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

Kristen Chin at POM PR Office

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


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

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

How did you get started in PR?

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

How did you get the job you have now?

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

What are your primary responsibilities?

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

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

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

What is the mood like in the office?

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

What are you currently working on?

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

Fashion X Dallas 2014

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

 

What are you really good at?

Faces and names.

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

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

Most memorable and meaningful moments in your career thus far?

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

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

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

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

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

 

Most glamorous moment in your career thus far?

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

Least glamorous moment in your career thus far?

Killing a wasps’ nest outside our office door!

What’s a big challenge facing communicators right now?

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

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

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

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

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

  • Cision
  • Iconosquare
  • Coffee

What do you wish more people understood about your job?

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

 

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

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

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

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

What type of person thrives at your company?

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

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

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

 

 

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

LOR Pull Letter Fashion PR Celebrity Stylist

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

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

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

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

5 Pricing Fundamentals for Freelance PR Services

Freelance Pricing Public Relations

These days the internet is rife with entrepreneurs publishing income reports, and it’s become much more normal for freelance PR practitioners to share hard numbers, at least among a few trusted colleagues. In fact, one of the most surprising things about running your own business might be how much you come to enjoy poking and prodding at income reports, expanding your skill set to include basic bookkeeping, accounting and of course, sales.

One of the biggest challenges facing freelance PR professionals is figuring out appropriate pricing for services – after all, there is no handy hourly-rate chart and, as any client will tell you, there’s a huge amount of variance within the industry. A lack of clarity around the going rate for services, combined with the need to simply have enough business to cover expenses leads many freelancers to undersell themselves. It’s time we all know and charge our worth; after all, we help absolutely no one, clients included, by undervaluing public relations and marketing expertise.

Fortunately, there are many ways to go about adopting a pricing policy for your freelance services.

1. Research salary information of PR agency professionals

While not an exact match (remember as a freelancer you need to be putting away 20-30% of your income for taxes and are responsible for your own health benefits and software), finding out the salary information of someone in your industry with similar experience is a great place to start. Glassdoor provides salary info per industry, job, and location. Payscale is another resource to find relevant salary information.

Pay attention to the different in pay for similar jobs among start-ups and more established companies, and vet this against your target client profile. By knowing what prospective clients would pay to hire a full-time, in-house professional or agency of record, you can price yourself competitively.

2. Factor in operating expenses

It costs money to run a business, and you need to factor in your operating costs into your hourly rate or project fee. After all, in the same way that PR agencies factor in the costs of software, hardware, subscriptions, rent, and salary into their retainer figures, you need to consider your own expenses. Even if you plan to work from home, your cell phone plan, pro accounts, internet bill are all worth factoring into part of the value you offer clients. Don’t get carried away however, some of this is just the cost of doing business; I don’t suggest working your Texture subscription into this, for example!

3. Determine a pricing structure

Consider how you will charge clients (monthly or weekly retainer, hourly rate, flat project fee) and any incentives or discounts you might want to offer clients who pay upfront, or who refer you new business.

It’s also important to consider what kind of cash-flow you need to stay afloat among standard net-30, net-60 and net-90 invoice turnaround times.

At a very base level, here are 2 different ways to get some foundational pricing together:

  1. Find a salary that seems comparable to what you would make as an employee and boost it with a 30% buffer for taxes and expenses. Divide that number by how many hours you plan on working each week (consider billable vs non-billable hours very closely – you aren’t going to be able to bill everything back to a client) and then multiply that sum by 4 to figure out how much money you need coming in each month (and then by 52 to get a sense of what that looks like in terms of total annual income).
  2. Start with a number that means success to you, it could be an annual figure or an hourly rate that feels in line with your experience and your ability to get results for clients. Then do the math to figure out how that works out in terms of the number of clients you’ll need, or the number of retainers or projects necessary to get you that minimum income needed to keep going.

Once you have a monetary goal in mind that is grounded in research, you’ll be able to confidently communicate your pricing and know that you need to achieve certain benchmarks in order to achieve your income goals.

4. Investigate your relationship with money

Even with salary research, checking in with colleagues and doing the math, asking for money is rarely easy and putting down that figure on your proposal for a potential freelance client can be nerve-wracking. You want the business, and you want to avoid being seen as too expensive, all of which is connected to often agonizing issues of self-worth. By taking some time to explore your relationship with money and its connection to your value, you can refrain from underselling yourself just to get the job.

