Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Kick PR Interview: Crosby Noricks of PRCouture.com

I came across PR Couture a couple of years ago and have been a true fan ever since. It’s hard for me to keep up with all there is to know about PR, and I find that with PR Couture I’m getting tips and strategies all the time. Crosby Noricks, founder of PR Couture, is one of those people who you feel like you have known forever. She lives in San Diego, I live in New York, yet I feel as though we are right down the street. PR Couture went through a little makeover, and has added a few different sections to it that not only help people who are in the industry, but also helps people find jobs, post jobs and offers tricks on how to get into the PR industry ( tip #1, grow a very very thick skin).

Ok, so I follow Crosby on Twitter ( if you are one of us Twitter People, you can follow @PR_Couture for her updates, and mine at @kickpr.) and she seems to really have her finger on the pulse , and she must be doing something right because she has close to 800 people following her updates! So, I wanted to ask her a few questions, get inside her head and give her a chance to share her pearls of PR wisdom with us. So, here it goes:

KickPR: PR Couture stands out for many public relations professionals, specifically in fashion. Did you start it because you felt there was a lack of focus on this area in particular?
Crosby: I think I have always had a penchant toward creating and building communities. In high school and college I moderated a few forums for girls online (fashion, poetry forums) and actually attempted my first social network concept - an online collective of sorts called MessyCloset back in 2001, featuring the profiles and resumes of creative friends of mine (writers, models, musicians) looking for work after college - before Facebook or Linked In provided a means to promote yourself online. Looking back, I can see that PR Couture was born out of a similar desire to create community online .When I was researching fashion PR as my thesis topic for my MA - there wasn't really much showing up - either on Google, PR trade mags or academic journals. The idea that fashion PR wasn't "real PR" showed up in PR academia, when discussed at all, in dismissive remarks about its publicity focus. All this ignores the fact that industries like fashion, entertainment, and lifestyle PR are where a majority of current PR students want their careers in - why are we so attracted to these fields, does the definition or actions of PR fundamentally depend on the industry in which you perform them? Is it possible to perform two-way symmetrical communication in the fashion industry - where can we find examples of this and what is the outcome? All these questions evolved into PR Couture.

K: Wow, you did put a lot of thought into it, and I am glad you did. Great websites come out a lack of focus in the masses, and it just takes someone like you to put it up and get it going! Are there any websites out there that try and compete with PR Couture?
C: When I started PR Couture back in December, 2006 very few PR agencies were blogging; social media had yet to throw the entire profession into a communal freak out and besides Pierce Mattie's The Fashion Rag, there were no blogs talking about fashion PR. Now there are several PR agencies who keep a company blog and there are a few people working in the profession keeping personal blogs, or students who are look at fashion or consumer PR. However, I don't feel any real direct competition - PR Couture isn't affiliated with any agency and attempts to be more like an online trade pub specifically for fashion PR.

K: Well, in my book you've got no competition; I’m all yours. So, I know I was so excited when I came across your site a few years ago, do you get a lot of positive feedback from PR professionals and also, fashion professionals?
C: I hear lot of feedback second-hand. Someone was at a party and my blog came up, or someone references it on their own blog, giving it accolades. I have gotten a few emails letting me know that I have inspired others to create their own agencies, or break out as a solo practitioner. Most of the positive feedback I get comes from students who are thankful for the insight, and I work hard to take time to answer their questions and give them the opportunity to write for me to build their portfolio.

K: I think it’s so great you are reaching out a hand to people new in the workforce. I actually interviewed a girl that writes for you, I wanted to hire her so badly, but it’s just not in the cards for my company right now. But I see she writes great article on PR Couture and that makes me so happy! You cover many different categories on PR Couture, and you offer articles that can be helpful to more then just people in the industry. When you started out on this website, was it mostly articles on PR and then expanded?
C: About a year in, I did have a little sit down with myself and thought about all of the different things we cover and if that made sense. I have since tried to pare down to essential categories. Primarily, PR Couture features interviews with practitioners or those doing innovative things in the space. In addition we cover fashion PR agency news, events and share fashion PR tips and strategy. I have also made it a point to bring in other experts to write posts and to keep tabs on the fashion blogger vs. PR struggle, which has definitely evolved as bloggers have been recognized for their influence and PR has made adjustments. It's not a perfect relationship by any stretch, but the awareness is there.

K: You also have job boards, and intern listings... what is the success rate of that, are people using that to get work or connect?
C: The job boards are somewhat successful - it seems to go in waves. One of the ways I feel comfortable monetizing the blog is through job postings because of the qualified leads a job posting on PR Couture can generate. I also promote our job listings through Facebook, Twitter and a special blog post, so I feel like the $25 is worth it! I haven't heard anything directly but have had some repeat companies, so I am assuming that they felt it was worth their while.

K: You have an extensive background in Public Relations, is fashion pr what you love most?
C: Fashion PR makes sense to me; there is no stretch to understand the product or its benefit. I know the space and I know who the influencers are and well, we speak the same language. With other clients I can learn about the product and I can find a place to be passionate, but for some reason in fashion PR it’s when the ideas flow and I find my stride. I think what I most enjoy about all PR however, is the opportunity to work with clients that I respect and believe in - helping brands I love succeed, making connections for them and enabling them to grow and sustain their business has great fulfillment for me. I think this is a key feature of how I work - I don't aim to do PR for the love of PR. PR for me has always been about my clients, about using my skills to help them succeed.

K: I couldn’t agree more. I get excited for my clients, and I want them to grow and be successful. For you and me we are lucky we get to work in a field that we know and love, most people don’t get that.

K: So, to give us a taste of what people might get from reading PR Couture, what would you say are the top 3 mistakes that many PR professionals often make?
C: 1-Treating journalists like zombies from outer space instead of normal people trying to do a job and get home in time to watch Mad Men, just like you.2-Promising clients the moon with a dash of Oprah when they'll be lucky to get on a local morning show. 3-Forgetting to put as much time into their own brand as those of their clients.

K: So true! If people don’t know your PR firm exists, they won’t know your clients exist!

K: So, tell us what’s it store for PR Couture (ooh, that rhymed!)
C: Well, we just launched the Fashion PR Podcast, taking us into audio territory, which is fun and nerve-wracking - I don't think anyone likes listening to themselves recorded! I am also about to launch a new feature called Show Me The Pretty, which will allow me to engage directly with independent fashion designers, asking them 5 questions about their line and then they get to ask 5 questions of PR Couture. I'm excited about this because all the focus on PR often takes away from my ability to feature all the brands I covet! Also been playing around with a new layout and have recently brought on some additional writers to help with the content. I would love to hear what readers about how they would like to see PR Couture evolve - open to anything. Send suggestions to crosby@prcouture.com or follow us on twitter @pr_couture.

1 comment:

Kimmie said...

I enjoy Crosby's site and I love hearing her talk about a lot of the angles that you can get from reading her site or emails that she has sent to me in conversation! I love the idea of teaching people to let them know the reality behind what it takes on the road to notoriety! I think having these snapshots is such a great education!