Marijane Funess February 28, 2012 | 08:53:09

Savvy PR Spokesperson Selection

In PR we are often called upon to help a client find a third-party expert to get its message to the masses. It is the agency’s task to define the spokesperson role, vet candidates and negotiate terms of an agreement. We like to follow 3 “golden rules” of savvy spokesperson selection to ensure success.

Fit like a glove (or very close) We look for spokespeople who have an authentic connection to the product or service being pitched. For example, in securing a spokesperson for a weight loss product, the assignment called for an expert who was not only well-versed in “diet-speak” but actually needed to trim down. We also ask ourselves if the person appeals to the demographic and is a “believer” in the product or service.

Credentials are key In today’s competitive media market, a spokesperson who perfectly aligns with your client’s product or service is not enough to effectively spread the word. We look for sought-after spokespeople who are interviewed often, who have their own media contacts and their own creative ideas for TV segments and print pieces. It also helps bolster credibility if the spokesperson has penned any previous articles or written a book or blog on the subject.

(Many happy) Returns on the Investment Investigate all fees associated with the spokesperson agreement so there are no surprises. For example, most contracted spokespeople have a “day rate” for working days and a lesser rate for travel days. These often include expected incidentals such as meals, but can also include some that require finessing such as the spokesperson that wanted their child care paid for. Experienced spokespeople will charge for hair and make-up and transportation which may really tax a budget unless you are prepared.

What else do you look for when securing a spokesperson?

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