Hollywood Publicist Kiki Ayers on Making Your Brand a Household Name
I sat down for an interview with the “It Girl” of Hollywood, Publicist Kiki Ayers. She’s the CEO of Ayers Publicity and has been spotlighted in major publications like Forbes, Black Enterprise, and The Huffington Post.
She’s been called a “powerhouse in media and entertainment” and “master communicator” — yet Kiki’s sweet temperament and resilient work ethic distinguish her amongst the top brands & influencers in Hollywood.
Today, she shares with us a few key things that have made Kiki Ayers one of the most sought-after brands in modern media.
The Turning Point
Tell us about “Kiki Ayers”, and how you began Ayers Publicity.
I was actually homeless when the idea sparked to start Ayers Publicity. I was living in LA and after I walked away from a 6 figure job, I was left without a place to stay, food to eat, transportation, or money.
I went from hostel to hostel, slept on friend’s floors and couches, and eventually landed in hotel lobby bathrooms. I would sleep in rooms with 16+ strangers.
Then one night I had no place to stay and ended up in a hotel lobby bathroom. I just kept asking myself like “how did you go from living in this nice apartment and making great money to this situation?” I pulled out my laptop right there on the bathroom floor. I calculated how much money I would need to make in order to live comfortably in LA and then started thinking of what I could do.
The reporting gigs [that were open] were amazing but definitely not enough to survive. That’s when I thought of Ayers Publicity.
I had no prior experience in PR.
But I had a strong feeling I would be good at it.
It was important for me to have my own business because I worked for every TV station and publication, but wasn’t getting the pay or credit I deserved. I finally got a break when this company Green Dot reached out to me to write an article, and post it on my Instagram.
They were looking for journalism influencers.
From that, I received a decent sized check and used that money to get my business license.
What does a day in the life of Kiki Ayers look like?
Well, I just had a baby boy [my first child] so my days are crazy lately.
I spent my whole life working towards being an entrepreneur just to report to a newborn lol!!
But honestly, it’s the greatest blessing in the world.
Right now, I’m finding a balance between being a new mom and entrepreneur.
Meanwhile, I’m trying to launch my second company which is in a completely different industry.
Sometimes my days start at 6 am and sometimes they end at 6 am.
My days consist of getting on conference calls while breastfeeding, and closing deals while changing diapers.
It’s a lot of work and endless but it’s all worth it. My son is my motivation and though it gets hard, I strive for him.
Building a Stand-Out Brand
What differentiates Ayers Publicity from other brands?
Ayers Publicity is very selective in which clients we represent. We’d rather have a handful of the next big stars, than hundreds of clients running around that don’t get the attention they require.
We also take pride in helping women, and people of color get the recognition they deserve in prominent media outlets. We want to make sure their stories are told.
How do you differentiate yourself (your personal brand) from other publicists in Hollywood?
I don’t think of myself as just a publicist.
I am also an entertainment reporter. I’ve been a journalist and reporter for years which is why PR has been so successful for me. I don’t really hang in groups or crowds in Hollywood.
I just work hard for my clients in silence and let the work speak for itself.
Ask And Over-Deliver
How do you make a memorable impression on clients?
I ask them what their PR expectations are and then I exceed them.
Just keeping your clients happy and giving them more than their money’s worth will leave a lasting impression on them.
What was the turning point in your career?
The turning point in my career is when I stopped waiting on someone to give me an opportunity, and I went out a created one for myself.
Starting Ayers Publicity was the best decision I made.
What’s your number one trick to closing a deal?
I closed 100% of every deal in 2018 and I don’t have a method to it.
I kind of just let my work speak for itself.
80% of my clients, I’ve never met, but they see my work and results and refer more people.
I also share my work socially and stamp it with “Ayers Publicity” so everyone knows I did it.
If I make sure my clients are always happy the referrals come, I send the roll-out plan, and it’s locked in immediately.
How did you get through to your best clients? (A-List celebrities & CEOs can be very hard to reach)
Everything is referral based.
Originally, I started off by pitching my friends that were actors and social media influencers. People saw the things they were getting into and reached out to me, or were referred to me by my clients.
The thing I hear the most is “your name keeps popping up.”
It’s more about the results and less about convincing [clients to work with you]. If your work speaks for itself, there’s not too much left for you to say.
Work-Life Balance is Important
How has being a new/single mom affected your work and personal brand?
Surprisingly, it’s only made it stronger.
I was scared [that] when I announced my pregnancy, I would lose my clients and get a lot of negativity.
But I was 1000% supported by all my clients.
My business grew tremendously because when you’re expecting a child, it motivates you in ways you didn’t know were possible.
I moved into an amazing place and all of my clients sent gifts.
I definitely got a lot of negativity too, but mostly from fake accounts or people I didn’t know.
When it came down to the people that mattered, the support was undeniable.
Since then, my clientele and brand have grown tremendously.
What do you have planned in 2019?
I plan on getting bigger clients, keeping the same clients I have, and taking their careers to the next level.
More importantly - building with my son.
Our bond is so incredible; he’s such a precious and smart baby.
The mompreneur brand and the Jules Zion story is just getting started and I’m excited more than ever to put my son on and to continue creating generational wealth.
Where can readers learn more about your work?
Readers can learn more about my work on social media:
Personal Instagram — https://www.instagram.com/kikiayer
Company Instagram — http://ayerspublicity.com/
And also on our website: ayerspublicity.com
Thanks, Kiki for taking the time to give us an inside peek at all the amazing work you’re doing!
Wishing you all the success in the world — can’t wait to see your efforts compound in 2019.