Beyonce’s Brand Management Through Website

(This is one of the photos featured in the “I AM” section of Beyonce’s website. Simply stunning!)

Beyonce’ Giselle Knowles is my favorite singer in the entire world! Her talent is  immeasurable and her demeanor seems to be private, yet sweet and perhaps a little overprotected. I have been a fan since Destiny’s Child and always will be. Over the years she has grown from a teenage girl to a grown woman.

The media has taken its jabs, but she is still standing. B is now a wife and mother and has also taken control of her career. She manages herself, her father Matthew Knowles was her manager for quite a while. I am sure she has help and a great publicist, however, you can definitely see that she has a huge say so in a lot of different things.

For example, instead of getting money from the media for her baby Blue Ivy Carter’s pictures, Beyonce decided to put the pictures on her own Tumblr site. Most recently, she wrote a Mother’s Day letter to her mother, Tina Knowles, and placed it on her site for fans and media to see. 

“Everything I am is because of you! You are the first voice that ever sang to me,” she wrote. At every turn you push me to be better. When I look into your eyes, I am sooo proud. Now that I’m a mother, I truly realize all the sacrifices you made for us,” wrote Beyonce’ in the letter entitled, “Mama Letter”.

Also on her site, there is a section called I Am, which includes never before seen photos from Beyonce’s most personal moments with her family. This is a great way for fans and media to feel more connected to her. By giving them a glimpse of her life outside of her music, Beyonce’ maintains her image and brand. The website’s new look and feel is an innovative way for B to manage her brand, and in a way, be her own spokesperson without having to say a word. Marketing genius? I think so.

Jhene Aiko: Sailing Souls

I am a music lover, I must confess.  In my younger days, I was a B2k fanatic! Lil’ Fizz was my absolute favorite and I still have every B2k album. I have always wanted to be in the music industry, so even at an early age, I made sure I knew their manager and record label. Anything that was affiliated with B2k, I knew about it.

Jhene Aiko  was  featured in their video “Why I Love You”. There is an interview with her singing  when she was around 14. I loved her voice. I listened to her song “Gonna Love You Anyway”, over and over. I often wondered why she never got signed. She is extremely talented!

She has proven her talents with her latest project entitled “Sailing Souls”. No longer a teenage girl, but a proud mother and young woman, Jhene has received great and positive feedback from this release. It features songs such as “Do Better Blues”, featuring rap artist H.O.P.E and “Hoe”, a collaboration with singing sensation Miguel. Jhene’s lyrics and vocals are equivalent to perfection. You can listen to it all day and night and never grow tired of hearing it. It has such a smooth and soothing feel to it.

In an interview with Vibe magazine, Jhene talked about her overall message to fans: “A lot of people are still confused about what that means, and it just means to stay true to yourself and go with what you feel. Feeling are really the only thing that is real. I kinda want to convey the message to just be yourself. Don’t ever lose yourself for whatever reason—because you want to make more money, because you want to be prettier or whatever. I’m not a slave to anyone; I’m sailing my soul instead of selling it.”

It is evident that  Jhene has a very free and loving spirit. She is not afraid to speak her mind and be herself. This  comes out in her music. She is truly an amazing artist and songwriter. I cannot wait to hear her upcoming release “Souled Out”. I hope to interview and work with her some day soon!

Check out some of Jhene’s music!



Freelance Publicists: This Does NOT Mean We Work For Free


Public relations, as most of you know,involves lots of hard work. It takes a lot of time and energy to do what we do on a regular basis.
Between pitching to the press, writing releases, managing Facebook and Twitter pages,networking- it can be absolutely exhausting!
There are those that work for agencies and corporations. For them, getting paid is not a hassle. As long as they do the work, they will get a check.

Then there are those of us who have yet to start our own firms, but instead we work as freelance publicists. Unfortunatelty, some people hear the word FREE and assume we are referring to services. This is not the case at all. Now, I will admit that I understand the hesitation of potential clients. Perhaps they have had a bad experience with a publicist who showed up late, was unprofessional and did not deliver.
It is up to you,however, to gain their trust and show them how a true PR professional handles business.

