“If You Are Looking To Enjoy Weekends And Evenings To Yourself, This Is Not The Job For You” With Reyne Hirsch
“Working 9 to 5pm…. If you are looking to enjoy weekends and evenings to yourself, this is not the job for you. Breaking news happens all the time, clients have “brilliant ideas” at 1am, and getting materials ready for Monday morning pitches happens on Sundays.”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Reyne Hirsch of Outside the Box Media, a PR firm in Houston specializing in luxury brands, celebrities and personalities.
Thank you so much for your time. I know that you are a very busy person. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
I never planned on being a publicist. In 1997 I was a television personality on a popular TV series, and couldn’t afford a publicist, but needed one. So I handled my own PR. I was very good at crafting press releases and the media seemed to like me. Because of the popularity of the show, it was easy pitching interviews with the national print and television media. Before I knew it, I was offered segments on a morning talk show and a blog on HuffPost.
How did you get involved in the PR industry purely by accident?
My friends would often ask if I could help them with interviews in the local media, or a mention in a national publication. I did it because I greatly enjoy helping others and because I had cultivated numerous relationships. Before long, I was doing more for my friends than I was for myself. I decided if I was going to keep doing it, I would need to charge for my time, and no one declined to pay.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career?
Before becoming a publicist, I worked in the investment world. My dream was to be interviewed by the Wall Street Journal. Sadly, that never happened during my time on Wall Street. However, several years later a reporter from the WSJ did call to interview me about a completely different type of investment. I guess I was just happy I got the call no matter WHAT the subject!
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I am working with several personalities currently, and a few brands. The one that excites me the most is a new handbag line that is going to be a game changer. The partnership deals I am working on could very well make this little known line a household name…quickly.
What are you most proud of?
My ability to reinvent myself…
I know your job is not easy. What drives you?
I like building things from the ground up. I get excited watching a little known brand become a household name.
Based on your personal experience, what advice would you give to young people considering a career in PR?
A successful PR career doesn’t happen overnight. It’s about relationships, the art of crafting a great pitch, following national news to find the perfect time to pitch your client/brand, etc. Know, without a doubt, throwing as much up against the wall and hope something sticks will never work in this business.
You are known as a master networker. Can you share some tips on great networking?
Creating long lasting relationships is extremely important. Reporters who have worked with you in the past and know your pitches are timely and well written will be those that respond to your pitches. Know their beat and ONLY reach out with things that are in their wheelhouse. Finally, it never hurts to say “Thank You”. Believe it or not, many have remembered me for those two simple words.
Which skills do you think are most important to becoming a successful PR professional?
Creative thinking, quick followup, patience and research skills will take you far!
You are in a position of influence. How have you used your position and skill to bring goodness to the world?
Creating partnerships between influencers/celebrities and charities that need a bigger voice than theirs to promote their platform always makes me happy.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
1. This could turn into a full time job. I started pitching friends and their businesses when asked because I had some pretty good connections and I love helping others. Slowly but surely that random request to help became a regular occurrence and I was spending more time crafting, pitching and responding to reporters than I was on my own business. So I assumed if I told my friends I would need to charge them for my time they would stop asking. They didn’t…instead they started writing checks.
2. Less is more! Reporters receive pitches all day every day. If you don’t grab their attention in the first few lines, chances are they won’t read the rest of it. Make those first few words count.
3. Expectations will be high! Clients expect results almost immediately! Once you’ve been paid your retainer, the clock is ticking. You know it takes time to gain traction for your client (unless you are insanely lucky!) You need to set a level of expectation with your client early on, otherwise you’ll be asked often what is happening.
4. Working 9 to 5pm…. If you are looking to enjoy weekends and evenings to yourself, this is not the job for you. Breaking news happens all the time, clients have “brilliant ideas” at 1am, and getting materials ready for Monday morning pitches happens on Sundays.
5. Will Work for Free! You can spend a lot of time getting answers to reporters questions (or writing the entire story for them) only to never hear back, or have them use your quotes, yet not credit you, time and time again. Get used to it.