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From Youtube Star to Brand Powerhouse – Michelle Phan

From Youtube Star to Being Her Very Own Brand Powerhouse – Michelle Phan

michelle-phanIf you’re a makeup lover between the ages of 13 and 25, you’ve probably heard of the YouTube sensation, Michelle Phan. If you aren’t one of her millions of loyal followers, or her ‘phanatics’, then you have probably seen her in a YouTube ad campaign, along with two other dynamic YouTube personalities.

What started as a personal hobby for Michelle, and a simple yet powerful way to give young women the makeup advice they most craved, catapulted into a massive brand powerhouse. Phan was the first female to gain one million YouTube subscribers (she now has close to 8 million)! You go girl!

Phan’s story is groundbreaking– connecting with her online fans has generated opportunities she never dreamed of – including a partnership with a big name cosmetic company, national magazine and press coverage and a newly formed partnership with a massive digital production company. What’s the key to Michelle Phan’s massive success? We’d attribute it to four things: 1) Her content is original and engaging. 2) She’s stayed 100% true to her fans through all of the skyrocketing success. 3) She’s kept a completely consistent brand message. And 4) She’s got a killer personality. Let’s dive into these a little further:

  1. Original and genuinely engaging content: Michelle Phan saw a unique opportunity to give something to her audiences that they couldn’t necessarily find anywhere else for free. She gave them a place where they could learn all the tricks of the trade when it comes to makeup application. She has provided countless tutorials with incredible makeup advice, all completely original and 100% engaging.
  2. She’s stayed 100% true to her fans: With a massive amount of success like that of Michelle Phan’s, you might think it had the potential to all go to her head. But that’s definitely not the case! Phan has actually attributed all of her success to her loyal fans, and she’s always made it all about them. For Michelle, going mainstream wasn’t as important as maintaining the uniquely genuine relationship she had with her followers. And it’s why they love her so much!
  3. Consistent brand message: You probably hear this all the time – it’s essential for brands to keep a consistent voice and message in order to communicate best with followers. Well, Michelle has totally kicked ass in this department. Even though L’Oreal offered to have her newly created makeup line promoted via every channel, Michelle has stayed true to her brand, and has chosen to have it promoted via YouTube and through Google searches. She knows who she is and what her brand stands for, and she continues to rock the message consistently.
  4. Killer personality: Let’s face it. Not everyone has what it takes to become a video platform sensation. What does Michelle have that gives her the star quality? She has an insanely engaging personality – she’s quirky, funny, inspiring and motivational all at the same time. And the Phanatics connect with that.

It’s A Tough Life for Brands on Instagram

instagramWe all know the picture-sharing phenomenon of today that is Instagram. With over 200 million monthly active users, and an additional 20 billion photos already shared on the app, it’s a gold mine for user engagement. Recognizing this trend, brands have started to dive into the Instagram landscape, using it as a new method for connecting with loyal brand followers. Michael Kors created the first advertisement on Instagram back in November of 2013. Since then, we’ve seen quite a valiant effort by brands to form some kind of unique strategy on the social sharing platform; but can they be successful?

Brands typically utilize technology applications to publish their messages on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Services like Hootsuite were created to ease the process of posting on these social handles. Instagram, however, has yet to adopt any kind of publishing API; so photo sharing on the app has remained a manual process.

What does this all mean though? It’s quite simple, really. Many of the world’s largest, most successful brands are sharing photos through their mobile devices. Simple right? It doesn’t stop with the click of a post, though. There are many questions to be addressed. For example, are your posts actually creating positive engagement, fueling your business and meeting your KPI’s? Without the technology to measure these activities, the manual process extends into tracking comments and likes, and keeping count of the brands followers are actively engaging with.

People love connecting through Instagram. If brands are going to survive on the platform, and perform at their highest engagement abilities, Instagram may need to reconsider the publishing process for the future.

When Should Startups Hire a PR Firm?

When Should Startups Hire a PR Firm?

Startup companies blossom almost overnight in some cases. The young ventures, typically apps and tech companies, are in the industry of innovation and solving challenging problems. While brilliant specialists founded these companies, they may not be considered experts in the PR strategies that will further fuel their company’s success.

So when exactly should a startup begin their PR agency search? Well, the answer is simple: before they need one. The last issue you need as a startup, or even as an established company, is to be without coverage during an important business announcement or helpless amidst a public scandal.

