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Working Girl

The 5 Skills You Need to Land Your Dream PR Job (& How to Get Them)

Forget what your Career advisor told you! What are companies are really looking for when hiring entry-level positions?

We get about ten to twenty resumes a day through our career email at The Riviere Agency from aspiring fashion PR guys and gals looking for their big break. For the fall and spring semester, we typically have anywhere from two to four interns in our New York office and so I know what a superstar intern or coordinator can offer a company besides a love for fashion (everyone says that and honestly, employers really don’t care).

Here are a few things that are guaranteed to make you more marketable as an PR intern or entry-level applicant:

Graphic Design Skills

Fashion PR is rapidly evolving and it is becoming more and more image-focused everyday. A fashion PR firm utilizes design programs to create pitches, design flyers and invites for their clients and create press clippings, which are all tasks that a good intern should be able to at least take a stab at from day one. Candidates with a basic knowledge of Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign have a huge leg up on the competition.

Before your next interview, build up a small portfolio of social media graphics and a flyer or event invite to demonstrate your understanding of  design, composition and layout.

How to get them: There are inexpensive and even free courses offered at local community colleges and public libraries, so this is an easy skill to acquire. We love Nicole's Classes as well.

Photography Skills

Social Media is quickly becoming a large part of Fashion PR and demonstrating your eye for photography, even if it is just taking iPhone photos, is a huge asset. Get inspired and take style cues from Instagram accounts like @KateSpadeNY and @LuckyMag and start looking at your own Instagram account with the eyes of a fashion editor.

How to get them: You can brush up on your skills by watching YouTube videos, downloading and testing new photo apps, and practicing with your iPhone.  If you have a DSLR, many photography schools run local deals regularly. Here is a list of top-rated online photography resources to get you started!

Research and Sleuthing Skills

An intern that can dig up the contact info for a celeb stylist, hard to find media contact or television wardrober is worth her or her weight in gold. Good research skills and a knowledge of how to find stylists, editors and other industry contacts online and through social media platforms will set you apart. If you can demonstrate strong research skills in an interview, a fashion PR internship is yours for the taking.

This also includes doing your research on the company you are applying for. We love it when we can feel a GENUINE excitement from applicants. This does not mean going to the “About Us” section and copying and pasting the mission statement in your cover letter. Trying to understand what the agency really does and the clients they serve by looking at their social media feeds, checking recent news and LinkedIn is key.

How to get them: This is definitely one skill that develops with practice. If you are in school, you should have access to some media databases for free like Cision or Fashion Monitor and they usually offer free online classes and workshops. If you don't have access to a subscription service, you can still make sleuthing a part of your regular routine and keep the information you find in an organized spreadsheet. Next time you watch an awards show, take note of all of the nominees in the actor categories and make it your mission to find their stylist, publicist and manager's contact information using search engines and social media searches. When you read an article online you like, try to find the author's email and save it in an excel spreadsheet with notes on the type of articles they write. It wont be long before you have your own list of contacts that you can take to an interview.

Blogging Skills

We love intern applicants who have their own blog because it shows a dedication and commitment to writing, design  and aesthetics. It also demonstrates at least a basic understanding of the development process for generating editorial content, which is really important for a fashion publicist to grasp. If you include your blog URL in your cover letter or resume, please make sure your blog is current, up to date and you have a a few posts designed to catch our eye! Blogs with lots of typos or that are not aesthetically pleasing can be a detriment. You want your blog to look clean and organized and have good photography. It is best to use a simple layout and proof read all of your blog posts three times before posting them.

How to get them: Stay up-to-date on industry publications like Independent Fashion Bloggers and ProBlogger. Consider investing in a workshop like Create and Cultivate or Secret Blogger's Business. Connect with other local bloggers by joining one of the regional blogging societies or a local Meetup Group for Bloggers.

Communication Skills

Public relations requires both interpersonal and external communication skills. In addition to having technical capabilities that are relevant to the needs of an increasingly digital and image-based industry, the applicants that really stand out are able to communicate their strengths,  applying their particular set of skills to the job requirements we have posted.

Of course, we don't expect you to know how to do everything! We also appreciate candidates who confidently and honestly share their experience level. Let us feel your genuine interest in learning more about the industry or expanding your current skills and we're likely to take a second look.

How to get them: Put down your smartphone, your tablet and laptop and get out in the community. Consider volunteering for a local charity and joining their communications committee. You will develop your communication skills, build your resume, network and help save the world! If you are not sure where to volunteer, try your local chapter of Dress for Success or Junior League.

