Episode 129 – Coffee N5 – Demystifying PR: Expert Insights with Anje Collins

Have you ever found yourself at a networking event, standing alone in a corner, while desperately trying to avoid eye contact with anyone who might try to strike up a conversation with you? Or instead are you the fearless go-getter, diving head-first into every conversation in the room in search of that one lifelong connection that could change the course of your career forever?

Well get ready to take your PR networking game to the next level because on the latest episode of our show, we’re finally joined by the one and only Anje Collins, founder of the online community Women in PR, and a true serial entrepreneur. She’s here to share some real talk about PR in today’s world and why technology can never replace the power of building real, human connections in the industry.

Get ready for an electrifying discussion as Anje and our host Lara Schmoisman delve deep into the nitty-gritty of PR, marketing, and budgeting for PR gifts — yes, you heard that right, folks! Let’s face it: If you want to make it in this industry, you surely need to know how to play the game, and that means having the right strategy behind any budget to get your brand noticed. And if you’re wondering whether pay-to-play is evidently the secret to landing that coveted Vogue cover, think again!

We’ll talk about:

  • Why budgeting and the ROI on gift-giving are absolutely necessary!
  • The egos behind editors and journalists of today (and why you still need them)
  • Basic steps to building your own network without any clients
  • How to leverage social media to launch an unknown brand despite having no budget
  • Why starting in one niche and narrowing the focus is the key to unlocking your PR success

For more information, visit Women in PR’s website.

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Twitter: @LaraSchmoisman

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Lara Schmoisman 0:05
This is Coffee Number Five. I’m your host Lara Schmoisman. Hi, everyone. Welcome back to Coffee Number Five. And I have to tell you a while ago, I was looking for a community, community in PR, you know what I’m all about sharing. I’m all about caring. I’m all about working with other experts and collaborating. I feel like other people that they do the same things as me, they are not competition. They’re collaboration, we can learn from each other. And I found a wonderful community, in Women in PR. It was huge, was really large. And there was so much going on, but it was really engaged. One day, I saw a message of one of the co founders saying that she was struggling to maintain the group alive. And it was a little bit out of hands. And I, I felt her message was so heartfelt. And I really understood what she was going through. And so I reached out to her. And that’s when we started our conversations. And I found out that Anje Collins, she’s not only the wonderful co founder of Women in PR, she’s also an incredible woman, and she is such a giver. And she had to make a strong the difficult decision. And we’ll talk more about all these and with Anje, welcome, Anje, welcome to Coffee Number Five.

Anje Collins 1:33
Thank you for having me.

Lara Schmoisman 1:35
I’m so excited. We’ve been talking for years. And today’s the first time that we’re really talking one on one. I was so happy with having this chance. And so tell me a little bit about you’ll have this wonderful group like is your dream of any co founder of a group growing at the size that you grow Women in PR? And what happened then?

Anje Collins 1:59
Um, you know, we’ve been around 13 years this month, it’d be 13. It was 13 years last Saturday. I think what happened is because we started in 2011. And then in 2014, I kind of took a break from it. But I left the Facebook group open. And when I did that somebody else was assisting me on it. And they were just approving people sort of group went to, like 1000 people. And it was like, we were doing a conference, and we’re supposed to be doing a conference in Dallas. And we were only like, at 60, 50% I think it was in sales. And I’m looking at this like, okay, so we have this huge community. Why are we only at 50% of sales. So I started going through trades and looking and you know, and I see people that are not participating there, enter just to be in there. Some people weren’t even publicists. And so I had to really do a lot of soul searching about closing it forever, or regrouping. So I have a team and my team was like, No, don’t close it. Just shut it down, and then make people you know, go through these loops to get in, basically. And so I made that announcement. It was hard. It was hard to make.

Lara Schmoisman 3:14
It made me really reach out to you privately, because I felt how much she was struggling with this.

