Account Executive

Position: Account Executive
Company: Droese PR
Location: Dallas, TX
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PRGirl Wrap Party Panel Recap + Photos

Last Tuesday we celebrated the wrap of Season One of PR Girl, the brand new original reality web series, on the San Diego FIDM campus.
Attendees were first to watch the last episode, The Reunion, before it was made available online, and stayed to enjoy a vibrant panel discussion (fueled by a fair amount of House Wine, coffee from Dangerous Coffee Co and goat-cheese and candied bacon waffles from Local Krave), about growing your empire through digital media. 
The panel was moderated by Tanya Rivas, Founder of PR with Heart, and featured PRGirl Creator/Producer Farissa Knox, in from Chicago, PR Couture Founder and PRGirl partner Crosby Noricks, as well as Alyssa Mopia, Co-Founder of The Casual Creatives podcast and Founder of the blog-based interview series Coffee and Convos. Panelists were treated to complimentary makeup, courtesy of Girl on the Go Spa.
We absolutely loved the opportunity to connect with so many of you in person and look forward to getting out from behind our laptops even more in 2018! 

6 Strategies to Get a BIG Return with Influencer Marketing (even with a TINY budget)

This article is part of the Influencer Marketing Series, written and sponsored by Shopping Links, an online marketplace designed to make it easier for Bloggers and Brands to connect and collaborate. For $100 off your first collaboration, use code PROFF100.

As many publicists have experienced over the last decade, blogger outreach and influencer management have become as much a part of the job as maintaining strong editor relationships — particularly for PR pros with fashion and lifestyle clients. Relationships alone, however, are often no longer enough to land exposure with leading influencers, turning publicists into equal parts storycrafter and sponsored content negotiator. What can you do when clients aren’t used to paying for placement, or just don’t have the budget to land the influencers they want?

As it turns out, you can accomplish quite a lot with the right tools! We work with PR agencies and brands alike looking to secure big results on a small budget, and they have found great success with a few consistent strategies. Here’s how to run an effective influencer campaign, even on a shoestring budget:    

1. Leverage your existing audience/customer base

The competition is fierce out there for bloggers! Even leading influencers need to continuously build their following, and if your client has a strong social presence or customer list, you can leverage your audience into a collaboration — allowing you to secure top bloggers who might otherwise be out of your budget. The benefit of this reciprocal exposure is actually twofold: not only does it convey a strong relationship between the influencer and brand, but it also gives your client valuable content for their internal marketing efforts.

MARKS & SPENCER demonstrated the power of influencer content recently through multiple email campaigns, A/B testing campaign imagery against influencer imagery. Holding all other variables constant, M&S saw higher click-through rates, click-to-order rates and revenues from influencer imagery across all campaigns. In a swimwear-focused EDM with blogger Lisa Hamilton, for example, the brand saw a 33% higher click-to-order rate and 21.6% higher revenues compared to in-house imagery. In a separate womenswear campaign targeting Australian customers, the brand saw an incredible uptick of 82% in revenues, with 66% higher revenues for a similar A/B tested campaign targeting American customers. 

Understanding the value of influencer content and that of your own client’s audience to an influencer can help you secure cost-effective collaborations that greatly benefit both sides.

2. Plan ahead for gifting needs

Done correctly, gifting can be a great way to get your client’s product in front of the right audience without stretching your budget. We talked more about this strategy last week in The Inside Scoop on Influencer Gifting, but here a few points that become particularly important when you’re budget-minded: firstly, plan ahead. Make gifting part of your contract, so you have inventory set aside in advance and can select your influencers accordingly. Gifting becomes far more seamless when you can quickly take advantage of  opportunities for exposure. And, you when you know your limit in advance, you can better decide if an opportunity is worth the product.

In a swimwear-focused EDM with blogger Lisa Hamilton, for example, the brand saw a 33% higher click-to-order rate and 21.6% higher revenues compared to in-house imagery.

3. Take advantage of Influencer Marketing Solutions

It’s no longer necessary to manage influencer outreach piecemeal, with a ton of moving parts and way more program management than is often in the budget. We created our influencer gifting service specifically for agencies after seeing how difficult and time-consuming the whole gifting process can be. With our turnkey service, you receive the direct contact information for 10, 25 or 50 influencers with least 10k Instagram followers. Influencers are required to post on Instagram within 30 days. When you’re looking to leverage your client’s product in a short period of time, turnkey solutions like this are often the greatest bang for your buck. We recommend doing a little research and seeing what tools are available for you.    

4. Think Beyond Instagram

Although you’ll have better success with smaller bloggers when you’re gifting without additional payment, you can maximize your reach with each influencer by playing to their strengths. Look for influencers who specialize in Pinterest or Facebook, or who have high domain authority and strong blog traffic. Go beyond the obvious categories as well, and dig deep into niche opportunities. Thinking beyond follower count on Instagram, for example, can help you see a greater return from diversifying brand resources and story opportunities.     

5. Integrate Affiliate Opportunities into Outreach

Affiliate marketing is largely outside the realm of PR, but can be a great way to boost sales and engagement if a client is interested in influencers, but doesn’t have a huge budget. As the name suggests, affiliate links give influencers commission on sales they make from their blog articles and social channels, and they can be a great complement to traditional influencer campaigns. And thankfully, now you can add on a network of over 14,000+ influencers to your existing affiliate partners. When you run a collaboration on Shopping Links, you can easily add affiliate links as a requirement to your collaboration, then manage the results transparently in the platform. We give collaboration results by influencer, so you can show your clients which bloggers performed, giving them the highest return on investment.    

6. Collaborate with noncompeting brands

Boost your bargaining power by collaborating with noncompeting, complementary brands and open up the potential to secure opportunities that have more impact, even with a small budget. Roundups that feature seasonal products or “outfit of the day” features benefit every brand involved. If you represent a designer, for example, you might partner with an accessories or shoe brand on a collaboration to create the perfect look for New Year’s Eve or a big night out. If your client is a hotel or tour operator, you might partner with a luggage brand or skincare product to showcase travel essentials. If your agency represents multiple verticals, there even may be opportunities to take advantage of synergies between existing clients.   

