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

Hello my lovely PR Couture reader,

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

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

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

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

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

That's changed.

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

 

PR Couture 2006-2016

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

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

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

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

 

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

Celebrating 10 years PR Couture

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

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

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

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

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

None of us achieves anything alone.

So thank you.

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

Yup, you did that.

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

Love,

 

 

 

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

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.

TwitterFacebookWebInstagram

PR Industry News: Shout PR, Faulhaber & The Eighth Floor

PR Industry News Career Agency

PR AGENCY AND INDUSTRY NEWS

Shout PR is proud to announce will handle publicity for swim brand Elle Mer

At Faulhaber Communications, Lexi Pathak, has been appointed to Vice President and agency partner. Andrea Anders has been appointed to Vice President. Malania Dela Cruz joins the team formally as Director, West.

The Eighth Floor Strategic Communications announces it’s representation of women’s contemporary label Black Halo.


Do you have agency or industry news to share?
We would love to feature employee news, new client announcements, awards, partnerships and more!

Contact us at hello@prcouture.com

Make 2017 an Award-Winning Year (For YOU)

First, thank you so much for you support around our 10 year anniversary announcement last week.

And now I have some BIG news to share.

This is something I have wanted to do for YEARS and it's finally happening!

We are launching a global, online industry award program to celebrate and recognize excellence in fashion & lifestyle communications

We’re calling it the Bespoke Communication Awards.

The way we see it, most traditional PR award programs aren’t entirely relevant to our niche, while others put the emphasis on the brands themselves, neglecting to specifically call out the hard-working agencies, freelancers and other professionals making the magic happen behind-the-scenes.

Not so with the BCAs.

We have developed 4 categories tailor-made for our profession with 30 awards in total. Some are application-only and others are peer-nominated. Agencies, in-house teams, brands, individuals, media and vendors are all welcome to apply.

My hope is you'll find the perfect award or awards and get some well-dexerved recognize all your hard work.

Interested? Here's what to do next

We’ll be opening up call for entries in late February, so for now, head on over to our splash page and enter in your info to be automatically added to our BCAs updates list and get first dibs on applying.

The BCA Instagram is also up and running (as well as Twitter and Facebook).

Get Involved!

As a brand new program, we’re eager to welcome sponsors (agencies, brands, vendors all welcome) to help us bring the full vision to life. Interested? Email sponsors@thebspokeawards.com to get in on the ground floor.

Thank you again for helping us reach 10 years.

Now go sign up for BCA updates. I cannot wait to showcase the best of the best talent and creativity from within our own space. 

 

How To Create The Kind of Office Space PR Girls Dream About

Many of us spend more time at the office than in our own homes. As such, creating an office space that everyone (executives, interns, editors, clients and stylists) love can help makes the long hours and hard work that much more enjoyable. According to the Harvard Business Review, ‘face-to-face interactions are by far the most important activity in an office.’ Their data suggests that "creating chance encounters and unplanned interactions between knowledge workers, both inside and outside the organization—improves performance.”

With this in mind as an interior designer, my approach to an office space is to create a space that inspires and is the catalyst for thoughtful conversations and interesting ideas.

Recently I had the opportunity to work with Sara Andréasson and Jill Cooper, co-founders of Michele Marie PR. They expressed a need for a more creative, fashion forward office space. They had grown tired of working with a formal desk set up in their Beverly Hills office. As a PR agency specializing in editorial, celebrity, and social media press in the fashion, beauty and lifestyle industries, they felt they needed a more open and inviting space to create a collaborative environment for both employees and clients.

Designing a New Office Space

A few key questions can help get to the heart of design inspiration.

  • What is the goal/role of having an interior designer?
  • What is the mood or emotion of the space?
  • What are we trying to accomplish?
  • What is your number one priority for this project?

After this initial conversation with Sara and Jill, I found that the biggest challenge during this project would be incorporating two different aesthetic preferences into one shared office space and lobby (a common occurrence among clients). It was also important to find a balance between appealing to both women and shining a spotlight on their expertise through the clients they represent.

Key Design Considerations for Creative Agencies

We all felt it was important to create a stylish space that would not distract from the various apparel and accessory lines MMPR represents. This is important because clients should never feel like they are competing for the spotlight with the agency that is suppose to represent them, or that there is a preference for one client over the other.

Great offices act as a visual extension of a company’s brand so focus on cultivating an atmosphere that captures your company essence and energy. The women pulled inspiration from Soho House West Hollywood, but expressed a desire for a brighter alternative. A key objective was ensuring the design was streamlined to fit five to six people comfortably in the main meeting space.

Additionally, Jill and Sara wanted their office space to feel fashion-forward. Both needed an executive office that was comfortable and feminine while still being functional for small meetings. To achieve this, we kept the common areas neutral and added in more personal elements into the executive office design.

