5 Signs You’re Ready to Hire Support For Your PR Business

Hire PR Support Freelance Publicist PR Firm

If you’re currently a freelance publicist, or running a small boutique PR firm of one, then you’re no stranger to the balancing act; on any given day you may be an office manager, messenger, accountant, gift bag packer, not to mention a visionary, strategic advisor, and of course, publicist.

There comes a point for most small PR businesses where one person can no longer do it all, or even most of it. The precarious balancing act is on the verge of utter collapse. Signs include making rookie mistakes, missing out on time sensitive new business opportunities because you already have a full lid – and wanting nothing more than to go home, hide under the covers and watch old re-runs of Friends, dreaming of simpler times.

Below are a few situations you will likely encounter as a boutique PR agency owner that are generally a sign that it’s time to hire some help.

Taking on a new client sends you into a panic

Do you want your business to grow, but the actual idea of bringing another account into your daily workload makes your head explode? You know business can’t become stagnant, but you also know you don’t have the time to completely handle all the tasks of a new client all on your own. While hiring someone is an expense, if you hire wisely you are making an investment in your business. A new hire, whether it be a freelancer or full-time, alleviates some of your workload while actually helping to make you money.

Inquiries are coming in from new industries

If your company’s experience is mostly in the field of fashion but a fantastic new fitness brand approaches you, you might want to look into hiring someone with subject matter experience in that field to assist on the account.  A contractor will already have contacts set up for quick wins, and their experience and perspective will provide valuable insight and feedback on strategies and creative pitch angles. When your agency is equipped to take on new business in different fields you can reap the benefits of growth and expansion more easily.

You’re feeling pretty much, honestly, really just…Over.It.

If you are finding that you spend an inordinate amount of time on exhausting but necessary work (list building and reports, I’m looking at you) and less time on growing your business, developing innovating campaign ideas and pitching smart, strategic stories, it might be time to outsource some of those tedious tasks. While PR and business ownership aren’t always glamorous, your day shouldn’t get bogged down with the admin work and leave you no time to work on the things you love. You started working in PR for a reason and it likely was for the more creative aspect, not because you love spending full days copying and pasting metrics into client reports. Letting someone else handle the recurring tasks, bookkeeping and other admin level work may reinvigorate your enthusiasm which will keep you productive and on top of your game.

You’re making money, but have no time to spend it!

There comes a (wonderful!) point in running your PR firm where you find you’re not only doing what you love, but you’re also making a profit! You finally start planning that weekend spa getaway…but then realize that to do everything you need to do to make that money, you don’t have a second to spare. While making money doing what you love is an incredible joy, you need time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Make sure you avoid burnout by bringing on someone to help during busy times and start thinking about ensuring your business can function without your full-time participation.

You want to expand into a new region

If you’re based in one city but looking to set up a presence in another, there’s no way to feasibly be in two places at once unless you bring someone on who is on the ground in your target area. Hiring someone established in a particular market makes it much easier to integrate your business into the local goings-on. For example, if you’re based in NYC but looking to develop strong relationships with LA celebrity stylists for a client, hiring someone talented who is already based in LA saves you the time and money of flying across the country while allowing you to offer another valuable service to clients.

It is incredibly hard to pull yourself out of overwhelm, so if your finding yourself on the verge, do future you a favor and take a step back from your never-ending to-do list and prioritize one thing; getting help. The decision to hire, be it a college intern, occasional freelancer, or full-time employee is not easy. For it to work, you’ll need financial clarity and flexibility, you’ll need a recruiting and interview process that attracts top talent. You’ll need to get honest about what tasks you really need to be doing, and where you can let up a bit of control. Growing your team is an investment, not only of money but also of time to train and time to manage your new brood.

If signs are pointing to it, it’s time to move from thinking of yourself as an independent contractor or freelance publicist, and to start putting on a brand new hat – that of CEO. Good luck!

PR Girls We Love: Nina Ojeda, Founder of The Avenue West

PR Agency Avenue West

Nina Ojeda is the founder & CEO of The Avenue West, a Los-Angeles based agency that works at the intersection of design, technology, social impact and lifestyle. With a strong focus on social enterprise and the convergence of lifestyle and technology, The Avenue West works with clients (from alcohol-delivery service Saucy to online interior design marketplace Laurel & Wolf) to build leadership and awareness, through communication-based impact and growth strategies.

Nina is also the founder of beauty startup PRÊTE, an Inc columnist, Founding Member of the Forbes Agency Council and an active member of the Young Entrepreneurs Council. If she isn’t at The Avenue West HQ, she’s probably hanging out with her three rescue dogs – or attempting to adopt another one.

