Position: Fashion PR Intern
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Position: Fashion PR Intern
Position: Fashion PR Intern
Location: Los Angeles, CA
As the adage goes, we only have one chance to make a first impression. To be exact, research tells us it’s more like 4 seconds; that’s how quickly we form judgments about others after an initial introduction. It’s another 30 seconds before that judgment is largely finalized.
As professional communicators, our lives often feel largely digital, consisting of a ton of email, conference calls, and texts, but that work is largely due to our ability to pitch and secure new business, establish and extend media and partner relationships, and seize opportunities wherever we find them. All of these efforts require us is to facilitate trusting, long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationships, which often starts by making a positive, in-person impression. our physical presence, charisma and yes, body language.
When pitching a potential client, we often focus on the proposal itself; the creative ideas, presenting our expertise and establishing rapport as trustworthy experts in our field. And while the actual contents of the presentation are crucial, Business Insider reports that 93% of people’s judgments of others are based on non-verbal input like body language. Brian Tracy, a leading authority on the development of human potential and personal effectiveness, claims that 55% of a person’s opinion about someone else is determined by physical appearance.
So before you gather the troops and head into the conference room with your laptop, projector and handouts, make sure your team has been properly prepped on a different kind of presentation,
From your entrance into the room to the actual presentation, you’re giving off a ton of subtle clues that are being interpreted, often unconsciously, by others in the room. While it’s not necessary to go full on pageant, by walking in with bright eyes and an easy smile, you are instantly commanding attention and putting everyone at ease. By commanding the stage with enthusiasm and excitement, you can affect not only your own mood but the entire vibe of the room.
If you haven’t yet viewed Social Psychologist Amy Cuddy’s Ted Talk on body language, it’s a must for you and anyone on your pitch team. Power posing is basically the idea that how we stand can change our own confidence level, improve other’s perception of us as leaders and directly impact the success of our interpersonal exchanges.
While so you don’t need to stand for 30 seconds power posturing like Kimmy Schmidt, you do want to make sure you are demonstrating confidence to decision-makers by knowing the basics of body language.
Prepping with power posturing combined with some positive self-talk (you can do this in a mini-huddle with your fellow team members if pitching as a group) can make huge strides in remembering to keep your physical presence top of mind during the pitch.
For me, I make it a point to sneak off to the bathroom before the pitch starts. I stand as tall as I possibly can, roll my shoulders back, tilt my chin up, and look myself dead in the eyes with my head held high and tell myself something like, “you’re one strong, courageous woman. You are prepared, you have great ideas and are going to nail this pitch.” By walking into a meeting high on self-confidence plus conscious body posture, I radiate determination, poise, and trust; all characteristics that clients are looking for from their PR professional.
Take advantage of the meet & greet and set-up phase of your presentation, to be proactive about connecting with everyone at the table with strong eye contact and a firm handshake. Resist the urge to fumble with technology or chat nervously with your co-workers. You set the stage for connection by putting out your hand and introducing yourself to every person in that room. By establishing quick yet direct contact with each individual in the room you increase their attention and interest in your pitch.
In addition to the standard handshake, aim to make a real personal connection during your pitch by allowing room for personal anecdotes and relationship-building tangents. After all, how much do you love it when an honest, not creepy stranger gives you a sincere compliment? Doesn’t it have the potential to turn your whole day around? Easy wins in our business can be as simple as noticing a great haircut, laptop case or pair of shoes.
When you make it a point to address your contact by pointing your body directly at them. Approaching someone at an angle sends off subconscious signals of insecurity and mistrust.
We all have nervous ticks – rocking back and forth, bouncing from foot to foot, throat-clearing, or descending into a plain-faced scowl. During a presentation, you need to keep your energy and focus up in order to help your prospective client be an active participant in your pitch. Fidgeting distracts from the core message and puts the focus on your hair-pulling, rather than your brilliant strategy.
Before you pitch, record a prep session to discover what subconscious behaviors your audience may experience when you present.
This is your time to shine, so own the room by moving about and commanding attention. Hand gestures give more meaning to your most important points, so use them. When you’re comfortable being in the spotlight, your audience becomes more comfortable with you as well.
The Gernard Method recommends the following:
As a communications pro, you likely have a ton of natural charisma. Put it to good use by ensuring that what you say, as well as how you say it, supports your ability to facilitate and foster trust among prospective clients, making it clear sense that you are the right person for the job.
