This is the biggest reason we leave our jobs (and one way to fix it)

communication awards, bias

Like many of you, I have had some great PR jobs, and some really terrible ones. Looking back, the career opportunities that drove me to perform at my best, demonstrate incredible loyalty to a company (like, willing to work for less even, just because I loved it so much) and become an advocate for that company (name-dropping on panels, helping to recruit new talent) all come down to two things: the quality of the leadership and opportunities for recognition.

My experience is consistent with the research. The Aon Hewitt, 2012 Trends in Global Employee Engagement study found that career opportunities, recognition, and organization reputation are consistently top engagement drivers. A Gallup poll conducted in 2016 found that it’s not uncommon for employees to feel that their best efforts are routinely ignored. And that experience increases turnover. Employees who do not feel adequately recognized are twice as likely to say they’ll quit in the next year.

Just like the marketing adage that its easier to keep a customer than go out and get a new one, it’s is often much better for business to keep a great employee than to have to scramble to fill an unexpected opening. Constantly hiring replacements is costly and keeps us all from being able to focus and complete the work in front of us. And yet the Aberdeen Group found that only 14% of organizations provide managers with the necessary tools for rewards and recognition.

So let me make it easy on you.

Recognition can happen through small, yet meaningful acts – giving credit where credit is due in a meeting, a Zappos gift card as thanks for a particularly harrowing networking event (I still smile when I think of that one), a hand-written thank you note. But those small acts are also a bit small time;  a bigger means to truly celebrate your team, one with lifetime career value, is through industry awards.

As BCA Judge Dara Elliott put it so eloquently, “We work so hard dreaming up incredible campaigns and bringing them to life. Oftentimes we’re moving so fast, we forget to step back and appreciate not only what we’ve built, but how far we’ve come as an industry!”

46% of senior managers view recognition programs as an investment rather than an expense, and we agree. But we also know a good deal when we see one.

I’d love for PR Couture to be a part of how you differentiate yourself from the rest, attract bigger and better opportunities and ensure long-term loyalty from employees and partners.

To celebrate the incredible minds that are part of your organization, consider applying for one of the following awards:

  • Agency of the Year or Startup Agency of the Year
  • Best Digital/Social Team
  • Work/Life/Balance/Culture
  • The Bloom Award – Top Communicator of the Year
  • The Blush Award – Emerging Communicator of the Year

Come check out the BCAs now!

Celebrate PR Couture’s 10-year anniversary (all Year Long)

Hello my lovely PR Couture reader,

I'm not sure if you noticed, but this week we went dark on the blog for the first time in TEN YEARS. As in, no posts published, at all.

While the decision was necessary for the team to gear up for some BIG announcements coming your way in the next few weeks, it gave me one of those "holy shit" moments.

As in, holy shit: I have been publishing articles on PR Couture, often five days a week, for TEN YEARS.

In December 2006 I spent a weekend teaching myself the basics of WordPress, enlisted a friend to help with a logo and published my first blog post.

It used to be that most of you knew our origin story. It used to be that my own name was synonymous with PR Couture.

That's changed.

So, please indulge me a bit as I take this opportunity to quickly share a bit about where we've been, where we are, and where we are headed.


PR Couture 2006-2016

I discovered public relations in graduate school and was immediately drawn to the intersection of business strategy, writing and creativity required. After combining this newfound discovery with a copywriting job that had quickly turned into running a PR and marketing department (along with a lifelong love of clothing and fashion), I wrote the very first academic thesis on the subject of fashion public relations.

After graduating, I started PR Couture as a means to both share what I had learned and as a platform to learn more.

Back then, fashion blogging was just getting started, most PR agencies had nothing more than a phone number on a splash page (if you were lucky). There was no Instagram (gasp!), there wasn't even Twitter. The whole Girl Boss/Boss Babe/Digital Entrepreneur "build your brand online" thing was years away.

As that all changed, my own career grew alongside PR Couture for years in a sort of symbiosis. PR Couture became the oh so necessary creative outlet for a girl who hadn't quite figured out that she was a Boss at heart.


PR Couture became the oh so necessary creative outlet for a girl who hadn't quite figured out that she was a Boss at heart.

Celebrating 10 years PR Couture

In 2013, PR Couture + consulting became my full-time gig. In 2016 I launched our most comprehensive redesign to-date, added two amazing women to help me out, taught two sections of JMS-0496 Fashion Public Relations at San Diego State University, one Fashion PR Confidential workshop in NYC and two live PRISM courses online (surrounded by palm trees in my San Diego backyard - heaven!). Oh, and had a baby. It was kind of a big year.

My goal has always been for PR Couture to be a shared platform and brand that facilitates community and a sense belonging that can be sorely lacking in our industry. I am proud that we focus on subjects relevant to those of us just starting out in the industry, like our Getting IN series, as well as those of us with several years of experience, like our PR Girls We Love series.

