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50 Most Admired Companies of the Year 2022

One of the nation’s best public relations firms specializing in media relations, reputation management, and crisis management: Otter PR


Otter PR is a full service public relations and media agency. The firm focuses on media relations, which means its deliverables are publications. Otter PR’s clients pay it to build their reputations by getting their brand in the press. The firm’s approach to PR involves organic storytelling and pitching. Otter PR’s team sits with clients and leverages its experience and expertise to figure out what communications strategy will make their story most interesting to the media. Then the team will pitch it in a way that is focused on getting the client featured in podcasts, radio, print, and TV. Otter PR also offers media training to make sure that clients can get the maximum potential from their media opportunities. It is a regular occurrence to see the firm’s clients featured in Entrepreneur, Inc, Yahoo, and other top tier publications.

Crisis communications and reputation management are two other services that Otter PR offers. The company doesn’t believe that any business should go through a media crisis alone. Otter PR has an experienced team that step in to help guide businesses in this stressful time with strategic communication. In the aftermath, Otter PR can help businesses to come back stronger with reputation management strategies that keep search engines and social media focused on the positive work that businesses are doing.

In conversation with Scott Bartnick, Co-Founder of Otter PR

Q. What was the motivation behind starting Otter PR?

Otter PR sprang from pure entrepreneurship. I had been inspired to start my own e-commerce business after reading The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. As part of the process I reached out to Jay Feldman, who eventually became the co-founder of Otter PR, because he was the only other person who I knew my age who had his own business. I asked Jay about LLCs and business entities and he asked me about my business ideas. As I began to read to him the list of about 20 business ideas I had, he stopped me about five ideas in and said, “That one. I’m in for 50 percent.” He wrote me a check the next day and we began building businesses together. At one point we both had marketing agencies that were doing well separately, but we believed that the overall outcome could be better if we worked together. By leveraging his skills for marketing and my skills for operations, we came together to create something that grew much more quickly than our individual efforts. That was the beginning of Otter PR.

Q. PR campaigns are highly effective when they are targeted and tailored towards an individual. How flexible is your services for customization?

The work that Otter does for clients is extremely flexible. It is not boilerplate. Once a client comes on board, we sit with them, learn their story, and build a customized strategic plan for getting there. The plan includes the client’s expectations, their goals in terms of the outlets they want to reach, and the message that they want to get out to the community. As a public relations firm, our job is communication with the external-facing world. Once the client defines the goal that they want to achieve, whether that is more sale, more money, more recognition, more influence in their industry, stronger recruitment, or anything else, we develop a strategy aimed at achieving those core goals. For each client, the strategy is tailored to meet their unique goals through telling their unique story.


Q. It is quite difficult to achieve success in every PR campaign that is developed. How do you overcome failures?

I do not believe it is that difficult to achieve success in every PR campaign. If you have the right strategy going in, you can execute. The biggest challenge to achieving success is unrealistic expectations. When you are working with a business that is making $40,000 a year and expects to be on the cover of Forbes, there is a problem with expectations. In that situation, our job is to develop a strategy that allows the client to grow from $40,000 to $60,000 and $80,000, leveling up one step at a time with appropriate wins that are building their media presence. You can always have success, provided you define success in a way that aligns with your business size. When you have a credible business that has numbers behind it and a reputation behind it, you can achieve top tier exposure. If you are not there yet, then you build to that point with good communication on blogs and smaller podcasts and smaller publications. When you engage with a PR firm that knows what they are doing, it is impossible to not have success.

Q. Do you have any new services ready to be launched?

We are always building out and testing new services. Right now we are heavily focused on developing our SEO offerings. We have the skills and strategy to do backend SEO, but we are developing strategies for organic link building. By securing top tier features for our clients in outlets like Forbes that include links back to their sites, we help to build the client’s credibility with Google. This boosts traffic, boosts sales, and boosts search ranking, and it is something that fits naturally with what we do for clients.

Q. What does the future hold for your company and its customers? Are exciting things on the way?

We are very excited that we are about to close on a commercial building in downtown St. Pete that will be our team headquarters. This will allow us to grow from 800 square feet to 8000 square feet. Regarding our future, we will continue to be dedicated to the success of our customers, which means we are always learning, building new relationships, and learning new processes. We are in that startup growth phase where we are seeing that straight up line, which is really exciting but also a reminder that we need to continue to focus on retaining and delighting our customers.

About the leaders behind the success of Otter PR in their own words

My co-founder and I are both serial entrepreneurs who own four or five entities each. Personally, I started my journey as an engineer working with Fortune 500 companies, but left that world, moved to Asia, and stole the Tim Ferriss 4-day work week mantra. It was at that point that I started my first e-commerce brand and started on the road to launching Otter PR.

“With highly experienced publicists and a world-class writing staff, you will be blown away by what we can accomplish.”