PORTLAND, Maine—TrueLine Public Relations, or TrueLine PR for short, is taking its first clients.
This is not exactly a business launch. The public relations and digital marketing agency is a spinoff of the decade-old publishing company, TrueLine Publishing, which owns and operates eight nationwide, digital trade magazines and has been recognized as one of the best places to work in Maine, repeatedly.
CEO Haj Carr largely distinguished the venture through its publishing background.
“In writing stories and interviewing, we work with marking and PR firms all the time,” he said. “We don’t like it. We find that they’re too focused on proving their worth, we don’t like their writing, and we find that they requiring catching up to speed because they don’t understand the industry their client is in. We’d like to add more than media savvy to the mix.”
Carr said his staffers are well-versed in construction, information technology, international corporate law, agriculture and agronomy, as well as food and beverage, and many other areas, having researched and written about them.
The niche publications they worked for are Vision, Toggle, Vanguard, Blueprint, US Builders Review, Canadian Builders Review, Vanguard Latin America, and US Business Executive.
Carr said the publishing company has done “in the ballpark” of 30,000 interviews over 10 years.
“In other words, if you hire us, you won’t spend time and money catching us up to speed,” he said.
In addition to the usual PR and marketing services, TrueLine PR will advise on common business challenges, such as hiring. It will also lend guidance on employee retention, general growth strategy, industry awards, and competitive bids and grants.
Carr said his idea to retool publishing resources is many years old, but only came to fruition a year ago, during late-night brainstorming sessions between him and key staff.
TrueLine PR spins off of a publishing company that has worked with major corporations—Motorola, Chobani and State Farm Insurance Companies among them—but Carr said clients of TrueLine PR are small to mid-sized companies, most making less than $50 million annually, “because they are the most in need.”
They might have a marketing person, or be considering hiring one, he explained.
But TrueLine PR would be more cost effective, he said, both because it has more production resources and can do more work in less time than a single person; and because it doesn’t need to be caught up to speed on industry specifics.
“And you don’t pay our health insurance,” he said.
Employees of the venture will be given a portion of its annual profits at the end of each year, which Carr said is “how every company should operate, anyway.”