Today, PR Couture has evolved from a blog into your go-to industry sourcebook, and we are just getting started.

Before we head into a year's worth of anniversary celebrations, however, I invite you to join me in not simply reflecting on the evolution above, but on your own growth in the last decade. It's been amazing to participate alongside you as digital communications has altered our industry so significantly. How lucky we are to live in a time where incredible connections can be facilitated with the swipe of a finger, where an idea and an online presence can be the start of something huge.

I've been re-watching a lot of Parks & Rec lately. In addition to wishing Leslie Knope was my best friend (or business partner!), one quote from the show sticks out:

None of us achieves anything alone.

So thank you.

You keep me inspired, motivated and you help me to support my family. That is some serious stuff, kitten. More than myself however, you have indirectly helped your fellow readers find dream jobs, connected agencies with clients who are perfect for one another, helped women launch freelance careers, and so many others experience life-changing moments, friendships and opportunities.

Yup, you did that.

So thank you, thank you for being a part of my team.





PS: If you have a PR Couture-related memory I'd love to hear it! Email me using the envelope link in my bio below, or share on social media with the hashtag PRCx10


A 5-Step Pre-Press Checklist for Designers to Maximize Media Coverage

Written by Brittany Sierra

We often think of publicity as the goal; forgetting that while gaining press attention can support brand growth, improve organic search results and generate sales, there’s a lot brands can do to optimize their efforts in order to properly prepare for what happens after your product is featured. After all, eyes, clicks and follows are headed your way, it’s important to take advantage of that momentum.

Consider creating a pre-press checklist, to ensure that all relevant departments are on call to mobilize when actively reaching out to media. Here are 5 things that should absolutely be part of this process.

1. Have plenty of inventory for key pieces

A common struggle with newer brands that can totally kill PR efforts is not being able to keep up with the demand generated by a press hit. If you are lucky enough to have your product featured in a major publication or website, make sure you are able to deliver on orders. Address this potential issue before landing press so that fulfillment isn’t an issue.

2. Audit Your Social Media Accounts

Social media is a major influence when it comes to buying decisions. Before you start press outreach, make sure that each of your social platforms reflects the current brand direction. Don’t be afraid to delete pictures and posts that no longer represent your brand. Remember, followers want to see your products and get an inside look at your business. Always ask yourself, “will my audience find this interesting, useful or helpful?” before you post.

Once that press hit comes in, make sure to promote it across all your channels, properly tagging the publication and writer in your copy. Editors appreciate this small act of gratitude as it helps to get their work in front of more people.

3. Make it easy to shop for editor favorites

The attention from being highlighted in a press piece can drive a significant amount of traffic to a brand website. As such, you want to ensure that there is continuity from the media coverage to the site. For example, if you know that Vogue is about to feature your white denim in their December issue, make sure those jeans are front and center on the homepage. You want to make sure that when people visit your site, it looks good and that you’ve made it easy for potential customers to buy. Some ways to ensure that your website is prepped and ready are:

In addition to making it easy for people to purchase the products they are looking for, make sure to do the following:

4. Create an about page you’re proud of…

Emerging brands often think that shoppable pages are most important and neglect building out an about page that truly explains the brand vision and story. However, the about page is often the most viewed page on a website. Prospective customers want to know more about a brand (values, personality, key players) before they make a purchase. A strong about page builds credibility and trust.

Once that press hit comes in, make sure to promote it across all your channels, properly tagging the publication and writer in your copy. Editors appreciate this small act of gratitude as it helps to get their work in front of more people.

While you are making these updates, do a quick review of your entire site. Check for broken links or outdated information. Here are some additional ways you can prep your site to consistently turn website traffic into sales.

5. Capture site visitors

Not everyone who visits your website from a press hit is going to buy immediately. It doesn’t mean your press efforts are worthless. Instead of focusing on immediate sales, focus on acquiring that customer through your email list. Entice new site visitors to subscribe through a first-time buyer discount code, exclusive access to new collections, free shipping or gift with purchase.

Getting published in a major publication or online platform is amazing, but media and press attention is only half the battle. The other half is taking advantage of that placement and extending its value in as many different ways as you can.

About Brittany
Brittany Sierra is Founder of Laptops & Smalltalk, a Portland-based boutique agency and online platform that bridges the gap between business and emerging fashion through brand development, business consulting, PR and Marketing.

Lifestyle Account Coordinator

Position: Account Coordinator
Company: The Communications Store
Location: New York City
Learn more

21 FREE Stock Image Resources for Social Media & Content Marketing

These days, PR and marketing professionals need an arsenal of images to pull from in order to keep pace online. Having the right images to align with a brand’s digital storytelling is not just about making something look pretty to garner a few extra likes, the right images can help to drive conversions and keep companies top of mind.