Nina Ojeda Ave WestName: Nina Odeja
Company: The Avenue West
Title: Founder
Education: Went to college for about 5 minutes.
Instagram: @theavenuewest
Twitter: @ninaojeda // @theavenuewest

How did you get started in PR?

I was working in retail while attending community college and applying to various internships in the area. My first internship came along because I helped the owner of The Rose Group in the store and mentioned that I wanted to work in PR. Right there, on the spot she gave me her info and the rest is history. It goes to show; you can be anywhere and be speaking with anyone who might change your future.

How did you get the job you have now?

I started my company after leaving an agency that focused around entertainment. It wasn’t my passion and I couldn’t help but feel like I was doing absolutely nothing to help society.

What are your primary responsibilities?

Anything and everything! I’m the CEO & Janitor!

What are you working on right now?

We’re dog friendly and a close-knit group. There is barely a hierarchy. We are all members of one team and that one team gets the credit for success – not only individuals. We’re working on a variety of tech startups and more!

Office

The Avenue West Office 

Most memorable moment in your career thus far?

I think it was the day I pitched my first client, 1 Face. We had been put in touch by a mutual friend and I called the founder who was also a young entrepreneur, let him know I was quitting my job and asked him if he wanted to work with me knowing it was JUST me. The long pause on the other end started getting my mind racing, “WHAT did I just do?! I probably sound like such an idiot!” and then he just said, “Yes! Good for you!” And that was that. Client #1 and friend for life.

What type of person thrives at The Avenue West?

Self-starters and out of the box thinkers. I think people say this pretty often, but I’m dead serious. Our motto is to be bold, take risks and always learn. You will never craft a traditional pitch, press release, strategy or anything here. Our approach varies from each client and if it’s been done before, we don’t do it. Innovation doesn’t come from following templates.

Our approach varies from each client and if it’s been done before, we don’t do it. Innovation doesn’t come from following templates.

What are three must-haves essential to your job?

This is an easy one! I cannot live without Slack, Asana or Google Drive & Analytics. The last one is tied with Mention – we love it for social listening.

How do you stay on top of industry trends?

Conferences and reading the news! The sad truth is that not all PR people read the news or outlets they pitch. It’s horrifying when we interview candidates unaware of the industry they are hoping to enter. I also am a part of an incredible organization called YEC (Young Entrepreneurs Council) and the Forbes Agency Council. Both of those organizations are incredibly powerful and offer so much insight. We’re all about helping each other, not competing!

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

The stress usually comes from when someone doesn’t have the full picture of what they are doing. We try really hard to make sure that doesn’t happen. Also, at The Avenue West we give unlimited vacation days. Even though I’m the worst example in the world and never stop working, I want my employees to have the freedom to have lives. You cannot be creative while burned out.

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

It’s less of a story and more of a moment. When I quit my job at the last agency, I was standing in line at Starbucks and realized I only had $29 in my bank account. The proud moment was the day we hit the million-dollar mark. I think that was the first time I felt like patting myself on the back. I was also proud of us as a company for getting there without any outside investment and virtually no credit. We just celebrated our 3rd year anniversary on April 1!

Office Friends

The Avenue West always welcomes furry friends

Least glamorous moment in your career thus far?

This is a really tough one because even through the horrible experiences I’ve had (like checking in people to an event for 5 hours in negative weather) I’ve enjoyed every bit. I like to joke with my friends that I’ll always be the CEO & Janitor. I can’t help it.

Most glamorous moment in your career thus far?

I think being recognized for accomplishments. It’s sometimes hard for people when they’re in the trenches so long to look up and see what they’ve built. I get excited to come to work every morning because as silly as it sounds, my office reminds me of how far we’ve come!

What do you wish more people understood about your job?

That placements alone DO NOT equal sales.

What are the biggest challenges facing fashion communicators right now?

Specifically for fashion/lifestyle the biggest problem we see is that the brand work hasn’t been nailed down before the client is ready for PR. Who are you, what do you want to say to the world? What is your target? All of those things then help translate the message to your digital footprint. A common mistake many companies make is to hire a PR person “to get sales.” That’s not how PR works and as agents it’s our responsibility to look at the full picture and tell our clients. If you are pitching something just for the sake of pitching it, it won’t go anywhere. A lame product with a lame story can be seen by millions in an Instagram post by a major celeb or influencer, but what happens next? How are you capturing those leads? Is that influencer following your target demo? Many times I get blank stares when I ask these questions. We tackle the entire brand and look at everything from clients digital marketing plans to their cap tables. If you don’t, it’s like pouring water into a leaky bucket.

A common mistake many companies make is to hire a PR person “to get sales.” That’s not how PR works and as agents it’s our responsibility to look at the full picture and tell our clients.

