Tag Archives: branding

Interview Time: Sports PR publicist, Natasha-Nicole Valley

Happy Tuesday! Have I got a treat for you: I have another interview today with a fantastic young PR entreprenuer, by the name of Natasha-Nicole Valley. Natasha is a sports publicist based out of Miami who works as a solo PR pro.

Fun trivia: Natasha and I went to high school together in England and she was the bomb back then, so you know she’s the bomb now, and let’s get to it:

Name, place of origin, school? My name is Natasha-Nicole “London” Valley, I’m from Cambridge, UK, I went to Florida A&M University and got my BS in political science with a minor in journalism/PR and got my MPA.

How long have you worked in PR? Professionally, 4 years.

1st PR Job? My first PR job was working for Krystle Coleman of Midori Star Media. She taught me so much.

What kind of PR do you work in? What does it entail? What attracted you to it? I’m in sports PR. In a nutshell, it is building not only professional athletes brands, but also sports related brands. I was an athlete from age 4 to 18 and an injury during my first week of college practice ended my athlete days. Most of my childhood memories include either me playing sports–I knew I couldn’t get away from it.

Can you tell me what a typical day looks like for you? In the morning, I scan sports media and social media, while checking my email and google alerts. I also follow up with agents, clients, etc.

Pitching and following up with journalists takes up most of my day, I try & save on the field media training for Fridays and Saturdays. Yes, Saturdays. If a client or rep of brand calls, that takes top priority, but planning media and fielding media requests are also regular occurrences.

If I don’t work through lunch I meet with a client, potential client or manager to pitch ideas or discuss upcoming schedule entries.

On non-game nights I meet with my business coach, (shameless plug: @KatieKortnie). During games and post games, I observe everything and jot down notes. After I’m home and cozy for the night, I scan media again and research, research, research.

What made you go out on your own? I’ve known since I was a kid that I would work for myself. It’s tough being a visionary  executing another visionary’s vision for an extended period of time.

Favourite Part of the job? Photo shoots! I love seeing mood boards come alive as the stylist wheels out racks and clients, who are used to luxurious wardrobes, can hardly contain themselves as they swoon over the options. Working as a team on set with other creatives to complete one brand building goal is also exhilarating. I really love the process of brand development as well.

Least favourite part of the job?  Updating my main media database. I have media info in various organized, but random places. Adding new phone numbers, changing outlet names as journalists move around and creating new entries for new editors in my main media database can be a bit tedious.

Biggest accomplishment (so far) in your career? It sounds simplistic, but developing my own clientele and booking mainstream media such as ESPN, SLAM, BET’s 106&Park is an accomplishment in itself. There are other great things I can name, but the overall idea of that is a blessing to me.

What is one lesson you have learned that you want to share with aspiring PR pros? Develop relationships. Trust in general, is critical in building brands. One more, consistently use a sales funnel for prospecting clients.

In order to succeed in PR, what traits should one have? Persistence is vital in pitching, and organization is a must. Communication skills, both verbal and writing, are obviously the most important trait you need in PR. However, you have to continue to build; if you aren’t motivated to read and keep a notebook, this is going to be a grueling career. Research is also a must.

If you weren’t working in PR, what would you be doing? I would probably be a sports agent, an athletic director, filmmaker or even a neuroscientist who teaches an art class on the weekends.

How can the readers follow you and keep up with you? My website: LondonNicolePR.com  and I’m on Twitter iLondonNicole and Instagram.

Wow, her typical day made me so tired, I had to take a break from reading it take a nap LOL. I hope you enjoyed the interview and can learn something from Natasha’s passion, dedication and plain good common sense.

Until Next time!

XOXO, Jess AsPRing

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The Senior Chronicles, Part III: The Perfect Entry-Level Résumé

Hey there peeps, have I got a treat for you! Today we are going to be talking about the one document that can make or break your career: the résumé.  A résumé is the meat of the “career packet sandwich”: it doesn’t matter how great your portfolio is, how well-polished and personalized your cover letter is or how great you interact with the agency on Twitter, if your résumé doesn’t put foreward the best picture of you? It’s a done deal. Luckily for you, I have called in the big guns to give us some help: Jessica H. Hernandez is the founder and CEO of Great Resumes Fast, an online résumé consultancy that delivers brilliant résumés for all industries at all levels, at a very reasonable price. Additionally, Jessica (who has a fantastic name, if I do say so myself) is a nationally-recognized résumé expert, appearing in International Business TimesMSN.comMonster.com, etc. Basically, her advice is golden and I’ve got the exclusive scoop for you in 5…4…3..2…

