Securing charity partnerships for brands opens up fosters goodwill and has the added benefit of providing a unique story angle that can lead media outreach. As you begin planning for next year, consider if a cause marketing approach should be part of your communication strategy and if yes, follow these steps to begin to explore opportunities.
Plan Charitable Partnerships Early
Developing a relationship with a non-profit takes time, so start by identifying the cause you’d like to align your brand with, how you would like to partner and when. Popular options for fashion and lifestyle brands include Breast Cancer Awareness month in April, and American Heart Month in February. Keep in mind that you not only need to have the specifics of your cause-based endeavor squared away to have time to effectively develop and promote the event or specific product but if you plan to secure any print media mentions, you’ll also need to factor in those deadlines. For a breast cancer tie-in, for example, editors generally begin sourcing products in June and July.
Don’t just partner with any charity
When evaluating different charitable opportunities, make sure there is an obvious connection between the brand and the non-profit. For example, if you work with a beauty line that doesn’t use natural ingredients or sustainable production methods, an environmental charity might raise a few eyebrows and lead to more crisis management than cause marketing. On the other hand, if the founder of said beauty brand has an inspiring story as a woman in business, then an organization that offers grants to female-owned companies makes total sense.
The most successful partnerships are the ones where the brand truly believes in the cause of the charity, whether from personal experience or because it reflects brand values. Make sure you and your brand are well-versed in the concepts of pink-washing and greenwashing to avoid negative press.
Vet potential non-profit organizations
Make sure that the charity you are working with is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and actually gives back to where it says it does. Some great resources include Charity Navigator (which does in-depth analysis of charities and their allocation of money) as well as GuideStar or Charity Watch. Kayla Logan, Owner of Kayla Logan PR suggests that “when meeting with different organizations, ask to meet in their headquarters so that you get a feel for operations and always ask for examples of previous partnerships before agreeing to anything.”
Think beyond the “Percentage of Product” idea
Encourage your client to agree to something a bit more creative than the standard 10% of proceeds will be donated (this will go further toward media coverage as well).
When evaluating different charitable opportunities, make sure there is an obvious connection between the brand and the non-profit.
Maria Todaro, Territorial Corporate Relations Manager at The Salvation Army says, “when you are working to develop a meaningful campaign, think about how you can deepen relationships with customers, boost employee retention through engagement opportunities, and create a positive social impact story you can share and be proud of. These are some of the key components of a successful and sustainable cause marketing partnership.”
Discuss promotional language ahead of time
Draft a partnership agreement that outlines all of these specifics of the activation. This will help manage expectations and protect both parties. You’ll want to include some language around approvals for logo and name use. Pay special attention to language use; some give free reign while others are very specific on the terminology that can be used. To avoid headaches down the line discuss language specifics, disclosure, and any confidentiality requirements, before reaching out to the media or speaking publically about the relationship.
While it’s understandable that smaller brands cannot donate a large percentage of sales to charity, if the amount you’re giving is so small that it hardly benefits the charity it can appear to be self-serving. You don’t need to give away all of your profits, but make sure it’s enough to truly impact the nonprofit. Think beyond money as well and consider what expertise or services you might be able to provide.
Kayla often offers her own PR and social media expertise to smaller non-profits who struggle in this area. “Many charities don’t have a strong dedicated PR or marketing team to develop eye-catching creative or social media campaigns. As part of the partnership, I will develop social media templates and extend introductions to my own network to help them succeed beyond the specific client event.”
Charitable giving can boost brand perception and foster positive relationships among customers and media while having a measurable impact on a population in need. There are many great ways to reach out to and work with charities when you choose the right organization that aligns with the values shared between a brand and its audiences.
Fashion PR Fridays: Top Fashion, Public Relations, Marketing and Social Media News
…for the week of November 28, 2016
- A new report discovers a 30% increase in the volume of social media messages from customers to retailers, uncovering a disconnect between retailers and social media (via The Blog Herald)
- Rebook’s marketing department lauded for how they responded to people burning their New Balance sneakers (via Fashion United)
Yoox Net-A-Porter Group (YNAP) and Dubai-based billionaire Mohamed Alabbar to form a luxury retail business in the Middle East (via Fashion Network)
Instagram launches live videos with an unexcepted twist (via The Verge)
- Gucci has dethroned Burberry as the leading digital luxury brand, according to L2’s annual Digital IQ Index — which benchmarks the digital performance of 85 luxury brands in the U.S. market, (via Fashionista)
- Self magazine goes entirely digital (via The Wall Street Journal)
- U.K. retailer Boohoo has made a bid for the bankrupt Nasty Gal (via Retail Dive)
- Is your workplace suffering from low morale? A few ideas to turn those agency frowns upside down (via Hubspot)
- Eye candy! One of the best very things about this time of year has to be retail store holiday window displays. Here are the best in the world. (via CNN Traveler)
- Need help picking a planner for 2017? Here’s a great run-down (via Launch Grow Joy)
Who: Talk about a powerful collaboration! All those “X”s have us dizzy with excitement! Disney, Star Wars, Target and UNICEF have teamed up with a handful digital influencers and bloggers from Foray Collective to style limited-edition “Force 4 Fashion” t-shirts. This fashion-meets-fundraising initiative is inspired by the themes of rebellion in the upcoming Rogue One: A Star Wars Story film, which revolves around the idea of ordinary people who do something extraordinary.