Think about this: devaluing yourself not only results in reduced income, but it will never allow you to truly achieve the lifestyle you are after, the clients you are after, and the room to do your best work (a scarcity mindset doesn’t help with creativity and or client enthusiasm).

5. Determine your key benefits

As a freelancer, you have some pretty big benefits to offer a prospective client. Among them, the value of having one person completely focused on their project rather than a big agency team, reduced overhead expenses, and less red tape. When you are clear about what you bring to the table as a freelancer and can effectively communicate those benefits in terms of increased efficiency and results, it’s possible to turn potential sticker shock into clear savings. Clients really just want to see results, so be sure that any conversations about pricing are couched with examples of how you have been able to do amazing work for other clients.

At the end of the day, there’s a number that feels good to you and sounds doable to clients. Listen for that number and then vet it against the above steps to ensure your pricing is on point.

Apple’s PR Strategy, Net-A-Porter invades China, & Bill Clinton’s DNC Attire

Fashion PR Fridays Image 3

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

…for the week of July 25, 2016

  • Feeling like you’re owning job interviews, but not getting the job? A little self-evaluation to make sure you’re not doing these things might help (and so will our free “How to Ace your PR Interview” guide) (via Media Bistro)
  • Editorial at Time, Inc. is seeing a major changing of the guard  just a week after Alan Murray joined the company (via AdWeek)
  • The one requirement of all web writing: readability (via Hubspot)
  • Moving up in your company can bring about a lot of change, including direct reports. Here’s how to manage them (via Levo)
  • B*tch stole my look and my name! The battle of the two Burberrys (via The Fashion Law)
  • Lessons learned after 10 years doing PR for Apple  (via Harvard Business Review)
  • Instagram is the name, knowing how to use it is our game. As such, we can always use more tips (via Buffer)
  • As online luxury sales continue to climb, Net-A-Porter continues global expansion, starting with China (via South China Morning Post)

How Sharing My PR Secrets Actually Grew My Business

Wedding PR DIY PR

When I first started my wedding PR agency five years ago, I ran it as if I was 007. I kept my clients arms length from journalists because I was afraid that if I wasn’t a necessary go-between, I would be deemed irrelevant. I had no friends in PR because I was terrified that they would become my competitors. And I never divulged my professional secrets to anyone.

My motto was basically: Publicists are like secret agents. We never share our sources; we keep our clients informed on a need-to-know basis, and we always keep our pitches under lock and key.

But earlier this year, I decided to change the direction of my company. I began teaching small business owners in the wedding industry the basics of PR so that they could go and get publicity for themselves. You may be thinking, isn’t that basically putting yourself out of work? For years, that’s what I thought as well. But then I saw the light.

My motto was basically: Publicists are like secret agents. We never share our sources; we keep our clients informed on a need-to-know basis, and we always keep our pitches under lock and key.

The wedding industry, like many other niche industries, is made up of many small businesses that cannot afford a traditional PR agency retainer. Eventually, I realized that this particular market – let’s call them the 99% – were never going to become full-time clients anyway, and it wasn’t going to work to simply keep trying to convince them they needed PR. Instead, I pivoted in my business and created a specific way to help these smaller operations.

Earlier this summer, I published a DIY PR book, Marry the Media (it’s on Amazon if you’re curious) and began teaching workshops and webinars. I also shared my formerly best-kept secrets and guest blogged for industry magazines. It has been a lot of work, but this decision created several unexpected benefits for both me and my business. 

Here are 5 lessons learned from sharing my PR secrets:

New Challenges are Invigorating

After a few years in PR, I had stopped feeling challenged and was, quite honestly, bored. While my clients changed, the essence of what I did on a daily basis didn’t. However, writing a book, learning about self-publishing, growing an email list, developing a webinar and learning the ins and outs of online marketing was actually…fun. It felt like going back to school and there wasn’t a single day I was bored.

Authenticity Works

When I told a friend I wanted to teach DIY PR, she asked me whether it would dilute my brand. Her concern was legitimate. After all, I had a reputation for working with top brands, and here I was suddenly going after a DIY audience of small business owners.