The above strategies will help you keep your budget in check for short-term campaigns, which can certainly feel like the bulk of client requests! As you work to educate clients on the value of long-term influencer partnerships, prioritize client campaign requests (or those you pitch yourself) around investing budget into strategic relationships. This means identifying bloggers whose audiences closely align with your client’s target demographic. At the wrap of a particularly successful campaign partnership, take the opportunity to discuss ongoing ways the brand could continue to work together. Recurring partnerships are a highly  effective way to establish familiarity among potential customers, and a sense that the influencer truly endorses the brand. We have seen the investment in long-term relationships pay dividends time and again for brands of all sizes, and we recommend this approach whenever you can afford the patience of a long-term campaign.

PR’s Gender Bias, The Rise of the Stylist & Real Talk re: Editor Swag

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

…for the week of November 13, 2017

The PR Industry continues to suffer from gender bias (via PR Daily)

Publicists weigh in on the longstanding practice of gifting editors and it’s a doozy (via Racked) 

What fashion startups can learn from Nasty Gal and Bonobos (via Fast Company)

Celebrity stylists discuss their growing influence as print magazines collapse (via Fashionista)

Why are there fewer millennial entrepreneurs in comparison to previous generations? (via Entrepreneur)

The fascinating unknown work that goes into Hermès’ window displays (via AnOther Mag)

Podcast “super listeners” could be more useful to marketers than you may think (via Adweek)

A “cabi party” might just be the perfect holiday gift this season (via NPD)

Do marketers really know anything about their consumer’s in today’s digital age? (via Social Media Week)

The importance of forming connections with millennials in an era of fake news (via Marketing Week)

#Gratitude: 5 Ways to Give Thanks to Your Employees All Year Long

agency culture work life balance thank you

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to reflect on all the things you’re grateful for – family, friends, and, of course, that delicious turkey right in front of you – but as a business owner, this gratitude should extend to your employees. They keep clients happy, prospects impressed and the day-to-day grind so much more enjoyable. Of course they deserve your thanks!

But, as the weeks, months, and crunch times get crazy – especially as we wind down the year —  it’s easy to forget how impactful a simple “thank you” or expression of gratitude can be. Fortunately, Thanksgiving is upon us, and there’s no time like the present to begin saying “thanks!” Here are a few of our go-to employee gratitude strategies to turn that office potluck into a meaningful, motivating employee experience.

1. Give a toast

If you are having that office potluck (lucky you!), kick it off with a nice toast showing how much you appreciate your employees and highlight some milestone successes you’ve seen this year. You can keep this vague – congratulating the agency as a whole – or go targeted, calling out those who have gone above and beyond with their work this quarter.  This is a great motivator, any time of the year.  It’s especially appropriate around the holidays.

2. Make Friday your “thanks” day

As we go through the week, time gets tight and deadlines grow like wildfire. I realize that. But come Friday – the sometimes slower weekday – take time to go through your team’s weekly accomplishments and send a quick note showing them appreciation. This can be weekly, monthly, or even quarterly, but scheduling some time in your calendar to reflect on employees you should be thankful for will keep you accountable – and your employees motivated.

3. Give a “shout out” when it’s due

While sure, we all “pretend” to hate the spotlight, sometimes it’s fun to be recognized among your peers! Translate this into your weekly or monthly agency meetings, highlighting  those employees who have been total “rock stars” for your firm. Try to mix up who you appreciate when, of course, but giving proper praise when it’s due – and in public – will ensure employees feel rewarded regularly.

4. Offer a “token of thanks”

Verbal praise typically fits the bill, but if you’re looking to go above and beyond for an above-and-beyond employee, you can take it one step further with a small token of thanks.  It doesn’t have to cost a lot – it’s truly the gesture that counts and will be remembered.  This could be a $10 Starbucks gift card or a lunch on the agency —  any sort of out-of-the-box expression of gratitude will have your rock star grinning ear to ear (and feeling truly appreciated).

5. Share your gratitude with senior leadership

If you’re managing teams but have a manager yourself, don’t forget to include your own boss on gratitude emails. While it’s great to have appreciation coming from a direct manager, younger employees feel particularly proud when senior-level bosses and CEOs can see their successes. This is as simple as hitting “cc” – but can do wonders for employee morale.  And, it’s always a great way to make sure that the ‘powers that be’ are aware of everyone’s efforts.

Sure, it’s easy to get in a work rhythm, knowing your team will be there to perform outstanding work daily, but taking a step back and putting your gratitude into words or action will ensure employees feel valued and fulfilled this Thanksgiving and beyond!

How to Close the Deal on a Celebrity Brand Endorsement Campaign

The Celebrity Endorsement Series is written by Billy Bones, founder of Booking Agent Info and Moda Database. This is part 3. Read parts 1 and 2.

Now that you’ve identified the celebrity you want to endorse your product and the kind of deal you want to offer them, there’s one more step. Unfortunately, you can’t just call the celebrity and ask if they’re interested (unless you happen to know them, in which case, go for it) – you need to work with their representatives. In your case, that likely means their agent and their manager.

In a nutshell, agents are solely responsible for finding work for their clients and for negotiating the contract. Managers, on the other hand, provide their clients with career guidance, which means they can either make or break a potential deal with a celebrity. Managers can best be described as the CEO’s of their clients’ businesses, so you’ll need their buy-in on any potential partnership with the celebrity you’re targeting.

Tailor Your Pitch

Depending on whether you’re reaching out to the agent or the manager, you’ll need to tailor your message according to what’s most important to the specific representative. With agents, that’s pretty straightforward: you’re offering a potential deal that will make their client (and the agent themselves) money.

With managers, you’ll need to demonstrate how you know their client is the ideal fit (on both sides) for a potential partnership. You need to convince the manager that the potential endorsement deal is a great opportunity for their client’s brand.

When you reach out, the most important thing is to be concise – agents and managers are busy, so you need to provide as many specifics as you can in as short an email as possible. Keep it to the key details using the “Who/What/When/Where/Why” format:

  • Who are you interested in? (The celebrity you’re targeting likely isn’t their only client.)
  • What do you want them to do?
  • When do you need to know whether they’re interested?
  • Where would their client have to go to promote your brand?
  • Why do you think your brand is a good match for their client?

Also make sure your email includes some sort of call to action – you’re more likely to get a response if you leave the reader feeling as though some sort of action on their part is required.

Always Negotiate Terms

Unless you have an unlimited budget, odds are you’ll want to save money however you can. So when reaching out to celebrity representatives, don’t make your first offer your best one. Instead, set a limit on how much you can spend, then take 10% off that number and make that your first offer.

