sign up

Get a free fashion PR plan template and special offers exclusive to insiders!

Monthly Activity Report Template for Publicists

Monthly Activity Report Template Shows Clients the Value of Public Relations (and You)

As PR pros, most of the hours in our day are spent: 1) Networking with every Conde Nast and Hearst fashion editor on our media list; 2) Absorbing all of our favorite fashion websites and blogs to stay current in the industry; 3) Scanning the mastheads at Barnes & Noble’s newsstand or the dentist’s office and, 4) strategizing ways to get our client’s newest product noticed (even during our morning session at Soul Cycle). To top it off, we practically sleep with our iPhone and dream of new press release angles. Unfortunately, our clients are not part of the Psychic Friend’s Network and therefore, have no idea what were doing.

Because PR is an inexact science, it’s no wonder that trying to quantify the work and time you spend on a client’s account can be tedious and even frustrating. Unlike paid advertising, PR services can’t guarantee media placements and that can make many new clients confused and uneasy about paying a publicist a monthly retainer. So, how do you explain and prove to them that you’re worth the money you’re asking for each month? You could take a cue from the bigger PR agencies out there and begin to track and bill your time in 15 or 30-minute increments, plus a weekly activity report. But my way of communicating this fuzzy science, and one that seems to work really well for demonstrating the work I do for clients (i.e. keeps them happy), is through a detailed monthly activity report or MAR.

Honestly, I don’t know anyone in PR who enjoys putting these things together. Monthly activity reports are time consuming and as uncreative as it gets. However, they’re important for demonstrating to your client that you’re not off spending most of your time shopping on Rue La La and taking selfies for #manimonday.

Step 1: What have You created this month?

The first section of your MAR should list all of the press releases, media alerts, look books and media kits you’ve drafted and disseminated…all items that eat up big chunks of valuable time.

Step 2: What media coverage have you landed this month?

The next section of your MAR should include all of the press mentions you placed for that given month (i.e., online, print, broadcast and social media mentions), all the celebrities you may have dressed or accessorized, as well as all of the pending press you have under consideration. It’s a good idea to provide stats alongside of the outlets mentioned such as the monthly circulation of a publication and/or the page views of a fashion blog.

Step 3: Where did you spend your time?

The last section of your MAR, and I think, the most important part, is where you list all of the outreach you did on your client’s behalf.  You may have landed five press hits that month and have another five pending, however you reached out to 500 different media outlets. The act of pitching, calling and following up equates to an enormous amount of time and energy spent on your client's behalf.

This is also the section of your monthly activity report where you can make note of any research you did on behalf of your client whether it was tracking down the right editor, producer or stylist, time spent on creating potential collaborations as well as the time you put into any pitch follow ups.

While landing your client a spot in one of Vanity Fair’s Gift Guides or a slideshow on Refinery29 may not sound like very time consuming work to your client, we PR girls know differently. Fashion PR work is not for the lazy. By providing your client with a detailed account of how you’re spending your time, it not only quantifies your efforts, it makes you a more organized and accountable publicist. And it provides you with the satisfaction of a job well done!

Here's a MAR Template  you can use to start providing this type of reporting to clients. Enjoy!

Photo Credit: purprin

How to be a great jewelry publicist

Become a Great Publicist with the 4 C’s of Jewelry PR

In the jewelry industry when you talk about diamonds, there are 4 c's to remember; color, cut, clarity, and diamond weight (aka carat).  Working in jewelry PR there are also 4 c's to remember: create, connect, communicate, and clients.

Create

When working with emerging brands you have to create opportunities.  A lot of people probably haven't heard of your products.  Find fun ways to pitch and introduce tastemakers to your brands.  For example, one of our clients hand draws all their designs, so we invited editors to draw their own jewelry that we would then make to help demonstrate the manufacturing process to them.  Try to figure out what makes your brands stand out.

Connect

Instead of going straight to the fashion director or the senior accessories editor, try making a connection with the associate accessories editor or even the fashion assistant.  If you are reaching out for the first time and aren't sure if you have the right contact, be honest and ask if they could maybe connect you to the right person.  Also, think about the all different ways people might wear your jewelry.  Do you have pieces that could work for weddings?  What about personalized pieces for Mother's Day?  The great thing about jewelry is that there are lots of opportunities for media inclusion that might not exist with apparel.

Clients

Remember that you work for them.  They are entrusting you to represent their brand and get them placements that will lead to sales. Positive client testimonials will lead to future business, so treat every client as a big brand.  Try to answer emails and calls from clients in a timely manner.  Update them at least bi-weekly on what is going on.  Brainstorm ideas with them of fun ways to pitch their products.  Make them feel like you are working for them 24/7.

