Sandra, our Influencer and Marketing Associate, sits down and gives us the scoop on all things PR. From working red carpets and assisting media and talent, to now managing The Bachelorette’s season 11 star, Kaitlyn Bristowe, Sandra proves that a career in PR is both exciting and rewarding.
- Tell us a little bit about your background, from University until now. How did you find your passion in PR?
My entire life, I’ve been drawn to storytelling and creative writing. I knew I’d end up in a career that allowed me to do both – I just wasn’t entirely sure what that would look like. I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a major in English and found myself drawn to journalism and broadcasting. I wanted to be on air, sharing the latest news with my community – educating and entertaining.
A year later, I went for a coffee with a seasoned PR professional and just like that, I fell over to the “dark side”. In public relations, no two days are identical and you get to wear many hats; media relations, creative writing and event management are all things you can tap into when in the field. In a sense, PR is still very much about “storytelling” – but this time, it’s done on behalf of a brand, influencer or celebrity.
I continued my studies at Simon Fraser University, where I dived into a 9-week program and received my Public Relations Certificate. It gave me hands-on PR training from Vancouver’s industry experts.
Three years later, and I’m still learning and growing in the industry – loving every minute.
- What about PR inspires you the most?
Public relations is an exciting industry to be a part of. It’s non-linear. PR allows me to think both critically and creatively and in today’s world, it is a fundamental part to any business.
What inspires me the most, though, are the faces behind the brands that I represent. I enjoy telling their stories and putting their visions into the limelight. It’s about the people I get to meet and the connections that are made through various projects and festivals – PR is very much a team sport.
One of the most significant things I’ve worked on to date is the Banff World Media Festival. The festival brings together top leaders from from television and digital media. Participating in the festival and managing celebrities and talent was a great experience, and one that I got to take on alongside the likes of Jason Priestley (Actor), Henry Winkler (Actor), Mitchell Hurwitz (Television Writer) and Ben Silverman (Co-Producer).
- What was a successful media hit that you’ve secured? How did you feel upon completion?
In my first role at a local PR agency, I announced LucasFilm’s Industrial Light & Magic in Vancouver. Industrial Light & Magic’s new permanent studio was great news for our city’s economy and attracted many talented artists. It caught the attention of Vancouver’s top media, but there’s one particular coverage hit I was proud of. Landing the front page of the Vancouver Sun was a big deal to me both personally and professionally. It was my way of helping shape a story and seeing it come into fruition.
- How do you see PR and the digital marketing world coming together? What sorts of strategies can a brand use to make these two aspects work in cohesion?
PR and digital marketing go hand-in-hand now more than ever before. We live in a fast-paced, digital world where things are easily accessible online and the general public is plugged in, scanning the news on their mobile phones. The key to a successful campaign is to effectively use aspects of both traditional and digital marketing in a way that is cohesive and makes sense.
For example, if you work with an influencer, launch a powerful campaign online and drive the conversation through a hashtag. This allows you to reach a greater audience, and gives people the opportunity to express their thoughts and opinions on the topic. They may not always agree with you, but when your audience can jump in and join a conversation, they become more invested.
To bring the campaign full circle, create something tangible for your audience – either through an event or a press tour. Even though we live in an online world, human presence is still important and helps people connect to your message.
Sandra has successfully secured national and international press coverage and her ability to connect easily with media and influencers make her a valued asset to the team at Booje Media.