The 7 Traits You Need to Get Hired at a PR Agency

Written by Michele Litzky

You’ve gained top-notch internship experience, compiled dozens of well-researched media lists, and ranked cum laude or higher in your graduating class. That’s all well and good – and truly impressive – but those accomplishments alone won’t get you the job.

While experience and high grades may get a foot in the door, your personality and “fit” with the agency will actually land you that dream job.

But, before you go throwing away your resume and banking on personality alone, let’s back up a step. Resumes are still vital; they’re the first impression potential hirers will have of you, so double and triple check them to ensure you put your best foot forward.

Since founding Litzky PR in 1988, hundreds of resumes cross my desk every year. Some are cookie cutter and hardly stand out; some have typos or bad grammar, and are immediately set aside; others are colorful, illustrating a candidate’s design savvy as well as a sneak peek at their personality. And, then, there are some that break the mold entirely, such as the decorative box I received this year that held a sneaker-shaped cookie from a prospect who was trying to get his ‘foot in the door.’  This one definitely caught my eye, and it led to an interview.

Yet, while colorful – or edible – resumes may catch a hirer’s attention, it all comes back to personality, and even more so, agency fit.

Our boutique firm – like most small agencies – has a unique company culture that serves as a filter for those we hire. We have a dynamic group of energetic, creative “Litzky Ladies and Lads,” and we can’t just hire anyone; we need the “right” someone who’s not afraid to speak up and engage in our office culture, whether it’s contributing to agency brainstorms or competing in our agency-wide Scavenger Hunt (as you can imagine with an extra vacation day as the prize, the competition gets heated!).

While “fit” is an integral piece of our hiring criteria, over the years we’ve found many young interviewees try to mask their personalities in order to appear poised and professional. If you’re looking to work in the agency world, you need to let your true colors shine – but make sure those “true colors” also illustrate who you are as a PR pro.

Fear not: It sounds tougher than it is. After 30+ years hiring PR professionals, I can tell you without a doubt that these 7 character traits will help you show your personality – and your professionalism – to leave a positive, lasting impression on those interviewers.

Over the years we’ve found many young interviewees try to mask their personalities in order to appear poised and professional. If you’re looking to work in the agency world, you need to let your true colors shine

1. Come with a buttoned up presentation

Yes, we want to see your personality, but if your personality lends itself to presenting sloppy materials, how can we expect you to deliver strong work to our clients? It all starts with your resume. Misspellings, poor grammar, and uneven formatting stick out like a sore thumb. We know you’re an intern or an entry level candidate – we expect you to be green. But we also expect you to be proud of your work and strive for perfection. A bad resume ends up in the trash, not an interview.

2. Overly prepared? Works for us!

If you’ve made it to the interview, congratulations – but it’s not time to get comfortable. First, don’t make us feel like we’re one of many interviews; we, as hirers, need to know you want to be at our agency – not just any agency. Find out everything you can about the firm to illustrate your interest in our work (which will simultaneously show us your research skills). Who are our clients? Have any of our campaigns resonated with you? Why do you want to work here? Also, look for ways to weave that newfound agency knowledge into the interview – don’t do all that research for nothing!

Over the years we’ve found many young interviewees try to mask their personalities in order to appear poised and professional. If you’re looking to work in the agency world, you need to let your true colors shine

3. Honesty really is the best policy

Don’t oversell yourself; we’ll see right through it. Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses and be sure to tell us about an internship or assignment you’re proud of (the more passionate you are here, the better!). You may be asked about your most embarrassing moment or a time when you did not succeed. We’re looking for your honesty as an individual, and your eagerness to work in this industry as a professional. There are no wrong answers. This is your time to shine.

4. We’re seeking skilled conversationalists

“Social stalking” your interviewers may feel awkward, but it’s a great way to show your resourcefulness (we’re in PR – we have to chase down new contacts, after all!). You’ve already done your research (if not, go back to step 2!), now it’s time to see what these specific interviewers you’re meeting have worked on. Take to Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn to determine their specific roles, and find ways to weave their work and accomplishments into the conversation. It may seem odd or a little over the top, but trust me – this specific interest will help you stand out.

5. Confident – but not overconfident 

You have limited time to make an impression. Deliver a strong handshake and – most importantly –make eye contact with your interviewer. Your eyes show your spark, your enthusiasm, and your excitement about the position – especially when you smile.

6. Be the energizer bunny in the office

To do PR right, you need an endless supply of energy, so why not exhibit your vigor in the job interview? Talk with your hands, have passion in your voice, and even if you feel uncomfortable, trust me – we prefer an engaged and entertaining conversation over a monotonous “pulling teeth” interview any day.

7. Practice extreme gratitude

Your interviewer took an hour out of her busy day to meet with you – make sure you say “thanks.” You’ve undoubtedly heard to send a thank you note following interviews, but I’ll take it one step further. Send two. The first one should be email, sent within 24 hours of the interview. The second should be a physical thank you card (yes, snail mail still exists – and works!). Go beyond cookie cutter in these notes; bring up specific things you talked about or inside jokes to show you really remember the conversation. You’ll want to send the first email quickly so they know you’re timely, with the physical card arriving several days later to remind them of your interest in the agency, your “above-and-beyond” personality, and the specific connection they had with you during the interview.

I always say that everyone brings something unique and special to our office. However, it’s the sum of all parts that make us an agency to be reckoned with.

As we – and most PR agencies – interview candidates, we’re looking for that special something you can contribute to our team. It’s not always the strongest candidate who gets the job – it’s the one who projects the confidence, exuberance, and “spark” that will truly assimilate into – and excel within – our agency.

