PRofile: @RobbinWatson

RobbinWatsonMeet Robbin, a graduate from the College of Charleston with a Communications degree, with a concentration on broadcast journalism. A friend of mine and PR girl that started her career in the Big Apple, Robbin landed her first job as a junior publicist for several daytime television hosts at NBC Universal and CBS. Her days were spent developing media plans, drafting pitch letters and press releases, while planning her biggest career event so far: a one-hour live episode taping in the middle of New York City’s Times Square, jumbotrons included.

Making her way to the West Coast, Robbin began working as the publicist for Sleeping Giant Music (SGM), one of Southern California’s premiere music agencies. During her time at SGM, she developed the company’s PR department, successfully building the local media presence of both the company and their artist roster.

Robbin currently serves as a Media Relations Manager at Alternative Strategies in San Diego, CA. She works with clients in the restaurant/bar, beauty and pet industry.

How did you get started in public relations?

Originally I thought I’d end up on the media side of the industry. In college, I interned at two news stations, created a demo reel and had been hired for freelance assignment desk editor jobs in the Charleston, SC market. While on the job hunt, I came across a Junior Publicist opening for four national TV talk show hosts. I figured why not? To be honest, I had no PR experience, except for my college courses and experience in the newsroom. After weeks of follow up (follow up is my second calling), I was offered the position and began my (hopefully long) career in public relations.

What is your average day like?

My average day consists of normally starting off with a local TV segment. I work mainly with restaurants and chefs, therefore, while on set, I make sure our client knows their talking points and present themselves in the best way possible. Once my morning segments are over, I head back to the agency’s office to continue my day of pitching based off our pitch calendar, following up with previous pitches, scheduling media visits, sketching out future TV segments and client meetings.

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

I feel like every publicist says this, but I truly love the fast pace and how different each day is. One day I could find myself waking up at 4am for a live TV segment with one of our chefs…the next day I could be in the office pitching our clients to national TV shows for audience giveaways.

What’s the best PR advice you ever received?

Always follow up. I can’t stress it enough. I got my first job from incessant follow up. Also, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone. It’s easy to sit behind a computer all day, sending hundreds of pitch letters…but results come from following up with a phone call, re-selling your pitch and building relationships.

Any advice for those looking to get into PR?

Do your research and make yourself familiar with all local and national media outlets. It’s never smart go to into an interview and not know the local TV stations and newspapers, even if you’re only applying for an internship.

Make sure to follow Robbin on Twitter @robbbinwatson and Instagram @robbinwatson.

 

 

 

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PRofile: @AllisonPDuncan

allie duncanMeet Allie Duncan, a Chicago PR girl that’s had a dream career thus far – an internship at Vogue, Tory Burch and a current job at a national retailer – to say the least. Allie’s story is both insightful and inspiring. Take notes while reading Allie’s story and reach out to her on both Twitter and Instagram.

How did you get started in public relations?

When applying to college, I focused on schools that were known for their journalism departments. I had chosen the major in high school when, forced to think about my interests, realized how much I loved magazines, fashion, shopping and writing. It sounds like such a trivial way to decide my future now, but I definitely made the right decision for me! I spent my first semester of college at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications but was ultimately unhappy and transferred to the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism in the spring of 2010, where I spent the rest of my college career.

I applied for numerous internships during my freshman year and did not receive any offers, so I spent my first summer home from school editing my resume and applying for positions with small, local companies near my school and started as a marketing intern for Word Marketing in the fall. I immediately requested a letter of recommendation from them to add to my ‘portfolio,’ which they were gracious enough to provide, and then perfected a pitch letter about myself that I sent to nearly every contact at most of the major women’s fashion magazines in NYC that I could find. This was in October, and I couldn’t start interning until May/June!

I had a great response, and I think that can be attributed to applying early and to including a letter of recommendation with my resume. I was also fortunate enough to be able to travel to NYC from my hometown of Chicago over winter break to interview in-person, which really does make a difference so if you’re able to , I recommend it!

VOGUE

In February, I accepted an internship in the fashion editorial department at VOGUE Magazine, where I spent the summer trafficking samples, creating lookbooks and mood boards, assisting on photo shoots, working on the CFDA presentations, etc. I spent three days a week at VOGUE and the other two at a small fashion PR firm, Michele Marie PR, which I chose to do so I could further develop my interests in the industry for an internship the next summer. It’s really important to always be thinking about where you want to be and how you’re going to get there, even though it seems far off!

