Position: Managing Director
Company: Style House PR
Location: New York, NY
Position: Managing Director
Position: Managing Director
Company: Style House PR
Location: New York, NY
Former lifestyle editor and writer Julia Ford-Carther launched Bammies in 2015 with co-founder Rosario Chozas. Bammies, which stands for business + jammies, is built around the idea that busy boss babes need stylish garments that feel as comfy as a favorite pair of pjs. The company aims to make early morning outfit decisions easier through flattering pieces that make women feel instantly at home and confident, no matter what the day holds.
The brand is currently launching their second collection through a second Indiegogo campaign and has put together a special social media giveaway opportunity for PR Couture readers (details at the end of this interview) through June 16.
I’ve always been an emotional intelligence enthusiast and passionate about female empowerment. Media (in all forms) has always been my vehicle through which I’ve pursued and expressed those passions. I studied communications at Stanford University, and over the past 10 years, shaped a career in lifestyle editorial and brand communications, writing for outlets like Ocean Drive magazine (my most recent staff position before going out on my own in September 2015), Allure, The Huffington Post, and MindBodyGreen.com; and working with brands like Tamara Mellon, Shop Spring, W Hotels, Lacoste and more.
Last year, I also launched SLF Media, a user-engaged media network and digital media platform that delivers modern lifestyle content for millennial women via entertaining and empowering channels, and it has now been incorporated into the Bammies online experience.
Throughout all of this, I’ve harbored a secret thing for fashion, ever since I was casually sketching purse designs in grade school. To me, fashion is another form of communication. The stars aligned and I met my co-founder, Rosario Chozas, in January 2015 at a women in tech community engagement event that she produced, and where I was the moderator for the panel on the power of social media influence. We hit it off, grabbed coffee the next week and she told me about her idea for Bammies. I was instantly on board and we incorporated our business in July 2015. This is hands down my dream job.
Customer confidence. It’s no secret that buyers shop from sources they trust. So when a media outlet, blogger, or influencer that a potential customer trusts organically endorses our line by writing a piece about Bammies or raving about it on social media, it gives that potential customer confidence in our brand. It’s a result that doesn’t necessarily translate via a digital ad or brand-generated communications.
To me, fashion is another form of communication.
Right now, our core team consists of my co-founder Rosario Chozas and myself, and we’re managing PR in-house. At this point in the development of our business, keeping PR in-house allows us to closely monitor feedback loops and quality control all brand communications. We learn so much every day about our customer and brand placement in the market that we like to be intricately involved in this process.
When we first launched, we received a significant amount of national and local (South Florida) media coverage from outlets like Mashable, Entrepreneur, Fast Company Co.Design, Fox & Friends, and Racked Miami, which was AMAZING. I’d consider this our recent PR success story — it confirmed that what we were up to was noteworthy and timely, and it resonated with a large audience. It definitely gave us even more motivation to keep going with our idea.
Considering the Bammies story appeals to so many types of media — fashion, career, mommy, Gen Y, design, women in business, etc. — and we’re a small team, we tend to focus efforts on one or two areas at a time. Now we’re looking more into lifestyle media opportunities — specifically fashion and career, including plus-size lifestyle since we recently extended our size run. We’re very focused on developing relationships with what we call our “Everyday Advocates,” the women who are influencers in their community (both digital and offline) and communicate that influence through media in various forms (outlets, blog, social media, public appearances, etc.). Given my background as a lifestyle editor, I understand how powerful a press mention can be if the writer/editor/blogger absolutely believes in what she’s covering.
This is what we look for when considering who to reach out to about Bammies.
We also actively bring bloggers and media into the conversation and ask for their feedback about our branding and styles. So it really is about developing relationships.
Since we are bootstrapped and self-funded, we initially launched our first collection in January on a 30-day pre-sale to raise funds to go into production. We experienced such success with support from our community and the press that we hit our pre-sale reserve only two weeks into our launch.
