Campaigns We Love: #ICanSheDid by Madam C.J. Walker Beauty

Madam CJ Walker Prestige Haircare PR Campaigns Fashion Beauty

Who: Madam C.J. Walker Beauty Culture is a hair care line by Sundial Brands that launched exclusively with Sephora back in March. Madam C.J. Walker created specialized hair products for African-American hair and was one of the first American women to become a self-made millionaire.

What: I Can Because She Did” is a digital campaign – assets were created by Alchemy Life, Inc. with Janice McCafferty PR assisting with media outreach. Campaign content includes an online meme generator and 20 short videos featuring female entrepreneurs and influencers including Madam Walker‘s great-great-granddaughter and official historian A’Lelia Bundles, style influencer/media personality Tai Beauchamp and forensic scientist/Fulbright Scholar Sheila Dennis. Outreach tactics include traditional and social media, digital advertising events, sampling/trial and influencers and database marketing.

Digital PR Beauty PR

Why: Within 24 hours of  launch, Allure, Yahoo! Beauty, MadameNoir, Heart & Soul and Hype Hair covered the campaign, and the brand saw an immediate increase in social media engagement. This campaign honors and encourages women by informing and celebrating the hard work of beauty pioneers like Madam C.J. Walker. We can in part because they did! Visit www.icanshedid.com to access all of the online campaign elements, including the meme generator and video vignettes.

PR Girls We Love: Meet Stephanie Tan, PR Manager at Influenster

Stephanie Tan

Stephanie Tan heads in-house PR at Influenster, an NYC-based product discovery and reviews platform that offers users rewards-based opportunities from consumer brands. Stephanie’s thoughtful media strategy has helped to drive the startup’s growth and positioning as the go-to destination for product discovery. The Influenster community currently boasts more than 2 million members who’ve written more than 7 million reviews about more than 1.5 million products. In April, the company announced it had closed an $8 million round of funding from Ebates.

When she isn’t putting in long hours identifying and pitching story opportunities, this former dance and psychology major still makes time to practice her moves with regular dance training and yoga. When it’s time to stop moving, she’s on a constant hunt to discover the latest ramen spot in the city.

Headshot_Stephanie Tan

Name: Stephanie Tan
Company: Influenster
Title: PR Manager
Education: B.A. Cornell University
Twitter: @influenster
Instagram: @steph.tys // @influenster

“The only way to figure out what you’re best at is to step out of your comfort zone and try everything.”

How did you get started in PR?

I was a double major in psychology and dance at Cornell and first discovered public relations as a potential career path by promoting shows on campus and pursuing my honors thesis on the intersection of dance and advertising.

How did you get the job you have now?

After internships and positions at a few PR agencies, I realized that what I really wanted was the opportunity to focus on transforming a single brand from the inside out. Influenster offered not only the challenge of creating a communications strategy from the ground up, but required that I diversify my skill set as a well-rounded marketer, while extending my media relationships and expertise to encompass lifestyle, business, and tech PR.

What are your primary responsibilities?

I help to tell Influenster’s story to the media and develop our brand identity through the news. Since we’re a startup, we all wear many hats to make the magic happen. I work closely with the co-founders as well as the content, research and design teams to strategize and craft new ways to position the company.

There are limitless ways to tell the Influenster story — that’s part of what makes this job so fulfilling. One of my approaches is working collaboratively with our research and design teams to survey our member community regarding on-trend topics, e.g., millennial holiday gift preferences, back-to-school shopping etc., and making the data come alive through insightful, thought-provoking yet simple infographics. It’s all about creating persuasive content that ties seamlessly back to Influenster’s capabilities.

Influenster office_Dogs

The Influenster office dogs take work very seriously. From the left and working clockwise around: Chaplin, Beau, Dr. Watson, Rex and Cooper. 

What is the mood like in the office?

It’s very much a work hard, play hard environment at Influenster. The team consists of some of the sharpest minds in the NYC startup scene, and we get to collaborate and bounce ideas off of one another on a daily basis. Our open floor plan fuels the creativity, and the dogs brighten up our day! We bond over Thursday Tastings of each team member’s food & drink culture, Summer Fridays, catered lunches, monthly company outings, holiday celebrations and much more.

What are you currently working on?

Right now, we’re in the process of planning the 2nd Influenster Reviewers’ Choice Awards, stringing the creative assets together for a millennial beauty trend report and conducting a research survey on the Summer Olympics.

Generally, I’m always looking to raise awareness about Influenster through lifestyle press and business award recognitions. Thought leadership is another big focus of mine; working to position our co-founders as experts in digital marketing and entrepreneurship. It’s been an exciting year thus far, we’re the runner-up as NYC’s Best Tech Startup in the Timmy Awards, and we’re on our way to achieving many more company “firsts.”

What are you really good at?

Anticipating the needs of reporters. I’m always thinking one step ahead and surprising them with my preparedness.

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

We recently entered a strategic partnership with Ebates, which was a milestone achievement for Influenster. Being able to break that story to the national media was exhilarating.