What I found was the complete opposite; choosing to teach and share what I know actually strengthened my credibility. By growing my own reputation as a teacher, I also stepped out of a so-called PR closet that many solo practitioners hide in, thinking that clients prefer larger operations than a one-woman show. Even though I’ve had periods when I’ve had staff and interns and contractors, my agency has always essentially been me. For years, I covered up this truth, using corporate speak (lots of “we”) and pretending “we” were bigger than “we” were.

Now, I no longer pretend we is actually just me. It’s my name on the book cover and I’m standing in front of people at workshops. I realized that selling “me” was what I should have done all along. My clients don’t want a big, faceless agency. What they want is somebody authentic, intelligent, respected, and connected who they can trust. Now, I feel like I am that person.

Thought Leadership Opens Doors

Before I decided to go in this new direction, back when I was 007, I was rarely invited to speak or share my expertise. People likely saw me as someone who was interested in getting new clients and nothing more. But now that I am willing to share and educate others, it’s different. Editors are enthusiastic about publishing my articles because PR is always an on-demand topic for their readers. B2B companies invite me to speak to their clients, which exposes me to a larger audience. Industry influencers are more eager to collaborate with me because I have value I can pass on to their audiences. And more doors keep opening.

I realized that selling “me” was what I should have done all along. My clients don’t want a big, faceless agency. What they want is somebody authentic, intelligent, respected, and connected who they can trust.

Diversifying Revenue Streams is Empowering

The book and several accompanying DIY products I’ve launched provide new revenue sources for my agency. It’s still only about 15% of the total, but I see the growth potential. To me, the most important benefit is that now I’m no longer stuck selling my time. By converting my knowledge and experience into products, I’m now selling value, which is easier to scale.

All in all, my decision to open up and teach the PR skills which I used to hoard is changing my business for the better. I hope that more publicists realize the potential benefits of sharing their knowledge.

About Sasha

Sasha Vasilyuk is the founder and CEO of I DO PR, a public relations agency for wedding and lifestyle brands. She is also an award-winning journalist published in USA Today, Harper’s Bazaar, Newsweek, Huffington Post, Los Angeles Times, and San Francisco Chronicle as well as the author of Marry the Media: How to Gain Publicity for Your Wedding Business.

5 Body Language Tips For Your Next Client Presentation

Public Relations Presentation Body language

As the adage goes, we only have one chance to make a first impression. To be exact, research tells us it’s more like 4 seconds; that’s how quickly we form judgments about others after an initial introduction. It’s another 30 seconds before that judgment is largely finalized.

As professional communicators, our lives often feel largely digital, consisting of a ton of email, conference calls, and texts, but that work is largely due to our ability to pitch and secure new business, establish and extend media and partner relationships, and seize opportunities wherever we find them. All of these efforts require us is to facilitate trusting, long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationships, which often starts by making a positive, in-person impression. our physical presence, charisma and yes, body language.

When pitching a potential client, we often focus on the proposal itself; the creative ideas, presenting our expertise and establishing rapport as trustworthy experts in our field. And while the actual contents of the presentation are crucial, Business Insider reports that 93% of people’s judgments of others are based on non-verbal input like body language. Brian Tracy, a leading authority on the development of human potential and personal effectiveness, claims that 55% of a person’s opinion about someone else is determined by physical appearance.

So before you gather the troops and head into the conference room with your laptop, projector and handouts, make sure your team has been properly prepped on a different kind of presentation,

1.  You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile

From your entrance into the room to the actual presentation, you’re giving off a ton of subtle clues that are being interpreted, often unconsciously, by others in the room. While it’s not necessary to go full on pageant, by walking in with bright eyes and an easy smile, you are instantly commanding attention and putting everyone at ease. By commanding the stage with enthusiasm and excitement, you can affect not only your own mood but the entire vibe of the room.

2. Use Power Posing to Exude Confidence

Exude-confidenceIf you haven’t yet viewed Social Psychologist Amy Cuddy’s Ted Talk on body language, it’s a must for you and anyone on your pitch team. Power posing is basically the idea that how we stand can change our own confidence level, improve other’s perception of us as leaders and directly impact the success of our interpersonal exchanges.

While so you don’t need to stand for 30 seconds power posturing like Kimmy Schmidt, you do want to make sure you are demonstrating confidence to decision-makers by knowing the basics of body language.