We wanted to recreate that successful model with a larger, like-minded community for our Collection 02 launch. When Indiegogo reached out to us about an opportunity to host our launch on their platform, we considered their readership (it skews female) and emphasis on social impact, which aligned with our female empowerment brand message.
We’re huge on including our customers and fans in our process and love getting feedback from them, and we felt a crowdsourcing campaign could help us open a communications exchange with even more women.
For other brands considering crowdsourcing, I’d advise the following:
Oh, so many reasons.
As a PR Girl, you’re in the business of image and communications, and so, in addition to managing communications for your clients, you want to be communicating the right message about yourself at all times. But, this doesn’t mean you can’t dress in a way that’s reflective of your authentic self and style (after all, you are an extension of your business).
Style is part of your personal and professional brand message, so it should be reflective of you and what you represent in business. But you’re busy, you’re on the go, you have a thousand things you’re juggling at once, and deciding what to wear every day shouldn’t take up a ton of your time. That’s why Bammies is all about minimizing decision fatigue for women in the mornings.
As a PR Girl, you’re in the business of image and communications, and so, in addition to managing communications for your clients, you want to be communicating the right message about yourself at all times.
When you’re comfortable, you’re confident. When you look good, you’re confident. You can quickly choose a Bammies item, throw it on, style it with another Bammies piece or other staples in your closet, and not have to worry about the message you’re sending throughout the day whether you’re at a business meeting, a Bumble lunch date, or a happy hour networking event. You’ll never be pulling at a too-tight waistband, straightening a pencil skirt gone rogue, or fiddling with a peekaboo button-down blouse. It’s fast, it’s chic, it’s comfy and it’s reflective of you.
Tag all your posts with #PRCouturexBammies to be counted.
Campaign Link: https://igg.me/at/bammies/
Winner will be determined by the most combined likes per post(s) across all social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and will be awarded 1 item of choice from Bammies Collection 02. May enter more than once (aka, post multiple tweets/Instagrams/Facebook posts). Only posts containing #PRCouturexBammies will be counted.
Giveaway ends Thursday, June 16, 2016 at 11:59 PM EST
Julia Eskins and Aleyah Solomon are founders of the super dreamy Here & There Magazine, a quarterly publication covering art, design and fashion in cities all around the world. The Toronto-based pair met in 2012 and have been collaborating on projects ever since. With Aleyah’s experience as a photographer and Julia’s background in journalism, it only made perfect sense for these two to partner up and launch their own magazine in September of 2015.
Julia: As Here & There Magazine’s co-founder and editor, my role entails overseeing the coordination of our editorial content, writing feature stories and editing each issue before publishing. Being part of a small team, I have to wear many hats, which I love because I never get bored! From tweeting at events to planning the travel logistics for our upcoming trips, my role is quite diverse and my days are action-packed. As our co-founder, I’m always looking at the big picture to ensure our content cohesively aligns with Here & There Magazine’s unique voice. That being said, the core aspect of my role is coordinating our coverage of each city, and writing and editing stories for our Art, Fashion and Travel sections. From reviewing hotels around the world to interviewing fashion designers and artists in the cities we cover, I always aim to craft stories that are creative and memorable.
Aleyah: Working as the creative director and photographer of Here & There Magazine, as well as being a co-founder, entails many different roles. From taking charge of the Instagram account to deciding on the next city we feature with Julia, my day-to-day schedule varies. Before shooting, I spend time researching locations in each city, especially if I haven’t been there before, creating mood boards for each editorial shoot and putting together teams in each city. My role as a photographer/creative director really kicks in once we are in the city. When we finish, I begin editing and designing the layout. With each issue, the challenge is to keep everything aesthetically cohesive while bringing new ideas to light.
Aleyah and Julia in Little Havana, Miami
Aleyah: We always need to stay ahead and plan everything before we arrive in the city we are featuring. I am normally not a planner, which allows me to be flexible when needed, but being organized is essential to accomplishing so much in the time we have in each city.
