My Ad Agency PR New Business Basics are Now Online

Audio of my “How to Craft an Agency PR Plan that Drives New Business” presentation from Michael Gass’s inaugural Fuel Lines New Business Conference is available at the Fuel Lines website.

Michael Gass portrait

Michael Gass

My session walks through the building blocks of creating a performance-based public relations plan for advertising, digital, media and PR agencies.

It also explains how the strategic use of PR can enhance awareness and credibility; distinguish your agency from competitors; and make it easier for decision makers to find you.

Key takeaways:

  • How PR helps prospects discover you
  • What PR can do for your agency that no other marketing tool can replicate
  • How a small- or mid-sized agency’s strategic use of PR can level the playing field with larger competitors
  • What your agency’s PR plan should include, and how to integrate PR into your new business development strategy
  • Cost-effective resources that can help you generate publicity
  • Why not having PR capabilities can cause your agency to miss out on new business opportunities


My podcast interview with the Agency Management Institute’s Drew McClellan about what goes into a successful in-house ad agency PR program also is online.

Key takeaways:

  • The dramatic changes PR has seen over the years
  • How agencies can use PR as a strategic tool to drive new business
  • How to determine what stories to pitch
  • Ways you can become discoverable so that reporters can find you
  • The kind of news that is truly newsworthy for agencies
  • Why you shouldn’t think about using PR with the expectation that people will write stories about your agency
  • How agencies can get the right kind of attention
  • Incorporating PR into your business plan
  • How to correctly use PR in relation to speaking engagements
  • How to use Google Alerts to capitalize on PR opportunities
  • The steps to take right away to boost your PR

2015 Fuel Lines New Business Conference Was Loaded with Helpful Ideas and Insights

Michael Gass speaking at the conference

Michael Gass organized the inaugural Fuel Lines New Business Conference in Nashville

I’m still unpacking all I heard at last week’s inaugural Fuel Lines New Business Conference for advertising, digital, media and PR agencies. The conference, which drew people from more than 60 cities—including a few from outside the U.S.—was held at Nashville’s snazzy new Music City Center. It was organized by my friend and colleague Michael Gass.

Because there were concurrent breakout sessions, it wasn’t possible to attend everything over the two-day period. But, I learned plenty from the sessions I was able to make. Here are 10 observations that struck me as particularly noteworthy from some of the thought leaders who spoke (though they only scratch the surface):

  • Nothing is more powerful than a human insight (Peter Levitan)
  • Chemistry is the key factor in new business presentations (Peter Levitan)
  • Create personas of prospective clients to prepare customized new business presentations (Bob Sanders)
  • We have grossly exaggerated the importance of brands to consumers; most of what we call brand loyalty comes from habit and convenience (Bob Hoffman)
  • The key factors for international agency business are trust, proximity, special skills/expertise, process and global reach (Julian Boulding)
  • Don’t be afraid to specialize in what you do best (Stephanie Holland)
  • Write RFPs with simple words and phrases, and eliminate unnecessary words; a confused mind always say no (Jody Sutter)
  • Give RFP prospects something extra of value (Jody Sutter)
  • Pick a niche and own it; don’t be afraid to say no to opportunities outside your niche (John Sonnhalter)
  • Positioning is foundational for new business; an agency should have a specific target and strong point of differentiation (Michael Gass)

In my breakout session, “How to Craft an Agency PR plan that Drives New Business,” I discussed the building blocks of creating a performance-based public relations plan for one’s agency. I also explained how the strategic use of PR can enhance awareness and credibility; distinguish an agency from competitors; and make it easier for agencies to be found by decision makers.

Don Beehler speaking at the conference

Speaking about ad agency PR at the Fuel Lines New Biz Conference

My three most important points:

  • Consistency is vital for successful agency PR
  • Becoming a trusted source is the quickest way to increase awareness and gain credibility
  • A successful PR plan is strategic with a clear focus, target and purpose

I sure hope Michael will have a second annual conference next year. This not only was a great learning and networking experience, but also a lot of fun.

Guest Post Explains How Ad Agencies Can Use PR Strategically for New Business

Want to learn how your ad agency can use public relations to drive new business? Check out my guest post on Michael Gass’ Fuel Lines blog. In it I explain how strategic use of PR can help small and mid-sized agencies—even a one-person operation—level the playing field with larger competitors.

Don Beehler provides public relations consulting services to advertising agencies and businesses.

Surveys Can Be Great Publicity Tools for Ad Agency PR

Need to generate publicity for your agency or a client, but you don’t have a news hook?

Try doing a survey. CareerBuilder and Dunkin’ Donuts recently surveyed 4,700 U.S. employees to see which jobs had workers consuming the most coffee. Not exactly a hard-news story, but it’s an entertaining and interesting one that got a lot of attention for both companies.

The release of the study coincided with International Coffee Day.

It turns out that marketing/public relations professionals rank number two in overall coffee use, just behind scientists/lab technicians.

Other major coffee consumers include education administrators, editors/writers, healthcare administrators, physicians, food preparers, professors, social workers and financial professionals.

Not surprisingly—at least to us coffee drinkers—nearly half of all U.S. workers claim that they are less productive without coffee. (On second thought, that actually sounds low to me.)      

Surveys can be great attention-getters, and you don’t have to spend a lot of money to conduct one and publicize the results. Nor do you have to be with a big company to get noticed.

My friend and colleague Michael Gass, who specializes in helping ad agencies with new business development through social media, often conducts online surveys and polls through his Fuel Lines blog, where he reports and comments on results.

In addition to gathering opinions and data through your blog or Facebook, Survey Monkey is a cost-effective, easy-to-use polling tool.

Once the results are in, you can then share them:

•       On a company or agency blog

•       Through an article

•       Via news release distribution sites such as Business Wire, PR Newswire or PRWeb

•       By pitching them directly to reporters and bloggers as a trend story

Try timing the release of your results to tie into a relevant holiday or observance for added news value.

Chases Calendar of Events has a wealth of information about events, holidays, festivals, observances, famous birthdays and anniversaries taking place each day throughout the world. During certain times of the year you can even submit suggestions to Chases for new events or special days, weeks and months.

So, if you don’t find a special day to coincide with the trend you want to feature, make up you own and celebrate it!

Don Beehler provides public relations consulting services to advertising agencies and businesses.

Take Your Ad Agency’s Blog to the Next Level

Michael Gass, a friend and colleague who specializes in helping ad agencies develop new business through social media, recently listed 40 ways to take your ad agency’s blog to the next level.

“Many agencies have a blog to be able to say, “Yes, we have an agency blog.” But their blog’s content is all over the place. No focus, no target, no purpose and therefore no traffic,” he writes.

Michael is very insightful and has some great advice for curing blog woes. I picked up some helpful tips that I plan to incorporate into future posts. To see his suggestions, visit:

Don Beehler provides public relations consulting services to small- and medium-sized advertising agencies and businesses.