Tag Archives: industry

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

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

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

“Thinking Out Loud” Thursdays: PR Career Discrepancies

Happy (deep breath) “almostfridaysothereforetechnicallyalmostheweekend”. How have you all been? I’ve been fine, just doing a little SOLO PR work…WHAT?! I know,  totes cray, but I have like 2 “clients” I don’t even feel right calling them that. Just 2 people who I am helping get the word out and do some stuff for (more on that later).

Today’s post is about something I’ve been thinking about a LOT lately; as I’ve  been career hunting (like most of you) I have noticed something very strange: while there are a definitely lack of entry-level PR pro positions (say THAT 10 times fast), there seems to be an abundance of upper level/executive positions available…so I’m like hmm…

Think about putting some clothes on dude!

So what happens in the time between the entry-level pro and the senior-level pro? Do people cave under the stress and leave the industry? Do they go in-house? Are PR professionals on some sort of Logan’s Run-type thing where our careers have a time limit (please oh please understand this reference)?

What’s the deal?! What do you think happens? Do we get frustrated and throw the towel in? Or is this all in my head and clearly I am crazy and need to step away from the job boards and put the Espresso down?

Let me know in the comments people! This upcoming Monday, I have a super helpful and super awesome post coming at ya’ about yo resume; so bring yoself back! Until next time…

XOXOXOXO, Jess_AsPRing

The Senior Chronicles, Pt. II: When Should I Start Looking for a Job?

Happy Monday mi amigos/amigas! With Spring winding down very quickly, so I wanted to make sure we got the “Senior Chronicles” going in full force, so you (and by “you” I mean “WE”) can get ready for graduation!

I hope you remember part I of the Senior Chronicles, in case you didn’t, here it is! Senior Chronicles: I am Terrified. It was basically my fear of the unknown (AKA life after graduation, employment, in particular); so I started thinking: why fear it, when I can conquer it? I can’t sit around and wait for  job to land in my lap, I need to get out there and TAKE IT! So, the Senior Chronicles is all about the job hunt, kiddies, and the 2nd post in this series is a great starting point:

WHEN SHOULD I LOOK FOR A JOB?!?!?!?!?

PR is a unique field for many reasons, one reason is the industry hiring practices: while a bank or a hospital may have regular hiring intervals, PR agencies, organizations, etc. only hire on an as-needed basis. Meaning, if they have a new account, or somebody leaves, then they need people. This puts us graduating seniors in a sticky situation because traditionally, in the summer, things slow down a bit in the PR world, so chances are, not much hiring is going on. Which is a bummer, because who wants to spend the Summer on your parent’s couch?

Another thing to think about is how quickly a PR agency hires its folks: from posting the job announcement to getting that warm body in the seat, it is only about a 3-5 week process, so if you don’t graduate until May, applying for a great job in February probably isn’t a good idea. I know, at this point, you’re probably saying:

SO WHEN SHOULD I START LOOKING FOR A FREAKIN’ JOB JESS?!?!?!

My answer? Yesterday! You should be always keeping your eyes open for announcements and openings; but not JUST announcements, look out for when an agency gets a new client, loses a client, merges or get’s bought. These are all indicators of jobs lost or created. BUT the catch is, don’t start applying just yet. Hiring managers are looking to fill these openings ASAP, and if you can’t start, it will mostly likely just frustrate them.

So what have I been doing? I’m glad you asked.

Starting back in NOVEMBER, I started connecting with agencies, recruiter, HR people and hiring managers on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, on email, via telephone, carrier pigeon…you name it (except the carrier pigeon…they freak me out!) and let them know while I am not graduating for quite some time, that I would like the opportunity to forward my resume and stay in touch. I got a lot of great feedback and it served a few purposes:

  1. It got my resume in front of them; which means they know my name and were able to go over the experience I had thusfar
  2. I was able to give them my blog and social media information; so they could see my work, links, influence level, etc.
  3. It gave me a reason to call them again in a few months, with an updated copy of my resume.

Believe it or not, I got some really great feedback, a few “call us when you graduate!” emails and I even had to turn down TWO interview requests, because I hadn’t yet graduated (which sucked!). The point is, I got my name in their box and let them know that I will be open for business soon.

I am going to follow up with all of them very soon, letting my contacts know that I graduated. BUT first, I am going to spend two months doing a full-time post-graduate internship in NEW YORK CITY!!!! That’s right, I got the job and I am ready to rock it out (more on that later)!!!

Well that’s it for this installment of “The Senior Chronicles” check back next Monday for my take on the “perfect entry-level resume” with a very special guest (oooh…mystery, suspense…) until then…

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

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