What: Ten “fashion rebels” put their unique spin on styling the t-shirts for a shoot in Downtown LA. Influencers picked include Blake Steven, Jill Wallace of Little Black Boots, Julia Friedman, Kaitlynn Carter, Kelechi Kalu, Kelsey White of Something Beachy, Parker York Smith of The Looksmith, Racquel Natasha, Robert Graham, and Saul Rasco of Trend Styled.
The t-shirts are now available exclusively at Target and Target.com.
Why: We always love a bit of fashion for good. These t-shirts support the UNICEF Kid Power Program, for every shirt sold, $5 will be donated to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, up to $1 million, which will help UNICEF improve the lives of children around the world.
Also, in a sea of influencer similarity, we appreciate any campaign that highlights and endorses a rebel spirit. From a marketer perspective, we can only imagine the challenges involved to execute a singular, clear campaign vision while operating within each brand’s unique guidelines, processes, and priorities. Well done!
Position: Fashion/Beauty Intern
Company: Lindsey Smolan PR
While working at Vibe magazine straight out of college, Jessy and a co-worker started Femme Arsenal, a cosmetics company which she then sold at age 27. After working as Director of PR and Marketing at Essie Cosmetics, and in anticipation of becoming a mom, she started her own PR firm. LaRue PR is a boutique agency specializing in fashion, lifestyle, home décor, and tech.
Title: Founder/CEO of LaRue PR
Education: Bachelor of Arts at NYU
Location: Bound Brook, NJ
Company: LaRue PR
Tell us a bit about your career path
I started working at Vibe the day after I graduated from NYU. While many of my friends were traveling and partying, I already was pretty focused on my goals, and at that time it was to write.
While working in editorial as an assistant I ended up starting a small beauty brand with a friend who was a graphic designer, a total fluke based on an ambitious day of diy-ing lip balm. Our recipe went over big with friends and it sort of snowballed into a brand. Initially it was a side hustle and at 22 years old, we were really winging it but it quickly morphed into something that had real potential.
One of the biggest breaks we got was when we shared our lip balms with an editor at TimeOut NY. The ended up featuring the product and it just took off.Up until that moment I had been a newbie and on the creative side of media. Being on the other end and watching press coverage create momentum totally opened my eyes and made me slightly addicted to securing coverage for my own brand. Within a month we were selling product to stores and that was really my first experience with the power of the PR. As my little beauty business grew I transitioned into agency life and got more traditional experience. Eventually the beauty brand became a full time gig and I focused entirely on PR and Marketing. Those years provided an accelerated learning experience.
When I sold that business, I moved into working in house for other brands in PR and marketing and eventually launched my second entrepreneurial initiative, LaRue PR.
What are your primary responsibilities?
I work heavily on brand strategy, content creation, new business, and of course all of the traditional aspects of PR from writing and pitching and beyond.
What type of person thrives at LaRue?
Someone creative that is all about a non-traditional approach and willing to take risks. I also don’t micro manage so I need team members that are organized, proactive and frankly, rabid about PR and branding!
What is the mood like in the office?
We keep the mood fun and relaxed. I’ve found a comfortable office environment allows people to work creatively. Being respectful and considerate of everyone on the team is a top priority because it makes for a happy and productive work life. I work closely with all departments and we promote a collaborative environment.
What are you really good at?
I would say writing and strategy are my strongest skill set.
What are three must-haves essential to your job?
We are big users of Slack, Asana and Planoly. It helps the entire team stay involved and up to date and also lets us liaison with clients. Of course, we couldn’t exist without email.
What is a recent job success story that makes you especially proud?
We represent Create & Cultivate – an amazing conference series for female millennial entrepreneurs. As a woman-owned business, all of the press coverage we have procured for C&C has been rewarding on so many levels. Press wins included local, regional and national coverage in the LA Times, Fast Company, WWD, InStyle, LA Confidential, Hollywood Reporter, USA Today, Bustle, Self.com and beyond.
I need team members that are organized, proactive and frankly, rabid about PR and branding!
Most memorable moment in your career thus far?
