Tag Archives: help

#TBT: Phone Interviews – Maybe Scary, Totes Worth It

Can you believe I’ve had this blog almost TWO YEARS?!?!??! I can’t believe it either, it literally feels like yesterday I decided to make the leap into PR and decided to simultaneously feed my narcissism and start my own blog. Since then, I’ve got some AMAZING followers, amazing friends, graduated, moved to New York, and got a PAYING job in PR. Pretty good for a girl who stumbled into this career 2 years ago, huh?

So today, I decided to do a #ThrowbackThursday post, on a topic you, my dear readers, may be facing now that you are graduating: Phone interviews.

This time last year, I actually published my 2nd piece on phone interviews, “The Senior Chronicles, Part V: Phone Interview Realness” which was part of my “Senior Chronicles” series. I conducted several phone interviews last year and since then, I’ve thought about the topic a lot, more than I think a normal person should.

I wanted to quickly impart a bit of knowledge that I have gleaned since then:

  • RESEARCH – Yes, research, because even though I’m pretty sure I’ve said it twice before, from what I’ve heard from hiring managers, y’all still aren’t about that research life! Know at least something about the company, please
  • Your voice gives a LOT a way – You might be naturally soft-spoken, or even shy and timid, but NOW is not the time. The interviewer can’t see you, and furthermore, they don’t know you, so how would they know that your shaky voice is more about your level of comfort than the fact that they asked you a question you can’t answer? I know it’s easier said than do, but try and fake the confidence, if you don’t already have it. Purposely make yourself one octave lower and fixate on a (HIGH) fixed point, it may steady you, and steady your voice.
  • Treat this like a in-person interview – Would you attend an in person interview lounging in your PJs, playing footsie while SpongeBob is playing in the back? No? Well then, maybe don’t do so while you’re on a phone interview. I’m not saying you have to put on your suit, but at least turn the TV off, get off of Twitter, go off by yourself and really put your ALL into this. Remember, you need to get past the phone interview to get to the in-person interview.

That’s it for me on this #throwbackthursday. Don’t forget Monday is an exciting post in your “Almost Post-Graduate” toolkit!

Until then!



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

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!


Career Advice from “The Big D”

Hey guys! This morning I want to pass on some advice I recently got from The Big D, that’s my dad! He was in the US Air Force for over 20 years and recently went back to school to get his MBA, and I am very proud of him. The Big D gives great advice, straight from the hip; it’s not always going to be what you want to hear, but it’s the truth and I tend to follow it…sooner or later (LOL). So I had to call the Big D because of some work stuff and I wanted to pass along 5 pieces of advice he told me.

  1. Learn to leave your emotions at the door, it’s not personal: I’d like to think I am usually very good about this, but I guess I’m not :/ But I do agree, if you can find a way to separate your emotion from any work situation you will see the picture much clearer and be able to make better decisions.
  2. Don’t worry about the next person, at the end of the day you are in charge of your destiny: I found myself getting caught up with what someone else was doing and when I was whining to the Big D, he stopped me short and said, “muppet, why are you worried about that person? They aren’t worried about you, worry abut yourself: why are you there? What are you trying to achieve?!” (yes my dad calls me “muppet”, say something about it. I dare you.). And he’s right, the energy we spend worrying about others can be put to greater use working on ourselves. Just think about it, if  for every minute you spent looking at your neighbor, you instead spent it on personal growth, how closer would you be to your goals? I had to check myself and remember why I am where I am and remember what I’m trying to get out of it.
  3. Learn how to talk to others: I’m guilt of becoming defensive when I think something wrong is taking place; and trust me, it has gotten me in trouble! We won’t always agree with others, what they say or what actions they take, but we can control our reactions. If someone says something you don’t like then a simple, “I will take that into consideration” or “I respect your opinion, however I have to disagree because…”will suffice and NEVER CUT THEM OFF! It can be seen as super-defensive and catty.
  4. Don’t play the victim, realize the part you play in situations: I used to be guilty of this when I was in school; I was never wrong and everybody was just picking on me. Now that I’m an adult and my job and sustenance depend on my decisions, I need to be able to look at any situation and say, “okay, how did I create this and how can I fix it?” it doesn’t help me to throw my hands up (I’m not Taio Cruz, after all) and blame others. I need to take responsibility and then figure out what changes I can make to fix it.
  5. Don’ EVER have angry discussions: If a situation arises where you feel like you have been wronged or didn’t like the way someone spoke to you or whatever the situation then don’t address it right then and there; it will only make you bad. If you try to address it in front of others when you’re angry you can come across as defensive, unprofessional or hard to work with. The best way to deal with this is to go back to your office or cubicle and cool down for a minute and then send that person an e-mail asking to speak with them at a later about the situation, bring in a moderator if necessary, and then have your say. You will save face with others and still remain professional.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this advice from the Big D and that you can use it if you get into a situation that calls for them. Enjoy the rest of the week and Happy Hump Day!


P.S. Please check out my latest blog post at Flack Me: Ageism, the Generation Gap, and the Battle for Social Supremacy dealing with all the recent articles on age limits within the social media community!