Category Archives: PR 101

Check it out: Interview with Jenelle Hamilton, The Publicist

Hello PR peeps, I’m still here! I had a rough week last week and I threw in the towel, but the towel got washed and was thrown right back to me, so I’m here!

Jenelle Hamilton, The Publicist

Today I have a special treat for you! I spoke with Jenelle Hamilton, the Publicist a few days ago and she was nice enough to give me some great advice and an interview that I want to share with my readers!

**INSPIRATION ALERT** If you’re anything like me (young, and determined), you WILL be inspired by Jenelle’s words…so let’s get started:

Where did you go to school? I went to school in the UK, at the University of Greenwich, I studied communications.

How did you get started? My first job out of college was at a non-profit where I learned all the basics of PR—writing press releases, media pitching, etc. Eventually, I wanted to combine my love of PR and fashion (Miss Hamilton worked at Prada on the weekends through school…trés chic) and went to work for Karla Otto, an international fashion PR agency. I worked there for 3 years and wanted to move into beauty, so I moved to New York 7 years ago and got a job!

How did you get into freelancing? I worked in beauty for awhile and then found that I got bored and wanted to do my own thing; so I freelanced on the beauty side, but I returned to an agency after awhile and then I decided go out on my own and have been doing it for two and half to three years.

What is your biggest accomplishment thus far of your career? Landing Bob Mackie as a client—he’s a living legend and a true celebrity designer. They found me to work on a project, but then I was able to stay on as a global PR director. The other accomplishment was being on E! Television’s docuseries, Playing with Fire. I’m not an actress and I don’t want to be famous, but it was great for my brand.

Favourite part of the job? Every single day is different, I have a celebrity charity client, I have Bob Mackie; I also have hair and beauty client, and everything in between. I have so many different things going on; it just depends on what comes through my email that day. I learned a long time ago, I can’t be in a 9-5 job, every single day.

Least favourite part of the job? I hate going to meetings; I like to schedule conference calls as much as possible, especially with the new technology, I think it’s more efficient than having so many face-to-face meetings.

What do you think sets candidates apart in the entry-level job hunt? Show that you are going to work hard; I think this younger generation has shown that it is entitled and that they just want to do the glam side of PR; but I don’t do that every day, most of work is writing and behind the scenes stuff. Show that you are driven and are willing to work hard and being proactive. Even if you aren’t working, keep doing professional things and show that they are willing to work. That will set you apart.

What advice do you have for someone in terms of interning for free? I interned for free and worked 7 days a week; I worked Monday through Saturday and then I worked at an agency 1 day a week, and even had a second job!—if you want something you have to work for it and make sacrifices. Think long term and don’t think about now, think about the big picture. How bad do you want it?

What is one piece of advice you have for aspiring PR professionals? You can’t be shy; you have to be a performer. That’s why I created “Jenelle the publicist” because it’s still me, it’s just a more outgoing me. I think you have to be fun; you have to be high energy and be able to turn it on. Be able to tap into your performer.

What are key lessons you have learned in your career? There are a lot of ups and downs in this business, and some days you are going to want to give u. But if you’re passionate, you have to keep going. People don’t realize ow much work is involved in running their own business, and how much commitment is involved. They look at me and say, “Look at Jenelle, she’s so successful” but they haven’t seen the blood, sweat and tears that went into my business.

Is she amazing or what?! If you want to keep following Jenelle, then you can find her on her website, Facebook, Youtube, Linkedin, Instagram and Twitter

As you can see, Miss Hamilton had oodles of advice to offer and I can definitely say that speaking with her really lifted me up and got me excited and thinking about MY next steps.

I can’t wait to continue sharing this journey with you all and maybe some more interview? We’ll see!

Until next time!

XOXO, Jess AsPRing

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Jargon…It’s Important To Know Some!

Happy Thursday people! I am having a particularly stressful week (school started and a whole lot of other stuff, but I don’t want to bore you!) and when I am having these kinds of weeks, I usually turn to my fave blogs and websites to inspire me and make me laugh. One such website is 99 Problems But a Pitch Ain’t One and one thing they usually have is the “Jargon Jar”, a fun feature that gives you quirky phrases that to the outside world make NO sense, but to us PR pros (aspiring and veteran) are like a second language!