Lately, I’ve been participating in panels and events where I serve as a “mentor.” It’s really rewarding to share my story and offer whatever insight I can to people aspiring to work in PR and marketing. I’ve received some amazing “thank you” emails after these events that really have hit home.
Most glamorous moment in your career thus far?
I’ve been in the industry a long time and have done the fashion shows and celebrity meetings. It did feel glamorous and exciting but in all honesty what really makes me feel like a “boss” is being the shot-caller for my company and consequently my own life. That feels pretty glamorous. I will admit that we do have a client taking us to see Beyonce perform in New Orleans! Amazing seats and lots of special treatment are planned. It’s a great client that we adore. That feels pretty glamorous too!
Least glamorous moment in your career thus far?
PR is hard work and no matter how successful you are. The day to day is labor intensive and often not at all glamorous. The upside is the parts that aren’t glamorous are what drew me to PR, to begin with. My favorite aspects of my career are the strategy, writing, and outreach.
What’s the biggest challenge facing fashion/lifestyle communicators right now?
The industry has changed so much in the past ten years and will continue to do so. What worked three years ago to drive visibility, sales or interest might no longer be relevant. It’s important to stay current and pay attention to the ROI on your initiatives so you can gauge what is working and what isn’t. We regularly request analytics and stats on the campaigns we create and press coverage we secure so we can see what had an immediate ROI, what drove visibility as well as what didn’t work.
How do you stay on top of industry trends?
I’m reading all the time…the skimm, glossy, digiday, wwd, business insider, fast co and the list goes on and on. I view staying current on industry and cultural news as a job responsibility.
What do you wish more people understood about PR?
I wish more people understood all the things that PR encompasses. It’s more than getting press. Right now PR involves social media, influencers, brand development and so much more.
PR is hard work, competitive and by no means easy or for party girls.
PR can be stressful and full of rejection – how do you deal?
When I was first starting out rejection really bothered me. After 18 years, I know it’s part of the business. I spend more time talking my team through how to deal with rejection and figuring out the what and why of it than anything else. Getting “no’s” now and then are just part of the gig.
What would you tell someone who wants to be like you when they grow up?
Network now. Stay up to date on social media and the digital revolution and become an expert. Read (fervently) anything and everything you can from the media outlets that interest you… fashion, tech, whatever it is. Pay attention to what successful brands are doing but always think about how you can recreate the wheel in a new and exciting way.
Thanks, Jessy! Learn more about LaRue PR on our directory
Whether you’re looking to find an entry-level PR job or boost your resume for a coveted internship, you need experience to get started in the PR field. While it may seem like a vicious cycle (“How do I find a position that will give me experience if I don’t already have it?”) there are some easy ways that you can get more PR experience to prepare you for a communications career. See below some of my top tips on how to give yourself a leg-up in the PR industry!
1. Treat Your Personal Brand Like it’s your Job
Your most important brand is your own – use your social media including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter to create an online presence while simultaneously developing skills that will serve you in your PR career. Play around with different features of each platform – evaluate what posts and hashtags get you more engagement in the form of likes, followers and comments and integrate your findings into future posts. Engage with influencers, editors, stylists, and bloggers in an organic way on these platforms to further build credibility within the industry.
In addition to having a strong social media presence that aligns with your career goals, your own blog is a great way to further differentiate yourself while interviewing for PR jobs. You’ll learn what elements make a successful blog post/story and can use that knowledge when drafting press releases, pitches, and invites. You might even get some pitches yourself and you’ll quickly learn what is and is not eye-catching!
If committing to your own blog isn’t in the cards right now, consider submitting guest articles from your perspective to sites that focus on millenial career-building or PR blogs. Or go directly to sites that explore topics that you’re interested in, like eco outlets where you can write your favorite green beauty products.
Blogging and contributing online can give you a huge advantage. Writing for the web and getting your name out there is another way to practice skills you’ll need for your PR job.
2. Think of job descriptions as secret codes for skill-building
Start reading job descriptions for entry-level PR jobs to figure out exactly what software and skills are needed. While many junior positions call for administrative work such as research, media list creation/updating, and maintaining lists of sample pulls, qualifications such as strong writing skills, social media management, even photography or project management can all be easily added to your resume in the form of professional development courses, volunteer work or simply creating samples inspired by brands you love for your portfolio.
3. Volunteer for Events You Care About
If you have a cause that you’re truly passionate about in your area, reach out to see if they need assistance with promoting any upcoming fundraisers or helping to plan events. Most charities will have someone on staff overseeing outreach but can always use extra hands to pitch in and help. Duties might include press release writing, sourcing vendors/sponsors for events, media list creation, and even pitching local media. Festivals and industry conferences can also give you hands-on experience and a chance to impress the very people you are hoping to work for in the near future.