About Michele

Michele Litzky founded LPR in 1988 with just one client, Matchbox Toys. Today, she’s grown the agency to nearly 25 employees with a full client roster, ranging in categories from toys and baby gear to lifestyle brands and social good campaigns. Her family has grown, too. In addition to three nieces, Rachel, Alison and Samantha, her grandchildren, Emma, Jack and Henry are the newest jewels in her crown.



Winners Revealed For 2017 Bespoke Communication Awards | Press Release

communication awards, bias

Rue La La, J Public Relations and Be Social PR among others secure first-ever BCA Award

SAN DIEGO (May 17, 2017) – PR Couture, the leading sourcebook for fashion and lifestyle communicators, revealed today the winners for its inaugural award program, the 2017 Bespoke Communication Awards (the BCAs). The BCAs were established to celebrate the individuals, agencies and brands shaping and leading the communication ecosystem, and to set motivational and prestigious industry benchmarks for exceptional work executed across the industry.

“Completing our first award program is such a monumental mark in our transitional journey from our blog roots to becoming a true communications industry brand. The BCAs seamlessly align with our ongoing vision to recognize and support those of us who are so often working behind-the-scenes,” said Crosby Noricks, Founder and Director of PR Couture. “The submissions we received were overflowing with strategic thinking, creativity and a command of current media opportunities and challenges. I have immense pride to be a part of this space and hold such gratitude  toward our applicants, judges, sponsors, partners and community for their excitement and endorsement of the BCAs.”

Award submissions were evaluated on the level of mastery of tools, platforms, strategies and tactics as well as industry best practices and results. The work acknowledged was conducted between Jan. 1, 2016 and Dec. 31, 2016.

2017 BCA Award Winners by Category:

  • Spotlight: recognizes comprehensive communication campaigns, agencies, in-house communication teams and company culture and structure
    • Agency of the Year: J Public Relations
    • Startup Agency of the Year: KFD PR
    • Agency Digital Presence: Be Social
    • Digital/Social Team: Reformation
    • Work, Life, Balance and Culture: Style House Co
    • Launch or Relaunch Campaign: Droese PR
    • Integrated Campaign: Bollare, GARAGE X MARVEL PROJECT
    • Digital Campaign: Faulhaber Communications, #ibelif
    • Traditional PR Campaign: Litzky Public Relations, Play-Doh Marks 60 Years
  • Individual: honors communication practitioners from all experience levels making a positive impact on the industry through innovation, mentorship, career successes and best practices
    • The Blush Award – Emerging Communicator of the Year: Alex Perry, Perry Rose Media
    • The Bloom Award – Communicator of the Year: Alyson Roy, AMP3 PR
    • The Maven Award – Career Achievement: Karen Bromley, The Bromley Group
  • Petit: celebrates creative, stand-alone campaigns, individuals, industry practices, brands and vendors that made a noteworthy impact during 2016
    • Company Brand Materials/Swag: Jeneration PR
    • Community Involvement: First and Last PR
    • Branded Content: Elias World Media, Blistex
    • Brand Activation: Rue La La, Pre-Emmy Fashion Party
    • Media Event: AMP3 PR, Caterpillar Footwear’s “Making a Scene” Campaign
    • Celebrity Placement: EvolveMKD, Manuka Doctor + Kourtney Kardashian
    • Influencer Endorsement: Leslie Tresher, PacaPod + Natalie Jensen
    • Media Placement: Paint Nite, as seen on CNN
    • Social Impact Placement: The Riviere Agency, Anniesa Hasibuan + NYFW
    • Media Mailers or Sample Sends: Style House PR, Jamberry + NFL
  • Favorites: a no-fee category driven by peer-nominations that recognize members of the media, influencers, news sources, publications, technology, and brands
    • Favorite Editor to Work With: Monica Mendal, Associate Market Editor at Glamour
    • Favorite Influencer to Work With: Heidi Nazarudin, The Ambitionista
    • Favorite Industry News Source/Publication: Business of Fashion
    • Favorite Daily App: Instagram
    • Breakout Fashion Brand of 2016: DÔEN
    • Breakout Lifestyle Brand of 2016: The Giving Keys

A portion of profits will be donated to support WriteGirl, the BCAs 2017 give-back partner, in an effort to support their mission to promote creativity and self-expression among teen girls through writing workshops and mentorships. PR Couture looks forward to refining and extending the program in 2018.

To review the full list of winners, visit To inquire about becoming a judge, joining as an advisor, or sponsorship opportunities for 2018, please email




About: The Bespoke Communication Awards is a global online award program created to recognize and celebrate excellence in fashion and lifestyle communications. Individual awards honor contributions made by agencies, in-house teams, individuals, media members, brands, and vendors. Founded and produced by PR Couture, the sourcebook for fashion and lifestyle communicators, the BCAs encourage an inclusive community for all professionals in the media and communication ecosystem, setting motivational and prestigious industry benchmarks for client-practitioner-media relationships. The BCAs offer four award categories, Spotlight, Individual, Petit, and Favorites, in addition to a coveted career achievement award, The Maven Award. For more information on the Bespoke Communication Awards, visit To inquire about becoming a judge, joining as an advisor, or sponsorship opportunities for 2018, please email

