Jessica joined us earlier this year to take on the CycleBar Berkeley project. Last time she was in the office chatted about the PR business and what keeps her engaged.
What brought you to PR?
I went to graduate school at USC for Broadcast Journalism and worked for several years both producing and on the editorial side for ABC Network News and Bloomberg News. In 2010, my husband and I moved to San Francisco. The news landscape was changing drastically at that time, with consolidations and layoffs and jobs were scarce. I was fortunate enough to get an informational interview with a Media Relations executive at one of the local branches of an international PR firm, which turned into a job working in enterprise and consumer tech. I was able to parlay my writing skills, video skills and knowledge of how the media works into a new career.
Why is PR a useful tool for businesses?
We live in an age of information. It’s a luxury to have so much available at our fingertips, but it’s also overwhelming at times to both the consumer and businesses. Effective PR is part of a broader marketing equation – which includes social and creative content – that enables businesses to deliver pertinent information, streamline messages, engage with influencers, and target the correct audience for their product or services. PR works hand-in-hand with social media marketing and internally created content to showcase their business brand in the most effective light and move people to action.
PR is so well rounded these days, with clients able to use paid, earned, social, or owned methods, how can we help our clients pick a successful strategy?
Each business we work with has a different goal, so it’s important to define those goals before coming up with a strategy. That being said, a good strategy often combines traditional media relations with a strategic, engaging social strategy and created content, like blogs, videos, and other visual content. For example, it can be very difficult to get on the radar of the Wall Street Journal reporter, but a carefully curated opinion article may be picked up in its place. Spreading that article to a wider audience via social media may help show the editors that this is a topic people want to read about, resulting in a reporter picking up an interview or including that business in a related article.
You bring some great video experience with you. How has that changed your approach to PR?
I believe the most effective means of communicating is through the visual medium, which could be video, photography, or graphics. When done correctly, a visual story delivers an emotional tie that engages an audience and encourages action. I always look at every event as a potential visual opportunity to showcase the emotional impact of a product, service or company. I have helped clients create everything from product demos to video press releases to TV-ready b-roll to anniversary videos to creative campaigns that are then posted on their web and social media sites.
Beyond media and influencer relations and releases, how do we help our clients?
Media training is one service that I think everyone can and should include in their media plan. Besides being ready and able to talk to the media at any given time, media training helps to solidify the overall company messages and goals and helps in overall communication, whether that’s to employees, media, speaking engagements or investors.
Another important function today is social media. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram can be rich tools for engaging audiences and creating ongoing interactions that might not otherwise exist. These networks have also become a new way to reach reporters and editors to create ongoing, symbiotic relationships.
What makes this fun for you?
I love when we get something really right for a client – a great article, an impactful video, a media training where everyone feels like they learned how to communicate better. A lot of times, the successes in public relations – and particularly in media –are subtle, but they often have a long-lasting impact. It’s that impact we are after, and I thrive on.