By slightly lowering your opening offer, you’ll leave yourself some room to negotiate if the agent of manager counters with a higher figure. And if the counter offer is way out of your price range and it seems like you’re not going to reach an acceptable number for both sides, don’t be afraid to walk away. For most smaller or start-up brands, the profit margin for endorsement campaigns may be thin, so it’s important to save money wherever you can – even if that means passing on the celebrity endorser of your dreams.

Partnering with the right celebrity on an endorsement campaign is one of the most effective tools you can use to boost brand awareness and drive sales.

Celebrity endorsement deals are pretty easy to navigate once you get the hang out it. If you want to set your brand apart from your competitors, a well-planning endorsement from the right celebrity is a huge step in the right direction.

About Billy

Billy Bones is the founder of Booking Agent Info and Moda Database. Moda Database is a celebrity stylist contact list that provides businesses with the contact information for celebrity stylists, and their celebrity clients. Booking Agent Info provides you with the contact information for the official agents, managers, and publicists of celebrities.

The Inside Scoop on Influencer Gifting (Stop wasting time + Product)

This article is part of the Influencer Marketing Series, written and sponsored by Shopping Links, an online marketplace designed to make it easier for Bloggers and Brands to connect and collaborate. For $100 off your first collaboration, use code PROFF100.

Influencer gifting can be one of the most effective ways to gain exposure for a client, particularly when they need to make an immediate impact — but as many publicists have experienced, it’s not always easy. Researching bloggers can take hours, and often your top choices don’t respond right away. You can go back-and-forth a dozen times just to finalize delivery details, and follow up for weeks after to ensure the post is published. By the time you share the results with your client, your agency’s margin has often vanished. 

Thankfully, as the influencer market has evolved, so have tools for publicists that have made engaging influencers and tracking their results much easier. With a little strategy and the help of the right resources, you can see all the benefits of product seeding without wasting inventory or your staff’s time. Here are five tips to get the maximum return from your next campaign: 

1. Stop researching influencers one by one

Finding influencers who align closely with your client’s target audience rightfully feels like time well-spent. After all, choosing the right medium to share your brand’s message is exactly what good publicists do. But when you need to engage several influencers in a short amount of time, hours spent poring through blogs and Instagram accounts can quickly add up.

This is where technology can help. Influencer platforms give you access to a network of influencers, so you can either sort through bloggers based on keywords, or post a collaboration message and engage qualified bloggers who express interest. Options range from technology-only platforms that use software to build their databases (if you see platforms boasting hundreds of thousands of influencers, they were likely built this way), to more service-oriented platforms with networks built through relationships. At Shopping Links, for example, we have just over 14,000 fashion, beauty and lifestyle influencers that have each been reviewed by a member of our team.

The best platform for you will depend on your existing relationships, your target audience, and your client’s KPIs. A tech-focused platform works well if your client’s goal is general awareness across multiple demographics, or if you already have strong influencer relationships and just need a tool to help execute the campaign. Relationship-focused platforms work better when your client wants to reach a specific demographic, and you need a resource to help you find the right influencers. Relationship-focused platforms also typically offer more detailed targeting options than their tech counterparts. For example, we encourage bloggers to connect their Google Analytics to their Shopping Links profile so brands and agencies can get a sense of each blogger’s audience demographics. One of our favorite industry resources, Influencer Marketing Hub, has a great list of platforms to suit different types of campaigns. No matter which one (or few) you choose, taking advantage of these publicist-friendly tools will free up your team’s time while increasing your quality of influencer partnerships.

2. Set your minimum threshold at 10k followers

 “Micro-influencers” have been heralded extensively over the last year as the key to stronger engagement, and while this is certainly true when comparing engagement percentages of smaller influencers to Chiara-level stars, your clients also want to see reach, not just a higher percentage of likes and comments. To see the greatest return across all KPIs, we recommend setting a threshold of 10k Instagram followers, with a “sweet spot” between 10k and 100k. Here’s why:

A minimum of 10k followers allows you to take advantage of the swipe-up functionality on Instagram Stories, which we have found to be particularly effective for brands seeking an immediate impact, such as traffic and sales for a specific product. A threshold of 10k followers also increases the likelihood that a blogger has established a professional process for working with brands. Emerging bloggers may be more receptive to gifting, but they also require more management. Targeting the 10k-100k follower level, which many marketers have indeed defined as “micro-influencers,” gives you an engaged audience at the highest possible reach for bloggers still likely to selectively accept gift-only collaborations.

3. Figure out each blogger’s strength, and your own leverage

When you run a gifting collaboration without payment, you often have limited negotiating power, particularly when you target leading influencers. Bloggers with 10k followers may accept gifts more readily, while those with 100k aren’t likely to accept gifted only opportunities very often. (When they do, it’s generally because they love your client’s product, which is great — but they’re not likely to accommodate specific channels, placement or timing.) Understanding each blogger’s strengths can help you get the most out of each collaboration and the bargaining power you do have. If a blogger has strong website traffic and a high domain authority, for example, it would be best for you to request a blog mention. If they’ve developed a strong Pinterest following, you can request that they add a pin.

A minimum of 10k followers allows you to take advantage of the swipe-up functionality on Instagram Stories, which we have found to be particularly effective for brands seeking an immediate impact, such as traffic and sales for a specific product.

You can also leverage non-exclusivity to gain exposure across more channels. A blogger may not be willing to create a new blog or Instagram post featuring your brand alone, but they may be very willing to include your client as part of a multi-brand post around a specific topic, like the holidays. This can work to your client’s favor as each featured brand shares the content across their own channels, introducing the brand to new, relevant audiences.    

4. Make gifting part of your contract

One of the biggest bottlenecks to gifting actually starts with your client contract. Negotiating the number of pieces and types of product you can send influencers can take more time than you expect. When you need to make an immediate impact or secure a placement quickly, having an allotment of approved, ready-to-gift product can mean the difference between landing some great exposure and losing an opportunity. Incorporating an inventory of product to gift as part of your contract with the client saves you the headache of those last-minute approvals.