According to a study by Jeff Bullas,

  • Articles with images get 94% more total views
  • We can expect 45% increase in press release views when a related image is included
  • Facebook ads with images have a 37% higher engagement rate than text ads

Due to the turn-around time, resources needed and cost of doing in-house photography, many brands (and agencies) turn toward stock photography – but the cost for those images – particularly for a commercial license – can easily take up the entire marketing budget.

As an alternative, bookmark the following royalty free image sites and begin to build out a library of images to keep on hand. You may have to do a bit of sleuthing to find images that work, but the time spent rarely equates to the cost of an equivalent image on a paid site.

Royalty Free Images for Instagram & Beyond

A photo and inspiration haven for creators who are crushing their path. 100% free images, use them anywhere you like.

Over 700,000 free stock images, illustrations and vectors.

Free high resolution images you can use for all your projects. Categories: animals, objects, people, nature etc.

Over 400,000 free images and illustrations.

Free do whatever you want, high resolution photos.

A curated collection of free web design resources for all commercial use.

Free stock images in your inbox.

Download free images, illustrations for websites, ebooks, pages etc.

Over 350,000 free images for commercial use.

Free unrestricted stock images and vectors.

Good photos, totally free.

335 Million free stock photos.

Stock images and illustrations at your fingertips. 

Graphic Icons for Content Marketing and Beyond


Icons neatly categorized for ease of use.

267,400 vector icons grouped in 4,597 packs.

Multitude of icons at your fingertips.

411 carefully premium pictograms by Daniel Bruce.

150,000 free icons, access anytime.

Premium icons for free.

Search thru featured collection for your next advertorial.

Discover 3523+ free simple icons on 254 collections.

Please enjoy the list!

About the Author:

Vishal Kalia is Founder/CEO at Rogueline is platform for Fashion Designers to learn about marketing, product, ecommerce, customer acquisition, fund raising etc. He graduated with BS EEE & MBA and has been in marketing and product development for 14 + years.


Google Hangouts is Slacking, Our Favorite New Instagram Account & Social Tools You Need to Know

Fashion PR Marketing News

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

…for the week of March 6, 2017

  • Quick poll your friends: Snapchat is over, right? (Owen Williams via Linkedin)

Multiple Openings

Position: Multiple
Company: Elle Communications
Location: LA/NYC
Learn more

5 Life-Changing Career Lessons learned During My First Year in PR

Written by Tessa Bonnstetter

Let me start off by saying: I had no idea I’d end up in PR. Like many of us, I grew up fantasizing about being a magazine editor. I knew I needed a creative career where I could express my unique viewpoint and assumed that meant I was made for the world of editorial spreads and “must-have-for-Fall” pages.

And I was. But in a different way.

I have come to understand that publicists are strategic storytellers. We work closely with brands to communicate their message, or sometimes create that message.

And now, here I am: a year-and-a-half in. In reflection of my time so far at a boutique beauty, health and fashion firm in NYC—behold: a list of my most valuable {work-related + personal} lessons.

1. No idea is a dumb idea

I have found that almost every time I hold my tongue in a meeting, someone says what I’m thinking shortly thereafter, and it’s perceived as a great idea. Whether you’re in a room of creative minds during a brainstorming session, or it’s the final thought that crosses your mind before bed, speak up or write it down. Maybe your idea isn’t the “one”, but it could be a stepping stone to something incredible that is about to happen. My tip is to make sure you can articulate how the idea contributes to the task at hand. Don’t worry if you don’t see eye-to-eye on every strategy; having differing opinions is how cohesive, well-thought-out ideas are realized. Trust your gut and believe your ideas are worthy.

2. Your team is everything

Not every agency or work environment is the same. I am a firm believer that you are who you surround yourself with, and in public relations, the first step to great work is a great team. You should feel inspired each day, and know that no matter what, your colleagues are rooting for you and who are always willing to see your point of view. Those who stunt your dreams, stunt your growth!

For me, it’s been important to know my own value while being open to feedback. I developed an open dialogue with my boss from the start which means that should there be any friction or miscommunication with clients I have someone reliable to talk with.

3. You don’t need to know everything right away

When you’re just getting started in public relations, the pace of everything can be stressful as you aim to keep up with the ideas that are flowing, and the acronyms and phrases being used (most of which are completely new).

It’s okay to not know all of it – but it is your responsibility to get your questions answered. Write down your questions during a meeting and review them with your team afterward. Note down any confusing language and do an online search for them later.

I used to get overwhelmed on client phone calls when five different people would be speaking on the same subject. I found that copying down the call agenda and taking my own notes on top of that helps me to stay engaged. Being present and having questions is how you grow- and learn.

4. Professional growth starts NOW

Your college degree is just the beginning. In an industry like PR where things change quickly, industry-related articles and podcasts are helpful tools that keep you excited about your work. I have also found that the more I become fluent in this industry, the more new, fresh ideas I have, which directly benefits my agency and our client base.

Podcasts are a great go-to for city girls like me. Two of my favorites include Fat Mascara and The Glossy Podcast, both have a mixture of seasoned, relatable, and unapologetically authentic hosts and guests.