Accolades and art

Incorporating meaningful items, awards and media hits in a tasteful manner can be a challenge for agencies. A great solution is to treat items as a collection and display them in a concentrated area. First you should determine:

  • What elements are personal and belong in office spaces?
  • What accolades are beneficial for a client to see?
  • What belongs in the more communal spaces?

And then chose areas that makes sense for the given item. Personal elements like thank you notes might be more appropriate as a gallery wall in an executive's office, while awards are great to display in spaces prospective and current clients are likely to glimpse—think lobby or conference room adjacent or even a main corridor.

When displaying artistic pieces, floating shelves are a great solution because they have a minimalist profile and enable you to use a high quantity of items with similar scale. This provides the impact of a pattern and the function of accessorizing without cluttering or detracting from the rest of the space.

Consider First Impressions & Public Spaces

MMPR is a PR agency which embraces new concepts, so I was working with both mixed-use spaces (with an open layout), and private areas designated for offices and meetings. As a result, a core objective was to create continuity between rooms while also taking into account their various functions. However, I faced a bit of a challenge because MMPR is not only used as an office, but also a showroom. Celebrity stylists frequently visit the space to see the various clothing, beauty and accessories that MMPR represents. Because of this it was crucial the lobby remain neutral.

Clients should never feel like they are competing for the spotlight with the agency that is suppose to represent them, or that there is a preference for one client over the other.

The lobby is the place everyone walks through, so it's important that if feel inclusive. We wouldn't want to alienate a menswear or traditional corporate client by going over the top with pink toned hues or boundary-pushing art in the entryway. Save that for executive offices that allow more room for personal leanings. Keep your public domains inviting and unbiased with colors like grey and white.

To maximize the lobby space, which I knew had to function as both a waiting room and workroom, we added a divider to create this separate space. The new area now became multiple functional (such as an assembly area for gifting) and left the main section of the lobby as a welcoming area for clients and guests. Jill and Sara have a great collection of industry books that shows off a passion for what they do. We turned the books into a display piece, a fashion library, in the lobby, to create a strategic focal point that also doubled as storage space.

Before the redesign, the reception desk sat behind the entryway. That is counter intuitive. If you walk into a room, your instinct is to keep walking towards your destination and so, we moved the desk around to be the first thing guests see when they walk through the door. Not only did this make more sense when considering the flow of the room, but it also created the opportunity of adding a multi-purpose room off to the side of the lobby. This extra space was perfect for client and stylists fittings; in the fashion industry in particular many people since are working on tight schedules and prefer to simply meet in the lobby to save time, instead of walking back through an office.

Don't forget about the hallways

Most people look to change obvious features like workstations or new furniture. However, it is important to take advantage of everything at your disposal in order to share your brand story. One way to do that is through hallway walls.

Sara and Jill have collected many mementos and client pieces through the years of MMPR being in business. Originally these items were piled into bookshelves in the lobby. In order to create a more organized and calming feel, we installed shelving along the walls of a corridor leading to the showroom. By displaying key pieces throughout the space instead of all lumped together, the brands were still on display but the display felt less chaotic. Hallway walls are a natural and unobtrusive way for clients, media, stylists and employees to interact with MMPR’s history. It also creates a seamless transition from space to space.

How to Make the most of smaller spaces and shared workplaces

For Sara and Jill’s office we really had to get creative in order to optimize the space for both solo and collaborative work. Their shared office is modestly sized and a vital need was functionality and spacing for group meetings. In order to reconcile needs with wants, we played around with the furniture. I chose lounge chairs that had narrower arms, but a fully supported back, rather than bulkier options. To subtly add depth without relying heavily on patterns, I used textural variety. This means is I selected one linen and one velvet version of the same chair. Textiles are a fun and integral aspect of adding variety and visual appeal to any space.

The hallway walls are a natural and unobtrusive way for clients, media, stylists and employees to interact with MMPR’s history. It also creates a seamless transition from space to space.

While a streamlined minimalist desk looks lovely, make sure such items are paired with a discrete storage system. Invest in a credenza that can also double as a filing cabinet.  In the co-founders office we selected a well disguised mini-file drawer that looks and functions as an accent table in the space.

If you’re considering an office redesign, here are a few things to keep in mind to make sure the transformation is dream-worthy. First, make sure you know what your brand is and stands for. Identify how the space, especially the lobby, reflects the voice of your brand. Balance beauty with functionality. If you are unsure of what to do and have the budget, seek the guidance of a pro, especially when it comes to purchasing expensive furniture.

The biggest mistake I see people make when redesigning is splurging too soon and then missing out on key essentials needed for the space. Another common mistake people make is overestimating how much space they really have and then try to jam in more furniture that leads to an overcrowded and overwhelmed look. Knowing dimensions and laying out your space is especially crucial if you have a small office space. It is essential to factor in the number of employees and how big your work area needs to be. This will really help you determine your furniture choices and how you will set up the functional flow of the space.