Prepping with power posturing combined with some positive self-talk (you can do this in a mini-huddle with your fellow team members if pitching as a group) can make huge strides in remembering to keep your physical presence top of mind during the pitch.

For me, I make it a point to sneak off to the bathroom before the pitch starts. I stand as tall as I possibly can, roll my shoulders back, tilt my chin up, and look myself dead in the eyes with my head held high and tell myself something like, “you’re one strong, courageous woman. You are prepared, you have great ideas and are going to nail this pitch.” By walking into a meeting high on self-confidence plus conscious body posture, I radiate determination, poise, and trust; all characteristics that clients are looking for from their PR professional.

2. Handshakes all around the table

Take advantage of the meet & greet and set-up phase of your presentation, to be proactive about connecting with everyone at the table with strong eye contact and a firm handshake. Resist the urge to fumble with technology or chat nervously with your co-workers. You set the stage for connection by putting out your hand and introducing yourself to every person in that room. By establishing quick yet direct contact with each individual in the room you increase their attention and interest in your pitch.

3. Make a Personal Connection

In addition to the standard handshake, aim to make a real personal connection during your pitch by allowing room for personal anecdotes and relationship-building tangents. After all, how much do you love it when an honest, not creepy stranger gives you a sincere compliment? Doesn’t it have the potential to turn your whole day around? Easy wins in our business can be as simple as noticing a great haircut, laptop case or pair of shoes.

When you make it a point to address your contact by pointing your body directly at them. Approaching someone at an angle sends off subconscious signals of insecurity and mistrust.

4. Stop Fidgeting!

We all have nervous ticks – rocking back and forth, bouncing from foot to foot, throat-clearing, or descending into a plain-faced scowl. During a presentation, you need to keep your energy and focus up in order to help your prospective client be an active participant in your pitch. Fidgeting distracts from the core message and puts the focus on your hair-pulling, rather than your brilliant strategy.

Before you pitch, record a prep session to discover what subconscious behaviors your audience may experience when you present.

5. Take up space

This is your time to shine, so own the room by moving about and commanding attention. Hand gestures give more meaning to your most important points, so use them. When you’re comfortable being in the spotlight, your audience becomes more comfortable with you as well.

The Gernard Method recommends the following:

  1. Choose a different spot to deliver each of your main points. In a small performance space, this may mean taking just a step or two before each point.
  2. If you’re discussing a chronology, move from your audience’s left to their right as you talk about each stage or element of a timeline. In Western societies, left-to-right is how we read, and your audience will follow your time progression easily.
  3. If you’re outlining sides of an argument or alternatives, stand in one spot for one side of the argument, in another place for the alternative, then remain where you are or go back to your original position, depending upon which side of the argument or alternative you agree with.

As a communications pro, you likely have a ton of natural charisma. Put it to good use by ensuring that what you say, as well as how you say it, supports your ability to facilitate and foster trust among prospective clients, making it clear sense that you are the right person for the job.

PR Agency News: JANA PR, CGPR & Luxury Brand Group

PR Agency News

JANA Public Relations announces the representation of jewelry designer Britt Bolton and shoe designer, Monika Chiang

East coast fashion and outdoor PR agency, CGPR has opened an Orange County location and made their first west coast hire; Angie Mathews will act as Account Executive out of the Costa Mesa office, helping to expand CGPR’s national client base.

Jen Cullen WilliamsManaging Director at Luxury Brand Group, won the Communications and Marketing Award at last night’s Women’s Jewelry Association’s annual Awards for Excellence gala.

Be Less Stressed: 6 Organizational Strategies for PR Professionals

Project Management Time Tracking Public Relations

Working in PR means a never-ending to-do list (client research, social media management, editor desksides, staying on top of industry latest trends to start), not to mention a barrage of back-to-back meetings, client requests, and seemingly nonstop email/slack/text exchanges each day. So how do savvy PR and marketing professionals stay organized?

Here are some of my favorite, hard-earned tricks, tips and tools to keep you at the top of your game and more organized with your to-do list, your clients, and your schedule:

1. Make your to-do list mobile

Whether scribbled in a notebook, or a combination of email and appointments everyone has a preferred method of keeping a list of what needs to get done. A great way to ensure you’re priorities are top of mind is to choose an app that will keep your tasks at the ready, even when you are not at your desk. Get immediate access to anything you might need on your list right when and where you need it with an app like Todoist or Wunderlist with Gmail integration.

