PRofile: Teddie of COLLECTIVE

Meet Teddie of COLLECTIVE. She grew up in a foreign service family, moving around every 3-4 years always adapting to meet new people, explore new places.  Teddie moved to NYC to study communications at NYU and has been in the city ever since. Having worked at many of the top agencies in the city, she started her own agency COLLECTIVE in 2012. She loved the nature of the work but not always the part about having a boss! Her and her partner, Nicole, worked together for a couple of years and decided to make the leap to start to get their own clients.. working on projects that they had a vested interest in and an ability to help friends on their new ventures…then COLLECTIVE was born!

Teddie Davies

How did you get started in public relations?

I started in fashion PR at Diesel right out of NYU…running the sample room and learning the ropes.  I always knew I wanted to be involved in shaping brand messaging, in helping brands with their public profiles to project the right image and gain the appropriate following to reach their goals.  Working in house is a great way to learn but I love to work on many things at once so having clients with different goals and in different markets makes the job more dynamic, challenging and ultimately fun and rewarding.

When and how did you decide to start your own firm?

I think I always knew I wanted to work for myself… my childhood of moving around sometimes made it difficult for me to stay in one place for too long — I tended to get antsy working for other people, not really controlling my schedule or choosing my clients.  Having Collective allows me to travel more and work at my own pace. My business partner and I were in a place where we both were ready to leave our jobs and we thought, why not go out on our own? We knew we worked well together and it just made sense.  We had one meeting while we were still working in different places where we told a potential client about our plans-  they said- we will hire you today if you resign and voila, we had our first client and we gave our 2 weeks notice.

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What is your average day like?

This is a hard one because I think there really is no average day in this business!  Usually starts with a lot of coffee and good music in the office.  We work a lot with hospitality clients so we are always visiting our clients hotels, restaurants and bars to see what’s new and to stay as involved with each as possible.  There’s always some pitching involved, some days more than others depending on what we are working on.  Lots of phone calls- often (trying) to be the voice of reason when emotions are running high and always reminding people to look at the full picture.  Usually ends with a dinner/ drinks date to entertain media, show off one of our clients or just to catch up with colleagues and friends.

What’s the best part of working in public relations? 

PR is really about working with people- knowing who your audience is and being able to adapt whether speaking to the media or to a client –  I love the exploration- getting to know a client and their goals and figuring out how to get them there.  It is also really satisfying to be able to help friends and colleagues with their ventures… I’m lucky to have some really creative and talented friends and I like to think of myself as the business voice in their head.  I love being involved in so many different industries and never having a dull moment.

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What’s the best PR advice you ever received?

Work smarter not harder.  I actually think that was advice that an 8th grade teacher gave me and it really applies to everything!  I hated the days when it felt like it was a competition as to who could stay at the office later and be the martyr.  No thanks.  I would rather be efficient and have a life too!

Any advice for those looking to get into PR?

Being a media/culture consumer is a good start-  you really have to enjoy reading/ watching/ googling and generally being curious.  Also, be nice to people!  I think people forget this one.  Some common sense and being a considerate, nice person gets you a lot further then people think.  I always say.. kill ‘em with kindness.

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From the Inbox: How Do I Find My Niche?

A & M,

Thank you for providing me with PR guidance and inspiration over the years. It is because of your blog that I took the PR route. I am forever grateful.

I try to take advantage of the many networking and professional development opportunities provided to me by my school and community. Detroit is thriving and I am proud to be a millennial in the Motor City.

With my last semester just around the corner, I understand it is important that I get the most experience whether that be internship or volunteer etc. What I am the most confused and flustered over is in which industry I want to work in. Do I want to work for one of the Big Three auto manufacturers? What about in an agency setting? Do I want to work with consumer brands? I have no clue!

Please help me find some ways to help me find my industry niche.

Thanks.

Finding Your Niche

Finding your niche isn’t always as easy as you think it would be. The good news is that you have plenty of time to find what interests you most so don’t get too flustered or worried. With your last semester, use it as an chance to take any opportunity you can. Whether it be in-house or at an agency. If you take an internship in-house at an automotive brand and don’t find yourself loving it, apply for agency positions after you graduate. Think about what interests you personally. Do you have a passion for automotive brands? Food brands? Maybe corporate PR interests you?

The major difference between working in-house versus an agency is the number of brands you will work on. Generally in-house, you’re focused on one brand. In an agency setting, you will likely work on multiple brands varying from tech to home to beauty depending on the agency. Follow your gut to begin with and use it as a test trial. After several months (sometimes it takes years), you will eventually find what you’re most passionate about and want to focus on.

Best of luck,
Xo A

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From the Inbox: Taking Editors to Lunch

Hi ladies,

Happy New Year! I might be too old to be asking for advice – but I’ve been reading your blog since the college days!

I recently signed on as an AE at well-known, mid-sized PR firm in NYC. Before this, I have always worked at smaller firms who stuck to traditional phone/ e-mail pitching with occasional trade show attendance. My firm just started putting more pressure on us to take editors out to lunch — and for some reason this is terrifying to me.

I’ve met editors in person before at trade shows, so it’s not the meeting and chatting that makes me nervous. I know this is standard practice in PR but is there a way to do the whole editor outing thing without being too forceful and keeping things natural? While also slipping in some client chatter?

Any tips would be welcome – this is totally new to me!

Thanks.

Let's Do Lunch

This is a great question and something I can totally relate to. While it can seem nerve-wracking to have a one on one sit down with an editor, the most important part of it all is to keep the conversation flowing and personal. When I take editors out, 95% of the conversation is personal…the remaining 5% is related to business. Ask about where they went to school, where they live, how they got started in media, etc. Give some details on your personal life as well. Just as if it were a first date.

Sometimes the easiest way to ease into client talk is to start asking them more about their position and what they cover. If they say they cover something related to your client, it’s a natural way to bring up your work with your brands. For example, if the editor mentions he/she works on food coverage and is always looking for recipes, mention that your food client works with chefs and is constantly creating recipes and that you’d be happy to send through following the meeting. If nothing relates to your direct clients, bring them up casually (don’t go into too much details) and mention some of your general agency clients as well.

The point of taking editors out is to get to know them better on a personal level. If you hammer your clients onto them, it will make them feel comfortable. Before you take any reporters out on your own, ask if you can come along to one of your colleagues lunches. I enjoy bringing colleagues with me… it helps break the ice more.

Sit downs with editors like this help you form great relationships that will last you your entire PR career. Once you hit it off with an editor, you’ll feel more comfortable giving them a call to run something by them and most likely see more coverage from them in the future. Continue to check-in with them and take them out time and time again. Benefits of the relationship work both ways.

Best of luck!
Xo, A

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PR Twitter Tips: December 2014

Happy New Year! M and I are just returning from a much needed long holiday break. Today will include responding to emails from December 23rd and cleaning out a desk filled with documents from 2014. Here are five of our favorite #PR101 Twitter tips from December 2014 as we round out the year.

Cheers to many more in 2015.

pr101

@relevebyallyn: Always set goals, expectations and deadlines.

@aelafnear: Sometimes you just need a little @nycprgirls to refresh and refocus your PR brain…

@susieQ: Email101: never put anything in an email that you wouldn’t want on the front page of @nytimes.

@SymonePR: Know your target market & the media you want to attract. Give them what they want, not what you want them to have.

@ChristensenPR: Push yourself beyond “good”. Good sucks. Be great. And if you’re already great, strive for amazing!

Make sure to follow us on Twitter @nycprgirls for more #PR101.

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