Welcome back to another Ask Me Anything, a weekly series where we talk to our friends, our viewers, and our community about all of their pressing needs, questions, wants, and desires.

Let’s take a look at the mailbag to see which questions are burning this week.

Have you had to present a PR plan as part of an interview process to get a job? I am interviewing for a PR role and the company has asked me to present a PR plan (market overview, media landscape, hooks/ stories, and target outlets). I am split between going all out to impress and holding back until I get the job. Thoughts?

The PR Plan Creation Conundrum

There are two sides to this question—and it creates a conundrum.

As an employer, we want to know that you can write and edit and that you can take a concept and create craft a plan around it.

Does it need to be perfect? No.

Does it have to be fully baked into something that could actually be executed? No.

But it should demonstrate how your brain works and whether or not you have the capacity to be able to write, that you can think strategically, and that you can be creative.

While you may have some of these things in your portfolio, it’s not an honest assessment of what you can do on your own.

Those things are typically created by more than one person—you may have worked with a team or had an editor or even just had a friend review something.

It’s not typically representative of work you’ve done on your own.

So the idea that an employer asks you to craft a PR plan allows them to see how you think on your own.

You Shouldn’t Do It for Free

On the flip side of the conundrum, though, is that you shouldn’t do that for free.

Just like we wouldn’t craft a PR plan for a prospect so they can see how we think—they’d have to pay for that—an employer shouldn’t expect you to do that work for free.

We always provide a stipend for the writing, editing, and PR plan creation of the interview process.

This is for three reasons:

  1. We will never go into a new business pitch and provide a PR plan to a prospect. They have to pay for that.
  2. Your time is worth something. If we’re asking you to create something you’d normally get paid to create, we’re going to pay for it. It’s the same reason we won’t provide a PR plan to a prospect. That’s worth something.
  3. If there is an idea in the plan we like, we effectively own it if we pay for the creation. We always ask (and it’s never happened where the candidate didn’t become an employee), but there are oftentimes ideas we would love to pursue.

While many organizations will ask for a plan, it’s totally appropriate to ask for a stipend for it.

If you’re interviewing with an agency, most would be impressed that you won’t give away your ideas for free.

Your ideas are your intellectual property. While it’s certainly true that most can’t execute them without you, you still should not give them away for free.

And that’s all I have to say about that (for now).

Have a Question For Us?

If you watch the video, you’ll see my intern request something of you. Whether or not you participate (please don’t participate) is up to you.

And…if you have a question for a future AMA you can drop them below or join us in the (free) Spin Sucks Community.

You can also find us on social media, email us, or stop by with a bottle of wine for porch drinking.

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

View all posts by Gini Dietrich