Belongs to 99 Problems But a Pitch ain’t One

Don’t know any jargon? That’s okay, I’ll give you some of the basics and then we can revisit it at a later date, so here is the jargon you need to know!

Bio This is short for “biography”, used for CEOs, entertainers, engineers…your clients, basically. If you represent a creative personality, then you will most definitely have a bio for them. Within the corporate, consumer, healthcare and tech industries only the head honchos get bios.
Buzz Buzz is basically creating conversations for your client; this is really the bare bones of PR, you want people talking about your client and their work. PR pros want to keep creating buzz constantly, that’s why we get paid!
Demo This is short for, “demonstration” which happens in all aspects of PR. Companies demo their product to journalists, influencers, select consumers, and members of their target demographic. Demos are good because they give companies the chance to see how their product or service will be received. It is also a way to get coverage, because journalists will more than likely write about their experience and review the product/service
Ed Cal Short for “editorial calendar”, outlets publish these calendars around October-December that give an overview of stories, special issues and what will be in their publication for the entire upcoming year. Lots of publicists use ed cals to help pitch stories, because we know in advance what the journalists will be looking for.
Feature A feature is usually a longer article, a front page or a featured article. It’s more prominent than a “hit” or regular coverage
Hit A hit is anytime your client is covered, same thing as “coverage”
Launch When a product or service is opened, think of a rocket launch, it’s being “launched” into the atmoshphere (lol)
Lead Time Lead time is the amount of time editors need to work on on a story to publication. Lead times can be anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months! The general rule of thumb is 3-5 months for national publications (long lead), 1-2 months for smaller mags and regionals and weeklies (short lead) and less than a month or a few days for dailies and websites. Lead times are über important because even if you have an amazing story, if you don’t get it to the journalist/editor in enough time, it won’t go anywhere
Pitch The almighty pitch is a story angle or idea that you offer to members of the media in order to secure coverage/hits/features
Pub Short for “publication” and you know what that is…

Well, I hope you enjoyed this short list of jargon that I’ve put together for you. Did it help? Let me know and I can publish another list! Until next time.

XOXOXOX, Jess AsPRing

I’m a fashion publicist now…kinda; moving from one type of PR to another.

When you hear the words “fashion publicist” what do you think of? Well-helled, perfectly coiffed waifs running around NYFW?

Or how about kick-ass tell-it-like-it-is Kelly Cutrone, who’s mantra “if you have to cry, go outside” has turned her into a household name & author?

“Kell on Earth”

Chances are, you think of both of these, and in some cases, you’re probably right, but my dear followers, get ready for a NEW fashion PR face: MINES. That’s right, I moved out of the tech PR biz and into fashion and accessories at a boutique PR firm (not that I don’t find gizmos and gadgets awesome) and it’s only my first day, so I don’t know what the heck the future holds, but I’ve been doing some prep work in anticipation & I wanted to pass it along to you, in case YOU wanted to jump PR ship to a new kind of PR (because trust me, there are more tons of different kinds of PR you can do):

  1. Consume, consume, consume media: I cannot say this enough, you should be reading multiple publications in your field, daily. Now that I’m into fashion (lol, I mean professionally), I am following ALL the pubs, top fashion blogs and influencers.
  2. Learn who’s who: Start remembering the names of editors, journalists who wrote a story that might pertain to one of your clients, etc. I am about to start pinning articles I find online so that when I see a good story, I can keep it tucked away and then maybe use it to pitch the same journalist later. PR is all about relationships, knowing what’s up and being ready when it is time to strike, as my dad always says, “if you stay ready, you won’t have to get ready.”
  3. Change the content you share: I share a lot of content via this blog and (more so) my Twitter account, and when I was in tech, I shared a lot of…you guessed it, tech news. Now that I am in fashion (lol…it still sounds weird), I want to start sharing and interacting with fashion industry peeps.
  4. Keep using what you’ve got to get what ya’ need: Tech is a beast, I mean it is really hard. I’m not the only person who thinks so, the best advice I have gotten so far in my career is, “oh you’re in tech? Well, if you can do tech, you can do anything” and I kind of feel like it’s true: tech is a tough field and if you’re not “Google”, “Facebook” or “Apple” it can be an uphill battle. BUT, that has prepared me for fashion. I can take a lick and keep on going, I can tailor a pitch and I can find an angle in any story (thanks to my first boss, Crisel). I know fashion isn’t any easier, but it sure as heck can’t be harder than tech, right?
  5. Become like Spongebob Squarepants: I don’t mean live in a pineapple under the sea (because you would die, and my intern salary won’t be able to handle any wrongful death suits), I mean absorb as much as possible! You’re in a new game, honey and you don’t know all of the rules yet. So keep your eyes and ears open, take notes and ask as many questions as possible. New industry, new rules.