I’m always looking to raise awareness about Influenster through lifestyle press and business award recognitions. Thought leadership is another big focus of mine; working to position our co-founders as experts in digital marketing and entrepreneurship.

Most glamorous moment in your career thus far?

Starring in YouTube videos for the Influenster channel. I got to reveal the latest products to our community of 100K+ subscribers.

Least glamorous moment in your career thus far?

Carrying crates of bottled water samples from a truck to a storage room all day for one of my first jobs. I ended up straining my back and visiting my physical therapist to get it fixed. This experience taught me strength, tenacity…and better squat form!

What’s a big challenge facing communicators right now?

Keeping up with the pace and flux of media innovation is a challenge. There are so many layers to promotion these days  e.g., native content, influencer marketing, mobile media, etc. It’s essential for communicators to be versatile and well-versed in platforms and tactics that go beyond media relations – digital strategy, content marketing, research, and analytics are all a part of the evolving landscape that help to shape brand identity.

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

Rejection is part and parcel of a career in PR. Whether it makes or breaks you depends on how you deal with it. I believe in not taking things personally and instead, I redirect rejections as fuel for my determination to turn a no into a yes.  

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

  • Muck Rack: for media intelligence
  • HARO: to know what journalists are looking to cover
  • The News: print, digital, word of mouth and beyond

What do you wish more people understood about your job?

Earned media is much like ballet. We have to make it look smooth and easy on the outside, but there is so much hard work and precision put into achieving each milestone.

Influenster office_Team

Team Influenster works hard and plays hard

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

Immersing myself in media in all forms possible. I read on my subway commute to work, catch up on industry news at work, and watch the news on television at night. I’m also an ardent student for life, I’m constantly learning, whether it may be on Coursera, General Assembly or attending industry workshops and conferences. Keeping up with professional development is the only way to stay relevant and in tune with emerging trends.

Earned media is a much like ballet. We have to make it look smooth and easy on the outside, but little do people know how much hard work and precision is put into achieving each milestone.

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

Experience life! The only way to figure out what you’re best at is to step out of your comfort zone and try everything. Read, travel and study what you’re most passionate about. Intern or job-shadow at your favorite companies and the rest will follow.

Thanks, Stephanie!

How to Produce a Memorable Brand Event with a Blogger as Host

Event PR, Influencer, Fashion Blogger, Events

You strategize, conceptualize, create and coordinate and through it all, the pressure to successfully produce a memorable, results-oriented (and Instagram-worthy) event is mounting. From finding the perfect venue to gift bag sourcing and sponsors, event planning is so much more than finding the perfect floral arrangement and photo booth backdrop; you need RSVPs and you need your attendees to help drive brand messaging forward, from an offline experience to an online record of time well spent.

For fashion and lifestyle brands, one signature move is to source a host who in both name and action, can help ensure a memorable event.  The right host is often a top-tier digital influencer everyone wants to meet in person, who helps drive attendance and keeps the party alive kicking.

At Be Social, we frequently engage these digital influencers to host client events, have found this to be a strategic means to boost event effectiveness. Now, we’re sharing six of our best tips to ensure your next blogger-hosted event is flawless.

1. Choose an existing brand enthusiast

Influencers are more than just marketing figureheads, they are also consumers who have favorite brands, from shoes to skincare. When choosing your host, you’ll be best served by someone who is already familiar with – and a fan 0f – your client’s brand. Genuine enthusiasm and excitement is a huge part of hosting an event with authenticity and class, so choose someone who already wears your client’s clothes or uses their product. Here’s the clincher: in addition to approaching organic brand ambassadors, it’s essential the influencer also fits with the brand culture and aesthetic. You must be 100% confident that the host will accurately represent and clarify your client’s communication goals and personality. Remember, an event is a high-touch marketing opportunity to provide consumers or media contacts the chance to become invested and excited about a brand’s sensibility,  and your host plays a huge role in the whole event experience.

2. Craft an Agreement

Now is not the time for agreements made with an air kiss or an email. You need to outline the specific expectations and outcomes for your host. Wrap these up into a letter of agreement or preferable, a legal contract. In addition to outlining payment terms – whether in product, publicity or money – consider things like a cancellation clause in light of sickness or emergency, as well as and pre-event or post-event duties. Negotiate your terms and include every single detail to ensure everything goes off without a hitch.

3. Prep your host before the event

Imagine showing up to host an industry award show, photograph a wedding or moderate a panel with no idea of what to expect (or what’s expected of you!). Take the time to set up a few prep meetings with your host before the event to discuss plans, timing and updates. A few days before, create and circulate a briefing document that outlines every detail of the event. Include who will be in attendance (if the influencer is unfamiliar with a particular VIP, include a photo and useful background information), an overview of the goals of the event, history of the brand, important key messages/data points for this specific event, important announcements and timing, social media hashtags and event flow.  Have your host arrive early and take her through a mock event timeline, so she knows exactly what to do and say. Organization and transparency are key to ensuring expectations are managed and everyone is in the know.

