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

PR Entry Level Social Media Checklist

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

Why?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Ensure Your Information is Updated and Consistent

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

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

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

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

Do These 3 Things to Run a Successful Fashion PR Showroom

Organizational Tips for Fashion Showroom Success

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

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

Track all Inventory

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

Be a Stylists’ best resource

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

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

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

Report results

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

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

PR Account Supervisor, Fashion & Accessories

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

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

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

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

…for the week of May 9, 2016

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So why was it done this way?

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

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

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

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

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

Well… except a unicorn, nothing tops a unicorn.

About Elyse

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

 

 

PR Account Director

Position: PR Account Director
Company: Elite Associates
Location: New York City, New York
Learn more

What it’s Really Like to Be a Social Media Manager

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

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

What does a social media manager do?

 

Here’s what Brittany does on the daily:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PR Couture Summer Intern

Position:  PR Couture Summer Intern 
Company: PR Couture
Location: Virtual
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Ellen’s New Network, Top 100 Authentic Brands & That Free Leggings Ad

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

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

…for the week of May 2, 2016

  • Hey there new PR Grads, you’ve heard of leaning in, but do you know how to Sit Up for career success? RED PR founder Julia has your back (via RED PR)
  • Since 2012, Cohn & Wolfe has studied authenticity as a guiding principle and business practice. The new study includes the top 100 most authentic brands among consumers. You’ll want to review the findings in time for Monday’s team meeting. (via Cohn & Wolfe)
  • Are Millennial Geeks a target audience on your radar? Here’s why they should be. (via YPulse)
  • Have you put down $20 in shipping for your pair of free luxury leggings? Here’s what’s behind the Facebook marketing tactic. (via Fashionista)
  • Activists are protesting working conditions at H&M; almost all of the retailer’s factories remain behind schedule in carrying out mandated—and life-saving—renovations. (via Ecoterre)
  • “Advertising has a very long history of dovetailing and co-opting feminist movements.”  What’s your take on so-called Marketplace Feminism? (via HuffPo)
  • Mother’s Day stats for Marketers? We’ve got ’em. (via The Shelf)
Courtesy of: The Shelf

 

How to Talk to Strangers: Industry Networking Tips for PR Grads

Public Relations Networking PR Grad Jobs

Part of being a successful publicist is having a killer network, so it’s critical to know how to quickly build and maintain rapport with those in and outside of the industry. Your network will become your source for under-the-radar job openings, client referrals and new projects as well as insider intel.

Gone are the days of happy hour networking events with name badges and awkward elevator pitches. Who has the time? Most often, your connections are going to come from taking advantage of any and all opportunities during your regularly-scheduled life, as well as PR industry events and conferences. It’s part of your job as a professional communicator to recognize a potential networking opportunity, interact on the fly and keep the conversation flowing.

While many PR professionals are natural connectors, it’s not an easy thing to simply walk up to someone at an event and strike up a conversation. But, practice makes perfect.  My top tip is to find a place of mutual connection – whether commenting on the event that brought you together, offering a quick compliment on a great pair of shoes, or asking for help choosing an Instagram filter.  Then relax and let the discussion run it’s course. Whatever you do, don’t make the mistake of going into “pitch mode” when you first meet someone. Your goal isn’t to sell yourself, or your clients, it’s about authentic engagement and connecting with likeminded professionals in your field.

Gone are the days of happy hour networking events complete with name badges and awkward elevator pitches.

The next time you are in a position to make a connection, adhere to these dos and donts:

DO share a little bit about yourself and your company with people you meet. Give them something to remember you by with a beautifully designed business card, and let them know how they might be able to help you.

DO share information about upcoming projects or launches that may be of interest. However, make sure you are sharing, not selling.

DO follow-up via email in a timely manner with any connections that you want to maintain. Move the conversation forward by sharing resources, asking for help or putting a coffee date on the calendar.

DO remember that the people you meet at events may become your future colleagues or employers, so be on your best behavior. Be positive about any work experiences you have had to date, resist the urge to trash talk a poorly executed event as a means to form an easy connection.

DON’T dominate the conversation. Networking is not a monologue. By all means be interesting, but don’t do it at the expense of being interested in what others have to say. Always aim to listen more than you speak.

DON’T share your personal life story, struggles, health issues etc with someone you have just met. Be cognizant of how much you are speaking and if you’ve strayed too far off topic, bring it back to something relevant for both parties.

DON’T immediately look up your new connections on Facebook and send them a friend request or comment on an Instagram post from 3 weeks ago. Keep it professional and connect with new acquaintances on LinkedIn instead.