East coast fashion and outdoor PR agency, CGPR has opened an Orange County location and made their first west coast hire; Angie Mathews will act as Account Executive out of the Costa Mesa office, helping to expand CGPR’s national client base.
Working in PR means a never-ending to-do list (client research, social media management, editor desksides, staying on top of industry latest trends to start), not to mention a barrage of back-to-back meetings, client requests, and seemingly nonstop email/slack/text exchanges each day. So how do savvy PR and marketing professionals stay organized?
Here are some of my favorite, hard-earned tricks, tips and tools to keep you at the top of your game and more organized with your to-do list, your clients, and your schedule:
Whether scribbled in a notebook, or a combination of email and appointments everyone has a preferred method of keeping a list of what needs to get done. A great way to ensure you’re priorities are top of mind is to choose an app that will keep your tasks at the ready, even when you are not at your desk. Get immediate access to anything you might need on your list right when and where you need it with an app like Todoist or Wunderlist with Gmail integration.
With your to-do list in hand, it’s time to get to work. Each day you’re faced with a list of tasks, and among them, a sense of each tasks priority or deadline. There are a ton of productivity methodologies out there – and many, like the popular “eat the frog,” or “worst first” concepts advocate selecting the item on your to-do list you dread and getting that out of the way first. It makes some sense, because once you’ve crossed off that task, the rest of the day is likely downhill. But I’m advocating a different approach; start your day with a task that lights you up and gives you an energy surge (instead of post-frog nausea). Once you’ve found your groove it’s much more likely that you’ll have the stomach (ha!) for the task further down on your list.
One caveat, of course, is to truly understand what tasks are a priority – immediate client issues, editor requests, and sample pulls are likely to take priority over Pinterest research!
Email is handy, but easily becomes unmanageable when work gets busy. Instead of dealing with multi-response threads and not having the right team members on a particular series of emails, not to mention a lack of clarity about who is owning what, move away from email and think like a project manager.
Start your day with a task that lights you up and gives you an energy surge…
These days, online-to-mobile accessible project management software enables client and agency teams to collaborate on various initiatives start to finish with integrated conversations, timelines, dashboards and tasks. If you’re an agency CEO or company owner, I’m partial to Asana, check out Teamwork and Basecamp. For individuals and teams, take a look at Trello. For many of us in the fashion & lifestyle space, the aesthetics of our organizational tools are just as important as our client’s new lookbook. Trello is a visual collaboration tool that organizes projects into boards and checklists so you can see what is being worked on and who is working on what.
There are likely multiple tasks that you perform over and over – client onboarding, media tracking, invoicing – and without a clear process in place you’re basically scrambling each time to find all your previous documents, emails and spreadsheets and modify them to the project at hand. Using a project management system will help, but truly organized types swear by their systems. The next time you find yourself sitting down to do the same thing you did last week, stop and take the time to create a template and checklist that documents your approach. Not only will you be more efficient the next time around, but you can more easily handoff these type of projects to someone else who can simply follow your best practices (cue the confetti and the extra glass of rosé at lunch).
If you’re pitching a different coast or international time zone, there’s no need to get up at 4 am in order to ensure your pitches are at the top of an editor’s inbox. Instead, set aside time to batch and then schedule pitches to send when you want them go out. An email application like Boomerang not only lets you schedule emails to be sent at certain times, but you can also better automate follow-ups with email reminders. Basically, the app will put the outreach as unread in your inbox at a time you designate, making it easy to quickly shoot over follow ups without having to take an extra step to review your tracking sheet, calendar reminders or task list.
Oh where does the time go? Unstructured meetings, endless brainstorms and yes, long client lunches are all to blame for making it feel like the days are simply too short to get it all done. If you’re feeling like you never get time to actually sit at your desk and do the work, it’s time to get vigilant about tracking and analyzing your time.
Timing apps like Focus Booster or Be Focused both use a time-blocking method to split your day into chunks of time with breaks in between. Toggl will track the time you spend on projects, pitches, releases and status calls with categories and names for each entry. You might be afraid to look at RescueTime, the app that tracks how much time you’re spending in Gmail, Facebook and Poshmark, but you should.
There’s nothing quite like the rush and pace of PR, but we’re working with two hands, one brain and finite patience to keep everything turning. With these tools and tips for staying organized and getting the job done right, the first time, you can start to GSD (get sh*t done) in a way that will leave your coworkers and clients wondering how you did it.