From there, identify all your employee work areas before designating conference rooms or lounges. When designing, be sure to keep public and private spaces at a safe distance. You want to avoid having external visitors walk past a space in which private client conversations are happening.

About Stefani Stein

Los Angeles-based interior designer Stefani Stein is known for her relaxed yet refined style that has caught the attention of several celebrity clients over the years. Her modern touches intertwined with classic and unexpected elements make her a highly coveted designer for commercial and residential space design. Connect with her on Instagram @stefanisteinla.

Fashion PR Fridays Best of 2016 Edition

FASHION PR FRIDAY FEATURE IMAGE 4

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

…for the year!

  • “Over the last year, especially, digital upstarts have become increasingly entwined with the companies whose business models they are disrupting.” Find out who is behind some of your favorite sites (via Hollywood Reporter)
  • It’s time to get real; business advice agencies need to stop giving their clients (via The Drum)
  • Do you know what PR blogs your competitors are reading? (via Meltwater)
  • “Advertising has a very long history of dovetailing and co-opting feminist movements.”  What’s your take on so-called Marketplace Feminism? (via HuffPo)
  • Connected Clothing: The relationship between the fashion and tech industries continues to deepen (via PSFK)
  • Lessons learned after 10 years doing PR for Apple  (via Harvard Business Review)

PR Couture PR Girl New Year Shopping Guide

Products PR Girl Fashion Beauty

Now that the holiday rush is over and you're (hopefully) holding onto some end of the year gold in the form of a bonus check, here are a handful of self-gifting ideas to help ensure both your style and your career are ready to make in impact in 2017. Enjoy!

Quick Shopping Links

plan for success

January 2017 Flagship Edition: Palm, $59, Day Designer

the splurge

BOWEN NYC GOLD AND BLUE SAPPHIRE FLORET RING

Bowen NYC Small Floret Ring 8k yellow gold and .21 ct. diamond cut blue sapphires, $690, Bowen NYC

A Stylin' Course

 Yosi Samra Seleste Suede in Garnet Red, $118, available at Yosi Samra

Truly outrageous

Diana Vreeland Outrageous 50ml Perfume, $350, available at Diana Vreeland

Digital Protector

Brittany Eyeglasses with EBD Digital Protective Lenses, $38, available at Eye Buy Direct

Brush it off

Petite Brush Set + Faux Croc Case, Jenny Patinkin

Vacation vibes

Sea Sage Pillows, $130, Sea Sage

Future's Bright

covry KRAZ Mulberry

KRAZ Mulberry Sunglasses, $95, Covry

own your look

Custom Shampoo & Conditioner, $32, Function of Beauty

 

office supplies

Cresta High Waist Pencil Ponte Skirt, $115, Klarety

pack it up (pack it in)

M.R.K.T. The Mateo Mini Backpack in Charcoal/Iron

Mateo Mini Backpack, $69.50, M.R.K.T.

Lady in red

Mulan Heel in Red Volcano with Tassels, $268, VEERAH

 
 

Good Vibes

To Thine Own Self Be True Necklace, $79, Agooa

ALways on Time

Gold-Tone Bangle Bracelets & Watch, $150, Anne Klein, available at Macy's

pr girl domination

PR Online Classes Fashion PR

PRISM Self-Study PR Prep Online Course, $197, PR Couture

PR Girls We Love: Alyssa Baker, Riot Media Group

Riot Media GrouRiot Media Group PR Celebrity Eventsp PR Celebrity Events

Alyssa Baker runs Riot Media Group, a Los-Angeles based firm known for their extensive relationships with bloggers and influencers in addition to traditional PR and media and events. 

Working with Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, Alyssa has developed key relationships with top-tier media, influencers, bloggers and celebrities. Her background in journalism has served her well, crafting stories editors respond to, and quickly putting RIOT on the map since the firm's launch in 2014. 

Name: Alyssa Baker
Title: Founder
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Education: Indiana University; B.A. Communications & Journalism
Company: Riot Media Group
Instagram:
@riotmediagroup, @alyssabakerTV
Twitter:
 @riotmediagrp

How did you get started in the industry?

From a young age I knew I wanted to carve a path in media relations, thanks to an award-winning Journalism teacher I was lucky to have in high school back. From then on, I solely focused on making it happen. One connection led to another and I landed my first internship at Fox TV Studios as the assistant to the head of global marketing the summer after my sophomore year of college. After that, I was obsessed with PR and Los Angeles, and made the move for good the following summer. I finished school early and got right to work, which is what I always wanted anyways. It was an amazing experience and further ignited the fire already burning inside me.

What led you to start Riot Media Group?