Anje Collins 3:21
Yeah, it was hard. But I feel like now the group is smaller and is under control. I feel it’s a bit I feel like it’s in a better space than what it was. Because we pick and choose who comes in there. And then there’s not a lot of mess. The other one, you know, they had publicists, they were ripping people off. And it was just a whole lot going on. And so here by only being 1000 women, it’s like we can I can control it. And it’s also 1000 Women are just not sitting there and just you know, not just to be in the group to be in a group because I monitor we have a system where it monitors actions of people what they’re doing, if you’re not doing anything for them, you know, the past four months, why are you here? We’re going to remove it. The deskspace go to somebody else who really wants to be there.

Lara Schmoisman 4:05
Yeah, it’s totally true and I get it and it’s not let’s switch the conversation to PR because this is what you are about why you created this community Women in PR. Oh, so it’s like a community was needed.

Anje Collins 4:22
Okay, so in 2011 my partner, my business partner, Tammy Atmore, who has passed away. We used to have a hard time getting interns that knew what the heck they were doing. You know when you go to school, they don’t really teach you the real world of PR so we would get them to didn’t know how to write a press release either with AP style was it was really bad. So we created Women in PR we started teaching boot camps across the country like physically going that you know, to Baltimore, Miami wherever you know there was a need and we we stayed sold out because then we realized there was a need for this. I got what my attorney and she was like as you were you could just contract for him. You know you’re gonna get sued, blah, blah, this and so she’s want to create a toolkit for me. And then I realized that I’m having this struggle, how many other publishers out there are having a struggle on getting the tools that they need, like, you know, finding out what a contract is what a proposal is, because Google only gives you so much, okay, it doesn’t really give you write down, they’ll only gives you so much. So we started selling PR toolkit, okay, that started doing really well. And then I said, Okay, I’m gonna do a slam it. Listen, what happens, though, we did our very first summit, it was September, September, it was my my birthday chances were like September 17, of 2011. And we had over 300 Women attend it. We did it in Miami, Florida. And I do utilize publicists that were in Florida publishers that I knew with the years for the panels. And it was really successful. We did the second year in Miami. And then I realized that okay, Miami was a bit much, you know, too many distractions, you know, they were coming in drunk, going to the clubs or whatever is too many distractions. So I went to Houston, Texas. We did Houston. After that we did Houston, Chicago, Nashville, Las Vegas, Los Angeles. And then we were setting up for the one and a pandemic to go back towards Nashville to the pandemic hit. So then that kind of like, but the good thing about for us was, we realized virtual summits. Yep. And so now we were able to reach our audience that don’t live in the United States, because we have audience that lives anywhere Dubai, London, Paris, Australia, Africa, so we were able to reach them, and they were able to attend, you know, via Zoom, so the pandemic was done for us.

Lara Schmoisman 6:45
Wow. And I was good for many people that they knew how to take advantage of it. And a lot of people use it to learn and to get the new skill sets the pandemic, which is fantastic. But also, now, let’s talk about really, what’s PR, because a lot of people and actually I have a mentee, which I adore. And this is something that and I have a lot of people that they work with me that actually the ones who school for PR, and is PR is about making connections, it’s true. But at the end of the day, PR ends up being about a lot about pitching.

Anje Collins 7:23
It is 85% of what we do is pitching. Yeah. PR is bringing awareness to a brand. And you can’t bring awareness to the brand. If you’re not pitching. Unfortunately, this younger generation thinks getting on social media is pitching. But okay. And and it’s not, you know, this because it’s about making relationships, I can’t make a relationship with somebody that’s on social media. So even when I teach on my platforms, I always tell people, like if you don’t have no clients, if you have absolutely none. And you’re in, you know, let’s say you’re in the fashion space, okay? Reach out to the editors and introduce yourself, you know, say, Hey, my name is Angie Collins, I’m with the Lux PR group, I just wanted to say hi, I’ve been following your work for a while I saw your article that you did, or XYZ, I don’t have any clients in this particular time. But I just wanted to make your acquaintance. So what I do have clients, you’ll know who I am. So and there’s your pitch.