2017 BCA Judges:

  • Alle Fister, Principal of Bollare Communications
  • Brooke Blashill, Senior Vice President and Director of the Boutique at Ogilvy
  • Callan Green, Director of Social Media at L’Oreal USA
  • Dara Elliott, Founder of Brevity Brand
  • Linda Kearns, President, Costume Designer Division at Matchbook Company
  • Liza Kindred, Founder of Third Wave Fashion
  • Lorraine Sanders, Founder of Spirit 608
  • Matthew Marcheck, CEO of The Eighth Floor Communications
  • Rosanne Hart, APR, President of The Hart Agency
  • Wendy K. Bendoni, Chair of Marketing and Fashion Marketing at Woodbury University and Trend Producer for WWDMAGIC

2017 BCA Sponsors and Partners:

  • Rose Gold Sponsor: Tribe Dynamics, advanced marketing technology for lifestyle brands, representing the Favorites Category and two Petit Category awards, Media Event and Influencer Endorsement
  • White Gold Sponsor: White Book Agency, a brand communications boutique, representing the Individuals Category
  • Gold Sponsor: NewsAI, a media list management and email distribution tool for PR professionals, representing Media Placement, a Petit Category award
  • Gold Sponsor: Mariposa Communications, a fashion public relations and marketing agency, representing Community Involvement, a Petit Category award
  • Gold Sponsor: C1 Revolution, a public relations firm based in Chicago, representing Celebrity Placement, a Petit Category award
  • 2017 In-kind Partners include Linger Magazine, Akvile Lesauskaite, Durrah Jewellery, Your Hot Copy, Courtney Hayden, Shift FWD, Gossip & Glamour and XOXO Sugar Cosmetics


PR Industry News: PRSA-NY, Burstyn Inc., Sydney Reising, Turner & More


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We would love to feature employee news, new client announcements, awards, partnerships and more!

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Coach Buys Kate Spade, Thinkitating & Landing a Top-Tier Feature Story

Fashion PR Marketing News


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

...for the week of May 8, 2017

Dana Oliver, director of beauty at Yahoo, speaks on how she got her start in the industry (via Living the Editor Life)

The deal on everyone's lips; Coach buys Kate Spade in a $2.4 billion deal (via CNN Money)

As Heidi Klum would say, in fashion one day you are in, the next day you are out. Thankfully there are many ways you can be in the wonderful world of fashion (via The Net)

5 stories of motherhood from working women (via Refinery 29)

"Thinkitating" is part of Tom Bilyeu morning routine. Here are his other healthy habits (via I am Wire)

Here are 12 steps a young millennial used during his first 5 years in the real world (via Dylan Hughes on LinkedIn)

People remember faces sure, but don't forget about the outfits! These 5 fashion powerhouses are always runway ready (via Vogue)

How Gen Z's expectations of your brand are changing (via Ad Week)

Here are 5 tips that might make landing a story in a top-tier publication (via PR Daily)

Have you considered a Pay What You Want retail strategy? (via Edited)

PR Mom Boss Gift Guide

Just in time for Mother's Day we've put together a ton of gift ideas to ensure the mother hustlers of the PR world feel appreciated for all they do on and off the clock.

Quick links for easy shopping

fitness fanatic

Calder Socialite collection wearable fitness tracker, $325, Wisewear

dakota dress

Dakota mom's dress, $218, Dakota kid's dress, $68, Reformation

sudara robe

Mina robe, $79, Sudara

Leather pocket tote, $259, Love 41

flower power

bouquet of flowers

Mae flower bouquet, $89, Bloom That

Celebrity 24K Gold Woda mask, $58, Woda Skincare

can't even shirt

Literally Can Even tank, $24.99, Shelift


year of stories book, $79, Storyworth

luxe leggings

Provocateur yoga leggings, $68, Yoga Design Lab

h2o diva

Insulated water bottle, $28, Bobble

age defying

Anti-aging skincare routine, $89, TAHNYC

Zen Mama

Zeel massage gift card, any amount, Zeel Massages

Baby on BOard

nursery boxes

Nina's Nursery Boxes, $199, Nina Styling and Interiors


Goodio chocolate, $6.51, Goodio

Soothe your senses

AM to PM scented candle set, $59, Brooklinen

Job Interviews Not Leading to Offer Letters? Here’s Why

As the owner of a boutique fashion PR, marketing and production agency, I have come to dread the hiring process.

I used to wonder what people meant when they complained about millennials and the difficulty in finding good entry-level talent, but with each hiring cycle I become more convinced that college is not preparing students to properly manage their entry or rise in the workforce.

If you’ve been struggling to land a PR position, here’s how to fill in the gaps. Take the PR Couture PRISM course this summer and put this article to memory. Here’s you the low-down, dirty truth about why you’re not getting hired.

Round 1 Eliminations

Whenever we have a job opening, we are flooded with applications. In order to sift through the deluge of resumes, I eliminate most of them with a quick look through cover letters and resumes. Here is what gets trashed.

You spelled the company’s name incorrectly

No joke, I receive several resumes a week with our agency name misspelled. If you can’t spell the name of the company you hope to work for correctly, how can I trust you to spell an editor or client’s name correctly?

You didn’t follow our application directions

We place very specific application instructions a few paragraphs into the job description. This helps us to eliminate those who are simply applying to anything and everything they find (and therefore not actually interested in working for us specifically), or are not detail oriented enough to read the entire description (a real problem for anyone working in a communications field). About fifty percent of job applicants are deleted from my inbox for not following the instructions listed in our job description.

Your cover letter is really long

Unless an employer asks you to upload a separate cover letter or you are uploading items to an application form online, your email to the address given in the job listing is your cover letter. There is no need to attach one.

Make sure that you keep this email short and focus on the skills and experience you bring to the table that will make you right for the position. If you don’t have the job experience listed in the description, getting the job is going to be a long shot, but at least clearly acknowledge that fact and highlight transferable skills and offer references.

