6 Signs You’re A Freelancer at Heart

6 Signs You Are Freelance PR

I took PR internships and jobs anywhere that would take me. My resume holds accolades from big agencies, experimental agencies, boutique agencies, and social media agencies. At each position, I kept telling myself, the next agency will be different; smarter, more creative. I won’t cry at night. Alas, no agency has ever made me as happy as I am as a freelance publicist, out on my own.

Looking back, I can identify six big indicators that suggested a freelance, entrepreneurial professional career was a better for fit for me. Do any of these ring true for you?

You have Restless Desk Syndrome

You feel cooped up, restless and unable to foster your creative thoughts at a desk. Walking, sitting at a coffee shop, or working on a park bench brings inspiration and new ideas for clients.

Office hours feel like a grind

As a freelancer, there are days when I pull long hours, but there are also days I only plug-in for a bit. My work hours often mimic traditional office hours, but I can take the afternoon off, and start up again later into the evening, if that is when inspiration strikes. If the days when you work from home feel like a gift from above and you love the freedom and mobility of creating own schedule, not to mention your own systems, methods and workflows, freelance life may be calling your name.

Leadership comes naturally to you

No one, besides you, will go to bat for you and your work when you’re out on your own. If handling criticism, calls from demanding clients and self-assigned goals keep you thriving, freelance work will put you front and center of the good, and the bad. If you find yourself naturally taking on leadership positions within teams, problem-solving and taking the initiative to grow business, chances are you’ll do find as an independent agent.

You’re a Networking Queen

PR is all about who you know! Whether it’s the media or prospective clients, who do you know and do you find yourself naturally introducing people and being the creator of unique partnerships and collaborations?

I get coffee with about 10 new people a week. While meeting with them, I look for opportunities connect them with as many people as I can. I believe in “giver’s gain;” and can point to this approach as the number one reason all of my business comes from referrals.

Hustle Is Your Middle Name

You hustle! You not only work at your current job, but you take on small side clients, consultations, and volunteer when and where you can. From random event gigs on the weekends to managing the Instagram account of your favorite boutique, you strive to put as much into each day as possible. If you are capable of taking care of multiple client needs and “handling it;” in addition to your full-time job, this freelance stuff will be totally manageable. After all, client work is just one of the responsibilities of running your own business.

You’ve got #GirlBoss Aspirations 

You are simultaneously empowered and devastated when you read articles about the girl bosses making millions from pursuing their dreams. You know an agency career trajectory will never give you that life and aspire to run the show, not just be the VP.

Freelancing is not for the weak. If you’re determined to be as well-known as Kelly Cutrone or have the confidence of fictional Samantha Jones, the fastest way forward is by building up your own reputation and name, not that of an existing agency. Freelancing has perks, like having the option to work in sweatpants, being able to work from wherever there is an internet connection and having a glass of wine whenever you feel like it. The freedom I feel from building a life on my terms and my timeline is truly why you won’t find me at a desk.

Freelancing has perks, like having the option to work in sweatpants, being able to work from wherever there is an internet connection, not to mention and having a glass of wine whenever you feel like it. But for me, the freedom I feel from building a life on my terms and my timeline is truly why you won’t find me sitting at an agency desk anytime soon.

About Sabrina

Sabrina 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.

4 Things to Learn from Kate Spade and LOFT’s Branded Video Content

Kate Spade Miss Adventure Campaign

Anna Kendrick returns to her home after a long day of shopping only to realize she’s locked her keys in her apartment, and after an urgent call to her super, she plops down on her front stoop with her dog Milos and tries to entertain herself.

 

 

Elsewhere, Busy Phillips is thrilled for the start of spring and can’t wait to celebrate her favorite spring activities, even if that means artificially manufacturing them herself. She then taps into her inner minimalist and begins practicing Marie Kondo’s principles of decluttering, leaving her very zen and her husband very confused.

 

 

While these scenarios sound like episodes from an upcoming sitcom, they’re actually video advertisements developed by Kate Spade and LOFT. Gone are the days are where fashion brands are relying on highly airbrushed print ads. Instead, they’re being replaced with fun, quirky video series that exhibit another side of the brand’s personality.

What makes these videos successful? They’re a unique blend of aspirational content with a dash of approachability. As you delve into branded content, consider these four key components to sucess:

1. Serialize Brand Content

These brand videos aren’t a one-off creations; instead, they’ve created a mini-series where we get to see our beloved characters in different situations. Kate Spade’s #MissAdventure series has gotten its fair share of buzz because the audience is keen on seeing what #MissAdventure will get into next.

2. Work with up and coming celebrities

While Anna Kendrick is pretty famous, both companies chose not to work with A-List. Instead, they’re choosing actresses who have earned a level of stardom to have a substantial following, but at the same time, retain a relatability that keeps them accessible to viewers.

In the latest installments of #MissAdventure, Anna Kendrick passed the torch to Zosia Mamet of Girls fame. With the start of season 2, Zosia has taken the reins and stars alongside Marissa Tomei, Kat Dennings, and Lola Kirke in a new adventure that that ends with a princess bouncy castle. The new actresses also have that “on the cusp of mass fame” indie quality that is a brand fit and also allows for a deeper connection and approachability among target customers.

