Positions: Account Supervisor, SAE, AE
Company: Hemmsworth Comm
Location: Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Positions: Account Supervisor, SAE, AE
Positions: Account Supervisor, SAE, AE
Company: Hemmsworth Comm
Location: Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Whether you head a PR agency, own a fashion company, or run a successful blog, the decision to become an entrepreneur is thrilling in so many ways; you can set your own schedule, every day is what you make of it, and you can pursue something you truly love doing, on your terms.
With all that autonomy comes great responsibility. As the figurehead of your business you are the ultimate decision-maker and as such, oftentimes wear all hats, from creative director to accountant. Setting your own schedule, not to mention the self-imposed pressure to grow, lead a team and make smart financial decisions can easily lead to putting in way more than your standard 8-hour days.
It becomes all to easy to feel chained to work, the complete opposite of the work-life balance so many of us enter into business ownership to create. And so, when you feel the sparks of burnout looming, it’s important to reset and recharge. The next time stress overtakes your passion for your business, try a few of these tricks to decompress so that you can come back to your business more refreshed and inspired than ever!
Flipping through a magazine is hardly downtime when your publicist’s eye is always looking for PR opportunities. As much as I love reading fashion magazines and catching up on the latest street style stars, I need to unwind with something totally out of the fashion/beauty realm to truly decompress and take my mind off of work. Reading a good mystery (Girl On The Train was a great book) or catching up on my favorite international shows on Netflix at the end of the day gives my brain a break. Look for easy ways to move outside your normal thought patterns and activities. Even speaking with a friend or family member who has no idea what it is you do (and barely cares) and be a great way to regain perspective.
So much of operating a business occurs in the mind – all that strategy, writing and service is operating from inside the mind. Exercise not only helps you to get rid of some of the nervous energy that comes from being, but the sense of accomplishment can really motivate you throughout the day (especially on those days when nothing is going according to plan). Importantly, the focus on physical activity can actually create space for creativity and solutions that simply won’t come from staring at your laptop screen. I try to workout first thing every morning. Doing so (especially if I’ve found I’ve shaved some time off my previous run!) helps improve my mindset and makes me feel like I can do anything. From that place, I’m much more likely to have an enjoyable – and effective – workday.
Try this 10 Minute Workout from our friends at Create + Cultivate.
I know – you’re probably thinking, “A hobby? With what time?” Even though running a business can feel like it’s nonstop (and some days it is!), finding a creative outlet outside of work helps with balance, and in many cases won’t take up that much extra time. I’ve always loved photography and recently invested in a DSLR camera. I have been teaching myself photography basics on weekends. Explore your interests and passions with the same attention that you give to your business and you will find your entire life enriched. These pursuits will give you a fresh perspective and may even spark some new ideas for your business.
Overall, when burnout threatens to dampen your entrepreneurial drive, it’s time to take a step back and nourish yourself. Through entertainment, movement and long-term activities that capture your attention, it’s possible to feel the return of that inner hum.
Jill Cooper and Sara Andréasson are the cofounders of bi-coastal PR agency Michele Marie PR, where they have worked with clients like Coca-Cola, Mattel, Warner Brothers, Ban.do and recently became AOR for Henri Bendel. As they head into nearly a decade of partnership, the two PR exectives launched a collection of tailored shirt dresses inspired by the daily needs of boss babes everywhere, called Shifts. We talked to Jill about their agency, Shifts, and 3 things she can’t live without.
Jill – I realized my passion for PR while assisting in the public relations department for the Los Angeles Lakers. After graduating from the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Southern California, I went on to work for the local fashion houses St. John Knits and Guess. Seeing my enthusiasm in the industry, Paul Marciano reluctantly transferred me to the heart of fashion – New York City. I lived in the West Village and quickly moved into the world of “luxury” while overseeing PR at Escada.
Sara – Born and raised in Southern California, I developed a love for fashion at an early age. While attending the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, I began my career in public relations working at Hugo Boss in Los Angeles. Moving on to John Varvatos, I created a national studio services program while dressing A-list celebrities for events, premieres, fashion and awards shows. I then became the Director of PR for Stitch’s jeans and Da-Nang.
Jill – We really try to enjoy the fact that we get to work every day with great people & awesome brands. We’re working on promoting SS16 collections to short lead press, celebs and influencers and gearing up for fall 16. For our new brand Shifts, we are working on expanding the collection into more styles, colors and prints.