5. Experiment with different audiences

One final, overlooked benefit of product seeding is the opportunity to experiment with different demographics and take some risks without the expense that comes with a paid collaboration. Within each gifting campaign, work with your client to select one or two new demographics or geographic markets to test. Be sure to diligently track the results of your test bloggers against influencers within your standard markets to understand where your biggest opportunities lie. The value of knowing your best-performing demographics is one reason we track campaign results by individual influencer, which allows brands to compare the reach, engagement and affiliate revenues of every blogger they engage. Although many agencies successfully track campaign results internally, this is another area where we recommend finding a good tool or platform.

Incorporating an inventory of product to gift as part of your contract with the client saves you the headache of those last-minute approvals.

The time to manually update results week by week, even if done by an intern, can take away from other important tasks, while leaving you open to human error. We track campaign results over three months to account for the natural time it can take between seeing a post and a consumer engaging or purchasing; we recommend making this your benchmark for any tracking service you choose.

Whether your client is launching a new product or looking to boost seasonal sales, product seeding can be a highly effective way to land exposure with an impact. By approaching each campaign strategically and leveraging tools and platforms to help you identify influencers and track your results, you can avoid avoid the time of unnecessary account management and the expense of wasted product, while helping your clients achieve their campaign goals in a way that clearly demonstrates your agency’s value.

To sponsor your own content series on PR Couture, please reach out!

The Verdict on Social Ads, 8 PR Tools to Know & Fashion Criticism Stays

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

…for the week of November 6, 2017

Is Amazon preparing us for the end of the smartphone? (via Fast Company)

Teen Vogue surprises readers by announcing a special guest-editor for the month of December (via The Guardian)

Companies are starting to incorporate wearable technology into their work to ensure employee safety (via Quartz Media)

Does social media advertising really benefit your brand as much as you think it does? (via PR Week)

Learn from the experts on how beauty influencers are changing the space (via Fashionista)

Why criticism will always matter in the fashion industry (via Style Zeitgeist)

Tips on how to keep your creative juices flowing for decades to come (via Quartzy)

Growing an engaging social media audience organically (via Social Media Week)

How important are live fashion shows in this digital age? (via Vogue)

The 8 best PR tools pros swear by (via PR Daily)

4 Beauty Brands Killing it with Video Content

As social platforms continue to evolve the ways they allow for video content creation, all brands are challenged to find ways to consistently develop their own stunning content to entice potential customers, media, and buyers while maintaining the right tone.

Beauty is an incredibly visual industry and rife for inspiration. Whether it’s being approachable and funny, showing useful tutorials, or creating stunning videos in gorgeous settings, the four brands below are sure to get your creative juices flowing.

The Ouai / Jen Atkin’s Celebrity Factor

Follow Celebrity Hairstylist Jen Atkin and her incredibly popular brand The Ouai on Instagram and Snapchat to get a sneak peek into what it takes to run a highly successful beauty brand while also tending to the manes of A-listers like Bella Hadid, Kim Kardashian, Chrissy Teigen, and so many more.

While not all brands have the star power and instant credibility that Atkin brings to her channels (yet!) it doesn’t mean you can’t draw inspiration from her videos. Beauty is an aspirational industry and Atkin does a phenomenal job creating a lifestyle her viewers may covet while still being approachable. You can’t help but feel like you’re watching Snaps sent from your best girlfriend. This balance keeps Jen and The Ouai’s fans coming back for more.

Wanderlust with Lotus Wei

Based on the healing properties of flowers, Lotus Wei’s video content reflects the restorative beauty of their products. Packed full of gorgeous close-ups of (what else) flowers, Lotus Wei keeps their videos very much on brand. Their videos also inspire quite a bit of wanderlust and an aspirational lifestyle with filming taking place in stunning locales such as Iceland, Costa Rica, and Sedona, subtly demonstrating that nature often provides the greatest beauty and healing.

The BECCA Cosmetics Glow

This beloved makeup line makes the most of its broad range of products with easy to follow video tutorials and how-to’s using their latest products. Becca Cosmetics produce quick videos that make it easy for consumers to watch without spending hours in front of the computer – most of the videos are two minutes or less – quick enough to show technique while the instructions in the comments allow fans to replicate the look easily at home.

BECCA also keeps everything in line with their glowy, feminine aesthetic – everything from the soft lighting to the scripted title cards keep the videos totally on brand and entrancing to watch.

Conscious Credo Beauty

San Francisco-based Credo Beauty is a brick and mortar retailer with a strong online presence known for carrying some of coolest natural indie brands – RMS, Ilia, and Tata Harper anyone?

Credo often uses Facebook to create longer video content rich in interviews with brand founders and beauty experts as well as live videos from their in-store events and master classes. Credo calls upon their vast bank of resources (including founders from brands carried on their site and their knowledgeable in-house staff) to create unique content that educates their discerning, ingredients-conscious audience.

Live videos during in-store events lets those who are not in the San Francisco area still feel like they are in on the action and getting the same benefits and knowledge, emphasizing the brand’s inclusive vibe.

The above beauty brands are consistent with content development across multiple channels, leveraging in-house experts, those of partners, and a wide variety of subjects – from DIY to travel – that capture audience attention with a mix of accessibility and aspiration.

3 Types of Brand Celebrity Endorsement Deals (+ Payment Options)

Celebrity Placement Publicity Endorsement Spokesperson

The Celebrity Endorsement Series is written by Billy Bones, founder of Booking Agent Info and Moda Database. This is Part 2. Read Part 1 and 3.

Once you’ve determined that you both want to set up a celebrity brand endorsement deal, and you’ve followed the process to determine which celebrities will add both a brand awareness and sales boost, it’s time to it’s time to determine what type of deal you want to make.

When it comes to celebrity endorsements, there’s really no limit to the ways you can utilize a celebrity spokesperson. Social media campaigns are a popular choice right now, while more traditional advertising campaigns, event ideas or even product development can work great as well. Like all marketing initiatives, how you choose to incorporate a celebrity into business efforts depends on the brand, product, desired message and of course, budget.

No matter how you roll out the campaign, the kinds of deals you can make with celebrities generally fall in one of the following categories:

1. One-Off Celebrity Deals

A one-off endorsement deal means the celebrity is only expected to wear or use your brand’s product for one event. This can be at an event, a public appearance, or even just in a post on their social media account. One-off deals are much more common with celebrities than you’d think – while athletes, for example, are typically locked into multi-year deals with a particular brand, celebrities aren’t usually expected to make the same commitment.