Lara Schmoisman 8:17
That’s lovely. And that’s the real, it’s not that hard is the same when you go to a networking event. You don’t you shouldn’t be and this is something I used to do. And I used to make being on the side waiting for someone to approach me. And no, you just need to go for it and introduce yourself

Anje Collins 8:37
Yeah, my grandmother had an old saying that said a closed mouth doesn’t get fed. That’s right. If you stay in the corner, you’re quiet. Nobody’s gonna you know, I’m not gonna sit and wait for you to approach me. Okay. I’m going to approach you. And I’ve got sometimes I think that when people see that you have that kind of aggressiveness. They’re gonna figure Okay, that’s the person for me.

Lara Schmoisman 8:58
Yeah. And then, and if it’s not, it’s not, that’s why exactly that might go on. It’s like my mom will say, you already have the No. But if you don’t try, you might never have the Yes.

Anje Collins 9:11
They’re good. That’s a good one. I like that.

Lara Schmoisman 9:15
My mom is a wise one! So, okay, so let’s talk about these famous pitching because pitching has changed over the years. And also, I mean, they’re amazing tools, or lists, you can get that out there. You can always contact the journalist, but that pitch that is gonna get them in their inbox because they get so mad. So how can you stand out with their pitch?

Anje Collins 9:42
Usually it’s a subject line. And what I tell people to do is put their name in the subject line, the name in the subject line, they’re more likely to open it. Now the new thing is put an emoji in the subject line. They’re now inclined to open it so studies show, and it’s interesting because I never really paid attention until like, you know, I have a shoe brand. So when I send emails out about my shoe brand, I have to pay attention to who opens what. And I noticed that and I noticed that when I put the person’s name and then I put emoji, I knew I was good open. So so you know what I’m gonna try this one with the media, see if it works, and it works!

Lara Schmoisman 10:23
It’s always wonderful to track and to see who’s opening who’s not opening to see what works or not, it’s not about stalking anyone and seeing learning of what are you doing and what’s working or not, I mean, I believe in data.

Anje Collins 10:43
So what I did was I found two outlets that I mean, to five outlets that didn’t know who I was, okay, because if I say to somebody, they don’t open it anyways. But it was five outlets that I knew who I was. And so out of that five, four of them opened it up for him got back to me. So I always tell people, editors of journalists have egos. Okay, yeah, sorry, I’m able to say, hey, hey, such and such and such Have you seen, and even when I do my pitches, I tried to flip it, where they’re a part of the equation. So make anything and makes it seem like they are doing something. So like, if I had like in the music industry, when I was in the music industry, I would tell them, you know, hey, you know, I gotta artists, blah, blah, blah, this and that their signal drops, such as such, I would appreciate your opinion. Yep. And if I’m referring to their article, like, you know, I saw your article that you did on such and such and such, and I’ve kind of be like, these two artists have similar, let me know what you think they’re gonna respond, because now I put the wheel in their car.

Lara Schmoisman 11:42
Generate the conversation, ah, but also, there is something very important, I seen a lot of people that they have products. So I understand that the products are expensive, and you cannot get products to everyone. But if you pitch someone, you should be able for them to test the product, if they’re gonna be writing about the product.

Anje Collins 12:04
And I totally agree with that. And, and here’s the thing, like I told you, I have a shoe brand, I put a budget side too, for PR packages, okay? You just gotta be strategic on who you send them to. And also, you want to make sure that when you send them that they’re gonna use them. So you just can’t say, Hey, I’m gonna send you a PR package, or whatever the case may be for you to try these products. What I usually do is like, hey, you know, I got a shoe brand. I just saw that you did this article on such and such and such, and I think that I had the perfect shoe for you. What is your shoe size of? Where do I send them to? I never give an option to say no, I give you options.