2. Conquer energy-giving tasks first

With your to-do list in hand, it’s time to get to work. Each day you’re faced with a list of tasks, and among them, a sense of each tasks priority or deadline. There are a ton of productivity methodologies out there – and many, like the popular “eat the frog,” or “worst first” concepts advocate selecting the item on your to-do list you dread and getting that out of the way first. It makes some sense, because once you’ve crossed off that task, the rest of the day is likely downhill. But I’m advocating a different approach; start your day with a task that lights you up and gives you an energy surge (instead of post-frog nausea). Once you’ve found your groove it’s much more likely that you’ll have the stomach (ha!) for the task further down on your list.

One caveat, of course, is to truly understand what tasks are a priority – immediate client issues, editor requests, and sample pulls are likely to take priority over Pinterest research!

3. Step away from email and embrace project management

Email is handy, but easily becomes unmanageable when work gets busy. Instead of dealing with multi-response threads and not having the right team members on a particular series of emails, not to mention a lack of clarity about who is owning what, move away from email and think like a project manager.

Start your day with a task that lights you up and gives you an energy surge…

These days, online-to-mobile accessible project management software enables client and agency teams to collaborate on various initiatives start to finish with integrated conversations, timelines, dashboards and tasks. If you’re an agency CEO or company owner, I’m partial to Asana, check out Teamwork and Basecamp. For individuals and teams, take a look at Trello. For many of us in the fashion & lifestyle space, the aesthetics of our organizational tools are just as important as our client’s new lookbook. Trello is a visual collaboration tool that organizes projects into boards and checklists so you can see what is being worked on and who is working on what.

4. Set up Systems and Automations

There are likely multiple tasks that you perform over and over – client onboarding, media tracking, invoicing – and without a clear process in place you’re basically scrambling each time to find all your previous documents, emails and spreadsheets and modify them to the project at hand. Using a project management system will help, but truly organized types swear by their systems. The next time you find yourself sitting down to do the same thing you did last week, stop and take the time to create a template and checklist that documents your approach. Not only will you be more efficient the next time around, but you can more easily handoff these type of projects to someone else who can simply follow your best practices (cue the confetti and the extra glass of rosé at lunch).

5. Batch pitch for better workday flow

If you’re pitching a different coast or international time zone, there’s no need to get up at 4 am in order to ensure your pitches are at the top of an editor’s inbox. Instead, set aside time to batch and then schedule pitches to send when you want them go out. An email application like Boomerang not only lets you schedule emails to be sent at certain times, but you can also better automate follow-ups with email reminders. Basically, the app will put the outreach as unread in your inbox at a time you designate, making it easy to quickly shoot over follow ups without having to take an extra step to review your tracking sheet, calendar reminders or task list.

6. Track Your Time

Oh where does the time go? Unstructured meetings, endless brainstorms and yes, long client lunches are all to blame for making it feel like the days are simply too short to get it all done. If you’re feeling like you never get time to actually sit at your desk and do the work, it’s time to get vigilant about tracking and analyzing your time.

Timing apps like Focus Booster or Be Focused both use a time-blocking method to split your day into chunks of time with breaks in between.  Toggl will track the time you spend on projects, pitches, releases and status calls with categories and names for each entry. You might be afraid to look at RescueTime, the app that tracks how much time you’re spending in Gmail, Facebook and Poshmark, but you should.

There’s nothing quite like the rush and pace of PR, but we’re working with two hands, one brain and finite patience to keep everything turning. With these tools and tips for staying organized and getting the job done right, the first time, you can start to GSD (get sh*t done) in a way that will leave your coworkers and clients wondering how you did it.

