As a longstanding member and committee chair of PR Boutiques International (PRBI) I make it a priority to attend the annual conference, held this year in San Francisco and hosted by Dave Richardson of Impress Labs. It’s one of the single most valuable parts of membership where we share and cultivate ideas for strengthening our firms, and build trusted relationship with colleagues across the US and the world.

This year’s theme was “Delivering Value”. One impressive practitioner who I had the pleasure of spending time with during this 4-day immersive, educational PR experience is Amanda Foley, Founding Partner at Duo PR. She recently wrote a thought-provoking article on some of the key takeaways of the conference that highlight the ever-changing and transforming industry that is communications.

Here are Amanda’s Lessons Learned:

  1. Silent films are making a comeback.Fun fact – 85% of videos viewed on Facebook are viewed sans sound. When scrolling in your cube, at the doctor’s office, in front of your kids, etc., most people shut that noise down for fear of the unexpected and to avoid being a noise polluting jerk. If you are creating video content, make sure it’s just as powerful with or without sound. Text overlays are your friend.
  1. Build your content around big rocks and sliced turkey.Particularly for B2B marketers, the first step in a killer content plan is to identify what piece of knowledge you possess that can be the “big rock” anchoring your marketing content – this often comes in the form of an extensive downloadable guidebook or industry report you give away for free (or in exchange for an email address), and score massive lead gen in return. Once your big rock is built, carve it up like a turkey to feed the multi-platform content machine for months. A pull quote here. An infographic there. A tips list here, there and everywhere, and always linking back to your big rock download that feeds the prospect pipeline.
  1. The band KISS is a model for progressive PR. I don’t know my heavy metal bands, but I do know content marketing sage Jason Miller’s presentation on “How to Achieve Face-Melting Content Marketing ROI” rocked my world. In one part, he likened the band KISS to the perfectly harmonized modern marketing team – Peter Criss on SEO, Paul Stanley on social, Gene Simmons on content creation, Ace Frehly on demand gen, and holding it all together and making big things happen, Bill Aucoin as manager and head of PR. For brands to succeed in today’s market you better have a perfectly tuned practitioner mix.
  1. Hire for culture, not just credentials.While business owners drool over dream resumes, there was a group consensus hiring for cultural fit over specific skill set is often the best bet. Many agencies had adopted progressive interview processes using predictive technology, from companies such as The Predictive Index, to help ensure a candidate’s values, strengths and traits mesh well with the job role and agency on the whole. Skills are most easily taught to those who just “get it” when it comes to your agency – so go and get them, with science at your side.
  1. Search traffic trumps social.People go to search to buy. They go to social to browse. A recent study showed there is a 600% greater sales conversion rate among people who land on brand websites via organic search, as compared to those who get there through social. So how do you score that magic search traffic? Hint: see numbers 2 and 3 above.
  2. Facebook Live is the new deskside.Magazines and other print media are rapidly adopting in-office interview rooms where they can conduct Facebook Live sessions with buzz-worthy spokespeople who waltz through their doors. Brands need to delve deep into their spokesperson choice and serve up a notable representative the media can market to their followers, as opposed to forging ahead with old-school 1:1 deskside briefings behind closed doors.
  1. 51 is a magic number.Once you’ve posted 51 blog posts, your index search factor will kick into high gear. Write on. (And check out Steve Farnsworth, he knows his stuff.)
  2. Media love snacks.The legendary Art Agnos, San Francisco’s mayor from 1988 to 1992, honored us with an appearance and regaled us with hilarious stories of when communications, media and politics collide. He also introduced us to the “media snack.” In times of crisis or a slow news cycle, if you don’t have something big to feed the news hounds, give them an innocuous little tidbit to nibble on while they wait. Otherwise, they’ll go looking for trouble. Next time you’re on the front lines of a client crisis, don’t forget to pack the snacks.
  3. Blog posts are press releases waiting to happen.Big news press releases still have value to traditional media, though in today’s direct-to-consumer content world, we must evolve our distribution strategy. According to the super-smart Michael Pranikoff, Global Director of Emerging Media for PR Newswire, it pays to whip your best blog posts into a press release written direct-to-consumer style. Then, syndicate it via a web release that will spread it all up, down and around the Internet so your audience can get to clicking.
  1. Press on. Facebook invited us to the mother ship and fascinated the group with upcoming insights we can now take to our clients as in-the-know advisors, and which we’ll keep to ourselves. But a shareable moment came in an anecdote about Sheryl Sandberg, her husband’s tragic death, and subsequent post about the fortitude to press on, where she credited a friend with encouraging her to go forth and “kick the sh*t out of option B.” The day she walked back into Facebook, signs bearing that phrase had been personally made by employees and wallpapered everywhere to show her love, support and solidarity. Because that’s what culture does.

So there you have it. As the communication landscape continues its tectonic shifts, as world events continue to surprise, as we sit in awe of the fact a belly laughing woman in a Chewbacca mask racked up 135M video views in free publicity, it is both inspiring and daunting to know we sit at the precipice of a PR, marketing and communications revolution. And those of us who attended the PRBI conference are ready to kick the sh*t out of it.

For more information on PRBI, or if you are an agency owner interested in joining us (by the way, our 2017 conference is slated for Berlin!), visit


Read the original article here


PRBI Group Shot

Everything I ever read or heard in college did nothing to prepare me for succeeding in the PR business.

Does that sound dramatic? My textbooks grew my vocabulary and my professors ignited my awareness, however, much of which I learned about running a successful public relations agency was through hands-on experience with clients, employees and fellow entrepreneurs.

