PR Pros: Amy Jackson of TaleSplash On The 5 Things You Need To Create A Highly Successful Career As A Public Relations Pro
PR the PR: Do not by shy about sharing media coverage in social and on your homepage. Journalists and the social media teams at their publications will appreciate the link, tag or mention too.
Have you seen the show Flack? Ever think of pursuing a real-life career in PR? What does it take to succeed in PR? What are the different forms of Public Relations? Do you have to have a college degree in PR? How can you create a highly lucrative career in PR? In this interview series, called “5 Things You Need To Create A Highly Successful Career As A Public Relations Pro” we are talking to successful publicists and Public Relations pros, who can share stories and insights from their experiences.
As a part of this series I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Amy Jackson.
Amy Jackson has spent her career building and shaping brands during times of rapid change. She helped potato farmers navigate the era of low-carb diets, built high-performing PR programs for startups like TripIt, and ultimately created TaleSplash to help brands emerge in the stories we’re all reading, watching and listening to. Along the way, Amy cheers on fellow working moms and helps people fulfill the potential of their professional selves.
Thank you so much for your time! I know that you are a very busy person. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
The way people perceive you is the most powerful brand insight — and also what led me to PR. I was studying abroad and telling my roommate about how torn I was between studying art and psychology, how that might translate into a career, and how I was enjoying my role as the student council public relations coordinator. Point blank, she told me I’m a natural promoter and she could see me in PR. I returned back to school in the fall, enrolled in journalism classes, got a summer internship at Fleishman-Hillard, decided to graduate a semester early so I could work there full-time and the rest is history.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began at your company?
My first client, Love Talla, landed herself a Wall Street Journal placement the week I left corporate life to start TaleSplash. It was one of those sheer moments of PR bliss that made me feel like I had without a doubt made the right decision. I had missed those moments of celebration which used to happen on a regular basis at TripIt when we landed a big national media hit. The thrill of the chase is what ultimately drives me to be successful for my clients.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
In a couple of my first on-camera interviews (long before Zoom), I realized I was perpetually nodding as the reporter was speaking. It was a little cringe-worthy to watch myself, but now I share it as an example in media trainings with clients. We all have little things that we don’t realize we do in media interviews, so it’s always helpful to practice on camera.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I’m very excited about the clients I’m working with right now because they all have a solution for what’s changing in the world around us: insights about the infrastructure needed to make the shift to electric vehicles, staying healthy and taking care of yourself no matter what life throws your way, empowering technology professionals in emerging countries, designing a more empathetic workplace and being the boss you’ve always wanted, and helping companies navigate data in new and exciting ways.
You are a successful leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?
Being helpful goes a long way in this industry: helping your client or company meet their business goals, helping journalists connect with sources for the stories they’re working on.
Brevity is always appreciated: the best lesson I learned was the “upside pyramid” in journalism, which leads with the most important information first. Speaking in soundbites and writing in headlines are highly valuable skills that every PR professional needs to be successful.
Persistence, persistence, persistence: Getting ignored comes with the job. I’m always looking for the connection between what matters to my clients and what journalists are writing about today or this week. It takes a lot of attempts to get it right.
Ok super. Thank you for all that. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview. For the benefit of our readers, can you help articulate what the different forms of PR are?
To me, the essence of PR is media relations. However, PR professionals wear many hats and can also be strategic partners in crisis communications, public affairs, influencer engagement, social media promotion, content creation, events, messaging and brand strategy.
Where should a young person considering a career in PR start their education? Should they get a degree in communications? A degree in journalism? Can you explain what you mean?
A degree in journalism will give you the writing skills and empathy for journalists that will serve you well. Some of the best PR professionals I know started out as journalists. However, anyone that’s a good writer can learn how to find a news hook and write in an attention-getting way.
You are known as a master networker. Can you share some tips on great networking?
I’m a big fan of connecting on LinkedIn with anyone I meet on a conference call or at an event (virtual or physical). It helps to put a face to a name and their multitude of professional experiences can help you learn about their perspective. I’ve been doing this for years and it’s been a great way to organically build my business.
Lead generation is one of the most important aspects of any business. Can you share some of the strategies you use to generate good, qualified leads?
People I’ve worked with over the last 10+ years, and the “Mama Makers” and “Mama Shakers” I’ve written about, have all been great sources of referrals. I follow Austin’s startup scene closely in Mason Rathe’s weekly newsletter and the Austin Business Journal, and every morning I read Axios Austin and Austonia while drinking my first cup of coffee.
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your opinion and experience, what are your “5 Things You Need To Create A Highly Successful Career As A Public Relations Pro” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
- Join the conversation: There’s never been a better time to help make sense of the world changing around us. Every day, journalists are looking for sources and perspectives for the stories they’re working on.
- Become a go-to resource: Make your expertise readily available to journalists and their readers, viewers, listeners and social media followers. This is what helped me land a recurring feature for one of my health and fitness clients, often on a 24–48 hour deadline.
- Get your product in the right hands: Find or create the environment for media, influencers and customers to get up close and personal. For TripIt, this meant traveling to events where we had the opportunity to meet journalists in person, show them the app and give them the opportunity to try it for themselves.
- Catch them by surprise: Buck the trend. It’s what helped me get “Healthy Mr. Potato Head” on the cover of the business section in the New York Times. Use your data to reveal something new or different.
- PR the PR: Do not by shy about sharing media coverage in social and on your homepage. Journalists and the social media teams at their publications will appreciate the link, tag or mention too.
Because of the role you play, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
To borrow from Brooke Baldwin and Tiffany Dufu, I’m fortunate to have “huddled” with some amazing women personally and professionally that have given me the confidence to believe in myself and use our collective strength to help each other make significant changes.
This was really meaningful! Thank you so much for your time.
PR Pros: Amy Jackson of TaleSplash On The 5 Things You Need To Create A Highly Successful Career… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.