That’s all I’ve got for you today, but expect a post really soon about my initial thoughts on working in fashion PR. As always,

XOXOXO, Jess_AsPRing

p.s. I agree with Kelly Cutrone, if you have to cry, go outside ladies…it makes us all look bad!

2012 in Review: Final Thoughts, Laughs and Goals for 2013

Hey peeps, this is the final blog post of 2012 and man oh man, it has been a GREEEEAT year for me (Tony the Tiger Style). This time last year, I was just getting back to school after taking way too much time off and working a dead-end job in recreation, dreaming about breaking into PR. Fast-forward 12 months and here I am, working my way up the PR ladder and 6 months shy of graduation. It just goes to show that with hard work, determination and a little luck, you can make things happen. So what will 2013 look like for me? I have NO idea, but I have a few goals:

  1. Graduate with my BA
  2. Move to NYC
  3. Work in PR in NYC and get PAID FOR IT

That’s it. Thank you so much for following my blog and listening to my incessant ramblings and I sincerely hope you learned something, had some doubts removed or at least go a laugh out of my struggle to get press coverage.

WordPress was awesome enough to make me a cool summary of 2012, as outlined below…have a look and maybe it will get you ready to start a blog yourself! See ya in 2013

XOXOXO, Jess_AsPRing

“The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 5 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Hump Day Help: The Spring Internship Search

Hey there and Happy Hump Day…can I be honest with you? I’m not sure if this “Hump Day Help” is going to become regular or what, but it was a cute title and I like it, so sue me…

ANYWAY, have you started looking for a Spring internship yet? NO? Well then you get one of these:

…and some advice (which won’t soothe the sting of my slap). I wanted to give you my 5-step plan for internship searches; I know it seems easy to just go to Craigslist or whatever and just randomly send your resume to the faceless HR department, but if you really want to stand out and land a GREAT (not just “good”) internship, keep on reading:

  1. Like all good projects, your internship hunt begins with research: Yes, my good people, research. When I was applying for my Fall internships I spent a good 2 weeks (maybe over-kill) researching firms in my area and getting all the information I could about them. I advise making a Google spreadsheet with your info so that you can keep track and update when necessary.
  2. Look for contacts: This may sound scary (and it is!) but when I found a firm I loved, I went straight to Linkedin and started looking for people who work there, so I can scope them out and get more info. I found HR people, AC’s, AE’s, etc. anybody I could reach out to. If I liked what I saw, I sent a PERSONALIZED request and introduced myself. 85% of the time, they accepted and responded.
  3. Pick up the phone: I know they say it’s best to e-mail, but listen, a voice on the phone (pleasant and courteous and clear), is always more memorable than a random e-mail. Have phone fright? Have a little script ready, something like this: “Good morning, my name is ______ and I wanted to inquire about the availability of any Spring internships, whom should I speak to?” be clear and concise and above all, be extra nice to the receptionist; they are the gatekeepers and can really help you get to the right person.
  4. Follow up any and all communication with a “thank you”: Did someone give you some good information? Drop them a quick “thanks” e-mail, went in for an interview? I always opt for hand-written “thank you” notes that I prepare ahead of time so that I can stop and quickly edit them for content and drop them in the mail that same day. A “thank you” can go a long way in today’s world.
  5. Be diligent: If you’ve sent your e-mails and made your calls and you still haven’t heard back, you can do 2 things: 1, you can just shrug and forget it and move on; but if it’s a firm you really want to work for, keep at it. Be polite and a bit pushy. Also, please remember, interns are hired up to 2 months in advance, so NOW is the time to start looking for a January start date. Hunker down and get to it, it will be worth it in the long run.