  1. Should an entry-level resume be in chronological order or in order of most relevant experience? How much of our past experience should we include? It really depends on each job seeker’s job search goals but 99% of the time you always want to include the most relevant information in the top portion of the resume and then follow it with a chronological listing of your previous experience. Additionally, you should include up to ten years of past work experience but most entry level job seekers won’t have that long of a work history. So include what you do have at the time.
  2. Please make or break a myth for us: should our entry-level resume only be one page? Most entry-level resumes are only one page because of limited work history not because of a resume rule that stipulates it should only be one page. There is no rule that your resume has to stick to one page.
  3. What are some good tips for what to put on an entry-level resume that does not have much experience? You can include relevant coursework, internships, volunteer experience, and relevant extracurricular activities if they are professional and would help you in finding a job.
  4. How do we highlight our strengths against more experienced (ie, a few years out of school, etc.) competitors? Always emphasize your relevant experience and expertise. Speak to the needs of the employer. How has your past experience equipped you to successfully tackle the challenges that this employer is facing? If you can prove that you can overcome their obstacles you’ve suddenly positioned yourself as the most desirable candidate.
  5. How will social media and personal branding play into our resumes? How much weight should we, as entry-level job seekers, put into it? If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile you need to get one. It’s the number one way recruiters are finding candidates – even entry level ones! You should always seek to “brand” yourself. Even if you have very little actual work experience you still have gifts, talents, and skills that are marketable to employers and that make you unique and unlike any other candidate. Focus on marketing those.

Well, you heard it hear first people: “one-page résumé only” is a total myth and you need to get on Linkedin, ASAP. Jessica is a great resource and you can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin. She’s a great resource and regularly publishes great info and articles. I’m known to be pretty helpful, myself 😉 so don’t forget to connect with me!

The next Senior Chronicles will deal with social media and your résumé, how much is too much? Should you put your Twitter on your résumé? We’ll answer all of these q’s and more!

Until next time!

XOXOXO, Jess_AsPRing

Sunday Special: “Do I need agency experience?”

Happy Sunday! How are you? I’m cool, on Spring break, shooting the breeze, in NEW YORK CITY!!!!

Bam.

Anyway, I was recently poking around a few Linkedin groups for entry-level PR pros (way to spend a Spring break, huh?) and I saw a question that really interested me: should I go for agency experience after I graduate? I thought long and hard about this and did a lot of google searches and I wanted to tip in my 2 cents:

Yes, I think agency experience is a good thing, and here are a few reasons why:

  1. In an agency, you are exposed to a wider variety of clients and accounts, you can get your feet wet across a few industries and see what you like best. Very few of us know where we want to be straight out of college (I know I don’t!) and an agency, while usually sticking to one industry (say lifestyle, tech or health care) will have different segments within that industry. So you work at a healthcare agency; one of your clients may be a hospital, another may be a catheter supplier (I’m sorry one of the adverts just came on) and another may be a health watch-dog group! See? You are really getting exposed to a lot of different clients and exposure is good!
  2. You gain skills and experience. Fast. Like really, really fast. If you have ever stepped foot in an agency, I’m sure you’ve noticed how fast-paced it is, personally, that’s the reason I love PR as much as I do. When you start as an AC (account coordinator) in an agency, you are thrown right in the lion’s den. Accounts need working and you need to hit the ground running. Those first few weeks/months/years are like on the job paid training; you will learn a lot and your writing, skill set, communication skills, etc. will flourish. An agency will really sharpen you into a fine PR weapon…like an AK-47, that writes press releases (and isn’t endorsed by the NRA).
  3. Not very many in-house positions are made for entry-level pros. The fact is, if you look around at in-house position announcements, they ask for 2-3 years of agency experience. So chances are, unless you know somebody or you get a big break, then you’ll need that agency experience before you can start looking for in-house positions. Like the previous point I made, companies are looking for people who have been in the PR “battlefield” AKA the agency, these people are experienced, trained and talented (most of the time) and can get the job done. So if in-house is your ultimate destination, an agency for the 1st year or 2 is probably your best bet.

This isn’t to say we will ALL end up at an agency; some of us will go the non-profit route, or the public affairs route, or the start-up route or one of you will be the one to find the unicorn: an entry-level position at a company for PR. Either way, you’ve got choices, but I think an agency is a good choice to  think about.

Until next time LIVE FROM NEW YORK CITY IT’S SATURDAY NIG–

Just joking….

XOXOXO, Jess AsPRing

Were the Oscar’s a PR “Win”? The REAl winners and losers.