About fifty percent of job applicants are deleted from my inbox for not following the instructions listed in our job description.

Your experience doesn’t match up

In an entry-level position, it’s a red flag to say you’ve been running your own agency, or directly managing clients. There is no sense in lying on your resume because when you get the job, if you can’t perform the task, you wont last. We recently had to let a new hire go after it became apparent a few weeks in that she had lied about her experience on her resume. You can bet we are even stricter now about vetting potential employees.

You’re missing a portfolio

If you are applying for a PR or creative position (graphic design, photography, social media) an online portfolio to show previous work (even if you are simply demonstrating your skills without any previous paid experience) is standard. It means more than your resume. If you are applying for a publicist position, you should have writing samples.

How to get a ‘thanks but no thanks’ interview response

If you secure an interview, you should pat yourself on the back. Your cover letter and resume have successfully communicated that you have the skillset needed to perform the job. The first interview is a chance for the hiring manager to see if you are a cultural fit, and to ensure that your previous experiences will translate to the company’s needs.

First, understand that fitting in personality-wise and temperament-wise is critical – and it’s something you don’t have a ton of control over – so if you didn’t get hired but know you have a lot to offer – keep applying until you find the company that’s a good fit.

However, if any of the below seem like a good idea, you’re ripe for elimination in round 2.

You aren’t prepared

True Story. I scheduled an interview with a really bright candidate who graduated from one of the top universities in the country. She emailed me the day before the interview and asked to change the time. I had no problem with the reschedule request and gave her exactly the time she asked for and was excited to meet her. An hour before the interview, she emails me and asks me if I can print out her resume because her printer is out of paper she is worried she wont have enough time to stop somewhere and print it.

My jaw dropped. Here’s a line to memorize: I shall not assign tasks to my prospective employer.

Not only did she assign me a task, but she also let me know she doesn’t prepare for things ahead of time. I ALWAYS printed out my resume and prepared my interview materials in my bag the day before an interview when job hunting. There are plenty of things that can happen that you can’t help like car trouble or here in NYC, subway woes, but anyone who is going to be right for a PR position will know that being on time and prepared for appointments is critically important.

FYI, I did print out her resume. She was ten minutes late. She did not get the job.

You’re coming off overly personal (rather than professional)

We are not friends. If you are hired I will be your boss, not your new bestie. A compliment is fine, and yes I want to know you’ve researched our company, but there is a line. I am fine that you stalked me on Instagram, but don’t use that information to try and suck up. I don’t care if you know me. I care if you can do the job well.

Here’s a line to memorize: I shall not assign tasks to my prospective employer.

You’re focusing on volunteer industry experience rather than real job experience

It is fine to give me some detail about an experience you had while in college or volunteering, but I don’t equate that with real job experience. Instead it is experience you gained without the pressure of paying clients and your own livelihood at stake. I don’t mind hearing those anecdotes, but I’d rather you talk about real, paying jobs, even if it was part-time at McDonalds in college.

Active listening isn’t happening

Active listening means that instead of waiting for your next opportunity to speak and impress, you’re calmly and intently listening to what is being said. Wait for a natural opening in the conversation, jot down a note if you’re afraid you’ll forget your point, but don’t interrupt. I don’t think I need to explain why this is rude and a downright bad idea, but it appears to be trending so I wanted to mention it outright.

Your expectations are out of alignment 

The internet has readily available salary standards by industry. Be realistic about your previous experience and market rates. We always ask for salary expectations because we have a specific budget and range for salary for the position. We offer a range on par with average market rates for a fashion PR firm and are often shocked by the salary expectations of young professionals.

Follow through is lacking

Job hunting is exhausting and you might be thinking that once you’ve had your interview its up to the company to choose you…or not.


Your post interview actions are an opportunity to demonstrate your manners, gratitude and appreciation. It also gives you a chance to confirm your interest in the position and leave a mark that will get you an offer.

If you were sure you’d get the job but then nothing, chances are your follow through could use some work.

Where’s the thank you note?

Recently, we met with a candidate whose experience was spot on and we liked her vibe. I was ready to extend an offer and even meet her salary expectations, which were a little higher than what we had planned on paying. I waited for the standard follow up email which would thank me for my time and let me know she was interested in the position.

It never came.

Do not underestimate the importance of timely follow up. As a result of this interaction I assumed that she wasn’t interested in the position, never extended the offer and I wrote her off as rude and unpolished. I will remember her name forever and for the rest of my career she will be not get a job with me. That’s how serious I take thank you notes.

Even if you aren’t interested in the job, send a thank you email.a day or two after the interview and keeping in short and sweet and leaving out the key phrase every hiring manager looks for: “I would love to join your team.” Leaving out the line about wanting to join the team lets us know you appreciated our time, but the position isn’t right for you….and that’s totally okay. The world is smaller than you think and you never know when your path may cross again.

You’re overeager and it’s off-putting 

I know you are antsy about getting a job and you have been told to keep following up until you get an answer. The problem here is that you risk coming on way too strong and it reads a bit desperate. Following-up once when you don’t get a reply is fine, but if you don’t get a response from that follow-up take a breath. Assume they went in another direction or are still reviewing your candidacy….or just got super busy. The rule of thumb is no more than two follow-ups with no response.

Now many of these steps may seem obvious, and you may be thinking, “I’d never do any of these.” I’m here to tell you that based on what I’m seeing, you are probably doing one or two. Put extreme care and attention into your job seeking and you will be rewarded with a great position. After all, chances are if you made it to the end of this article, you’re already way up on the competition.