I worked at a handful of boutique PR firms before making the jump to starting my own agency, and I learned something different from each one. Ultimately, I knew I had to try it my way. As an honest, straightforward person, the smoke & mirrors I saw at many PR agencies just didn't make sense to me. I created RIOT to challenge that notion that PR is artful deception- because it's not. The right PR and media strategy can make or break your brand and that's what many start-ups today don't understand. A lot of the success depends on the client relationship and vision. I pride my agency on having great relationships, not only with media, but with our clients. We think of ourselves as an extension of their brand.

As the founder, what is your main focus?

Oh boy, my responsibilities are across the board. There's honestly not much I don't do. I work on every facet of the business from managing staff to pitching clients to media, developing new business relationships, accounting, and social media management, to taking out the trash, there's literally no part of this business that I don't touch.

I created RIOT to challenge that notion that PR is artful deception- because it's not.

 

How is RIOT Structured? What's the mood like in the office?

We are structured by categories- beauty, fashion, tech, health & wellness and consumer lifestyle brands. PR is a crazy industry and calm days are rare, but we always have fun. There's no point in working the crazy, stressful hours we do if we're not enjoying it; that leads to burnout. I love the saying, "this is PR, not ER" but sometimes that's hard to remember when you're caught up in a difficult situation.

What type of person thrives at RIOT?

Someone who is organized, passionate and intelligent. Common sense will take you so far here! Also, someone who wants to make PR and media relations their career- that is a requirement at RIOT. I see a lot of girls come through our doors thinking it's going to be an Instagram-worthy party every day. Those girls usually quit by the second week. That is NOT reality. The reality is sending hundreds of emails per day, organizing detailed spreadsheets, creative writing, and perfecting communication skills constantly. I seek out individuals who are self-motivated but also know how to take direction and respect authority. I'm very much for learning along the way- nothing beats experience!
 

 

What has been the most meaningful moment in your career thus far?

There have been so many remarkable moments, but RIOT's first press preview, our 'coming out' party if you will, is probably the most memorable. We took over a huge space in Santa Monica by the ocean and pulled out all the bells and whistles. The support we received was overwhelming and helped give me the confidence to know I made the right move. A few weeks later we were hired to produce Galore Magazine's Miami Swim Week events. That week was one of the best of my life

What's a recent success story that makes you particularly proud?

This past summer we were hired to create a series of pool parties for a national radio app in Miami and Los Angeles. We didn't have the budget to also book A-list celebs so we developed a strategy that included booking specific talent (within our budget) in hopes that their celebrity friends would come along and support the event. The strategy worked and we secured A-list celebrities at no cost to the client. This approach led to more than 4.8 million media impressions, including attention from outlets such as E! News, Glamour, Buzzfeed, Celebuzz, Seventeen and more. I received texts and emails for weeks that we threw the best party of the summer!

How do you stay on top of industry trends? 

I read constantly! Inc, Forbes, Fast Company, Fashionista, WWD, Refinery29, The Zoe Report... read, read, read! I'm excited for more brands to dive into video and smarter PR/marketing. I still see such disconnect on so many levels, in fashion PR specifically.

What do you wish more people understood about PR?

We cannot make miracles happen. The media landscape has changed drastically, even in the last 2-3 years. Much of what you see online is sponsored posts or inclusions of brands that also pay for some type of advertising within that outlet.

Small brands are having a harder time competing with large companies because they simply cannot afford the advertising costs, so they put all their eggs (and expectations) in the PR basket. PR is not a solution to advertising. All the pieces of the puzzle must be put together to see the best results and return on ROI.

What’s the biggest challenge facing communicators right now?

The constant news cycle is making it harder and harder for publicists to connect with the correct editor. Hearst just combined 5 women's focused editorial teams into one! Databases like Cision are not consistently updated and are not as useful as they once were. 

Also, unqualified publicists and social media managers are flooding our field and decreasing our worth. Clients do not understand how media works (that's partly why they hire us) and can have a hard time understanding the value we bring to their brands when we secure top-tier press. When they are then approached by a publicist offering to do a $2,500 job for $500, it's a disservice to all of us. 

I see a lot of girls come through our doors thinking it's going to be an Instagram-worthy party every day. Those girls usually quit by the second week.

 

PR Can Be Full of rejection, how do you deal?

Ok, let's talk about rejection first. As someone who grew into being a perfectionist, I used to take rejection really personally. Now, I don't. As you grow in this industry you really do realize that everyone has a job to do and goals to meet. If your pitch isn't working, it's most likely not that the journalist hates you, it's just that the angle won't garner the clicks the outlet needs. Revise the pitch and figure out another way to gain attention and earn that placement.

Now stress. PR is very stressful. As an agency owner I have a lot on my plate. From maintaining cash flow and the client roster to making sure the clients are always pleased with the placements we earn for them, at times it is tough to juggle it all. For years I worked day and night and put my personal life on the back burner and that's what NOT to do.