5.  You must be your own biggest fan

No one matters more in your career than you. After all, if you don’t believe in yourself, why should anyone else? If you’re feeling uninspired, unmotivated, or insecure, identifying these feelings is half of the battle.

In the middle of a hectic day, you might need to take a walk around the block or break away and work independently. Being able to check in with yourself is an important part of self-care. For me, self-care is reading a book from my favorite author, a workout class taught by a motivating and empowering teacher, or a bubble bath and a podcast. The industry (and everyone in it) moves so fast that the first reaction when thinking about a quick break can be guilt, so start unapologetic self-care practices now.  Taking good care of yourself does not make you selfish, it is a way to make sure you are living your best life and contributing your best self to the task at hand in the office.

Treat yourself like you treat your best friend. Root for yourself every day and amazing things will happen.

About Tessa

Tessa Bonnstetter is a publicist at Style House PR. She lives in Hoboken, NJ with her friend Claire who is, conveniently, a makeup artist. In her spare time, you can find Tessa reading, exercising, making breakfast for dinner, watching the Food Network and Facetiming her long-distance BFF’s, boyfriend and family (including incredibly cute and brand-new twin nephews). Follow her on Instagram @TesssyBonn +  @StyleHouseCo.

PR Girls We Love: Karine Idrissi, Stop and Stare PR & Influence + All Management

Karine Idrissi worked client-side for many years in the beauty and fashion industries, notably at L'Oreal, Mackage & Lise Watier. As Founder of both Stop and Stare PR and Influence + All Management, an influencer management agency, Karine is at the forefront digital promotion, amplifying brand stories through traditional and online media in both English and French.

Name: Karine Idrissi
Title: President & Owner
Location: Montreal, Canada
Education: BA English Literature at Concordia University
Company: Stop and Stare PR, Influence + All Management
@stopandstarepr, @iaminfluenceall

How did you get the job you have now?

I was working in PR at a well-known company but felt like I wasn't building genuine relationships with media and could not activate ideas outside of the corporate box. I started by taking a few one off projects and it quickly grew into a full-grown business. I have a passion for digital PR and working with influencers so I launched Influence + All management; our influencer management division. This is due in part to Julia Mateian, a top content creator who trusted in me enough to manage her career. From there we hired our first employee, Jasmine Machate, who has been instrumental in the growth of both divisions.

What are your primary responsibilities?

Ahh I wear so many hats but primarily: business development, communication strategist on all account and client relations.

How is your department/agency structured?

We're still relatively new (2 years) so we have myself (team lead), an account manager, coordinator and 2 interns at all times.

What is the mood like in the office? What are you working on right now?

I feel like the vibe is very positive. Having worked corporate most of my career, I really wanted the team to feel like their entrepreneurs withing this company; we can only be successful if work as a team. We work with an amazing vegan brand called I love Tyler Madison, we're working on uplifting their presence in the US. As for Influence + All, we are grpwing so quickly; constantly adding new talent to our roster.

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

We recently secured an influencer campaign with Lise Watier Cosmetics; we will be managing the influencer portion of their latest launch: Rouge Intense Supreme.

Most memorable/meaningful moment in your career thus far?

Hiring my first employee; that meant we were growing!

Most glamorous moment in your career thus far?

Traveling. As we are expanding both our PR and Influencer services through out North American and soon Europe; it means a lot of traveling!

Least glamorous moment in your career?

Accounting! I absolutely dread it since there are so many moving parts and you can't make any mistakes. I didn't get into PR because I was good at math!


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

There's definetely some high highs and low lows but we deal with it as a team and lean on one another for support when we receive a rejection.

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

Instagram, ScannerforMe, Google Drive and VSCO.

What do you wish more people understood about your job (or PR/Marketing in general?)

That we don't drive sales necessarily. There's a big misconception that if you hire a PR person, your sales will automatically increase. We're the cherry on the sundae, I always say. Everything else needs to be put in place before we come in and push the message out to media and influencers.


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

The influencer trend. It's so fascinating because I do think we're all in the middle of an industry shift and figuring out where "organic content" and "pay to play" will end up.

What's the biggest challenge facing fashion/lifestyle communicators right now?

That so many traditional media outlets are shutting down and re-shifting.

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

There's definetely some high highs and low lows but we deal with it as a team and lean on one another for support when we receive a rejection.


I do think we're all in the middle of an industry shift and figuring out where "organic content" and "pay to play" will end up

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

Instagram, ScannerforMe, Google Drive and VSCO.

What do you wish more people understood about your job (or PR/Marketing in general?)

That we don't drive sales necessarily. There's a big misconception that if you hire a PR person, your sales will automatically increase. We're the cherry on the sundae, I always say. Everything else needs to be put in place before we come in and push the message out to media and influencers.