Jill – We travel so much and need to look presentable for a morning meeting all the way through to an evening premiere or date night. So, we created the perfect dress out of love for fashion and practical needs as businesswomen. Our collection of shirt dresses pays tribute to our years of working with top designers, stylists and celebrities, as well as our personal needs; what we wear on a daily basis. We use fabrics that don’t wrinkle and colors and prints that transition seamlessly from morning to noon to night. Easy to accessorize, simple to dress up or down, Shifts is the one piece that every woman didn’t realize they needed.
Jill and Sara styling a Shifts dress
Jill – We recently signed Henri Bendel for full service PR. We are huge fans of the brand and the products and so excited to partner with them!
Gallery walls make Michele Marie’s office pop
Jill – When Sara and I resigned on a sheet of paper to Joe Dahan (of Joe’s Jeans) and said we wanted to start a PR firm. He asked for a business plan and we went back to our desks and Googled what that meant. We came up with a plan. It was a pivotal moment in my life. Joe’s Jeans was our first client and now we are entering our 9th year in business with dozens of spectacular clients.
Jill – Flying to Germany to pick up a one-of-a-kind dress from the design room at Escada. Then taking the first flight to Los Angeles in order to hand deliver it to Katherine Heigl for the Golden Globes. It felt fancy.
Bright sunlight pouring into the Michele Marie PR office
Jill – Most of my day isn’t glamourous. There is a lot of shlepping in PR. Packing trunks for shoots. Steaming dresses. Walking 20 blocks through snow during a subway strike to get a sweater to Conde Nast. Wiping puddles of spilled champagne off the floor at an event with people stepping over you…physically holding up one end of a step and repeat for 4 hours at an event because the poles didn’t arrive – not what I’d call glamorous.
Jill – Rejection, for some reason, just drives me to want it more.
1. iPhone email.
2. My alarm clock – every morning I set several alarms for every call and meeting throughout the day so that I run on-time. Some days I have 15 alarms set.
3. A great pair of heels.
Jill – Securing any type of press is very hard. It isn’t easy to land a handbag on a page in Elle Magazine or get into a denim guide.
There is a lot of shlepping in PR. Packing trunks for shoots. Steaming dresses. Walking 20 blocks through snow during a subway strike to get a sweater to Conde Nast.
Jill – I think a big challenge is staying ahead of the trends and always making sure the outlets and influencers we work with are on brand for our clients.
Jill – It isn’t easy being your own boss. It requires a lot of decision making, pressure, drive, and risk. I don’t believe in luck – you have to create the right opportunities, at the right time, to make things happen.
Sara – Be ready to wake up every day and work. Success is not an easy road. Choose an industry that genuinely interests you. I absolutely love fashion!
Thanks, Jill and Sara!
Unless you’re living in Kimmy Schmidt’s old bunker, you know that Snapchat has quickly become the “it girl” in a sea of social media apps. In fact, the yellow and white icon is so hot right now that 76% of Millennials use the platform daily. And as any social strategist knows, you have to make friends with the “it girl” if you want to sit at the cool table.
At Beach House, we want you to sit with us, so we’re sharing our favorite 3 ways to incorporate Snapchat into your social media marketing strategy to generate buzz (and hello, sales) for your fabulous portfolio of clients.
As social media apps continue to step up their digital game, it is so important to strategize contests accordingly. As of now (and NOW is all that matters), Snapchat is the hottest platform to build brand awareness and increase sales with contests. One brand that has successfully utilized Snapchat to host a contest is Sephora.
In order to participate in Sephora’s Snapchat contest, @Sephora’s 6.6 million IG followers were encouraged to add the brand on Snapchat, take a #selfie, and draw fake eyebrows on themselves through Snapchat’s doodle feature. Contestants were then directed to upload their finished image on IG with the hastag #SephoraSnapsSweeps. Genius!
Savvy social marketers, listen up. If you’re looking for a new and exciting way to target younger, engaged audiences, try a Snapchat takeover. With the right social media influencer in play, a Snapchat takeover has the potential to increase brand awareness in a way that feels like entertainment, rather than marketing. For best results, plan your brand’s takeover around exclusive events, product launches, or other unique experiences. And seriously…this strategy works. Remember when popular cosmetics producer Shiseido partnered with lifestyle and beauty blogger Jen Chea (@frmheadtotoe)? The takeover resulted in 100,000 impressions on Shiseido’s Snapchat. #slay.
One of our favorite makeup brands, Urban Decay (*insert praise hands emoji here*) is KILLING it on Snapchat right now with Screenshot Surveys. But wait, what is a Screenshot Survey? First, followers are prompted with a question and then asked to ‘screenshot’ their pick, or signal a ‘yes’ answer with a screenshot. Simple enough, right?
