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

communication awards, bias

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

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

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

So let me make it easy on you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Come check out the BCAs now!

Multiple Openings

Position: Multiple
Company: Hemsworth
Location: Ft. Lauderdale & Atlanta
Learn more

PR Mavens We Love: Alexandra Lasky, The Influence

Industry veteran Alexandra Lasky is President and Co-Founder of the influencer marketing agency, The Influence. Formerly VP at her previous firm for 5 years prior to starting her own agency, Alexandra is a West Coast transplant from New York, where she spent years agency-side across fashion, lifestyle and hospitality sectors.

Read on to learn how she knew it was time to move on from traditional PR and exciting recent partnerships with Audrina Patridge and Hillary Duff, just to (name) drop a few!

Name: Alexandra Lasky
Title: President, Co-Founder
Location: Los Angeles
Education: University of Massachusetts Amherst, School of Management, BA Marketing
Company: The Influence
Instagram:
@alilasky @theinfluence
Twitter:
@alilasky, @theinfluence

How did you come to start your own agency?

I had spent five years as Vice President of my former agency when I was approached by an investor who wanted me to start my own agency. He came to the table with the offer to back me and partner with me, it was an opportunity I couldn't pass up.

I wanted to shift my focus into the influencer marketing category, moving away from traditional PR, and so The Influence was created.We provide our clients with unmatched access to an expansive network of tastemakers that includes everyone from high-profile actors to niche bloggers.

It has been an incredible journey thus far.

What are your daily responsibilities?

I oversee client acquisition and communications, event coordination, ideation, media outreach, strategy, influencer activations, social media consulting, talent wrangling, talent branding, content creation, employee supervision...its endless.

How is your agency structured?

We are a multifaceted agency with three key areas of focus, with influencer marketing/talent brand partnerships our main entity, along with event services and public relations services. We cater to our clients on a case by case basis.

What is the mood like in the office? What are you working on right now?While we have a job to do, we also encourage our employees to have fun - we want them to enjoy the task at hand. The mood is always exciting, encouraging and creative, We are working on a variety of fashion, beauty and lifestyle projects which keep our days very busy.

Right now, we have several projects at the upcoming Coachella festival we are working on in particular.

it is not all fabulous parties and open bars. Feature stories do not just appear overnight.

 

What are a few recent success stories?

I'm very proud of the privilege it was to launch my dear friend Audrina Patridge's Prey Swim line. We launched the new luxury swimwear collection in late November for Resort 2017, with coverage spanning WWD to The Daily to Vogue.com to Refinery29, Dujour and many more.

It has been so exciting to be a part of this journey with her. We just launched a partnership with Revolve, and we are working on activations at Miami Swim Week, Coachella and beyond for the brand.

I'm also thrilled to have just been a part of Joico haircare's Blonde Life product launch with Hilary Duff, #LiveTheBlondeLife. There is no one that embodies that of the perfect blonde more than Hilary, with her bubbly and kind, contagious spirit. This sensibility also extends to hair stylist Riawna Capri, owner of NineZeroOne salon, who was the perfect addition to this partnership. It was such a fun project to be involved with (and Hilary's new brighter and lighter locks look gorgeous!).

 

Most glamorous moment in your career thus far?

This is also a hard one, as I am fortunate to have been involved in so many incredible events and client activations, as well as an invited guests at a variety of top tier, A list events.

Two things that come to mind are working as a talent publicist on the Golden Globes red carpet this past awards season and attending Paris Fashion Week last season on behalf of clients. Both of these were glamorous and amazing experiences. 

Least glamorous moment in your career?

I would just say all the nitty gritty that goes into the marketing, events and PR world. Even as a company president, you need to prepared to get your hands dirty.

Outside of work, I often volunteer as part of the West Hollywood Food Coalition, serving dinner to the homeless as part of an assembly line. This is not glamorous by any means, but it is an important organization in our community.

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

You just have to remember that at the end of the day, things happen. It is a pressure filled industry, and although every decision should be carefully thought out, we are not performing heart surgery. You need to find a way to fix the issue, resolve the problem at hand, and move on without overreacting. Stress will only lead to rash decisions. I believe there is always a way to work something out and keep everyone happy.

