PR Pro

Don't dismiss influencers

By Jennifer Kuenzer, TrizCom PR


A few years ago, there was a reality show, “All on the Line,” starring fashion insider Joe Zee. Each episode centered on him working with struggling designers getting their failing brands on track. One episode had him helping a well-known designer whose label had all but fallen off the radar. The VP of Marketing was reluctant to listen to his millennial assistant’s idea of calling some popular bloggers to cover their show during Fashion Week. But Joe Zee listened. Where the front row of a fashion show has traditionally been reserved for movie stars and major print publications, Mr. Zee invited three fashion bloggers to sit on the front row. It worked. Those bloggers engaged immediately with their audiences on social channels like Twitter and Instagram. By engaging the bloggers, who in turn engaged their audience, Joe Zee got the designer back on the radar. There’s a new name for bloggers who engage directly with their followers to dish about new brands and products, resulting in higher sales – Influencers.

Influencers are everywhere, noncelebrities who have built massive followings on various social and digital channels based on their ability to genuinely engage their audience. Marketers know that one of the biggest traits of Generation Z is their desire for authenticity; influencers (and microinfluencers – who have less than 100,000 followers) fit that requirement. Because they’re focused on real engagement and communication, they are viewed as experts on whatever brand they are talking about. With traditional talent, you tell the talent what they’re going to say. With influencers, they say it the way they say everything. You get a built-in tone and attitude that was once dictated by the client. That’s the authenticity their audience is looking for. It’s not a traditional endorsement, because it’s so much more than a pose and a smile.

Influencers have quickly become a must-have for brands – some now have followings that are catapulting them to true celebrity status, but there is not yet a “go-to” or “tried and true” marketing strategy for them. Because of the traits that make them so important to consumers and popular with brands – authenticity, trust and direct engagement, the best way to utilize them cannot be a one-size-fits-all approach. But as more tools for measuring influencer results are developed, finding the best influencers for your brand will become easier. Connecting organically with a brand and maintaining that authenticity is the foundation of working with influencers, and while the most effective strategies for them in the marketing PR landscape are still being tested, it’s clear they aren’t going anywhere, and finding that perfect fit for a brand can be what takes a campaign over the top.


“So what do you do?” – A Glimpse into a Day in the Life of a PR Pro

By Katie Mudd, TrizCom PR Account Executive

As a good big sister and the dedicated family spokesperson, I was performing my sisterly duties and gave my brother a quick phone call during my lunch break to check in. We got to talking, and he mentioned that he was near my office around lunch time earlier that week and thought about stopping by to say hello “because I know where you work, but I am not actually sure what you do. I think I need to come in check it out for myself sometime.”

Katie and her curious brother Brad at a Texas Rangers Game.

Katie and her curious brother Brad at a Texas Rangers Game.

This got me thinking – even after sharing many stories with my family of the successes I have achieved at work, my brother still didn’t really understand what a day at the office was like for me. To shed light on what this might look like for my brother and for family members of PR professionals who might not be brave enough to ask “So what do you do?,” I’ve mapped out what a typical Monday morning looks like at the TrizCom office.

8:30 a.m. – Arrive at the office, check for any missed calls on the office line. Catch up on emails that came in overnight that were not previously addressed after-hours. Take a quick look at social media to see what is trending for the day and to see what is happening in the news.

9 a.m. – Prepare items to be added to the weekly staff meeting agenda.

10-11:30 a.m. – The entire team meets every Monday at the conference table to discuss upcoming action items and deliverables for our clients. Our firm does not specialize in a specific type of communications: our clients vary from nonprofit, healthcare, lifestyle and events to business-to-business. We are smaller than other firms in town but are stronger because the entire team, including everyone from the CEO to our interns, has a working knowledge of what is happening with each account – thanks to our weekly check-ins.

11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. – Check email, and plan to grab a quick lunch – most likely from our newest client, Taco Bueno, which is conveniently located across the parking lot from our office. During lunch, I usually hop back on social media to make sure I haven’t missed any major news. We keep CNN on during the day and have push notifications set on our devices from national and local stations to prevent pitching new stories during breaking news.

12:30-2 p.m. – Check in with each client via email, providing a quick status update on pending deliverables, media opportunities and recent news coverage.

2-5:30 p.m. – Get to work on pending client deliverables! This means researching information and topics to be discussed in upcoming press releases and pitches that are mapped out in the PR plan. Write the releases and pitches. Find out where these items will be sent, to whom and when.

5:30 p.m. – Go home, and prepare to do most of it again the next day. No day in public relations is ever the same. Even though I’ve left the office, work often follows me home. I’m always on call – monitoring my email and phone to ensure that a crisis hasn’t popped up or an urgent media request hasn’t come in. You never know when a crisis will occur, but it’s almost guaranteed that it will happen when you least expect and will be after business hours or on the weekend.

Each day brings new challenges and projects that often come out of left field. To be successful in this industry, it’s important to be organized to stay on track. But there will be times when your best laid plans go astray – especially when the phone rings and a reporter is calling to set up a story that you pitched months ago, or a news story breaks and your client is the perfect person to provide their thought leadership as a source. It’s rare that you will find a day that isn’t interrupted with a media interview or client meeting – but that’s what keeps work exciting!

So, little brother, you’re welcome to stop by anytime during lunch to see what I’ve been up to, but in the meantime, maybe this will give you an idea.