Urban Decay surveys are designed to entertain. Most recently, they asked viewers to select a favorite product in 3 categories – lipstick, eyeshadow, and blush. After calcuating the results, the follow-up Snapchat story featured a makeup artist applying the winning products to a model. All in all, activating a Screenshot Survey is a great way to see which products are working for your brand in addition to building brand affinity and engagement.
So there you have it. Who runs the [digital] world? Snapchat.
At Beach House, we aim to give our Snapchat followers a behind-the-scenes peek into our daily life as #BeachHouseGirls. Follow our adventures before they disappear in 24 hours @BeachHousePR. make sure you are following PR Couture’s snaps as well at @PRCouture.
We’d love to see the exciting contests, takeovers, and Screenshot Surveys that you activate moving forward!
There are many reasons you might decide to host a press trip but it’s important to define your goals upfront and make sure you communicate them to all of your potential guests from the start.
There are two common types of press trips: those that generate press coverage and/or social media content and those that are more for relationship-building purposes with key editors, influencers or bloggers, like a media dinner.
Once you define your objectives, choose a location and activities that help tell your client or brand’s story. Maybe it’s a trip to the place that inspired your client’s latest collection or where your client’s business or brand was originally founded.
Wherever you go, the location should help tell the brand story. You may also try and partner with a hotel or resort to help cover the costs of the press trip. If you do form a partnership with a hotel, just be aware they will have additional expectations for your guests; most likely be social media content about their property. Again, make sure you communicate these requests to all guests upfront and be realistic about what you promise to a potential partner. Complimentary hotel rooms come with a different kind of cost.
If you’re planning a press trip with the goal of generating media coverage, make sure there’s actual news being announced on your trip. Or create a newsworthy experience that illustrates the brand story. Make sure you and your client have realistic expectations about how newsworthy the story is, and the amount of coverage it can be expected to generate.
Complimentary hotel rooms come with a different kind of cost.
If you are requesting press coverage, blog posts and/or social media content creation from your guests, it’s important to outline your requests in your initial invitation. Being transparent about your expectations will allow both your client and guests to get the most out of your press trip.
Once you’ve defined your objectives and secured your guests, provide all attendees with an agenda ahead of time. Provide a second copy for each guest when they check into their hotel. For an instantly Instagrammable moment, organize welcome packages and/or a room drop with gifts from your client for each guest. If you’re hoping to generate social media engagement surrounding your trip, it’s a great practice to WiFi network information for all locations on the agenda, as well as all relevant handles and hashtags.
During the trip, make sure to deliver on any interviews you promised your guests. If you are scheduling interviews with a celebrity, designer and/or spokesperson for your client or brand, then make sure you follow through. Planned surprises that wow and delight your guests is another great way to keep the positive vibes and brand buzz going.
After the press trip, make sure that all of your guests have all of the press materials and assets they need to share the experience with their readers and followers. Ask for feedback on the experience so you can share insights with your client. As the coverage starts to roll in, ensure that you are helping to promote and cross post coverage to show your appreciation and support.
Professional development and a healthy dose of inspiration are both important parts of designing a PR career that you love. If you’re struggling to land a paying PR job, or aren’t too happy with the one you’ve got, we’ve rounded up 8 resources to help you out in your time of need.
What it’s about: The CEO of the Riviere Agency shares 5 things she wants entry-level candidates to bring to the table.
Read it when: It’s time to accept that your degree might not be enough to stand out. Be prepared to expand your skill-set while you’re on the job hunt with skills every PR agency owner looks for in an entry-level applicant.
What it’s about: Social media consultant Amanda Nelson explains how volunteering led to a booming client list.
Read it when: Your job search is going nowhere and you’re desperate for a way to hone your craft while impressing potential future bosses.
What it’s about: Gossip & Glamour CEO Sydney Mintle explains how new grads can stand out in a pile of resumes.
Read it when: You’re sending out resume after resume with no response.
What it’s about: Discover the SEO tricks that will make your profile pop on LinkedIn and capture the attention of potential clients, recruiters, and agency owners.
Read it when: Coffee dates and informational interviews aren’t yielding much traction and it’s time to truly build out your online presence to attract new opportunities your way.
What it’s about: The crucial steps to consider before stepping out on your own as a freelance publicist.
Read it when: The idea of foregoing the corporate world entirely is becoming an ever-increasingly attractive proposition.
What it’s about: Harrison Lee Morgan outlines daily habits to boost your professional acumen.