In case you’re more of a scroller than a reader, here’s the 101:
A little over one year ago, I made the decision to leave my freelance hustle and accept a job offer. I started freelancing because I wasn’t happy with any agency I had worked for. Being underpaid, overworked and having limited responsibilities were my biggest pain points. Then, after building a successful client base as a freelancer, something interesting happened; companies started reaching out to me with (great) job offers. Here are the five reasons why I decided to quit the freelance life:
An opportunity that was in a vertical I’d never worked in came calling. Why did they want someone with no experience in their industry you might ask? The team was looking for someone with luxury lifestyle experience to bring to their historically archaic industry. I value the idea of continuing to learn, and appreciated that this position was not only in a different vertical, it gave me the opportunity to collaborate with another employee on email campaigns, the direction of the website and all marketing materials.
As a PR professional with only two years of experience, I found it a challenge to convince prospective clients that I was capable of managing their account. The role I accepted offered me complete ownership and control of the company’s social media and public relations efforts. This position was a great boost to my resume, proving that I could handle the executive-level responsibility. I worked with a six-figure marketing budget, ran my work day and reported directly to the CEO.
The team understood and loved that I was entrepreneurial, young and hungry. When I interviewed at this company and met everyone, I felt that this was truly a team I would work well with, and also enjoy socializing with after work.
As a freelancer, there were weeks where I made no money, and weeks when I felt I was killing it. The ups and downs of freelance work meant that I wasn’t saving at all, much less for retirement. The idea of earning a consistent paycheck with a bonus structure was incredibly appealing, not to mention quality health coverage.
You eat what you kill as a freelancer and it’s a nonstop hustle. I found it impossible to turn off work and simply enjoy myself. I would be at the club pitching people at the table about why they should hire me. I would attend networking events almost every night to keep my prospective client funnel full. With a regular 9 to 5 job, it’s easier to move away from work concerns during the evening. A full-time job also helped me with boundaries – responding to late night or weekend emails wasn’t expected – which was something I had always done as a freelancer. After months of always being on, being able to put a period on my work day was a major perk.
When I reentered the 9 to 5 grind, I didn’t forget why I left. Instead, I told myself, “if you find the culture turning into the culture that you left, don’t be afraid to voice your concerns.” I already knew that I could make it on my own, so what did I have to lose?
About Sabrina Wottreng
Sabrina Wottreng is a Chicago-based publicist. Whether her clients are looking to learn how to be their own publicist or are in need of a PR arm for their company, Sabrina Wottreng Public Relations has products and services for their needs. In her spare time, Sabrina takes classes at The Second City and can be found riding her Ducati Monster.
International public relations agency Steinreich Communications Group, Inc., has acquired Kenwerks, a leading fashion public relations and marketing firm with offices in New York and Los Angeles, headed by Kenneth Loo. All Kenwerks employees will be retained and will move into Steinreich offices on both coasts. The acquisition is Steinreich’s third in the last year.
Beautiful Planning Marketing & PR, announces the addition of TomboyX to its roster. TomboyX provides underwear that any girl, any woman or any person can feel comfortable in, regardless of where they fall on the size or gender spectrum.
Beach House announces its representation of Stevie’s Sister, Mia Marcelle Swimwear and Mini & Maximus for PR, Social Media and Influencer Marketing, as well as representation of Trufora Skincare for Social Media Marketing.
Caitlin Davis, formerly a Senior Account Executive at Beach House, has been promoted to Director of PR while former intern Jordyn Liburdi has been promoted to Influencer Marketing Assistant. Finally, Melissa Garcia has been hired as an Account Assistant.
Send your PR agency news to firstname.lastname@example.org
Position: PR Manager
Company: Couture Public Relations
Location: Beverly Hills, CA
Influencer campaigns aren’t new; the strategy relies on the same idea marketers have been using for years – find the target consumer’s cool kid (aka “The Influencer”), have them promote and engage with a brand, and reap the rewards of their implied endorsement. At the core, influencer relations is no different from traditional public relations or experiential campaigns that utilize third-party credibility.
Similarly, the influencer is not a new idea nor only the territory of digital marketing. An influencer can be a celebrity or a respected editor of course, but equally the chairman of the school board, the most outspoken mommy in the group, or a social leader among a certain friend group. What has changed are the digital communication channels that allow these people to both increase their reach and monetize their influence.