Top Beauty Talent, The Fyre Pitch Deck & Dating a PR Girl

Fashion PR Marketing News

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

...for the week of May 1, 2017

Ready to hop off the proverbial catwalk? You'll be surprised and perhaps inspired by these fashion people's second careers (via W Magazine)

More resources than you ever thought possible. The 100 best sites for Solopreneurs in categories like digital marketing, publicity, launching and sales (via One Woman Shop)

Ready to set the tone for a productive relationship with a new employee? Here's what to say (via Inc)

You've read all about it, but did you catch the actual Fyre Festival pitch deck for sponsors? (via The Hive)

Have you ever considered cold calling a potential mentor? Here's why throwing caution  to the wind can be a good thing (via Levo)

Pass (on) the Rosé, all your summer client events must now have blue prosecco. Yup. (via Cosmo)

For your ears instead of your eyes. Tech-minded recruitment of top talent in the beauty industry with 24 Seven Talent (via Beauty is your Business)

This one has been making the rounds - what do you think? #Accurate? 21 things anyone planning on dating a PR girl should know (via Observer)

Ready for some office inspiration? Take a look at Goop's Santa Monica headquarters (via Architectural Digest)

Signs that PR/Ad agency is overpromising and about to...(you know the rest) (via PR Daily)




Class of 2017 PR Grad Gift Guide

PR friends and family, it is time to celebrate the new crop of graduates entering the field! We've put together some of our favorite items perfect for the college graduates in your world.  From little luxuries to workplace essentials, there's something to appeal to even the most discerning future PR boss.

Quick links for easy shopping

The Forever Jacket

DSTLD moto jacket

DSTLD Moto Leather Jacket in White, $350, DSTLD

Away Luggage

Away Luggage Pieces, The Medium $275,  Away 

Agave Heating Oil and Curler
Agave Heating Oil, $40, Agave Heating Oil , 1 in. GoldPro Curling Iron, $90, Bio Ionic

Twenty Two Letters to a Young Woman Searching for Meaning, $15.63, Amazon

Life #Goals

Progress Journals

Progress Journal, Get Shit Done Journal, $5.95-$19.95, Mi Goals

Sudara Globe Tee

Women's Globe Tee, $36, Sudara

k. carroll tote bag

Everything tote, $59.99, K. Carroll 

iZZi Slim iPhone 6 phone case, $69.95, Amazon

JSlides tassel slip-on sneaker

JSlides Tassel slip-on sneaker, $134.95, Nordstrom

Let’s Talk about the Wage Gap in Public Relations

Wage Gap Public Relations Salary Cities

It’s always good to talk numbers. Just on the heels of #equalpayday ABODO, who previously released information on the top cities for a PR job, analyzed U.S. Census data to uncover the cities and the fastest-growing industries with the largest and smallest gaps in pay between men and women. The report shows that, nationally, the wage gap currently sits at just over 21%.

The median income for women is $39,315, which is 78.9% of the national median income for men of $49,828. Career in public relations are well above this national average, the 2016 PR Week Survey found that the median PR salary rose to $92,125 last year.

Some additional key findings from ABODO, specific to the PR, Media and Entertainment industries include:

  • Women in PR, Media and Entertainment earn 85.8% of the median annual income of men in the industry.
  • PR, Media and Entertainment ranks among the industries with the smallest gaps in pay between men and women.
  • Cities with the most equal pay in PR, Media and Entertainment are: Miami, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, New York and Raleigh.
  • Cities with the least equal pay in PR, Media and Entertainment are: Detroit, New Orleans, Cleveland, Phoenix and Dallas.

We asked ABDO to dive in a bit deeper into the epicenter’s for fashion and lifestyle PR – New York and Los Angeles, and Sr. Communications Manager Sam Radbil let us know that “In Los Angeles specifically, we found that the wage gap — women earning 89.5% of what men earn — ranked #2 among the best cities for equal pay and far better than the national average. Within PR and media jobs in Los Angeles, women earn 83.7% of what men earn in the same city and industry, which ranks #14 in the entire U.S.” In terms of New York, “the data shows that the wage gap — women earning 85.5% of what men earn — ranked #9 among the best cities for equal pay. This is also far better than the national average. Within PR and media workers in New York, women earn 89.7% of what men earn. This ranks #4 in the country.”

While it is useful to know that our industry has above-average, gender-based wage gaps of any kind are ridiculous. Armed with insight from this report we can all have a better sense of the actual silent disparity within our field, and powerful data to help women appropriately negotiate equal pay.


Heineken Wins Advertising, Working less accomplishes more & Top Fashion Brands on Instagram

Fashion PR Marketing News

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

…for the week of April 24, 2017









  • Heineken just released an ad that explores people’s differences and how they overcome them and everyone is into it. Watch it for yourself and decide (via Ad Week)


What Beauty Brands Can Learn from the SheaMoisture Crisis

Written by Scarlett Rocourt, Founder Wonder Curl

On Tuesday morning, April 25th, I watched my Facebook timeline blow up about people leaving 1 star reviews on the SheaMoisture Facebook page. I went to investigate what was going on and read a lot of disappointed customers in their latest ad campaign. I did a quick search and YouTube showed this controversial ad.

I watched the ad, and right away I saw what was wrong with it. My first thought was, where are WE?

To be fair, SheaMoisture had previously produced a series of ads about Hair Hate with black women discussing their pain around embracing their natural texture.

