Meet PR Pro Danielle Elderkin, Founder of Cover Story Communications

Publicists Q&A: Getting to Know Danielle Elderkin, Founder of Cover Story Communications

Danielle Elderkin has always been exceptionally passionate about two things: writing and home décor (she majored in Magazine Journalism with a double minor in Interior Design and English at Ohio University). She quickly found her calling in lifestyle communications after a few internships in public relations and spent several years working for various agencies before creating Cover Story Communications eight years ago, which she runs with a close-knit team, and with the Southern California Vineyards in Temecula as her backdrop. At it’s core, CSC seeks represent goodness, health, happiness, and making the world a more beautiful place.

Since the agency’s inception, that formula has driven Cover Story’s success. The agency has worked with  some of the top brands in home décor and consumer products including Fiesta Dinnerware, Tervis insulated drinkware, GreenPan healthy ceramic cookware, Boardwalk Food Company and maker of Instagram-friendly interlocking picture frames.

How did you get started in PR? What was your first job?

I was a magazine journalism major with a minor in interior design and had dreams of working for Elle Decor one day. During summer break my sophomore year, I was offered an internship at a PR agency. I wasn’t looking into getting in PR at all at the time, but fell into it and absolutely loved it!

My first PR job was at the American Red Cross in Cleveland, Ohio. I wore many hats and worked a lot of hours, but it was so fulfilling.

One aspect of the job that still haunts me was having to wear the Buddy Blood Drop costume.  If you’re wondering what this looked like, feel free to Google it because all pictures of me in this oh-so-flattering costume have been destroyed. You could say I definitely paid my dues early on!

Fortunately, the hard work always paid off when I got to meet the families and recipients of people who survived because of blood transfusions. I knew my work made a difference.

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

The mood in the office is generally creative and fast-paced. We’re always sharing ideas that inspire us from blogs and magazines.

Right now, we’re writing and planning some blog posts for clients. One of our next projects is a clam bake theme so we spent part of the afternoon at home and craft stores gathering supplies for the photo shoot.

We’re also in the midst of holiday gift guide pitching.

Cover Story Communications Justina Blakeney Jungalow New Bohemians

Danielle and PR Director Cristin Massey congratulating designer Justina Blakeney at the LA Dwell Show celebrating her book launch

What are three must-have tools that are essential to your job?

  • Instagram and Pinterest: We get a ton of inspiration there.
  • Afterlight: Makes photos look amazing!
  • iPhone 6+: It allows me the flexibility to do just about everything I need to do whether I’m traveling, on site at a photo shoot, in between meetings, or just sitting at my desk. I could never go back to a small phone screen; for as much visual work that we do, the larger screen is a must.

What is a recent success story you’re proud of?

We recently found out that one of the giveaways we coordinated with a popular blogger generated more than 30,000 entries. It was a record for her and for the brand we represent!

What have you learned since you starting in PR?

The most important thing I’ve learned in PR is that you can never stop learning. Every day, I spend time on a webinar, reading about new technology and changes in social media, or going to a seminar.

PR is ever changing. Not only do you need to be a great writer and communicator, you also need to know basic programming, have photography skills, and know how to style a shoot.

PR people are true Renaissance people, which is so much fun!

PR is ever changing. Not only do you need to be a great writer and communicator, you also need to know basic programming, have photography skills, and know how to style a shoot.

How do you get the word out about your agency?

Our sweet spots are in the categories of home, food and lifestyle. With that being said, we have experience in a variety of different industries; the magic really happens when a client sees us as an external part of their internal team.

Word-of-mouth is one of our best ways to get new business. But word-of-mouth only happens when you put in the legwork. We’re always at chamber and association events, volunteering to put on presentations about social media and PR, and attending industry trade shows. I’m also very active in LinkedIn.

Lifestyle Home Decor Agency Cover Story

Working on a new Mediterranean color launch for client, Fiesta Dinnerware

What excites you about PR these days?

I love blogs and social media in terms of their immediacy and raw creativity. We’re developing social content for our clients that is so editorial in nature. For me, the lines between work and play have become very blurred.

It’s also really exciting to me that a blog can be a creative outlet for anyone with any background. Some of my blogger friends started out in completely different fields than they’re in now. How cool is it that an insurance agent can start a cooking blog and then get a book deal or an appearance on the national morning news? We’re living in a time where there is no limit to living out your dreams and passions.

Be sure to connect with Danielle on Instagram and Twitter!