4. Help local small businesses in your area
Another great way to develop PR skills and create the relationships necessary to thrive in the field is to volunteer your services to local or small businesses that you love. Think of it a bit like pitching yourself as a freelance publicist – for free!
Look into emerging brands or boutiques that may not have PR representation and offer your services pro-bono. Explain that you are just breaking into the field but want to develop your skill set while simultaneously helping to promote them to the greater community. Then get to work developing a PR plan, a client reporting template and basic media list to get things going.
Putting just a few of these practices into motion will make you infinitely more interesting to potential hiring managers, while giving you a chance to figure out what aspects of PR you like best.
Bonus Idea! Boost your PR skills, develop your personal brand and get access to hard-to-find job and internship opportunities when you join PRISM, the PR Couture PR Girl prep course!
The end of the year is a natural time to take a look back and start planning for the future. If one of the questions on your mind is the potential expansion of your solo PR empire, you’re likely considering the evolution from independent contractor to CEO.
The initial decision to start a freelance PR career is often done to avoid agency structure, pace and working for someone else. However, perhaps starting a company on your terms is the way to go. While it’s often easy to identify next steps for clients, applying the same rigor to your own career is an entirely different story. As you muddle through adjustments to your own business model for next year, consider the following factors before moving ahead.
What’s your end game?
Has the vision from the very beginning been to embrace the freedom of freelance life or have you simply been taking work as it comes? A bit of introspection is called for to determine what work environment will make you happiest. Are you comfortable working from home with 3 or 4 clients or do you find yourself limited by your own skill-set and craving the ability to go head to head with bigger, full-service agencies? Are you motivated by the idea that employees will rely on healthy profits for their salary and benefits? Does the idea of supplying a team of fresh-faced publicists with an agency mission statement and shiny Macbooks put a smily on your face? Does a hefty does of “all eyes on me” that comes from being the leader of a company feel exciting, or does that level of growth and scrutiny feel cringe-worthy?
For me, I jumped the gun and looked for freelance work immediately after being let go from my PR job. A few months in I realized I hadn’t thought about my long-term or short-term career goals. In the beginning I focused on the very real, very immediate need to cover my own expenses but once business picked up I took a step back. I realized that though I enjoy working as part of a team and my professional experiences to date revolved around a boutique PR setting, I knew that I never wanted to be in a position where I wasn’t in full control of my job again. Also, I’m an introvert and prefer to take direction, rather than give it, so I’m not interested in leading my own firm or team. Right now, operating as an independent contractor is the perfect path for me.
What is Your Leadership Style?
There is a big difference between inner and outer-directed leadership. Being a solo-preneur doesn’t mean you don’t run things of course – you’re responsibly for getting clients, keeping them happy as well as your own personal brand, website, accounting, billing, invoicing, and taxes, etc. Yet as much as that is, it’s to a scale of one.
One of the biggest changes you’ll face as CEO is the need to consistently and confidently lead employees, clients and partners. Consider what kind of a leader you want to be and how comfortable you are with being responsible for holding a company vision, inspiring your team and handling your own stress as the person in charge. Remember that management and leadership are two different things.
While I like to be involved in every aspect of the projects I work on, as well as the day-to-day operations, I’m more of a worker bee than a queen bee. I’m perfectly capable of giving orders here and there, but I don’t enjoy overseeing things as much as I enjoy actually doing them. Eventually as CEO your job running a PR agency becomes less about the client work and more about the business – is this a role you can see yourself taking on?
What Kind of Lifestyle are you looking for?
Do you like the flexibility of being able to get your work done whether it’s 8am or 8pm? Or do you work best with clear set office hours? Do you enjoy the option of working from anywhere that you can get a Wi-Fi connection, or do you prefer your chair, in your office with your artwork hanging on the walls?
The first few years, okay, decade of your agency’s life is going to be hardcore hustle – and that means business takes priority. After all, it’s hard to start and nourish a PR team, grow a reputation and be on-site and on call for clients if you’re pursuing a location-independent professional life and, if having children or making a relationship a priority is important to you, consider that many agency owners feel as though their agency is their child; a toddler and brand new agency is a lot to juggle at once.
PS: You Can Always Change Your Mind
Whatever you choose to do with your business in the next year, it can be helpful to remember that whether you own an agency or not, you own the right to change your mind. Of course, a PR agency does require a bit more skin in the game, but there are small steps you can take to move toward that eventuality, while lowering your risk. Perhaps you choose to turn your sole-proprietorship into an LLC or S Corp, or hiring one contractor yourself next year, or bring on multiple interns to test our your management preferences and fine-tune your hiring style.
Freelancing can act as a stepping stone toward developing the PR firm of your dreams, a temporary season in between PR positions or the goal in and of itself. The great thing about all your career options is that ultimately you are in control of your destiny.