I asked for letters of recommendation from each of my employers – don’t be embarrassed or nervous to do so! – and created an admittedly large PDF file including them and my resume, along with some samples of my work, if applicable. I knew I wanted to spend my last ‘intern summer’ doing in-house PR for a designer since it was the one area of fashion that I was interested in but hadn’t yet worked. I spent the 2012 summer as a public relations intern at Tory Burch and couldn’t have loved it more! I was able to pull looks for editorial, assist on editor press previews, compile press reports and editorial calendars, and more. The internship really solidified that I wanted to work in public relations, rather than on the editorial side of fashion.

tory burch

I’d always thought I’d end up in NYC but eventually decided I wanted to move back home to Chicago. I was diligent about finding the ‘New York fashion job’ in my city but wasn’t able so I accepted an internship in April to have a back-up plan for post-graduation while I continued to look for full-time opportunities. I had been freelancing for a small public relations agency, YL Communications, when the founder mentioned she was getting ready to hire a full-time account executive. I became her first hire!

I accepted the job with YL Communications, although it was a risk to work in a small start-up environment, because I really wanted to be in a place where I could hit the ground running – working on real projects, contributing to the bottom line, and making professional contacts. We had approximately eight clients in the food, hospitality and beauty industries, and I was involved in most aspects of their public relations initiatives, including media relations, celebrity outreach, event planning and production, etc.

It was a great experience, but I continued to keep my eyes and ears open for ‘fashion jobs.’ I had actually reached out to my current employer (a nationwide retailer) months earlier, at which time they politely informed me that they weren’t hiring but would keep my resume on file. A few weeks after turning down the project manager position, I received an email from my current employer that they’d had a recent opening for an assistant PR manager and after a long application process, I was offered the job – my dream position! Again, waiting for the right fit and not settling made the difference in my current happiness in my career.

What is your average day like?

In every interview I’ve ever read with a public relations professional, he/she says that there is no typical day for them. While that’s somewhat true, there are some things that are generally pretty standard in my days, like reaching out to potential partners for upcoming events, pulling clothing for editorial requests, monitoring media impressions and archiving press, etc.

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

What makes public relations so fun and exciting are the days that are different! Whether it’s working on a major event with a local blogger or celebrity or meeting with our extended team to discuss upcoming trends or developing creative campaigns to pitch to the media, it’s hard to be bored and easy to be inspired. That’s especially true when you work with great people and for a fun company like I do!

What’s the best PR advice you ever received?

The best PR advice I’ve ever received relates to the job search, and it’s to always evaluate the company you’re interviewing with as much as they’re evaluating you. There’s nothing more important than finding the right fit, and it’s worth it to wait if you’re not excited about the offers you’re receiving. That’s not to say you shouldn’t work at all – do some freelance work, start a blog, whatever sparks your interest – but think about the things that are important to you in a company. Do you want lots of coworkers so you can meet new people? Do you want a small agency with plenty of creative flexibility, or a large company with more established practices? Is a flexible schedule important to you, or do you care more about your title? Whatever it is, it matters!

Any advice for those looking to get into PR?

While back at school, I was a national contributing writer to Her Campus magazine and also served as the publicity director for the campus branch, Her Campus Mizzou. I definitely recommend writing as much as possible if you’re looking for a career in public relations. Most employers will ask for writing samples, and I was so relieved to have some on hand from my days writing for Her Campus.

Also, although untraditional, I’ve only written a cover letter once or twice in the hundreds of applications I’ve sent out in my lifetime, and I rarely apply through online forms. Find a contact – it doesn’t matter who. Anyone in the company, if intrigued by your email and resume, can refer you to the right person. Reach out to anyone and everyone, and let the body of your email be your ‘cover letter.’ In PR especially, it’s important to be tenacious and know when no isn’t an acceptable answer. If it’s really important to you, find a way in, whether it’s pushing for a five-minute phone call, asking to take them to coffee, sending ideas you have for a client they have on their roster, etc.

Be sure to connect with Allie on Twitter and Instagram.

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PRofile: Liz of @MariposaComm

mariposa-liz-anothonyThis month we’re spotlighting Liz Anthony, the president and founder of Mariposa Communications in New York City. She started her career in the corporate public relations department of a major American fashion brand, where she oversaw regional press and events. In time, Liz segued into the fast-paced agency world, moving to a boutique firm that specialized in fashion accessories.