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

The Glam App - an on demand beauty app, where you can order hair, nails or makeup to your home, hotel or office on the fly. Available in 22 cities, the service always comes in handy for last minute needs.

I could not live without IMBD Pro, a must have tool in the entertainment industry.

And then Post Mates, for any type of delivery need you have - from food to office supplies - it is a virtual assistant app essentially.

A few more - Uber of course, and the app Hotels Tonite - which allows you to book rooms at 5 star hotels at the last minute. All the hotels you want to stay at in any city offer rooms at very discounted rates, so you never have to worry when booking last minute client travel.

What do you wish more people understood about your job?

Working in the fashion/entertainment space is not all fabulous parties and open bars. Feature stories do not appear overnight. There are so many elements that go into everything we do. So much time spent organizing, pitching, budgeting, coordinating, building relationships, understanding clients and achieving goals.

Succeeding in this industry requires patience, excellent multi-tasking abilities and a mind that thrives under pressure.

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

There is a very exciting shift right now in the industry due to the continued growth in the importance of social media in all elements of the industry. It has been exciting to launch a new agency at the time in which we did, and has allowed us to offer services to so many clients spanning the fashion, beauty and hospitality space.

I look forward to the continued growth of influencer marketing, and how we will push forward with new innovative techniques.

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

One challenge has been the constant folding of well respected, established traditional media outlets. The industry needs to grasp the changing landscape, and overall there are many traditionalists that are not moving as quickly as they should - both on the PR and the media side. The news outlets feeling the affects, need to adopt to the transition as well. They need to be able to support their print books with their online platforms, utilizing the influencer space at hand, in order to keep their brands relevant and trending.

The industry needs to grasp the changing landscape, and overall there are many traditionalists that are not moving as quickly as they should - both on the PR and the media side

What advice do you have for your younger self?

Wow. So many things, not sure where to start! One thing I would have told my younger self would be to worry less about what industry peers think, as everyone will have their own opinion, their own thought process, their own ideas. Trust your instincts and set your sites high. Your gut is usually right in this field and if you can envision something, you can create that result.

Anything else we should know?

We are definitely looking for intern candidates to join our LA team. Applications can be sent to contact@theinfuence.com..In addition to the services discussed, we also offer eCommerce and digital marketing consulting.

Thanks, Alexandra!

6 Simple Ways to Boost Your Professional Reputation (+ 15 Resources)

You know those people who seem to show up, out of nowhere, everywhere you look? There they are, quoted in that feature about the latest marketing trend, then smiling out at you from their gorgeous new office space in your favorite design blog, later checking in at the airport on the way to keynote a conference (while dropping major hints on that they are not being paid in exposure. Ahem.).

Working in communication, we understand that perception is often reality; and that the real story is often anything but the shiny headshot, the glossy pull-quote. It’s hard work, hits and misses, late nights, moving mountains for a media opportunity, and the occasional burnout easily hidden by the right Instagram filter.

And yet, when everything starts moving, the parts aligned just so to set it all in motion, there’s nothing quite like riding the interest wave (something you no doubt understand from making it happen for your brands place).

If you’re interested in getting to that next level in your own career, there are definitely a few things you can do right now to fast-track the process.

1. Start by sharing your story

My guess is that if you chose a career in public relations or marketing, you consider yourself a pretty good writer. This is great news, because one of the easiest ways to start to build industry interest is by submitting articles to relevant publications, and filling out career profiles.

Sites like Ideamensch, Career Contessa, and PR Couture all make it super easy to submit your information for a feature. This is a great way to start building your own arsenal of press hits which will help you with #2.

2. Land speaking opportunities

Armed with a few industry press hits, a speaker sheet (similar to a one-sheet or fact-sheet) with a few topic ideas you’d be happy to present to a crowd, you can easily begin reaching out to local PR and marketing organizations, as well as regional and national conferences, to explore opportunities for you to be a featured speaker, moderator or panelist.

If you’re unsure what you want to speak about, I highly recommend the book Transformational Speaking by Gail Larsen, and this free course on landing your first speaking gig by Dr. Michelle Mazur.