4. Integrate product into host attire

For fashion and beauty brands, it’s a total miss not to ensure the host is decked out in client product (even better if you have done a wardrobe or beauty test ahead of time to ensure the host is wearing something she feels comfortable in). Hair/Make-up/Wardrobe are all important points to note in your host our agreement. By giving your host time to enjoy and experience the product, she can more effectively speak to which color, fragrance, style etc is their favorite because they actually know! If you’re working on an event that doesn’t have an obvious tie-in, consider having the outfit match brand colors, or creating something unique – like an accessory – specifically for the event.

5. Require social media promotion and documentation

Having your influencer simply host an event is one part of the tactic, but you’re really looking to maximize their reach and endorsement as much as possible. A common ask is to have your host post an event teaser prior to the event to increase attendance, and to specify a certain number of posts during the event itself. You can have your own social team on hand to help make this easy by texting photographs and sample captions for her use. Another great idea is to have your host take over your Snapchat or Instagram on the day of the event, which gives your existing followers a unique way to experience the event.

6. Make your host feel like a part of your squad

Hosting an event can be nerve-wracking, so remember to act as the host to your host. Introduce the host to media, other bloggers, and members of your team. Give them a point person/assistant to rely on for any questions or emergencies during the event itself – from a lost lipstick to a broken microphone. They more you can make your host feel like a valued member of the team, the better the experience for everyone.

When done properly, a blogger or digital influencer can make for the perfect host.  Remember, your host can only achieve the results you want when they have a clear direction, expected deliverables, and lots of support and encouragement. When it comes to events, it really is all in the details. Good luck!

About Ali Grant

Ali Grant is the founder of Be Social, headquartered in San Diego with a showroom in Venice, California. She started her career at the beginning of the blogger boom facilitating blogger seeding for fashion labels Through strategic public relations and social media campaign management, Ali has earned recognition for her company in leading industry publications, including being named by PRWeek as the Top 50 Innovators in digital publicity. Further accolades include features in Forbes, Huffington Post, PRWeek, Fashion Monitor, The PR Closet, PR Couture, Daily Front Row, BW Confidential, The Holmes Report and O’Dwyer PR. She’s also hosted educational courses at America’s Beauty Show and the Bloguettes.

Refinery29 Invests in Facebook Live, PR Blogs to Know & Rebrand Tips

Fashion PR Fridays Image 3

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

…for the week of June 27, 2016

  • Need help shooting a fashion lookbook? We’ve got a great lookbook guide  from San freelance photo stylist Sarah Kensell (via Pixelz)
  • We all want that great new hire to stay on, here’s how to keep them happy (via Entrepreneur)
  • Ever wonder how Facebook chooses the posts you see first? They just explained their algorithm for the first time, sorta (via The Next Web)
  • Eloquii launches a new editorial hub to serve $18 million dollar plus-sized fashion market (via Forbes)
  • Dreading that rebrand? Here are 5 tips to help you through the process (via Reuters)
  • Pro Tip: Check out #SaySomethingNice, the new social media campaign in Europe brought to you by Amazon Fashion and style bloggers (via Fashion United)
  • Do you know what PR blogs your competitors are reading? (via Meltwater)

 

Social Summer: 8 PR Boss Babes To Follow on Social Media

PR Girl PR Boss Instagram Fashion PR

PR professionals are never without our phones and social media apps; there is nothing better for a boost of inspiration than seeing how other fashion & lifestyle communications pros are killing it through their own social media channels. Here are 8 of our favorite fashion and lifestyle PR girls who never disappoint during a mid-day scroll and are taking serious advantage of summer.

Sharon Herzog

sharon herzog

Twitter: @Sharon_Herzog
Instagram: @Sharon_Herzog

Sharon’s the founder of Fashion PR Girl based in California. (She’s also Co-creator of the Instagram Collaborations course Instappable with PR C Founder Crosby Noricks). Based in Santa Barbara, her Instagram is filled with two of our favorite things – water and wine! Her recent trip to Europe and gave us a serious case of wanderlust but our business minds appreciate her newsy Twitter account and thoughts on fashion PR, data and influencer relations.

Aliza Licht

aliza licht

Twitter: @AlizaLicht
Instagram: @alizalichtxo
Snapchat: AlizaLicht

It wouldn’t be a PR Girls We Love list without putting the former DKNY PR Girl and author of Leave Your Mark on it. If anybody knows social media and fashion, it’s Aliza. Ever gracious, Aliza is likely to send you a response to a query as she’s highly engaged across all her platforms. Check out her recent Facebook Live session and sign up for her email newsletter Blackboard for plenty of career advice.

Genevieve Ascencio Alcinay

genevieve ascencio

Twitter: @thatgenevieve
Instagram: @thatgenevieve
Snapchat: that genevieve

First off, major congrats are in order for the new VP of Digital at Factory PR. We loved the Instagram Takeover Genevieve did for us last year and have been avid followers ever since. Equal parts fashionable, down to earth, and in the know, Genevieve is one babe to watch for plenty of shoe envy, NYC summer antics, and industry smarts.