Fashion PR Fridays: Top Fashion, Public Relations, Marketing and Social Media News
…for the week of November 14, 2016
- Melissa Zimdars, Professor of Communication at Merrimack College has shared a Google doc cataloging, “False, misleading, clickbait-y and satirical ‘news’ sources”(via LA Times)
- Two successful entrepreneurs share tips on centering your brand in this shifting environment (via Hawaii Public Radio)
Snapchat files for one of the biggest tech IPOs in years since Facebook (via Reuters)
- LVMH in discussions to acquire Michael Kors (via The Fashion Law)
- Facebook bans fake news sites from advertising just hours after Google does the same (via Vice)
Talk about a PR Crisis. New Balance moves on to damage control (via Digiday)
MARKS & SPENCER to close 30 of its UK clothing and homewares stores and all of its international stores (via Vogue UK)
- The sustainability-focused H&M 2017 Awards announces that Richard Quinn is the winner of their Design Award (via EPR Retail News)
- 37 percent of adults strongly oppose retailers having shopping hours on Thanksgiving Day. Results of the same poll suggest that Cyber Monday may be eclipsing Black Friday (via Morning Consult)
- Everlane launches its latest accessories collection in partnership with the Snapchat publication Sweet (via Who What Wear)
The onboarding process for a new client can set the tone for the entire working relationship. Starting off on the right foot is crucial in order to set realistic expectations, standards on how to communicate and to build goodwill. It’s smart to have a standard, replicable process that ensures new clients receive a high-touch, seamless transition from prospective client to on the roster. Here are three components of a successful client onboarding process
Start with an Internal Team Meeting
Before having the kick-off meeting with the client, schedule a meeting in-house with all team members that will be involved with the account. This is the time for your team to take a closer look at the background of the client. Discuss what needs to be accomplished. Brainstorm how you will approach the account, immediate priorities and effective tactics. From this meeting, your team should next develop an in-depth PR plan. This document outlines goals, strategies and timeline, and will be presented at the kickoff meeting.
Host a memorable kickoff meeting
A common first step for successfully onboarding a new client is to schedule and plan a kick-off meeting. You can develop a meeting agenda for all new clients that combines all your lessons learned into important talking points. This is the first opportunity for the client to see your work so you want to be able to impress them with your team’s preparation and presentation. During this meeting, it’s important to set clear expectations, goals and immediate next steps. Make sure to allow time to ensure that your team has everything they need to start pitching, including brand materials, photography and samples.
Set up a weekly call
No matter how clearly you lay out the timeline and discuss what can be expected out of the first few months of the relationship, clients are often nervous and full of questions. Knowing this, you can avoid multiple daily calls asking for any updates by proactively updating your client often in the early days. A weekly call is a good way to ensure they are hearing updates from you often (but not so often that the client communication keeps you from your work!). Explain that this weekly call is to inform them of any news from the previous week, as well as the plan for the upcoming week. As the relationship continues over time, trust will build, and it will become clear that you will provide them with any timely updates as they happen. Always assure your client that you will not leave them with the feeling they don’t know what’s going on with their account.
Your onboarding process should ensure all team members involved with a new account are on the same page, fully prepared for the kick-off meeting with the client, and ready to begin a weekly call. Creating a strong foundation from the start will guarantee that your team won’t need to go back and execute these steps later on, leading to successful PR campaigns from the start.
Ethel Da Costa is the Founder and CEO of the award-winning Media, PR, Fashion & Lifestyle Content company, Think Geek Media. With more than two-decades of experience as both a journalist and forward-thinking Mediapreneur, Ethel creates media stories and manages PR events and celebrities across a variety of verticals.
A single mother, published author-poet (Eve’s Revenge: Stories of Nemesis 2008) and winner of the Goa Women of the Decade Achievers Award 2015, Women Economic Forum 2015, New Delhi, Ethel Da Costa continues to straddle the best of the East and the West, making her truly a feisty global professional with a perspective that defines her experiences, wisdom, inspiration and personal aspirations.
Name: Ethel Da Costa
Title: Managing Director, Founder-CEO
Education: Goa University, Masters in Economics
Location: Goa, Mumbai, India and the UAE
Company: Think Geek Media
Instagram: @etheldacosta @thinkgeekmedia
Twitter: @dacostaethel @thinkgeekmedia
How did you get started in the industry?
My career as a Journalist started in 1992 with a local newspaper in Goa called the Gomantak Times/Weekender. Then I moved to the OHerald, The Times of India, Femina, Tarun Bharat, The International Film Festival of India, Radio Mirchi 98.3FM. Over 24 years, I’ve created and re-invented myself constantly, learning and unlearning, then learning more about media. I’ve traveled around the world covering stories on fashion, lifestyle and travel, meeting all kinds of celebrities and locals, watching, assimilating, absorbing like a sponge all the time.