As far as money is concerned, when working as a freelance publicist,DO NOT DO ANY WORK UNTIL YOU HAVE COME TO AN AGREEMENT AND HAVE A CONTRACT WRITTEN AND SIGNED BY THE CLIENT! Also, make sure the contract includes all services that you will perform for your client. He/she must have a clear understanding of your job. Be aware of expectations and KEEP COPIES OF EVERYTHING! Don’t go into the situation with negative thoughts, but be smart. Being a freelance publicist can be very rewarding! Just make sure you know who you are dealing with before you sign him/her as a client.

4 Tips For Surviving in the PR Industry

Now more than ever the PR industry is filled with competition. Those that have been in the business for years must compete with their peers as well as PR newbies who are looking for their big break. Getting in the industry is challenging, but the hardest part is maintaining your reputation and work ethic. As public relations practitioners, (especially those in the entertainment industry), you must remain professional, yet creative. You can’t be afraid to take a risk or make the first move in terms of approaching potential clients. Also, you must make sure that you maintain your relationships with the media. Reporters, editors and bloggers hold the key to both you and your clients success. The following are tips to help you survive within the industry.

1) Be Innovative- Anyone can disseminate information through writing a press release and hitting the send button in an email. You must find ways to send out the message in a creative way. Even if you are submitting a press release, media kit, etc make sure that it stands out to the receiver.

2) Know how to Multitask-  Writing is a very key component in this industry. But it is not enough to know how to write, a publicist must also have know how to manage  social media pages, take pictures for clients, shoot and edit video and create an effective PR campaign. Having this knowledge will allow you to provide your clients with more services and gain a competitive advantage.

3) Always market yourself and build your brand- It is important that as you build credibility and a reputation among your clients, that you keep track of the work that you have done. Post Tweets daily  about past clients, media placements and interviews. Continuously update your resume’ and keep in touch with your contacts in both the media and PR world. Invite other publicists out to events and network. They may know someone who needs PR, but does not fit into their scheme. Never sell your self short and be confident in your work.

4) Be Aggressive- If there is a client that you really want to work with, go for it! Don’t be afraid to sell yourself to them on Facebook, Twitter, and in his/her email.

These tips will not only help you to survive in the industry, but they will also help you to expand your network and grow in your profession.

5 Ways to Stand Out to Potential Employers


This field is very competitive especially for recent college graduates. Here are a few tips to help you standout to potential employers and possibly land your first job!

1) Intern, Intern, Intern– One internship is NOT enough. The more experience, the better your resume’ looks. Also the more hands on experience that you have , the more knowledgeable you become about your field. Interning is also good for networking purposes. Get to know your co-workers and supervisors. You never know who they know.

2) Keep Copies of your work- Class projects can help to build your portfolio! Be sure to keep a copy of your final and finished work. It will help when potential employers ask for copies or samples of your writing. Also, be sure that your work is error- free and that you fix any corrections that need to be made before showing them to a potential job site.

3) Update Resume’ and Cover Letter- Your cover letter and resume’ are two very important documents. They are an extension of you; the first thing that an employer looks at is your resume’. Make sure that it is current and up-to-date. First impressions are lasting, think of your resume’ as your first impression to an employer. You want to make sure you put your best foot forward. Your cover letter is also important, make sure that you keep it updated and send it to the correct company. You don’t want to apply to Barnes and Noble with a cover letter that says “Dear Laclede”.

4) Have an online presence– In today’s society, social media is everything. Be sure to watch what you post on Facebook and Twitter. Employers are going to look at your profile and interaction. Don’t post inappropriate pictures. Also, create an online portfolio. It is easier for employers to access.

5) Have good references-Sometimes it is not all about what you know, but rather who you know. Be sure to establish a good rapport with supervisors, professors, community leaders, etc. You will need references and letters of recommendation that speak to your personality and work ethic.