If your brand is just getting off the ground, one-off deals can be extremely valuable: first and foremost, they’re much more cost-effective. Celebrities can fade from popularity pretty quickly, so brands don’t want to worry about having to pay someone who might not be able to consistently generate a certain amount of attention for the brand in the long-term.

2. Unofficial Deals (aka Celebrity Placements)

In some cases, rather than formally hiring a celebrity to endorse their products, brands will simply send free product to a bunch of different celebrities, often relying on a PR agencies with celebrity contacts to perform the outreach.

For some brands, gifting celebrities is worth the cost of giving away some of their product for free. Without an official deal in place, brands can reach out to a wide variety of celebrities in the hopes of reaching new audiences. Unofficial deals can be a good option to get a brand out there without having to fork over the money for an official endorsement deal. But, since the celebrity isn’t being paid, there is no guarantee that they’ll actually promote your product, and it’s up to you to troll a celebrity’s media activity to see if you can spot the brands piece.

3. Long-Term Celebrity Deals

Long-term deals are less common, but there are some cases where brands recognize a celebrity’s staying power and are willing to commit to them long-term. For example, Sofia Vergara has a long-term endorsement deal with Procter & Gamble, the makers of the Head & Shoulders shampoo. Neil Patrick Harris has been a celebrity endorser for Heineken since 2013. Because it can be difficult to predict which celebrities have staying power and which ones might fade in the near future, most brands tend to stay away from long-term deals. But if you think you’ve identified the perfect celebrity endorser and you’re certain they’re not going anywhere for a long time, it might be worth a shot; the celebrity’s endorsement gets more powerful the longer they stay with a brand.

Unofficial deals can be a good option to get a brand out there without having to fork over the money for an official endorsement deal.

Now, when it comes to payment, there are plenty of different kinds of deals that can be made, but the most common is a simple pay-per-action deal where you pay the celebrity a set amount for them to do a certain amount of work. If you don’t have a lot of cash available for this kind of deal, don’t worry – there are a few more options.

1. Offer the Celebrity Equity

Offering a celebrity an equity stake in your brand is a great alternative that costs less up front and works best when the conditions are absolutely right; for example, you need to be sure that the celebrity is committed to maintaining their support of your brand over the long haul and won’t just stop pushing your product after a while.

Equity deals also carry some risk – it’s not unheard of for brands to offer equity to a celebrity, only to have that celebrity fade from the public eye but continue to take a cut of the company’s profits long after their value as an endorser is gone. Equity deals require a lot of careful planning (and a little bit of luck), but if the stars align, equity can be a great way to secure a long-term celebrity endorsement.

2. Provide the Celebrity with a Revenue Share

Revenue sharing is another good way to secure a celebrity endorsement without putting down more money up-front than you can afford. Revenue sharing means partnering with a celebrity who will represent your brand in the public eye; in return, the celebrity will receive a percentage of your sales. Unlike equity, however, the celebrity doesn’t take an ownership stake in your brand.

The celebrity’s endorsement gets more powerful the longer they stay with a brand.

While revenue sharing does cost you less up front, it isn’t free – most celebrities will still often want some sort of up-front payment for their work. But if you have enough money to cover that initial cost, revenue sharing can be a good (and creative) way to secure a celebrity endorsement without going over budget.

3. Offer the celebrity ongoing free product

All these options are great, but what if you don’t have enough money to cover a standard pay-per-action deal, you don’t want to give up any equity in your company, and the celebrity won’t agree to any revenue sharing deal without an up-front fee (which you can’t afford)? In that case, you can always turn to the one thing you have plenty of: your product.

Offering merchandise is a good (and cheaper) way to get your brand’s name out there. You could, for example, offer to send a quarterly gifting box filled with your new season’s collection. As mentioned, many brands will send free merchandise to celebrities in the hopes that the celebrity will be seen using the product and tag/promote it on social media.

Haven’t read Part 1 of this series yet? Read “The 5-Step Checklist for Choosing the Right Celebrity for a Brand” now.

About Billy

Billy Bones is the founder of Booking Agent Info and Moda Database. Moda Database is a celebrity stylist contact list that provides businesses with the contact information for celebrity stylists, and their celebrity clients. Booking Agent Info provides you with the contact information for the official agents, managers, and publicists of celebrities.

3 Reasons to Support Employee Side Hustles

employee benefits, PR life, agency life, working at an agency, side-hustle

Written by Erin Bury, Toronto PR & creative agency Eighty-Eight.

I started my career at a mid-sized PR agency, and I loved my job. Which was a good thing, because if I wanted to pursue a passion project on the side, I was out of luck. Our employment contract clearly stated that we couldn’t do any paid work outside of our day job – regardless of whether that was selling old baseball cards on eBay or waiting tables on weekends. After I moved into the world of startups, it seemed like you were the minority if you weren’t burning the midnight oil on a project. Most startups celebrate side projects, whether it’s freelance coding projects or working on getting a new company off the ground. Not only are they accepted, it’s common to see startup team members helping each other with their side hustles – while still killing it at their day jobs.

When I got the idea to launch my own side hustle – with no intention of leaving my day job running an agency – I realized they’re still taboo in agencies. I hesitated to tell my team, but after I did I found that at least four other people in the office have side hustles, ranging from an event planning company to freelance design work to a literary magazine. I started openly supporting side hustles at my agency Eighty-Eight, and here’s why you should support them at yours:

1. Side-Hustles provide a creative outlet outside the confines of client work

If you’re at an agency you know the rollercoaster of client work – my fiancé says he’s never seen someone go from the best day of their life to the worst day of their life so often, and so quickly.

The nature of client work means that your team members’ creative ideas don’t always see the light of day, which means they need somewhere else to see their ideas come to life without six rounds of revisions. And the nature of agency employees is that they are inherently creative people who want to produce creative product, whether that’s code, designs, art, or writing. Giving your employees the freedom to create via a side hustle means they can move their creative outlet from a hobby to a side business, and scratch their creative itch while they’re at it. As a result, you may find a boost in general employee satisfaction as well as reap the benefits of all that trial and error taking place off the clock.

I found that at least four other people in the office have side hustles, ranging from an event planning company to freelance design work to a literary magazine.