3. Go for humor and pure entertainment

Both brands focus use humor and ridiculous situations to entertain viewers.  While it’s unlikely that we’d be mistaken for Lily Tomlin’s meditation coach like Anna Kendrick was have our husbands use the hose to create a fake rain shower to celebrate spring like Busy Phillips, laugh-out-loud situational comedy creates an immediate connection between the brand and it’s audience. Setting up outlandish situations demonstrates that both brands have a fun, playful side and don’t take themselves too seriously.

4. Include interactive content

Kate Spade took their video content to a whole new level by adding an interactive, touchable function to their videos via vendor Cinematique. Anett Farkas, the marketing manager at Cinematique, has worked extensively on cultivating branded video content and explains that “In the instance with Kate Spade, they did a great job filling their touchable video with interesting tidbits that users could discover by interacting with the video. For example, you get “A Lady’s Guide to Lock Picking” when viewers touch Anna Kendrick’s hair pins in the video. This additional story element brings viewers much deeper into the world of Kate Spade.” These elements enable brands to further immerse themselves into the worlds created for these series’ and encourage viewers to spend more time with the video beyond the initial viewing.

Fashion brands and marketing professionals can adopt a similar lens to branded content and video marketing as a means to entertain and cultivate brand excitement and loyalty.By including these 4 key characteristics, brands can increase engagement through entertainment and help cultivate their brand identity.

By including these 4 key characteristics, brands can increase engagement through entertainment and help cultivate their brand identity.

 

About Sarah Walsh

Sarah Walsh is an Online PR Specialist at Web Talent Marketing, a full-service digital marketing agency based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania that delivers exceptional results to clients. Sarah holds a B.A. from York College of Pennsylvania where she earned a degree in Professional Writing. She’s passionate about creating impactful content and using social media authentically. In her free time, she likes reading, writing for her personal blog, and spending time with her two furbabies.

PR INTERN

Position: PR Intern
Company: Style House PR
Location: New York City, NY
Learn more

Teen Vogue’s New Focus, Burberry Partners with Pinterest & How to Make a Decision

FASHION PR FRIDAY FEATURE IMAGE 4

Fashion PR Fridays: Top Fashion, Public Relations, Marketing and Social Media News

…for the week of August 8, 2016

  • Feeling like you’re getting amazing influencer coverage and not seeing the return? Let’s take a closer look (via The Gem)
  • PR maven Dria Murphy shares how finding herself without a job sparked a foray into consulting and entrepreneurship, touching on some of the swoon-worthy career experiences she’s had along the way (via The Coveteur)
  • Snapchat stories vs. Instagram stories and who should use which one – the looming question haunting all influencers and brands right now (via LinkedIn)
  • The new print and digital strategies at Teen Vogue are one for the books, literally (via Business of Fashion)
  • If you’ve ever had trouble making a decision, this one’s for you (via The Next Web)
  • Corporate office dress codes are stuffy & we hate them. Options, please! (via The Daily Beast)
  • In case you need help convincing a client; bloggers share the same level of influence as editors and that influence is steadily increasing (via LA Times)
  • If you’ve ever had to write brand copy for an “affordable luxury collection,” you’ll appreciate this call to ban certain fashion phrases (via Fashionista)
  • Learning is more fun with friends! Grab your PR bestie and save 15% when you both register for Fashion PR Confidential in Los Angeles October 1-2. Email info@fashionprconfidential.com with your fellow PR Girl on cc to get the code! (via Fashion PR Con)

 

Fashion PR Intern

Position: Fashion PR Intern
Company: Blanc Communications
Location: Sausalito, CA
Learn more

5 Signs a Fashion Show is Right for Your Brand

Runway Ready, MBFW, Fashion Show

Many designers dream of having their own fashion shows. And why wouldn’t they? The lights, the glamour, the models, the excitement, all revolving around their creations – who wouldn’t want that?! Fashion shows are great at garnering attention and creating buzz. But they’re usually not the best way to stimulate sales for startup brands or emerging designers. 

Why? Fashion shows costs a lot of money. Typically, newer designers lack the capital of a larger brand likeAlexander Wang, Zac Posen, or Tory Burch. Without a significant budget, the show itself is likely to suffer. Think about it – what makes a successful fashion show? It’s the right venue, experienced models, great publicists, smart and creative producers, talented hair and make-up artists, dressers and backstage assistants, and extra promotional dollars to pay celebrities to attend and drum up further media coverage.

Did you know that Chanel pays Rihanna about $80k, just to sit front row at their shows? If you want a fashion show attended by top-tier, notable press outlets, influencers, buyers and target customers, the show itself needs to be top-notch; which often requires a sizable budget. Many shows from new and small designers end up looking lackluster and simply aren’t much to write about. You don’t want to go cheap on a fashion show. 

If you want a fashion show that notable press will write about and will attract recognizable people to attend, then a sizable budget is necessary.

In addition to a tiny budget, another mistake I see time and again from independent designers is making the fashion show the only marketing activity to promote a collection, with no further outreach planned or budget earmarked for additional strategies. This is risky because if the fashion show doesn’t meet expectations, there is no additional budget to invest in other tactics, and sometimes, that extends to dollars to actually produce inventory to sell. 

So when is the right time to have a fashion show? It’s when you have the following 5 factors present in your fashion business: 

1.  There’s an existing demand for your line

Fashion shows are too pricey to be pure experimentation or a way of getting feedback on a collection. It only makes sense to invest in one if you have already garnered a strong demand for your brand. This means, at minimum, a loyal customer base, a certain amount of editor interest, and a business strategy that is bringing in consistent sales. Without setting the foundation, you’re making it harder on yourself when it comes to convincing press, buyers, and influencers to attend.