Brittany Lamp

brittany lamp

Twitter: @brittanylelamp
Instagram: @brittanylelamp

As the social media manager at Beach House PR in the OC, as well as a PR Couture contributor, Brittany is a PR boss who knows how to mix her strong style point-of-view and beachy vibe with her industry expertise.

Danielle Gano

danielle gano

Twitter: @ellecomm
Instagram: @ohheyelle

Danielle is the founder of Elle Communications located in LA and NY, an agency that does tremendous work in the social good space.  Be inspired by all the feel-good, do-good work Elle is up to on Twitter, but get an extra special view of Danielle’s adventures on and off the clock, including travels to Africa, Mexico and Israel, fundraising, friend tributes and plenty of pup shots of Weimaraner Weylin on Instagram. Bonus: You can also follow the company on Instagram to see what else this hard-working team is up to behind the scenes.

Pitches and Wifi

pitcheswifi

Twitter: @PitchesandWiFi
Instagram: @pitchesandwifi

While not a person per say, this more recent account is a must for millennial babes and recent PR grads. The Pitches and Wifi Twitter consolidates advice from top sites like PR Daily, Career Contessa, and PR girls. Their Instagram is a worthy mix of tips and tricks plus fashion inspiration, all in a (albeit anonymous) voice and tone we can’t help but relate to.

Sarah Rachel Jenkins

sarah jenkins

Twitter: @sarahrachel_PR
Instagram: @senorita_saritaaa

Sarah’s the founder of lifestyle agency White Oak Communications. Follow along on Twitter for current events, pop culture and daily adventures. Instagram adds excellent so-cal scenery shots and awesome food pictures. Bonus: Follow White Oak’s Instagram and Twitter for more inspiration and to be in the know about the latest restaurant openings and events.

Dria Murphy

dria murphy

Twitter: @driamurphy
Instagram: @driamurphy
Snapchat: driamurphy

From running her own consultancy, Alise Collective (which you also can follow on Instagram and Twitter), to being a bit of an it girl in her own right, Dria’s social channels provide insight into her clients’ successes as well as her fabulous style (both fashion and interior design), as and how she stays fit. Expect lots of snaps from the Hamptons this summer.

Want more PR Girls to follow? Check out 6 PR Girls To Follow on Twitter and 25 Instagram Accounts For PR Firms To Follow.

P.S. You’re following PR Couture on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat (prcouture), right?

PR Coordinator

Position:  PR Coordinator
Company: Remarq Inc.
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Learn more

Why Facebook Live Is The New Deskside for Smart PR Pros

PR Opportunity: Pitch Facebook Live to Fashion and Lifestyle Media

In person meeting with editors, or desksides, have huge value for public relations professionals. Desksides provide valuable face time with media contacts not only to build a relationship (and increase those pitch open rates in the future) but to understand the big picture needs of a publication’s editorial team.

However, with busy schedules and shrinking newsrooms, securing an in-person meeting can be extremely difficult. Recently, The New Yorker created a parody video explaining desksides and highlighted the biggest issue: desksides can be time-consuming to set up, and like most things in PR, coverage isn’t guaranteed. We often accept this as part of the business, noting that our efforts are part of a long-term strategy.

Rather than setting up desksides in the hopes of coverage, one pitch strategy that is working particularly well for me lately is to pitch a Facebook Live event between a media entity and client. Many NYC-based publications and websites are beginning to employ video editors or require video skills from their social media editors. As a result, Facebook live activations are happening in and around their offices (central to NYC).

Recently I was able to secure wins with Refinery29, NY Mag’s The Cut, Esquire and its sister properties Elle and Harper’s Bazaar using this type of pitch.

Why did it work? Media companies are not only being paid to produce Facebook Live streams, but they have quotas they have to fill each day and month. A Facebook Live stream provides digital editors and producers with the valuable content they need fill a need for live video.

Of course, results from a Facebook Live event are not tracked in the same way as print or digital product coverage, but when top Facebook publishers, like CNN, The Huffington Post and BuzzFeed post video to the social network, the payoff is much greater than when they simply post links to articles.

This has certainly been the case for our client, Angie Banicki, who received more than 200 queries to her website after doing an event with R29. I asked Fiona Hillery, Director of Video Content Strategy for Refinery29 for her perspective about the event, and she shared that, “Over a 45-minute broadcast, Angie Banicki’s Refinery29 digital tarot reading generated over 3,000 comments, igniting conversational viewership and growth for both publishers and talent.” She went on to suggest that “Developing content for Facebook Live should prioritize on-air audience integration at its core. The power of creating authentic, real-time, personalized interactions between on-air talent and viewers is invaluable. The immediate payoff for fans translates into loyalty and high engagement.”

If you decide to pitch a Facebook Live event, there are a few things to note. First, even though your client might be sitting in front of a camera alongside a host, this is not live TV. Most outlets are going to prefer a stream longer than 20 minutes. Advise your clients on the timing and that there won’t be any breaks. On the other hand, there will be less pressure to hit all marks in a short amount of time, and you’re not likely to be quickly ushered out as soon as your time is up. For agencies and clients based outside of NYC take heed; this pitch will be harder to secure right now, but you can still pitch it at the local level via media outlets anchors/personality pages. Eventually, we’ll start to see a trickle-down effect into other markets.