Recently, I was asked to participate in a career development networking event for my alma mater, Mount Holyoke College. It was essentially speed dating for career insights with women from all different fields for young alumnae. I was one of 11 women who shared their insider industry career experiences. Some other speakers were leaders at prestigious companies like The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc., Merrill Lynch and StoryCorps.

Many of the recent graduates I spoke with asked questions such as what is the right path to take to reach my career goals? I remembered having the same feelings at the beginning of my career, and when I decided to start RED PR. The truth is, there’s no right or obvious path. It’s about making smart choices and having confidence in yourself that you have the intelligence and skills to learn from every career opportunity presented to you, even if it’s not your dream job. Much like Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s sermon to “lean in,” the tips I shared to the young, ambitious twenty-year-olds emphasized them to “sit up.” Here are my tips:

  1. S – Suffer the workload.
    When you are just starting out, your work load may seem heavy, even tedious, but it’s not unimportant. There’s no sugarcoating it – you will be stressed, putting in long hours along with some blood, sweat and tears. Just know that you are a valuable member of the team, learning as you go, and it all pays off one day.
  2. I – Invest in a decent wardrobe.
    I have a sticky note on my computer at work that reminds me to “dress how you want to be addressed.” No matter what level your job is, as I’m sure you’ve heard before, dress for the job above you, the job you want.
  1. T- Take advantage of networking events.
    There are many industry-related events that PRSA organizes. Probably your alma mater does too. These events are a great place to meet contacts, find mentors, get inspired, and learn more about the industry to see if it’s what you’re really passionate about.
  2. U – Understand all that is going on.
    The first few years of your career, you are usually trying to figure out what to do next. Since you’re starting at the bottom of the totem pole, it is your responsibility to pay attention to everything and soak it all in. When you come across a challenge, do not get discouraged, as there will be many! Rather, offer a solution to help overcome the obstacle instead of expecting your boss to fix it.
  3. P – Practice gratitude.
    Always remember to thank the people that help you along the way. And do what you can to help others, it comes back in spades. It’s not only about the work you do but the relationships you build while working. Be thankful for the friends you make throughout your career. If you’re lucky, some will last throughout your whole life.

Julia celebrating 15 years in business with her father, one of her greatest career mentors

Myth #1: You’ll be fetching coffee and making copies
I was surprised that by my second day at RED I was already researching projects and tracking media placements. I was working hard and fast and was eager to see some of my creative ideas included in presentations to clients. Working with a small firm gives an intern the chance to fully experience the PR industry by seeing exactly what it is your superiors are doing every minute of every day.

Myth #2: You won’t do any real work; it’s just a resume builder
A day as a RED intern begins with an assortment of research, send-outs and media monitoring. Tracking client media coverage is a large part of a RED intern’s job and is crucial to the account teams. Other responsibilities include helping to plan press events, writing blog posts (like this one) and participating in creative brainstorms.

Ellie and Shre

Summer ’15 intern Ellie (right) at the Morgan Taylor & Gelish ‘Urban Cowgirl’ launch she helped plan


Summer ’15 intern Carrie got to attend a ‘Simply Stylist’ beauty blogger networking event

Myth #3: You have to be the “yes (wo)man”
A common misconception about PR internships is that you are drowning in unnecessary work. This is far from true, and as an intern we are taught to work meticulously on a few projects. Everyone at RED understands that quality is more important than quantity.

Myth #4: The bigger the company, the more important the job
Applying for summer internships, I knew I wanted to work at a firm where I had the opportunity to interact with all levels of employees. Can every huge corporations’ interns say they got to throw around ideas with the President on a daily basis?

Myth #5: PR is just one big lavish party
Okay, maybe sometimes PR pros throw a few fun events, but hey, that just makes all the hard work worth it! RED attracts interns who are hardworking, eager, and motivated.  And at RED PR, interns develop a professional, results-oriented perspective. Plus, we free senior executives to focus on the big picture. You know what they say – teamwork makes the dream work!

mel and danielle

Spring ’16 interns Melanie and Danielle pose for RED’s Instagram


— Ellie (RED Spring ’15 intern)



Oh, don’t mind us while we’re doing cartwheels and back-flips over here. Yes! The New York Observer named us one of the TOP FIVE beauty PR firms in the country! The esteemed Power PR 50 List 2015, ranking America’s most powerful agencies and specialty firms by industry, hit newsstands this week. We’ve been glowing since.

As author Michael Kaminer states, “Firms are creating client stories, not just telling them. They’re not just guarding reputations, but active partners in nurturing them.” We shape perception with style and we are passionate about doing it well!

View the article here.



As a young girl growing up in Ridgewood, New Jersey with a single dad, Julia’s nanny Peggy would whip up a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies for the neighborhood children once a week. Thin, crispy and addictive, the smell of Peggy’s cookies got everyone excited for a yummy afternoon snack.

In December 2000, just months into establishing RED PR, a dilemma ensued: what type of holiday gift to send out on behalf of the company?  Other firms were sending high-priced Hermes accessories or tasteful Bergdorf Goodman trinkets, but for a brand new business with a lengthy list of cards to write out, an expensive purchase just wasn’t in the budget.

Remembering her favorite childhood treat, Julia decided to send something more personal — something sweeter, more special and that filled the tummy with love.


For 15 years now Julia has been baking batches upon batches of her “famous” cookies, turning her family’s kitchen back in Bergen County into a bakery for 3 full days. Over 2,000 cookies are made from scratch, packaged into festive tin cans and shipped across the world to clients, colleagues, friends and family.

RED’s classic confections have turned into a sought-after tradition. These little tin cans serve as a reminder of the team’s sincere gratitude and appreciation for all of the wonderful people who support RED PR!

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