2. Side hustles require effective time management

As the saying goes, “If you want something done, give it to a busy person.” Most people I speak with about side hustles fear that by allowing team members to have side hustles, they’re giving them a license to work on it during work hours, or to slack on their day job. I’ve found the opposite – that having a side hustle teaches you to prioritize, manage your time effectively, and work more efficiently. If you hire smart people and treat them like adults, they may answer a side hustle-related email during work hours – but I would argue your other team members are wasting time on Instagram or Facebook every day anyway. Trust your team members to prioritize and balance both.

3. Side hustles teach the ins and outs of running a business

Every agency owner knows the stress of trying to attract and retain great team members, make sure there’s enough money in the bank to meet payroll (and still have some profit left over), and to make sure there’s enough new business leads in the pipeline while also doing great work for clients. Most agency employees never have to deal with those stresses, but launching a side hustle can expose them to the realities of running business firsthand. Whether it’s an Etsy store or a consulting gig, launching a side hustle helps people understand the challenges of launching a business. It means they might understand a bit more about how you run your company – and help next time you have to turn down a request for a company retreat in Iceland.

Agencies are full of creative, entrepreneurial people who need an outlet to produce outside the confines of client work. They’re often just as entrepreneurial as startups – or at least they can be. So why not lead the charge and support side hustles within your ranks? Your inner entrepreneur will thank you.

About the Author

Erin Bury is the Managing Director at Toronto PR & creative agency Eighty-Eight. She has a side hustle (a bicycle wine tour company in Prince Edward County), and recently launched Agency Side Hustle to encourage other agency owners to support their team members’ side hustles.

Teen Vogue Goes Digital Only, D&G on Millennial’s & Marketing Lessons from 2017

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

…for the week of October 30, 2017

Print copies of Teen Vogue are to be no more. Any guesses where Elaine Welteroth will pop up next? (via WWD)

Looking for ways to do a bit of employee bonding without breaking the bank? ACPR has a few ideas (via ACPR)

Maria Grazia Chiuri, Dior’s Artistic Director, is making her mark  (via Glamour)

Influencer talent management company Style Coalition has been acquired by Launchmetrics (via Bof)

Why Dolce & Gabbana is calling millennials “The New Renaissance” (via Fashionista)

Economy 3.0 – the new buzzword for 2018? (via NY Post)

Are you on top of plans for engaging, earned brand content? Download this free strategy guide (via Olapic)

What did we learn about marketing in 2017? (via Brandwatch)

Insight into Williamson PR’s latest project (via NYT)

What exactly do you get when you hire a PR grad? (via PR Week)

PR Toolbox: How to Use Buzzstream + for Better Pitch Results

PR Outreach Publicity Guest Articles Blogging

Written by Josh Stanton, co-founder of

Let’s be honest, most email pitches get sent to the trash.

There I said it!

We all know it’s true and yet most of us still continue to send out the same old boring template email, hoping to get some kind of fast and favorable outcome in return.

Combine that with the fact that according to this study done by Smart Insights, the average open rate of emails is now down to less than 25%.

This means only 1 in 4 emails you send out in hopes of securing publicity will be opened and the other 3 will be wiped from the prospects inbox, never to be seen again.

It’s time to do something different.

It’s time to stand out.

It’s time to be more human in a world starved of connection.

I’m going to show you how we are seeing great results to using two incredibly powerful tools seeking to transform the way agencies and individuals reach out to secure media coverage and contributed content opportunities; Buzzstream and

I’ll walk you through the exact process we use to achieve our goals of securing guest articles on relevant online sites, which can be used for everything from contributed content campaigns to Holiday gift guide outreach.

Here’s how it works.

Tool #1: Buzzstream

For the record I have no affiliation with Buzzstream, I just really like their tool and I’m happy recommending it to others.

If you’re like me, you probably know how overwhelming it is to manage relationships via email.

Buzzstream solves this by doing 3 things:

  1. It helps you find the RIGHT prospects to contact.
  2. You can easily keep track of every conversation you have with said prospects.
  3. You can share all information amongst your team, so it’s not just you building and maintaining relationships.

It even finds contact information for you when adding websites into your projects.

Now granted, it doesn’t do the best job of acquiring contact information and so to fix this problem, we can use tool #2…

Tool #2:

Like I said, making sure you have the RIGHT contact information when getting in touch with a prospect is vital. allows you to find even more email addresses just by typing in the website address and running a quick search.

For example, let’s say you wanted to land a publication like, who according to receive close to 1 million website visits a month.

Sure you could go to their contact page, but it’s pretty limited in terms of who you can get in touch with as you can see here –

Or you could run a search on and grab the email and phone details of 5 verified contacts, including their managing editor!

From here, simply add these contacts to the prospects’ site record inside of Buzzstream before reaching out to start a relationship.

Here’s how the process works:

Step #1: Create a Buzzstream Account

Plans start from $24/month for the starter option, right up to $999/month for large teams. Pick one and get your account up and running.

Step #2: Create 3 Projects

Start by selecting “New project” under the dropdown, or if this is your first project you should see a big button in the center of the page to start your first project.

Create 3 projects – which are basically the steps to your process, and a replacement for the traditional media tracking spreadsheet. Here’s how we name them:

#1: Outreach

This is the first stage of the outreach process and it’s where we initially add in the contact information of key media for a campaign.

#2: Warm Up

Once you get a response from your pitch, move the prospect into this project.

#3: Successful

When you get a desired outcome, move the prospect into this project. A successful outcome could be media coverage, or securing a guest contribution on their blog (like our team did with PR Couture, resulting in this article you’re reading right now).

Step #3: Add Your Prospects to The Outreach Project

Now it’s time to locate and add in new prospects that you don’t currently have in your media database. The easiest way is to start by installing the free Buzzmarker Google Chrome Extension.

From there, choose 5-10 top online publications you would like to start a relationship with for your client or your own business.

The next steps look like this:

  1. Go to their website and click on the Buzzmarker that should now appear in the top right hand corner of the Google Chrome browser. Notice that a side bar should appear on the right hand side. 
  2. Fill in any information, including tags to help you find and manage this site in the future.
  3. Run a search on and add in the contacts and email addresses of those who are a fit for your pitch.   
  4. Lastly add in any notes, give them a rating (could be if they are priority media for a particular campaign, or potentials for an exclusive) and select the stage you’re at as far as your relationship with the editor at this stageg.
  5. Click save and add in 5-1o more prospects before moving onto the next step.

Step #4: Initial Outreach

This is where 90% of people fail because they go in for the kill without firstly striking up a conversation.