In case you’re more of a scroller than a reader, here’s the 101:

  1. Have your to-do list follow you around with ToDoist or Wunderlist
  2. Email is out. Project Management is in. Asana. Basecamp. Slack. PS: Trello might change your life
  3. Work on what you love, first
  4. Create systems for recurring tasks
  5. Batch pitching and follow ups with an app like Boomerang
  6. Identify time sucks with Be Focused. Focus Booster. Toggl. RescueTime

Twitter Verification for All, Self-Esteem Branding & Keeping up with Audrey Cooper

Fashion PR Fridays Image 3

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

…for the week of July 18, 2016

  • The little blue check mark goes public. Anyone can now apply to verify their Twitter – a major perk for influencers of all genres (via The Verge)
  • One minute you’re InStyle, the next you’re out (via The New York Post)
  • Forget Keeping Up with the Kardashians, we’re more interested in keeping up with Audrey Cooper (via The Cut)
  • A little inspiration for your next earned media campaign (via Business 2 Community)
  • A shift in fashion shows is on the horizon. Susie Lau aka Susie Bubble shares her thoughts on the future of runways in this interview (via Vogue)
  • Vacation isn’t just good for the memories (and inspiring FOMO), it’s proving to be good for your wellbeing (via PR Daily)
  • Lean in is getting a re-think (via WSJ)

 

5 Reasons I Quit Freelance PR and Took The Job

Should you quit your freelance PR career?

A little over one year ago, I made the decision to leave my freelance hustle and accept a job offer. I started freelancing because I wasn’t happy with any agency I had worked for. Being underpaid, overworked and having limited responsibilities were my biggest pain points. Then, after building a successful client base as a freelancer, something interesting happened; companies started reaching out to me with (great) job offers. Here are the five reasons why I decided to quit the freelance life:

1. I wanted to expand my areas of expertise

An opportunity that was in a vertical I’d never worked in came calling. Why did they want someone with no experience in their industry you might ask? The team was looking for someone with luxury lifestyle experience to bring to their historically archaic industry. I value the idea of continuing to learn, and appreciated that this position was not only in a different vertical, it gave me the opportunity to collaborate with another employee on email campaigns, the direction of the website and all marketing materials.

2. I was looking for a credibility boost 

As a PR professional with only two years of experience, I found it a challenge to convince prospective clients that I was capable of managing their account. The role I accepted offered me complete ownership and control of the company’s social media and public relations efforts. This position was a great boost to my resume, proving that I could handle the executive-level responsibility. I worked with a six-figure marketing budget, ran my work day and reported directly to the CEO.

3. I got those, Good Team Vibes

The team understood and loved that I was entrepreneurial, young and hungry. When I interviewed at this company and met everyone, I felt that this was truly a team I would work well with, and also enjoy socializing with after work.

4. Consistent Pay and Cheaper Health Insurance

As a freelancer, there were weeks where I made no money, and weeks when I felt I was killing it. The ups and downs of freelance work meant that I wasn’t saving at all, much less for retirement. The idea of earning a consistent paycheck with a bonus structure was incredibly appealing, not to mention quality health coverage.

5. The ability to turn off from work

You eat what you kill as a freelancer and it’s a nonstop hustle. I found it impossible to turn off work and simply enjoy myself. I would be at the club pitching people at the table about why they should hire me. I would attend networking events almost every night to keep my prospective client funnel full. With a regular 9 to 5 job, it’s easier to move away from work concerns during the evening. A full-time job also helped me with boundaries – responding to late night or weekend emails wasn’t expected – which was something I had always done as a freelancer. After months of always being on, being able to put a period on my work day was a major perk.

When I reentered the 9 to 5 grind, I didn’t forget why I left. Instead, I told myself, “if you find the culture turning into the culture that you left, don’t be afraid to voice your concerns.” I already knew that I could make it on my own, so what did I have to lose?

About Sabrina Wottreng

Sabrina Wottreng is a Chicago-based publicist. Whether her clients are looking to learn how to be their own publicist or are in need of a PR arm for their company, Sabrina Wottreng Public Relations has products and services for their needs. In her spare time, Sabrina takes classes at The Second City and can be found riding her Ducati Monster.

Ready to Launch Summer Sale through August 15

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PR Agency News: Kenwerks Acquired, New Clients for BPMPR & Beach House PR

Fashion PR Industry News

International public relations agency Steinreich Communications Group, Inc., has acquired Kenwerks, a leading fashion public relations and marketing firm with offices in New York and Los Angeles, headed by Kenneth Loo. All Kenwerks employees will be retained and will move into Steinreich offices on both coasts. The acquisition is Steinreich’s third in the last year.