However, like all great things that catch on with speed, there comes the inevitable drop in attraction and questions of validity that follow. Influencer marketing has been a favorite buzz tactic of late, with budgets increasing and increased scrutiny from all industries.
Have we reached influencer marketing burnout? Quite the contrary — instead, it has become a necessary item in the marketing mix. What has changed is that both practitioners and brands are recognizing that doing it well is easier said than done. To that end, there are two major considerations facing those of us incorporating influencer collaborations into our strategy: establishing ROI and determining appropriate pricing.
With bigger budgets being dedicated to influencer marketing (and bigger asks coming in from advertisers themselves), there in increasing pressure to be explicit about the ROI for this types of campaign. Platform limitations and complex analytics can be a challenge. Often, it’s more about client education than a new tool or dashboard. For example, we recently purchased tickets to a show based on a social post an influencer had published. We didn’t use the tracking code or comment on the post – but we did purchase. Who tracked that ROI?
Marketer Gary Vaynerchuk recently posted a video on this topic, which we include among the greatest rebuttals to the ROI debate we’ve heard. “What’s the ROI of a $10 million commercial?” Truth be told, even with all the tricks and tools available today, it is really difficult to determine the true impact of a social collaboration. Further, the more public relations professionals input traceable tactics like contesting, discount codes and unique links, the more we tread into the space of advertising, diluting the power of what authentic influencer endorsements can do for a brand.
We recently purchased tickets to a show based on a social post an influencer had published. We didn’t use the tracking code or comment on the post – but we did purchase. Who saw that ROI?
As for pricing, we are all trying to figure out the appropriate threshold. There is no accurate calculator based on followership, and there are serious concerns about fraudulent inflation of influence. There are micro-influencers with niche followings who can have an incredible impact, and big names that may create a high-quality collaboration, but not drive conversions or sales. Some influencers are just more in demand at any given time, that “it factor,” so their fees are higher. It is simply a matter of supply and demand.
We like to approach conversations on pricing based on related marketing activities. What would it cost a brand to stage a shot with a photographer, creative director, and stylist and then pay for ad placement? Influencer collaborations should be a cost-effective choice in comparison while still respecting the time and creative output that comes along with producing brand content.
A campaign has to communicate the right message to the right audience in an authentic and actionable manner. Nothing is 100% traceable per campaign, so metrics like, long-term sales growth, new opportunities, changes in attitude/awareness, may be a more accurate view of success.
About Jess Hunichen and Emily Ward
Jess Hunichen and Emily Ward are the founders of Shine Influencers, a Toronto-based talent management agency for social creators that works with brands and agencies to create impactful social collaborations.
Position: Fashion Copywriter
Company: Couture Public Relations
Location: Beverly Hills, CA
For some brands, holiday gift guides are the be-all and end-all of press placements; the right product in the right magazine can lead to an influx of sales for as well incredible exposure and brand awareness. The key to a successful holiday placement lies in timing – you need to ensure your client’s products are first in line for editor review – and that means pitching early and pitching smart. Here’s what you need to know:
First up you need to hone in on a few key products that work well as gifts. Not everything fits the criteria of “gift-y” – i.e. most skincare (so hard to know what a person’s skincare needs are and buying mom wrinkle serum can give off the wrong message). Evaluate your client’s entire line and choose a few items to pitch heavily for gift guides. You’re looking for affordable price points, items that come in great packaging, holiday-themed colors, product sets, accessories and luxe home décor items. Items with a “feel-good” story always do remarkably well, so if you have a red cashmere scarf for under $75 that includes a charitable give-back component – you’re golden.
Steer away from items that are more “necessities” than indulgences, super expensive items (unless you’re pitching a luxury pub), anything too complicated to explain, or pieces that just don’t photograph very well on a page, like products with more muted colors.
As you are researching publications for the ghosts of gift-guides past, you’ll notice that often, editors group together collections based on their intended recipient. So, you’ll find gift guides based on a person’s style, their age, and their relationship to the gift-giver. As you write up your pitch, consider which category is a fit for the giftable items you have identified. A fashion tech accessory might be the perfect fit for a “Work BFF” themed-guide, whereas a set of gorgeous rose gold stackable rings is the perfect stocking stuffer for a “Trendsetting Teen.”