There are 3 factors that determine a successful initial outreach email:

  1. The subject line
  2. Email length
  3. Responsible difficulty

Let’s start with the subject line.

Subject Lines That Don’t Work

Stay away from any subject line that sounds like you are wanting something from them.

For example: “Podcast Guest”

We have a podcast for our business coaching site,, and we receive requests all the time from influencers wanting free exposure by landing an interview.

The last one I received has the subject line above and immediately I knew the person wanted something from me, which personally rubbed me the wrong way.

Instead do this…

Subject Lines That Work

There are 2 types of subject lines that work when reaching out to a cold prospect:

  1. Those that are different and interesting.
  2. Those that sound like you are GIVING them something.

For example, we knew that PR Couture did take guest contributions on their site, however we also assumed they receive a lot of requests every week and so we had to stand out if we were to land an article.

So we decided to use this subject line: “Is this still a thing?”

I’m sure Crosby, who replied to our email, rarely sees that subject line. The fact it was different made it stand out in her inbox, increasing the chances of her actually opening it.

P.S. you guys have been an absolute pleasure to worth with 🙂

Be different, interesting or make it sound like you’re giving them something and not the other way around.

Email Length

Keep it short! No one likes it when they open an email and the first thing they see are 1000 words in front of them!

The magic number is 50 words or less.

Here’s the email we sent to PR Couture:

Response Difficulty

This part is KEY!

Put yourself in the shoes of the prospect who, after reading your email is now faced with 2 options:

  1. Trash the email.
  2. Send a reply.

Anyone faced with those options will ask themselves this ONE question whether it be consciously or unconsciously; “how much time will it take me to reply to this email?”

If the answer is “a long time,” then your response rate will be low.

If the answer is “less than 2 minutes,” then you will likely see better results.

Yes Framing

To make it simple, try to think of a question that most of the time will result in a simple “yes”. This is called “yes framing” and is used a lot in sales and marketing. The premise of this concept is that if you can secure three “yes” answers in a row, then the prospect will be more likely to say yes when you ask for the sale.

Even if you get a yes answer in the first reply, try asking another question or two that will also result in a yes response. The more “yes” you get, the more likely you’ll be to secure publicity on your targets’ platforms.

And yes, I literally said “yes” 12 times in the last 2 minutes!

Sending Emails in Buzzstream

One of the great things about Buzzstream is the ability to generate templates and quickly send out emails.

Once you have your 5-10 prospects in your project, select them all and click on Outreach>>Send Individually.

From there you can create one or more templates to use to send out to your prospects.

The final step is simple. For the template you just created, click on Start Outreach before going through and sending out emails to all of your prospects.

Step #5: The Warm Up

Once you get a response, Buzzstream will let you know so you can jump into your account and follow up with each of your prospects.

The first step is to move any that have replied favorably to your initial email into the second project you created, #2: Warm Up.

From there, your jobs is to do 2 things:

  1. Follow up with any prospects who didn’t respond within 72 hours.
  2. Reply to any prospects in your warm up project.

If a prospect says yes to your pitch, then you can move them directly into the third project, #3: Successful.

If not, send an email using the yes framing technique we talked about earlier.

Only move a prospect to the final project if you have secured some kind of opportunity for exposure.

Step #6: Rinse and Repeat

The last step is to review the responses you received, find 5-10 new prospects and start the process all over again.

My final tip is to test out new emails and track the number of responses you receive. As you test this strategy out more and more, eventually you will find a shortlist of email templates that offer the best results.

Or maybe you could tell you jumped in too early when it came to the ask and so the next time try using yes framing to strengthen the relationship before asking for what you really want.

Happy hunting!

About Josh

Josh Stanton is the co-founder of Along with his wife Jill’s, Josh helps nsatisfied 9-to-5’ers hit the eject button on their day job and start a business online. He’s got an unhealthy obsession with pugs, a serious love for travel and can be found lurking inside the free Screw the Nine to Five Community on Facebook!

PR Mavens We Love: Karine Delage, Founder, Karyzma Agency

Some kids from a young age simply have a calling. For Karine, it was a passion to communicate.

It first became evident in Montreal when Karine was only 8 years old. She started writing and reporting for the school paper and gained notoriety as the youngest journalist in Quebec. Karine was hooked. From that day on, she immersed herself in everything entertainment. She wrote for 7 Jours magazine, developed a devoted following and by the time she was 13 years old, Karine was actively being sent out to cover important events such as the Grammys, the MTV Music Awards, the Billboard Music Awards – even Woodstock!

These days, armed with a degree in both in Public Affairs and History and experience working at Canada’s top PR agency, Karine opened her own shop.

This year, she named a 2017 Top 40 Under 40 award, and is celebrating her firm’s 5th anniversary with Karyzma, a new digital series coming out this spring that takes viewers behind the scenes into her PR world.

Name: Karine Delage
Title: Founder
Location: Toronto, Canada
Education: Concordia University, double major in Public Affairs & History
Company: Karyzma Agency
Twitter: @KaryzmaAgency
Facebook: @karyzmaagency

Tell us a little bit about Karyzma

Karyzma Agency is a full service, multilingual public relations agency. Everyday I have the privilege of working with A-list talents, artists and renowned brands across many categories including fashion, lifestyle, media and technology. 

Whether I am working as a PR specialist, a publicist, a project manager, or an event planner, my priority is to always help my clients accomplish great things and build their brands. 

Share a quick peek into a day in your life

I get up, check email, social media accounts and press reader. The day includes a mix of going to meetings, sending press releases. I go to the gym each and every day, working out is a must to keep myself motivated and focused daily.

What are you currently working on?

Right now we are working on Karl Wolf’s new EP (coming out on November 10th), Neon Dreams’ new album (just released on September 22nd), Grey Cup (Canadian Super Bowl) Gifting Suite, and the pilot for a show about Karyzma Agency.


I wish that people understood how hard we work to get the coverage and plan things for our clients. We don’t just hide behind a computer during the day and then party all night.


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

During Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in September, we hosted seven events in eight days, the most events we’ve ever had in such a short amount of time. On top of that, we had to plan for the release of an album and a client that was on tour. Plus five of our talents were in town, including one attending the festival for the first time in support of her first major lead role in a blockbuster movie.

Handling all the moving pieces and ensuring everything was managed successfully was a huge win for me.