Developing content for Facebook Live should prioritize on-air audience integration at its core. The immediate payoff for fans translates into loyalty and high engagement.

Fiona Hillery, Director of Video Content Strategy, Refinery29

As public relations professionals, we’re always looking for new opportunities. Take advantage of the slightly more relaxed pace of a Facebook Live event to get to know the people in the room and learn as much as you can in order to be a long-standing resource.

About Ximena Beltran

Ximena specializes in using social media for public relations campaigns to create offline engagement. She is the founder of #TheRevolutionaries,  a web series, in partnership with Entrepreneur Magazine, that highlights forward-thinking communicators. Prior to founding C1 Revolution, Ximena led Walgreens’ social media team in an analyst role on risk management issues. Her unique expertise has been called upon by media and educators to weigh in on industry trends, including in a Macmillan college textbook on digital branding and reputation.

 

3 Style Rules for Your Next Job Interview

Interview Outfit Fashion Job PR Interview

I distinctly remember trying to put together an outfit for my first real job interview. The night before the big meeting I went through every piece of clothing I owned, trying to mix and match outfits that would equally convey my love of fashion with my experience in the industry. I was 19 years old, interviewing for a store manager position at a local boutique, and I wanted to look smart so I could land the job. Truth be told, I ended up wearing something “safe,” which consisted of a button-up blouse, black pencil skirt, and patent leather high heels. In hindsight, it was secretary-chic and rather boring, but I landed the job and went on to run a million-dollar store.

The point is, first impressions are important, especially when you work in fashion. Here are 3 style strategies to keep in mind when putting together the perfect job interview outfit.

1. Black is Boring

We’ve all heard the saying, “when it doubt, wear black,” but when it comes to interview attire, nothing could be further from the truth.  “Black is a recessive color,” explains Styled Seattle founder Darcy Camden, “and it makes you look boring.”

Of course, you can wear your favorite black pants, or a beautiful black blazer to the interview, but head-to-toe black is out of the question. Instead, showcase your personality through the color and texture of your outfit so your interview impression is memorable. Colorful, printed dresses, brightly colored jackets, and even printed pants can all be interview appropriate with the proper styling.  Black is easy to forget, and you don’t want to miss your opportunity to shine.

Showcase your personality through the color and texture of your outfit so your interview experience is memorable. Colorful, printed dresses, brightly colored jackets, and even printed pants can all be interview appropriate with the proper styling.

2. Keep it Simple

The perfect interview outfit is one that fits properly, looks polished and makes you feel confident. Keeping it simple is not to be confused with looking basic. In this case, simple means your outfit shouldn’t overpower your accessories, instead, your apparel should compliment a great handbag, killer pair of shoes, or even a statement necklace. When you overcomplicate your look, your outfit may end up becoming a distraction.

“When I interviewed for my position at Forbes, I wanted something flattering that made me feel confident,” said Natasha Lekwa, social media editor of Snapchat at Forbes, “I ended up wearing a tailored dress with built-in shapewear so that I didn’t have to deal with Spanx, and wore red lipstick because it’s my power color.” Simple, yet effective. Needless to say, she got the job.

3. Take a culture cue

In an industry like fashion or media, where first impressions can literally make or break your career, the importance of the interview outfit takes on new proportions. Your outfit should showcase your personal style and understanding of current fashion trends while also communicating that you would be a natural fit for the company. When I worked for Zumiez in the action sports industry, the company culture was very laid back. Buyers would skateboard around the office and high-level managers had an unofficial dress code of jeans, t-shirts, and beanies. Showing up in Louboutin’s would have been a serious culture clash!

Do your research before your interview and make sure understand how current employees dress. If the office vibe is casual, take your outfit up a notch, but don’t be so over-dressed that you look out of place. When ClassPass Chief Marketing Officer Joanna Lord was interviewing for her role, she knew a traditional suit wasn’t appropriate. So she found a balanced way to infuse her personal style and the company culture. For the big interview, she wore a bright blue blazer layered over a silk top, black pants, and pumps and accessorized with gold jewelry.

When it comes to choosing your outfit for the interview remember that what you wear should make you feel confident and communicate that you understand and evoke company culture and values. After all, you never get a second chance to make a great first impression so find an interview style that works for you.

PS: Clothes are, of course, only part of landing a great job in your industry – grab your free copy of the PR Couture Ace Your Interview Guide  and turn your next opportunity into a job offer!

Bills Bills Bills: What PR Tools are Worth Paying For?

Media Lists Graphic Design PR Tools PR Software Freelance PR

As new boutique PR agency owner or independent publicist, there are a multitude of startup costs to consider, not the least of which are the tools you use to run the back-end of your business. You may be a solo or small operation, but clients will expect a high-level, agency-type experience when it comes to protocol and deliverables.