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

The influencer trend. It's so fascinating because I do think we're all in the middle of an industry shift and figuring out where "organic content" and "pay to play" will end up.

What's the biggest challenge facing fashion/lifestyle communicators right now?

That so many traditional media outlets are shutting down and re-shifting.

What advice do you have for your younger self?

Don't take things so personally, it's business.

Anything else we should know?

We are always on the hunt for new interns! If you're located in Montreal or Toronto, please send resume to

Thanks, Karine!

How to Create an Epic Influencer Travel Trip for a Lifestyle Brand

Influencer marketing continues to be an increasingly hot topic for brand marketing, while a saturated market has made executing campaigns even more costly and difficult. It’s time for all of us to accept that influencer outreach is now a pay-for-play industry wherein the higher the following and engagement, the more you can expect to pay. This is most often with good reason; massive followings and a proven ability to influence buying decisions of consumers is a powerful combination. And one that makes the marketing tactic appeal to many brands, especially within the beauty and fashion space.

However, brands and agency partners need to develop increasingly creative campaigns concepts to ensure their investments have the necessary return.

The traditional outreach with a gifting opportunity or a few dollars for a post aren’t going to work anymore; influencers turn down paid campaigns frequently and gifting typically provides no guarantee of a feature. So what’s next?

In a word, experiences.

Much like press tours, curated influencer trips, or activations, provide a seamless and organic way for brand integration, while offering guests a unique experience. This tactic takes creativity and many moving parts, but when executed properly you can expect an influx in impressions via organically-driven postings through social media.

Our agency has orchestrated many influencer trips, ranging from Hawaii to Amangiri…and we like to think we’ve learned a thing or two about what works. Below are a few best practices as it pertains to creating an influencer experience for your brand.

1. Develop a “can’t say no” concept

We always start with location. It’s important to know what locales are trending (Tulum, Cuba, Iceland) while measuring influencers’ collective wanderlust against the brand story and the intended visuals of a trip. If you’re launching a new makeup collection with desert-inspired colors… you guessed it… a desert escape like Joshua Tree may be your best, most organic fit.

Then, we start to think about who we want to invite. We find it especially effective to look for influencer friend clusters because let’s face it – who wouldn’t love a free trip with a few of your best friends! As you develop your ideal influencer wish list, look for groups of friends who naturally hang out together. Just make sure that your list has enough variance while meeting your follower goals.

2. Cut costs with partners

Your brand isn’t the only company who can benefit from the trip. Many hotel properties, restaurants and excursion companies are looking to build awareness for their properties and offerings through influencer activations.

Connect with the PR agency or in-house marketing team and present the opportunity with projected reach and mutually beneficial opportunities. If the hotel stay can be comped by influencer postings or geo-tags, for example, that’s a win for everyone.

3. Detail out – and pitch – the opportunity

Just as you would for a traditional media opportunity, investor meeting or event sponsorship, you need marketing materials to help illustrate your concept and get influencers on board. We prepare a deck and presentation with images and copy that provide an inside look at the benefits, experiences, and value of the trip. Be sure to include exact asks and requirements of the influencer as it pertains to Instagram posts, geo-tags, hashtags, and blog or YouTube content. It’s common to provide hotel stay, travel, and expenses as well in order to explain the estimated monetary value of the experience.

Bring the ask and deliverables into an agreement to ensure each party is aligned. Based on the influencer and their following, the trip can be a mix of payment and experience, or simply experience. Be prepared to negotiate the terms a bit (your planning budget should anticipate this).

4. Build out your itinerary with photo ops in mind

Prepare your itinerary and brand integration points. During the trip, you’ll want to provide influencers with mapped out activities that appropriatey tie in the brand. Keep in mind that you want to have plenty of “Instagrammable” moments (your local partners can help with this) and brand product/imagery, while still giving your guests the freedom to have their own experience.

It’s common to provide hotel stay, travel, and expenses as well in order to explain the estimated monetary value of the experience.

5. Invest in on-site management

The trip should be executed without a hitch and each influencer should have the time of her life; so make sure there are enough team members there to both ensure activities are running smoothly and that brand messaging and social media shares aren’t being lost in the mix. Anticipate issues ahead of time and have a plan in place before the crisis hits.

6. Follow up and Follow-through

After the trip, ensure guests receive a link to images, and fact sheets on the brand to ensure quality, in-depth reviews and coverage.

While an event is more leg work to get moving, it can pay off exponentially when executed correctly.  And if the idea alone sounds more complex than planning a wedding, remember that top-tier influencers tend to be interested in brand experience trips, making the casting process less robust that it might be with smaller-scale campaigns.

Grow Your Freelance Business with PR Agency Work (plus an outreach script)

freelance PR agency partner referral grow business

I know what you’re thinking; didn’t I start freelancing to get away from the agency life?

Fair point, but what if I could convince you that as a contractor, you’re actually in an incredible position to take advantage of many of the great benefits of agency life; the stability, diverse client load, access to resources and clear processes, but in a new way that lets you retain all your newfound freedom?