What is the most memorable moment in your career thus far?

I think working with Will Smith 5 years ago was really memorable because it was the first time ever that I’d worked with a talent on that level. It really helped push me further on my path to success.

What is the most glamorous moment in your career thus far?

I have several because of what I do. Each and every glamorous moment would be different, I would either receive tons of media coverage or I would walk down the red carpet with a talent. It doesn’t have to be an A-lister, but getting a brand or artist coverage on a major platform would do it for me.


What can you tell us about your new series

The show came about because there is a lack of knowledge of the PR world in Canada and I wanted to change that.

You’ll see me help keep our talent on schedule and on message, as well as work with my mentor and client, Laura Miller of Inspired Soap Works – who helps keep me grounded! My best friend Dru Grange will also make an appearance and we support one another through her musical comeback and my crazy schedule and personal challenges.

PR can be stressful and full of rejection – how do you handle to the pressure?

Honestly I used to train at the gym, but two years ago I decided to get back into it and it’s been helping me focus better and reduce my stress. I lost 40 pounds by eating better and training.

What are three current favorite tools, apps or products that you love and why?

Instagram, Press Reader, and Google apps (on the business end). I do also need to mention Starbucks, because I couldn’t survive a day without a Grande Americano with sugar-free Dolce aka my little pick me up!

What do you wish more people understood about your job?

I wish that people understood how hard we work to get the coverage and plan things for our clients. We don’t just hide behind a computer during the day and then party all night. There is so much more to our work and that’s why we are working on a behind the scenes of the agency to show the Canadian public.

Whether I am working as a PR specialist, a publicist, a project manager, or an event planner, my priority is to always help my clients accomplish great things and build their brands. 

What are you excited about right now in terms of industry trends?

I’m excited to see how the PR world is evolving and it’s getting so diverse with social media. There is so much more that can be done and new levels to be reached.

What’s the biggest challenge facing lifestyle communicators right now?

It’s getting harder to get coverage with all of the cuts in the media world. We just need to be more creative.

What advice do you have for your younger self?

Follow you dreams and your passions. Yes, you will make tons of mistakes but they will help you grow stronger and understand yourself better. To be honest, I would never change anything about my past, because you need to learn from your mistakes and I strongly believe that it’s the best way to learn.

Anything else we should know?

We are always looking for interns and I will be doing more speaking gigs in 2018.

Thanks Karine!

5-Step Checklist to Choose the Right Celebrity for Brand Endorsement

The Celebrity Endorsement Series is written by Billy Bones, founder of Booking Agent Info and Moda Database. This is Part 1. Read Part 2 and 3.

Working with a celebrity on an endorsement campaign is a huge step towards increasing brand recognition, allowing a brand to reach new consumers through an influential connection to someone who already captivates their attention. With the right celebrity, you’ll able to target those specific audiences most likely to listen to the celebrity’s recommendation and act on it.

If you’re ready to set up a celebrity endorsement deal but aren’t sure where to start, keep reading – you’ll find everything you need.

Firstly, having a celebrity endorse your product is valuable, but it’s not nearly as valuable as picking the right celebrity. Your ideal celebrity endorser might be the biggest name you can think of, but that isn’t always the case. Depending on your brand and your product, the right celebrity with a smaller audience can yield better returns than an A-lister who isn’t a good fit.

The questions is, how do you know if a certain celebrity is a good fit for your brand?

1. Look At Their Endorsement History

By researching a celebrity’s endorsement history, you’ll get a better idea of how they’ll be by your audience as a spokesperson. On top of that, it’ll help you figure out whether or not your brand will be well-received by their audience.

Look at the brands and products the celebrity has endorsed in the past. Ideally, it’s best to find someone who’s endorsed brands or products that are similar to yours – or even someone who has endorsed your competitors before.

2. Identify Their Interests

This is another crucial element of a successful endorsement deal: making sure your brand shares the interests of your celebrity endorser. Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What is this celebrity interested in or passionate about?
  2. Does my brand share their interests or passions?
  3. If not, does my brand address the celebrity’s interests or passions?

Asking these questions gives you two potential ways to approach the celebrity and the future campaign. Either you can leverage your brans’s shared interest with the celebrity or influencer to add authenticity to the campaign, or the celebrity can play on the fact that your product addresses their passions as a way of demonstrating its value to the average consumer.

Firstly, having a celebrity endorse your product is valuable, but it’s not nearly as valuable as picking the right celebrity.

3. Make Sure Their Audience is Right For You

It’s important to consider whether or not a celebrity’s existing audience overlaps with your target demographic. For example, if your brand specializes in cosmetics, someone like Vin Diesel isn’t likely to help you connect with the kinds of consumers you’re looking for. In addition, you also have to consider whether or not their audience is sufficient to make a big enough impact on your revenues to justify the cost of the endorsement.

4. Consider Their Audience Engagement

If you’re thinking of running a social media-based endorsement campaign, this one is crucial. No matter what network you use, a celebrity endorsement can be almost worthless if they don’t have a strong enough following.

That said, it’s not just a matter of finding the celebrity with the biggest audience. You should also make sure you pick a celebrity with a strong engagement rate (that is, comments or likes) on their posts.

For example, if a celebrity has 5 million followers but only receives 5,000 likes or comments per post or video, their engagement rate is 0.1% – not great. Ideally, you want to identity potential endorses who have an engagement rate of 0.5% or better. The more people engage on your endorser’s average posts, the more likely it is that they feel a connection to your endorser, and the more likely it is that they’ll listen to your endorser’s recommendations.

5. Look For Shared Causes or Charities

If your brand has a cause or philanthropy that it supports, see if there are any celebrities who support the same causes. A big part of ensuring a perfect fit for your campaign is looking at the celebrity’s overall public brand, not just their endorsement history. On top of that, a celebrity who supports the same causes as your brand means their endorsement will have an even greater impact – their audience will recognize their endorsement as authentic, and they’ll be more likely to try your brand for themselves.

Once you’ve identified the right celebrity for your campaign, the next thing to do is decide on the specific type of endorsement, which we will cover in part 2 of the series.

About Billy

Billy Bones is the founder of Booking Agent Info and Moda Database. Moda Database is a celebrity stylist contact list that provides businesses with the contact information for celebrity stylists, and their celebrity clients. Booking Agent Info provides you with the contact information for the official agents, managers, and publicists of celebrities.