PRofile: @AnitaGatto

Meet Anita Gatto, owner of New City PR, a PR company specializing in fashion, entertainment, lifestyle and personal brand building. Prior to starting New City PR, Anita worked in-house for some of the world’s most famous brands. In Canada, she worked for John Varvatos, Chip and Pepper, Victorinox Swiss Army and Tommy Hilfiger. In New York, she was Director of Communications for Robert Graham global head office. She studied Journalism in Canada at Sheridan College and her first job was writing for a newspaper in Toronto. New city PR invents experiences for brands that combine branded entertainment, strategic partnerships and “bottom line thinking” public relations. Here’s more of her story…

New City PR Anita Gatto

How did you get started in public relations?

While interviewing designing duo Chip and Pepper for one of Canada’s leading newspapers, they turned around and offered me a job to manage their PR in Canada with their distribution company. From there, more and more famous brands followed. I simply applied the ideas and stories I would want to be pitched as a journalist to what I was sending to press- no blasts, always researching their editorial calendars and it just felt right!

What is your average day like?

Being on the west coast and working with brands in New York or Europe, I usually start my day catching up to emails. I’ve tried to be better at waiting until I have a coffee before I respond. I try to make as many phone calls as possible, the art of picking up the phone has been lost and in PR so many emails get lost. If I have a good story to tell, press generally love to hear about it on the phone. I try to only send invites or meeting requests via email. Meetings with brand owners or new business clients are booked throughout the week, I like to make those meetings in the morning to be fresh thinking. My afternoons are writing, planning and reading emails mostly. Dinners are always a great way to bond with clients, I try and make them as much as I can.

New City PR Office

What’s your favorite part of working in public relations? 

My favorite moment that I still get a high from after 12 years, is the moment I have the “urge”. When an angle or fact is presented to me about my client and the right publication or show comes to mind and I just pick up the phone and pitch. No planning, no emails, no press release. It just comes to me and I go for it. 9 out of 10 times that has turned into a hit. The 1% was on vacation! There is nothing like the feeling of seeing my client’s story being told online or in print. I love that I was part of the process.

What’s the best PR advice you ever received?

James LaForce is huge mentor of mine, I respect what he has built at Laforce and Stevens, he also taught me how to value my work and not be afraid to bill for the time I put in for strategy and listening- it’s all part of building a brand story.

Any advice for those looking to get into PR?

Truly get to know the journalist’s style and story background. If they don’t seem to write about a particular angle you are working with, don’t send it to them. Be strategic and hands on, nothing gets done faster than a square peg in a square hole.

How is PR different in LA vs. NYC?

New York taught me how to hustle. Never stop paying attention to emails and turn emails around immediately. In LA, I have been exposed to more meetings and face time. So the combination has been excellent for me and my clients.

Find Anita and New City PR on Twitter and Instagram.

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Skill to Conquer: Learn to Gain Perspective

Note the tea cup placed upon the sky-high stack of books. A Day in the Life: Kali Ramey Martin | Bird is the Word

Sometimes, life is smooth sailing. You’re enjoying your job, your home life is free flowing… the biggest thing you have to worry about is whether or not you’ll be up in time to attend 9am yoga on Saturday.

Then there are times when life just decides it’s time to make some changes and throws everything your way. Your roommate decides it’s time to leave before the lease is up, your job has you stuck at a level you think you’ve surpassed and/or your love life is taking a nose dive. Naturally, I try to scramble to save the pieces and put together a plan of action as soon as possible (it’s potentially one of the reasons I’m good at my job). But I’ve learned it’s actually better some times to do what I’m not inclined to do – take a step back.

When my head is in a problem at full force, I usually think through every possible scenario. The problem with that is, I usually can’t come up with a full-blown game plan for every scenario, so it just turns into a worrying fest. And obviously every scenario can’t happen – so what is the use?

While problem solving is a fantastic trait, the first thing you need is an insight into your instincts. If you are feeling confused or unclear, that is a sign that you’re not listening to your gut. I have a horribly hard time stepping back to gain perspective, but it’s necessary in order to make a good decision. Here are some ways you can tap into your instincts and make the call you need to make:

Talk to outside sources you trust – Talk to people who are completely outside the situation and don’t have any emotions attached to the outcome, aside from your well-being. This could be your mom, a good friend outside your circle of friends, or a trusted peer

Cut off all communication entirely – Sometimes having too many people put in their opinion is just more confusing. Write out all of your thoughts in a notebook and reread them. Usually you’ll have a gut reaction to what is going on in your head

Get physically out of the situation – Whether that’s a day trip, an extended yoga class or a weekend away. Take yourself out of your home and your zone. You’d be amazed how quickly some answers will come to you

Stop thinking – This is the worst one for me. My brain zooms at 200 MPH and does not like to slow down. I’ve been trying to meditate, but I know I have some practice hours to log in. In the meantime, reading usually lets me take my brain out of the equation. When I put the book down, I’m a lot calmer and can think a little slower to resolve the issue


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The Importance of Picking Up the Phone

In a PR world that now relies heavily on only email, the importance of picking up the phone is greater than ever. Many new PR professionals don’t feel comfortable picking up the phone to pitch a reporter, or even ask about a job interview.

The Importance of Picking Up the Phone

I will never forget during my first internship, I had to pick up the phone and pitch reporters all day. From 9am to 5pm. In front of all of the employees. And provide a full pitching update at the end of the day. It was nerve-wracking and extremely pestering, but ever since I’ve felt extremely comfortable picking up the phone to talk to any reporter.

So many times we’re given a pitching assignment, blast out emails, and wait for responses. The most effective way to get instant feedback and a gut check on whether or not your pitch is even relevant, is simply to pick up the phone. Jot down the reporters number if they don’t pick up, and try calling again in a few hours. So many emails go unanswered. Even the short ones like, are you working on your holiday gift guide yet? Pick up the phone if you don’t get a response. You’ll be surprised how much more information you can dig out of a reporter when you get them on the phone. Plus it help you further your personal relationship. You become more than an email address.

How often do you pick up the phone?


Making The Most of a Summer Friday

There’s only a few weeks left of Summer Friday’s – crying face. And whether you get out at 1:30pm every Friday or have select Friday’s off, it’s important to make the most of your time off. Here’s a few ways to do it.

Making the Most of Summer Friday

  • Explore the city. Venture down to Union Square or SoHo. Do some shopping and stop for a sweet treat along the way. Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Co. in Union Square or Popbar in the West Village are our favorites.
  • Pamper yourself. Get your nails and hair done. Schedule your long overdue waxing and maybe a facial on the side since you’ll be at the spa. Relax and pamper yourself after the hard work week. You deserve it.
  • Soak up the sun. Either in Central Park, Madison Square Park or the pier in Hoboken if you want to go across the river for an unbeatable view. If you have time, head to the beach. There’s only a few weeks left to enjoy the sand.
  • Run errands. To the grocery store or to make those returns you’ve been putting off. Clean up your apartment if you’ve been putting that off as well. It will make you feel accomplished.
  • Meet up with friends and family. See that old colleague you haven’t caught up with in several months. Or ask your mom to meet you for a day in the city.
  • Be lazy. It’s not too often we get to lay around our apartment or by a pool worrying about nothing. Take a nap on the couch or read a book and enjoy being home sweet home.

How do you make the most of your Summer Friday?

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