DON’T stalk your new connections on social media. Even if you’re doing so in the spirit of supporting the work they do, don’t overwhelm a new relationship with an abundance of likes and comments. Be genuine and give the new relationship room to breathe

If talking to new people at events terrifies you, chances are, you just aren’t doing it enough. The only way to build your network is to get offline, show up to events and meet people. Be genuine, let the conversation unfold organically and don’t forget to follow up when you meet someone fabulous! Have fun!

 

PR Industry News: Jeneration PR, RED PR & MONAT

Fashion, Beauty Kids Public Relations

Skip Hop, a global lifestyle brand devoted to designing innovative products for parents, babies and kids, has named Los Angeles-based Jeneration PR as Public Relations Agency of Record.

RED PR signs MB45, the go-to modern beauty studio for chic hair and nails in 45 minutes with highly-trained artists. It will open in June in Tribeca. Delilah Owens has joined the team as Senior Account Executive, bringing 5 years of solid agency experience in beauty and lifestyle. She was formerly with Elle Communications.

MONAT Global is a direct selling company founded in 2014 and focused on the development of high-quality, non-toxic hair care products. The company has won three Stevie Awards, including the GOLD award for Startup of the Year. The Stevies are given out annually by the American Business Awards.

 

PR Girls We love: Sabina Ellahi, PR Manager at MAKE UP FOR EVER

Beauty PR Makeup Forever Publicist Interview

While Sabina she didn’t immediately know that she wanted to enter the beauty PR realm, an early tendency to pocket high school lunch money for makeup was a strong clue. After internships at Marie Claire and Gucci, Sabina spent nearly six years working for top NYC PR agencies representing brands such as Essie, NYX Cosmetics, and Dolce & Gabbana Beauty. In 2015 Sabina joined the PR department at MAKE UP FOR EVER.

Sabina-MakeupforeverName: Sabina Ellahi
Company: Make Up For Ever 
Title: PR Manager
Education: BA University of Delaware, Journalism
Instagram: @sabinabean // @makeupforeverofficial
Twitter: @SabinaEllahi // makeupforeverus

How did you get started in PR?

I was a journalism major, so my intention was actually to go into traditional media. I wanted to go into hard news, but eventually settled on magazine editorial. My first internship was in the fashion closet at Marie Claire. I never thought about PR as a career until I saw the large number of agencies that repped the designers and brands I came into contact with while doing sample returns. It piqued my interest on exploring the other side.

I remember my journalism professors were a bit miffed that I was “selling” myself going into PR – but I convinced them otherwise. The following summer, I interned in the PR department at Gucci. There I learned the inner workings of the role and how to establish PR goals for a brand. I loved the notion of telling a brand’s story – whether through a seasonal collection, new launch, or brand initiative – and working with the press to get proper exposure. Part of the reason I loved journalism was because I loved storytelling. PR allowed me to continue to do that.  I really got to immerse myself into a brand and become passionate about making sure the brand was represented in all the right ways.

What is the mood like in the office?

We recently wrapped an event for an exciting new collaboration with Charli XCX. That event was fun! Now that the announcement is out we’re all working to continue to amplify the noise and build buzz around this collaboration, a few weeks ahead of the product launch. Meanwhile, we’re already planning events for our fall launches.

After all these years in PR, it’s still challenging to remember to always be thinking ahead, because so many things happen in the present that require your attention. That being said, the thinking ahead part is what will ultimately set your programming up for success. 

I loved the notion of telling a brand’s story – whether it’s through a seasonal collection, new launch, or brand initiative – and working with the press to get proper exposure.

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

I secured a full page feature for a widely known mass brand in Vogue last year. I got a fact check, but I assumed it was just for a small blip of a mention within the article. Then the beauty director at the time (Sarah Brown) sent me the issue with a note and lo and behold: there were the lipsticks from the brand I worked with all over the page! It was like opening a present on my birthday.

Beauty PR Makeup Forever PR Girl

What are you really good at?

Building relationships. It’s pivotal in PR to build and more importantly, maintain connections.

After all these years in PR, it’s still challenging to remember to always be thinking ahead, because so many things happen in the present that require your attention.

What’s been your most memorable moment in your career thus far?

I’ve built incredible relationships while working in this industry, both among my peers and with editors and bloggers – many of whom I now call my close friends. The humanizing aspect of building relationships within the professional realm (and this is not just in PR) tends to kind of get lost, but I always strive to maintain integrity and to be myself. After all, we’re all human – we have personal lives and stories that make us who we are.

Most glamorous moment in your career thus far?

I once had to get Chris Evans dress socks because he forgot to pack a pair for a fragrance press day we were having. I think this experience teeters between glamorous and not-at-all glamorous because on the one hand, I had to go buy someone socks. On the other hand, I spent the day with Captain America! That was fun. He was incredibly down to earth and easy to work with, which made the press day all the more enjoyable.