During this period, I founded Think Geek Media. My first event was creating the Daniel Pearl Peace Concert (2003). Inspired by its huge success, I created community-centric fashion and art events and festivals (The Grape Escape for Goa Tourism, Govt of Goa, Celebrate Panjim, Down-to- Earth Jazz Festival, Fashion Fridays Club Night Series).
So really, my first job was creating Intellectual Properties for Think Geek Media, executed in public spaces and gardens of my city.
In January 2015, I launched Think Geek Media into the public domain, driven by the vision to become a niche 360 degree content and media solution company. My vision is to give the company and our clients opportunities to localise, nationalise or reach international markets through the networks and collaborators we bring to the table.
How have you built your business?
I network aggressively, I make cold calls, I meet people, I just pick up the phone and introduce myself and my work, and there’s always Linkedin and Facebook. I seek opportunities to collaborate, to explore new markets and find new creators. Right now I’m working on 5 different projects, while simultaneously making time to write my freelance articles and create content for my own social media handles. Next to Content, EXECUTION is King. It speaks for itself.
What are your responsibilities?
As CEO, first and foremost ensuring we are generating revenue, producing quality work and setting the goals and vision. I make sure there is effective time management, where our team maximises output in relationship to effort/time spent.
In addition, I oversee detail. I’m a detail freak. Some of that is anticipating what problems might happen, and preventing them from happening in the first place. Keep ears to the ground, eyes on the ball.
I work with clients each financial quarter with plans and customised budgets. Clients often need to be educated on the principle of effective, authentic, sustained communication that goes into long term brand building. Some understand, but some just don’t.
What is your approach to signing new clients??
First I ask the client to lay down his/her vision. I listen to what they say and pay attention to body language. The shop talk lets me know where he/she comes from. Once I understand these fundamentals, I cut to the chase in an open, honest and to the point discussion. Time is money.
Powerful communication comes from conviction, ownership and ambition. I’m not shy to say NO to what doesn’t feel right by instinct. I tell my clients that it’s better I tell you straight. I’m inspired by driven people who want to make something out of their lives, whose personal goals, vision and drive stand for something. I look for clients who are driven by their beliefs and a strong value system.
What are you working on right now?
Right now I am managing fashion portfolios, bespoke eco-luxe real estate and hospitality brands, a forthcoming a music and art festival, and a wedding blog assignment.
Next to Content, EXECUTION is King. It speaks for itself.
What are some of your career highlights?
A humble, small fashion client with big dreams who I launched with a grand PR buzz in Dubai. The second is a true eco soldier at heart, a nature conservation builder in India, now now hailed as a trend setter in real estate design. Very different businesses, but with each I helped to develop engaging stories that really helped with growth.
I’m inspired by driven people who want to make something out of their lives, whose personal goals, vision and drive stand for something.
Launching Forest Essentials in Goa with a celebrity soiree, creating and managing media for my favourite designers, Wendell Rodricks and Malini Ramani’s fashion show. Launching Oman Air, winning the Woman of the Decade Achievers Award and being featured in Paris’ CLAM Magazine for my creative entrepreneurship in media. This moment on PR Couture is another one – it feels good to know my hard work is worth it.
What is the media landscape like right now in India – what should we know about?
India boasts a vibrant media landscape. There are so many publishing houses, magazines, TV channels springing up almost every week in the verticals of lifestyle, politics, opinion, capital, fashion, and social work. Regional content is also seeing an upswing. The Start-Up boom has erupted in India making more people want to be their own boss. It is a productive, creative, buzzing environment. My personal favourites continue to be old school Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, fashion brands like FDCI (Fashion Design Council of India), digital platforms like PopXO, and colleagues who have reinvented themselves as influencers like Naina.co.
PR can be stressful and full of rejection – how do you deal?
Yes, I agree. Out of ten clients, two of them will get coverage in a traditional, conservative market. Many companies want or expect this for free, or want to pay a pittance but expect your arm and leg in delivery! Fortunately I have sold radio space in a print driven market. I just soldier up, dust myself, sharpen the battle sword a little bit more and battle on. Being consistently persistent keeps me sane, positive and moving forward. My head is full of dreams and the ability to work at them. I just don’t quit!
What do you wish more people understood about your job?
That it is bloody hard work! I work long hours, even if I make it look effortless. I want people to understant that brand value is built through consistency, respect, relationships, integrity, passion and honesty. Growth is a partnership.
What’s the biggest challenge facing communicators in India right now?
In India, there is a lot of gray area when it comes to PR. Those who are willing to work for free, or work for a free dress, do a disservice to those of us who are seasoned professionals. Most clients are caught between the noise and the freebies and they are confusted. My sincere advice to brands is that you have to sieve through the noise and the riff-raff,’ and choose your foot soldiers. I always say a client who treats his brand with respect, will seek a PR partner who shares the same values when it comes to brand-building.