Read it when: You’ve fallen into a job search routine that is more exhausting than empowering and need some new ideas on how to best use this time.
What it’s about: Danika Daly shares her tips on moving up the PR ladder and landing that promotion.
Read it when: You’re getting ready to have that conversation with your boss.
What it’s about: Rebekah Epstein ruminates on the steps required to continue to grow professionally, with or without that new shiny job offer.
Read it when: You need a swift kick in the pants to do what’s necessary to succeed – on your terms.
Getting IN is our interview series with entry-level PR professionals and interns. In this interview with PR Coordinator Lauren Long (who also happens to be a recent PRISM course grad), you’ll learn how she managed to float after being thrown into the deep end in her first PR position and why she believes college is just the beginning of one’s education.
I grew up wanting to be a fashion designer. I went on to study fashion merchandising and marketing at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. I promised myself that I would make it to New York post graduation, which is exactly what I did! I graduated from college a semester ahead (I was determined to get started on my career so I took summer and winter classes in between semesters to finish early) Just one month after graduating I moved to NYC.
I didn’t have an internship or job waiting for me. I started searching for jobs and internships online and searched for weeks, applying to any and everything I could find. Finally I secured an internship with Melissa Odabash; a luxury swimwear and beachwear designer based out of London. Honestly, I was so nervous! I knew very little about PR when I landed the internship, but my plan was to act as a sponge and learn as much as I could.
I graduated from college a semester ahead (I was determined to get started on my career so I took summer and winter classes in between semesters to finish early) Just one month after graduating I moved to NYC.
6 weeks after starting, my manager was let go and I took the the lead in US office. My new boss was Head of Sales and PR in the US, but I didn’t work with her directly. She was only an email away, but I was in a showroom by myself for majority of the time. Being put in that situation motivated me to take the initiative to teach myself the ropes. This is was my make or break moment. Long story short, three months later I was promoted to PR and E-commerce Assistant Manager. At that point, I knew that PR was right for me!
Getting hired at Swimwear Anywhere could not have come at a better time. I was in between jobs and doubting myself (I am my toughest critic). I found the open position on Indeed, applied and receive an invitation to interview. I believe it was my experience in swimwear that helped me the most. The interview process was pretty extensive compared to my previous positions; I had the initial interview, a follow up interview, and then a reference check. I was nervous throughout the entire process because I really wanted the job, but the best I could do was to be confident and be myself. The overall process took about three months. There was even a point in time where I didn’t think I landed the position, but by the grace of God, two days before my 24th birthday I got the offer. Happy Birthday to me!
At Swimwear Anywhere, we design, manufacture, and market our in-house brands as well as manufacture and market multiple licensed brands. Our in-house brands include CoCo Reef, CoCo Rave, Beach House, Beach house Sport, Roxanne, and Gabar. Our licensed brand portfolio includes Proenza Schouler, Kate Spade, Micheal Kors, Micheal by Micheal Kors, Tommy Hilfiger, DKNY, Carmen Marc Valvo, and Vince Camuto. As the PR Coordinator, I work with top fashion publications, bloggers, stylists and directly with our licensed brands. I secure and track press coverage, manage sample inventory, pull samples for editorial requests, obtain and update press contacts, organize press events and perform market research. I also work with our marketing department to create campaigns as well as social media and blog content.
My first day on the job I was introduced to my first task; organize a press day in 3 days! A few hours into my first day, my boss came to me and said, “We have a press day on Thursday. I need you to follow up and secure media attendance.” Challenge accepted!
She forwarded me a contact list but it was out of date. I immediately started researching contacts, checking LinkedIn profiles to confirm position updates, googling mastheads to verify current positions, and incorporating my personal media contact list. Cross referencing, double and triple checking, and even guessing emails in order to find my way to the correct person took the remainder of the day and half of the next day. With the updated list in hand, I now had only a day and a half to get the invitations into the right inboxes. Thankfully, I pulled through and had 15 confirmed publications attend our press day. I hope I made a good first impression!
Never lose sight of your goals. As out of reach as they may seem, they are not. Work hard and dedicate yourself to yourself. We are in an era where everything is at our fingertips, literally! Whatever we need to learn for our jobs can almost always be found online. I knew very little about PR post graduation and when the women got let go at my first internship I felt as if I was walking into a room blindfolded. I was in the dark about PR and even though I was learning through the internship, it wasn’t enough. So I did extensive research, bought books and anything I could to learn more about the job I needed to complete. That is when I discovered PR Couture!
A few hours into my first day, my boss came to me and said, “We have a press day on Thursday. I need you to follow up and secure media attendance.” Challenge accepted!
