A few weeks ago, I ventured out on my first press tour since joining West PR. Actually, it was my first and only press tour, so you can imagine my trepidation at traveling alone across the country with four enormous boxes full of beauty products and sixteen editor meetings planned within three days. To be honest, even with 5 years of PR experience under my belt, I was a bit nervous. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to scream with joy when I was told I was heading to NYC. However, since I had worked in editorial at O, The Oprah Magazine, Seventeen and Life & Style, I know how easy it is to tune out when a publicist doesn’t say anything compelling. I know. Shame on me. As you can imagine, I was afraid karma was inevitable. But can you really fault me when a publicist didn’t know their stuff or speak with conviction? Anyway, I wanted to make damn sure that wasn’t me.
When Mia notified me that she wanted to send me to New York I was ecstatic to say the least. I had always wanted to travel for a job and I was finally getting my shot. Plus, it was a chance to go back to my old stomping grounds and the place that I will always call home – New York City. You see, my last job while I was still living in New York urged me to get my passport within my first two weeks of working there, only to send me as far as Connecticut. So being told I was going to NYC was quite a treat.
The big day came: breakfast after desk side after lunch after desk side after taxi ride after cocktails; the next three days went by in a whirlwind. Thinking back on it now, there was no time for any of the nervousness I had anticipated! Better yet, I’m pleased to report I only experienced one blank stare, and that was from a gal who was admittedly hungover…
Although the press tour went by without a hitch, I must admit there were some pretty surprising, even shocking, moments. I couldn’t believe my ears when an editor at one of the most esteemed lifestyle magazines (which will go unnamed) admitted she fibbed to us last year. In a nutshell, she called us and pretended to be writing a story on men’s grooming products and asked us to overnight a client’s product. In reality, her boyfriend at the time who is now an ex (there’s that karma) loved our client’s product and wanted more. There was no story. She was using her position to get free goodies. The funny thing is, we would have totally sent her the product knowing it was for her boyfriend because, well, we’re cool like that.
Another highlight, and my personal favorite experience, of the trip had to be my meeting with Eva Chen, Teen Vogue Beauty Director. She told me she loved my gel manicure and asked if she could take a picture. As one of her avid Twitter and Tumblr followers, I was silently dying inside when she asked this and happily obliged. To my delight, she tweeted the image of my glittery nails to her almost 28,000 followers – eeek!
After all my meetings in the city, I got to unwind and spend some QT with my family and friends in Brooklyn. A perfect end to an amazing work trip. My meetings went better than I could have ever imagined and our clients are now on their radar for upcoming stories. Most importantly, I furthered myself as a PR professional and feel more comfortable as a publicist than I ever have. If I learned anything from this experience, it’s that confidence can get you anywhere, no matter how scary something seems. Can’t wait for my next West PR trip!