Today, I spoke to Starr Hall, who is a public relations expert and author of Get Connected: The Social Networking Toolkit For Business.  In this interview, Starr points out the top things that people looking for a job in PR should know, explains that not all publicity is good publicity, gives different ways you can stand out and get attention, and concludes with how she’s used social media to drive her own business.

What are three things that everyone looking for a job in PR should know?

  1. The PR brandscape has changed, if you are not up on social media and technology, you will be left behind and without a job in this industry.
  2. You need to be passionate about taking action and follow through, PR is more about follow up than anything, you have to be willing to pick up the phone, make dozens even hundreds of calls in a day and be able to respond quick with creative ideas and new concepts,
  3. Focus on relationship building even if you don’t have a job in the industry currently, this is how PR careers are built, the stronger the relationships the more valuable you become in PR, your contact portfolio is key.

Is all publicity good publicity?  Why or why not?

Not necessarily, just because you get your name out there in an unfortunate situation, it does not mean the exposure is building your brand and loyal customers or clients. What is important is how you respond to negative publicity, your reaction and issued statements in a damage control situation can make or break you. For example the current breaking story with James Ray’s retreat in Arizona and the people dying and or that have become ill, if he does not have a strategic communications plan in place, he will never recover. On the flip side, if his team crafts a heartfelt response and plan to help the families, issue apologies and accept responsibility then he might have a fighting chance to recover and keep brand control.

Do you believe it’s easier to get publicity now because everyone can become part of the media?

Sure it might be easier, however your message needs to be even better and stand out from the rest, it needs to be impactful, memorable and engaging. With all of the messaging and stories out on the net and through technology and with thousands of these stories uploading every hour- how is your story or interview going to stand out? What is the unique hook that will get people to read your story vs. a front page release? I can get all the exposure I want on the internet, however if it isn’t engaging no one will read it- what good does that do?

How important is it to have a highly marketable client when you approach journalists/producers?

In my experience it is definitely easier to get a journalist or producers attention with an A list client, however if you don’t have a good angle or pitch- you could be representing Brad Pitt and the media will not listen unless it is of extreme interest to their audience. For example- if you call trying to get Brad Pitt on a talk show and your focus is to keep Brad in good standing with his fans so you try to pitch an update fans angle with current non profit organizations that he is involved in to get more exposure for the organizations as well, they would probably hang up on you or ask you to call back with a better angle. If you were to pitch a specific organization that has a focus to tie into a season or monthly national focus and provide a few case histories with what Brad has done for the organization and how it has changed lives, basically a before and after, now that is a story.

How do you currently use social media tools to fuel your business?

I am able to get massive exposure, build quality relationships and capture tons of target market contact information in less time and for little to no marketing dollars/investment. I can literally wake up one day and say- “I would like to reach 1,000 new people today with my message or offering”, traditional media might allow you to do that, however can traditional methods get that 1,000 member audience to engage with you and give you their information so that you can keep in touch?

Starr Hall
has been perfecting the art of public relations since she was a teenager. She was also on the cover of Life magazine, was named the most influential woman in the craft industry in 1995, was friends with Sam Walton, and almost single-handedly created the craft industry with a series of craft conventions back in the 1950s and 1960s. She brought creativity to the heartland, and was dubbed “The Martha Stewart for the rest of us” in an L.A. Times feature article.  Starr has worked with corporations, non-profit organizations, authors, CEOs and associations both national and international. She has relationships with over 800 editors, writers and segment producers worldwide and has secured placement and coverage for her clients in regional, national and international newspapers, magazines, radio, television, and Internet outlets. In addition, she has secured major book, co-branding and licensing contracts for her clients. Starr is a forward-thinking, energetic, and imaginative publicist with a tireless dedication to her clients.  She is the author of Get Connected: The Social Networking Toolkit For Business.