Interview with Publicist and Blogger Alyson Campbell (It’s All Very PR)

It's All Very PR

It's All Very PR

Termeh Mazhari: Tell me about your blog, It’s All Very PR. What’s it about?

Alyson Campbell: It’s All Very PR is about the unique interworkings of a city like New York. From good ol’ fashioned face-to-face networking to creating a persona online using social media tools. New Yorkers are career-driven, and every person, place, or thing around us is PR (directly or indirectly). My blog explores my experience of this realization, first hand.

TM: How’d you come up with the name, “It’s All Very PR“?

AC: The name was a struggle.  I wanted to come up with one of those cutesy puns like a lot of blog names out there, you know, something that people couldn’t forget. I surveyed everyone else at AMP3 and picked the brains of the people closest to me. Unfortunately, I vetoed everything (sorry guys!), because I kept coming back to a phrase that was stuck in my head that really summed up my life, my voice and my world: It’s All Very PR.

TM: Why do you think PR gets such a bad rap? What sets AMP3 PR apart from other agencies?

AC: You know, there is a very carved out stereotype of your typical publicist. We’re always portrayed as these overtly forward monsters who will do anything & everything to get what we want. I was just watching the new season of Lipstick Jungle on NBC where they’ve brought on Rosie Perez to play the evil publicist, and she plays the part to a tee. She’s amazing, but it makes me shudder! What’s lacking in the reputation of your standard view of a publicist is that it’s a necessary evil.  The media is quick to be annoyed by PR folks, but it is often us PR people who help to connect the dots and make a story that looks plain on paper come to life. It is a carefully executed PR campaign that turns a good idea into a wildly successful business. I was recently listening in on one of Peter Shankman’s “How To Pitch” teleconferences, and I could NOT believe some of the “annoying” pitch examples the accredited reporters on the panel were citing. Are there publicists out there who seriously pitch an editor using the incorrect spelling of their name, or asking them to cover a story on your client that they already wrote a week ago? Come on, people! Really!?  I work towards being the anti-publicist, because I believe that you can be nice AND get your way all in one approach. And I think it’s safe to say that no one at AMP3 fits the stereotypical PR mold – yourself included!

As for what sets AMP3 apart from other agencies, I would have to say that it’s 2 core factors: accessibility and flexibility. At a lot of PR firms (and I’ve heard this directly from our clients that have left other firms for this reason), while you might meet with the top dog when they’re looking to sign an account, you ultimately get assigned to a junior account rep, who clocks out at the end of the day and really has no intrinsic tie or incentive to the success of a campaign.  I think because at AMP3, where we are more horizontal than vertical, the one-on-one relationship is valued by the client, and the fact that we become a part of the client’s team and make ourselves available in a myriad of ways is what keeps the client happy. We specifically hire people that want that kind of responsibility, and we give it to them.  If our publicists are keeping their clients happy, that means they are keeping those accounts, and thus making more money.  Everyone has an incentive to do an impeccable job.  I think flexibility is also a major point of difference.   Because we are a small shop, we’ve really been able to adapt to new technologies that are constantly being made available to enhance PR. We can bob and weave with agility and evolve our strategy and tactics with ease. In fact, we’re coming up with new tools and new ideas on a daily basis at AMP3, always implementing whatever we find that is working best on a given day.  At AMP3, we’re implementing PR 2.0 – the fusion of traditional PR with social media strategies. Our boutique size also lends itself to clients who are experiencing the major ups and downs of the economy this year, and need us to roll through these changes (which have impacted budgets and timelines) with them as a team.

TM: What blogs do you read, and why?

AC: Being in Arts & Entertainment PR, it’s important to read a few industry blogs in order to stay current on what everyone’s talking about at water coolers around the country. While it’s a guilty pleasure, sure, by knowing what the “hot topics” are on a given day and what the media is looking to cover, it helps me to better craft my pitches to the A&E media and to tie in something relevant whenever I can. The more you know about what reporters are talking about, the easier it becomes to secure a story. So for my A&E blogs, I tend to follow Perez Hilton’s blog (he’s carved out a niche for himself and tends to be on top of international entertainment news) and The Quest for “It” (Tia Walker covers local up and coming events, pertinent to New Yorkers, and posts news feeds on her left-side column of the hottest stories she’s following, which is like a CliffsNotes on NYC gossip for me). I’ve always been loyal to CNN for breaking news, and Mashable for new social media trends, as well.

TM: What did you learn about blogging that surprised you?

AC: It’s addictive!  Truly, it is just so incredibly addictive, I can’t stop. I understand that it is important to maintain consistency in your posting habits, and so I’m trying my hardest to maintain a steady momentum—but it seems like the need to blog and the content to blog upon just keeps building, faster & faster!  I look at every situation in a new light now, like “How can I blog about this?” or “Oooohhhh – this is going to make an excellent blog.” Sometimes, I find myself frantically writing notes on my Blackberry so that my blog is already half done before I get back to a computer. I’m actually thinking about the aftermath of what I’m witnessing, instead of enjoying the moment. And often times, after I get home from an event, and I’ve flopped into bed, I notice myself writing the first paragraph in my head, until I end up just getting up to type it so I don’t lose the inspiration. Writing is a form of expression that has always been really natural for me, so my entrance into the blogosphere this year has not been too much of a total culture shock. I completely see how it could catapult into something bigger than you had ever imagined and become a full-time job before you know it. It’s also just an incredible PR tool, and an excellent way to engage and connect with other people. I’m loving it. I’m really excited to live in the era that we’re in.

TM: Everyone at AMP3 is on Twitter too! Why did you join?

AC: I find that following key media people on Twitter is equally if not more valuable than reading blogs.  On Twitter, I’m able to follow several different types of people with expertise in a variety of niches, from New York and all over the globe. Keeping an eye on everyone’s status is like reading the paper, and reading a multitude of blogs; I feel more in the loop than ever!  Plus – people often tweet direct URL’s to current stories that will take me straight to a blog of note, and so I am discovering new blogs every day. I also find humor in the social butterfly nature of twitter, and the irony of the antisocial nature of online communication. But it’s really cool to be up-to-the-moment on people’s lives; some who you know and some who you only know via Twitter. It helps you get a sense of everyone’s personal interests and personalities. I’ve always been really intrigued by human nature, so I think that’s why I love seeing the way people react on Twitter to holidays, PR stunts, politics and just life in general.

You can read Alyson Campbell’s blog at

or follow her on Twitter @AlyAMP3

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This entry was posted on Saturday, November 29th, 2008 at 8:55 am and is filed under Public Relations, Shout-Outs, Social Media. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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