This year I really made a point to focus on me and figure out what else I love besides PR. I got a dog and he's the cutest. I make time for friends. I stopped being a flake on personal obligations and it has helped my stress level big time. Actually, the greatest thing has been my dog Elfie. 🙂

What advice do you have for someone inspired by your story?

You can literally do whatever you want in this life if you work hard enough. I grew up in the middle of corn fields but I had a passion and purpose and worked endlessly until I made my dream my reality. I am nowhere near where I want to be, but we're all a work in progress in this world. Stay focused, stay hungry and create your own destiny. It's all possible!

That said, if you want something bad enough, you - and only you - can make it happen. If you come to a roadblock and can't get through that next door, break the window! Perseverance is what separates the good from great. I moved to LA knowing one person and never looked back. My boss at FOX told me, "Fake it 'til you make it," and that is the best advice I have ever received. When you get intimidated, because you will at some point, fake that confidence until you believe in yourself as much as other people do. Also, just do great work. If you're proud of your work you will never have to make excuses for it!

Thanks, Alyssa!

 

Digital Story Coordinator

Position: Digital Story Coordinator
Company: Me by Design
Location: Freelance/Virtual
Learn more

3 Reasons to Start Your Agency Blog in 2017

PR Agency Blog Marketing New Clients Company Culture Firm

On top of all the content creation agencies do for clients, it is just as equally important to be creating as much (if not more) content in support of the agency itself. While a gorgeous Instagram feed is great, a more powerful content destination for prospective clients, talent and even media is through a company blog.

If the idea of managing yet another platform coupled with the concern that this takes time away from billable hours, here’s how we rationalize it at BLND: with all the incredible information, insights and expertise our teammates have, blog posts should not take more than 30 to 40 minutes to complete. Even though this time is not being billed, it will be compensated when an abundance of new revenue is coming in due to client recommendations, online professional networking, and increase in SEO because of the amount of content getting pushed out through our blog.

A Blog Invites Agency Discovery via Search

How: By writing blog articles that are relevant and related to your company, industry, and the services you provide, you become an instant resource for prospective clients. As you write consistently, using industry keywords, compelling headlines and sharing articles through social media,  you support your agency’s discovery through organic search. This means that when a potential new client goes to search for a PR firm with your capabilities, their entry point could be through a blog article you’ve written called something like, “6 Things To Know Before Hiring a Lifestyle PR Firm.”

Another smart strategy is to write quick insightful reads that benefit a wider audience. Topics can include industry news, listicles of favorite products/apps, Tips and Tricks, How To’s, etc. Just be sure to write consistently.

One of the reasons why BLND believes in the importance of SEO content curation is because we have been able to secure new business by having written blog content with SEO keywords towards the industries we represent. Within the first month of posting this way, we signed three new clients. Increasing search results for your agency will increase new client leads. Simple as that.

A Blog Showcases Agency Accomplishments

How: Instead of waiting for an award submission or pitching a trade publication to cover your latest accolades, write up the news yourself.

Current clients always love to know what their agency is up to and potential new clients want to get to the know the personality of the firm they may want to be working with soon. Take a screenshot of the press hit or the blogger/influencer who has shared the company’s services/product and create a blog post around it. Summarize the press hit and highlight the company’s name by linking it back to their website. Make sure to not only do this for your clients but for your company and teammates as well. If your agency has a press hit or has a mention elsewhere, highlight that in a blog post. Your agency news is just as important as client news.

Within the first month of posting this way, we signed three new clients.

A Blog Promotes Company Culture and Team Expertise

How: Utilize the best writers on your team to write content for the blog, invite top photographers to create stock photography to accompany articles and have your social media team weigh in on shareable headlines. A company blog is a place where your employees can demonstrate their skills and where you can trial out new plugins or media (cinemagraphs, anyone?). If the blog is a clear agency priority and a place for creative expression, team members will be eager to participate. Consider a weekly employee profile, “links we love,” “product essentials” or even playlists. This type of lifestyle and career content helps give a face to the name and a unique voice to the company, humanizing the people behind the services provided.

Convinced? Hold a team meeting to develop an internal blog strategy. Determine a goal, develop recurring topics, decide on a manageable post-schedule and how you will determine success. A shared blog calendar will help you to keep track article ideas and assignments.  Then, it’s time to install a blog on your agency website and publish your first post!

 

Social Ad Sales, Emotional Branding & Reflections from the Industry’s Elite

Fashion PR Articles News Industry

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

…for the week of December 19, 2016

  • How to use Facebook Live create a seamless media shopping experience for your audience (via Digiday)

  • Bobbi Brown’s letter to her younger self will inspire you to become the person you were meant to be (via i-D)

My First Day as a PR Assistant Account Executive

PR Job Entry Level First

If you’re gearing up for your first full-time PR job, you’re probably experiencing a fair amount of nerves, coupled with sporadic bouts of the what-ifs: What if I fail? What if I screw up? What if I can’t handle the workload?

