What Does It Mean to be a Publicist in Today’s World?

Publicists execute a variety of “behind the scenes” responsibilities that often go unnoticed to the everyday person. Often, press coverage is the culmination, or final product, of all a publicist’s efforts. They are like the “Matrix”, if you will, of the media world. They look at the brand or individual they represent and see green dots and codes. You know you’re in good hands when your publicist knows what the client’s path is and where they will be in the next 3 months, 6 months and even 1 year.  

Up until 10 years ago, traditional PR firms had one job  : get your clients written about in the media. If you were really good, you got bookings for your clients on talk shows and news outlets . Today, although the traditional press release is still around, the act of following up is more important than ever before.

There are a variety of mediums in public relations. From getting your client featured in some of the biggest magazines, to getting them a spot on the hottest daytime talk shows. The key to achieving these bookings is by making connections through networking. Researching and signing brand ambassadors to your client’s brand are also vital to your success as a publicist.

We recently spoke with Ophelia Soumekh of DesirePR, a publicist and producer who has used the art of connection to cultivate a successful PR career. Ophelia establishes these meaningful connections through the power of networking. We wanted to know what makes a good publicist today. Read below to learn about Ophelia’s PR journey.     

“I never imagined being a publicist let alone getting recognized as a producer, agent, manager or reporter. But it was inevitable as everywhere I went, I made contacts and kept in touch. It is easy when you deliver what you say. Like any job… your work is your word.” Ophelia went on to say, “Producers depend on me delivering what I pitch and the same goes for editors and my clients.”

When asked what work stood out to her throughout her career, Ophelia listed several instances that involved her ability to network and organically grow her reach within PR.

“I didn’t finish college. I launched DesirePR by using my networking skills as well as a friend in the business who got me started with a few leads. My first booking ever was on a popular FOX morning news show called “Good Day LA”. That is where I met the TV expert covering my client’s story. Not knowing if I would ever be able to get another booking and whether this was beginners’ luck, I knew I had one chance, so I took it. I cornered the TV expert, introduced myself, and told her we can work together and have a long-lasting career. We had great chemistry and went on to work almost 4 years together on various TV shows and branding opportunities. That is how I made my connections and learned when one door closes 5 more open up. Before you know it, I am working with over 50 PR firms across the globe booking their clients and projects they couldn’t do themselves and getting paid for it. I didn’t need the recognition as those clients didn’t know I was hired as a third-party publicist. As long as I was paid on time, I was content”.

“There comes a time, however, that you feel like your work should be recognized. So, I started working with clients directly. I was able to help launch a Green Crypto, got brands exposure who are now available in Walmart, Costco, Ulta, Target and Macy’s. Networked for Production companies like Showcase Entertainment and Abstraction Media to get films like, “James the Second” picked up. See what I did there? (wink wink) I casually talked about one of my projects, but added a link in case a studio or streaming site wants to pick it up. 

This is what I do. I find ways to bring up my clients from anytime (8am at my kid’s soccer game) to anywhere (in line at Starbucks) to anyone that I think might have any influence. It’s a big, big world out there and sometimes the perfect deal is waiting to be made by 2 strangers that are not aware of it. And that is where I swoop in. Whether it’s needing to get your social media accounts verified or a meeting with an influencer you can’t touch or a meeting with a buyer, always be ready to make a connection. Always remember that you know someone that knows someone. As long as you make it worth their time…everyone will collaborate”.

We’ve learned  PR is much more than press release distributions. To be successful in PR, it requires thinking outside of the box.  This means consistently making an effort to form genuine connections and network whenever, wherever. Thank you, Ophelia, for sharing some of Desire PR’s insights into how to establish a successful PR career through the power of networking.

To learn more about her services, click HERE.