Perhaps the company considered this latest campaign as an extension to the original series, in which the series would include white women's experiences into the conversation around loving your hair. I'm guessing SheaMoisture didn’t anticipate the amount of backlash they would have received and, to their credit, posted an apology on their Facebook page.

What can we, as business owners and communicators on behalf of fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands, learn from this clear misstep?

From my perspective as a black, woman business owner with a loyal black customer base, it's all about keeping your core base happy. For generations, in this country, black women have felt ignored by beauty brands, even though they outspend the general market by 80%.

African American women have long held the belief that we ‘can’t have anything for ourselves’ and so when a company like SheaMoisture comes around, we have a deep affinity towards that brand, largely because finally, we have something ‘for us by us’.

Where did SheaMoisture go wrong and how can other businesses avoid making the same disastrous mistake?

Here are 3 key takeaways brands can learn from the SheaMoisture debacle.

Don't whitewash

Don’t ‘white wash’ your messaging to appeal to another demographic. According to Nielsen, 73% of non-Hispanic whites and 67% of Hispanics believe that African-Americans influence mainstream culture. If we consider how TV shows with a strong lead black character, such as Olivia Pope in Scandal, can cross over to a large audience, then brands should understand that there is no need to move away from core brand identity in order to broaden appeal. “In my experience white women are more open to trying a product whether it is targeted to them or not.” says Terrinique Pennerman, Founder & CEO of Kurlee Belle.

Context matters

History and context a lot. For black women, our hair is political and historically the center of controversy and ridicule. I discuss in more detail just why so many of us were mad at the SheaMoisture ads on HuffingtonPost, but basically, SheaMoisture went wrong by bringing white women into a very controversial and deeply painful conversation about hair hate. While everyone has bad hair days, a white woman lamenting that she doesn’t know what to do with her straight hair angers black women when they’ve had to endure painful chemical relaxers to conform to societal norms.

consider race

Culture and racism are very real concerns in the Black Community. 73 percent of African Americans age 16 to 24 agree that their roots and heritage are more important to them now vs. five years ago,  and 88 percen agree that discrimination is still part of their day-to-day lives. Cultural appropriation is an ongoing concern, vastly troubling to our community. And it keeps happening. Recently, Vogue came under fire for calling model Karlie Kloss look as ‘fresh and new,’ though her look had been done for years by black people in New York City. Preserving Black Culture and understanding racism are very real concerns, and brands should consider how a particular campaign, look or language might be perceived.

Simply put, we are discriminated against for our hair. So, if you want to talk to black women about hair hate, it is important to listen to us and be genuine. Pantene has been rebranding their black hair care line for some time in figuring out how to approach black hair. In their recent campaign for their Gold Series, they play homage to black hair with models sporting hairstyles while a Beyonce-style poem is read.

In today’s age of social media, consumers’ voices are louder than ever and can be heard in real-time. I watched SheaMoisture’s review on Facebook go from 4.9 stars to 1.8 in only 3 days.

Bloggers took to their computers to compile lists of other black-owned businesses where we can spend our almighty dollars. The internet is swift and can be unforgiving, especially when it comes to the Black Community. Blogger, LaShon of writes, “My next lesson is that it doesn't pay to be more loyal to a company than they are to me. I have plenty of choices of where to spend my money, so I will choose wisely.”

Dismissing or overlooking historical and cultural context, including racial considerations is a huge miss and unecessarily risky. Particularly when, by keeping the core customer base in mind messaging consistent, brands can still drive allegiance from a diverse set of audiences, all while maintaining brand authenticity.

Scarlett Rocourt is a Haitian-born Jersey girl with lots of curly hair. She started Wonder Curl, a line of haircare products for all textures of curly and natural hair after getting tired of the humidity sabotaging her hair and hiding her locks in buns because of frizz.  Wonder Curl has a loyal customer base including celebrities such as Yara Shahidi and celebrity stylist, Felicia Leatherwood and products have been used on the red carpet at the Golden Globes. Recently, Scarlett began her lifestyle blog, Not too shabby for a Jersey girl.

4 Ways to Discover New Influencers for Your Next Campaign

The explosion of digital media and influencers has quite literally led to thousands upon thousands of bloggers in any given niche, from those posting daily avocado recipes to bikini sporting enthusiasts and green beauty aficionados.

With so many bloggers in any segment, it can sometimes be difficult to find the best ones that truly serve the niche you are in. When you’re looking to target bloggers and influencers in your market, it can often get overwhelming to figure out exactly who they are and where to find them!

Here are the tricks my agency uses when locating bloggers in a particular niche – good luck and happy pitching!

1. Invest in a paid influencer contact database

The truth is that while the top media databases can be phenomenal for tracking down contacts for traditional media outlets, many struggle to keep up with influencers and bloggers. That said, if you’re already subscribed to a media database, this is obviously your starting point.

However, there are now databases specifically for influencers/bloggers that have detailed contact info, follower counts, rates, etc. These don’t come cheap though,  and they are still not fully comprehensive, especially if you need to focus in on a particular location or truly drill down into an influencers area of expertise/focus.

2. Check Out Who the Top Influencers/Bloggers Follow

Access to a database is great, but you can still find what you need with a little elbow grease! You likely have an idea of who the crème de la crème influencers in your field are, so expand your awareness by searching through who they follow on Instagram and social media platforms. Comb through recent blog posts, particularly those that center around a big brand activation or event, pay attention to who they were with!

While many influencers cull down their following count to big brands, celebs, and magazines that the top names, they do also frequently link/follow their fellow blogger pals in your niche – some who you may not be familiar with yet! My agency has discovered some fantastic bloggers and influencers using this method.

