Saturday, June 25, 2011

When is free PR an imposition?

In our line of work we do things for our clients because they are paying us to do them, then there are those who do not recognize that what we do has value. Very often in our desire to impress, or because we vaguely heard that a potential client might want  to hire us or for whatever reason, we provide our services for free. And in PR that is the kiss of death because the experience we bring to making a few phone calls and placing an article or getting a reporter to visit is something that remains as invisible as body prep on a classic car.

What usually happens is that the client takes the placement and is very surprised when you send him a PR proposal, even more surprised if you send him an invoice! Here is where we can learn from that other very popular profession, attorneys. An attorney will never offer free services or advice because they are liable for whatever they say to start with, and it is just bad practice to boot. They have elaborate ways of saying that it is too dangerous to go out on a limb for a whim, but they do say it.

So how do you evade this trap, actually you don't, you get as close to the edge as you dare, then whip out your trusty contract for services. By the time the potential client recognizes that you are a serious business is just about the time that he should be ready to sign.  Oh, and remember that a contract is just a piece of paper, a wire transfer is a fact of life.

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