To help calm your nerves, I’m giving you an inside peek what at my first day as an Assistant Account Executive at a PR agency was like. Enjoy (and major congrats on landing the position!).

10 am: Arrival

On my first day, I was asked to come in a bit later in the morning. First up, I was given an office tour and introduced to all my co-workers (it’s a small office).

I read a tip online that to help remember people’s names you should say the person’s name out loud after they’ve been introduced. I thought this would be great to practice on my first day. Alas, I forgot to do it #fail. I did, however, offer a firm handshake with a (hopefully) cheerful look. I made a point to speak to everyone I interviewed with to tell them how excited I was to be there.

10:15 am: Time to dig in.

I settled into my workspace, noticed a pit stain and ran (jk walked) to the bathroom.

10:30 am: Attended my first internal client meeting

I grabbed my notebook and pen and blindly headed into my first meeting, where we discussed a current client crisis (that’s first day #goals for sure). I remained attentive but I didn’t put pressure on myself to speak or ask questions.

11 am: Paperwork

I filled out HR paperwork, which included the dreaded W-2 forms. Regardless of how many times I fill out that form, it will always confuse me.

8269957616_c0d73c3a2e_k

11:30 am: I set up my laptop and email

Seeing that agency email address (and a ton of emails already in my inbox) makes it all feel real.

12 pm: Overview of expectations

My manager explained that I would be responsible for daily monitoring clients in the news, updating status reports for client meetings, writing pitches, pitching the media and sending media mailers. These tasks mirrored some of the responsibilities from my internship experiences, so it made me confident I would be successful in my new role.

This was a great opportunity for me to ask plenty of questions, so I could understand my role and my accounts. I’m on eight accounts, so there was plenty to write down. I TOOK A LOT OF NOTES.

1 pm: Welcome lunch

Cancelled. Important people were out sick, so I dedicated three minutes to dreaming of tacos and took a bite of a bagel. Then, I turned back to the 250 emails in my inbox.

2:30 pm: Email time

I caught up on emails…sort of (200 now) and researched my client accounts.

3:45 pm: Account onboarding

I received information on each of my accounts and more detailed responsibilities for each.

4:30 pm: Client Call

The call was canceled. I got the news…ten minutes into sitting in the meeting room…alone.

5:30 pm: Last email check of the day

I attempted to catch up on emails again (down to 190) and read through important client documents sent over by my team to better understand what we were doing for each of them and to get up to speed on their brand.

6 pm: Prepared to go home

I stayed an extra 10 minutes. I didn’t want to seem in a rush to get out. I brought home my notes to review — I needed extra time to digest all that information. When it was time to leave, I wished everyone a good night and caught the elevator with a co-worker.

And my first day was over. Zzzzzzz.

The next day, my workload picked up, big time. I didn’t expect to be so busy so fast. My team wasted no time transitioning me into account work.

My advice: use your first day to get organized, which includes reading documents on the server. When you understand your accounts and the status of each, things will run more smoothly. Also, be sure to learn how to use your email service (most likely Outlook) if you’re unfamiliar with it. Start getting organized as well. I made folders for each client in my email and computer.

You may be overwhelmed in the beginning, especially if agency life is new to you. Be confident, though, and ask for help whenever your need it (seriously).

So pack your lunch, prep your outfit and kill it.

About Kim

Kim Stephens is a PR professional working in NYC. She recently began her first full-time job at a boutique PR agency, and her clients range from the beauty and healthcare sector. To fuel her creative side, she manages a personal blog, Kimmycocoa, where she helps millennial women with that whole adulting thing.

 

PR Girls We Love: Noreen Heron, President of Heron Agency

After working as Director of Public Relations for Hyatt Regency Chicago, planning and executing some of the Chicago's largest events, Noreen Heron launched the Heron Agency with Hyatt on board as a client.

Heron Agency specializes in lifestyle public relations as well as theater and restaurant clients. Over the past 15 years, the scope of the agency has expanded to include corporations, medical practices, sports teams, non-profit organizations, and franchises.

Noreen calls the Heron team “family”, but she also has two children, Connor and Ava, and together they love to travel, dine out, and explore the city. 

Name: Noreen Heron
Title: President
Education: University of Illinois, Chicago. Communications and Theatre
Location: Chicago, IL
Company: Heron Agency
Instagram: @noreenheron @heronagency
Twitter:
 @noreenheron  @heronagency

We've often heard that sometimes the agency principal will interview to get the business and then never be seen again. That is not our system here.

How is your agency structured?

Lianne Wiker Hedditch has been with the agency for 11 years, and she is our Vice President, creating strategy and overseeing day to day operations.

We are unique in that every PR campaign that we implement has a complimentary marketing campaign where our Marketing Manager Holly Gustavson (with the agency 7 years) works to obtain partnerships, promotions, contests and other 'non-traditional' ways to gain exposure for clients.