What would you tell someone who wants to be like you when they grow up?
Oh, sweetie be ready to work your ass off. It ain’t gonna come easy!
As a seasoned PR professional, you’re probably always looking for creative ways to help your clients gain momentum. You might help someone polish his press materials, and assist another client with writing a punchy social media headline, but there’s another P-word in your promotional toolbox — podcasts.
This option is one of many smart marketing strategies for 2017. According to data from the Pew Research Center, Libsyn, one of the largest commercial podcasting companies, has seen a steady increase in the number of hosted podcasts and amount of downloads for the past several years. Those statistics suggest now is an ideal time to take advantage of this audio publicity technique.
In addition to the value of the recorded conversation, most podcasts have a separate website that includes small write-ups of each podcast episode. These summaries include pertinent contact information and resources mentioned, and this link back to your client’s website or products is a boost to SEO.
Data has also shown podcasts create a form of search saturation on Android phones. Since more than 1.4 billion people use Android devices monthly, your decision to add podcasts to the press section of a mobile-friendly website could also increase search rankings result in a rise in rankings rise. You can expose your client to new prospective followers — those who listen to podcasts while commuting to work, embarking on long road trips and setting playlists, or keeping their ears happy while running errands.
Podcasts are excellent marketing vehicles because they’re so accessible. An interested person can download the latest podcast episodes in minutes through iTunes or other media hubs. Keep reading to learn how to expertly pitch your clients to podcasters.
1. Find the right podcasts to pitch
Many podcast hosts regularly book guests to share their views in an interview format. If you’re weary over the mere thought of writing yet another pitch to promote something for your client, consider the meaningful ways you could convert printed words into spoken ones by pitching your client as a potential podcast guest.
You can expect beneficial results by specifically identifying what you’re trying to achieve through a podcast appearance. Does your client have a specialty that suits a podcast’s focus? Have they recently published a book that aligns with the podcast’s genre?
If you can find relevant or geographically-oriented podcasts, aggressively target those before your client passes through the area, whether it’s for a musical gig, speaking engagement, pop-up shop, or any other obligation that places them in the public eye.
2. Write a Purposeful Pitch
Once you’ve identified solid podcast matches for your client, it’s time to prepare for outreach.
Just like any pitch, your goal is to introduce your client and demonstrate how they align with the podcast focus and how the partnership will help to boost listenership. If your client is an emerging personality and not yet extremely notable, angle your pitch to suggest they have innovative views; a podcaster would be seen as forward-thinking by inviting your client to speak out.
There are several pieces of information to include when writing a pitch to a podcaster:
- Give a specific benefit: Tell the podcaster how your client can benefit them and their audience. How does your podcast pitch specifically speak to the value your client adds by being featured on the broadcast?
- Give social proof and validation: Mention other podcasts your client has been on before, credentials, etc. Include relevant information such as YouTube video views, website visits and notable upcoming TV appearances, radio spots or conferences associated with your client.
- Ask for what you want: Do no use apologetic language in pitching — either speaking or writing. You have something of value to offer, so do it.
3. Spread the Word About Your Client’s Podcast Appearance
All the hard work you put into perfecting your pitch and landing a podcast spot for your client is useless if the target audience isn’t aware of the appearance.
Once you confirm a booking, promote the upcoming broadcast any way you can. Announce the appearance on your client’s social media pages and mention it on their official website. Tap into physical and digital communities. Pick up the phone.
Make podcast appearances maximally effective for your clients. Besides following the suggestions above, thoroughly prepare your clients (listening to a few previous episodes is good prep work) and make sure they can competently talk about topics that may arise.
In case you missed it, check out the recent PR Couture article focused on fashion & lifestyle podcasts for a quick hit of potential leads.
Sarah Landrum is a Penn State graduate with a background in Marketing and Public Relations. She’s also the founder of Punched Clocks, a career and lifestyle site for young women professionals. For more tips on happiness and success, subscribe to her career advice newsletter and follow her on social media. You can find her on Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Pinterest | Google+
Traveling for pleasure is fun. Traveling more than 70% of your time for work? Not so much fun, especially when that percentage used to be 10%.
For seven years, I spent my career working in fashion PR in New York. I definitely did not think that I would spend another seven years in the Big Apple but when a large healthcare firm in Dallas approached my husband promising a big payout and a cushy lifestyle, we couldn’t refuse. However, 80% of our clients were based in New York so the intense traveling commenced immediately.
In order to keep our clients satisfied, our employees motivated and the business thriving, I had to establish some new rules for myself to stay productive while traveling.