These are just a few tips to assist you all. I will post more soon. Hope it helps and that you enjoyed this post!

How To Pitch to A Magazine Editor

Tips for Making It Through the Glossy Gates- This post is written from the perspective of an editor on what she looks for when reading a pitch.

(This post was written by Lynya Floyd and can originally be seen on

I’ve been an editor at women’s magazines like GlamourEssence, and Family Circlefor more than a decade. As I worked my way up the masthead, I passed the late-night hours writing freelance stories.

essence magazine cover

It’s been awhile since I blindly sent a pitch into the void, but I remember the awkward mix of feelings the process evoked. A fellow writer once explained that eager is how you feel when you’re waiting for your mistress to come over to an empty house. Anxious is what you are when your wife invites the mistress for dinner. With each pitch, I felt eager andanxious, thinking this could be my breakthrough, worried that my letter contained an embarrassing typo.

Back then, I had a routine: I’d take a walk—all right, a few paces—around my two-room studio to clear my head before sending a pitch letter. I’d take my focus off whatever story idea I needed to carefully thread on a hook in order to reel in an editor—and my next freelance check.

I’d make a cup of tea. Return a phone call. Watch a few minutes of the news. Then I’d do a final read, cut and paste it into an email, and click send.

Moments later, I’d refresh my inbox, expecting an immediate reply. But it never happened that way.

Now that I’m on the other side of the email exchange, I realize how many pitches come in to an editor. Our work days (and nights) overflow with tasks that are on tighter deadlines than the four weeks we generally have to get back to freelancers who pitch us.

But I can offer some tips for getting the best response. 

Checkout more of this great article by clicking the link above!

JSU Tragedy and Lack of Crisis Communications Plan

Nolan Ryan Henderson, a 19-year-old Jackson State student was killed early Sunday morning while at a party located in the Palisade Apartments, located a few blocks near campus. This tragedy is affecting his family, who is searching for answers. They are suffering a major loss and I am keeping them in my prayers. I only want justice for Ryan, no matter how long it takes. He was a great student and friend, more importantly he was a part of my JSU family.

I have major issues with the way that his death was handled, both from a professional and personal standpoint. Let me point out that Jackson State University was not the first to report the news to local media outlets! Jackson news stations and newspaper reporters heard about the incident from a student newspaper at the University of Southern Mississippi! 

Secondly, school officials did not notify his family about his death, his brother Damien found out about it through Twitter. Why did the school not call? Nolan was a JACKSON STATE STUDENT. Although, the incident happened on a weekend, he was still left in the universities care. They should have had the decency to call his mother instead of his brother having to tell his mother. What if Twitter didn’t exist? How long would it have taken the school to notify her?

Thirdly Jackson State University issued the following statement, AFTER Nolan was already identified by the media:

Jackson State University mourns the loss of a student who died after an off-campus shooting  Sunday morning. The identification of the student will be released following the notification of the next of kin. Jackson State University’s Department of Public Safety is assisting the Jackson Police Department in this investigation. University officials request that JSU students take extra safety precautions and be prepared to show official university identification when requested.This is a very tragic loss,” said Carolyn Meyers, Jackson State president. “As a parent and grandparent, my heart goes out to the family. We offer our sincerest condolences and prayers during this very difficult time.”  Grief counseling will be available in the Meditation Room of the Student Center from 3 to 7 p.m. Sunday and will resume at 8 a.m. Monday. Individuals with information about the shooting should call campus police at 601-979-2580 or Jackson Police Department at 601-960-1234. 

Jackson State University officials could not be reached for comment when reporters tried to contact them in regards to the incident on the same day. They should have called an emergency meeting and been the first to contact media outlets in regards to Ryan’s death. In situations of crisis such as this, it is important to have a designated spokesperson to make sure that all messages sent to the media are both consistent and accurate. It is also important to establish a media center, specifically for the crisis, to keep an open line of communication for all parties involved. Jackson State University definitely needs help in terms of developing a Crisis Action Team.