I’ve worked with all sorts of different PR firms, large and small, as a freelance contractor. I’ve provided event assistance and worked on product placement projects. There’s one particular firm that I have worked with regularly when they are short-staffed and faced with a big project, as well as during fashion week. 

Thankfully none of this involved the complications of W-4s, employment contracts, or, in some cases, even setting foot in an office.

Sound like a strategy worth attempting? Here’s what to do:

1. Get on the contractor shortlist

Both firms and freelancers have slow times and busy times. Part of preparing for this inevitable ‘downtime’ as an independent contractor involves making sure your monthly income remains stable. When I’m slim in managing my own client accounts, I work with certain PR agencies who outsource assignments and projects to me. I work under their name and agency to assist on projects. I use my own contacts for placement opportunities.

If you have existing relationships (perhaps you left your last agency on a positive note, or a former coworker just moved up and over to a top notch agency), start there. Reach out and let them know you are open to short-term contract work.

It also helps to roam PR job boards, because if a firm is hiring, then they need help, right now. The hiring process can take awhile, and in the interim, you can offer your skills on a freelance basis.

When reaching out cold to an agency on your target list, keep it short and to the point. Below is a sample script of how I reach out.

Hi [first name of contact] 

I’m writing today to see if [agency] is in need of support on a current or upcoming project. As an experienced freelance PR professional, I’d love to be considered for any work you may have on the table.

A bit more about me [this is your chance to talk about your big wins/experience/specialization)

  • I have 5 years experience in PR – mainly focused in fashion/beauty/lifestyle
  • I specialize in digital PR, content marketing, and media placement
  • I’m based in in New York and happy to work in the office if needed

I’ve always appreciated how [company] does [XYZ] and it would be an honor to help you secure great wins for your clients.

Please let me know if I can send over any more information, or if you’d like to set up a quick call

Thanks in advance.



2. Establish a preferred vendor/referral relationship

Plenty of amazing companies and businesses have PR agency dreams without the budget for it. Working one on one with a freelancer can be an affordable solution–and agencies often have a list of people to refer business to when they simply aren’t a fit at the moment.

Similarly, you can bring business to an agency that you aren’t able or interested in fulfilling at the required scale. You might be introduced to a brand who wants to work with you, but really needs to invest in a full-scale agency with capabilities that stretch beyond your own as a solo practitioner. By establishing a referral partnership you can ensure a nice reciprocal relationship for both parties.

3. Be flexible with agency requirements

You may be in love with your new nomadic existence, flitting from coffee shop to coffee shop, but to become an agency’s preferred contractor, you’re going to need to put on your agency brain, and follow their lead. As a contractor you might be asked to use an in-house email address, for example, due confidential information. This might mean reaching out your own media contacts and allowing the agency to have access to that communication.

When working with another firm, or agency the key is open dialogue that fosters a respectful, professional working relationship that yields great results; when you appreciate the agency’s point of view you help ensure they come back to you, rather than chasing new freelancers.

At the same time, you get to choose what types of projects you want to work on (no more having to work on a client you’re not personally all that passionate about), so be transparent about what type of work you want to be doing, how much time you have to dedicate to agency contract work, and any other parameters (the ability to call in for meetings, for example).

From a business perspective, agencies aren’t the enemy to securing an incredible client list, nor are freelancers a threat to agencies. Freelancers and firms can work together in various ways as long as there’s honesty, talent and awesome projects involved. Usually, there always is. Remember, you’ll never have the opportunities that you don’t ask for.

Snap goes Public, Ulta goes High-Low, and Amazon Shuts Down the Internet

Fashion PR Marketing News

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

…for the week of February 27, 2017

  • Is fashion marketing out of ideas? Fashion ads are said to be “idealess,” besides a few exceptions like H&M “celebration of women” and Diesel’s “Make Love Not Walls” videos (via Digiday)
  • Thomas Sychterz, CEO of LaunchLeap, a Montreal-based consumer research startup, surveyed millennials about online consumption preferences. Here is what he found (via Ad Week)

3 Things We Can All Learn From Lane Bryant’s Marketing Campaigns

Welcome to February's Self-Love Marketing Series: focusing on Body Positive brands, campaigns and messaging targeting the plus-size market. This is the final, part 4.

As one of just a few plus size mega-retail brands, Lane Bryant that led a transformation in how retail marketing speaks to plus size women.

Over the past few years, three bold strategies in particular made it clear that the brand was willing to take a stand and celebrate their plus size customer.

1. Viral Hashtags

Many brands introduce hashtags, but few see them being mass adopted and still in rotation months after the campaign has ended.

In April of 2015, Lane Bryant introduced the #ImNoAngel campaign in response to the media debate regarding Victoria’s Secret “Body Perfect” campaign. As VS made headlines for perpetuating harmful stereotypes that the ideal body is thin and only thin, Lane Bryan offered an alternative perspective.