In early 2009, with her passion, talent and eye for irresistibly chic and stylish designs, Liz set out on her own and founded Mariposa Communications - a fashion public relations firm providing unparalleled PR services to a selection of designers, whether established or on the rise. Since then the company has continued to grow and has seen nothing but success! Liz currently lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their dog Mackie.

How did you get started in public relations?

I always had a strong interest in fashion and had some experience interning in both fashion and PR separately. After a few internships I came to realize the magic of marrying the two fields.

What is your average day like?

The thrilling part about fashion PR is that every day is different. We’re always juggling editorial appointments and requests, client meetings, market research, and trend reports, just to name a few of our daily tasks. We love finding new, innovative ways to keep up with the ever changing social media platforms and maximizing exposure for our clients.

Mariposa Communications

What’s your favorite part of working in public relations? Favorite part of owning your own firm?

PR allows you to work with so many different people and make so many great relationships. You are always working on nurturing your existing relationships and developing new ones. Having your own firm allows you to prioritize and make sure that everyone, whether they’re a member of the media or a client, gets the individual attention that they deserve. We work with a really great group of creative and savvy business people that we are in constant contact with. We love watching our brands grow!

What’s the best PR advice you ever received?

It’s PR – not ER.

Any advice for those looking to get into PR?

Jump right in and get your feet wet! Be prepared to do anything whether it be getting coffee and cupcakes for an appointment, running a to FedEx, or sorting through piles of samples.  Just focus, work hard, and think positively! Network while interning and keep in touch with your contacts beyond your internship!

Any advice for those looking to open their own PR firm?

Keep your costs down in the beginning but invest in the right things; a good website, signature stationery, launch event, good computers with a cloud! Only work with people you truly believe in and feel a positive connection with- long term PR relationships are like a successful marriage!

Make sure you follow Mariposa Communications on TwitterFacebook and Tumblr.

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PRofile: @RachMariePR

Today we’re PRofiling a fellow blogger and avid tweeter @RachMariePR. She studied communications, with an emphasis in public relations, at Minnesota State University and since graduating has been interning and job searching. She started the blog, RachMarie PR, as a way to keep up on her creative writing and stay noticed in the PR world. She’s currently a PR intern at Spin PR Group in Los Angeles, California.

RachMarie PR

What attracted you to the PR industry?

I love the fast-paced and outgoing qualities of the field – I like to be busy at all times {Well, at most times. I definitely enjoy my time to relax too.} When I decided to major in mass communications I started with a concentration in journalism. I had always loved to write and, when I was a little girl, I wanted to either write books or for a fashion/beauty/lifestyle magazine when I grew up. I took a few classes that were more PR related and I realized public relations is where I belong, and I would still have the opportunity to write – a lot!

RachMarie PR Logo

What is your average day as an intern like?

There isn’t really an average day, but any day could be filled with the usual intern duties: a lot of emails and phone calls, press clippings, promoting concerts and events, writing and editing press releases, etc. My current internship keeps me pretty busy! The agency is located in Los Angeles and I am in Minneapolis so the time change can make a difference in how my day goes, but really isn’t an issue as I am ready to begin, or continue, working on my internship projects after my “day-job.”

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

As I said before, I love how fast-paced and busy the industry can be – I think it is great how each day is different. I love meeting and making connections with new people all the time. And, seeing a story or event I have been pitching get picked up is definitely one of my favorite parts of working in public relations.

What’s the best PR advice you ever received?

Stay open to new opportunities and experiences. While interning, always ask for more to do and learn. Learn as much as possible every day.

Through my internships I have discovered more and more about what I do and do not want or like. I found this to be exceptionally important as I ended up feeling the opposite about an industry that I thought I wanted to be in the most. It has been great to learn more about the opportunities that are available in public relations {there are so many!!} and where I see myself fitting, and succeeding.

How do you stand out as an intern?

I always be sure to complete my projects in a timely manner {usually, and hopefully, before deadline} and always ask what else I can do. I make sure to always ask questions if I need to so I can be sure my projects are done correctly and I am learning as much as possible.

Any advice for those looking to get into PR?

Intern and network; as much as possible!! These two things are very important and will make a world of difference in your position and job search. Make connections with your co-workers and keep in touch with them when your internship is complete.

Make sure you check out Rachel’s blog and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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