Hello ladies and gents, last night was supposedly the “biggest night in Hollywood” and the stars were out in their finest; the entire cast of Les Mis performed after a powerhouse by Jennifer Hudson (she really stole the show), it was the night of the ingenue (Both Anne Hathaway and Jennifer Lawrence won in their respective categories, although I’m still #TeamSallyFields) and it was a night of good suprises: the great Barbara Streisand graced the Oscar’s stage for the first time in almost 30 years, Michelle Obama showed up and Seth MacFarlane didn’t piss anybody off. But who were the REAL winners and losers? I picked two and here they are:

BIG Oscar Winner: Real-time Marketing.
I’m serious you guys, real-time marketing won, hands down. Brands were working over time to make relevant, witty and engaging posts, images and tweets in a bid to lure fan engagement. One brand that always wins on that front is Oreo, they scored a big win with their  Superbowl Blackout Tweet and they continued last night with a few spots (here and here) with a few other brands jumping in, including: Sharpie, Starbucks, JcPenney’s, Visa and Stella Artois, among many others. Real-time marketing is here to stay people, yet another tenet in our “instantaneous/gimme now” culture. The Oscar goes to you RTM, now keep your acceptance speech short, because I hear they are playing Jaws music to get people off stage these days (which is hilarious)

BIG Oscar Loser: The Onion.
The Onion is an alternative cultural icon; the spoof newspaper has been churning out ridiculous and satirical headlines for decades skewering everybody from Presidents to pop culture cuties. At approximately 8:04PM last nigh, in the middle of the Oscar’s telecast, they tweeted the following, “Everyone else seems afraid to say it, but that Quvenzhané Wallis is kind of a cunt, right? #Oscars2013” and they lost every cool point they ever had. Like, ever. First of all, Quvenzhané Wallis is nine years old and her personality is still developing and have you ever met a nine-year old? They can be a little self-involved and cocky (for lack of a better term), so lay off, who comes for a nine-year old, really? And, she is the youngest person EVER to be nominated for an Oscar, Mr./Miss Tweet Writter, what have YOU done lately? When was the last time you broke a record? Don’t worry, I’ll wait…

Exactly. People are so busy trying to be “edgy” on Twitter that they are over-stepping their boundaries and saying things that are uncouth and down-right mean. Manners are still in people, don’t forget.

Well, those were my winners and losers from last night’s (pretty boring) Oscars…BTW, Sally Fields should have won, I mean…Anne Hathaway? Really. Ugh. Whatevs. Until next time.

XOXOXO,

Jess_AsPRing.

Social Network Saturday: Vine.

Happy Saturday peeps! I have been doing a lot of other stuff lately (graduation is fast approaching and opening my own online boutique http://bigheartcouture.com/ shameless plug people, we open March 1st) and although PR and social media are a part of my daily life, they haven’t been a part of my online life: I haven’t been tweeting like normal, my Linkedin feed looks like freakin’ Roanoke (5 points if you know what I’m referring to!) and this blog has virtual tumbleweeds.

So, today I am bringing you a “Social Network Saturday” post because in the last few weeks, a new social network sprang up and it actually looks like it has a bit of staying power (literally jumped to #14 on the “most downloaded app” list in like 2 weeks), it’s called Vine and it’s from the creators of Twitter. Launched the last week of January this year, Vine is a social video sharing service that let’s users shoot, edit and produce looping 6-second videos (only available on Apple platforms, so you know, the cult can send videos to each other j/k…but not really).

So how will this be helpful to PR pros and marketing peeps? Well, in my opinion, it has the same possibilities Instagram has: it can add a more “human” side to a brand (even your personal brand), here are a few examples:

  • Shoot a behind-the-scenes video (works best if you are in the lifestyle division), showing your clients at work
  • Shoot some employee fun; like a birthday at the office or just employees being silly (make sure it’s tasteful and the company logo makes it in there)
  • Shoot a “getting ready” video if you are in fashion (which I am!) show your fave pieces
  • How about shooting a networking event you recently attended? Show people you are out there and looking

There are a million other ideas you can shoot with Vine. To tell you the truth, I have yet to try it, but with DKNYPRGirl and The Bag Snob on board, I am sure this thing is going to hit (and it already has, kind of). I’m not so much about the PR side, but using it for me fashion accessories boutique sounds like a pretty cool idea, so I am going to give it a go and let you all know how I liked it.

Want some more info on the incredible edible Vine (OK, IDK why I just said that lol)? I’ve put some links down here for ya:
Twitter Blog: Vine: A new way to share video
The Vine Effect: How Twitter’s App Is Impacting Social Video Startups
Social Media Today: Why Your Vine Videos Fall Flat
CisionBlog: Vine: An Analysis of Twitter’s New Toy

Hump Day Help: Let’s Talk Phone Interviews, 5 tips to Ace Them!

Happy Hump Day my fellow PR peeps! I was recently looking over my blog and I said to myself, “I haven’t been helpful in weeks! All I talk about is ME, ME, ME” and I am not that kind of blogger, so it’s time to get back in gear with some advice.

