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Publicists We Love: Heather Phillips, Geben Communication

Heather Phillips is a Senior Account Manager at Geben Communication.

Graduating from Ohio University with a Bachelor’s in Journalism & Public Relations, Heather is no newbie when it comes to PR. She began her PR career in 2014 as an Account Coordinator at Geben Communications. Throughout the past 4 years, Heather has risen through the ranks and is now the Senior Account Manager for Geben, proving that she is an expert in her field.

In the past year alone, Heather has led over 10 mergers, acquisitions and funding announcements. Additionally, she has secured placements in publications such as Fortune, Term Sheet, WSJ, and VentureBeat. She is a force to be reckoned with in the PR world! Get a glimpse into Heather’s day, her career thus far, and her public relations strategy.

Read more about Heather’s day-to-day, her proudest PR moments, and one of her favorite clients she has worked with thus far.

What is daily life like for you as an agency PR professional?

I’m sure every agency pro would say there is no “typical day”. However, I do try to stick to an organization system and routine to help me stay at the top of my game.

At Geben, we believe in doing work when and where we’re most productive. For me, this starts with a cup of coffee, clearing my inbox and reading the news from home early each morning. This also helps me prioritize some “me time” each morning to meditate, work out or enjoy some screen-free time before heading to the office.

My day from there varies depending on client needs — I could spend my day heads down on a writing project, in back-to-back meetings and brainstorming sessions, or around town meetings with partners.

What has been the best moment of your PR career so far? Is there more than 1?

Seeing a PR win turn into a business result are the best moments. Knowing the work we do is truly making a difference for a partner’s bottom line is so rewarding. As part of my role, I also lead most of our startup work and securing opportunities for emerging companies in big media outlets are some of the best wins.

It’s hard to identify the best moment and that’s one of the reasons I love working in PR. My passion is driven by helping partners achieve meaningful results that are going to help take their companies to the next level.

If you could be a publicist for your favorite brand, who would it be and what would be your first order or business?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a big fan of Apple, anxiously waiting for the next product update and taking note of the company’s simple approach to PR and marketing.

If I was a publicist for Apple, my first order of business would be to take a deep dive into communication data. I would love to use data to pull insights on how they can better understand and communicate with their broad audiences so they can more effectively explain why they are making product decisions.

What’s the best story you’ve ever secured for a client?

This is a hard one, but I would have to say it’s a tie between a few that highlight Ohio’s vibrant startup community and the hot spots around the state. I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the best VC firms, startup organizations and emerging brands in Ohio and the Midwest, which has led to some powerful stories for the region. I find the best stories to be the ones with multiple perspectives and have been able to connect a variety of resources to reporters to contribute to some really well-rounded features. Some top stories that come to mind were published in Inc., Forbes, and The Wall Street Journal.

One of your most favorite clients to work with was…?

It is really hard to pick one client as my favorite — there are so many partners I’ve worked with where I have felt like a true extension of their team. Overall, I would say I love working with clients that are doing meaningful work. I find it rewarding to help the innovative, unknown, complicated companies that are doing life-changing, and sometimes life-saving, work.

What do you wish journalists could know about PR professionals?

My team and I have established and nurtured some strong relationships with journalists. However, there are still some negative perceptions of PR pros. I wish journalists could see the process good PR pros go through to find the right contact and craft a personalized pitch.

If you could change one thing about the relationship between PR professionals and media what would it be?

If I could change one thing, it would be the level of open communication. I understand media contacts are busy and their inboxes are full of pitches, but a response lets a PR pro know the note was read. Receiving a reply not only lets us know if a journalist is not interested, but also why (e.g. poor timing, topic, additional context needed, etc.) Having more open communication can result in mutually beneficial relationships for everyone involved.

Our next Publicists We Love feature is right around the corner. Read about more Publicists, and Journalists, we LOVE in our recent blog Publicists and Journalists Who Like Each Other on the OnePitch blog.

Jered is the co-founder, COO and support manager at OnePitch. He handles operations for OnePitch; along with strategy, support, business development and hiring. He studied Communications with an emphasis in marketing at Cal State University Long Beach. In his free time, he enjoys surfing, eating cheap street food, cooking, and exploring the outdoors.

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