Julia: I am the opposite, which I guess is why we work so well together. I really enjoy planning and mapping out our editorial coverage months in advance. This can be challenging because our content is travel-dependent. If last-minute opportunities arise, we need to be prepared to pack up and hit the road at any moment.
Julia talking business over coffee
Julia: I like receiving pitches in the morning (Monday – Friday) as that’s usually when I go through all my emails and do our editorial planning.
Aleyah: I agree, in the morning is the best time to receive pitches, before I dive into anything specific!
Julia: So far, we’ve found that our readers are very similar to us: they are creatively inclined people who enjoy traveling the world and discovering hidden gems. Our target reader loves to indulge in the sensory experience of visiting a new place, be it in-person or by flipping through the pages of a magazine that transports them to an unexpected destination.
Aleyah: We’ve noticed that while most of our readers are young professionals in North America, the U.K. and Europe, Here & There Magazine has a multi-generational, timeless quality that appeals to a wide audience around the world!
Julia: It’s really important that publicists understand the types of stories we cover. While I’m open to pitches that fit into our art, fashion, travel and lifestyle scope, our issues are highly curated and focused on one destination. I am always looking for travel pitches that enable us to cover new locations in a completely fresh way. Whether it’s an invitation to a press trip or an opportunity to cover a new boutique hotel or a fair trade clothing line, I am interested in stories and partnerships that allow us to take an innovative approach.
Our target reader loves to indulge in the sensory experience of visiting a new place, be it in-person or by flipping through the pages of a magazine that transports them to an unexpected destination.
Aleyah: I open emails with the subject that relates to Here & There Magazine, such as a destination idea or something that fits with our style and tone. Anything that doesn’t relate to the publication will be ignored!
Julia: I agree with Aleyah. I’m also more inclined to open emails that are short and to the point. If it looks like spam or an irrelevant press release, I’ll pass.
Julia: I appreciate when pitches are personalized and show that the publicist has researched the magazine before reaching out. I’m more likely to read a pitch when it has a friendly intro and a reference to how the opportunity could work for one of our existing sections.
It’s really important that publicists understand the types of stories we cover. While I’m open to pitches that fit into our art, fashion, travel and lifestyle scope, our issues are highly curated and focused on one destination.
Aleyah: Exactly. I also enjoy when they aren’t too wordy.
Aleyah shooting for the Here & There Miami issue
Aleyah: I enjoy meeting people in person. Also, when I see they are following us on social media, I know they are actually interested in the publication and what we are presenting!
Julia: I really like to meet publicists in-person as well because I still believe face-to-face contact is essential for building strong relationships. My go-to PR professionals are people that I’ve known for years and frequently reconnect with at events. A brief intro and a handshake can go a long way.
Julia: I have no tolerance for rudeness. If someone is impolite or unprofessional, I will not work with them. I think, in general, it’s really important for publicists to understand that writers and editors have a duty to follow journalistic guidelines and uphold their publication’s ethical and quality standards. With this in mind, I avoid brands and publicists that make demands or push to set up partnerships that would compromise my journalistic integrity.
I think, in general, it’s really important for publicists to understand that writers and editors have a duty to follow journalistic guidelines and uphold their publication’s ethical and quality standards.
Aleyah: We are first and foremost introducing our audience to a city and the talent that stems from it. Our priority is to produce content that we are excited about and proud of, and also to showcase our passion for travel and creativity.
Julia: Yes, our number one goal is to always deliver compelling stories to our readers. Editorially speaking, this objective comes before promoting products and services. The best publicists understand that by pitching stories with an interesting angle, journalists can do their job and as a result, generate more authentic engagement around a brand. When we’re given the freedom to take an innovative approach, everyone wins.
Julia: Respond quickly and efficiently. It can be really frustrating when plans are hanging in the balance. A courtesy email, even to just say, ‘I will get back to you by the end of this week’ is much appreciated.