I cannot express enough how PR Couture helped me through this time in my life. All of the articles, interviews, testimonies, and reading materials helped me tremendously and I cannot thank Crosby enough! I strongly recommend PR Couture to anyone who is interested in pursuing and learning more about the industry.
I always dreamed of working for Vogue; being the Senior Fashion Editor and eventually the Fashion Director. However, this dream has slowly started to fade. I have found that there is nothing like working for yourself; making your own schedule, calling the shots, and watching your business grow. Eventually I want to work for myself. I aspire to inspire and I want to show that nothing is beyond your reach if you believe in yourself, have faith, and work hard.
Lauren is also a Prismadonna (a graduate of our signature PRISM Course), so I had a few bonus questions to ask her about her experience:
I turned to PR Couture to learn more about the industry when I was just starting out and am a frequent site visitor. I found out about PRISM while I was applying to jobs and looking for ways to educate myself about PR so that I could land a great position. I was still a bit foggy about in-depth details about PR. I knew the basics and learned a lot from my time with Melissa Odabash, but I felt as though there was more to learn. PRISM was the perfect opportunity to do just that.
After PRISM, I felt a lot more confident on my job search. My resume was stellar, my cover letter was polished, and my overall outlook was infallible. The course made a difference not only in my approach to seeking a job but also how I handled myself once I landed my new position.
I definitely see a difference in the way I perform on a day to day basis and interact with my network. My outreach, pitches, and press releases have all benefited as a result of taking PRISM. I also was able to strengthen my personal brand. I built a website and started branding myself – PRISM helped me tremendously with fine tuning my message and overall purpose.
Knowledge is infinite. One can always benefit from learning; that’s what life is about. College is not the end but simply the beginning. Once you receive your degree and take on life in the “real world,” you embark on a new educational journey. It never hurts to brush up on your skills and continue to educate yourself beyond the classroom.
If someone is eager to learn and seeking deeper knowledge about a PR career (even if they aren’t quite sure what they want to do exactly), I would absolutely recommend PRISM. Not only does it give you insight on a career in PR, it helps you to execute a great cover letter and resume and promote yourself as an industry professional. In PR, your are not only marketing your brand but you are also marketing yourself as an extension of your brand. PRISM helps narrow in on what you wish to accomplish personally and professional and essentially helps to clarify what makes you, you!
In today’s up-to-the-second digital landscape, marketers are becoming increasingly interested in how they can capitalize on the NOW. This strategy, known as real time marketing, is basically the idea of tying in company or client promotion with ongoing trending topics, thus capitalizing on the interest and attention of target audiences around a particular subject. Whether you choose to live-tweet episodes of Scandal or tie-in a shoe sale with the latest celebrity red carpet event, success lies in being agile, adaptable, and open to change.
Here are 3 basic principles of real time marketing:
In the past, PR and marketing campaigns could be developed and then released 6 months or even up to a year in the future. Real time marketing takes a vastly different approach, favoring short, micro-campaigns over long, big-bang campaigns. In today’s ever-changing landscape, planning large-scale campaigns too far into the future means that you run the risk of no longer being relevant by the launch date. By shortening both length and incubation period of campaigns, brands can ensure that the content is relevant, timely, and aligned with audience interests.
How to do it: Develop an annual plan with everygreen campaign ideas (those messages you know are relevant no matter what the current hashtag obsession may be), but schedule quarterly or even monthly planning sessions wherein you outline the overview for a micro-campaign on a particular platform. Execute, test and refine what works.
By its very nature, the real time approach to marketing is all about capitalizing on trending topics as opposed to sticking to a plan. PR, marketing and social media teams need to be empowered to move quickly on an idea, or risk being late to the party; producing a campaign that falls flat because the audience has moved onto something else.
How to do it: Beach House PR has implemented a “pop culture” team check-up every morning to ensure on-topic social media content on the daily. As the Beach House team learns of major cultural events, such as the season finale of The Bachelor or a Kim Kardashian meme that’s making waves on the internet, the team works together to immediately incorporate these trending topics into our content plan.
Real time content publishing comes with real time analytics, arguably the most important element for pitching the value of this approach to decision-makers. At Beach House PR, we’ve begun to think of every social media post as a test, success lies in part in receiving immediate audience feedback through likes, comments, clicks and shares. Recently. during a major product launch on social media, we noticed that our target audience wasn’t engaging at all. Instead, an entirely new demographic had jumped into the conversation and their feedback showed that they were passionate about this new product. In discovering this new target, we switched gears, created content catered specifically to this new audience, and ended up increasing overall campaign engagement by up to 80%.