Visibly countering the Victoria’s Secret “Angel” squad, Lane Byant executed a mass marketing campaign featuring models that better represent the majority of American women.

The visuals and unapologetic hashtag were sexy, raw, and real. The #ImNoAngel images were in subway stations and on the sides of buses, and the internet lit up with women sharing their own #ImNoAngel posts.

This campaign was followed by the #PlusisEqual launch in September of 2015. If #ImNoAngel was a shooting star, #PlusisEqual was a meteor shower. The response wasn’t always positive, as some claimed this campaign contributed to the “othering” of plus size women. But overall, the legacy of both these campaigns is a more vocal, empowered, and loyal customers base for Lane Bryant.

Visibly countering the Victoria’s Secret “Angel” squad, Lane Byant executed a mass marketing campaign featuring models that better represent the majority of American women.

2. Start a Revolution

At this point, Lane Bryant had two successful integrated campaigns under its belt. 

Next, they chose to advance the conversation with a third hashtag. Instead the traditional approach where a brand uses snappy headlines and aspirational copy to tell women how they should feel about their bodies, Lane Bryant invited plus size women to define, express and tell the brand how they feel about their bodies.

In February 2016, #ThisBody was launched with the message, “This Body is Made for Starting a Revolution.” “This Body’ aims to celebrate who she really is. She is the voice of women everywhere,” said Lane Bryant CMO Brian Beitler of the launch.

The campaign featured models wearing tee shirts printed with: #ThisBody is made for_______.

Each woman in the campaign filled in the blank. Then, hundreds of thousands of women did the same by purchasing tee shirts and completing the statement for themselves.

By taking a lead-by-listening approach, Lane Bryant made a huge investment in building goodwill with their community.  

3. Once it's working, deepen the work

At this point, Lane Bryant been consistently introducing a new hashtag every six months. But in September of 2016, Lane Bryant decided to dig a deeper groove into the idea of #ThisBody.

They brought in a more diverse cast of women, rounding out the standard squad of familiar models like Ashley Graham and Candice Huffine. New choices included with actresses Gabourey Sidibe and Danielle Brooks.

Importantly, rather than just choosing to create more two-dimensional images these women looking sexy with an empowering hashtag, they  incorporated video. By giving these women a voice and platform from which to directly address and share their personal experiences, the #ThisBody initiative created an even more emotional connection between the brand and plus-size women.

In response to the videos, a large number of hateful comments by internet trolls and fat shamers had accumulated. In response, Lane Bryant decided to give the women in the campaign a chance to address their haters head-on, depicting their responses in the videos.

Rather than reacting to all the negative comments with more hate or negativity, the girls took a page from T Swift  and decided to “shake it off,” with breezy, empowered responses,

Marketing to women in ways that go above the stereotypical poses a challenge for many brands, particularly when it comes to clothing brands. What we can learn from Lane Bryant is value in taking a stand and taking a risk.

Lane Bryant has now known as a brand who not only called their audience in to the revolution, they revolutionized how brands can market to women.

About Melinda Parrish

Melinda Parrish is a Ford model that and body positivity advocate. Melinda is a regular contributor for the Huffington Post, Women's Running, Gaiam's lifestyle blog, and partners with brands like Expedia on creating fitness and wellness-related content.
She has her own hashtag, #healthyatanysize, and a weekly Facebook Live series called "Body Love TV." She was recently written up in People Magazine for taking a stand for curvy women. In addition to being a model and an influencer, Melinda is a lifelong athlete and former Naval Officer.

PR Girls We Love: Reena S. Goodwin, Facteur PR

Reena S. Goodwin has spent her career in integrated marketing and communications, beginning with Sony Music and now as Founder of FACTEUR PR, an agency for creative businesses that she runs out of Cleveland.

Reena has worked with world-class organizations like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and Columbia Records She also currently serves on the communications committee of the American Advertising Federation of Cleveland.

Name: Reena S. Goodwin

Title: Director/ Founder

Location: Cleveland, Ohio

Education: BA in Public Affairs Journalism,Minor in Arabic, Ohio State University 


Instagram:@reensgoodwin,  @FACTEURPR

Twitter:@reenasgoodwin, @FACTEURPR

Facebook: @facteurpr

LinkdedIn: Reena Goodwin

How did you get started and how did come to start your own agency?

I’ve worked in marketing and PR now for almost 13 years (since college!), mostly on the client side of the industry. I’ve known in my heart for the last five or so years that I wanted to start my own company. Before beginning FACTEUR PR, I somewhat-accidentally launched my own DJ business, and managing convinced me that I was ready to shift my energies toward starting into my own marketing and PR firm.  

I figured if I could make a business work “on accident,” imagine what I could accomplish if I was actually more intentional and passionate about it!

FACTEUR officially launched in 2016, and I haven’t looked back. Collaborating with creatives has been such a joy and an honor.