Contact Editors TODAY for Holiday Gift Guide Coverage
While the thank you note is a mainstay of best PR practices, going above and beyond with a little extra treat in the form of a gift can do wonders for a new relationship, growing business and improving client and employee satisfaction. Gifting shouldn’t be considered a once a year, holiday time acknowledgement – in fact, a “just because” gift can be infinitely more memorable and effective.
Gifts can be used for anything from business branding and incentivizing employees to building closer relationships with clients and partners.
Below are a few gifting guidelines to help you “bring more to the table.”
They key to a great gift is when your receiver thinks “Wow! She really knows me.” Acknowledging the individual through personalization (not a Starbucks gift card) demonstrates that you notice and appreciate who they are. The more you can customize a gift (or better yet, let them customize it so they get exactly what they like) the more of a perfect fit, and a better gift it will be.
A stand-out gift is one that surprises and delights it’s receiver, but it should also align with your company values and brand. Find gifts that are a natural fit for your company and you’ll encourage a stronger connection between the recipient and what you have to offer her.
Gifting shouldn’t be considered a once a year, holiday time acknowledgement – in fact, a “just because” gift can be infinitely more memorable and effective.
Everyone wants to make a great first impression and packaging can be as important as what’s inside. Proper wrapping, brand colors and a fun hand-written note add to the experience. The initial impression of receiving your package y with them long after candle has burned down to the wick, so be sure your gift is “dressed to impress.”
If you are going to send a gesture of thanks, kudos or congratulations, it should be sent right away. Congratulations that comes a week or two after a big win feel like an afterthought. Gifts that can be sent instantly (when you realize you need to acknowledge “that special person” —today!!) can make you look like you are totally on the ball — even when you‘re totally not.
The more fun you can make the gift for the receiver, the more memorable and appreciated, it will be. The experience that the gift provides – from unwrapping to enjoying – is what makes for a truly effective gifting experience. Consider how your gift can appeal to all the senses – touch, smell and taste.
Sugarwish is the brainchild of 2 Denver entrepreneurs, Leslie Lyon and Elisabeth Vezzani, who believed there had to be a better way to gift. Previous to co-founding Sugarwish in 2012, Vezzani was Vice President of Business Development at Razor Technical Staffing based in Denver, CO. Lyon had worked in Public Relations for Ralph Lauren in New York City.
Sugarwish guides the recipient to a “virtual candy store” where they select their favorite treats (from more than 80 choices). The custom gift is then packaged in a beautiful blue box tied, with a red ribbon, and shipped directly to the recipient’s doorstep. Connect on social @sugarwishgirl.
Yes, getting consistent effective media coverage is difficult, but once you’ve been in the industry for a bit, you learn that actually, managing and maintaining client relationships is arguably one of the more challenging parts of your day-to-day.
Much of the frustration stems from expectations; it’s a challenge to explain to a client just how difficult, for example, landing a story in a top publication really is – remember that your clients don’t have that firsthand experience of a great pitch sent to 100+ contacts resulting in absolute silence. Clients are completely focused on evidence-based results and so it’s hard to convey: even though I didn’t get any responses, I am working hard for you, I am doing the right things, and I’m going to keep working at this until we get somewhere good.
Over the years, I have worked with 30+ PR firms, and I have seen firsthand how important client management is, what works and what doesn’t. Below are a few more ideas on how to develop strong, lasting, trusting relationships with clients:
As a publicist, I find that the best way to keep clients happy is to constantly be in communication. A client should never have to follow up with you for information or an update – if you do, you’ve failed in your job as their PR rep.
It’s common to want to stay silent unless you have good news to share, but clients want to know the good and the bad. I aim to be 100 percent transparent with my clients from the get-go. If a pitch isn’t working, I let them know. I also let them know I have moved onto a new pitch and that we are are going to shelve any ideas that currently just aren’t working.
Keeping them informed, even more than you probably want to (or feel like you have time for) really will save you from doing damage control later on.