Thinking like an editor, and pitching against common gift-guide groupings can go a long way toward making it easy for editors to easily see how your products fit their needs.
Editors are sifting through hundreds of gift guide pitches from publicists and brands looking a handful of coveted spots. Make it easier for editors by pitching them a lot of items at once in an extremely organized list, boosted by clear, quality images.
In addition to your email content, embed or link to a gift guide “one-sheet” or visual collage with all of your clients’ gift offerings. Include the necessary information an editor needs, including brand, price, purchase information and a quick description about what makes it especially gift-y.
Another smart strategy is to press pause on your normal email pitching and bring the giftables directly to key editors by hosting a “Holiday in July” style editor preview, or a”Holiday Gift Guide Deskside Quickies.” Each summer I partner with a few fellow publicists and we promise editors 8-10 great gift options in 15 minutes – and we bring candy! Getting some face time with editors is great for us, and the ability to quickly choose from a bevy of great gift options is a real time-saver for harried editors.
If you’re planning to send out holiday pitches in September because that’s when editors are still working on their regular fashion/beauty stories for December issues, you need to rethink your strategy. Editors start sourcing gift guide items way in advance – usually right after 4th of July! Even if you find a magazine who closes their gift guide later, it can’t hurt to get on their radar well in advance, so pitch early.
With prior planning, insight on how each outlet structures their gift guide, and great products, you can greatly increase your chances at securing these prime gift guide placements. Pitch away – and happy holidays (in July)!
In the fashion & lifestyle industries, unpaid internships are a bit of a necessary evil when it comes to gaining real-world experience in your chosen field. However, working without a paycheck isn’t without its challenges. As someone who has volunteered for more fashion weeks than she has completed semesters, I’ve learned a thing or two about how to save money while building relationships and making the most of all the great opportunities out there for an aspiring PR professional.
You may not be receiving weekly compensation, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a complete lack of monetary support. Many companies are willing to pay for or provide lunch and reimburse for travel expenses and you should absolutely discuss how you can take advantage of existing benefits the company already offered to employees (i.e. paid lunches, subway tickets, etc.) as an intern.
Okay, let’s be real here. There are plenty of other things you would be rather doing with your small amounts of free time, but getting a part time job will help to alleviate the few days a week that you’re spending getting to know your dream career.
You can search for something related to your ideal field, like fashion retail, or find flexible work where the tips or standard wage might be a bit higher – like waitressing, nannying or deliveries. Having a few extra bucks in your wallet for an afternoon pick-me-up at Starbucks can only help when you’re working two jobs and working on your degree. Don’t worry – it will all be worth it in the end.
If you need a certain amount of hours at the office for your internship, ask to narrow it down a few full-time days rather than a few hours here and there. This helps cut down on travel-related expenses and opens up your availability to take on paid work.
While not related to your career as such, it’s amazing how much extra cash you can find in your own closet. I closet purged last year and made $120 in just one week from getting rid of unworn clothes and accessories. Whether you are a Marie Kondo convert or just someone who can’t pass up a good sale, it is always a good idea to cleanse your closet of things that no longer fit or that hold no sentimental value. You can bring your haul to a consignment store, cash/trade operation like Buffalo Exchange, or post them online on sites like eBay, Poshmark or Thredup.
In New York, a chopped salad can often cost more than your train ticket. Planning your lunches will help you to make healthier choices instead of getting Chipotle every day because it’s convenient to your office and packing your own lunch will easily save you anywhere from $5-$15 a day.
Walking is good for your mind, body and wallet! If you don’t have to pay for a $12 Uber or hop on 3 different subways, why would you? The best form of transportation is your own two feet! So many professionals commute to and from work by walking, they wear sneakers and change into their dress shoes upon arriving to the office. If you can plan your time wisely, choosing to do something like parking at the less expensive parking garage a few blocks away really can make a difference.
Being conscious of your cash flow during an unpaid internship is important, and so is knowing that your internship is an irreplaceable experience. Properly budgeting can help to alleviate stress during the duration of your internship so that you can show up excited and committed to making the most of the opportunity.
About Nicole Biscardi
Nicole is an emerging fashion communications professional who has completed fashion internships for Harper’s Bazaar and Caravan Stylist Studio. This motivated New Yorker has attended Fashion PR Confidential and is a graduate of the PR Couture PRISM Course. She loves to express herself through fashion and is currently pursuing a blog and her next professional opportunity.
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