When tragedy strikes for an institution or organization, it is important that people trust that the institution will be open, honest and communicate as much as possible. Unfortunately, this is not the first student death at Jackson State University, nor is it the first time that the University has swept a situation under the rug, so to speak.

Damien Henderson has been a true advocate for his brother through Twitter. By using #JusticeFor Ryan, he has been diligent in tweeting celebrities, and everyone that he can to spread the word of his brothers death, seeking  justice and peace for his family. He is not alone in his endeavor. He has received support from around the world,including singer Monica.

There will be a rally held in Ryan’s honor and also to urge students and anyone with information to speak up and step forward. My heart goes out to the Henderson family and friends, nothing can prepare anyone for a situation like this. I pray that God will continue to keep them strong in faith.  I pray that justice will be served for Ryan and that Jackson State University learns from this in many different aspects.  Ryan lost his life at an early age due to a confrontation that could have been avoided. He is remembered as a great student, son, friend and brother. Rest in peace Ryan!

8 Uncommon Interview Tips For PR Newbies

This article appear on and I just had to share it with my readers! Here are 8 Uncommon Interview Tips for PR Newbies. (Disclaimer: Credit is given to the author at the end of the post) Hope you all enjoy, happy job hunting! 🙂
Be conversational with the receptionist or administrative assistant.

Might not seem like a big deal, but in some ways, the administrative assistant will be the most important person you meet at that interview. Later in the day, the hiring manager will walk by the front desk and ask the assistant what he or she thought of you. Make sure the answer is overwhelmingly positive.

Follow up … with resources

You’ll be ahead of half the competition if you follow up after the interview. You’ll be ahead of 99.9 percent of the competition if you follow up with resources.

What do I mean?

As a final piece to your follow-up note, send the hiring manager an interesting article you read in the last week around a topic you discussed, a recent case study that’s relevant, a new social media tool that might be of interest based on your conversation, and so on.

The useful information you share will stand out. You’ll position yourself as a resourceful employee and someone who takes initiative.

Ask your own questions—about the interviewer

Based on another insider tip: Always make a list of questions to ask the interviewer (another thing I’m always surprised more people don’t do in an interview setting).

I’d take it one step further. Develop questions to ask the interviewer about the role and companyand add a few about the interviewer. Personalize the questions. Research the interviewer online before you meet and tailor questions to the person’s specific interests. The interviewer will be pleasantly surprised (as long as you’re not creepy about it).

Make sure you talk about one client campaign

Especially at an agency, make sure you work one client campaign into the discussion. It will show that you know their client roster, and it will demonstrate that you can talk intelligently about their work in a pressure-packed environment.

Use interactive media to your advantage

Do you have video-editing experience (which is a huge skill for younger professionals)? Why not show your clip in the interview on an iPad or your iPhone? Maybe you created your résumé in aPrezi? Those look pretty darn cool on an iPad, too. Use technology to your advantage.

Show confidence and humility

Employers definitely want confident young people. But they also want people who are humble and who know how to work well with others. Be confident, but don’t be afraid to show a little humility.

Write a post for the company blog

This tip might seem a little aggressive, but if you really want to separate yourself from the competition, consider writing a post for the company blog.

Pick a topic. If it’s an agency, maybe it’s a post about a recent social media trend. If it’s a corporate blog, you could address a topic they’ve already covered, except do it from your unique perspective. Writing a post for the company blog will demonstrate initiative, creativity, and critical thinking. All qualities they’re most likely looking for in an ideal candidate.

Make sure your leave-behind is memorable

Lastly, make sure whatever it is you leave behind after the interview sticks in that hiring manager’s memory. Whether it’s your résumé or a collection of clips, your leave behind is a big opportunity to carve out a place in the hiring manager’s brain.

Arik C. Hanson is the principal of ACH Communications, a digital communications consultancy. He blogs at 
Communications Conversations, where a version of this story originally appeared. 