What are you really good at?

I like to think I’m really good at my job! But that aside, I love to come up with creative campaigns. I think my lack of corporate knowledge helped me begin thinking about things as a person and not as a corporate robot. It’s lead us to some really amazing and successful activations!

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

Don’t be me! Be you. Growing into the most successful version of you includes identifying your own unique superpowers. Everyone’s are different – find yours and use it! A few of my own golden rules: never ask someone to do something you wouldn’t do yourself, practice what you preach and never be afraid to fail – because you will. A lot.

Thanks Nina!

 

5 Free Ways to Easily Update Your Media Lists

Media List Fashion PR Fashion Magazine Email Address

Gone are the days when editors would stay at a single publication for 15 years, slowly moving up their way up the masthead. These days, with print magazines restructuring, folding, moving entirely digital, or reducing the number of issues produced, it’s become increasingly challenging for publicists to maintain an updated media list – both in terms of editor contact information as the latest digital outlets to pitch. Even expensive media subscription services with dedicated teams struggle to keep databases current.

Keeping your own list and developing your own sleuthing techniques for staying on top of media movements is key to successful placements for clients. Here are 5 quick tips for keeping up with media moves:

Be Newsletter Savvy- Sign up for newsletters that track media movement like Daily Front Row and Fashion Monitor and make immediate, weekly updates to your lists.  

Stalk Editors on Social – Follow editors on social media, as well as LinkedIn for changes to their profile as well as general announcements. The Cision @media_moves account is a must-follow on Twitter.

Mine Out-of-Office replies – Don’t ignore or delete out-of-office auto replies from editors. They often include contact information for a substitute editor who may now become your go-to at that outlet. 

Pick up the Phone- It’s easy to forget, but we can use this thing called a telephone to call media outlets and ask for the best contact for a particular beat/story idea.

Google with a timeframe –  When you are searching for an editor’s new contact information, or trying to track down a freelance writer, Google their name and then filter the search by time frame to see their most recent work.

Keeping up with media movements isn’t always easy, but with these 5 simple tips, you will be on the road to maintaining a fresh and up-to-date media list.

Changes at Teen Vogue, Fashion & Tech News & Former Refinery29 Exec Co-Launches Joan

Fashion, FTC, State of News Media, Twitter, Emojis and Advertisers

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

…for the week of May 15, 2016

  • Controversy is a pillar of newsworthiness, and so, enjoy these banned fashion ads (via Hint Mag)
  • New York in June? We’ll be checking these things off our summer bucket list (via Time Out)
  • Former W&K and Refinery29 Executives Jaime Robinson and Lisa Clunie launch new creative agency, name it Joan (via AdAge)
  • Powerhouse Justina Blakeney breaks down how she makes money as a blogger (via the Jungalow)
  • It’s getting a little….dark over on Periscope. Have you noticed? (via Dazed)
  • Former Health and Beauty Editor Elaine Welteroth has been named editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue (via Essence)
  • Is that brand consultant you hired actually just not very good at their job? (via Branding Strategy Insider)
  • Connected Clothing: The relationship between the fashion and tech industries continues to deepen (via PSFK)

 

 

 

Junior Publicist

Position:  Junior Publicist 
Company: The Pontes Group
Location: Deerfield Beach, FL
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7 Lifestyle Websites PR Professionals Should Know

PR Opportunities at 7 Top Women's Lifestyle Websites

Public relations professionals operate as media experts, providing guidance on where to pitch, what to offer to whom, and when. As fashion, beauty and lifestyle publicists, we must build fluency in the editors, recurring features and editorial opportunities available for our clients online, and look to these leading content hubs as places to inspire our own creativity.

We all know Refinery29 of course, but there several other websites that serve a female lifestyle-driven audience that deserve to be on your radar:

PureWow

pure wow lifestyle website

Mary Kate McGrath, Editor-in-Chief, Pure Wow

Overview: PureWow’s slogan is “Elevate the Everyday” and they pack their beautifully designed site and corresponding newsletter with fun tips, cool products, and yummy recipes, spanning categories of fashion, beauty, home decor, entertainment, travel and technology. If the site reminds you a bit of the beloved, now defunct Daily Candy (RIP – still really devastated about that one!), it could be because one Pure Wow’s investors, Pilot Group, was an investor at DC.

Regardless, the media company is holding a similar position in the hearts and minds of its millennial and Gen X audience. Just last year, PureWow raised $2.5 million as a result of tripling it’s audience size. While there are a hefty amount of paid/sponsored opportunities for brands, the site does rely on editorial coverage and posts a large amount of content across multiple categories.