Our Senior Publicists Emily Potts and Ann Maher are busy pitching and attending live shots. I like to keep the team busy pitching so we employ writers Amy Oost, Megan Gasper and Ellen Molina to create engaging press releases.

Our Bookkeeper, Caryn Smietana handles financials, contracts, and assists me on Media Buying as we are also a full service Ad agency. We also have a Social Media division.

What is the mood like in the office? 

Fun! Creative! Happy. Family like. We trust each other and rely on each other a lot. We sometimes can have up to 10 interns per quarter working here so it's always busy.

What type of person thrives at Heron?

First and foremost, the person who thrives is a hard worker who is willing to roll up her sleeves and passionately get the job done. I want people that understand how important our role is to our client's bottom line. That is an enormous responsibility and one not to be taken lightly. The more exposure that we gain, the more service industry employees work.

Also, she should be a team player, smart, creative and hopefully a strong writer and communicator.

Tell us a bit about your role

At this point, I would say that my primary responsibility is new business development, but I also still service accounts, and then of course, perform various HR responsibilities.

I like to work on every account that we have in some way. We've often heard that sometimes the agency principal will interview to get the business and then never be seen again on the account. That is not our system here.

Chicago PR Agency Hospitality

What are you working on right now?

We are fortunate to work for some really exciting and glamorous clients! We just opened the Westin Nashville, the tallest hotel in Nashville with country star David Nail and Brett Young performing.

The acclaimed Chef Alain Roby is making the World's Largest Candy Cane for his shop in Geneva and we always get a lot of exposure on that. We're opening the Escape Room/Safe House which has been a legendary destination in Milwaukee, and is new to Chicago. Lastly, we are handling the launch for the American Writer's Museum opening on Michigan Avenue in May.

We have 32 clients currently so that is just a smattering of what is happening right now.

What is a recent success that made you especially proud?

We opened two rooftop decks this summer, Raised and Aire, that we secured on just about every media "Hot" list in Chicago, with additional coverage in USA Today, Food & Wine Magazine and Fodor's.

How do you stay on top of industry trends?

I network a lot, and due to the nature of our clients' work, we are seeing the press sometimes weekly at our press openings. That face to face contact with the press is so important. We have multiple subscriptions to various trade publications and newspapers (our poor mailman!) and we regularly have discussions here at Heron Agency on how to remain on the forefront through innovation.

What is the most meaningful moment in your career so far? 

I had my eye on our current office building for many years. We have a storefront space on busy Fullerton Avenue that was constructed in 1898 and features the original tin ceiling, exposed brick walls, and vintage light fixtures. Everyone that comes in the office tells us how much they like our space, and we feel that it has a very creative vibe that works well for publicists.

Before all the furniture was moved in, I had a picnic on the hardwood floor with the whole team where we opened Veuve Cliquot and toasted to many happy years to come. I was able to obtain artwork from the theater that I grew up working in and that is still displayed here. I cried the first day I saw it all on the walls. It felt like such a personal space.

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

Read as much as you can! Knowing what is going on in our world, what is trending, is a big part of PR. You also need to know writers' beats, so it is helpful on that front. Figure out what you want to be an advocate for every day. Obtain as many internships as you possibly can. Always send thank you notes. Be kind to all. Network as much as you can. Smile!

Everyone that comes in the office tells us how much they like our space, and we feel that it has a very creative vibe that works well for publicists.

What is has been your least glamorous moment so far?

Wow, anyone who is in PR knows that you probably have more "least" glamorous moments then the glamorous ones. Hmmm...so many to choose from :). I appeared in a parade with it pouring rain dressed as a nun to represent NUNSENSE, the musical, and the costume was too big for me and with the rain it was so heavy and just pooled around me. In addition, I had a 101 degree fever, but there was obviously no way to cancel. Myself and the Marketing Director, Eileen LaCario, thought it would be fun to have the nuns on scooters, and I borrowed my boss' convertible to drive through the parade route. When packing up the scooters to leave, one popped right through his vinyl convertible top. My brother was enlisted to help pass out flyers along this route and I couldn't find him afterwards. While it shows the lengths that I will go through to promote a client, it goes down as one of my worst memories!

What has been the most glamorous moment in your career thus far? 

Accepting the PR News PR Agency Elite Award in 2014 at the Grand Hyatt New York. It was wonderful to win it and accept it for our team here, but the fact that it took place at a Hyatt made it all the more special (after leaving Hyatt, they became my first client and we represented the Eastern and Central divisions of Hyatt for 9 years. We still represent various Hyatt properties in addition to other brands such as Fairmont, Renaissance, Le Meridien, Hampton Inn and more). The VP of Hyatt who hired me in Chicago, Jerry Lewin, happens now to be headquartered at the NY property, so he gave me a hug and said how proud he was of me and our team.