2. The cost to produce the fashion show won’t affect your ability to run your business

This is important because fashion shows don’t necessarily give you a return on your investment right away. That means, it could take days, weeks, and even months before you start seeing money come back. So, make sure you’ve got enough capital to continue business operations.

3. Production is already in place (and working)

Do not have a fashion show if you don’t have the capability to produce inventory. What’s the point of marketing your collection if you have no stock to sell?

4. You’re willing to invest to create a memorable, press-worthy experience

In the same way that you won’t compromise on fabric, don’t settle for a mediocre fashion week or runway show opportunity, just so that you can say you had a show. Fashion shows are not a small investment, nor are they mandatory. Wait until you have the proper funds to do it justice. After all, you and your customers deserve the best.

5. You have a PR, marketing and sales strategy in place

A fashion show shouldn’t be the only thing you’re doing to promote your brand. Make sure you have a robust communication plan that includes social media, email marketing, content marketing and more to keep expanding your brand recognition, reach, and sales.

Overall, fashion shows are a great way to stimulate buzz, which can contribute to heightened sales. But it’s definitely a strategy more suitable for established brands that possess a higher degree of capital and infrastructure.

If you’re now wondering, well what should I be doing? Learn the best marketing tactics for new and emerging brands by signing up for our upcoming course, How To Start + Grow A Fashion Brand That Sells, happening online August 27 Register here and save 10% with code PRCOUTURE.

About Mary

Mary Vallarta is the founder & CEO of both the FAB Counsel and the Digital Influencer Lab. Prior to launching these ventures, Mary worked as a Fashion Buyer for retailers such as Macy’s, BCBG, Metropark, and Bebe. She currently teaches Fashion Marketing and Entrepreneurship at the Los Angeles Technical College. Mary’s professional objectives are driven by a creative desire and the satisfaction of helping others succeed.

PR Girls We Love: Amanda Haines, Principal & Head of Creative, Reformation

PR Girls  We Love, Amanda Haines  - Reformation Sofa Meeting

An empathetic force of nature, Amanda Haines is the creative heart of Reformation. The product of artistic vision-meets-pragmatism, she’s a charismatic chameleon with a warm smile and an infectious laugh that she’s always ready to share. With her lion-heart, “let’s-do-this” attitude, and intuition in spades, Amanda has dedicated herself to crafting brand stories for more than a decade, working with brands from Gap Inc. and Michael Kors, to Earls Kitchen + Bar, to PAPYRUS and Hudson’s Bay Company, to name a few.

That dedication has taken Amanda to blend her passion for public relations with higher education, where she currently serves as an instructor and advisory board member for the Public Relations Certificate Program at Simon Fraser University. She has also taught seminars and courses at Langara College and John Casablancas Institute, respectively, and revels in coaching, cheerleading and driving her team to personal and professional success.


Amanda Haines, Principal, Reformation
Name: Amanda Haines
Company: Reformation
Title: Principal + Head of Creative
Education: BA – University of British Columbia; Certificate – PR & Communications, Langara College; Certificate – Hospitality Marketing, Cornell University
Twitter: @amandahaines //@wereformation
Instagram: @amandahaines // @wereformation

How did you get started in PR?

Honestly, it was on a hope and a prayer! I had graduated with my Bachelor of Arts in May, and I had been accepted into Bachelor of Education program starting in September. The goal was to become an elementary school teacher. About two weeks before the program started, I got cold feet and realized it really wasn’t the right fit for me. I knew I needed a career that would be creative, versatile, and keep me on my toes. Writing was always a strength of mine, so I considered journalism – but it didn’t feel quite right. I eventually stumbled across a public relations program at a reputable local college. I didn’t even really know what PR was at the time, but I knew it sounded like it was right up my alley. I aced the interview process and began the program in January – two months later, I was interning for a local (now-defunct) agency specializing in lifestyle PR, primarily fashion, beauty, and hospitality. My practicum led to a contract role, and then a full-time job, where I worked alongside the agency principal and got a major crash course in running a public relations firm.

How did you get the job you have now?

I created it myself! After my first agency job, I decided I wanted some in-house experience, so I took a marketing manager position working at the head office of a large casual fine dining restaurant chain. I was there for nearly four years, and in my last year, I started to crave a return to agency life – there’s something about the versatility of the agency experience that’s highly addictive! You never know what each day will bring, and the opportunity to work with so many different brands and people is incredible. I began researching agencies in Vancouver, and there just didn’t seem to be one that was ‘me.’ I knew I wanted to work with great brands, ones I believed in and could represent authentically. Around this time, I started getting a few consulting offers, and I took it as a sign that it was go time. I left my comfortable corporate job in December, and by January, my agency – soon to be named Reformation – launched.

What are your primary responsibilities?

Primarily, I am the Head of Creative. I’m responsible for developing and directing strategy for all of our clients, which is a fancy way of saying that I get paid for my ideas (I know, I’m hugely lucky). A huge chunk of my job is comprised of thinking outside the box and dreaming up new and (sometimes) crazy ways to tell our clients’ brand stories. Outside of that, I lead our business development, run the day-to-day operations of the business including human resources, finance, and the like, and I serve as a cheerleader and coach to our team of amazing creatives.

There’s something about the versatility of the agency experience that’s highly addictive! You never know what each day will bring, and the opportunity to work with so many different brands and people is incredible.

