Something Old, Something New

This PR rep-turned-distributor combines traditional and new strategies to create buzz for her company.

The Pro

Name: Reyna Hernandez
Title: Owner
Company: Creative Branding Co. (asi/171045) in Encino, CA

After12 years in PR and marketing, Hernandez was ready for a change. While looking into career options, her mother-in-law, who had been in promotional products for 25 years, suggested she consider getting into the industry. Hernandez established her company in 2014, and has tapped into her knowledge of the rules of PR and publicity to garner attention for her business, which has become increasingly necessary as the industry continues to evolve.

“The landscape has completely changed over just the past few years,” she says. “Large competitors such as Walmart and Amazon are getting into the space, so smaller companies need to be out there and visible. If not, good luck getting business.”

One of her most effective methods for getting attention for her brand is by attending and sponsoring events pertaining to her volunteer interests. For instance, she’s the president of the Hispanic Public Relations Association’s (HPRA) Los Angeles chapter, which provides resources and opportunities for area Latinos interested in PR and marketing. When Hernandez sends announcements for the organization, she can plug her distributorship at the same time as part of her credentials. That way, her company name is associated with community outreach.

“Social good makes the story more impactful,” she says. “I’d say about 90% of my leads come from donating my time.”

At the HPRA’s recent gala, Hernandez, as the emcee, was able to mention her company and donate tote bags branded with her company’s name to all attendees; the bags were placed on each chair with the imprint facing out for prominence.

“I look for subtle ways to incorporate my company into the event, in a natural, tactful way,” she says. “One of the sponsors of the gala was Telemundo, so they showed the bags on the chairs on air, which got my name out there. They’re reusable shopping bags, so they’ll be used over and over again, and they were able to use them to carry other items home from the event. I’m always looking for ways to sponsor events. You never know who will see it.”

But high-profile events don’t happen every day. That’s why Hernandez makes sure she’s also promoting her company the traditional way, by pitching company news to media outlets. But she makes sure the information is useful and timely.

“It’s definitely possible to over-promote yourself,” she says. “Your information has to be newsworthy and eye-catching, or you’re going to get passed over. They’ll stop looking at you and their attention is lost. You also have to pick and choose who you pitch to. It’s a gamble. It’s not every day that the media has big stories, so when it’s a light news day, they’re looking for material.”

While social media can be effective for generating press and garnering attention, companies should still know how to write and disseminate well-written press releases. “I’ve found that social media is not as impactful when you’re trying to reach the media,” says Hernandez. “There’s just too much information on there for them to wade through. But I do have Facebook – I put promotions on there, use multiple photos for posts and offer quick information. It shouldn’t bombard. It should be witty and visual.”

Watch This!

Emily Richett, founder and lead publicist at Richett Media, a Grand Rapids, MI-based PR and media consulting agency, discusses the best way for a company to pitch its news to the media and grab journalists’ attention.