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

We lean on each other in the office. We commiserate, we unload, we comfort each other.

What do you wish more people understood about your job?

You never can turn it off and you have to be constantly attached to your phone! Miss one text on a crisis situation from a client, or one from a reporter who says that he or she will run a photo for your client if you can get it within the hour, and you hate yourself.

It takes very high energy, persistence and an insane work ethic to be a publicist. It also takes understanding family and friends!

Thanks, Noreen!

PR Couture Client Holiday Gift Guide

PR Marketing Client Gift Guide

For the ones you love and the ones you love to hate, we've put together a client gift guide sure to please. From last-minute gifts delivered via email to splurges that truly recognize great shared success, we hope you find just what you're looking for to recognize those professionals who put their trust in you month after month.

Quick links for easy shopping

Sweeten the deal

Artisan Sugars Pink Stilettos Sugar

Sugar Shapes for Coffee and Tea, $6.50, Artisan Sugars

52 Lists for Happiness PR Couture Client Gift Guide

52 Lists for Happiness, $16.95,  Moorea and Seal

Three Designing Women Stamp and Embosser Client Gift Guide

Custom Stamps, $40,  Embosser, $54, Three Designing Women

Bright Endeavors Client Gift Guide PR Couture

Trio of candles in Lime Lemongrass, Holiday Citrus and Whitebark Pine, $24.99, Bright Endeavors

Anne Klein Women's Black Leather Strap Watch & Bracelets Set 28mm AK-2684BKST

Anne Klein Watch & Bracelets Set, $112.50, Macy's

Sugarfina 8 Piece Holiday Bento Box

Happy Holidays Bento Box, $65, Sugarfina

But First, Coffee Mug

But First Coffee, Special Edition, $18, ban.do 

PR Couture Dream Client Thank You Card

Dream Client Thank You Card, $5, PR Couture

PR Couture Simple Habit Meditation App

Simple Habit Mediation App, $19.99, Simple Habit

14K GOLD SUBWAY FINE STUDS and Ring - HARLEM TO SOUTH FERRY

14K Gold Subway Studs, $165, 14K Gold Subway Ring, $300, Shahla Karimi

 

BLK Water Bottle Holiday Client Set

Glass Water Bottle, $35 each, bkr

Pigment Gold with Glass Terrarium

Pyramid Terrarium, $26, Pigment

How to Maximize PR Opportunities from an Editor Preview

PR Strategy Editor Preview

Editor previews are an important component for any public relations professional working with fashion, lifestyle or consumer goods clients. It’s a way to connect with media in person while showcasing your client’s latest products and collect valuable insight into what resonates with the press. Editor previews can incur a significant financial and resource investment, so it’s important to make sure that your next event is set up to maximize your ROI.

Choose a media-friendly venue

If your agency, client or brand has a showroom, that can be a great environment for a press event for several reasons. Not only is an existing showroom budget-friendly, but it also provides a setting that helps tell a brand story for your client. If an existing showroom is not an option, then a chic hotel or restaurant can also be a suitable location for a press preview. But remember, just like in real estate, location is everything. While you might be able to find something more affordable in a suburb or fringe neighborhood, you want to find a place that is in a convenient geographical location for the press you’re targeting.

Offer flexible attendance

If no one shows up to your preview, your hard work will be for naught. An editor preview can be run like an open house, or private, one-on-one appointments. Depending on your selection of brands, a cocktail party or a seated meal might be just the ticket. Consider opening up a variety of options to maximize attendance.

Practice your pitch

You and your team need to be on your game 100%  – both in terms of knowing each editor by name and beat, as well as the ins and outs of each client you are representing. Make sure you’re fully versed and educated on the collections you’re presenting, and prepare talking points for different types of media. Brush up on the designer’s inspiration, retail availability, pricing, company history and any other information that might be relevant to press you’re targeting.

Create A Social Media Moment

There are many ways to encourage social media engagement at an editor preview. For example, you can incorporate a hashtag into the decor or create the perfect Instagram photo opportunity. Snapchat geo-filters are now easy and affordable to design and implement.

Think like a reporter

While it can be awkward to take notes during a conversation with a chief editor, make an effort to jot down some notes after each meeting or appointment. Depending on how many editors attend your preview, your memories could blur together by the end of the event. Take note of each publication’s favorite pieces and any feedback they provided about the collections presented. Also keep track of any upcoming stories the editors are working on. After the preview is over, organize your notes and pay particular attention to anyone who requested high-resolution images and samples.

Once you’ve hosted a successful press day, the goal should be generating media coverage based on the feedback you received from editors. Follow up with everyone who attended and make sure they receive your press materials and lookbooks. Prioritize anyone who requested specific samples and/or images for an immediate story and make sure you deliver on any promises made during your preview. Look through your notes and write highly-personable follow-up emails or thank you cards to all attendees.