As the Beach House team learns of major cultural events, such as the season finale of The Bachelor or a Kim Kardashian meme that’s making waves on the internet, the team works together to immediately incorporate these trending topics into our content plan.
How to do it: Anticipate measures of success (or failure) during your planning process, and discuss potential work-arounds as a kind of pre-Mortem. Assign a team member to evaluate engagement in real-time and ensure team members are available and empowered to change mid-course.
At it’s core, real time marketing is all about serving the customer what they want, and modifying strategies based on immediate feedback. Real time marketing welcomes change and requires a quick reaction time. Over time, these practices help to create a strong emotional connection with consumers, as the brand begins to think, act, and experience life in a way that mirrors that of its target audience.
When it comes to a career in fashion or lifestyle public relations, many of us don’t have much to go on except what we’ve seen in movies or reality TV. From Samantha on Sex & the City to Lauren and Whitney on The Hills, it’s easy to get the idea that PR is all blonde highlights, parties, free clothes and smooching celebrities.
My own first introduction to PR happened in a promotions course at the London College of Fashion. We were given a tear-out from a magazine and told to use it as inspiration for a star-studded event, spare no expense! A fun, creative exercise to be sure, but public relations theories and fundamentals didn’t come my way until graduate school.
The reality is that PR is one of the most misunderstood professions out there. Here are 3 of the biggest myths about what it really takes to make it as a lifestyle communications pro.
Reality: Most publicists are natural connectors who enjoy bringing people together. There is an element of sociability (and infinite patience) required when say, manning the VIP list for a runway show, but a ton of the job takes place in front of the computer. It is possible to succeed in the industry if you aren’t an extrovert (raising my hand). You learn to turn it on for short periods (events, presentations, networking), and then schedule in quiet time to recover. In fact, an introvert’s powers of observation can come in very handy – you’ll notice opportunities and interpersonal dynamics others simply won’t.
Reality: As my friend Rachel Meis, CEO at Rachel Meis Communications put it, “we don’t expect you to know every big designer name or the entire history of fashion. That stuff can be taught. You can’t teach work ethic or listening to your gut.” It’s important to not be totally clueless about an industry you purport to love, of course. But it’s much more valuable to have a strong foundation in public relations, a head for strategy and the ability to write impactful, succinct pitch content than to know what Burberry sent down the runway last season.
Reality: Real sorry about this one if you like to say you’re “not a numbers person.” I used that line for years, and then I changed my mind. Numbers, data, analytics – all part of the PR puzzle. Public relations is a business and you’re dealing with helping to achieve the goals of other businesses. Tracking your time, estimating costs for a proposal, determining campaign results…you need to be comfortable with metrics. The more you can do to help your company to be profitable, and the more aware you are of the financial impact of your efforts, the better.
Of course, there are a ton more myths out there (like, all fashion publicists go to Fashion Week), but hopefully these come as somewhat of a relief and you’re feeling excited about PR as a career.
Where aspiring publicists go to become great.
We’re back with a fresh installment of Getting IN, our interview series with entry-level PR professionals and interns. In this interview with Fashion Credits Intern Nicole Biscardi (who also happens to be a recent PRISM grad), you’ll learn about the community college student’s NYFW experiences to date, and what she’s learning about editorial life inside Hearst Tower.
I considered a career as a sports broadcaster, but in the back of my mind I knew I wanted to do something with fashion. I’ve spent my last two years at Nassau Community College studying Communications with an emphasis on Fashion Marketing. I have always been interested in event coordination, and after taking a few marketing courses, I found that Fashion PR/Marketing was where I had envisioned myself all along. Outside of school, I’ve have been gaining as much experience as I can in fashion public relations and now, in fashion editorial. I’m currently applying to schools in the New York City area for my final year.
I applied through FreeFashionInternships, and was interviewed by Alicia Banilivy, Fashion and Retail Credits Editor. Afterward, HR reviewed my application and resume, and then Alicia offered me the position.
I am currently the Fashion and Retail Credits Intern at Harper’s Bazaar. I help to ensure we have the correct pricing and purchasing information for all the clothing, accessories and products mentioned or photographed in each issue of the magazine.
I can honestly say that this is the opportunity of a lifetime. It is incredible to see all work that goes into a magazine and to watch it come to life.
I walk 25 blocks from Penn Station and get to the Hearst offices around 9:30. First thing I do is go through all my emails and update the contact list according to conversations I’ve missed, as I am here 3 days a week.