Lara Schmoisman 12:38
I love it! I do exactly the same

Anje Collins 12:41
And they’re not gonna tell me no, because of their in the passion they had. And I’m sure they at this point they’ve done go the website, to see oh what kind of shoe does she sell?. So I’m asking you to shoot inside the Where do I need to sit in the back?

Lara Schmoisman 12:53
And what are happening? Angie, this is something that happened to me recently, and I would love to pick your brain and your brain on this one. What happens when a product is too expensive? Can you give it to them as a loaner?

Anje Collins 13:08
You canno, you cannot. Here’s the thing. If you gotta go that route, you know, it depends on what the product is, I would tell you, if it’s a beauty product no, like if it’s a fashion product, then I would tell you to go through the stylist and let the stylist do it. Because that way you get it back. But if it’s a beauty product, it is so expensive. You gotta let them, you gotta let them try because they’re not going to write about stuff ours, of course, they’re not gonna write. So you’re gonna have to, you know, like I said, Pick accordingly who you need to send it to because like a lot of times some editors and journalists, their stuff gets picked up by a lot of people. So if you hit that right one, it’s okay, because you know that this outlet is going to pick it up with that outlet start to pick it up, because it was you know, in general, but yeah, you don’t have a choice. You have to put that one to the side, you don’t have a choice.

Lara Schmoisman 13:54
Absolutely. I agree with 100%. I mean, I’ve had situations of people say well, I will send product but can they pay for the shipping? No, you have to have that in your budget

Anje Collins 14:05
Especially if you want them to reach their rears and if their readership is high enough, you’re gonna get their money back anyway. So you know, I don’t think sometimes people look at the ROI of when you gifting a product, okay? Because if it takes for example, I have a friend she has a handbag and Beyonce wore her handbag. Okay, she’s the complete unknown. All right, and that and by Beyonce having the handbag put her on a map that a handbag cost her $800 to make they sell it $2,000 or 3000, something like that. And what if she didn’t take a chance. Who knew that? You know, that Beyonce was gonna take her picture but her bad who knew that?

Lara Schmoisman 14:44
It’s a risk you need to take but you have to willing to take it, but how did you get to Beyonce? Let’s start

Anje Collins 14:50
Through the stylist. Okay. That’s why it’s very important that if you’re in the fashion industry, you need to know who the stylists are. I don’t mean You know, I don’t, I could probably rolled up my rolodex and say, Hey, girl, can you put these shoes on for me, but I don’t have time to do all that. So I contact certain stylists that I know represent certain people that way or they’re come hit me up and say, Hey Anje can I come down to your showroom and pull because I’m shooting so so and so. And then it ends up in the publication, but you have to have to follow, if you’re a fashion publicists. You have to make relationships with the stylists, you have to make. We have to make relationships with the creative person at the publication. You have to make those kinds of relationships. If you’re in the music industry, you have to make relationships with the editor, the critic, you have to make relationships with the venue people, the sound of engineers, all those people come into play. One thing I learned when I started this industry was I learned everything there was about being a music publicist. So that means and I went from a record label to a nightclub with the SOPs nightclub. I learned everything that was about booking marketing, then I learned how to run a sound more like if I do a concert, I’m not gonna soundboard. Then when I have turned artists, I’ll be the in studio.

Lara Schmoisman 16:02
You’re the same as me. I mean, I come from the production and direction side, I did it all in the marketing, I can tell you I did every single job I have someone in my agency I did at some point of my life.

Anje Collins 16:17
And it any helps you in the long run, you know, because people are full of crap. It because I had the I already know how it goes and helps you on that better bit. It also helps you with your client, your client will respect you more because you’re taking your role seriously, you know, you’re not just oh, I’m just you know, going to sleep I need to suppress hits. And you know, that’s about it.