Tell us a bit about how different communication departments are structured at your company.

We’re not a typical public relations agency. Part of our mission is to set a higher standard for the agency experience, and my personal belief is that the standard corporate model is totally outdated. It’s time to cut the red tape and bureaucracy that so many agencies are built on. Our industry is changing so much, every day, and I think the most important part of staying relevant amidst this change is a willingness to evolve while offering premium service to our clients. We don’t have departments, or a limiting structure in our business. We call ourselves a modern public relations collective, not a PR agency. Our business is a sum of its parts. We believe in collaboration, and a strong team atmosphere where everyone – from intern to principal – is expected to contribute creatively. Our team is multi-faceted, well-rounded, and dynamic, and everyone plays an equal role in our integrated approach to PR. In any given day, they are pitching media, creating engaging social content, planning impactful brand amplifications, facilitating influencer partnerships, and most importantly, building relationships with each other, our clients, and our network of contacts.

What is the mood like in the office?

Nose to the grindstone, happy, and excited. 

What are you currently working on?

We’ve just started working with a new client, Unreserved, which is an amazing blended wine available in Smooth White and Smooth Red. We’re also gearing up for the upcoming Vancouver & Calgary Home + Design Shows this fall, preparing for the launch of Smash+Tess’s second ‘dreamwear’ collection, and planning for the opening of three new Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria locations this winter.

We believe in collaboration, and a strong team atmosphere where everyone – from intern to principal – is expected to contribute creatively.

What are you really good at?

I really love investing my time in people. Business development is my jam – there are few feelings as good as hitting it off with a new potential client and knocking a proposal out of the park. I also love coaching our team members, teaching them new things, and serving as a support and confidant to each of them. I find it incredibly rewarding. It’s funny how life has come full circle that way – while I may have changed my mind about becoming a full-time teacher, today I am actually a part-time teacher at a Simon Fraser University. I teach a few courses in their public relations certificate program, and I really relish the opportunity to share everything I’ve learned over the past 10 years.

What is a recent success story that makes you especially proud?

We launched our new brand this past May. It was such a big project, literally 15 months in the making. Seeing my vision for Reformation come to life was absolutely amazing. It took a village to get us where we are today, and I couldn’t be grateful to everyone who supported us along the way, or more thrilled with the end result. You can read more about our new look here

Most memorable and meaningful moments in your career thus far?

I’m not sure I can pinpoint a specific moment, but looking around our office and seeing our amazing team working so hard for our clients is incredibly gratifying. I am so lucky to be surrounded by four other strong, smart, beautiful women. They teach me new things every day, and I wouldn’t be here without them.

Reformation Team, PR Girls We Love, Amanda Haines

The Reformation Team. Left to right: Mallory Oudendag; Amanda Haines; Pam McMeekin; and Krystal Wiggins. Image credit: Whitney Krutzfeldt.

Most glamorous moment in your career thus far?

To be honest, there haven’t been many! I don’t mean that in a bad way, but there’s definitely a misconception out there that PR is this glamour-filled field. That’s false. We all have our moments, but the majority of our work is behind-the-scenes, in the trenches, grinding it out to get the best possible results for our clients. One of the coolest things I’ve gotten to do – and hopefully this qualifies as glam! – is meet and work alongside quite a few well-known television personalities. I’ve had the pleasure of spending a day with fashion stylist Brad Goreski, accompanying Drew & Jonathan Scott, Bryan Baeumler, and Colin & Justin to media appearances, and working alongside Jillian Harris as her publicist. I’m a very lucky girl, and the best part is, all of them are the nicest people in the world.

Least glamorous moment in your career thus far?

Literally every day there is a least glamorous moment. I do my fair share of dirty work alongside my team – I think it’s important. From stuffing envelopes to 4AM wake-up calls to running wild and crazy autograph signings with celebrities, I’ve done – and seen – it all.

What’s a big challenge facing communicators right now?

Staying relevant and on top of today’s communication tools. The PR landscape is changing every single day – newsrooms are shrinking, print opportunities are decreasing, broadcast opportunities are becoming increasingly affiliated with ad buys, social media is becoming more and more dynamic, and influencers have become a very real and very valuable new source for exposure. We approached this challenge head-on at Reformation, first and foremost, by changing our name. Our business started as Reformation PR, and while our manifesto has always been the same (we believe there is power in change — in challenging the status quo, and setting a higher standard for the agency experience), the industry continues to evolve. It’s gotten to a point where I believe modern public relations goes way beyond media exposure – it involves social media, influencers, brand amplifications, and content – and a lot of people don’t understand that. By dropping the PR from our name, and offering an integrated, full service offering, we’re able to maintain control of what we do, and how we do it – sort of define what modern public relations is for ourselves, without worrying about preconceived notions of what it is.

It’s so important to remember that as long as you do your best work possible, the results will follow.

PR can be stressful and full of rejection – how do you deal?

One of the most important things about a career in PR is relinquishing control. We don’t work in an industry where results are guaranteed. It’s so important to remember that as long as you do your best work possible, the results will follow. Maybe not all the time, and maybe not always the way you want them to, but if you do excellent work, you have every reason to be proud.

What are three must-have tools, apps, or products that are essential to your job?

