“Over the years, many journalists have found me and my clients through Media Kitty”
Are you a long time user of Media Kitty or a recent member?
I’ve been a long-time subscriber to Media Kitty on behalf of my company hospitality clients on the east coast.
What do you hope to get out of the new relaunched Media Kitty?
I’m looking forward to being able to better represent my hotel and inn clients with great photos and content in order to portray our upcoming media trips.
How can Media Kitty members work with you?
It’s easy for member journalists to reply to my media trip postings on Media Kitty and be considered for upcoming media trips.
How have you benefited from being a Media Kitty member?
Over the years, many journalists have found me and my clients through Media Kitty and we’ve been able to include them on our trips. The amount of writers are too numerous to itemize. The writers have found my postings and through our selection process, many of them have been chosen to participate in our trips.
What is involved in your job day to day?
As a travel/hospitality publicist, I do many things for my hotel and inn clients. I write newsworthy press announcements about seasonal promotions, packages and media trip. I select the best writers to join us and then plan the full three night itinerary, hosting it from beginning to end. Then I follow up with our journalists until I secure their published stories – sharing it with my clients and other venues in the destination. I write and produce promotional videos and develop strategic marketing/PR plans. I spend a huge amount of time fielding inquiries from writers who want to visit my client properties
What challenges do you face in your role?
The biggest challenge as a publicist is finding support staff to assist me doing media research.
What are the achievements in your job that you are most proud of?
Whenever a client of mine appears on TV, in a print story, online feature or any media outlet, I’m excited to share the results of my efforts with my clients…and vice versa. When a writer attends one of my media trips and they are overjoyed with the caliber of the trips I plan – and they leave with many possible stories on their minds…my day is complete!
What’s the most fun part of your job?
Hosting journalists to my client destinations. Writing a great press release. Getting to know international media and becoming friends. When you spend time with people and get to know them, they become like family.
What makes you good at what you do?
Knowing how to listen and be creative ~ these are two benchmarks of success as a publicist. Being familiar with my client properties and the entire destination…there is no substitute for first-hand knowledge of a destination. I’m a creative writer myself so I know what to look for when choosing writers to attend my media trips. I love helping writers to unearth a great story.
What are you working on that you are excited about?
All of my clients are exciting. I’m very selective when choosing a hotel, inn, restaurant or hospitality association to be a new client. I only select clients that have national appeal ~ since the media outlets are unlimited. As the publicist for the North Florida Hotel & Lodging Association (NFHLA) I enjoy unifying a message that has many facets.
What’s ahead for your company?
The future is filled with more media trips, new clients that haven’t yet had the publicity exposure that they only dream about. I completely enjoy preparing my clients for media exposure ~ and positioning them for national TV.
What is the best way for other members to find out more about you and your work?
By keeping my clients ‘in the news’.
What changes and trends are you noticing in the market and your work networks?
When I launched my public relations company 15 years ago, most of the media were print. Today there is a wealth of online journalists and successful bloggers.
What is your number one tip for working more efficiently?
Work every day. When you take a day off, you’re a few days behind! Seriously – “it takes a lot of hard work to make it look easy”.
In your work background, how did you progress to your current role?
My first career was in New York. I was an actress on stage, screen and nightclubs. This training prepared me to handle my public relations company as a ‘production’ company and each media trip is like a broadway show…the curtain goes up and you had better be prepared to entertain the audience (your writers).
What are your top three highlights of your career so far?
Working at the NYC Trump Tower as the Party Director. Being the Marketing Director at Sardi’s restaurant in NYC – planning the parties and writing the Sardi’s newsletter. Working at the Ritz-Carlton hotel on Amelia Island, Florida as Director of Catering. Each of these amazing organizations gave me confidence and skills to be able to have my own public relations company in 2000.
In what ways does your job differ now from when you started out in your profession?
I work many more hours than I did 15 years ago. Social media and the high volume of online information is never ending!
What inspired you to work in this area?
I love writing, communicating and telling a great story. The travel & hospitality industry are fascinating to me.
What are your interests outside of work?
I’m the founder of www.womensfoodalliance.com in northeast Florida/southeast Georgia. My organization is two years old and we inspire women in all aspects of the hospitality industry to succeed.
What is the last movie you saw?
Ricky and the Flash with Meryl Streep.
What is on your bucket list?
Someday I would like to have a role reversal where I’m the invited journalist that gets invited to exotic ports of call and is treated with great respect like I do in my position.
Connect with Leigh on MEDIA KITTY!