My job is to secure PR placements, but I am not an expert in every industry. Include clients in recurring article and media brainstorms and ask smart questions about what’s current in their industry. As your client explains current opportunities and challenges, you listen for the newsworthy hook. Then you figure out the best way to pitch and when. Pay attention to the language they use, and incorporate it into your outreach, which will ensure your pitch comes off as educated and authentic.
Involving your clients in the process is a great way to build rapport, educate them on what the media wants to cover and helps you more effectively represent them in your outreach.
If you are on the phone with clients talking about the work you have been hired to perform for them, you won’t have any time to actually implement your plans. Address methods of communication in your client kick-off meeting, and reiterate them in your scope of work or retainer agreement.
The adage, “you teach people how to treat you,” applies to PR agencies and client relationships as well. You can cut down on daily interruptions for status meetings, but have a process into place for providing updates. Whether you choose to share tracking sheets so clients can view live updates, provide a daily status report via email each day by 4:30pm, or set up regularly scheduled touch base calls throughout the week, define and stick to a communication plan that keeps your client feeling seen and heard.
Getting things done when you say you will is a great way to build client trust; so set up deadlines that you can know you can meet. The minute you know you are going to be delayed, reach out with an explanation and an updated deadline and then absolutely meet that deadline with as much added value as you can pack into the deliverable.
Whenever possible, turn in your deliverables a little bit early. Go above and beyond – create a point of view doc on an emerging social media platform with a few strategies, share a new app or resource. Send an occasional “just because” gift. Remember kid’s names, birthdays, and make it clear you care.
Like most things in PR, the only way to get better is to keep doing it. Client management can’t be taught – it’s simply something you get better at with experience. If you’re feeling frustrated right now, trust that over time you will find your groove. Sometimes you will have a difficult client at that’s that, but often you have more control than you think when it comes to turning the relationship around.
Position: Event Coordinator
Company: Shamin Abas PR & Special Events
Location: New York, NY
To all the girls who came late to the PR party, this is for you.
Once upon a time, I was a Fashion Merchandising major. I would mentally roll my eyes whenever I heard someone say, “I think I’m going to change my major…again.” I’d think: why is it so hard for my peers to settle on a career choice? I was content in knowing that I knew what I wanted to do with my life. FASHION. Visions of New York City skylines and coffee dates with Tim Gunn whooshed through my mind, keeping me motivated to relinquish the snooze button before my 7:30am Fashion History: 19th to 21st Century course with Professor Monotone.
But then something happened. I switched my major…again and again. I went from Fashion Merchandising to International Business (travel is cool?) to Communications (talking is fun?) and finally to Marketing (broad enough?). I was that girl. My confusion around which path to take at university later extended to my career path post graduation. When most of my peers were transitioning from ‘identity crisis’ to ‘identity confirmed,’ I was still asking myself: “What am I supposed to DO with my life?”
So naturally, like any girl who doesn’t know what her calling is, I worked retail. It wasn’t until right before my 27th birthday, with only a year of PR and social media marketing internships under my belt, that I saw an Insta-Ad for a job opening at Beach House PR. It’s been almost a year since I joined the #BeachHouseGirl gang, and, well…it feels right.
While it sometimes seems like I’m swimming leagues behind a sea of girl bosses who have been in this industry for years, a PR girl knows how to spin a story for the benefit of its readers. FACT: Working in the sales industry helped me transition to a social media specialist, and here’s how:
Public relations 101: Make your client happy! Meeting the needs of our fabulous and diverse clientele requires us to make each of them feel important and cared for. Remembering details in a retail environment (size 8, hates anything green) builds trust and allows you to anticipate needs and requests. This type of proactive, client-centered thinking is essential to keeping PR clients happy. In particular, working at a family-owned business taught me how important it is to remember the little things in order to give the customer the best experience possible – and to keep them coming back.
FACT: Working in the sales industry helped me transition to a social media specialist, and here’s how:
Whenever I get asked what a typical day is like at Beach House PR, my answer is this: There is no typical day! Welcome to agency life, babe. Being flexible is vital in working in public relations and social media because you never know what can happen. Working in retail required an ability to handle any task at hand, from taking out the trash to making a landslide sale. Being adaptable was key then, and it still is now.
