How to Land Your First PR Client
If you have been ready to go out on your own as a PR or social media consultant, there has never been a better time.
From the Bureau of Labor:
“Employment of public relations specialists is expected to grow 24 percent from 2008 to 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations. The need for good public relations in an increasingly competitive and global business environment should spur demand for these workers, especially those with specialized knowledge or international experience.
Employees who possess additional language capabilities also are in great demand. The recent emergence of social media in the public relations is expected to increase job growth as well. Many public relations firms are expanding their use of these tools, and specialists with skills in them will be needed.
Employment in public relations firms is expected to grow as firms hire contractors to provide public relations services, rather than support more full-time staff when additional work is needed. Additional job opportunities should result from the need to replace public relations specialists who retire or leave the occupation for other reasons.”
This is good news!
It can be a daunting thing to step out on your own as a consultant. Particularly if you are leaving the agency world or have never dealt with invoicing, contracts and negotiating or landing clients – it’s a lot! And before you can even get to the stress of negotiating with a client you have to find the clients. Where are they?
Something I’ve often heard people struggle with is how to systematically go after clients that match our passions so that we always have work that we love.
Because the more passion we have for the subject of our client work, the more engaged we will be in the work, the more excited we will be to do the work, and the more energy and time we’ll put into it. And when I’m passionate about my clients and projects, often I find that I’m able to be much more creative.
Here’s how I find and land clients that are the best fit for me:
First identify your passions. Leave the PR out of the equation and figure out what you are passionate about in life. I happen to be quite passionate about coffee, history, Romare Bearden, John Coltrane, women’s empowerment and economic development. These passions have helped me attract clients who are like-minded because they know I understand their issues and will love working with them.
Identify Your Specialty Skills If you’re starting out in PR it will be easier to get clients if you can tell them exactly what you offer. When thinking of your specialty skills should ask yourself if you love event planning, crisis communications, speechwriting, helping organizations manage their social media, etc.
Identify a couple of industries you want to mine for your clients. You may find that you love to plan events for restaurants and hotels, so your industry might be hospitality and tourism. Love writing speeches for politicians? Politics and government may be your focus.
Put it all together. Make a statement that begins with “I am…” For example: I am a political speechwriter for politicians that focus on education reform. Or: I am an event planner for boutique restaurants attached to hotels in the New York City Area.
Follow a prospecting cycle. Opportunities are everywhere if you make a plan and follow up on a regular basis. Once I make my prospecting list and reach out once, I don’t stop there. I follow a specific schedule that helps me get my foot in the door and ultimately close the deal
- who and where your clients are
- what your specific marketable kills are
- what you are most passionate about
- how to find clients that match your skills and passions
- the prospecting process
- how to identify and approach new clients