Beautiful Planning Marketing & PR, announces the addition of TomboyX to its roster. TomboyX provides underwear that any girl, any woman or any person can feel comfortable in, regardless of where they fall on the size or gender spectrum.

Beach House announces its representation of Stevie’s SisterMia Marcelle Swimwear and Mini & Maximus for PR, Social Media and Influencer Marketing, as well as representation of Trufora Skincare for Social Media Marketing.

Caitlin Davis, formerly a Senior Account Executive at Beach House, has been promoted to Director of PR while former intern Jordyn Liburdi has been promoted to Influencer Marketing Assistant. Finally, Melissa Garcia has been hired as an Account Assistant.

Send your PR agency news to hello@prcouture.com

PR Manager

Position:  PR Manager
Company: Couture Public Relations
Location: Beverly Hills, CA
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2 Big Influencer Marketing Concerns (& How to Handle Them)

what keeps influencer marketers up at night

Influencer campaigns aren’t new; the strategy relies on the same idea marketers have been using for years –  find the target consumer’s cool kid (aka “The Influencer”), have them promote and engage with a brand, and reap the rewards of their implied endorsement. At the core, influencer relations is no different from traditional public relations or experiential campaigns that utilize third-party credibility.

Similarly, the influencer is not a new idea nor only the territory of digital marketing. An influencer can be a celebrity or a respected editor of course, but equally the chairman of the school board, the most outspoken mommy in the group, or a social leader among a certain friend group. What has changed are the digital communication channels that allow these people to both increase their reach and monetize their influence.

However, like all great things that catch on with speed, there comes the inevitable drop in attraction and questions of validity that follow. Influencer marketing has been a favorite buzz tactic of late, with budgets increasing and increased scrutiny from all industries.

Have we reached influencer marketing burnout? Quite the contrary — instead, it has become a necessary item in the marketing mix. What has changed is that both practitioners and brands are recognizing that doing it well is easier said than done. To that end, there are two major considerations facing those of us incorporating influencer collaborations into our strategy: establishing ROI and determining appropriate pricing.

1. The ROI of Influencer Outreach

With bigger budgets being dedicated to influencer marketing (and bigger asks coming in from advertisers themselves), there in increasing pressure to be explicit about the ROI for this types of campaign. Platform limitations and complex analytics can be a challenge. Often, it’s more about client education than a new tool or dashboard. For example, we recently purchased tickets to a show based on a social post an influencer had published. We didn’t use the tracking code or comment on the post – but we did purchase. Who tracked that ROI?

Marketer Gary Vaynerchuk recently posted a video on this topic, which we include among the greatest rebuttals to the ROI debate we’ve heard. “What’s the ROI of a $10 million commercial?” Truth be told, even with all the tricks and tools available today, it is really difficult to determine the true impact of a social collaboration. Further, the more public relations professionals input traceable tactics like contesting, discount codes and unique links, the more we tread into the space of advertising, diluting the power of what authentic influencer endorsements can do for a brand.

We recently purchased tickets to a show based on a social post an influencer had published. We didn’t use the tracking code or comment on the post – but we did purchase. Who saw that ROI?

2. Appropriate Influencer Collaboration Budgets

As for pricing, we are all trying to figure out the appropriate threshold. There is no accurate calculator based on followership, and there are serious concerns about fraudulent inflation of influence. There are micro-influencers with niche followings who can have an incredible impact, and big names that may create a high-quality collaboration, but not drive conversions or sales. Some influencers are just more in demand at any given time, that “it factor,” so their fees are higher. It is simply a matter of supply and demand.

We like to approach conversations on pricing based on related marketing activities. What would it cost a brand to stage a shot with a photographer, creative director, and stylist and then pay for ad placement? Influencer collaborations should be a cost-effective choice in comparison while still respecting the time and creative output that comes along with producing brand content.

A campaign has to communicate the right message to the right audience in an authentic and actionable manner. Nothing is 100% traceable per campaign, so metrics like, long-term sales growth, new opportunities, changes in attitude/awareness, may be a more accurate view of success.

About Jess Hunichen and Emily Ward

Jess Hunichen and Emily Ward are the founders of Shine Influencers, a Toronto-based talent management agency for social creators that works with brands and agencies to create impactful social collaborations.

Fashion Copywriter

Position:  Fashion Copywriter
Company: Couture Public Relations
Location: Beverly Hills, CA
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