On any given day, our #girlgang is juggling the social media needs of more than a dozen clients. Managing a variety of clients at once is a piece of cake…said no one ever. Okay, while it might not be easy, I’m fortunate to have had a retail position that may as well have doubled as ‘multi-tasking extraordinaire.’ Girls who work in retail have to hustle in order to simultaneously meet their sales goals, help a co-worker in need, and deliver exceptional customer service without breaking a sweat.
One of the things I’ve learned while working at an agency, especially with such a close-knit group of girls, is that teamwork is non-negotiable. Working in retail gave me the skills necessary to successfully work as a team for a greater common goal: making the customer happy. Bottom line: Team work makes the dream work in both sales AND social media.
Managing a variety of clients at once is a piece of cake…said no one ever.
Not only was working in sales a great career motivator, it taught me valuable lessons that have helped me excel at a kickass PR agency. If you are taking your time experimenting with multiple career paths, and are thinking about taking that retail job to keep you financially solvent while you wait for your next opportunity, don’t think of it as a step back (or away) from your dreams. No career experience is wasted experience, even if it doesn’t appear to directly apply to your career goals.
Social Sidekick is a media, branding and public relations boutique agency based in the hip little town of Red Bank, New Jersey that just launched in January of this year. In combination with business partner Theresa Pittius, Cassie Galasetti offers a background in entertainment, marketing, advertising, branding and public relations experience to lifestyle, fitness, entertaining and restaurant clients. During Cassie’s PR career, she has secured media coverage for her clients on The TODAY Show, Good Morning America, On-Air with Ryan Seacrest, USA Today, The Martha Stewart Show, FOX and this agency is certainly one to watch.
After quitting my right-out-of-college job I moved to LA to try and start my dream career in the music industry. I interviewed at some really amazing companies like CAA, but nothing significant panned out, so I turned my stint in LA into something I like to call an “extended vacation.” Once my savings ran out, I moved back to the East Coast and signed up with a temp agency that placed me at a top PR firm in NYC. I was assisting the four partners who owned the company, doing everything from running errands to pushing around their famous “Cupcakes & Cocktails” cart every Wednesday to all the publicists in the office. One Wednesday I walked into our new media director’s office, introduced myself and asked if she wanted a cupcake and cocktail. She looked up from her computer and said, “So, what do really want to be doing?” From that day on I was secretly working with her on landing our clients in the media. Eventually we approached the partners and talked them into creating a position for me as a publicist. Lucky for me, I was brought on as a full-time publicist at the firm!
I was doing a bit of freelance PR on the side for some small businesses in town. A woman I really admired (who is now my business partner) was freelancing on the side as well. After becoming friends she approached me about combining our skills and starting a boutique agency of our own. I had never started a company so I was pretty nervous about it, but Theresa has a great reputation and really gave me the confidence to give 100% to this new venture we now call Social Sidekick.
Writing press releases and pitches, coming up with story ideas, creating media lists, meeting with clients and potential new clients, booking and coordinating interviews, posting on social media, (multiple times a day for over a dozen different companies), responding to our clients’ customers when they comment on social, updating our website and clients’ sites, scouring the Internet all day, and all of the aspects that come with running your own business (a.k.a. “adulting”).
My partner Theresa and I work remotely. We meet up weekly at a little café in town to regroup and keep each other looped in on projects. We are in constant communication via text and email as well. Theresa recently had to delete our text thread because it was jamming up her phone!
Besides posting and pitching, I would say most of the day is spent laughing at each other’s texts and what we see on social media, and pitching ideas back and forth. If we didn’t laugh so much, I don’t think we would be as successful…or as sane. Our business has grown exponentially in a very short period of time between word of mouth and our reputations, so our excitement in what we will be by this time next year keeps us tremendously motivated.
