When Samantha Radach created Opportunity PR in 2019 after nearly a decade of working in public relations, she knew that as CEO she wanted to create a firm specializing in women-owned businesses, baby/parenting, women’s fashion, health/wellness, and more. Opportunity PR is dedicated to making its clients a household name. In addition to guiding clients big and small through all things PR, Samantha and her team strive to set themselves apart by being a resource to their clients across the board as they navigate their growing businesses during these unpredictable times.
Samantha took a moment to walk us through her daily schedule and share her helpful insights with brands and publicists.
This interview has been lightly edited.
Walk us through your daily routine. When does it start? End?
I wake up at 4:45 every morning, let the dogs out, and head to the gym (insider tip: it helps to have your workout clothes ready to go!). I really enjoy this part of the day and getting my body moving early—and the coffee helps too. Depending on how the calendar (and weather) looks, I’ll try to either spin, walk outside, or get some other form of cardio. All of this sets me up to have a productive workday and feel like I already accomplished something before I sit down at my desk around 7 or 7:30 a.m.
From there, I usually scan emails, read any important industry articles/newsletters, and then write out my to-do list for the day. I have one master to-do list, and then each day, I scribble on a post-it note (I know, I’m old school!) the things that absolutely must be accomplished before I log off that day. Usually, pitching happens first and any writing projects are saved for the afternoon (with some calls peppered in). I usually log off by about 4 p.m., but usually end up scrolling through Instagram and Pinterest to spark new, creative ideas and responding to any urgent emails.
I’m always asleep by 8 p.m. I’ve learned over the years that I’m one of those people who needs 8-9 hours of sleep a night, so it’s non-negotiable in my house.
How do you invest in your relationships with clients?
Most of my clients have honestly become friends. We talk about more than just business and get together as often as possible. Between Covid and everyone being spread across time zones and continents, it can be tough, but technology does make it easier!
I started this company wanting to be more of a resource to my clients as a whole, so sometimes, instead of talking about the most recent PR hit, we end up reviewing a funding deck for VCs, discussing possible candidates for a content role, or talking through overarching business strategies. I think offering these extras makes clients know that we truly want to be part of their team and aren’t just saying it to score brownie points. A lot of people talk about “adding value,” but I believe that means something different for each and every client. And for me, I enjoy stretching myself beyond the world of PR and marketing and being that resource for people.
What about your relationship with journalists?
Journalists are the bread and butter of what we do. I always say that while the client is the one who pays you, the media are essentially the ones paying your bills. Without them, we can’t get anything done. So I view it [as having] two groups to answer to and make happy: the clients and the media. If a media person has a specific way that they want to be pitched or have a specific list of questions that they want answered, make sure to take the extra two minutes and review everything point-by-point to ensure it’s right. Imagine if your client wasn’t considered for an article because of something as stupid as putting the wrong subject line in your email! But it happens, and when you make a mistake, own it with a real apology.
What advice would you give to a publicist just starting out?
There are various types of PR, and trying to understand what the day-to-day of each industry is like will help you to not end up in a job you hate. PR is not for the faint of heart, and if you don’t love what you’re talking about, it’ll crush you in the long run. For example, I’ve talked to so many people who think that PR is simply planning parties, having lunches and hanging out with celebrities (Samantha Jones has a lot to answer for!). Most of PR is writing, balancing the desires of the clients with the needs of the media, and educating clients on how the game works. PR is very different now than it was when I first started out, and affiliate marketing and the ways in which the media are using affiliates is growing and changing every day. Getting even a light grasp on that (especially if you’re wanting to work in CPG) will give you a leg up.
What are three things brands should keep in mind when pitching media?
- You’re likely not going to get a media outlet to run the exact story that you want exactly when you want it (unless you want to pay). I’ve had clients so excited that we got them in a Forbes roundup and suddenly they want a feature (which we had pitched in the first place). If you want your story on your timeline, an advertorial is the way to go (but be prepared to pay).
- It takes time. I know all clients want to be on the front page of Fast Company or The New York Times, but it’s a long-term commitment and building process. And just because you get a “no” now doesn’t mean it’ll always be a no. I believe writers when they say they’ll keep us in mind and that’s because I’ve literally had people come back a year later and secured amazing, once-in-a-lifetime features!
- The media have a job to do. Between meeting deadlines, ensuring that people are reading their content, and combatting a sharp decline in ad revenue, they have a lot going on! Plus, many editors are doing the work of three people and are responsible for running the social channels. It’s nuts! So when they don’t respond right away (even if you’ve known them for 10 years), try to keep in mind that they’re overworked, stressed, and doing their best. And in the baby/parenting industry, they’re also balancing school drop-offs with closures and homeschooling and worrying about whether their kid has Covid. It’s a lot.
What’s the biggest no-no in earned media?
Asking for a guarantee of inclusion… if you’re working with a freelancer, they don’t have the final say on much of what they’ve written, let alone the products/services/experts they’ve selected. And these days, staff are prioritizing products with strong affiliate programs and products that they know will sell to earn revenue. How do they know if they want to include your product before they try it out? Again, if you flip the tables and look at it from their perspective, it sounds crazy to ask for any guarantees. But people still do! And a lot of times, it’s because a client has very few product samples and doesn’t want to send without knowing that they’re getting in. But this is where it’s PR’s job to educate the client and explain how things work.
What do you like the most about your job? What’s the hardest part?
I honestly love my job. The PR part of it is so fun! The people you meet, the relationships you form, and the businesses that you help to nurture and grow into big, household names. I always love when I’ve been working with a client for a while, and I mention them in passing to someone, and they say, “I’ve heard of them”—that’s the biggest win! Now that Opportunity PR is growing, I have a list of things that I’m a little less excited about like figuring out a PT person to take over when one of my gals goes out on maternity leave. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so excited for her, but I love my girls! Or when I get a call that the email server is down, and I spend an hour on the phone with GoDaddy. Or taxes! But I’ve got a fantastic group of colleagues, employees, and contractors around me that make it all easier, and I’m learning to outsource the parts that I can’t stand and embrace the unknown when things pop up.
Anything else to add?
You really need to love PR and the companies that you’re working with to make the long hours worth it. I’ve learned that you need to take on the companies and the people that really excite you! Part of what I love about owning my own company is that I get to make that call. But it’s after years of working on companies that you love (and ones that you don’t love so much). Also, just be yourself. I truly believe that I’ve gotten so much business in just 2.5 years because I’m very honest with my clients. And I think they value that I’m not just a “yes” person.