Michelle Garrett is a freelance PR pro & PR trade contributor.
Michelle Garrett has many talents and accolades including being an award-winning author, editor, and freelance publicist. Michelle has racked up over 20 years of experience with accomplishments attributing to her experience in corporate, start-up, non-profit, and agency-type settings.
Since starting her career in 1998, she’s been featured in Entrepreneur, Forbes, Muck Rack, Ragan’s PR Daily, Meltwater, Spin Sucks, Critical Mention, CIO, Upwork, Freelancers Union, and SO much more. As a content creator, speaker, digital marketer, publicist, and self-described social media nerd, Michelle’s passion for the craft doesn’t cease to exist.
Her success as a freelance publicist has allowed her to work with huge organizations like Adobe, HP, Symantec, and Arthrocare. Make sure to check out her twitter tag #FreelanceChat and join her conversation every Thursday.
1. What is daily life like for you as a freelance PR professional?
Well, it always starts with coffee! Then, I take a look at the news and social media and review my to-do list for the day.I like to do my writing earlier in the day when I’m “fresher.” If I have media pitching to do, that’s always better to do in the morning, too. I try to schedule meetings for the afternoon, when possible. That’s also usually when I catch up on email and schedule social media posts for clients, do research and so on.
2. What was the best moment of your PR career so far? Is there more than 1?
I have to say that it’s always a kick to get media coverage for a client. That never gets old for me. Then, I’d say that having the opportunity to write contributed pieces about the profession I love has been such a pleasure. When my first piece made it into Entrepreneur magazine, that day was pretty great. It was always a goal of mine. And there’s nothing better than when someone takes the time to send me a nice comment about one of my articles. The other day, someone posted, “Thanks to Michelle Messenger Garrett for all the great work she does to elevate important topics in the freelance & PR space.” That meant a lot to me.
3. If you could be a publicist for your favorite brand, who would it be and what would be your first order or business?
Tough question! I’d have to say Starbucks. They’re doing a lot of things right from a PR perspective, but I’d promote their increased focus on the customer and building better relationships. Per this Motley Fool article, they’re automating more administrative tasks to allow employees to focus more on customers. This is important for them, especially after some of their missteps in the past.
4. What’s the best story you’ve ever pitched, or told?
One of the best stories I ever worked on was when I started my freelance PR consulting business out in the Bay Area. One of my first clients was an entrepreneur with – wait for it – a personal flying machine. Not kidding! He was so interesting to work with. We had a “guerilla” PR strategy because he was working with a bootstrapped budget. I developed a relationship with the local AP (Associated Press) reporter. We would invite him out to talk with us first whenever we had an announcement to make. That meant he would issue his story first and it would go to ALL the AP affiliates all over the world. We got phenomenal media coverage this way.
5. One of your most favorite clients to work with was…?
Hmmm, well, I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings….! I did love working with Placeware, a provider of web conferencing software out in Silicon Valley, which was later acquired by Microsoft. I managed their customer reference program, which was a lot of fun. They treated me like one of the family. They even threw me a baby shower! It was a wonderful relationship.
6. What do you wish journalists could know about PR professionals?
We’re not all bad! I kid – but sometimes the relationship can be rocky. I wish journalists knew that many PR pros are doing their best to pitch relevant, compelling stories. I also want them to know we as PR pros truly value their work. I believe many of us went to journalism school, just like they did (my degree is in Journalism), so we value them as colleagues and appreciate what they do. Especially in this time of “fake news” and attacks on the media, I’d say I have more respect for them than ever. And, the bottom line is, we need each other. .
7. If you could change one thing about the relationship between PR professionals and media what would it be?
I wish journalists would be more responsive. I understand they’re inundated with pitches, but I’m sure that some stand out from the others. Even if the pitch isn’t a perfect fit, if it’s well written and researched, it’s so appreciated when they take a moment to respond. It’s hard to improve when we get no feedback. It’s also difficult to explain to clients why the story or pitch we thought was a great fit for a particular journalist receives no response whatsoever.
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