3. Invest in a support system

We all know that success doesn’t happen in a vacuum. The more people you have rooting for you, helping you and connecting you to their networks, the more possibilities open up. Whether you sign up for a workshop, join a business mastermind group online, or commit to monthly strategy sessions with a handful of other industry experts you trust, make sure you that operation YOU isn’t a solo operation.

Call me biased, but for entry-level women seeking help landing their first job, the PRISM course + alum community cannot be beat. Jeneration PR has a wonderful Facebook group for brands and business owners seeking DIY publicity. Breakfast lecture series Creative Mornings is a monthly happening in cities across the world and a wonderful chance to be inspired before 9 am. For those lucky enough to be in NYC – the programming available at The Wing deserves your attention.

4. Become an Award-Winner

The distinction of winning an award instantly sets you apart. From PRSSA Awards I won during graduate school to Blogger of the Year in 2010, and being named a  local San Diego”40 under 40,” I’ve enjoyed the curiosity that builds from being listed as one to watch. I still get asked about these accolades, years later, and where appropriate, they still merit a mention on my resume and bio. We’d certainly love to honor you through our Individual Award category as part of the Bespoke Communication Awards this year – Top Communicator of the Year has a pretty nice ring to it!

5. Meet major players through volunteering

Did you catch all our SXSW coverage through Instagram Stories? Our on-site correspondent Amanda Nelson has volunteered for several years on the Press Team – giving her access to all conference events and a ton of key folks working behind the scenes. She’s actually built her career on connections made while volunteering. Whether you choose an event, or to join the board of a non-profit that aligns with your own values, the more you expand your network, the more extensive your options.

6. Identify out of the box media opportunities

You’re no stranger to what would make for a great client media opportunity – and now it’s time to turn the tables back on yourself. The quickest way to a potential client or recruiting opportunity may have very little to do with a traditional PR or marketing story – and everything to do with a personal hobby, big life changes (having a baby, remodeling a new home, carrying around a cardboard cut-out of Barak Obama). From signing up for HARO to joining Media Leads and exploring podcasts, keep your eyes and ears peeled for new publications and quotable opportunities outside your regular area of expertise.

Implementing just a few of these strategies will help you begin the task of capturing media and prospective clients and company attention. We look forward to supporting you through the BCAs!

That #Sponsored Life, New Artistic Director at Givenchy & Best Brand Activations at SXSW

Fashion PR Marketing News

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

...for the week of February 6, 2017

  • Networking takes work. These tips can help you make the process more painless and easy (via Moo)

6 Tips + Tricks to Improve Media Outreach Results

In public relations, we rely so heavily on email that breaking through the noise in an inbox is a constant challenge. Whether reaching out to an editor, influencer or consumer audience, everyone wants hyper-relevant content and products that serve their specific needs, wants, and desires. As communication experts, our challenge is to combine the messaging and branding of our client’s businesses with a compelling, relevant writing that captures interest and makes it easy for our intended recipient to take the next step.

These days, a successful publicist must not only write exceptional pitches and press releases, but various forms of marketing content intended for consumers. At BLND, we believe this skill comes down being a great writer; someone who can write business communication and creative copy with ease.

Here are 6 tips and tricks to becoming an even better writer.

1. Pretend you are the intended recipient

It’s no secret that sending out the same standard pitch to 100 media contacts will get you pretty much nowhere. Instead, it’s up to you to really delve deep into understanding the challenges, interests, and motivators of your intended audience. Get underneath their skin, try on their perspective, and modify your writing to appeal directly to your recipient

In practical terms, make sure that your media list is filled only with reporters or editors that are the perfect fit for the news you are sending to them. You cannot rely solely on media databases or other programs to ensure information is updated, so do a double check on personal social accounts, review recently written articles, and confirm your pitch angle meets their needs.

For consumer content like social media posts or a marketing newsletter, pay attention to the language your target audience is using on their own accounts, hold a virtual focus group or have a brand ambassador program you can rely on to get instant feedback on your language before putting it out to your mass audience.

2. Master the Business Personal voice

While the information in your writing needs to be informative, resist the urge to be overly formal. Instead, use the background reconnaissance you did for your media list and set a personal yet professional tone in your opening paragraph.