What are you focused on these days?

Our mission at FACTEUR PR is to assist creative brands and business with their PR, social media, content marketing, and digital creative needs.

My primary responsibilities include strategically fulfilling those needs for my clients, as well as everything from business development, accounting, and client relationship and retainment.

I also spend time creating downloadable digital resources, blogging, and managing our social media. I see these as important ways to engage with current and potential audiences while positioning our company as a valuable resource for brands and businesses.

How is your agency structured?

Our agency provides four core services: public relations, social media, content marketing, and digital creative services for brands and businesses that are creative-leaning in practice (that includes everything from architecture to food to wellness to art).

All of our services are scalable; we offer a la carte, project, and committed/retainer packages for solopreneurs to emerging and established brands.

"PR and marketing is so behind-the-scenes, so it’s especially nice when you’re publicly recognized for the work that you do"


What is the mood like in the office? What are you working on right now?

Specifically, I’m working on pitching and securing stories for the summer for clients with seasonal offerings in food and bridal, as well as building a couple of SquareSpace websites for new launches. To help motivate me and keep things fun in the office when things are so busy, I love listening to a playlist I made on Spotify, sipping plenty of coffee or matcha, and getting as much sunshine as I can access this time of year.

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

It makes me especially proud when my clients succeed! I recently had a service-based client share with me that since hiring FACTEUR PR, her company has not only met their booking goals for the year, but they surpassed them all — early! I was proud of them and of course proud of our collaboration and hard work together.

Most meaningful moment in your career thus far?

PR and marketing is so behind-the-scenes, so it’s especially nice when you’re publicly recognized for the work that you do. Being invited to speak or present at a conference or getting a story written about you or your career journey are just a few of the most meaningful moments of my career so far. I never take those opportunities for granted.


Most glamorous moment in your career thus far?

I will have to say working the red carpet at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Having worked a lot with celebrities and rock stars, I don’t usually find myself star struck, but there’s always just something about sharing airspace with people like Renée Zellweger and Paul McCartney that is just so freaking cool.

Least glamorous moment in your career thus far?

Waking up at 3 a.m. to help a local TV camera crew set up for a live spot. I’m a morning person, but I don’t know how these folks do it every day!

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

Despite any kind of failure, and there will of course be many in our careers, it’s so important to remember what is truly important at the end of the day — our families, our wellbeing, and our happiness — and making time for those things. Having a strong support network you can count on is critically important, or having a “business bestie” you can call. In terms of wellbeing, I start every single day with time for myself at the gym and eat a real breakfast afterwards. I work hard during the day and try to reserve my evenings and weekends for time with my husband. I think staying consistent with those “little things,"  can help prevent burnout. When you’re working with people so much of the time, it’s important to recharge. You can’t always afford a bad day in PR!

What do you wish more people understood about your job (or PR/Marketing in general?)

Something I try to often remind people is that PR is an investment that pays over time. It can help build your brand, but that brand isn’t going to be built in a day. Relationships take time and trust to build, so it’s important to start early when cultivating those relationships!

What are the pros and cons of operating in a smaller market?/What are a few local pubs/sites/influencers we should know?

I remember thinking when working in New York how everyone was doing amazing things, but it was sometimes harder to get noticed (or get your work or client’s work noticed) in such a saturated market. With the Internet, though, you can really extend your reach to larger markets like that without having to always be physically there. I don’t just work with Cleveland brands, but indeed Cleveland is a great place to start a business and have people, editors, and bloggers take notice. It really is not just about who you know but who knows you, and while there are less people to know here, there isn’t any shortage of very cool things happening. However, the distance from some of those larger markets can mean that relationships are more challenging to make. You can’t always invite a blogger or reporter to lunch on a whim! But thankfully with social media, a lot of those borders are lowered and your first introductions or collaborations can really happen on Twitter or Instagram. Making Nice in the Midwest ( and @mandimakes on Instagram) and are just a couple local blogs I read regularly and just love.

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

I really love that the intersection of data and PR is becoming more important than ever. Just a couple years ago, marketers were spending time trying to legitimize the importance of analytics tracking. Now, campaigns have got to be more data-driven and data-measured when identifying audiences, seizing opportunities, and measuring successes.

What's the biggest challenge facing fashion/lifestyle communicators right now?

The constantly changing media landscape! You can spend all this time relationship building, and suddenly editors leave or jobs get shifted around. Additionally, it’s important to recognize that earning media still needs a budget. Sometimes, it’s not enough to just send an email. It can take an in-person visit, sending the product, or sometimes even a sponsored spend to get influencers and outlets to cover your client.

What advice do you have for your younger self?

You are not defined by the job you have but by how full of a life you live. That can certainly include your job, but your job title is not the first or only value of your self-worth.

Anything else we should know?

We are always looking for interns, and welcome college students from across the U.S. as digital interns! Give us a shout at

Thanks, Reena!