Lara Schmoisman 16:39
Yeah, absolutely. So what about beauty industry because I love that you just we have a lot of people listening that they’re part of the beauty industry, and that what you were saying is very true. You even if it’s a luxury product, you need to give it away

Anje Collins 16:55
Or what they can do is maybe downscale to a sample size, you don’t have to give the full size away. You know, and we’re gonna since we’re going back to events, if you’re in the beauty industry, do a brunch, you know, with the editors and journalists all at one time where maybe if you’re not giving out product, maybe you demonstrate the product on them. So there’s ways of getting around not actually giving them a product. If I’m doing a brunch, you know, we have stations set up. So maybe it’s a skincare product, it costs 200 sollars, right? Wow. Okay, so I’ll need about two of them. And I got like 40 editors in the room that I have people trying it on their face.

Lara Schmoisman 17:32
How do you get the editors to come?

Anje Collins 17:34
Girl, You tell them food and alcohol they come. Free People free alcohol, they are coming.

Lara Schmoisman 17:41
Yep. That’s a good advice. So that’s very good advice. So okay, so you have the editors that you need to approach or the stylists and you have to have a pitch, it’s all fashion to say that you still need your EPK?

Anje Collins 18:01
I think it depends on the industry, to be honest. Clearly, if you’re in the entertainment industry, you really need it. I think that for beauty and fashion, it’s more of having line sheets versus an EPK. Because a lot of brands goals are to get into some type of retail outlet. And they don’t care what that EPK says they want to know that line and sheet says and they want to know who your fan base is how many numbers you have on Instagram, how many people you got following you on Tik Tok. And that’s what they want to know. Because they feel like if you already have a built in fan base, they’re going to take that chance on you if you’ve only got 100 followers and not taking a chance on.

Lara Schmoisman 18:41
So how you be and how you start with a new brand? Is it recommended to go social first and creating a social awareness?

Anje Collins 18:50
I fortunately Yes. I mean, we’re in the day of social media. Okay. And I mean, they can do it as easily as as getting, you know, a couple of influencers that are on YouTube, okay, that wants you because that’s a role is reviewing the products, you know, getting somebody on YouTube that’s got a lot of followers or somebody that’s on Tik Tok that has a lot of followers. That’s the way to build your base. And is that and yes, you might have to pay them. But if you don’t have the money to pay them, then give them the damn product. Give them the product.

Lara Schmoisman 19:19
Yep. I mean, this is what I’ve learned from the marketing standpoint, I believe, because we have steps right and you cannot have a brand if you don’t have a very strong deck. Dor me the deck It’s what it’s going to help you guide your brand because your designers will know what to do. Your social media will know what to do. Your publicist will know what to do. They want, they will understand who your brand is, and your communication style. If you don’t have that very strategic strategically put, everyone will get confused. The whole message will get confused.

Anje Collins 19:57
Right? Yeah, you’re old school like I am, I get it. But unfortunately, like a lot of these editors of journalists, they don’t want to read that. They don’t they don’t want that.
Lara Schmoisman 20:11
I will never give it to them. But I think,

Anje Collins 20:13
But for your PR strategy for your client, yes, that makes sense.

Lara Schmoisman 20:16
Allow us to be able to perform our job and do it

Anje Collins 20:21
I guess I still do my PR plan. Yes, I sure do. Okay, because it’s your blueprint. And you don’t have your blueprint, you’re just winging it, you’re flying by the seat of your pants. And that’s why you’re not gonna be successful. But today, there’s so many project management tools out there. So if you don’t feel like you want to create one, you go to asana, you could go to Monday and click up and they have work projects. No, are you doing this plug and play it so people don’t have excuses. And it’s interesting that they have excuses, if that makes sense.

Lara Schmoisman 20:49
But I’m talking even more about the basics, that before you are creating a brand that you have need to have a very strong personality for your brand that you need to have the looks. It’s not only about putting a logo, even nature. Now, of course, your archetype to now put your consumer do your research. Because when by the time you get to PR, you need to be able to communicate and say, Hey, Andy, this is a people that I want as a client.