What to pitch: PureWow has both regional and national sections, making them a great place to reach out to for local business news, like restaurant, store or salon openings (as long as it fits it with their current cities –  New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, or the Hamptons.) The national edition is great for product based companies, whether it be accessories for a product round-up, books reviews, or a new fitness trend.

Bustle

Overview: Bustle is “for and by women who are moving forward as fast as you are,” which means the day’s hottest trends. This women’s site runs the gamut from entertainment to fashion/beauty to books to technology, making it a great place to pitch a variety of clients. Bustle has more than 50 million unique visitors a month, and the site offers sponsored content. Their target audience is the more technology-savvy millennial crowd, with a lot of focus on hottest trends in the fashion and beauty space as well as celebrity news and “get the looks.”

What to pitch: If you’ve got a cool, on-trend product, tips for surviving an event, want to discuss the newest fashion and beauty trends, or can tie the product to something an it girl is doing, Bustle should definitely be on your radar! Bonus: Bustle also has a partner site that targets millennial moms called Romper. So, if you have family friendly products, family travel tips or want to share the latest, parent-approved trends in kids’ fashion, you should definitely keep this site in mind.

The Haute Mess

Overview: Gwyneth Paltrow isn’t the only celeb to enter into the lifestyle website sphere — actress Ashley Tisdale is getting in the game with her site The Haute Mess. Meant for the girl who is “marching to the beat of her own high heels” and figuring out life on her terms, this millennial-driven site covers everything from work struggles to the best guacamole recipes to the best sheet masks.

What to pitch: The Haute Mess covers an entire lifestyle, including beauty, fashion, food, home décor and work. Have makeup tips, know what spring shoes should be in a fashionista’s closet, or have ways to update your home and workspaces? If you have a product or tips to help a twenty-something navigate this crazy thing called life, add The Haute Mess to your pitch list.

Pitch Publicist Lifestyle Websites Women

Maryam Keyhani for The Coveteur

The Coveteur

Overview: This Canadian-based site gives insider access to some of today’s hottest names and influencers, providing what they call “all things behind-the-scenes: lifestyle, fashion, and culture.” They emphasize “highly personalized curation” and offer collaborations with nonprofits, businesses and more. They have been featured in publications that include “Who What Wear,” “Vanity Fair,” and “E!”, and have received awards from CAFA, W3, Bloglovin’ and more. They cover everything from beauty and fashion to health, living and travel.

What to pitch: If you work with a highly influential, buzzed about name, the Closet section (which gives an exclusive look at some seriously awe-inspiring wardrobes) is a great target — past subjects have included Rickie de Sole from W Magazine, stylist (and Gigi and Bella’s sister!) Alana Hadid, and illustrator Jenny Walton. The Coveteur also features expert interviews — perfect for sharing a hairstylist’s tips for the perfect braid or giving a nutritionist’s take on the best foods for glowing skin, as well as traditional product placement.

Glitter Guide

Overview: Glitter Guide “aims to delight, inspire and make your life shine from the inside out.” The site provides women with a break in their day to read about fashion, beauty, entertaining and living. They focus on creating editorial content, and they have an affiliate program and sponsored posts.

What to pitch: Rich in DIYs, dreamy photography, and lifestyle advice, Glitter Guide covers an array of home, living, fashion and beauty content, with opportunities for both product placements and features on the people behind the brand. If you’re looking to pitch something Pinterest worthy and pretty, this girly, aspirational, and totally gorgeous site should definitely be top of the list.

Brit + Co

Overview: Brit Morin founded this San Francisco-based “new media and commerce company” in 2011. The site “inspires and enables women and girls to be more creative,” focusing on a woman’s entire lifestyle including DIY content, beauty, fashion, technology, food, health and, yes, even pets. The company offers partnerships with brands and creates its own editorial content. They also offer online classes on everything from Adobe Photoshop basics and calligraphy to travel photography and interior design.

What to pitch: If you have a new beauty trend, budget-friendly colorful and creative home décor, or a new product that fits the lifestyle of a fashion-forward #Girlboss, you should definitely consider reaching out to Brit + Co!

Women's Websites to Pitch Fashion Lifestyle

Stoffer Photography

The Everygirl

Overview: The Everygirl is for just that — every girl. The brand really focuses on inspiring and empowering women in their daily life with such categories as career/finance, culture, fashion/beauty, living, travel, and wellness. They tackle saving for retirement, books to read, the best face masks depending on what your skin needs, recipes to try, and where to take that deserving vacation.