Choosing Your Clients Wisely

Public relations practitioners MUST have clients, our livelihood depends on them. But, not all clients are good clients.  You have to be very cautious about who you work with and what they represent. There is a difference between choosing a client that has a crisis and choosing a client that is a crisis. When contacted by potential clients, schedule a meeting, perhaps over lunch or breakfast.

Once you have set up the meeting, write out a Client Needs Analysis, (CNA). This document consists of a series of questions that will allow you to get to know the client better. Where are they in terms of their career? How can PR enhance and get them to where they want to be? What do they like to do? These are questions that are important. Often times, people are under the impression that PR will help them to generate instant gratification and publicity. It does NOT  work like that.

It takes time and patience to develop and execute a successful PR campaign. It is important that your potential client understands this. Bring the CNA with you to the initial meeting. Make sure that you have done your homework in regards to the client, their career and how they act. If you have heard horror stories from other publicists, you may not want to work with this person. No amount of money is worth your name, brand, integrity or dignity.

Be sure that the potential client knows that YOU DO NOT WORK FOR FREE AND YOUR FEES ARE NON-NEGOTIABLE. The client must have a budget in order to pay you for your services.  If they cannot pay your retainer, you can allow them to do a payment plan with you. Although, I would not recommend it.

Once people see that you are bending the rules, they tend to take complete advantage and this could lead to a huge loss of money, time and energy.  Most importantly, make sure the client is aware of the services you offer. You should know their expectations of you, and they should know what you expect from them as well.

Clients can be a joy or a pain to work with. Keep the lines of communication open. Be professional at all times. If you feel that there is an issue with your client, be sure to speak with him/her immediately. Know your worth and others will respect you for it!


PR Girl

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PR Specialist Named One of The Best Jobs in 2012

I am so excited to write this post! On Feb. 27, 2012, PR Specialist was named one the Best Jobs in 2012! To me, this is a great feat. People often times take the job of a PR person as a joke. They do not realize the hard work, time and energy that goes in to this field. The fact that it is being recognized as a job that will see significant growth over the next few years is absolutely amazing to me.  My hope is that more and more people become intrigued by what we do. The world needs publicists to help disseminate information that it wants and needs. Whether you are interested in corporate, fashion, sports, entertainment or lifestyle, the duties remain the same: to cultivate relationships with media and maintain them in order to gain exposure for your clients.

Below is information posted on:

The Rundown:

Whether you’re the press secretary for the President of the United States, a communications director for Google, or a media specialist for a small nonprofit, your main goal is to generate positive publicity for your client and improve their reputation. As a PR specialist, it’s your job to cultivate and maintain close and productive relationships with journalists, bloggers, and opinion leaders. You’ll be asked to create print and Web-based communications materials—which may include story pitches, press releases, Q&As, presentations, video scripts, and speeches—ensuring they are consistent with your client’s image and message. Other responsibilities range from acting as a company spokesperson for a wider variety of media inquiries and speaking directly to the press on behalf of your client (sometimes deflecting negative criticism) to preparing your client for press conferences, media interviews, and speeches. Social media outreach has become an integral part of a PR specialist’s job in recent years. “With the onset of social infrastructure such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest, combined with the versatility of Web tools, the jobs of public relations specialists are growing at a fast clip,” says Gerard Corbett, chair and CEO of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).

[See The Best Jobs of 2012.]

The Outlook:

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects public relations specialists employment growth of 22.5 percent between 2010 and 2020. During that time period, an additional 58,200 jobs will need to be filled. Because of its promising outlook, the public relations specialist profession has claimed the No. 41 spot on the 2012 list of Best Jobs, right behind marketing manager.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the median annual wage for public relations specialists was $52,090 in 2010. The best-paid 10 percent in the field made approximately $95,200, while the bottom 10 percent made approximately $30,560. The highest paid in the profession work in the metropolitan areas of Victoria, Texas, San Jose, Calif., and Washington, D.C.

[See a list of The Best Creative Services Jobs.]

Public Relations Specialist Salary Range:

75th Percentile Wage: $71,820

Median Wage: $52,090

25th Percentile Wage: $38,960