Anje Collins 21:16
Well, suddenly, a lot of people don’t do that. They want you to do it. As the publicist, I got a brand. Okay, and I need to I need to be on the Today Show. Okay, so where’s your pictures? Where’s your website? Do you have a company bio? Do you have a personal buyer? Do you have a headshot? And they’d be like, no, no, okay. Well, we can’t do none of this. Until you get that part done. Exactly. And, you know, if I did, we can’t even get to 10. You. And it’s interesting, I encounter people all the time that says, Oh, I got a product, they didn’t print the product up and everything. But where’s the rest of it? So you just figure I got a product, and I’m gonna put it on the website, it’s gonna sell your website has to tell the story? Absolutely. Absolutely. You just can’t put some pretty pictures up there and you have no story. Your social media has to tell a story that just shows up there and have no cohesiveness. No, nothing, you’re not telling a story. So even like you said, even up to the marketing steps of it, or before you even get to the PR aspect of it, you have to have a vision, you have to have a story.

Lara Schmoisman 22:17
Well, for me, PR and marketing are one person. I mean, PR is part of marketing, and that everything goes together. And you cannot do PR,

Anje Collins 22:28
We do marketing, but a marketing person cannot do PR, because they don’t know how to pitch. They don’t know how to write a press release.

Lara Schmoisman 22:35
I’m a good marketing person, that

Anje Collins 22:38
PR aspect of it, just say you’re a straight big marketing person, you couldn’t do a pastor’s job. Because yeah, we’ll have that. But we can transform into that, because marketing is part of what we do. Because we have to have some kind of marketing part in order to give you suppress Well, I,

Lara Schmoisman 22:52
I always say that marketing, PR is part of marketing.

Anje Collins 22:56
It is it’s it’s the girlfriend.

Lara Schmoisman 22:59
Yes, exactly. It’s super connected, they are attached, you cannot do a strong PR strategy, if all the marketing components are not there.

Anje Collins 23:08
Right. And that’s why they go hand in hand. But if you’re able to do both of you’re winning, okay, but some people can’t do both. You’ll be surprised.

Lara Schmoisman 23:18
I know. But is it right to start with a PR strategy? If you don’t have a strong marketing?

Anje Collins 23:26
Yeah but it depends on what industry you’re in? I think a lot of that depends on the industry. Like for instance, if I, for instance, if there’s people that represent cannabis companies or E Congress’s, okay, there’s no set marketing strategy, because it shifts all the time. So they have to rely on the the awareness from the publicist to make them to be seen, especially at the conference. Because you got to change with the seasons, you have the change of this with the changing, you can’t really put a solid marketing plan in. And I found out the hard way, but you can’t put a solid marketing plan that just won’t work. But however, I was able to leverage press.

Lara Schmoisman 24:06
Yeah, what I learned being in marketing for E commerce a lot is that I always need to be adjusting. And I cannot I cannot create a strategy a year half a year in advance is something that it won’t work anymore, because there’s so many things that they change all the time. So like, even for when we do social media for our clients, I only do 10 days at a time at the most because things are changing all the time.

Anje Collins 24:34
Exactly. Exactly. And even I get all this whole new AI stuff. Yes. That’s it. That’s a different conversation about it just because I had a girl the other day, because you know, we have a mentoring circle. And she was like, Well, I guess the AI wrote a press release. And I said so let me ask you a question as to did you just send that press release out? You said Yeah, so So you trusted that AI? She said yes. As she shows I mean, that press release, she gave me the press release, I put it on Grammarly. She had 142 grammatical errors. Um, my god, she was just like, I was like, wait a minute, I said, the AI is gonna give you the structure, but you still got to go in and adjust and fix it and make sure it’s grammatically correct. You said this press release out of all these errors that I see you’re probably not assets. And you didn’t hear from that one person. She said, No, I said, I probably got bass. And I probably think you’re just crazy. And that you don’t know what you’re doing, I have no way out.