What to pitch: The Everygirl has content for Austin, Chicago, Dallas, London, and more places all over the world. So, if you want a global reach, this is the site for you. The Everygirl offers plenty of opportunities for product-based companies, including book reviews using #TheEverygirlReads, fashion and beauty products, giveaways, and online fitness trends. If this describes what you’re looking for, then The Everygirl is definitely something to consider!

Special thanks to Emily Gardner for helping out with this article!

Hey PR Grad, 3 Steps to Get Your Social Profiles in Formation

PR Entry Level Social Media Checklist

Congratulations to the graduating class of 2016! As you continue to research and apply for your first big PR job, make sure you aren’t neglecting your online presence. A great cover letter, resume and portfolio will only take you so far if the tone of your social media accounts is more amateur than brand ambassador. Yes, we are looking.

Why?

Checking out your social media accounts is one way for us to differentiate you from all the other applicants and help filter down that big stack of resumes to a handful of potentials we may actually want to hire. After all, we aren’t just looking for someone who could do a good job, we are looking for greatness.

As you look to acquire a PR position, your very first assignment is to act the part and present yourself in a way that makes it a no-brainer for hiring managers to contact you for an interview and then offer you the job.

Here’s a handy process you can use to make sure your profiles are interview-ready:

1. Define your personal brand for professional – getting a PR job – purposes

I tweet about a variety of things, from client happenings to breaking news, to the “leave you speechless but ya gotta say something” happenings on Scandal.

Hiring managers want to see your personality, likes, and interests. But we don’t want to see a rant about your deadbeat boyfriend, a snap of body shots with your girls, or anything questionable behind you in that recent selfie. We’re not judging you, (ok, maybe we are a little), we’re mainly concerned that you know how to be smart with your social presence, and are using it to show off your quirks and talents in a positive light. We also have to consider how our clients as well as media, might react to finding your public persona.

“But this is me, Nancy and I want to keep it real.”

You’re still keeping it real. Really PR-ready and PRofessional. If you need a place to keep it any real-er than that, create a private profile just for friends and guard entry like well, a bodyguard.

You are entering an image and perception-driven industry. Perception is reality.

2. Ensure Your Information is Updated and Consistent

Google yourself and see what comes up. For any social media account profiles, make sure you are able to login and update your account. It’s time to review your profile for consistency, accuracy and content. Choose the same image (or similar) for your profile pic, update your headline, and evaluate what you’ve published. If anything is questionable, delete the content in question, change your privacy settings, or delete the profile entirely.

3. Follow the brands and agencies you hope to work for (or have recently applied to work for).

This is 101, but you’d be surprised how many candidates don’t sign up for a company email newsletter, and don’t follow companies they are interested in on social media. We will check. We want to know that you are interested in being a part of our community. We are also going to see if you are following any industry organizations, editors, magazines, influencers, etc – which lets us know if you are in the know. For PR agencies, we want you to follow us and our clients.

In the PR industry we’re actively thinking of ways to ensure a response from media contacts that results in great coverage. As a pre-PRofessional, it’s the same thing except instead of the media, you’re trying to get a response for that job you really want. So embrace the challenge, and make sure that your social media profiles are working for you – not against you.

Do These 3 Things to Run a Successful Fashion PR Showroom

Organizational Tips for Fashion Showroom Success

Running a fashion PR showroom is a labor of love. It’s countless hours unpacking new collections, logging them in the system, tracking shipments and making sure your precious cargo is received at shoots. Nevertheless, the hard work pays off when you see one of your clients draped on a celebrity or better yet, on the cover of a magazine. A showroom gives you the opportunity to easily schedule in-person stylist, editor and celebrity pulls and fittings, as well as the ability to merchandise your client’s products in a boutique-like setting.

Whether you are an agency owner thinking about expanding with a showroom, or simply interested in this side of the business, it all comes down to preparation. While the showroom itself should appear to run flawlessly, functionally it requires forethought and systems that support the backend.

Track all Inventory

At any given time a client may ask you to account for a specific piece and you want to be able to answer with certainty where it is located. This is why having an organizational plan in place is crucial to operating a successful showroom.  If you aren’t using Fashion GPS, find a system for cataloguing merchandise that works for you and pay special attention to accessories, as those tend to be the first to go missing.

Be a Stylists’ best resource

In addition to knowing the whereabouts of all samples is keeping record of your interactions with different stylists. Keep a database of what stylists come in to pull for what clients – and what they like/dislike. Note their main location and personal details, like birthdays. Think of yourself as a personal shopper of sorts, anticipating their needs and always having just the right thing ready to go, handpicked for their aesthetic and client needs.

If you aren’t using Fashion GPS, find a system for cataloguing merchandise that works for you and pay special attention to accessories, as those tend to be the first to go missing.

