The main reason that I’ve written this blog is really to give some advice to all those riders who are thinking about getting themselves a PA. If you are about to appoint someone, make sure you do your homework!
All too often, riders can end up damaging relationships with their sponsors or potentially interested sponsors because the very person they have entrusted with their name and (effectively) their whole brand either has no experience or no understanding of the job involved.
In the past, brands we have worked with have either dropped riders because they feel that the person they have had to deal with has become too demanding and difficult, or have stopped conversations because that person has huge, often unrealistic expectations on sponsorship packages and therefore doesn’t look at what the other added value that is on offer – for example, working with a professional PR (i.e. the brand’s PR) – can bring to them in terms of attracting other sponsorship!
As a PR, our job is often to liase directly with rider PAs, and to be honest we have had a few very negative experiences! One example includes a rider PA who, after we followed her up several times for a response, advised us that we should have made our email more specific, in terms of mentioning the sponsor when emailing them about a general sponsored rider editorial opportunity. Actually, you should have our email saved in your address book and the fact that they then went on to admit that they just thought it was a general request, shocked me even more – what if that general request had been a media one? You are paying these people to do a job for you so make sure that your sponsors and associated parties are happy with working directly with your PA. A quick call from you could make the difference and don’t ever think that you are too big-a-name for the chop! Sometimes its not the profile that keeps brands associated with you, it’s the relationship.
Of course, there are also brilliant rider PAs. One such success story is Elodie Frost, a rider PA who does an absolutely fantastic job. So what is it that makes a good PA?
From a PR perspective, it’s someone who returns our calls, helps organise winner’s days effectively, manages the rider’s diary, and basically helps us to maintain consistent communication, which in turn enables us, the PR, to filter through quotes/stories/images quickly enough to react to press deadlines. And in Elodie’s opinion, a good PA is the following:
“You need some relevant experience of the industry to really understand both the rider’s needs and also the sponsor’s and backer’s expectations. You need to be efficient and organised in order to keep all parties happy and have a good response time to any queries or information required from the rider”
In my next blog I will share my top tips for anyone looking to appoint a rider PR, so keep your eyes peeled!