Least glamorous moment in your career thus far?

Peeling about 20,000 plastic wrappers off makeup products for backstage makeup kits before New York Fashion Week.

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

Almost all communication is digital now, which means sometimes messages can get lost in translation. There tends to be a lot of ambiguity within emails, texts – anything that happens digitally. I think it’s a cultural thing for women to dissect every word and punctuation (I sound like I’m talking about the problems of online dating – but that’s a conversation for another day). I still find that a simple phone call goes a long way. You’re able to communicate much more easily (and more quickly), and eliminate any issues of ambiguity. I hope that method doesn’t fade over time.

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

I know this is said over and over again, but it really is true – PR isn’t ER. We’re not performing brain surgery! It’s easy to get stressed out and worn down because so many things are happening and there are levels of expectations for you to be performing your best at all times. When I start to feel overwhelmed, stressed or see rejection come my way, I always make sure I remove myself from my desk and disconnect for a little bit. Giving myself time to think, decompress, and process what is happening allows me to reassess the situation at hand and come back with a solution (or in rare cases, acceptance of the situation). It also helps to remind yourself that you’re only human – we’re not robots. 🙂

I always strive to maintain integrity and to be myself. After all, we’re all human – we have personal lives and stories that make us who we are.

What are three must-haves that are essential to your job?

  • iPhone: Needs no explanation. It’s a powerful connectivity device. (Although I admit, sometimes I do long for the days of a flip phone because it was a simpler time).
  • Instagram: A given for any publicist! I love how clean and streamlined the app is. I still get captivated when I see some of the photography on there.
  • Feedly: I have hundreds of websites that I want to check out on a daily basis, but unfortunately, time isn’t on my side. Feedly is an essential for me as it aggregates all the content from news sites and blogs into a cohesive feed, allowing me to skim through topline news and content from all of the sites I like to follow. It makes the news I want to keep up with very digestible for me.

What do you wish more people understood about PR?

People tend to glamorize PR – I blame TV and movies for that. In PR, there’s a high level of strategic thinking that happens daily – whether it’s figuring out the phasing of a launch roll out, how a collaboration announcement is made, or more generally how we communicate the brand story. With social in the mix, you have to weave all those elements into the larger business objectives.

The landscape is always evolving. We have to constantly make sure we’re not just up to date with the trends, but working ahead of them.

Makeup Forever Charli XCI

Charli XCX, Make Up For Ever

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

WWD is really the Holy Grail for me for when it comes to staying on top of industry trends. I was bummed when the daily editions went digital – but it makes sense in this climate. News rapidly travels in the internet age, and print simply doesn’t have the luxury of releasing news instantaneously.

On that note of instantaneous, shareable information – social platforms is also a crucial tool in our industry. Instagram and Snapchat gives me more intel than I’ve ever had access to about what’s going on across the industry – whether it’s events, new launches, even just the going ons within a publication. Talk about the era of sharing everything!

I also continue to maintain friendships with many of my peers in the business from past jobs. It’s like we all grew up together, starting from working as assistants to now working in mid and senior level positions. Since I’m so immersed in the world of color, it’s interesting to hear from my other peers about what trends are happening with skincare, hair and nails. The conversations we have helps me stay abreast of all the happenings in the entire world of the beauty business.

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

Stay hungry for knowledge – never stop thinking that there isn’t always something new to learn, no matter how far along you advance in your career. Because trust me, there is ALWAYS something new to learn.

Thanks Sabina!

 

What to include in a Modern Day Press Kit

Fashion Brand Press Kit Example

There was a time not that long ago when brands produced printed look books and press kits for every new collection launch or announcement and mailed them to all relevant media outlets.

While some brands still produce printed press materials, it’s becoming increasingly rare. More often, press materials exist in a digital format and are shared via email, a download link or publicly on a company website. Even though the format of press materials might evolve, the information that editors and journalists need about your clients and brands remains the same.

For new product launches or seasonal collection launches, a look book is a key part of a press kit. The look book should include images and style names of the key items you want to showcase to the press. Images of the collection can be shot on models or still life on a white background. All images in the look book should be available in a high resolution format, since many publications can use a brand’s product images for certain still life stories. Before you shoot a look book, consider the publications on the brand’s radar, and whether or not your concept would look at home within their pages.

Depending on the news you’re announcing, other key pieces of your press kit could include:

  • A media alert with event details. This document includes the who, what, where, when and why for the event your client is hosting. It’s used when trying to secure media to attend and cover an event.
  • A company history with key dates and background information about your client or brand.
  • Biographies for key executives at your client’s company.
  • Press releases announcing new collections and/or other important news from your client.
  • Multimedia materials including videos and high resolution images. If any of these materials require a photo or creator credit, make sure to clearly note it.