Develop a process to stay in touch with everyone who stops in to the showroom, and have a seasonal outreach plan in place. Email stylists and other important contacts to check out new items and always send a note of thanks for a visit. Reward stylists when they hit a home run for you; take a page from the haute couture houses, its amazing to see all of the floral arrangements pop up on celebrity stylists’ Instagram accounts the day after the Oscars. Personal relationships are one of your most powerful tools in PR and the same rule applies to your showroom.

Report results

Lastly, you need to think about how to show the value of your showroom to your clients. Quantifying results in the form of secured coverage helps to qualify showroom retainers. Set up Google Alerts and manually check websites, magazines and the top photo sites each morning – you might not always get an email letting you know something has landed – it’s up to you to spot it first! Send clients monthly wrap reports that detail out stylist interest and pulls that occurred that month.

Don’t forget to acknowledge all the hard work that goes into keeping your showroom clean, stocked and well-merchandised (like those lovely interns who have folded and refolded your samples more times than they have opened their textbooks for finals!). With a clear plan in place, a showroom can be a great added value to your agency, or a standalone business opportunity for those with strong stylist relationships.

PR Account Supervisor, Fashion & Accessories

Position:  Fashion Account Supervisor
Company: Elite Associates
Location: New York City, New York
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PR Account Executive, Fashion & Accessories

Position:  PR Account Executive, Fashion & Accessories
Company: Elite Associates
Location: New York City, New York
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Fashion Publishers on Video, Kenwerks’ New Chapter 2 & A Fashion Trend Report

Fashion, FTC, State of News Media, Twitter, Emojis and Advertisers

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

…for the week of May 9, 2016

  • While influencer marketing is a trending topic, traditional media relations is still a big part of where it’s at for brands. (via Shonali Burke)
  • Sometimes there’s no way out of a difficult conversation. Use these techniques to still get invited to coworker happy hour afterward. (via Business Insider)
  • Are you doing the “looking for a job while I’ve got a job” dance? Here are some tips on making it work. (via Levo League)
  • Fashion publishers winning the video content game. (via Glossy)
  • Life changes fast. Life changes in the instant. You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.” Let these literary quotes by dame Joan Didion set your mind on fire (in a good way). (via Bust)
  • Kenneth Loo of Kenwerks fame partners with freelance fashion publicist Clara Jeon to create Chapter 2. (via Fashionista)
  • Grab this new fashion trend report featuring Q1’s Top 10 Brands in Earned Media Performance (via Tribe Dynamics)

 

3 Proven SEO Strategies that Will Extend the Value of PR Campaigns

Is PR the new SEO? How to accomplish SEO goals with PR techniques

Let’s be real, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) isn’t the sexiest of topics, and often gets the proverbial talk to the hand. We get it! All that techie mumbo jumbo is overwhelming, and you’ve probably thought, “How does it even relate to the business of getting media coverage for clients?”

However, in the last few years the division between the relationship-centric public relations world, and the technical mindset of Search Experts have softened.

Imagine the relationship in these terms; courtesy of celebrity stylist Brad Goreski, “Hollywood and fashion are symbiotic partners, especially during awards season.” Much like fashion designers, and their publicists, rely on celebrities to help boost demand and awareness, successfully managing the public face of a brand is made infinitely more powerful with SEO operating behind the scenes.

Reality check: all that online and in-person relationship building you work tirelessly for can be multiplied by combining SEO and PR. You can turn a one-time traffic bump from a great press placement into a steady stream of targeted search traffic, effectively doubling or even tripling the value of your hard work for clients.

Plainly, it’s time to make PR and SEO’s relationship Facebook official.

If you’re ready to learn how SEO techniques can amplify and extend the value of your digital publicity, take notes on the following are three, SEO based PR strategies you can utilize to supercharge results for your own clients.

You can turn a one-time traffic bump from a great press placement into a steady stream of targeted search traffic, effectively doubling or even tripling the value of your hard work for clients.

Strategy #1: Consider Digital PR in terms of Link-Building

Being an outreach specialist at SEO agency CanIRank, my daily work often resembles that of a public relations professional, even though clients hire us for our SEO expertise. Why? Because content is at the heart of delivering a higher ROI than old-school SEO agencies.

Successful SEO goals are built around acquiring strong and authoritative links that let Google know you’re a legit source, thereby boosting your ranking within its search. This is especially true in an era when Google has become increasingly smarter at recognizing and rewarding links it deems valuable.

So… “How does link building benefit PR campaigns?”

Shiree Odiz, a third generation diamond dealer and jewelry design firm, launched an “SEO Idol” campaign that perfectly illustrates the insane benefits that can be unlocked when a SEO and PR campaign work in conjunction. Here’s how “SEO Idol” went down.