  • We’ve totally revolutionized our inter-office communication with an app called Slack, which you can download to your computer or from the App Store. We use it in place of internal email, and it has been a total game-changer. It allows you to stay in the loop on everything, categorize your conversations, and most importantly, reduce your inbox clutter.
  • I honestly couldn’t live without Pinterest. It’s such a great resource for ideas and visual inspiration. I use it all the time for work and pleasure – brainstorming new ideas, styling photo shoots and content, and uncovering trends. It’s a bottomless source of creativity.
  • This is a bit old-school, but I have this notepad from Indigo that really helps me get through my days, especially those days that are really stressful. It’s got big sheets and at the top it says, “Fresh day, fresh start.” It always gives me a good jolt of optimism in the morning, and I use it to do my ‘brain dump’ as soon as I get into the office. I always have a lot on the go, and tons of things in my head – ideas, to-dos, deadlines, etc. – I find it really cleansing to write everything down as soon as I get in and rid myself of the stress that comes with a busy mind.
Breez App Launch, PR Girls We Love, Amanda Haines

Client event – Breez App Launch. Image credit: Britney Gill.

What do you wish more people understood about your job?

I wish more people understood what PR is. There’s a real misconception that PR equals parties and glamour, which is not at all the case. It’s all about hard work, determination, and creativity.

PR trends are always changing – how do you keep up?

Personally, I’m constantly learning. I read blogs (PR Couture being one of them!), business publications, articles, listen to podcasts, watch TED talks. I keep a close eye on what other brands are doing, and I’m always looking to get ahead of trends and blaze a path for our clients.

What type of person thrives at your company?

Someone who is creative, driven, hard-working, detail-oriented, and loyal. If you want to contribute, be part of something bigger than yourself, and be part of the modern public relations movement, we want to hear from you.

What would you tell someone who wants to be you when they grow up?

To roll up their sleeves, dig their heels in, and work their ass off. Treat everyone with kindness and respect, take chances, and make connections – you never know who you’re going to meet that might change your life. The PR industry is a tough one, but it’s also one that rewards hard work. If you’re willing to put in the time and effort, it will most certainly pay off, as long as you persevere.

 

Thanks, Amanda!

PR INTERN

Position: PR Intern
Company: Lindsey Smolan PR
Location: New York City, NY
Learn more

PR Toolkit: BLNDS Have More Fun with Trello

PR Agency, Trello, Project Management, PR Toolkit

It’s easy to get lost in the endless amount of work that is constantly circulating on our desk and through our emails. The only way to truly streamline any process is to have an all-encompassing program that allows everyone to work collaboratively, discuss tasks freely within project boards, stay on task with tools and checklists. And like any pro-organizer knows…with color coding, comes great responsibility.

There are plenty of programs like WunderList, Slack, Asana — but nothing compares to the ease and tools Trello provides to help out PR agency stay on track. Trello allows our entire team to finally check things off that never-ending to-do list and work in unison to successfully complete every goal. Each task we can complete efficiently as individuals, and together as a team, will only further realize our client’s goals into successful campaigns.

Here are a few ways that our office uses Trello as our go-to management tool:

1. We use Trello to streamline the pitch process

With a hearty roster of clients and multiple pitches being drafted, pitched and followed up on constantly, Trello has become our way to easily plan and track our pitches for every client. One tool we love? Labels! Trello has labels that can be used to color code each card. This is a visual and easy way for us to see what stage a pitch is in. Green means it’s approved by the team to be pitched, while red indicates that a pitch still needs more edits before being sent. We can also add deadlines to each pitch to ensure they are distributed on time.

2. We use Trello to organize content calendars

Creating valuable content is at the core of creating loyal and consistent viewership, and we work hard to ensure our PR agency blog is something we are excited about. Transferring our content calendar to Trello has allowed us to plan and easily move blog content from list to list as it progresses through the editorial process. As the team lead, I am able to easily track each topic from the early stages of research to writing and editing, and lastly publishing and promotion. Everyone on our team can see a visual overview of our content timeline, which leads to an effective publishing process. 

3. We use Trello for social media planning

While apps such as Mosaico and Planoly are becoming more and more prevalent, we utilize Trello as our go-to tool for planning client Instagram accounts. Why? Trello allows for multiple collaborators to be working on a single board, enabling the entire social media team to have eyes on everything from the caption to the overall cohesion of the feed. We organize our boards by week; if there is a post that we don’t think fits where it is now, Trello allows us to easily move it to another day or week.

For any business to succeed, communication is key! Especially during times of growth, it’s important for everyone on the team to be on the same page, organized, and updated on what is happening for each client. For BLND PR, Trello is that tool.

Now over to you: What’s your favorite feature of the project management tool you use? Share with us @BLNDPR and @prcouture.

PR CEO Shares Top Tips to Turn a Client Relationship Around

Client PR Tips

It’s inevitable. No matter how long you have been in the industry, how great your track record is in scoring amazing placements, there will always be clients who get cold feet and begin to question whether they have made the right choice in having you represent them. Client hesitation can present some major hurdles, so we’ve rounded up 5 things you can do to cope with clients who are on the fence about continuing the relationship.

1. Reset Expectations

Our agency has a strong policy of being completely honest with clients about what PR is and what we can do for them. Part of our elevator speech when onboarding clients includes letting them know that there are no guarantees of placement in PR and that it will take time for us to get results. so there is a certain level of trust they must have in us, particularly in the beginning that we are working diligently toward obtaining results. By managing expectations before the client engages our agency, we are able to remind them of this disclaimer when they start to get cold feet and then demonstrate the pro-active steps taken toward getting them results. We also work to establish trust in other ways, particularly, through consistent communication and tracking to demonstrate that we are working diligently toward obtaining results. By managing expectations before the client engages our agency, we are able to remind them of this disclaimer when they start to get cold feet and then demonstrate the pro-active steps taken toward getting them results.