Below are the most common software considerations facing a new or freelance business owner operating in a communications field, and my recommendation on whether to choose a free or paid option.

1. Media Contact Lists

A huge part of the value you bring to a client is your established media relationships, so it’s likely that you have cobbled together a media list of your own. If you’re starting from scratch, check out the PR Couture Media List section for an inexpensive way to build your foundation. Our partner, Media Leads, is another inexpensive solution to get small business and consumer friendly editor requests easily.

However, as client’s needs change, pitch angles evolve, and media publications themselves rise and fall, it’s helpful to have a resource that will save you time as you pull say, a list of fitness bloggers in Dallas, or a regional list of wedding publications.

Access to a media database like this, whether you choose Cision, Fashion Monitor, or Celebrity Intelligence comes at a pretty penny for most small businesses. Most run on annual contracts that vary from hundreds to several thousands of dollars a year. One serious downside of these services is that media information can become quickly out of date and doesn’t often follow emerging influencer trends. for example.Your other option is to develop your lists manually through trial,

Your final option is to develop your lists manually through trial, error and Google. Many professionals include their business emails on their LinkedIn profiles. You can also grab a magazine and take a look at the masthead. Search the editor’s name for results that may include their social media profiles, recent stories, personal websites/blogs, and so on.

Verdict: When budgets are slim and you’re short on time, purchase a one-time media list in your more popular vertical. Then develop a manual process to ensure media lists are being continually updated.

2. Graphic Design Software

We’ve all been there:  a media contact asks for hi-res images and your client sends everything but high quality jpgs. Remember: it’s your job to garner media coverage for them, but you also don’t want to provide your media contacts with images they can’t use.

Now you have to crop, lighten, saturate, blur and so on to make the best out of the situation. However, unless you also do some heavy graphic design or branding for your clients, there’s no reason for you to spend $600+ on Adobe’s Creative Cloud Suite. You can use Canva to do some mock-ups and create some fun social media branding items for free. PicMonkey and Pixlr are also free photo editors you can use to crop photos, add filters and effects, and much more. PicMonkey has tutorials on its website so you’re not completely left in the dark when trying to make client images better.

Verdict: If you really need the help of Photoshop for your work, then consider the $9.99 monthly package for Photoshop CS and Lightroom CS. Month-to-month payments work better for your budget when you have an unpredictable income.

3. Docs and Spreadsheets

 

One of the ways you keep costs down for your clients is by keeping your own costs down as well.If you are working remotely or have yet to expand into an office, working days probably consist of moving from the couch to the coffee shop. Freelancers depend on their laptops to be mobile and reliable so that they can work from wherever they are.

Like Adobe, Microsoft offers various affordable packages for monthly or annual access to their Office 365 suite, which also includes cloud storage that lets you share and edit on various different devices. Let’s face it: Word, Power Point, and Excel have ruled our business needs for so long. But here comes Google Docs, Zoho Docs, and Open Office to change the game…for free!

Verdict: It’s nice to have a reliable office suite to depend on — and you definitely have options out there. However, there really is no need to spend a ton to own a license to Microsoft Office when you have equally strong office suites out there at no cost.

4. Accounting and Billing Software

A huge part of running your own PR business is just that, the business. Accounting, invoicing, following up, and filing taxes can be done on a Sunday afternoon if you have the right tools and support in place. If you enjoy playing in the numbers, free accounting software does exist in the form. Wave Apps is great! You can easily link your financial accounts — business and personal — to organize your expenses and incomes. You can also send invoices to your clients with just a few clicks. This is a great program for those who are good at staying on top of their business finances.

However, there are those of us out there who are complete messes when it comes to managing the accounting for our businesses. If you work with many clients and have a hard time deciding what can be expensed, then working with an accountant may be your best bet. An accountant will likely prefer that you use accounting and bookkeeping software like Quickbooks to keep everything in one place. Many software programs also have monthly plans, as well as the option to purchase complete desktop software. Depending on your plan choice, you can pay bills, track inventory, income and expenses for tax prep, and more.

Verdict: Your choice should depend on what you can handle when it comes to bookkeeping for your business. Bookkeeping can take up a lot of your time (and that’s time spent away from getting new clients).

No matter what, free trials and lite versions of tools are a great way to familiarize yourself with certain software before making a big money commitment. Also, before making any kind of commitment be sure your client doesn’t already have their own access or subscription. You’ll definitely save yourself some headaches and cash by asking this important question. If a client does require you to have access to certain programs, don’t be shy to ask them to foot the bill either, or at least split payments on a subscription.