PS: Don't miss the brand new virtual course for new publicists from PR Couture called PRISM. We're currently sold out, but are taking names to add a second track - sign up here!

 

Image via: Workher

Be Social Ali Front Row Fashion PR Interview Series

Publicist Q&A: Getting to Know Ali Grant, Founder of Be Social PR

Named by San Diego Magazine as a “dynamic public relations expert,” Ali Grant is the founder of Solana Beach-based boutique PR agency Be Social PR.  Her success stems in part from running successful ecommerce publicity campaigns in technology, retail, and lifestyle for national and international brands with an emphasis on digital and blogger relations. This roster of achievements has resulted in several additional recognitions including being a finalist for the San Diego Business Journal’s “Women Who Mean Business Awards,” a nominee for San Diego Magazine’s “2014 Women of the Year” and San Diego Business Journal’s Emerging Generation: 25 in their 20s.

Most recently, Be Social PR announced the launch of their influencer management division to assist bloggers and social media personalities including Fashionlush, The Balanced Blonde and The Western Wild with managing their careers, publicity, developing brand partnerships and monetizing their blog and social platforms.

How did you get started in PR?

Sounds hilarious, but my first love for media started at just 10 years old when I landed the "position" (not sure you can even call it that) as anchor for our school broadcast. I held this position until my senior year of high school. I thought I was going to be the next Erin Andrews (ha!). After studying journalism in college, I switched from broadcast to public relations after taking my first PR class. It mixed my interest in journalism and writing with my creative and artistic side.

I had five PR internships through college, and landed my first real PR job at an eCommerce company, Shopatron. Working in their PR and market development, I was able to work with brands like Mizuno and Melissa & Doug, and attend tradeshows such as ASR, Outdoor Retailer, and Magic. The experience developed a strong understanding for eCommerce, digital marketing, and developing and nurturing media relationships.

Fresh out of college, I was spearheading my own pitching, media interviews, and was the only member of the Shopatron PR team, which acted as a catalyst for developing my own confidence in business. I did a little bit of everything (literally), giving me a multi-faceted, broad range of experience.

Fresh out of college, I was spearheading my own pitching, media interviews, and was the only member of the Shopatron PR team, which acted as a catalyst for developing my own confidence in business.

 

Bottom line, I highly suggest interning through college! It will pay off and is the best way to gain confidence, experience and connections.

What’s the mood in the office right now? What are you working on?

Our agency is fun, vibrant, colorful and creative. We're constantly sharing ideas and campaigns; it's very much a collaborative environment where everyone's creative opinion is key and utilized. We love what we do and have fun together, but our team is focused, professional and passionate...making for a positive and effective work environment.

We love what we do and have fun together, but our team is focused, professional and passionate...making for a positive and effective work environment.

Our office space is in the design district of Solana Beach, a quaint beach town. We're just a street over from the ocean in the hub for lifestyle and action sports community...you can feel the creative energy!

This week, we're working on an opening for prAna's Encinitas brick and mortar, preparing Bzees for the Outdoor Retailer tradeshow, and for a few of our swimwear clients we're gearing up for Swim Collective. Every day is different, making our jobs invigorating! We all thrive in this type of atmosphere.

PRAna2
Client prAna

 

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

Email and iPhone! Most everything we do is either via email or a call or text. We utilize a lot of software that tracks our success for client reporting, such as CrowdBabble and Cision monitoring. And recently, Instagram has been a key tool for our influencer and blogger relations.

What makes an ideal client for your agency?

We stay true to our commitment and partner with brands that inspire us. A brand looking to take traditional PR approaches and give them a makeover by integrating the new and now – including a strong focus on blogger relations, online influencers, and digital initiatives, is an ideal client for Be Social.

PRAna1
Client prAna

 

What’s a recent success story you’re proud of?

Our team has been an integral part of the launch of Cate McNabb Cosmetics, a project that has been very multi-faceted. Our agency has successfully secured top tier earned media placements in outlets like Lucky, Huffington Post, Life&Style, Yahoo!, LaurenConrad.com, alongside some of the greatest names in beauty. This project has further solidified our ability to spread awareness for our clients even in a very crowded, competitive landscape.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned since you started working in PR?

Having a general interest in what your media contacts are writing about, and why. It helps to develop relationships and craft your pitches accordingly. Also, to always check your email...because journalists expect a quick response and you better deliver or you can easily lose an opportunity.

How do you get the word out about your agency?

Most of our client base comes through referrals, which is such an honor. I can’t stand (most) networking events, so typically we market our agency digitally. Our entire team is very active on social media, through our agency accounts and our team members’ accounts.