Lara Schmoisman 25:34
And trust me if you need to make sure the messaging is correct, because AI don’t know your brand, they can’t give a voice, they cannot give a voice, so they can give you the structure, which I think is great if you can accelerate the process. But you still need to know how to do that page, you need concepts. It says something I have with design. I mean, there’s so many people now that use Canva, but Canva will not replace it, they need to have a designer and learning how to do design

Anje Collins 26:04
Okay, but it’s not going to replace a graphic designer, you cannot get your logo done in Canva. Okay, because you don’t own the fonts, you don’t own any of it. And if somebody said biases, you’re using their fonts or their pictures, or whatever the case may be, they’re going to sue you, okay, but no

Lara Schmoisman 26:29
And the logos, like all the logos look like and that’s a problem. If you’re doing a brand, you want to be unique, you want to be your own, you don’t want to be the same as someone else. I’m deliberate that there are a lot of beauty brands out there, there are a lot of fashion brands out there, they don’t need one more, if you’re gonna put one more, you better be different.

Anje Collins 26:49
You can’t just sit there and say, oh, okay, I’m gonna come out, and I’m gonna use Canva for my logo.

Lara Schmoisman 26:57
And at the same time, I mean, I feel like there are so many people and I talked to someone yesterday that they had the little budget, so why did they choose to use their budget to do a super production of getting a lot of models, a lot of very expensive photographer, a reknown person, and you cannot, I mean, use all your budget in one thing, because then you’re gonna kill it, It’s the same when I talk about ads, you cannot put all if you have money, let’s say have $10 And you put all your $10 in ads, then we could create this hype. And that’s done.It’s not sustainable. So right here that is $1 for br $1 for ads, one dollar for email marketing, you divided, you create a strategy

Anje Collins 27:50
Right, you have to create strategy. And I think that for me, like I said, by me having a shoe brand and being a publicist, I was able to realize that, you know, what my budget is, I’m not gonna give get the best photographer out in the world, but I’m gonna find one that’s decent enough, you know, to do pictures that I want them to do. I’m gonna use family members for models, because I want to spend my money on the marketing aspect of it, and the ad aspect of it. And once again, you can’t tell when you go to my website that the photographer that shot the pictures has only been shooting for two years. Okay, you can’t tell you know that my models are my family members. Okay, so you can’t tell none of that unless I’m telling you.

Lara Schmoisman 28:30
And this is a conversation I was having yesterday, also, like I prefer if I will have to spend my money, I will have to I will prefer to spend it in a strategist or someone who can get me to put a strong foundation and create that strategy and ecosystem that will work for me in the long term, because there is no overnight success.

Anje Collins 28:53
At all. At all. And and deeper. Why did they thing, what oh, I want to be like the famous my plan was, I want to be on the cover of Vogue magazine. Okay, unless you’re a celebrity, you’re not going to be on the cover of Vogue magazine. Period.

Lara Schmoisman 29:09
You have to be realistic. And before we go, I want to talk about one more thing, which I think is super important in PR. Let’s talk about pay per play.

Anje Collins 29:17
I knew you were gonna say that.

Lara Schmoisman 29:20
It’s what everyone thinks. I mean, unfortunately, is part of the game today.

Anje Collins 29:26
It is I had a client. She wanted to be what actually it’s funny because she used to be my client, but she’s on the cover of Essence magazine, which I know she paid to be on there. And here’s why. I know she did because, she wanted to be on his TV show so bad. And when I contacted the TV show, they said yes she could do to medicines gotta cost her $15,000 She paid that $15,000 For that two minutes just to be on there. Nobody cares. Nobody knew who you were. I had another client that wanted her product out on The View. And I’m like they gave me a price of $10,000 and I said you got to give the full size bottles, okay, I said what they’re not, you’re not gonna be on the view. So what’s the point, she wanted to pay that $10,000, she paid the $10,000. And I said, Now you gave all these people these big, full sized bottles, and y’all need a little bit of your product. So guess what, they’re not coming to your website to buy anything, because you gave them enough to last year, if they choose to go to whole year, then it’s more and more common, especially after the pandemic, that a lot of editors or journalists are asking you to pay.