Internships are a very competitive business (which is strange that so many people want to work for free lol) and it can be that one tiny thing that pushes you over the top. So be prepared, be courteous, be knowledgable and be enthusiastic, and I promise you, good things will happen. That’s all I have today, see you next time!

XOXOXO, Jess_AsPRing

PR 101: The Industry Analyst

Did you know there are people who are paid solely for the purpose of giving their opinion on products and services and “predicting” the market? Half of you are going, “why am I in PR? Sign me up for that!” and the other half are going, “are their professional wizards in the communication world?” you’re BOTH wrong: today’s post is about industry analysts.

An industry analyst is a credentialed industry expert who conducts market research  independently which are published in a variety of ways. You might be thinking, “why, as a blossoming PR practitioner, should I care about this?” well that’s a tricky question because not ALL types of PR will use industry analysts. Like fashion and beauty, I don’t think I’ve ever seen an industry analyst front row at #NYFW (and yes, I did use a hashtag, this is my blog, I do what I want!), but in tech, health, politics, insurance….those types of fields, you will most likely see analysts.

Analysts are important to PR pros because they provide an “expert voice” and quotes for the media. Sure, you like the latest gadget a client is putting out, it’s the best thing since sliced bread, right? A journalist might take that argument a little more seriously if you have a respected industry analyst backing your claims up. So how do you get one of these industry wizards?

Well, industry analysts are employed in a variety of ways…well, actually 2 ways, really. They work at firms such as Gartner or Forrester (which are both tech research firms). Or they are independent. A PR firm will hire an analyst to look into a new product, give quotes or write reports that can be distributed on behalf of your client and generate coverage.  They are invaluable to some PR campaigns and you might just encounter them one day, so I thought I should let you know.

That’s all I’ve got for you today! Hope you learned something. Have you got a #PR101 topic you want me to demystify or explain? Leave a comment or drop me a line & let me know!

XOXOXOXO, Jess_AsPRing

Ending That Internship with Flair!

Hey fellow PR lovers…so I ended my first ever PR internship this past Thursday, and let me tell you: I was super sad! They got me cupcakes and the most expensive greeting card I have ever received in my life (I’m looking at you mom and dad…step yo’ game up). Well, I didn’t just leave with a wave and a “see ya!” nope, I did a few things that I think made an impression…and I want to share them with you, so next time you go out, go out with a BANG! Here we go:

  • Make sure to finish ALL your assigned work: Okay, I have to confess, I really did NOT want to finish my last assignment, it was a writing assignment and I was not feeling very confident in my writing. However, I forced myself to finish it out. Just because it’s your last day doesn’t mean you fool around and get on facebook: make sure you finish all your assignments. Don’t leave anything for the next intern, that’s just rude.
  • Make sure you get final feedback: I was pretty lucky with my supervisor in that she gave pretty consistent feedback (we sat right next to each other, so it was pretty easy) and I always had an idea of how I was doing, so I skipped this step. But if you’re still wondering how you did and it hasn’t been brought up; take the initiative and ask: how you did this summer, your strengths and weaknesses and how you can improve.
  • Ask for that recommendation letter: Don’t be afraid to ask for a letter of recommendation; you did the work and while you did (hopefully) gain invaluable experience, a recommendation letter is the other thing you are hoping to get out of this internship. I asked for a letter in paper and electronic form so that I could have a copy to forward to future internship applications.
  • Express your appreciation: I am a stickler for writing thank you notes, hand written thank you notes at that. I always write them after interviewing and I wrote one for my superiors after this internship as well. Not because I’m a kiss-ass…no, because I really wanted them to know I was grateful for their help and guidance. It can be such a pain having an intern; sure we help, but we also need hand holding and that takes away from other work and I am grateful that they taught me as much as they did. I also made little gift bags, for under $20.
  • Get contact information: Get business cards, linkedin info, Twitter info, etc. make sure you are making those connections so that they can be utilized later on! PR is about who you know my young compatriots!

Well, that’s it for me…tomorrow I start my new internship at a much larger firm and to tell you the truth, I’m worried, but I am also excited. Boutique agencies and larger agencies run differently and I feel like this is yet another adventure in the field I love so much. Remember: your reputation is king, (or queen) so protect it when you move on to the next big thing.

XOXOXOXO, Jess_AsPRing