The jewelry company held a contest to find their own “SEO Idol,” enlisting individuals and SEO companies to compete for the grand prize of $10,000 and to become Shiree’s new SEO strategist. By the competition’s end an enormous amount of links were generated, as well as media buzz around their campaign. It was an innovative play that worked three-fold for them. They gained media exposure for their unique competition, generated links that they’re still show a return, and of course, acquired a SEO professional to manage their online Search authority.

While this example is very campaign, not to mention SEO-heavy, you can still apply the principles to your regular outreach. For example, when you reach out to bloggers and influencers within your space, be specific about what pages on your client’s website you want to show up first in a search engine – it might not be the homepage. Increase the chances that digital editors will use the proper links by hyperlinking content inside your pitch). Content or product seeding campaigns that include multiple bloggers covering a single launch, contest or giveaway are also effective at generating a good amount of links pointing back to your client.

All of these SEO-based link building strategies beef up your PR goals of gaining attention, and supplying social proof.

Strategy #2. Act Like a Publicist, Think Like an SEO Strategist

Relationships are EVERYTHING. As PR professionals you understand this better than anyone else. Cultivating real passion around a brand by developing and nurturing relationships through aligned interests always pays dividends, and is the ultimate win.

This leads to our second question… “Can you use SEO tactics to determine what relationships to pursue?”

Prior to working with Mineralissima, the brand was a small, homegrown natural mineral cosmetics company struggling to get noticed in a competitive market dominated by mega-brands with multimillion-dollar advertising budgets.

Rather than trying to compete with the mega-brands on the same level, we helped them see that their small size and handcrafted approach actually included some inherent advantages that the big players couldn’t match.

Kati van Riet, the founder of Mineralissima, is passionate about keeping her products as humane and environmentally friendly as possible. She feels very strongly about the abhorrent use of animal testing in the cosmetics industry, and is committed to being a beauty without cruelty brand, and is moving towards being 100% vegan.

We put this core value, and popular Search term, front and center of our outreach strategy and helped the brand rally a dedicated following of influencers, organizations, and media who also felt strongly about cruelty-free cosmetics. These influential individuals and publications were happy to support a small company that was part of the same movement, and this natural alignment of interests lead to numerous reviews and recommendations from beauty bloggers, as well as listings in cruelty free directories, which are important in the eyes of search engines and customers alike.

Directories are often overlooked by PR professionals, but submitting Mineralissima to PETA’s directory, for example, was an exceedingly strong SEO move because their site has high authority, high relevancy for keywords, and maybe more importantly, legitimacy in the court of public opinion.

Combined with our on-page optimization efforts, this campaign more than doubled Mineralissima’s traffic in three months, and the search engine rankings we helped them achieve drive nearly 80% of new sales.

Strategy #3. Produce Optimized Content that’s Irresistibly Shareable

While traditional SEO “techie” practices like keyword research, site mapping, improving site speed, and other website optimizations tactics should definitely still come into play, we know that these techniques do not guarantee a fun ride to the first page of search rankings. SEO-type optimization has entered into a new dimension by incorporating PR-like humanized marketing practices plus serious tech skills. Basically, it’s the ever-elusive unicorn of the digital marketing world.

With all of this in mind, let’s answer the final question, “What type of SEO juice-filled content should be produced?”

For our client Axon Optics, an eyewear brand that blocks specific light sources that trigger migraines, we focused and honed in on the specific value-add they could offer up to the media. It needed to be irresistible to influencers, and completely shareable to their followers.

Axon’s doctor-led research served up a ton of interesting insights, but had yet to be packaged in a consumer-friendly way. Our strategy was to create in-depth, yet easily consumable Q&A videos with the Doctor whose research inspired Axon’s migraine eliminating product.

So why was it done this way?

If you jam pack press releases and pitches with a host of dense, data-driven language, or in the case of fashion, way too many key messages, several issues can arise. First, the content may be too overwhelming for time-strapped journalists (or readers) to wade through. Less than reputable sites may republish or rework your pitch, often confusing the language or desired messaging, and potentially without including an explicit client mention, or a link back.

A better way to acquire editor interest and secure longer-form content opportunities is to place the highlight a few key attributes in your pitch or release, but to create a series of follow-up links that offer up links to the complete original research/data, an ebook, a tool, or other multimedia resources.

However, you don’t need to limit your thinking to simply securing articles or blog mentions. By creating the videos for Axon, we insured that whenever a journalist or blogger wrote about migraine issues, and needed to cite a credible source, they could reference Axon’s videos, or simply embed them into their piece.  Additionally, videos are an easy, and sometimes preferred medium for many to consume content, and can be irresistibly shareable.