You may start with the fact that you took the time to read their last article, noting specifically what you enjoyed about it. And then mention that your client has a similar story and/ or product that you wanted to run by them for a potential new story. Don’t simply re-write the title of the article – that makes it obvious that you simply copied and pasted to make it  seem like you read it. Take the time to summarize and use a nugget of information from their article that points out the connection of why you’re reaching out to begin with.

3. Concise and Clear, Always

Time is of the essence, especially when a reporter or editor is on a deadline. The only thing that separates us from salesmen are the authentic relationships we build with the media for mutual beneficial purposes.

You may be an incredible creative writer, but now is not the time to showcase your comfort with metaphors and adjectives. Make the pitch brief. Use clear language and focus on the key messages and brand information that express exactly how and why your client is a fit for their beat. 

Before you press send, do a once-over and eliminate any especially long sentences, confusing structures or unnecessary fluff.

4. Add A Visual

Our attention spans have sunk with the rise of technology and impact of information overload. This means that even the best worded pitches cannot compete with a stunning product photo.  

5. Ask For Feedback

We are not mind readers, so don’t feel bad if you get a negative response back, even if you’ve done your due diligence to find the best person to pitch. This is not a defeat, it is a conversation opener. Send that person an email back asking them what they are currently working on and if they need any help on that piece — you never know if you might have another client that could fit perfectly. Be sure to update your notes, so the next time you reach out, you can use it in your introduction to create continuity.

6. Schedule A Meet Up

Reporters and editors are people too! Ask them out for coffee or to grab drinks after work one night and learn a little bit about them, what they enjoy writing about, what they are currently writing about. Authentic interest and in-person time will help you build a relationship with them for future conversations because you’ll no longer be pitching them, but asking them if they have room or time to include your client in their story.

Multiple Openings

Position: Multiple
Company: CLD PR
Location: Los Angeles
Learn more

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

Written by Brittany Sierra

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

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

1. Have plenty of inventory for key pieces

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

2. Audit Your Social Media Accounts

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

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

3. Make it easy to shop for editor favorites

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Capture site visitors

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

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

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

Lifestyle Account Coordinator

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

21 FREE Stock Image Resources for Social Media & Content Marketing

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

According to a study by Jeff Bullas,

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

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

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

Royalty Free Images for Instagram & Beyond

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

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

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

Over 400,000 free images and illustrations.

Free do whatever you want, high resolution photos.

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

Free stock images in your inbox.

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

Over 350,000 free images for commercial use.

Free unrestricted stock images and vectors.

Good photos, totally free.

335 Million free stock photos.

Stock images and illustrations at your fingertips. 

Graphic Icons for Content Marketing and Beyond

 

Icons neatly categorized for ease of use.

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

Multitude of icons at your fingertips.

411 carefully premium pictograms by Daniel Bruce.

150,000 free icons, access anytime.

Premium icons for free.

Search thru featured collection for your next advertorial.

Discover 3523+ free simple icons on 254 collections.

Please enjoy the list!

About the Author:

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

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Fashion PR Marketing News

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

…for the week of March 6, 2017

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

Multiple Openings

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

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

Written by Tessa Bonnstetter

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

And I was. But in a different way.

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

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

1. No idea is a dumb idea

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

2. Your team is everything

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Professional growth starts NOW

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

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

5.  You must be your own biggest fan

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

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

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

About Tessa

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

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

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

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

How did you get the job you have now?

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

What are your primary responsibilities?

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

How is your department/agency structured?

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

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

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

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

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

Most memorable/meaningful moment in your career thus far?

Hiring my first employee; that meant we were growing!

Most glamorous moment in your career thus far?

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

Least glamorous moment in your career?

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

 

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

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

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

Instagram, ScannerforMe, Google Drive and VSCO.

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Instagram, ScannerforMe, Google Drive and VSCO.

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

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

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

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

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

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

What advice do you have for your younger self?

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

Anything else we should know?

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

Thanks, Karine!

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

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

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

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

In a word, experiences.

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

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

1. Develop a “can’t say no” concept

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

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

2. Cut costs with partners

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

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

3. Detail out – and pitch – the opportunity

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

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

4. Build out your itinerary with photo ops in mind

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

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

5. Invest in on-site management

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

6. Follow up and Follow-through

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

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