I recently landed our newest interior design client on FOX News. She is a prominent designer from Manhattan to Boca Raton who had zero digital presence. She hired us to facilitate the launch of her social media accounts, website and branding. Within 10 days of the launch I was able to get her quoted in a design story that ran on FOX. It usually doesn’t happen quite like that, so I was especially proud!
If we didn’t laugh so much, I don’t think we would be as successful…or as sane.
Getting a small business owner the media coverage a major company would die for.
I’ve met some really amazing people along the way and learned a lot from them. The most memorable moment right now is the one I’m in: I never thought in a million years that I would have a business, let alone a successful one. I’m kind of just riding the wave and seeing where it takes me!
Those Samantha Jones moments! Parties, events, meeting celebrities, cocktails, free swag. It’s definitely only a small percentage of the career, but it’s fun in the moment.
Sitting on the floor. Petting a dog. On the TODAY show. In front of 2.3 million people! For some reason the clip disappeared from the Internet though, so I lucked out.
This might be worse though…
Picture a snowstorm in NYC. Where it’s literally a whiteout, two degrees, snow banks up to your waist, all flights are canceled, cabs aren’t even attempting to drive around. You’re cozy in your office cubicle… until you book a client a last minute segment on a major morning show the next day. The rest of your team is working from home (cause who’s crazy enough to travel in a snowstorm?!). It was up to me to make this cocktail segment happen. So I strapped on my boots, hat and gloves and took the trek to the nearest liquor store to purchase all of the ingredients, including 6 bottles of champagne. Seems simple enough, but now I need to get all of these bottles to my client’s hotel – across town. I’m 5’1” so a regular snow bank is basically a giant mountain to me. My legs got stuck in the snow and I literally couldn’t move. I toppled over and all of the bags of champagne fell into the snow. I wanted to cry right then and there but had to laugh. It was a ridiculous sight to witness I’m sure, let alone be a part of. I finally dug myself and the bottles out of the snow and made it to the hotel. Thankfully the segment went off without a hitch and no one knew about my snowstorm saga (until now!).
You can’t take things personally. I learned that fast. I think about all of the emails reporters get on a daily basis. They can’t possibly respond to every single person. It kind of puts things into perspective. It’s still stressful and can really bum you out, but when you DO get a response, it makes it that much more exciting. It also keeps you creatively motivated.
It was up to me to make this cocktail segment happen. So I strapped on my boots, hat and gloves and took the trek to the nearest liquor store to purchase all of the ingredients, including 6 bottles of champagne.
Public Relations is hard to define, especially in the digital age, but I wish more people understood the difference between PR, marketing and advertising. Also, this is a big one: not every story is newsworthy! I wish people knew how long it really takes to get a press hit. From crafting the pitch, researching, gathering the assets, targeting the right reporter, the actual pitching itself, then following up if you don’t get a response. Multiply that by how many reporters you pitch on a weekly basis, for all of your clients – it’s a long process!
There’s so much information out there it’s hard to keep up and weed through it all. What was exciting news this morning is old news by the end of the day. People also don’t have the time to read a lot of information, so you have to get to the point without leaving out key details.
Recently my main source of info has been my younger cousin. She knows what’s cool and on trend so I ask her a lot of questions. She taught me Snapchat! I’m on Instagram constantly; I get a lot of inspiration from what others are posting. It’s a great way to learn about writers and reporters, too, mainly the topics they’re interested in. Pictures really do say a thousand words!
Intern as much as you can, in all different industries. College is obviously important, but I have found that really being in the trenches is key.
Find a mentor. Listen and learn from them.
Always stay one step ahead. There are going to be numerous tasks that you won’t want to do; just suck it up and do them! It’ll pay off in the end.
Spend your money on traveling. You’ll learn a lot about yourself and what you want out of life.
Are you ready to learn the truth about pitching to a TV Producer?
I’ve worked in television for almost 15 years on some of the top rated shows; Dr. Phil, Oprah, Tyra Banks, MTV and BET. I’ve gotten countless pitches from countless publicists and I’ve ignored my fair share.