Lara Schmoisman 30:28
Yep. So what’s your take? Do it? Don’t do it?

Anje Collins 30:32
Do it? I’m not gonna do it. Okay, I’m not gonna do it. I feel like, I feel like if you’re struggling, then maybe you need to find something else to tune, okay? Because you’re not and you’re getting a check from the art from the publication and you want to check for me too? No it doesn’t work like that. So I would rather pass and go to somebody, I rather go to a smaller outlet that’s struggling, then to pay you.

Lara Schmoisman 30:54
Yep. I mean,

Anje Collins 30:58
That’s advertisement, but paying? Then I’m going to pay for advertising-

Lara Schmoisman 31:05
PR is not advertising. It’s completely different. And so be very careful what you’re paying for. And also because people are not stupid. People see that if you’re in a magazine, it says sponsored, if you pay

Anje Collins 31:19
Specially your Oh, my God, the wire the press wires that go out, it says sponsored. Okay, that means you paid for that placement, you paid for it.

Lara Schmoisman 31:29
And also there is all of these sealless indications that when you put a press release, let’s talk about this for a moment. Because now places, you go pay $1,000 is syndicate your press release. And then they show you Hey, you are in Yahoo, and you can put that, but it’s not that someone really picked up your story

Anje Collins 31:49
We played with this in Women in PR had not had a decision account before decision. Okay? And so what I did was, we made we did a Women in PR press release, just to see what was gonna happen. And, you know, ends up at places like Tupelo, Mississippi, and all this other stuff. But however, it did get picked up by a Huffington Post. And it was actually a writer from Huffington Post that actually reposted it. I mean, they really did an article, but that’s like a chance and how many?

Lara Schmoisman 32:19
Yeah, exactly, exactly. But you can also go in syndication that you’re gonna show up in random places, even international places, because they take every feed, and it doesn’t mean that it’s really

Anje Collins 32:31
-? Really looking at it.

Lara Schmoisman 32:35
Exactly, I believe that PR now have merged in three different pillars. One that I call it PR for SEO, because we need that from the marketing side. Right? Additional PR, which is wonderful, but it’s costly, and takes time, Time, yes. And people get very anxious, and will you cannot guarantee results.

Anje Collins 33:01
Here’s the thing, this problem a lot of people have, they don’t have one niche, okay. And I tell people all the time, you cannot be a music film, fashion, PR publicist, I said, because you’re gonna have too many media lists. Now, if I decided I’m just gonna do beauty, then my guess what the same editors, the same journalists are the same people I’m going to write to every single time. So therefore, I didn’t take the time to, you know, pitch them personally. But if I’m all over the place, yes

Lara Schmoisman 33:32
Even if you have multiple target audience, start with one.

Anje Collins 33:36
Yes. Get your niche and start there. Because I’m a firm believer in time value money. I don’t have time to waste

Lara Schmoisman 33:42
I believe in narrow I believe, even when you want the ads first get in one target audience, get your following, get someone strong and loyal and then you can start diversifying

Anje Collins 33:54

Lara Schmoisman 33:58
Mostly if you don’t have a lot of money,

Anje Collins 34:00
Yes. Yeah, you’re right.

Lara Schmoisman 34:03
So Anje, thank you so much for having coffee with me. It was such a pleasure. And thank you for all the tips, all the information that you always share and, again, thank you for creating a safe and an amazing community.

Anje Collins 34:17
Thank you so much for having me, I finally get to see you.

Lara Schmoisman 34:21
Okay, you guys. I will see you again next week in Coffee Number Five. Find everything you need at Laraschmoisman.com or in the Episode Notes right below. Don’t forget to subscribe. It was so good to have you here today. See you next time. Catch you on the flip side. Ciao ciao.


Episode 97

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Episode 166

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Episode 43

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Today’s guest is Hillary Rea, founder of Tell Me A Story, a communication consulting business that teaches how to use storytelling as a communication tool that will help you to connect with your audience.

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