Elle Mer Swim
Client Elle Mer Swim

 

What excites you about PR these days?

Landing a great placement. I think that will always be the most exciting part of PR -- we can probably all agree on that one! I’m always an integral part of our proposal creation, which gets me amped because I love brainstorming and getting creative with my team.

Landing a great placement. I think that will always be the most exciting part of PR -- we can probably all agree on that one!

After years working with brands, what made you open your service area to personalities?

Our firm is consistently matching influencers to promote our clients and we continue to see the growing impact on these collaborations for brands. During our time sourcing these relationships and connecting influencers with brands, we saw a gap in the market...developing the spark to launch our boutique-style influencer division.

What are a few of the current industry trends you're seeing when it comes to influencer/brand partnerships? How do you help everyone to navigate these new territories?

We’ve seen a lot of brands utilize bloggers and Instagram elite as brand ambassadors. Brands are utilizing these influencers and their loyal followers as an effective platform to easily promote a product, launch, or event.

Our agency has developed a long list of bloggers and Instagram stars...and these are women and men that we are working with on a daily basis, so we have been able to build a strong relationship. Using these relationships, we’re able to get our clients in the front of today’s celebrity...the digital darlings. Our connections certainly help since we’re seeing these influencers getting inundated with brand requests as brands are adapting and understanding their reach and following.

We’ve seen a lot of brands utilize bloggers and Instagram elite as brand ambassadors. Brands are utilizing these influencers and their loyal followers as an effective platform to easily promote a product, launch, or event.

Are there still purely editorial opportunities available to brands wanting to work with influential bloggers?

We’re certainly in an era that bloggers and influencers understand the value of their reach, so of course, they’re going to monetize their platforms. The influencers we work with get numerous PR pitches a day, many of them are ignored, but if they receive something that fits with their natural, organic interests...they will absolutely feature the product. It just might take a while...because there’s a lot they want to share with their readers. Think about...their readers and followers are loyal to their blog because they see them as trusted cool...if content is made up of just paid features, they’re going to lose that credibility.

If you’re in PR and you’re trying to work with a larger blogger, I’d suggest the following:

  • Make sure you know the types of ongoing articles they consistently write...i.e. The Skinny Confidential always writes a weekly column called ‘Mini Delites’ where she features some of her favorite things from the week.
  • Engage them through social media, especially Instagram and Twitter. These influencers are the stars of digital...get them to notice you where they are active most!
  • Make sure your product relates to their natural interests and build a relationship of consistently providing information they can’t find anywhere else.

Be sure to follow Be Social PR on Instagram for an inspirational (and often beachy!) look at this powerhouse West Coast PR agency - and check out their careers page.

PRISM: 6 Weeks Mentorship, PR Skill Upgrades, PR Girl Community Free Call Wednesday Night! 6 Weeks of Mentorship + Industry Skill Upgrades + PR Girl Community

New Course! Get Crystal Clear on Your PR Career with PRISM

While I love and appreciate the adage, "it's PR not ER," the career horror stories that make it into my inbox tell a pretty gruesome story about how rough it can be out there for young PR pros. The biggest challenge as I see it is that publicists are moving at such a frenetic pace that they simply don't have the extra space to slow down and offer support and guidance to the newest crop. This results in aspiring publicists feeling confused, stressed and unclear, and more experienced PR pros feeling frustrated when interns or coordinators "just can't figure it out."

Become the success story in your life!

So, I've decided to step in a bit and offer a virtual program called PRISM. I've planned engaging group coaching and hands-on opportunities to upgrade your communication skills and define your personal brand.  I'll also be helping you to identify your strengths and favorite tasks, so you can chart a course for career success, while sharing the intuitive strategies I have used to turn my own work life frown upside down.

Establishing an intentional, self-directed career path feels great, and we're going to work on that. Finally, we're creating the first PR Girl Community, setting up a framework to build the long-term relationships and spirit of collaboration that are essential to long-term career success.

PR Girl Care packages and bonus calls with some of the baddest PR boss babes in the business round out the fun.

joinus

 

Please take a look at what I've created. If this is just what you've been looking for, then I'm looking right at you!

PS: I'll be doing a quick free call about the course tomorrow night, Wednesday at 6pm PST/9pm EST. Please RSVP to get the call-in details, and let me know you're coming (you'll receive a recording of the call if you can't make it live).

 

 

 

 

 

Meet Crosby Noricks

Hi. I'm Crosby, Founder of PR Couture, Fashion Brand Strategist and PR Girl Mentor. I care about supporting and celebrating fashion publicists as well as helping 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 Elixir sessions or shoot me a note.