 Steal these SEO Strategies to double the value of your PR campaigns!

A better understanding of SEO can help enhance your digital publicity strategies and results. Helping to develop and guide brand storytelling and influencer relationships is definitely valuable, but also tweaking these efforts to help your clients rank highly in Search is another way to demonstrate value.  Nothing trumps a brand increasing their SEO rankings (and driving word-of-mouth) through killer content shared and discussed through multiple channels.

Well… except a unicorn, nothing tops a unicorn.

About Elyse

Elyse Cornett is a content marketer and an outreach specialist with CanIRank where she focuses on building fruitful and authentic relationships between influencers and brands in the startup scene, as well as in fashion, beauty, and eCommerce. In her free time she travels, explores local hotspots in San Diego, posts way too many Snapchats, and author’s Faith in Style, a fashion and lifestyle blog.

 

 

PR Account Director

Position: PR Account Director
Company: Elite Associates
Location: New York City, New York
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What it’s Really Like to Be a Social Media Manager

A day in the life of Beach House PR's Social Media Manager

For the past year, Beach House’s Senior Social Media Manager Brittany Lamp has worked at the creative agency overseeing the social media presence of up to 15 unique fashion, lifestyle, and beauty brands who active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Snapchat. On any given day, Beach House is pushing out anywhere from 50-100 pieces of unique content to hundreds of thousands of followers across networks; and it’s Brittany’s job to create the strategy and oversee implementation.

What does a social media manager do?

 

Here’s what Brittany does on the daily:

8:30 a.m: (status meeting) At Beach House, our social media team starts everyda with a short status meeting. Here, is where we review the upcoming content for the week, review any quick learnings from the previous week, and of course, discuss trending news topics, or upcoming holidays that we made need to create content for, such as #NationalDonutDay or the season premiere of Game of Thrones. It’s vital for our brands to insert highly relevant, timely content into their overall communication themes.

9:30 a.m: (client communication) At any agency, client communication is key, and I spend a good chunk of my day communicating with clients. In the morning is when I really sit down to proactively reach out to clients to inform them of any learnings we’ve had, news from within the social media world, or to report on any analytics. It’s important to keep our clients in the loop with every project we’re working on, and the easiest way to do this is to be in constant communication.

11:30 a.m: (strategy meeting) While our social media specialists oversee the day-to-day content, I work hand in hand with them to infuse our overall, bigger picture strategy into everything that we do. Each of our unique brands and each of their campaigns will have different strategies based on their individual goals. Developing a solid social media strategy is all about working backwards to figure out the most efficient and effective way to achieve that goal. That’s where I come in, and outline the strategy in a formal presentation so the client understand why we are doing what we are doing.

I feel like a method actor. When I work on 5-10 different brands in the scope of a day, I have to change my mindset on the fly to reflect each unique brand identity. It definitely keeps things interesting!

1:30 p.m: (content calendar review) While we develop some of our content on the fly here at Beach House, we are also simultaneously building out content calendars up to a month in advance. I sit to review the month’s upcoming content with our social media specialists on a regular basis. We build out the content calendar based on a bigger picture master marketing calendar that our clients provide to us. This ensures that messaging across social media, digital, email, and in-store is cohesive. There are several phases of content calendar review; the first (and my favorite) involves the initial stages of planning, including setting up any content shoots that need to happen. Once we’ve created all the assets we need, we move into the first round of reviews and edits before we send it to the client for final approvals. The content calendars are fluid and open to change, allowing us to insert timely content as we feel is relevant.

3:30 p.m: (analytics) It’s important to step back from the content and analyze the numbers, because the numbers never lie! I actually really enjoy working with numbers and use them to help define the overall brand strategy. One of the most important lessons I have learned is that each of the brands I work on will have an entirely unique set of data dependent upon their unique audience. It’s so interesting to see how different audiences behave.

5:00 p.m: (competitor research) As the days slows down, I will check-in with clients again as necessary, and then I’ll spend some time reading articles from my favorite social media & digital news publications. Social media changes every single day, and it’s vitally important that Beach House stays abreast of trends and changes within the market place.

Contrary to what my friends and family may think, I don’t spend all day on Instagram and Facebook. As the social media manager, I spend my time making sure that our social media strategy is aligned with each clients bottom line goals and that we have analytics to prove that our efforts are making a contribution towards these goals.

At the end of the day, I love how dynamic my job is. It’s always changing, which means so am I!

Check out Brittany’s articles on social media strategy for PR Couture!

PR Couture Summer Intern

Position:  PR Couture Summer Intern 
Company: PR Couture
Location: Virtual
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