What do you do for a living?
As far as titles go, I am the Director of Social Media at Red Door Interactive, a digital marketing agency headquartered in San Diego, and the Founder of PR Couture, an online resource that explores the role of public relations, marketing and social media in the fashion industry.
How would you describe what you do?
At Red Door, I help companies develop and execute ongoing social media community management and campaigns to support their business goals. At PR Couture, I share industry information and thought leadership about fashion PR and related fields to an audience of PR students, practitioners and independent designers.
What does your work entail?
Lots and lots of email.
What’s a typical work week like?
In a typical week I spend most time during the day working at Red Door, developing campaign concepts, helping with new business pitches, meeting with my team, and reviewing client deliverables. Sometimes we attempt to have meetings where everyone talks in Elizabethan English or go on adventures to new cities and meet with interesting businesses. Those are the best days. The rest of the time and during breaks here and there, I am writing articles for PR Couture or assigning articles to my team of writers. I also spend time using Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr & Instagram to drive traffic to PR Couture and build relationships. I wrote my first book back in February, so I also work to promote the book -reaching out to websites and blogs to let them know it exists. I’d say I spend 2-3 hours a night on PR Couture, sometimes more.
How did you get started?
I moved to San Diego for graduate school, and got a job doing PR and marketing for an eC0mmerce jewelry company. You know when you pick up an US Weekly and there is a story on how to get the Celebrity Look for Less? I was in charge of making sure our jewelry showed up as the “for less” option. I also wrote product copy, designed website banners and emails, and oversaw the production of a print catalog. From there I started working at PR agencies.
What do you like about what you do?
I like that I have a lot of autonomy in my position and that I authentically enjoy the people I work with. I like that I get to be creative but am also strategic, and get to work closely with experts in a variety of things in a variety of industries. I like that in addition to helping other brands be successful online, I get to come home and work on my own little slice of the internet, and apply a lot of what I learn at work – and vice versa – to whatever project I am working on at the moment.
What do you dislike?
Not everyone has taken shots of the social media kool-aid – so having to educate companies about the value of just basic social media – not even the really fun stuff – can be a challenge. I’m also constantly balancing work with PR Couture and that means that most of the time, I don’t get to come home after work or on the weekends and be done. I come home and work. It also means that it can take me way longer than it should to write people back, respond to opportunities or publish as much weekly content as I would like. Also – at an agency we have to bill our time – so I have to fill out a form every day that explains what I did all day – in 15 minute increments. That might be the worst part of it all!
How do you make money/or how are you compensated?
Red Door pays me a salary. I make money on PR Couture through advertising, a job board, consulting and products.
How much money do you make in Public Relations?
Entry-level salaries are typically pretty low – upper 30’s – mid 40’s – it’s better in digital marketing than traditional PR from what I have seen. However, once you have a few years’ experience, salaries do go up, with many director-level, Freelance and agency owners clearing six-figures. I make somewhere near the top of that range.
How much money did/do you make starting out?
I made $10/hour at the jewelry company and $25/hour at my first agency gig.
What education, schooling, or skills are needed to do this?
I have a master’s degree in Communication, but a lot of PR is on-the-job training. I recommend majoring in PR, Journalism, even Business, and gaining experience through lots and lots of internships. In terms of skills – the ability to develop strategic communication plans that clearly map back to business goals, a thick skin, the ability to manage multiple clients at once, an inquisitive nature “how can we do this better/faster/smarter,” an ability to bring the right people to the table, ability to quickly communicate key benefits and drive people to action, quick reader/thinker – incredible writing skills, interest in new technology and tools.
What is most challenging about what you do?
Coming up with great ideas is never a challenge, but communicating them in such a way that the client can’t say no, can be.
What is most rewarding?
Providing opportunities for brands to connect more deeply with their customers through social conversation.
What advice would you offer someone considering this career?
Eventually, if bring your best to work and consistently evolve and learn from your experiences, you will find the right fit and do great things.
How much time off do you get/take?
21 days a year.
What is a common misconception people have about what you do?
That we just play around on Facebook all day long.
What are your goals/dreams for the future?
Eventually I’d like to hand-pick the clients I work with, and to provide marketing strategy to creative, conscious companies doing great work in the world. In the immediate future, I’d like to bring on more writers for PR Couture, hire a virtual assistant and write a second book.