3. Investigate Who Competitors/Likeminded Brands Follow

Another strategy to build your list of influencers is to see which names other brands in your field work with. If you have a line of activewear, research influencers that other fitness brands have worked with by checking out the brand’s recent press/social media pages where they’ll often post big wins. If you happen to know their PR agency, comb through their social media as well for recent promoted hits.

4. Don’t Forget Hashtags!

When all else fails, enlist the always-reliable hashtags! Get specific with them to avoid unrelated posts, or click through the hashtags of some of the bloggers you’ve already identified as an appropriate fit. While you might be weeding through a lot of posts at first, you’ll eventually see what hashtags tend to be used predominantly by bloggers and influencers and will be able to further build out you list of contacts.

You can apply these tips to nearly any lifestyle industry – whether you work with home goods, apparel, makeup, you name it! It does require a bit of digging, but the process of finding the right group of partners for your campaign is a bit like pushing a boulder up a hill at first, but once you stumble onto the right lead, the rest is all downhill!

FTC puts Influencers on Notice, Brand Activations at Coachella & Dove Takes on Stock Photography

Fashion PR Marketing News

Fashion PR Fridays: Top Fashion, Public Relations, Marketing and Social Media News   …for the week of April 17, 2017




  • The Chicago Tribune weighs in on one of the modern marketer’s biggest frustrations: the Facebook algorithm (via Medium)







WriteGirl Nurtures the Next Generation of Female Communicators

As PR and marketing professionals, great communication is at the core of what we do. A powerfully persuasive pitch, a quippy headline, even a pun-filled hashtag can make all the difference in raising awareness for our clients. But even more so, as individuals, many of us found our way to this profession based on a love for writing.

As we move through our careers, our ability to write in various forms and styles, is a skill we can take with us anywhere and one that helps differentiate us drive results, as well as express our own point-of-view and reflect on our personal experiences.

As such, empowering the next generation of writers to be able to express themselves, encouraging critical thinking and self-expression through writing is is important to us at PR Couture, and why we chose WriteGirl as our charitable partner for the first Bespoke Communication Awards.

WriteGirl is a creative writing and mentoring organization that promotes creativity, critical thinking and leadership skills to empower teen girls. The Los Angeles-based non-profit was honored by First Lady Michelle Obama with the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award. since 2001, 100% of graduating seniors have entered college, many on full or partial scholarships.

With judging for the BCAs is full swing, we took a break and caught up with Executive Director Keren Taylor.

Tell us about yourself!

In the fall of 2001, I found myself compelled to want to not only do meaningful work, but also build community between teens and women writers. I launched WriteGirl with a handful of women writers – some were my personal friends, and some responded to an announcement I put out on the web. Some of those women are still involved with WriteGirl, 16 years later!

I have had experience in a variety of fields, from public relations, to sales, to performing with my own band for 15 years, but creating and growing WriteGirl into a thriving community and mentoring program for teen girls is by far my most exciting and rewarding endeavor. We started with a simple idea of inspiring teen girls to develop their creative writing skills and write about their emotions and stories, but we found that they also needed help and support on their path to college. I’m always very proud to say that we have maintained a 100% success rate in each of our 16 seasons in guiding our teen girls in the Core Mentoring Program to enroll in college!

What does WriteGirl do? And who do you serve?

WriteGirl matches at-risk teen girls with professional women writer volunteers who mentor them in weekly, one-on-one mentoring sessions and in groups at our monthly workshops. Since 2001, WriteGirl has grown into a nationally-recognized creative writing and mentoring organization serving more than 350 underserved teen girls annually, mainly from LA’s high-density, low-income neighborhoods. We present full-day writing workshops every month in some of the city’s most inspiring artistic venues and museums, giving girls a chance to write and develop their voices, supported by professional women writer/mentors.

I’m always very proud to say that we have maintained a 100% success rate in each of our 16 seasons in guiding our teen girls in the Core Mentoring Program to enroll in college!

WriteGirl envisions a world where girls live, write, and speak boldly as they become inspiring, transformative leaders, driven to effect positive change in their communities. By leveraging the skills and experience of LA’s women writers, WriteGirl helps girls develop confidence, communication skills, creativity and an expanded view of themselves and their futures. In 2013, First Lady Michelle Obama presented WriteGirl with the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, the highest national honor awarded to exemplary out-of-school time programs from across the country.

Share a bit about your outreach strategy

We’re always trying to get the word out about the work we are doing. We work with a team of public relations volunteers to promote fundraising campaigns, public events and recruitment campaigns to the public. We use social media, press releases, e-newsletters, public listings, the WriteGirl website and blog, and partnerships within the community to spread the word about WriteGirl events and campaigns. Our volunteers also act as ambassadors for our organization and help promote WriteGirl to their networks of potential supporters. We offer volunteer trainings several times each year, to fully prepare women writers to be effective mentors to teen girls.

Why did you decide to partner with the BCAs?

As an organization that focuses on the power of a girl and her pen, WriteGirl is thrilled to be a partner of the 2017 Bespoke Communication Awards. We know the impact that compelling communication can have on the world and we are excited to celebrate the honorees and their creative work.

How can people get involved and support WriteGirl? 

WriteGirl is seeking PR professionals who can offer their services pro bono. With a small staff and limited resources, we are always seeking professionals who could help us gain national exposure through media coverage and/or pro bono advertising that will help us expand our list of supporters. Our greatest need is for funding to support our programs, so our public relations efforts are often tailored toward reaching potential new donors.