Communicate

Unlike clothing, jewelry is usually a last minute decision.  You want to make sure when a stylist or editor pulls they have all the necessary information they need. Normally when you lend you would send a pull sheet with item names.  With jewelry images work MUCH better.  Whenever we have a pull we send the stylist images of the pieces they have, the client names and social media tags and the prices of the pieces if it is important to the pull.  We also make sure that editors know we have hi-res images available for their use.  You want to try to figure out what they might need before they have to ask.

Photo Credit: veryliciousness

How to track ROI when hosting a blogger event A PR Couture Guest Article by Heidi Nazarudin

Hosting a Blogger Event? Make Sure You Have a Plan to Track Results

The biggest mistake I regularly see from brands is hosting a blogger event with no clear strategy. They simply and just throw open the doors and step aside.  I am still surprised by the number of big fashion, tech and accessory brands that hand me products and/or money and simply expect me to bring bloggers to the event to enjoy themselves, with absolutely no discussion of expectations or post-event follow-up except for a ‘brief event recap and some photos.’  These same companies would never pay for TV or print ads without a clear understanding of the corresponding impressions, metrics and a way to track sales, but for some reason blogger events seem to fly under the radar. Not tracking how blogger events and outreach impact brand reputation and sales is a missed opportunity. A recent study found that blogs influence 31% of online purchases.  Whether blogger relations falls under public relations, marketing or some department collaboration, companies should have a plan in place to track their return. When it comes to throwing a blogger events, brands and PR companies should:

Identify event expectations and ideal outcomes

Brainstorm before the event and establish specific goals about what success will look like. Are you most interesting in driving traffic to the website, increasing referral links through product mentions, generating campaign buzz through images and hash tags across social media? Different goals call for different plans of action and can affect how you execute the event itself and how you communicate expectations to the blogger or blogger organization you are working with. Without goals, it's impossible to set up bloggers for success, or to determining later if the event met expectations.

Ensure you can track results

While there is the obvious need to track who was invited, who RSVP'd, who actually showed up, an event is an opportunity to track offline to online activity. Set up alerts to track post-event coverage, consider providing bloggers with unique tracking links or embed codes to product or campaign images in order to track referral traffic through your analytics program. Decide ahead of time how you will measure reach - will you have bloggers self-report unique monthly visitors, how will you factor in social shares? I always recommend that brands assign a specific hashtag to be used across platforms to make it easy to track specific event mentions. Consider asking the bloggers or your followers for three words that best describe your product and include the most popular, or the one that invites the most curiosity into the hashtag.

Create an email list for pre and post event communication

Communicate about event details, expectations, opportunities and special requests through ongoing communicating using an ESP. Work with your event hosts, vendors and attendees to make sure bloggers feel involved. If this is your first event, a survey asking bloggers what they’ll need from you and what they’d like to see at your event can be a great way to begin collaboration. As RSVPs come in, respond with additional event details including campaign images, teaser tweets, any unique, original images you  have created for the blogger, as well as the event schedule, parking information, etc. After the event, follow up with details about gift bag contents, images from the event, and another survey to get feedback on the event. Continue to reach out to this segment occasionally, always thanking them for their coverage of your earlier event, and providing new story ideas or event opportunities.  

Have reasonable deadlines around coverage

Respect the fact that the majority of bloggers utilitze an editorial calendar of their own, plan weeks ahead, and have limited ad space on their site.  Don’t give short-notice to bloggers when you’d like them to attend an event, or mention your product.  Be respectful of the bloggers and considerate of their time.  This means checking back in 6-8 weeks to see if they’ve mentioned your product, not writing them off if you didn’t notice anything on their site within 48 hours.

The impact of blogging on sales has taken many companies by surprise.  Jump to the front of the pack by recognizing their influence in commerce today, and tracking their market weight with the same diligence as any other communication strategy.

About Heidi

Heidi Nazarudin is the Founder and President of BloggerBabes.com , an association with more than 500+ active bloggers.  She has hosted blogging events for Saks Fifth Avenue, Armani Cosmetics and JustFab.com to name but a few. Heidi blogs full-time at TheSuccessfulStyle.com

 

 

Meet Crosby Noricks

Hi. I'm Crosby, the founder of PR Couture and a fashion brand strategist. I care about supporting and celebrating fashion publicists as well as helping rad companies connect with their audiences in more meaningful ways. Recently, iMedia included me in their annual list of 25 Internet Marketing Leaders and Innovators, along with people from Starbucks, Twitter and Volkswagon, which I think is pretty neat. Like Elle Woods, I am a Gemini-vegetarian (that's about where the similarities end). Let's connect: Check out my full bio, Brand Elixer sessions or shoot me an electronic communiqué.