Ready for another dose of Prowly #PRChat, a series of mini-conversations with PR pros?
This time, it’s Stefany Elliott, founder of The Same Paige communications agency. With her focus on the hospitality industry, Stefany gets an up-close look at lots of trends and sometimes even insider info on The Next Big Thing. Here’s what she said in response to our questions about managing her team, what’s working for her now, and a lot more.
What made you start your own PR agency?
I had been doing PR for four years. I worked for four different agencies and was fired from three of them. After being fired for the third time, I took a step back and realized that, instead of continuing to search for an agency that was a good fit for me, I could start my own company and do things the way I wanted.
How do you go about managing your team remotely?
We have weekly bookend meetings. We start every Monday morning and end every Friday afternoon with team calls. In between, we rely heavily on Google Workspace. Being able to collaborate across sheets and documents, see what everyone is working on, track progress, etc. is crucial. There’s also a lot of Google chat. We share interesting articles, entertaining TikToks, anything we think the rest of the team will enjoy or might spark creativity.
What is a commonly held belief in public relations that you passionately disagree with?
The client is always right. Client Relations is just as important as Public Relations and Media Relations. It is important to learn how to say no and set boundaries with clients.
What’s a recent thing you tried in your company that you were surprised by the result of?
TikTok! We just recently started an agency account, and it has been such a fun experiment, for lack of a better word. I had a general expectation of the content and engagement on that platform; however, I was incredibly surprised by some of the unexpected and more indirect results.
It has inspired creativity in the entire team and been a fun way to encourage team bonding, which can be tough when everyone is working remotely. You can check us out at @thesamepaigeco. It’s a fun mix of information, education, and us being entertained by ourselves.
What’s something you or your team have recently achieved that you’re really proud of?
I am so incredibly proud of us simply being a team! The past few years have been a challenge for a lot of companies, The Same Paige included. I had to make some difficult staffing decisions when the pandemic first hit, and it has taken time to rebuild the right team. For a little over a year, I had one multitasking dream working alongside me to manage all of our clients.
Right now, I have four uniquely talented women working with me, all of whom have been with me for three months or less. We’re all working remotely, none of us have ever met in person, no one is in the same city, and we’re a team. It’s uncouth and not something I ever envisioned for the company, but it works. I’m incredibly proud of Devyn, Alex, Victoria, Natalie, and myself.
What is the most gratifying part of your job?
The relationships. I’ve always been a social person, and PR has allowed me to turn that into a career. I get to cultivate and maintain relationships with business owners, writers, employees, former employees, bartenders, and chefs.
What’s one successful PR tactic you are using at the moment?
Hiring! As a small business owner trying to weather another year of a pandemic, it can be tempting to buckle down and do everything myself. Instead, I chose to invest in my business to better support our clients, and the ROI has been nearly immediate. We’re seeing increased growth and engagement for our social media clients, more targeted coverage for our PR clients, and more consistent media and influencer interest across the board.
Having the right team, as opposed to people who can simply help cross things off the to-do list, is one of the most underrated PR tactics.
What skills do you think PRs need to be successful long-term?
There are so many! You need to be a strong writer, creative thinker, and organized. One of the less obvious skills that I think leads to long-term success as a publicist is empathy. It may sound silly, but PR is a business of relationships with other humans. Relationships with writers, clients, influencers. The better you are able to understand where other people are coming from and how they’re feeling, the better you can relate to them.