Public relations dates back to the 1900s and has always been at the forefront of…
2 A lot of the publicists we talk to start their careers with internships. What made you get into this industry?
Krystal Covington is a PR pro, marketer, and founder.
Krystal Covington is much more than just a killer communications strategist. In addition to her skills in media relations, influencer and content marketing, and business growth strategy, Krystal is also the CEO and Founder of “Women of Denver,” a program aimed at community building with fellow exceptional women, improving their business know-how, and honing in their leadership skills and capabilities.
Krystal has helped leaders of all sizes, from startups to Fortune 500 companies, craft their businesses to succeed and garner the media attention of top-tier publications and platforms. We asked Krystal 10 questions about her career and routines, her view on the changes in PR, and how she balances it all.
A lot of the publicists we talk to start their careers with internships. What made you get into this industry?
My entry into the publicity world was more incidental than intentional. I was working in a marketing role and was about to host the company’s most PR-worthy event. I’d invited several dignitaries and had a very special story unfolding where the firm was planning to donate a home to a Detroit police officer. The CEO had warned me that he didn’t like press and didn’t want me talking with them or seeking publicity, but the team of directors dared me to defy that warning and do what they knew was right for the company.
I did the most basic activity — sending a brief message to the website contact form of one of the local news stations — and surprisingly they did show up that evening with a camera to interview the winner of the contest and the dignitaries on site.
It also opened additional TV opportunities on local media when we transferred the home to the owner, so it was a good choice in the end and elevated the company brand.
After that, I found opportunities in anything I did to announce great stories to the press. I learned that day that if you do something worth talking about, the news will want to cover it.
As my career progressed I took a full-time role as a PR Director for a publicly-traded grocery chain that gave me the chance to do the work all the time. I was so successful I blew my own mind and realized I could promote nearly anything and land PR for it.
I ended up leaving the corporate world to work for myself and control my hours and lifestyle and have since earned press for clients in several industries and even in other countries.
What is the most important part of your day? Why?
I work at home with my son most days, so the most important part of the day is when I take 30 minutes a couple of times each day to just be fully present with him and play. He loves it when those moments happen and he knows when mom gets down on the floor that we’re going to have some fun. When he’s ready he starts grabbing at my laptop until I just have to pay attention to him.
What is your favorite part about working in PR?
What’s special about my role is that I get to help companies that do valuable work become more visible, and help leaders who have something of value to say become known for their expertise. I watch leaders grow in confidence after a few interviews and they often start getting responses from people telling them how impactful they were and inviting them to share their expertise in other ways.
What are your must-have tools for your day-to-day work?
Any tool that makes it easier for me to get to inbox zero is helpful. I use Boomerang for Gmail to move things out of the way and schedule responses. Calendly helps me eliminate all of the back and forth of planning meetings. And Upwork and Fiverr are my go-to platforms to find experts to help with tasks for projects.
How do you prove the value of PR to your clients or executives?
I introduce PR to my clients by tapping into their goals and explaining how increased visibility and SEO can contribute to that goal. PR can help bring new clients that hadn’t heard of their service, make their brand more credible in a way, so people are more likely to buy, and it helps build valuable links that drive SEO, which is also super valuable to their marketing. It’s not just vanity metrics, it’s driving sales in a more passive way than traditional ads and sales tactics.
What is the toughest part of your job?
PR is never-ending. There is always another angle, another place to pitch, another email to respond to or send out. I could spend every waking moment on the tasks, but had to learn to walk away for my own boundaries. It wasn’t until I joined this industry that I got a sick case of email FOMO and felt the need to check it constantly. I’m working on reducing it and it’s a real challenge.
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
Working at home with my son around helps a lot. He keeps me in my humanity, remembering that he needs a walk or a snack, which gets me to stop. Before my child, I was a zombie who would work 14 hours barely getting up, but now I have a reminder to be a human being.
What are some of the trends you saw take shape this year?
I think the trends have been happening over the past 5 years, with much of the press coverage people earn being through SEO and social media traction. I’ve talked with people in television news, podcasting, and journalism and they all say they don’t really look to press releases or even traditional pitches for stories.
Content creators are finding stories online through searching their beat topics and keeping up with what their community is sharing.
To get great PR means building a strong presence of authority on search engines, so they can find you and also being worth talking about on social media.
What tech industry do you think is going to change the most over the next 5 years?
I’ve met a few founders in the HR Tech space that have great ideas about how to improve the hiring process. We’ve been using an antiquated system and it’s ripe for innovation. Their challenge is persuading people to change when they’ve been doing the same thing for a long time and it has worked.
How do you see PR and marketing changing in the next 10 years?
I think the shift for me has been learning to integrate the practices to be more effective for clients. The best projects are those where I’m working with a digital marketing team for PR, SEO, and advertising in one campaign. We put our talents together to make a brand really stand out and get stronger results. I think the future of marketing is creating teams that put all of these actions in force to integrate all of the most relevant tools for brand success.
Inspired by Krystal’s ability to get her clients coveted visibility and attention from publication and outlets? Check out our article Public Relations 101: How To Land Coverage in Top-Tier Publications for ways to step up your own PR skills!