 

AYI

AYI-EXPLORE

Beyonce’s Branding Success, Leadership Changes, and Etiquette Tips for Business Meals

Facebook's Algorithm, The Cannes Dress, and The Lookbook How-To, Kate Middleton Style, The Row

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

…for the week of June 20, 2016

  • Queen Bey made branding lemonade out of introspection, video, and choosing the unconventional choice, and you can, too (via Fast Company)
  • ModCloth might support anti-Photoshopping legislation, but its business model is what keeps the customers coming back (via Slate)
  • Dior’s got some leadership changes in the works and they’re set to be announced after an early July fashion show (via Reuters)
  • Macy’s has a CEO change: Its president, Jeff Gennette, assumes the role in the first quarter of 2017 (via WWD)
  • Don’t be that guy, follow these etiquette tips for having successful business lunches (via Corporette)
  • We’ve all heard about Cision’s acquisition of PR Newswire, but here’s all the details you need to know (via Cision)
  • The Curvy Fashionista blogger Marie Denee provides summer style tips and explains why she dislikes the word flattering (via InStyle)
  • Pro Tip: We love The Newsette for delivering trending topics, style news, and lifestyle tips to our inbox every morning (and, of course, for asking our founder Crosby Noricks about her morning routine) (Via The Newsette)

The 5-Question Guide for Personal Branding Greatness

Personal Branding Public Relations Social Media

When we think of branding, we have a tendency to associate the practice with products and services. We think about taglines, and colors and logos. But, as individuals who work in a communications-related field, the idea of personal branding, the ongoing practice of marketing yourself, is an integral part of building a successful career.

When you are thoughtful and strategic about your personal brand, the results can lead to job opportunities, new clients, guest speaking gigs, and a whole slew of other opportunities.

Ready to begin? These five questions will get you on the path toward personal branding greatness:

Personal Branding Q1: What is my niche?

Communications is a broad field and we all have different strengths.  A great way to inform your personal brand is to think about your specific areas of expertise, talents, perspective and experience you want others to associate with your name.  Finding your niche will help you strategically build your audience within your area of expertise and guide your overall content strategy.

Finding your niche will help you strategically build your audience within your area of expertise and guide your overall content strategy and visual brand identity.

Personal Branding Q2: What is my voice?

Think about some of your favorite brands, or the industry professionals you admire and think about how you would classify their voice and tone. Do you wish to be perceived as authoritative instead of humorous? As sarcastic instead of friendly? There is no right or wrong answer, but it’s important for your tone to be authentic to you and for you to stay consistent with your decision across all fronts – from emails to Instagram. Doing so will only help to strengthen the associations others have when they think of you, and a clearly defined voice will support your career goals – attracting more likeminded clients and opportunities your way.

Personal Branding Q3: What is my aesthetic?

Let’s face it, visuals and aesthetic cohesion are a huge part of any successful brand, and your personal brand is no exception! Think about your color scheme and overall vibe. Will your brand contain muted, bohemian colors or minimalist photos with a heavy emphasis on white backgrounds and beach photography? Remember, it’s not about individual images as much as developing a cohesive, branded experience no matter where a person might encounter your work.

Choose your aesthetic based on your gut — what kind of style are you innately attracted to? Rather than trying to adopt what is trending, or what you think other people want to see, you’ll ensure that your aesthetic is authentic and true to who you are. Authenticity is one of the pillars of truly great, long-lasting brands.

Personal Branding Q4: Where will I build my audience?

We’ve all heard the saying, “jack of all trades, master of none,” which is exactly why it’s important to have clear answers the three questions above. It’s also essential to choose a handful of key platforms to build and grow your reputation and audience. If you spread yourself too thin you will risk missing out on engaging with your connections, or putting forth a brand that feels sparse and less than present. So how do you know which platforms are right for you? Choose your key platforms based on the types of content you plan on producing. If you plan on producing videos, opt for YouTube and Facebook. If you focus on gorgeous imagery, opt for Instagram. If your content is focused on providing more information, such as using long-form text, opt for a blog and supplement with LinkedIn and Facebook. Whether you choose to focus on a blog, YouTube channel, LinkedIn, or Snapchat, stick to a few key platforms that will best communicate your overall message.

Primarily, you want to choose your platforms based on the types of content you plan on producing. If you plan on producing videos, opt for YouTube and Facebook. If you focus on gorgeous imagery, opt for Instagram. If your content is focused on providing more information, such as using long-form text, opt for a blog and supplement with LinkedIn and Facebook. If you are primarily interested in providing services to local businesses, explore local networking groups and join the board of a relevant association.Whether you choose to focus on a blog, YouTube channel, LinkedIn, or Snapchat, stick to a few key platforms that will best communicate your overall message.

Whether you choose to focus on a blog, YouTube channel, LinkedIn, or Snapchat, stick to a few key platforms that will best communicate your overall message and use them consistently.

Personal Branding Q5: What are my big picture goals?

Now that you’ve defined your niche, tone, and aesthetic as well as identified your target communication channels, you can start creating content and making choices that align with your overall goals. Maybe you want to land a new job or get a side gig as a guest writer on one of your favorite blogs. Use your personal brand to position yourself as an expert in your field through an eye-catching resume and portfolio, submit an article that reinforces your expert niche.

Your personal brand will naturally evolve, as both the industry at large and your own career path progresses, but these baseline questions will consistently guide you toward presenting an authentic representation of who you are among your professional community. Ensure that your personal brand supports your goals and helps you tell your story how you want it to be told.

