Let’s Talk PR is a monthly segment on This Needs to be Said Radio. I am very excited to be able to share the interviews with the readers of Urban Tymes Magazine. This month I spoke with Lillie Mae, founder of Lillie Mae PR and the Glambitious Network – an association for professional women that hosts power calls, webinars and other resources for women in business. She is also the author of e-books The PR Code and Glambitious: How to Live Vicariously Through Yourself. Lillie Mae PR focuses on helping small businesses attain their brand goals and receive press placements.
This month we are talking branding … how to establish and expand your brand as a publicist and business owner.
Keema: How did you decide what your area of expertise when you were crafting Lillie Mae PR?
Lillie Mae: At the time, I based it on what my interests were at that time. Seven years ago I was really in to the entertainment industry because I had done internships at Atlantic Records, Motown Records so coming off of those internships my interests were in the music and entertainment industries. Most of my clients were entertainers and TV personalities. As my interests have evolved, so did my business. At this point in time, I have a keen interest in working with other business owners. So many of the services and most of my clients are business owners versus entertainers.
I would suggest that to anyone that is in PR – start with what your interest is. If it’s fashion, do Fashion PR. If it’s entertainment, do entertainment and so forth.
K: I agree. What your interest is, is where you are going to be most successful.
With your brands, Lillie Mae PR and Glambitious network, how did you decide that Glambitious was going to be your next step in building your brand?
LM: It was kind of a natural evolution. Through my agency I would host events for clients and things of that nature. It really started as a nonprofit effort to bring women together and we give back in some way, we have dialogue and empowerment. It grew so much that it evolved into a Glambitious Network for entrepreneurs. Because I am a female in business, I understand the struggle that female entrepreneurs go through, the Glambitious Network was a natural next step. I’ve been through and I know exactly what services I wish I would have seven years ago when I created my business … now I create those opportunities for other women in business.
K: In regards to writing your books and creating the design side, was that some that as well?
LM: Absolutely. With the book, I figured I could reach more people by some of that insight into a book. Some of the skills that I have honed over the years have been a result of not having the resources or having the budget to hire a staff to do x-y-z so let me learn it.
I don’t necessarily advise people to learn it all but I do feel you should learn a little bit about every facet of your business. Obviously in PR we need graphic design for ourselves and clients so publicists should know a bit about designing.
K: With all of the things that you do, how do you manage it all?
LM: I always tell people that anything that you do it should definitely come from your passion. I believe that with everything that I do it is rooted in my passion so I am able to balance it all – or it makes it a little easier. What may appear as a heavy workload to someone else, I actually enjoy the work so its not so bad. I always make sure that I make time for friends and family and time for myself. My natural disposition is one that enjoys working but I also enjoy leisure so I am sure to get the work done and schedule in time for myself.
K: For our business owners out there, who aren’t publicist, but they want to learn how to create awareness for their brand, what is one step that they can take to increase their brand awareness?
LM: I think social media would be the easiest and quickest way to generate exposure for your brand. With social media you have full control – like with Instagram you can find people who are needing your services, follow them and engage with them. I’ve gotten a ton of business off of just Instagram so I know that there is value in it.
Also, get out in your city, go to events and meet people. Get out the old fashioned way to meet people and follow up with those people.
Create a newsletter so people can continue to see your business news and services that you offer. People need to be introduced to your brand in multiple ways.
K: When it comes to social media, are there social media are there platforms that you feel important with creating brand awareness or is it just using 1 or 2 and making the most of those.
LM: It depends really on your business. If you have a boutique, Instagram is going to be best because you get to show the clothes. If you’re in public relations I would say Instagram and Periscope because you get to engage one on one. For most people, I would say Instagram and Periscope are my top two to engage and increase brand visibility.
K: When it comes to business owners who what to expand – what is your take on how business owners should expand their products, services and brand offerings? Should it based on still their interests or should there be some compatibility to their current brand?
LM: It’s really important to start off mastering one area. By mastery it means to be the best it, make sure the brand appearance is on point, the business is booming … for lack of better term “popping” before you expand into other areas because it can create brand confusion if you expand into other areas before you’ve mastered the starting area. Make sure your core is doing very well and then try to make sense of what your new services are. It should all make sense.
K: I always feel like a name should give room to expand into services without creating that brand confusion. For example, a hair gallery that now sells clothes but their name still says Whatever Hair. What’s your opinion on some of the key brand elements on naming business and creating social media pages, because they don’t want to keep changing that either? What things do you think a business owner should consider before starting the business and planning for the future?
LM: I do think that when you are considering naming your business that you should take a second to think about the future and what you want it to grow into before you name it. Think about your interest and where you want to go so that one name can be the umbrella of all of those things and not be confusing. You should have brand name that is all encompassing and make sense for all of the things that you want to do.
Make sure that all of your social media names are the same …keep it consistent. Don’t have a lot of underscores, dashes, weird characters … you can lose people along the way if you make it too difficult. With social media keep it simple and think ahead to what you want your brand to evolve into.
K: What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring publicist?
LM: I would say to just hone your craft as much as you can. Subscribe to PR newsletters and PR websites that educate you on the industry. Take a writing course to make sure that your writing is up to par and you can craft a press release. Just the basic facets of PR … make sure you’ve mastered those so that people can take you seriously.
As publicists, we are communicators so everything related to our communication should be sharp. In our emails we should greet people, we should properly communicate and put together a paragraph.
Our social media presence should be clean. Our logos should be crisp. Our designs should be A-1.
It’s ok to do things yourself but sometimes you have to pay someone if you haven’t mastered a particular area.
Follow Lillie Mae and connect
All social media: @lilliemaepr
Keema Bouyer is the founder of The Queen’s English PR (www.queensenglishpr.com ). The Charlotte, NC based agency specializes in branding and public relations for Beauty and Lifestyle Brands and Non-Profit Organizations. Let’s Talk PR airs every 2nd Wednesday at 230pm EST on This Needs to Be Said (www.blogtalkradio.com/thisneedstobesaid).
Follow Keema Bouyer on Social Media
Instagram, Twitter & Periscope: @queensenglishpr
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