Communication is key, so do your research. Learn the ins and outs of your prospective public relations agency, and in turn, make sure they are familiar with your business model, how you operate and what you are looking to gain from the partnership. Discuss which agencies other startups and companies have worked with. Find out if their experiences with these firms were positive or negative, and more importantly, if they would hire them again!

Realistic Expectations…not always easy when you’re shooting for the stars

One important thing every startup seriously needs to remember is to keep their expectations realistic. We get it, you’ve worked your ass off to get this far, and have a mindset that anything is possible (don’t get us wrong, we’re right there with you). While remaining driven and positive is important, knowing where to set your goals is equally critical.

Any news is not always good news. PR teams are comprised of trained professionals who know which announcements should be made on your behalf, and which audiences should be targeted with these releases.

One common myth about PR firms and startups is that you know your story best, so how could a PR firm actually help you? Well, you most definitely understand the ins and outs of your company more than anybody, but do you know how to communicate it effectively? That’s exactly where the PR agency comes into action. These professionals also have access to contacts you most likely don’t even have on your radar.

Perhaps during their early development stages, startups and PR agencies are not the right fit just yet. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense for either party to work together until the startup needs assistance with particular projects later on after launching. But, a PR agency will almost always help your business develop when partnered at the right time, for the right reasons.

6 Tips for Finding the Right Work-Life Balance

GSEA featured in Inc. Magazine Online: “6 Tips for Finding the Right Work-Life Balance”

A student entrepreneur shows how you can maintain a healthy balance between work and personal life.

 By: Entrepreneurs’ Organization

Daniel Lev Goldberg, a student at Syracuse University, is the co-founder and COO of Diamond MMA. Daniel has competed in the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA), a competition run by the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), which supports student entrepreneurs and takes their businesses to the next level through mentorship, recognition, and networking.

 Being a student entrepreneur is not easy. Towards the end of my junior year, I actually had a bit of a breakdown. I was just about to get to work when I began to have an anxiety attack and felt I could not breathe. It was no surprise that nothing was actually wrong with me–I was just stressed out.

I knew I needed to make some serious changes going forward. I changed up my routine drastically and by doing so, I feel more awake, alert, and sharper than ever. In fact, this is by far the best year for my business. Here’s what I discovered:

  1. Know how much sleep you need.It is important to get the sleep you need each day so you can be super sharp when upon waking up. If you need 10 hours of sleep, take it. Studies have shown that individuals who are well rested will always perform better than individuals who are exhausted.
  2. It’s not how much you work, but how effective you are. When I go to work, I stick to my plan, send the emails I need to send, make the calls I need to make and get on to the next task. It’s about being effective with the limited hours we have each day.
  3. Meditate and work out daily. This year, I began working out every morning. Working out first thing in the morning helps wake my body and mind up and gets me ready for a busy day. Also, meditating for just five minutes helps me to clear my mind, and envision where I want to be down the road.
  4. Schedule your day the night before. Before I go to sleep, I know when I will wake up, what meetings I have, the work I need to accomplish the next day, and even when I will grab lunch and dinner. This has really helped me not waste time or get distracted. It keeps me very focused on accomplishing everything ahead.
  5. Take time off. When you are feeling burnt out, don’t be scared to take some time off. I set out a few hours or even one day each week to just hang out with friends and catch up with family. This day of rest keeps me refreshed for the busy week ahead.
  6. Sacrifice when it counts. You may have a big business competition and a big test coming up the same week. I always put business first as I know down the road it has the bigger reward and impact. Ultimately, sacrifices will have to be made. Just know what you are willing to give up.

It can be extremely hard to balance personal time, schoolwork, a social life, and a business. More than anything, taking care of yourself is the most important priority. Your health and your mind are your biggest assets. Make sure you sleep well, eat right, and get enough rest because without your well-being, you will never be able to achieve anything.

Tips for Young PR Pros

Future PR Pros: How to Network & Prepare for a Career in PR while in College

As an aspiring PR professional entering corporate America, there are many different strategies to accomplish your career goals. Before anything else, remember this: you are your greatest asset. Recognize the limitless resources you have around you, and utilize them to their greatest abilities. Here are just a few tips to get you started!