It’s worth having this conversation more than once, however. A client who is waffling about moving forward needs to be reminded about how PR works, and there may need to be some renegotiation on process and expectations.

2. Secure a Quick Media Hit

When you think your client is starting to get nervous, turn to the outlets that you’ve come to rely on for quick placements. Even a small media hit can give boost morale and keep your client satisfied while you continue to work on the bigger stories.

3. Lay it all on the line

You’ve been hired for your communication skills and knowledge of how the media industry works. If you are struggling to secure results because of poor photography, an out-of-season or off-trend product or simply operating in a highly-saturated market, it’s time to make sure that your concerns and limitations are documented and well-known by your client. If you haven’t secured a placement but have received feedback from an editor, make sure to share those insights with your client.

Perhaps it’s time to work on some new messaging or branding, or to “create news” by doing something newsworthy. Remember that you’re the expert and ultimately your client needs your perspective and tough love in order to make both of your lives easier and business boom.

4. Re-establish the Relationship 

While digital and mobile communication is easy, clients who step away often feel neglected or simply not a top priority. When you sense or learn that a client is questioning if your the best fit it’s time to put in some serious face time. Set up a lunch to have a transparent conversation around their concerns. Discuss the current strategy and be willing to make tweaks – sometimes priorities change or your client is feeling pressure from her higher-ups that is adding to the stress. Emotion and empathy are not always conveyed well via email. by allowing the client to hear your voice and see how invested you are in their success, you can assuage many fears and even strengthen the relationship.

5. Demonstrate Progress You’ve Made

Clients can have a very short memory when it comes to press placements. They forget about the national print placement you secured a month ago or the morning show segment that featured a 30-second plug for their brand.  It can be helpful to remind them of the recent progress made and reiterate what is currently in the pipeline. For some clients, putting press coverage alongside concrete ad equivalency numbers can help clarify the value and affordability of public relations.

When clients get cold feet, it is important to put yourself in their shoes and take proactive steps to warm them up again. Most of the time, the fear stems from a concern that their limited marketing dollars are not reaping rewards and it is your job to show them the value for dollars spent. These 5 tips can help you talk them off the proverbial ledge and get the relationship back on track.

John Frieda’s Content Shift, Instagram Stories, & How to Selfie 101

FASHION PR FRIDAY FEATURE IMAGE 4

Fashion PR Fridays: Top Fashion, Public Relations, Marketing and Social Media News

…for the week of August 1, 2016

  • Major players at Elle Canada join FASHION and have some big roles to take on immediately (via Canadian Magazines)
  • There is no throwing shade at the John Frieda #ShadesOfMe campaign ruling the Instagram personalized content game (via Convince & Convert)
  • NOT using Facebook video, both pre-recorded and live, is limiting your reach (via Meet Edgar)
  • These 5 concepts are the driving forces of the retail industry & are forecasting the future of how we consume fashion (via Apparel)
  • Perfecting the selfie isn’t as easy as it looks, thankfully Jordyn Woods gave us the 411 (via Bustle)
  • The footwear industry is hitting the ground running towards beating the apparel industry in growth (via PYMNTS)
  • What could a beer brewing company and a baggage designer have in common? (via PR Newswire)
  • Our eternal love of ‘The Hills’ was re-sparked this week with “The Hills: That Was Then, This Is Now”, and then we got a reminder of how much we’ve been influenced by them in the world of fashion too (via Fashionista)
  • Instagram is the new prettier, more put together version of Snapchat and we love this about the app’s new features (via Fast Co Design)
  • The way marketers measure the success of their strategies is about to change with the constant evolution of social media (via Rappler)

A Quick Guide to Social Media Quizzes for Community Engagement

Social Media Quiz

With a potential for massive reach and customization, brands can use social media quizzes to boost social traffic, entertain and engage audiences, generate leads and bring in revenue. Here’s what you’ll need to know before you create a quiz.

1. Pick a Quiz Creation Tool

Successful quizzes appeal to a person’s need to learn more about themselves and validate their wants and needs. But it’s also important for them to be interactive and visually appealing. Tools like QzzrInteract, and ShortStack and other third-party software help with coding and picking elegant, yet simple design themes. Pick the right one and you might get language support, too!

2. Choose what type of quiz you want to create

In order to create something that both entertains and serves your greater marketing purpose, the first step is to choose a quiz category that serves both goals. The best social media quizzes have a natural tone and use a mix of text and images. Keep in mind that quizzes are not full-blown tests. Eight to ten questions is a standard count and will take about 3-5 minutes, which is on the top-end of the amount of time most social users are ready to spend before receiving a result. To that end, there are two different quiz types that tend to drive up participation.

To that end, there are two different quiz types that tend to drive up participation.

Knowledge Quiz

A knowledge quiz tests for awareness around a particular topic; it’s a fundamental wrong or right type of quiz. This type of quiz is a fun way to assess various audiences and challenge the customers concerning information they have about your product, brand or a lifestyle/pop culture aspect that plays well into your brand voice and target audience preferences.

