As discussed earlier in the month on this blog, I announced that Retailbound would be holding a couple different interviews with people who represent various different aspects of the business world. We already published our interview with James Yu of SimplyGlobo Inc., to get a manufacturer’s perspective. Today we are going to shift gears to the public relations side of business. Though an extremely recognizable business term, often times it is a struggle to produce one definitive definition of public relations, so this is why we talked with Ria Romano, who started her own PR firm called RPR Public Relations, Inc. Her insights have strengthened our understanding of the role of public relations. The importance of Public relations for business should not be overlooked. The likes of NGP Integrated Marketing Communications are essential for businesses attempting to create a positive connection with their audience. Hopefully, your understanding is improved also!
Evie: What prompted you to start RPR Public Relations, Inc? How long have you been in business?
Ria: I started RPR Public Relations, Inc. because I knew there had to be a better way to service start-ups and small-to-medium sized companies. The PR firm I was employed with at the time was the largest in the Southeast U.S. and focused solely on their Enterprise-level clients in terms of customer service – but the start-ups and SMBs were falling to the wayside. This just didn’t feel right to me. While the Enterprise-level client is the most lucrative – the backbone of America is built by start-ups and SMBs. I felt these smaller companies deserved the same level of customer service – and results – as the Enterprise-level companies were enjoying. So I started RPR with a focus on being the champion for small businesses.
Evie: How big is RPR Public Relations? How many clients/employees do you have? Are your clients generally small businesses?
Ria: RPR Public Relations, Inc. is a boutique PR firm with 8 full-time staff. We do not utilize interns or recent graduates – the people working on your account here are multi-degreed with decades of experience in PR, Marketing and Communications. Many of us are former media professionals ourselves, so we not only have stellar personal contacts with the media – we know exactly what they are looking for – because it used to be us on the other side of the table. Each of our staff is hand-picked and we have zero turn-over – everyone who started with the firm is still here after 11 years. We believe in long-term relationships with our staff – as well as our clients. Most of our clients have been with us for at least 4 years – and one client – a consumer electronics manufacturer – has been with us an astounding 9 years. Our clients are generally start-ups and small-to-medium sized businesses with the occasional Enterprise-level corporation in the tech or life sciences sector.
Evie: I see that you are based in Maine? Are you clients generally local or do they come from all over? What do clients generally seek from RPR Public relations?
Ria: Our flagship office is in Boca Raton, Florida and we recently migrated to Portland, Maine. Portland’s an amazing seaside town only 40 minutes by air from New York City – and without the New York City price tag for office space. It’s all about convenience and keeping overhead low so we can pass that savings on to our clients by keeping our fees lower. And if you’ve never been to Maine – you have to check it out – it’s pristine, beautiful and the people are amazing.
Since we opened our doors – we have enjoyed servicing clients nationwide and internationally – including Asia, Africa, Russia and throughout Europe. We don’t focus on local clients – our offices are simply in locations we like to live – and close to major airports. Most clients prefer to utilize Skype – and that’s great because it adds to their convenience. The world is flat nowadays and geography doesn’t matter. But because we work internationally – we also had to adjust to working 24/7/365. RPR isn’t a 9 to 5 workplace because of the clients we service in different time zones. Who doesn’t love the 3 am conference call?
When clients contact us – they each have different needs. We don’t provide cookie-cutter solutions … so we do a lot of listening. When you first meet with us … you’ll notice that – we aren’t the hard sell, car-sales type PR firm. We want to hear what your goals and challenges are – and then digest them and provide you with thoughtful, tailored PR & Marketing solutions with an eye on ROI. We understand that you may have agency crisis help and therefore you will need the best!
Evie: What type of services do you provide? Which is your most popular?
Ria: Just a few of our services we offer include:
• Public Relations
• New Product Introductions
• Crowdfunding PR
• Brand Management
• Brand Consulting
• Startup Development
• Media Relations
• Press Releases
• Marketing Communications
• Branding Campaigns
• Social Media Marketing
• Local and Regional Publicity
• National Publicity
• International Publicity
Our most popular services are new product launches, brand development and media relations – both B2B and B2C – for print and online as well as broadcast.
Evie: How did your relationship with Retailbound begin?
Ria: If memory serves me correctly, I met Yohan online through the online global marketplace Guru.com.
Evie: What are you responsible for with Retailbound? What does a typical press release consist of?
Ria: On occasion, our PR firm assists Retailbound with PR activities. This is a great example of how we offer smaller businesses exactly what they need for services – without the “fat.” Why should you pay for a service you don’t need?
A typical press release is a 400 to 450 word news story that answers the who, what, where, why, when and how much-type questions. The key word is “news”. A press release must be newsworthy – and it also has to adhere to all the ever-changing search engine rules.
Evie: What advice would you give, in relations to PR, to a manufacturer when they want to announce a new product?
Ria: There are so many important aspects to remember in terms of PR when a manufacturer is preparing to announce a new product – but at the top of my list is define your exact target market. It sounds simplistic, but one of the biggest mistakes we see small-to-medium sized manufacturers make when launching the PR & Marketing for a new product is they target a very large market and audience. When you are just starting out building your brand or launching a new product – there’s no logical reason for that – especially for companies with limited resources. What you save today will protect you tomorrow and since most small companies aren’t self-funded – investors will appreciate the tangible results obtained using targeted PR. It’s all about minimizing risks. The first step to doing this is defining your exact audiences and markets to avoid wasting time and money. A PR firm can help you evaluate the best locations in the media to reach your potential customers – both B2B and B2C. If you do your homework pre-launch – you’ll have a better chance at not just meeting your investors’ expectations – but exceeding them.
Ria Romano, Partner
RPR Public Relations, Inc.
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