedule a new business meeting, but it can be too late.

3.) If you would like me to help with event promotion I require at least a six month lead time (a year is preferable). If you bring me on from the beginning, it will be more cost effective and way less headaches for all involved. This is going to be true for anyone you are looking at for PR - events need lots of lead times and they need PR to be integrated with all other marketing efforts. PR is no longer a stand alone marketing effort!!!

4.) Please consider all aspects of potentially working together. A longer term, less-up-front cost relationship is going to be far more beneficial for you in the long run than the hurry-up-and-wait syndrome. This does not necessarily mean I am trying to get you in some long term retainer relationship. I am trying to help you think of other ways to handle your PR. Could I provide longer term consulting to help keep you on track with your PR efforts? Do you have or should you have a marketing assistant I could train to handle your PR and provide a minimal supervisory role with them over the long haul of your PR? Both of these services I offer and both have been very effectively executed with clients.

5.) Are you looking at PR as a cheap alternative to advertising? Are you trying to promote something to get funding first so you can continue? Are you trying to publicize before you have anywhere for the public or media to get any further information? Do you have no idea what your target audience is or what you are trying to say? If you answer yes to any of these questions, than Rachel Carter PR is not a right fit for you.

Thank you for listening and hopefully understanding. Love and Light to All.


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