  1. NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK!
    Networking is probably one of the most crucial resources you have easy access to within the professional world. This skill can easily be developed during your years as an undergrad; communicating with professors and academic professionals can potentially aid you in taking that next step into the corporate world.Networking is like a head start in your competitive job search. Once your undergraduate career is complete, and you begin looking to start your career, you become a single number in a sea of millions. How will you distinguish yourself? What resources will you utilize to set yourself apart from the next guy? It’s not always just what you know, it’s also who you know.Have a favorite PR or Communications professor? Network with them! More times than not you’ll find that these professors are willing to assist you in your career goals and serve as a valuable resource. Remember at one point these people were also young, aspiring PR professionals too!Find out if your college or university has a Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter. This organization is aimed at nurturing future communications and public relations professionals. Groups such as these are networking gold.
  2. Make yourself an elevator pitch
    No matter which career path you choose, the ability to market yourself is crucial. Make sure you always have an elevator pitch handy and ready to go. Keep in mind this is not a sales pitch, it is merely a concise and well-developed introduction to who you are and what you’re capable of.Make it short and sweet, only including the essentials, and don’t be scared to give it a little flavor! In other words, don’t sound like you’re reading straight from a script. Be human, and show genuine interest. That tends to go a long way in terms of being memorable.
  3. Always have questions, and good ones at that
    Always have questions hidden up your sleeve. There is no such thing as a dumb question, but there is such a thing as a careless one. Don’t memorize the same generic questions and spit them out to every PR professional you meet with. Have a few general questions in mind, and tailor the rest to the appropriate person, position, or firm you are connecting with. Help them envision you in this position or firm, and more importantly, their company’s future. Show them you’ve done your homework.

These tips are just the groundwork to building your future in the PR world. Always remember to utilize all the resources at your disposal, never burn any bridges and always show up three steps ahead. As you go advance through your career, you’ll certainly learn to value the connections you’ve made along the way, I can guarantee that.

Lessons From Scandal

PR Lessons From Scandal

Viewers are completely captivated by Olivia Pope, PR queen of the hit drama, Scandal. Pope, played by actress Kerri Washington, is a crisis communications consultant who protects the White House and the who’s who of Washington from danger, scandal and demise.

If you’ve never seen the show, you should really tune in and give it a shot, but here’s the basic story:

From shaping their public image, to handling the most scandalous of PR crises, Olivia Pope is always on her A-game (at least while she’s not distracted by her even more scandalous love affair with the President of the United States)! Yes, the show has its spins and twists in order to keep in entertaining, but there are certainly some valuable PR lessons to be learned from Pope and her loyal team. When it comes to the nitty gritty of crafting a client’s messaging, for example, this PR pro knows what she’s talking about. Check out these three methods that we might find useful:

  1. Form your own “Dream Team”: If you watch Scandal, you know that Olivia Pope’s team of gladiators is 100% dedicated and focused on getting her what she needs at all times. Every individual within your communications or PR team plays a role in the overall success of your organization. Keep in mind, however, that these people are not interchangeable. Play off of each person’s strengths, and recognize his or her weaknesses. Celebrate the wins and face the losses as one. Can you succeed without your team?
  2. Master the Art of Media Training: Olivia’s impressive media training skills help her clients avoid some major damage to their public image. Her clients are confident, poised and trained in answering the toughest of questions.Preparing our clients for media interaction is equally as important, and not just in crisis, but also in any situation. Ever heard of a “machine gunner” reporter? How about the “interrupter” or the “dart thrower”? These are techniques that reporters will use to influence someone to say the things they want to hear, rather than what you want them to hear. Coaching a client through all of these techniques will help them remain level and on point when dealing with the media.
  3. Always be in “the know”: Ever notice that Olivia seems to know what’s coming before it even happens? This is crucial in the PR world. It’s not just staying up to date on the current trends, but also anticipating what’s ahead. From media monitoring, to Twitter lists, to Feedly and Cision, you need to master the processes that ensure you are always in the know. These monitoring habits are great because they keep you educated on all the important things going on around you, but they also allow you to be one step ahead of your clients’ competition.

Yes, Scandal is a fictional TV show that may be a bit more dramatic and outrageous than your average day in PR, but there are certainly some lessons to be learned from the amazing Ms. Olivia Pope and her team of gladiators.