Beauty PR Boss: Meet Erin Beck, Owner of Beck PR

Beck Public Relations Marketing Agency Lifestyle

Erin Beck started her career with a luxury knitwear brand, but always dreamed of one day opening her own public relations firm. As Founder of New York-based Beck Public Relations, she can mark that particular bucket list item complete. Of course, running a full-service marketing and public relations agency focused primarily on ethical beauty brands never yields a full-stop. Along with her team of five, Beck PR offers branding, media relations, crisis management, and social media services, regularly landing media placements in Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, and beyond.

Erin Beck Headshot 2Name: Erin Beck
Company: Beck Public Relations
Title: Owner/CEO
Education: Bachelor’s in English
Instagram: @beckprnyc
Twitter: @beckprnyc

How did you get started in PR?

My intro to PR was with a luxury knitwear brand in New York. I became their global brand ambassador a.k.a. in-house PR girl. It’s always been a dream of mine to run my own firm, and after years of hard work in the industry and developing solid editorial contacts, I took the leap and opened BECK PR in 2014.

What are your primary responsibilities as CEO?

Client development, management of staff, development and implementation of client strategy, global firm development and expansion — all responsibilities that come with owning a company. I don’t think there are really specific job duties; every minute of my day changes based on the needs of my clients and staff.

What type of person thrives at Beck PR?

One that is uber creative, multitasking, and a self-starter. Our agency is growing at such a fast pace and we’re still young, so we expect a lot from each other. We hold each other accountable and expect our team members to bring 100++ percent to the table while they are with us.

What is the mood like in the office? What are you working on?

Currently, there are 5 people who work at the firm. We have three account executives and two interns who are responsible for all company social media. Our office is always upbeat, fast-paced, creative, and hustling. Everyone wears a multitude of hats. Currently, we are working on media outreach for fall issues as well as preparing for the next New York Fashion Week.

What are you really good at?

Making and maintaining relationships with future and current clients. I also love strategizing for our clients. The more out of the box, creative thinking you can do, the more success you will have.

What’s been your most memorable moment in your career thus far?

Getting my first placement in Vogue, in-book under my firm’s roof. Having that handwritten note from Vogue editors that accompany the magazine when your clients are featured is something very special.

Most glamorous moment in your career thus far?

Backstage at New York Fashion Week under my firm.

Having that handwritten note from Vogue editors that accompany the magazine when your clients are featured is something very special.

Least glamorous moment in your career thus far?

Sample trafficking in a huge sample closet at J.Crew for 12 hours a day. Sample closets are never glamorous but the job needs to be done, and it allows you to learn about the brand you are working for.

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

You have to develop a thick skin, be honest with your clients, and keep working creatively to get your clients in the limelight.

How do you stay on top of industry trends?

I constantly read all the publications we are pitching, and I am always meeting with editors to get a finger on their pulse to know exactly what they are working on and what trends they anticipate creating.

What are three must-have tools that are essential to your job?

iPhone, Cision, ALL social media apps, and Texture App.

What do you wish more people understood about your job?

That being a publicist is not a job. It’s a career that is more than just 9-5, it’s more 24-7.

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

Work really hard, be honest, stay true to your dreams, and whatever you want to accomplish, you will.

Thanks, Erin!

Simply Stylist Ad

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Campaigns We Love: Nude For All by Naja

Subway Ad Fashion Nude For All Naja Lingerie

Who: Ethical lingerie brand Naja was founded in 2013 by acting CEO and Creative Director Catalina Girald, along with “Jane the Virgin” actress Gina Rodriguez, who became a co-founder in 2015.

 

What: Girald was watching Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas compete in the 2012 Olympics and noticed that her “nude” ankle brace didn’t match her skin tone. She then thought back to her own gymnastics days and how there wasn’t really another ankle strap color. Realizing that “nude isn’t nude for everyone,” the company developed the first seamless lingerie collection in seven shades of nude.

To promote the news, Naja was supported PR agency Wunderlich Kaplan Communications and a $1ok PR budget that used media relations, social media and a collection landing page on the website as cornerstones of the campaign. Outreach to consumer, fashion, selected news outlets and blogs resulted in notable placements in major publications including Adweek, WWD, Cosmopolitan, Refinery 29, AdAge, and Racked.  indicated immense support for the collection and raised powerful awareness for Naja. A strong call-to-action invited consumers to find out their personal lingerie color. The campaign was boosted through subway advertising in New York City; platform poles at the Bedford L stop were covered in different nude shades with the campaign hashtag #nudeforall. The campaign was directed by Badger & Winters, whose co-founder and chief creative officer Madonna Badger is fighting sexism in advertising through #WomenNotObjects, an effort to combat ads that objectify women.

Why: The multi-faceted campaign generated 700 million global impressions worldwide in four days. Photography associated with the campaign used real women of different ethnicities and professional backgrounds, including a Silicon Valley engineer and a ballet dancer. Campaign extension is particularly thoughtful, matching MAC, L’Oreal and Bobbi Brown foundation to underwear shades. What’s not to love?