As you may or may not know, I am finishing up the last 6 months of my university career (thank God) and I am moving to New York City in June. Because PR is such a competitive field, I have already started to reach out and get some interviews, but how am I interviewing from 3,000 miles away? Phone Interviews!!!

Even the dog can do a phone interview!!!

Yes, I have been doing a few phone interviews (I’ve done 3, so far) and they are a little nerve-racking, but I have honed in on some great practices that have gotten me some amazing feedback (and some top notch opportunities). I’ve listed my top 5 tips below, take a look:

  1. Have a “script” beforehand: I put script in quotations because I’m not saying a word-for-word, but make sure you have some key points down that you can reference in case you get nervous. You can bet they are going to ask a few all-time faves, like: what made you get into PR (NOTE: DON’T SAY TO GET FREE STUFF), your favourite PR campaigns at the moment, why you want to work there. Having some of these down beforehand will help you from stumbling on yourself.
  2. Research Research Research: I’m serious you guys, don’t be that entry-level/internship candidate who just wants to work “anywhere” (even though you are and you do), but make sure you know something about the firm: who are their clients? Does this particular office have a specialty practice? Being able to add in these little zingers shows that you are passionate about the firm and what they do.
  3. Let the interviewer speak: I am guilty of this big time. I am so eager to get my point across that I sometimes over talk the interviewer. Let them say a whole sentence and then count to 3 and answer. In a confident and slow voice (but not too slow)
  4. Don’t be bringing up irrelevant $h!t: Yea, I cursed. This is my blog. Anyway, if she/he asks about your experience with press releases, then talk about that, not your 3-legged cat named Hobbles. They are asking these specific questions because it pertains to the specific job you are interviewing for. This is where those scripted notes I told you to make come in handy: you already have all of your info in front of you (having a copy of the resume and cover letter you sent in front of you would be a big help, too)
  5. SEND A THANK YOU. You guys, I’m serious. Thank them FOUR times: at the beginning of the interview, at the end of the interview, via a follow-up e-mail AND a snail mail note. You are showing how polite you are AND by sending the e-mail a bit afterwards, you are refreshing your name in the search. Sending the snail mail refreshes you in the memory a few days later (but no later than 4 days later!)

Well, that’s all I have for today. I know this is kind of late in the day (uh, I do work, people), but you can use this info anytime! Remember, a phone interview might be a little more relaxed, but you still want to be prepared; just breathe, speak slowly and make sure your voice is confident.

XOXOXO, Jess_AsPRing

In Honour of Dan Edelman: A True PR Innovator

Dan Edelman, Founder of Edelman PR, 1920-2013

I was going to write my usual post on “humpday help” and silliness and getting you a job and all that business, but then I got devastating news yesterday: Edelman PR founder, Dan Edelman, passed away, aged 92.

Now, as a young PR pro, you might not know exactly who Dan Edelman is, or the huge contributions he made to this industry; and if you don’t, then I’m here to educate you. In 1952, Dan Edelman started a small agency (with just 5 employees and a monthly retainer of $500, just $4,500 in today’s money) that sought to connect the public with brands. Now, if you have ever looked at my “What is PR?” page, then you know public relations itself, isn’t new, but Mr. Edelman had a new idea for PR, one where the firm wouldn’t only launch campaigns for its clients, but it would be with them day in and day out, paving the way for what we now know as “brand recognition” by handling media relations, launching recurring campaigns and positioning the brand within the public’s mind.

By 1960, the small firm had over 20 accounts, including the country of Finland (the entire country!) and Edelman had pioneered many of the practices we still use in the industry today. Edelman wasn’t just a publicist, he was a WWII vet, a former reporter and a true innovator. During WWII, Edelman studied German propaganda to get an idea of just how influential messaging can be, and how he could utilize that knowledge to position brands to the forefront of their industry.

Today, Edelman PR is not only the largest PR firm in the world, it’s also the largest independently-owned firm in the world–because Edelman refused to compromise his beliefs and practices to sell to a larger company, no matter what the offer price. Without the genius of Daniel Edelman, the PR industry would not be where it is today; he paved the way for many independent agencies to make a name for themselves and he positioned many companies that are now household names (Sara Lee, KFC and Wal-Mart…just to name a few). So please, take the time honour this late, great PR innovator and listen to a few of his past lectures, I bet you’ll learn something. RIP Dan Edelman.

For More information, please visit:
Edelman PR: About Us
Chicago Tribune: PR pioneer Daniel Edelman dies
Bloomberg Business: Daniel Edelman, Founder of World’s Largest PR Firm, Dies at 92