If your brand or client has the budget, consider building a dedicated press site that can be the destination for all of your latest press information including look books, press releases and high resolution images. Another option is to upload your press kit to a site like Issuu, or to use a file sharing service like Google Drive or Dropbox to host all of your client’s press information. What you don’t want to do is crowd your pitch with a host of attachments; make it easy for an editor to scan the information – all in one place – when she needs it.

Overall, when putting together a press kit, it’s always important to keep the media’s needs top of mind. Editors and journalists are very busy and they receive a huge volume of PR pitches every day, so anything you can do to make their lives easier will help increase your chances of coverage.

Editor Q&A: How to Pitch Mother Mag

James BleuBird Media Mother

Just in time for Mother’s Day, we’re especially excited for this How to Pitch Q&A with one of our favorite online destinations for modern moms. Founders Katie and James met at on a press trip – Katie was most recently the Senior West Coast Editor of Refinery29 and James is operates the successful blog Bleubird. Soon after, the two came together to launch Mother, a unique full-service, style-leaning parenting site.

Editor Interview with Katie and James, Mother MagName: Katie Hintz-Zambrano, James Kicinski-McCoy
Twitter: @mrszambrano, @bleubirdblog
Instagram: @katiehintzzambrano, @bleubird
Title: Founders
Publication: Mother
Circulation: Worldwide
Email: hello@mothermag.com
Twitter: @mothermagdotcom
Instagram: @mothermag

How do you prefer to receive pitches?

Katie: Via email and personalized! When I get an email that says ‘Dear Editor,’ or worse yet, ‘Dear Blogger,’ I hit delete! Please read our site and know what we would likely cover before sending a pitch over.

How far in advance do you work?

James: I prefer to have at least two weeks, so I can make sure that if a photoshoot needs to take place I can properly prepare, but one week ahead works just fine in many cases

What is the best time to send pitches?

Katie: I work around the clock (probably a bad thing!), so I could get something at 2pm or 2am, and I’ll see both!

PR tips with Katie, Mother Mag founder

Katie Hintz-Zambrano with her son 

What types stories/pitches are you looking for?

James: Anything that resonates with Mother and makes sense for our brand and audience, whether that be a lookbook of a new fashion line for women and/or children or a new beauty product launch.

What makes a great pitch?

Katie: I love when a publicist shows that they are clearly fans of the site and get what we do. It’s always nice when someone pitches a specific column or comments on a past article that they read. It shows they’ve done their homework and I’m much more likely to respond to those emails to show them that courtesy back. When people pitch a product or a person for the site, attaching images (the person with their family and interior shots of their home, if they are pitching a Mother Stories profile), is really key, as is having a link-out to the product/person’s website high up in the pitch.

If you are interested, what do you need to move forward?

James: Detailed brand and product information and samples that we choose ourselves, so we can shoot our own beautiful photography. In some cases, photos from the brand that match our aesthetic.

What is the best way for a publicist to build a relationship with you?

Katie: I think sending us personal notes about articles they liked (if it’s genuine) is always a nice thing. Again, it’s great to know that they get what Mother is all about. If your client wasn’t mentioned in an article that you think they could have been in, it’s okay to send a nice email about that, too!

For example, ‘Hey, I loved your article on toddler shoes. Would love for you to consider my client XYZ if you ever publish a follow-up piece!’ If I just honestly forgot about your client, I might even add them to the current article! That’s the beauty of the web. Also, we’ve started doing a lot of events, so helping support us with gift bag goodies, tabletop designs, and offering samples for shoots we might have is all really appreciated.

James BleuBird Media Mother
James McCoy with her 4 children

What is a guarantee that a publicist will never hear back from you?

James: I don’t like copy and pasted, impersonal pitches. Know who you are sending an email to and take the time to make sure that your pitch makes sense for our site and audience.

We’ve started doing a lot of events, so helping support us with gift bag goodies, tabletop designs, and offering samples for shoots we might have is all really appreciated.

What do you wish more publicists understood about Mother Magazine?

Katie: Mother is a very specific parenting website. It’s for smart women who also care about aesthetics. Just because your client makes a product geared towards mothers and children, doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll cover it. The same goes with venues. Sometimes I’ll get pitches about family resorts or hotels, but there’s really nothing cool about the property. We would never suggest that our readers use their hard-earned money to go somewhere that didn’t feel special and beautiful.

PS: Don’t miss out on our Parenting/Kids Media List, currently 20% off through Mother’s Day in the shop.