1. Create an action plan for each trip
Write out a priority list of things you must complete during your trip. Whether that is finalizing a report, drafting a new business proposal or preparing for an employee salary review, write it down so you can plan each day accordingly. Put a deadline next to each task. Don’t overcommit! Be sure this plan is realistic and balances well with your schedule. Most importantly, review your list before you leave with your team and every morning and night.
2. Invest in good Wi-Fi
Stay away from wireless Internet sticks or cards. If you fly from the same airports or airlines often, it is wise to invest in their monthly plans. You will never have to worry about being disconnected from your team or clients. If you have to choose one, go for the monthly airline plan versus the airport plan. Work from your mobile device until you board. Moreover, some airports also offer complimentary 30-minute Internet sessions so you can just clear your cookies every thirty minutes.
3. Pack snacks and eat well
I am that traveler that always complains about the unhealthy snacks and overpriced healthy snacks at the airport. To stay energized, I pack snacks like nuts, fruits, protein bars and dried berries to keep me moving. A hungry headache will affect your entire day, especially if you have a full day ahead when you land. Try not to get tempted by the Popeye’s Chicken on your way to the gate! Fatty, greasy foods will just make you sleepy.
If you fly from the same airports or airlines often, it is wise to invest in their monthly plans.
4. Have a communications plan for employees
Minimally, I am out of the office for 2 -3 days out of the week. The longest I am ever away is 2 weeks at a time, which is usually around our busier months (February, March, September and October). Because I am always on the go, my team doesn’t get as much face-time with me anymore. So, I implemented specific communications process to stay on top of my employees and help us all be productive while I am traveling.
The system consists of each employee sending me an email every morning outlining their tasks for the day, their priorities, calls, meetings, etc. This helps me determine if I need to jump in and change that plan or determine a quick touch base chat mid-day to see where they are with their assignments.
5. Upgrade your credit card
Most credit card companies have incredible perks for travelers. I am a huge supporter of American Express. Although the annual fee is hefty, it is definitely worth every penny. The American Express lounge keeps me connected to the Internet, they offer great refreshments and it is usually pretty quiet so you can get work done and make a few calls too (I’ve taken quite a few phone meetings in the lounge). Some cards also offer perks like free seat upgrades, so doing work on the plane is made even easier.
I implemented specific communications process to stay on top of my employees and help us all be productive while I am traveling.
6. Never sleep on the plane
It is super important to get a good night sleep, eat and download all of your important documents the day before. Choosing a red-eye flight and sleeping is just not an option on the plane anymore. Most of my flights are between 3-6 hours so that means I can get a ton of work done. Always go for a window seat; the woman who has a bladder problem will not disturb you. This is the best time to be productive; when I am really tired, I get a caffeine boost or nap for 45 minutes.
When traveling a ton for work it’s important to have systems in place to help you maintain your productivity, stay connected to your team and clients, while ensuring good self-care.
About Erica Hicks Anderson
Erica Hicks Anderson is the Chief Strategist of PR VEIN, a boutique fashion and lifestyle communications firm that specializes in taking top emerging brands and influencers to the next level. She is originally from Miami, Florida and received degrees from New York University and Florida A&M University. Anderson has worked for companies such as The Net-a- Porter Group, KCD Worldwide, Tommy Hilfiger, Vogue Magazine and IMG. You can find her in New York, Los Angeles, Miami or Dallas where she frequently travels. Verizon, LaQuan Smith, @TheAmbitionista, and COSIGN are just a few brands and influencers that have retained PR VEIN for its quality services.
Fashion PR Fridays: Top Fashion, Public Relations, Marketing and Social Media News
…for the week of November 7, 2016
- Publishers continue to explore multuple ways to monetize Instagram (via Digiday)
- Changes are afoot at Teen Vogue. Now a quarterly pub, investments are being made in digital, video and social content (via Fashionista)
- Oh Canada. International retailers like Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue are flocking to the great white north for its billion-dollar opportunity (via Business of Fashion)
- A new study reports that 47% of email marketers cite brand building as a primary goal, but engagement remains a challenge. (via Bulldog Reporter)
- The PR industry is about to shift on Dec 1, 2016 when the salary threshold for overtime will be raised to $47,476 per year. Is this the end an era for PR workaholics? (via Forbes)
- Venmo can teach marketers a thing or two about reaching millennials (via PR Daily)
- Here’s a recap of Vogue Fashion Festival 2016, a 2-day fashion conference & masterclass event that explores the past, present and future of fashion (via Clausette)
Rise of the chatbots, live video streaming and mobile first are just a few of the social media trends projected for 2017 (via brandwatch)
- Snapchat has finally revealed how and where it will sell its new Spectacles to the public (via Time)
- Nasty Gal is set to file for bankruptcy, Sophia Amoruso to resign as executive chairwoman (via TechCrunch)