The ever-changing PR salesperson

Pitching PR services to potential clients is a very different proposition than it was even just a few years ago.

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For the past 20 years, I worked corporate-side gigs and carried the business card of a number of public relations agencies. I worked in shops large and small—some international and some local—and in shops that had a hand in almost every category of business, including high-technology, consumer and business-to-business. At each stop I had the same responsibilities: being a smart and savvy PR practitioner while working in the trenches and managing accounts. And, at every stop I was responsible for new business generation.

Much has been said about how PR has changed over the past few years. While most of what’s said is accurate and important, noteworthy is the fact that seeking new business has also changed. Here are a few ways new business generation has changed:

Fourth, referrals are huge—while that’s not new, their importance is greater than ever. It’s a crowded market and prospects have plenty of agency choices, so the best way to get a jump start on a selection process is to ask a friend or industry colleague. Many times we’ve asked about the agencies invited to an agency round-up and learned that some of those were suggested by someone else (Independent of researching vendors online). If you work hard to keep clients happy, they help you get new business.

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