Sara Hussey shares her experience running a growing PR firm.
By Georgia Valles and Sara Hussey
One of Sara Hussey’s first experiences with public relations and press releases was for a southwestern lifestyle marketing agency. And one of her first clients was involved with corn seed and farming. After graduating from the University of North Texas, Hussey fell in love with PR. During the 2008 recession, she was laid off from her job. She took a few years to herself until her wardrobe-stylist sister needed help with her business. Here is where Hussey found multiple businesses that struggled with finding brand awareness and getting their names into magazines.
This inspired her to open her own public relations firm, aptly named Sara Hussey Public Relations, in 2013. With more than 50 clients across various industries including food, photography, lifestyle and home decor, this November she will be celebrating her 10-year anniversary.
To help her growing clientele, Hussey created a series of self-paced workshop videos to support small businesses and help them grow with tips on pitch meeting ideas and finding the right tools to expand. “I’m here to tell you, your brand has a story to tell. Your customers want to hear it,” she says. She has also recently started posting videos on Instagram, where she shares more tips and inspiration for businesses.
Through her resources and platform, she wants people to understand that PR is a positive thing for a business and can efficiently help the brand or company grow. “A study from sproutsocial.com reveals, ‘When customers feel connected to brands, more than half of consumers (57%) will increase their spending with that brand, and 76% will buy from them over a competitor,’” Hussey says. “When customers feel more connected to a brand, they will shop more.
“If you’re like me, doing something out of your comfort zone takes a lot of effort: planning, learning, procrastinating, repeat. So keep it simple. Here are four tips for how to tell your brand story in a pitch that editors will actually respond to.
Start with your subject line.
Make it specific to your business and include your differentiating factor and any affiliate info. ‘Sustainable Women’s Activewear All Under $50 on SaS and Amazon.’ This subject line not only piques the writer’s interest—because sustainable activewear is pretty rare. It also gives them a good idea of where they can place your brand in their publication.
Keep your email short and sweet.
Editors and reporters are inundated with emails from publicists and businesses. A lengthy, novel-like email will most likely not be read in its entirety. Keeping your email short and only highlighting the most interesting parts of your story will increase the chances of someone reading it. Here’s the breakdown of what a pitch should look like. Include:
- a short intro to your brand
- a sentence about why you think you fit well for this specific publication
- then use bullet points to share a few story ideas.
- Link to your website and other documents so the writer can easily learn more about your brand.
Do your research and find the right contact to email.
If you have a specific publication in mind, read it front to back and find the person who writes about your industry topic. Go the extra step and read their recent articles to get a greater understanding of the stories they often tell and to find commonality and connection. With some reporters, mentioning their past work and acknowledging you’re familiar with their recent articles can go a long way in building a lasting relationship.
Make the writer’s job easier.
Include all the details you think the reporter will need to write your brand story in an easy-to-digest email pitch and in your sign-off. Offer an in-person or Zoom interview you can record for later notes and additions. Access to the person or brand the writer is covering makes their job easier.”