Each day I am responsible for sending credit requests to retailers, updating our contact list, and making sure we have a back up of responses for each story.
I can honestly say that this is the opportunity of a lifetime. It is incredible to see all work that goes into a magazine and to watch it come to life.
My greatest success story at Bazaar thus far would have to be the completion of the May issue. It may not seem like much, but it was the first issue that I worked on. Seeing all my hard work come together in print is an amazing feeling.
In the fall of 2015, I interned for Caravan Stylist Studio, where I had the privilege of styling many celebrities, helping with photo shoots the studio’s social media platforms. Prior to that I worked in the press office for Custo Barcelona and alongside the ASI marketing team during NYFW in the spring. I have worked 4 consecutive seasons at Fashion Week.
Nicole is also a Prismadonna (a graduate of our PRISM Course which starts up again April 4), so I had a few bonus questions to ask her about her experience:
It is never too late, or too early to learn. I have made a point to gain as much experience in the industry as I can, to boost my job options once I graduate. I adore online courses for this reason; they are so convenient. Because I have felt sure of my career plan for the last year and a half, I chose PRISM was a way to learn what I would need to know on a day to day basis working in PR.
I feel so much more confident now. The knowledge I gained about creating and marketing my personal brand helps me everyday. I was able to get answers to questions that I considered silly, or that I have always been too shy to ask. I now know I am definitely making the right career choice.
I also love that I can continue to ask questions through our PRISM Alumni Group and connect with others who have the same interests as me. It’s great to have a built in network, and I learn a lot from other people’s questions and experiences as well.
Securing a great new opportunity for the all 2016 semester and of course, graduating from college and landing a great job in the fashion industry.
If you’re sending out resume after resume without moving to the interview stage, the likeliest culprit is your cover letter. After all, your cover letter is what makes a hiring manager curious enough to open your resume. Most of these tips hold true for any email you may be sending that is essentially asking someone to give you something you want (a job, knowledge, a business connection, gold Fendi heels). This facet of communications, called pitching, is at the cornerstone of a successful PR career.
Sometimes a job listing won’t include contact information and sometimes you’ll be applying through a job submission form. It’s annoying! It’s frustrating. You just want a name! I get it. In these cases, a bright and cheery Hello! reads much better than stodgy old “I’m following a template from this book about cover letters published in 1955” To Whom it May Concern. After all, the company hiring knows they didn’t provide you with contact details.
But, if you are sending out a letter of inquiry to see about any open positions, or if the job listing says something like, “You’ll be reporting to our VP of Public Relations,” then bust out your digital researching skills and find out who the right person is to contact. I have posted internship opportunities on PR Couture and gotten a To Whom it May Concern or Dear Hiring Manager and I always want to shake the person and say, “It’s me, it’s Crosby – I asked you to email me directly in the posting!). I also sometimes get people asking for more information about a listing on our job board, to which I want to scream, “I don’t know dude, you should probably reach out to the person who paid to post that job on PR Couture – they probably have the answer!” Ok mini rant over!
Some more tips: for smaller PR agencies (under 15 employees), it’s never wrong to address your email to the CEO or an Account Director. You are always welcome to call up the front desk and say something like “I’m interested in learning more about your PR department and sending over my resume for consideration. Who is the best contact for me to reach?” With a polite and positive tone, most receptionists will be happy to give you a name and email address. If they refuse, you can say something like, “Would it be ok for me to send this email to you, and you can choose to pass it along to the right person in the office?”
Instead of explaining what a great opportunity this job would create for you, focus on explaining how your experience directly applies to the roles and responsibilities listed in the job description. If you are looking for an internships or entry-level position and have little to no experience, focus on the character traits (with evidence/examples) that you possess that would benefit the office. If you are a stickler for detail, color code your calendar and have been editing your small town newsletter since you were 12, I want to hear about it. If you worked at a high-end spa where you were responsible for scheduling and confirming more than 100 appointments a day and making a kick-ass cappuccino at a moment’s notice, tell me about it.
Your cover letter should make me absolutely convinced you are someone I want on my team because of how much easier my life will be as a result. My life. Capiche? Good.
A cover letter should be no more than 3 short, carefully edited paragraphs. Use subheads and bullet points to make it easy for me to scan the highlights of your accomplishments. I don’t need to know about your entire work history, or to be walked through your resume.
Along that vein, be careful about your overall tone. Save any emotional hyperbole, impassioned speeches and long-winded takes of passion, desire and perseverance for late night deep talks with your besties. I do not need your life story, every single hardships you have faced and a chronological listing of your favorite designers. I do need to feel like you are potentially capable of solving my challenges with competent, enthusiastic solutions.