Personality Quiz

We all love to learn about ourselves (and to share those insights through social media), which is what makes a personality quiz so effective. For fashion and lifestyle brands, questions about style preferences, “what’s your summer style,” or “what does your wardrobe say about you,” work well – and give you the opportunity to bring in lookbook images to brand quiz visuals.

2. Create an enticing headline

According to social media experts, 80% of readers will gauge the worth of a post from its title. The same extends to your quiz title, it must inspire curiosity and a desire to know the answer. You can take your cue from viral content powerhouses like UpWorthy and Buzzfeed. So, it puts pressure on you to create an impressive title.

Here’s a headline tip: Include the word ‘actually’ in the title to boost interest and to add an extra oomph of persuasion to drive your audience to find out exactly how much they know, or to determine a definitive personality based question.

3. Make a lead capture for your quiz

Doing a quiz for the sake of engaging with your audiences has some merit, but in reality, brands create social media quizzes to acquire important data about their audiences. Consider what your goals are with regard to your quiz. An easy way (though one that will incur a bit of a drop-off completion rate), is to require an email address before showing results.

Quizzes help introduce brands and products to audiences. Plus, you can drive traffic to blogs and articles written by (or about) you and drive audiences to events you’re hosting.

4. Create share-worthy visuals for your quiz results

It’s important that your quiz is coded to work well with various social platforms. For Facebook specifically, it’s important that your results be highly visual – whether charts/graphs or beautiful images. In order to share the quiz with friends and followers, the quiz taker must feel proud and excited about their results and how they look on their profile.

Quizzes are easy to create, fun, and interactive, and can be implemented into any social strategy. For best results,  ensure that you have a clear goal, data capture process and of course, an enticing question that your target audience can’t help but need to be answered.

About Nancy Grace

Nancy Grace is a social media writer at iDigic.net who also contributes for hundreds of other blogs. Her articles predominantly focus on social media and are widely followed by readers from all over the world.

FREELANCE PUBLICIST

Position: Freelance Publicist
Company: Lindsey Smolan PR
Location: New York City, NY
Learn more

PR Girls We Love: Kristen Chin, Principal at POM Public Relations

Kristen Chin at POM PR Office

POM Public Relations is a lifestyle and event PR firm based in Austin, TX. After spending seven years specializing in regional and national media relations, Kristen Chin established this new venture in the summer of 2010. POM PR currently works with Elevé Cosmetics, kiki nass, FOUND, Shaesby, Austin Fashion Week, the 30th Annual AIA Austin Homes Tour, and Fashion X Dallas, among others. From 2008 to 2010, Chin worked at a small Austin firm as an Account Director managing an array of cultural arts, non-profit, entertainment, and special event clients. Prior to that, Chin was an Account Supervisor at B|W|R Public Relations, where she worked on a wide range of corporate entertainment, hospitality, and special event clients. Before B|W|R, Chin was an account executive at Chasen & Company Public Relations, where she handled personal publicity for music and film heavyweights including music producer Glen Ballard (Alanis Morissette) and Dave Stewart (The Eurhythmics).


Kristen Chin, POM PR (headshot)Name:
 
Kristen Chin
Company: POM Public Relations
Title: Principal
Education: BA University of California, San Diego and JD University of San Francisco

Twitter: @POM_PR//@Kristen_Chin
Instagram: @POMPublicRelations

How did you get started in PR?

Being a History and Political Science double major, I had always enjoyed research and writing. I moved to LA after graduate school because I was searching for a creative job within the entertainment industry. After stints at a record label (Universal Music Group) and then a talent agency (ICM), I landed my first PR job with the inimitable Ronni Chasen. She took a chance on me, was an incredible mentor, and helped me build my PR skill set – everything from media clipping on the Xerox machine to pitching Page Six via Fax!

How did you get the job you have now?

When I eventually moved on from Chasen & Company, I worked at B|W|R Public Relations and had an extraordinary experience working with a great team of publicists. My projects varied from Oscar parties and museum openings to destination hotels and denim brands. Moving to Austin, nearly a decade ago, I craved the type of clients that I had the opportunity to work with in LA. While there were a handful of entertainment and hospitality firms, nothing was focused specifically on retail, fashion, beauty and e-commerce. With the encouragement of several other PR pros around town, I founded POM PR.

What are your primary responsibilities?

Being a boss! Seriously though, being a boss is a part of the gig. I enjoy managing and teaching the team, but I am also entrenched in handling day-to-day PR activities and client relationships. I love being involved in all aspects from growing my relationships with media to brainstorming about new business. On the operations side, I have some outside support, but ultimately I’m still responsible for the accounting too.

Tell us a bit about how different communication departments are structured at your company.

I personally handle much of the PR and marketing for the clients. As the line between editorial and advertorial has blended, particularly with blogs and social, I find that having one point person to determine both is helpful. Our Account Executive, Mandy Mayekawa, heads up PR as well as Social Media, and we have a rock star Graphic Designer Pam Caperton. To accommodate for the ebbs and flows of our business in Austin, we have two to four support team members at any given time. We’re uniquely situated in our market as we’re not a large firm, but we’re also not a one-person show. It allows us to be nimble and work with the type of clients we love.

What is the mood like in the office?

Our current office playlist includes Coeur de Pirate, The Weeknd, Jay-Z, and the new Maxwell album.

What are you currently working on?

We’re busy rolling out new products for an all-natural make up line Elevé Cosmetics; finding placements for fine jewelry line Shaesby’s latest diamond slice collection; and planning for Fashion X Dallas, among other things.

