Some PR & Marketing ramblings on clients and things that work…

By Joy A. Kennelly

There’s always a lot of behind-the-scenes prep work that goes into publicizing clients that I don’t report on because what am I going to say? I’m waiting while my director client is researching information to give to me to allow me to do my job?

Or, I’m editing information to write a new client bio? I’m switching servers for the current web site and researching the best web designer for this client? I’ve pitched some new companies for Travel & Play, and am waiting to hear back? Boring! But true, nonetheless.

I find when working with people there’s generally a foundation that needs to be laid first. You need to have 1. a strong bio, 2. a focused description of whatever your project/art/etc is to help with the pitch to media and others, 3. strong visuals prepared to distribute and populate the web site, 4. a press release, 5. a media list tailored to your new client, and 6. a strong web site at a bare minimum.

Speaking of which, a web site needs to be updated constantly (which is why I have blogs – I’m not tech savvy for my official business site: The Joy Writer and need to find someone who is, but this I can do!) with the latest accomplishments, outcomes, etc to allow people to see you’re a viable entity and worth taking a 2nd look.

Another way to set yourself apart and get your name out there is event marketing. What has been fun for me all my life is planning events because not only do I often times see people I haven’t seen in ages, but I always meet someone new and end up staying friends with them as well.

But the added bonus is that event marketing is a great way to keep my name in front of a lot of people in a fun, exciting way that reminds people of my skills and connections, but doesn’t say – Hey, look at me! Hire me! I want work!

It’s more like building a relationship that creates opportunities for work to naturally flow out of the relationship rather than straight advertisement. Does that make sense?

What is funny to me is that oftentimes I’ll help people promote events that I have nothing to do with, but simply want to help get more people to attend. However, what invariably happens is that those invited think not only am I promoting the event, but I’m also organizing it! It’s a natural mistake because I do also produce events, but not all the time.

That happened one year when I publicized an activity from the South Bay International Surf Festival that happens every year during the summer in August to honor and celebrate our lifeguards. I was fascinated by the lifeguard contests that happen where they have to swim, row and surf in relay teams out in the ocean under timed conditions.

I wanted some friends from Hollywood to come down and hang out with me for one of the events. I created an invite with an image of the lifeguard fighting a huge wave in a small dory and a little description of the overall Surf Festival and sent it out to about 300 of my closest friends. (I exaggerate on the closeness, but I do know a lot of people from all over.)

Well, apparently I wrote it so well it was forwarded to a Reuters Journalist who contacted me to write a story about some of the lifeguards because she assumed I was the publicist for the event!

Since I didn’t want to lose the story opportunity to promote my hometown, I quickly rounded up some local lifeguards as contacts for interviews during the event, took pictures and sent everything off to New York for her review. She loved it, interviewed everyone and off the story went on the wire for whoever to pick up.

Now I wasn’t paid to do that, but because I love my home town and am proud of the lifesaving capabilities of our lifeguards I felt it was my duty as a publicist to make sure to see it through to fruition. Plus, I got to meet some great people!

I love helping people get their stories out into the world. I also love promoting quality events and people. That’s what makes my job so rewarding and diverse. There are admin elements about this work that drive me crazy, but I’m planning to get more help to allow me to focus on what I am good at doing, and free up my time more.

Hope you’ve enjoyed my ramblings, now to get to work! Have a good one!