Prowly #PRChat with Kristen Skladd, Founder of KMS Group

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Got a few minutes? Because that’s all you need for Prowly #PRChat, where diverse voices in PR share their thoughts on a wide range of topics. 

This time we’re glad to have Kristen Skladd, Founder at KMS Group. With a background in journalism, she crossed over to handling PR duties for an amazing list of clients in hospitality, lifestyle, travel, product, healthcare, tech, entrepreneurship, and nonprofit organizations. Here’s her take on the relationship between journalism & PR and much more:

What are the crucial elements of a well-rounded PR approach? 

A well-rounded PR approach must include a concise strategy incorporating what the subject is and what makes it newsworthy.

In addition to writing a press release, I make sure that the journalists that I’m targeting have been researched, and this subject is within their wheelhouse.

I also like to ensure that my PR outreach has a social media component, blogging (if applicable), and guest-posting to websites to completely maximize exposure beyond just traditional press. If it’s a hospitality client such as a restaurant or hotel, or a product, influencer and blogger outreach should absolutely be included with the intention of a tradeoff for posting.

Is a journalism degree helpful for a career in PR? 

Absolutely! I actually earned my degree in journalism with the intention of becoming a journalist, which I did pursue and loved. However, when I made the switch to PR, I found that my background as a journalist only worked to my advantage.

Not only am I able to write my clients’ content, whether it be a press release or blog post, or thought-leadership piece, but I am also able to understand the inner workings of media.

My journalism degree led me to so many interesting people while in college that I was able to experience different newsrooms from TV to print to radio to online work-from-home digital and understand their deadlines, tight turnaround times, and more, which is crucial as a publicist.

What’s the piece of media coverage you’re most proud of?

I am most proud of a piece in Inc. Magazine on spring break that two of my restaurant clients were featured in. Spring break in Florida during the pandemic has been a very hot topic and with the influx of people both vacationing and moving here, the restaurateurs were able to give a firsthand perspective of what they were seeing and how they were responding to it.

What is the most gratifying part of your job?

The most gratifying part of my day is being able to work with so many exciting people and tell their stories! These people are doing amazing things in this world, whether advocating tirelessly for a mission, providing new and exciting technology that’s never been seen before, creating a product that’s unlike any other, or offering the coolest culinary concept we’ve ever seen – there are many stories that deserve recognition!

What is a commonly held belief in public relations that you passionately disagree with?

A commonly held belief is that coverage can be guaranteed and obtained instantly. You might have the most exciting story but unfortunately, if it doesn’t fit a publication’s editorial calendar or a writer doesn’t have the bandwidth to cover, it just won’t be picked up – or it might be a few weeks from now versus tomorrow.

Kristen Skladd - Quote for Prowly Magazine

What are some good online PR resources that you follow? 

I recently discovered some fantastic Facebook groups that are strong PR resources. Whether it’s publicists talking amongst one another about the nitty-gritty topics like client retainers or scope of work, or journalists asking for sources for their next piece, these have proven invaluable. Also, I subscribe to about 10 newsletters from journalists who ask for sources for upcoming stories, feature job opportunities and share their personal experiences in the field which has been an amazing insight.

Do you use any software tools in your day-to-day work?

Every day, I use either Cision or Meltwater to look up reporters’ contact information. This is especially helpful to know which reporters are writing about which topics and quickly find other outlets that they might write for (if freelance).

The programs also send a daily report, tracking client features or mentions in the news. I also use Zoom and Google Meet or Microsoft Teams weekly for team meetings as I work with a lot of clients or whitelabel for other firms who are in different time zones. Lastly, I’m not very fancy but I use Google Suite for creating spreadsheets and documents to help all who are viewing see updates as they happen.

What’s something you or your team have recently achieved that you’re really proud of?

Right now, I am really proud of working with an animal welfare nonprofit organization that is helping to raise funding for rescues and shelters across the country as part of a 50-state tour. Animal welfare is a cause that is very close to my heart, and I really want to see this organization continue to succeed and change the lives of less fortunate cats and dogs everywhere. I am very proud each time that we secure coverage to further the mission, and have some exciting projects in the works right now!