Fashion X Dallas 2014

Fashion X Dallas 2014. ‘Mysterious’ by NPN. Image Credit: Shana Anderson

 

What are you really good at?

Faces and names.

What is a recent success story that makes you especially proud?

Recently, we reconnected with a past retail/boutique client. It’s always nice to hear that sales were stronger while we were on board helping with PR and Marketing. Knowing that our involvement does affect bottom line is incredibly rewarding as we’re helping other business owners succeed.

Most memorable and meaningful moments in your career thus far?

My most memorable would have to be covering interviews with Bono during Awards Season in LA and helping Mick Jagger and Dave Stewart win a Golden Globe!

Most meaningful would be working on Stand Up To Cancer. Everyone has been touched by cancer in some way, and the scale of that event is massive, so you really feel you’re making an impact and pushing research forward.

My most rewarding project by far has been Austin Fashion Week. Aside from founder Matt Swinney, I’m the only other team member who’s been on the project since its inception in 2009. We’ve been able to create and build something unique and special for not only the Austin community but also for independent designers seeking a platform to show their work. Seeing each incarnation has been incredibly fulfilling.

Backstage at Austin Fashion Week 2011 with Designer Gail Chovan Credit: Jesse Knish

Backstage at Austin Fashion Week 2011 with Designer Gail Chovan. Image Credit: Jesse Knish

 

Most glamorous moment in your career thus far?

Running the red carpet at the opening of The Broad Contemporary Art Museum at LACMA. Walking Takashi Murakami down the carpet!

Least glamorous moment in your career thus far?

Killing a wasps’ nest outside our office door!

What’s a big challenge facing communicators right now?

For us, one of the biggest hurdles out there is how affiliate programs have affected social media opportunities for local brands and boutiques that aren’t a part of an affiliate program. We understand that big box retailers and affiliates are how bloggers are making a living, but we also feel there is a space for locally-owned shops with a point of view. Consumers should have a choice when shopping.

We’ve been able to create and build something unique and special for not only the Austin community but also for independent designers seeking a platform to show their work.

PR can be stressful and full of rejection – how do you deal?

A friend once told me, “It’s PR, not ER.” I have friends who are doctors and lawyers, and at the end of the day, their outcomes can seriously affect lives. Our business is about promotion, and if a certain press hit doesn’t happen, it’s not the end of the world. We’ll find other opportunities.

What are three must-have tools, apps, or products that are essential to your job?

  • Cision
  • Iconosquare
  • Coffee

What do you wish more people understood about your job?

I wish there was an easier way to quantify ROI and for people to understand that awareness may or may not directly result in immediate sales. Depending on your product or sales cycle, sales can lag behind the press, but PR does have value and is an integral piece of the marketing puzzle.

 

SXSW 2016 Kristen interviews on 'I Was Just Saying That' podcast

SXSW 2016: Kristen (right) was with interviewed with Kimya Kavehkar (editor) on ‘I Was Just Saying That’ podcast, hosted by Michelle Pimm.

PR trends are always changing – how do you keep up?

We’re fortunate that we are based in Austin, as SXSW and SXstyle, in particular, have been helpful in terms of discovery, connection, and learning about new industry trends. We also read WWD religiously!

What type of person thrives at your company?

Having a determined work ethic will take you far at POM PR.

What would you tell someone who wants to be you when they grow up?

Bring a copy of your resume to the interview!!!
Thanks, Kristen!

 

 

Fashion PR Defined: What is a Pull Letter or Letter of Responsibility?

LOR Pull Letter Fashion PR Celebrity Stylist

Every industry has its own jargon and acronyms and the fashion public relations industry is no exception. The pull letter, letter of responsibility, or LOR for short, is an important component when working with freelance stylists and market editors who want to borrow product samples for magazine shoots or VIP dressing opportunities.

A pull letter includes the shoot dates, story theme, publication date and sample return date. Most importantly, the letter states that the publication will take financial responsibility for any products loaned and pay for replacements in the event of loss or damage. Basically, it is an agreement that client samples will be returned, and that should anything happen to the item, costs will be covered by the borrower. Particularly important for luxury brands (losing a diamond bracelet on a red carpet or a rip down the back of a couture gown is a huge financial problem, as you can imagine), requiring a signed LOR, whether provided by the publication or by the publicist on behalf of the brand, is a smart best practice for any PR company lending out samples.

Pro tip: Since freelance stylists are not employed in-house at a publication, they will usually provide a pull letter or letter of responsibility from an editor at the publication they’re shooting for. Make sure the letter includes the editor’s contact information so you can reach out and confirm the stylist is, in fact, working on a project for the publication. You can also use social media to vet freelance stylists. Most stylists and editors use social media to promote their work, so it’s a good practice to check out their accounts and/or website and see examples of their work before deciding whether to loan samples for a shoot.

Pull letters help establish a comfort level when you’ve never worked with a stylist before, or you’re unfamiliar with their work. For publications, it provides a safety net should anything go “missing” in the shoe closet, and sets your client’s mind at ease. If you are at all concerned about the proper and safe return of samples, ensure the LOR has a clause about when and how to recover lost costs, should anything go wrong. You may also require a credit card on file, or a deposit to further ensure peace of mind. If you are planning on developing an in-house or standard agency document to use for sample requests, be sure to have it reviewed by an attorney to ensure it is an enforceable legal document.