Well the reason is simple – so many publicists get it wrong when it comes to pitching to television producers. Too harsh? Only sort of.
The relationship between publicists and producers should be symbiotic. We both benefit from working together. But most producers are frustrated with the way publicists pitch and find it easier to hit the delete button. My goal is to change that by sharing with you the best way to pitch your client, brand or products so you get results.
The first thing you need to understand, and this is the most important thing to keep in mind before you even hit “compose new email,” is the life of a TV Producer. We. Are. Crazy. On average we work sixty to eighty hours a week. We live in a world of constant demands, quick turnarounds and high expectations. We rarely get a day off and we always feel the pressure to compete with other shows. There is always a fire to put out and celebrity to find. Sound familiar? So you can understand that we don’t have time to read an entire email or pitch. We need Cliff Notes and bullet points. Plus, we’re crazy. So there’s that.
The first thing you need to understand…is the life of a TV Producer.
The second thing you should keep in mind is we get pitches constantly. Within a span of an hour, I have 80 new pitches on top of the 60 new emails that just rolled in. I don’t care about your inverted pyramid of information. Start with less at top… or less overall.
The third thing to keep in mind is that TV producers speak our own language. We are visual creatures and need to “see” a segment to decide if it will work or if it’s worth a phone call.
Here are some additional hacks/tips that will break through the crazy and get your clients live on air.
Think about what your client can offer as advice, tips or trends in fashion that will appeal to the average viewer. Can they talk about how this year’s runway trends are showing up in everyday fashion? Can they show the audience how to save hundreds of dollars on handbags? If so, pitch that as the segment first, and then the bio of your client and any related product information.
Here’s a great hack: If trying to get placement for a product, try reaching out to relevant experts that frequent the show you are pitching. Pitch them your product first, and ask if they might be willing to use it in their next segment. My favorite experts are the ones who are self-containing and bring their products with them. So linking up with fashion, consumer products, parenting experts etc will help you gain the attention of the producer.
I don’t care about your inverted pyramid of information. Start with less at top… or less overall.
Before you pitch your client for TV, have some sort of video featuring your client – we need to evaluate how they show up. If they’ve done other segments, great! Unless it’s from a decade ago, add a link to the pitch. If they haven’t been on television in the last five years then you develop a short video of them speaking about their area of expertise in a consumer-friendly way. It doesn’t need to be hi-tech, a video shot on a computer or phone can work.
TV producers…are visual creatures and need to “see” a segment to decide if it will work or if it’s worth a phone call.
If you’re thinking about a fashion show segment as your demo, don’t. That’s the easiest and least creative way to do a fashion segment. Instead, think of a way to show-and-tell what your client or product is about in a way that is going to capture audience interest. If you represent a sunglass company, try pitching “How to choose the perfect sunglasses for your face.” You could have models that show the different looks. Or pitch “Celebrity Sunglasses for Less” if that’s a client fit.
Create a catchy and clear name for the segment you are pitching. Examples are segments like “Wear This Not That,” “Classic Looks for your 30s, 40s, & 50s” or “Fashion Finds Already in Your Closet.”
Trust me on this one. Stop pitching your client, company or product. Start pitching segments, stories and integrations. Building your clients into the segment will increase the chances of them getting booked. Producers want content, not guests.
About Gyllian Carter
Gyllian Carter is a 5 time Emmy award winning tv producer.
Want more tips on pitching your clients to television producers? Check out The PR Pitch Clinic hosted by Gyllian Carter. The PR Pitch Clinic is a hands-on workshop class that allows you to pitch your clients, brands & products directly to Emmy award winning television producers. The June 17 event will include Heather Gray, executive producer of The Talk; Marc Anthony Nicolas, Sr. Producer of The Talk; Tyra Martin, Entertainment Producer of WGN Chicago; Arlene Wilkinson, TV Producer who helped launch Steve Harvey, Anderson Cooper, and Katie Couric.
Position: Executive Assistant
Company: Shamin Abas PR
Location: New York, NY