Your cover letter should not read like the beginning of a novel, love story, creative writing assignment or multiple Pinterest inspirational quotes strung together.
Now go through and edit your language down further so that it is easy to skim and all your best qualities are on display. A great cover letter is personalized, personable and focuses on the amazing gifts and talents you bring to the table. Adopt a friendly yet professional tone and don’t be afraid to move beyond standard cover letter structure to make a real impression.
PS: Are you ready to land your dream PR job and have ongoing access to a committed, charismatic mentor (raises hand) ready and willing to help you navigate workplace woes and wonders? Then it’s time to become a Prismadonna.
Let’s hop on the time travel machine and take ourselves back to circa 2004 (a pre-Kardashian era when Paris and Nicole were a thing). PR professionals are dealing in paper, over-working the stapler and frantically printing and then mailing out press kits and pitches to the media. A massive, bulky computer is being used to connect with clients through email, AOL and Yahoo chat.
In this world, the role of the publicist was to secure client mentions in the newspaper, trade magazines, regional and national print magazines, morning shows and other TV opportunities. The coordination and coverage occurred between PR people, producers and editors, and were earned, or free (aside from the work performed by the PR pro).
However, by 2006, Twitter was a thing. Facebook had become more than a tool for college students, and Julie Fredrickson had started Coutorture, a fashion and beauty blogger network with 240+ blogs. Over the next decade, PR professionals expanded pitching to include bloggers and online websites. They became community managers on client Facebook pages and digital storytellers. Still, many opportunities could be secured without any money changing hands, i.e. managed through the traditional PR model.
These days, however, print magazines are folding and new content-rich websites run in constant competition over clicks. There is an ongoing release of new platforms to evaluate and contend with, including Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat and Periscope. The evolution of blogging from a passion project to a profitable business, as well as the concept of the influencer, means that increasingly sample product, events and interviews are not enough to land digital coverage. And so, PR strategy must take advantage of earned media while also turning its attention to an increasingly paid model of promotion.
The lines between earned and paid media are so blurry right now you might need special glasses to make sense of it all. While some still harbor the belief that social media in nothing more than a skill set possessed by your average teen, whether we like it or not, paid media is the new model for PR.
In order to stay competitive, publicists must begin to think about their profession as inclusive of marketing and advertising strategies, and become competent in the related software, tactics and best practices to entice clients to stay loyal and continue operating these efforts underneath the PR umbrella.
While some still harbor the believe that social media in nothing more than a skill set possessed by your average teen, whether we like it or not, paid media is the new model for PR.
To help with this shift in perspective, here’s a quick reframe of how paid media can be great for PR:
Finally, we can take advantage of one of the biggest advertising benefits out there; control over the message. When working on a sponsored Instagram post, for example, you can get explicit about what the image should and shouldn’t look like, going as far as to require approval on images before they are published.
Online media, whether Facebook ads or a Pinterest contest, offer you a better opportunity to evaluate the success of your program through digital analytics. Even a digital press release will give you insight into how many people viewed your release, where it appeared online, the number of unique visitors and monthly page views.
Instead of sending out a pitch, crossing your fingers and hoping to land coverage, your budget ensures that content will be created, published and targeted at the right audience. As a result, paid-for media can seed content to create a traction for wider transmission and engagement.
In an increasingly paid model, true earned media becomes elevated. As a skill set of PR professionals who understand the subtle nuance of the practitioner-editor relationship, we are explicitly equipped to continue to provide this service for clients, unlike advertising or marketing professionals who are approaching brand building from an entirely different perspective.
The paid space has become a gray area that many are still debating, but it isn’t a secret that PR has evolved into an advertorial arena. If agencies don’t embrace the shifting paradigm, they will be left in the dust on promoting their clients to the best of their abilities.
About Bryanne Lawless
After graduating from UCSD with a degree in Communications, Bryanne moved home to L.A. and immediately got a job at a PR firm in Beverly Hills. After realizing something was missing, she started her own local event production company. While running her new successful business she was offered a position at a newspaper/media giant that she could not refuse. Hard at work in the center of an editorial industry, Bryanne learned to navigate the intricacies of the publishing world, getting to know the habits of editors and the retail, beauty, and lifestyle brand industries. In 2013 Bryanne opened BLND Public Relations in 2013 to focus on what she loves most, lifestyle brands. Be sure to check out Bryanne and and the BLND team on Instagram and Twitter.