We also welcome guest speaking opportunities. I’ve got some terrific stories about creating an organization from the ground up, building community and sustaining powerful partnerships.

If you do reach out and become involved in WriteGirl do let us know! For more information, interview requests or speaking engagements, contact Communications Manager Katie Geyer at or 213-253-2655.

Your FTC Cheat Sheet for Affiliate and Paid Influencer Campaigns

Written by Ellen Borza

Influencer marketing has exploded in recent years, especially in the fashion industry. You’ve likely seen examples of this type of marketing when you’ve come across an Instagram photo or tweet with hashtags like #sponsored or #ad. You may have even read a post on a blog that has a disclaimer like, “This post is sponsored by… All opinions are my own.”

2017 is expected to be an even bigger year for influencer marketing, so don’t be surprised if you see more disclaimers like the ones mentioned above. If you’re a fashion brand or emerging communicator looking to make sure your influencer outreach is according to industry best practices, it’s important to understand FTC guidelines and Google’s rules for disclosure in advertising.

Read on for everything you need to know about partnering with influencers and maintaining transparency with brand consumers.

Disclosure 101

FTC guidelines are intended to create transparency between brand and consumer and prevent deceptive advertising. Google’s stance is very much the same as the FTC’s. It wants you to disclose paid relationships. Google urges users to add the directive “rel= nofollow” to links that are paid to prevent manipulation of search engine rankings. This directive tells search engines not to follow the link.

Regarding affiliate links, Google knows how to handle affiliate links from large networks and has previously said that while not required, you can add a nofollow directive to affiliate links if you want.

If a blogger naturally links to your brand simply because they want to share how much they love the sweater they just bought, a dofollow link is acceptable. Your brand doesn’t have a relationship with this blogger, and you never directly asked for the link.

On the other hand, you might decide that you want to work with them because this blogger already loves your brand. Any content that blogger creates on your brand’s behalf is considered sponsored.

If you send someone a free product or provide monetary compensation in exchange for a review or post on a blog, the link needs to be a nofollow link. Yes, even free product is considered “paid” to Google and the FTC.

Here is an easy way to decide if you need to ask for influencers to use nofollow links:

  • Link= endorsement
  • Nofollow link= paid endorsement

You can, and should, use links when working with influencers. After all, the hope is that their followers want to buy your products! A nofollow link is still valuable and capable of bringing relevant users to your site. It’s simply telling search engines not to pass PageRank those links.

Social Media Requirements

As your influencer marketing efforts expand, you’ll likely be working with influencers across different platforms. For bloggers, you must require that any links to your brand are nofollow links. It does not matter what platform the blog is on. Always include nofollow links.

YouTube is unique in that there is only one dofollow link, and it’s the custom link included in the channel art. All other links are nofollow. Nonetheless, you should still encourage vloggers to add a disclaimer in the video description to indicate your relationship like, “This post is sponsored by [insert brand here]”.

If you are running a campaign on a social platform, any influencer posts published as part of the campaign need to indicate that the post is sponsored. On social platforms, hashtags like #sponsored or #ad are acceptable. There is debate about whether or not #sp is proper disclosure. While this is becoming increasingly common, The Fashion Law suggests #sp is not clear enough. Again, it should be clear to consumers when the post is sponsored. Frequently you’ll see these types of posts on Instagram, especially in the fashion industry.

Below is an example from Ashley Robertson (The Teacher Diva). Her Instagram post clearly states her relationship with Sole Society with hashtags like #SSPartner and #ad. If your brand develops Instagram influencer campaigns, this post is a good example to follow for clear disclosure.


Finally, remember that if an influencer doesn’t include proper disclosure, your brand will be at fault. Here’s how you can be clear with influencers about proper disclosure.

Make disclosure a campaign discussion point

Now that you know how to be transparent, how can you ensure that FTC guidelines are maintained while working with influencers?

First, look for influencers who are honest with their followers. When you find an influencer you want to reach out to, look for examples of previous campaigns they have done. Are promotional Instagram posts clearly marked as sponsored? Does the blogger have a disclosure statement at the beginning or end of the post? It is easy to tell when content is sponsored but doesn’t explicitly say so.

Once you reach out, set expectations with influencers from the beginning. Whether you provide monetary compensation or send product, clearly state that links must be nofollow. More than likely, they’ll want to be honest with their followers, too. If you’re sending several products, you can create tracking URLs that already have the “rel= nofollow” so you know the directive is included. Again, be clear throughout your communication about what should be included in their content.

Feel free to offer examples of disclosure statements to include in the post. They don’t have to be uptight, but they do need to be obvious. Here are two suggestions:

  • “Thanks to [brand name] for partnering with me on this post!”
  • “I received compensation from [brand name] in exchange for this post. Thanks for supporting the brands that make [blog/channel name] possible!”

Influencer marketing has experienced exponential growth recently. As a result, the need to be clear with consumers is extremely important. Focus on maintaining transparency at all times. If the content you develop with influencers is useful and authentic, advertising disclosures won’t overshadow it.

For a comprehensive training on developing Instagram collaborations with influencers including sample project briefs and contracts, sign up for the PR Couture course Instappable!

About Ellen 

Ellen Borza is a Senior Online PR Specialist at Web Talent Marketing, a full-service digital marketing agency located in Lancaster, PA. Ellen earned a B.A. in communications and a B.S. in psychology from the University of Pittsburgh. When Ellen isn’t conducting outreach for her clients, she loves reading and writing about the latest digital marketing trends, especially as they relate to fashion. In her free time, she authors her own fashion and lifestyle blog.