This week, we’re profiling one of our favorite publicists to follow on Twitter, Amanda Ruisi of AKR PR. Amanda studied communications at Fairfield University. She founded AKR PR in January 2010 – a full-service public relations agency specializing in celebrity brands, entertainment, and lifestyle. Prior to that Amanda was at NBC in the Entertainment Publicity Department where she handled both PR & Talent Relations for 8+ years. We asked her a few questions to learn more about how she got into PR and her advice for aspiring PR professionals.
How did you get started in public relations and what attracted you to the industry?
It’s actually all because of my mother. In middle school and high school I was known as a bit of a social butterfly. I was a freshman in high school and my mother said to me ‘you know you would make a great publicist one day.’ My mother had worked in the advertising industry for years as a producer and an advertising executive, she was on the creative side, she really gave me a great intro into what this industry would be like. Later my mom helped me get my first internship in Entertainment PR at NBC. I then worked my way up and was hired full time four months later. From there it took off and I was at NBC almost my entire career, and I’ve been doing this now almost 10 years, I launched my own PR firm AKR Public Relations in January 2010.
What is your average day like?
Nonstop. Each day brings something different but a typical day is coordinating press and photo shoots for our personal clients or planning the logistics for the upcoming press launches we have or creating the strategies of new product activations or taking brand meetings with clients or looking for the right celebrity brand ambassadors.
Aside from celebrity personal/TV PR, we specialize in brand PR. We work with a myriad of Fortune 500 brands and we help align them with a celebrity and we will do social media endorsements or an organic photo opportunity, which is a great way to do a one time brand ambassador activation. We take a 360 approach: we secure the talent, the photo shoot, place the photos within the media and ensure correct brand messaging.
What’s your favorite part of working in public relations?
As a publicist you’re overseeing your clients image, you are involved in every aspect of their career. I love being able to help cultivate my clients who have these unbelievable platforms, whether it be on a TV show or however they break into the industry, and help them sustain that with longevity within the industry. It’s an exciting thing to be a part of because I love to see my clients grow, because truthfully my clients become family to me.
What’s the best PR advice you ever received?
The best advice I received was from my former boss, a communications executive at NBC who told me to “make sure you pick up the phone” to not rely completely on emails. With all the new technology people are sometimes reluctant to make phone calls but really the age-old way of communication, speaking via the telephone is still a great effective way. In the world of PR we are communication advisors, so it’s key we use all platforms to do so.
Any advice for those looking to get into PR?
I always say the best way is to think about what area of PR you would like to be in. There are so many different facets of PR, it’s important to experience a bunch, I think the best way to do this is through internships, work-studies, etc, take meetings and informational and keep an open dialogue with those you meet. Everything you try and everything you do is an experience that later can become a tool that you reuse.