By: Courtney Fogle (@courtnxyfogle)
This episode of PR Hangover features Alissa Kelly, Owner of PR Plus, a boutique public relations agency in Las Vegas, Nevada. Listen to this episode to learn about all things entertainment PR, working in Vegas, and media relations.
The Inner Workings of PR Plus
PR Plus was the first PR agency that survived in Las Vegas without an advertising component. If it’s fun, they’ll do it – which is why they take on mostly entertainment, food and beverage, and hospitality clients. Their team picks and chooses who will work on each account based on their enthusiasm and passion for the client, and Alissa oversees each client from a strategy standpoint.
PR in an Entertainment City
When asked what it’s like doing PR in Vegas, Alissa says, “It’s the best.” There’s a lot happening in the city, but people are into collaborating and you can be creative with them. For example, she’s been communicating with The Golden Knights for a collaboration with one of her clients, and Carlos Santana is one of her biggest clients. Alissa and her team planned a viewing party for the Royal Wedding last year with four of their clients, since Vegas is the wedding capital of the world. You never know who you could meet or work with in an entertainment-based city. She talks about working with Terry Fator, Carlos Santana, Top Golf, and more.
In Vegas, Repetition Matters
There are advertisements everywhere. Flashing lights, outdoor advertisements on the windows of casinos, and everyone is trying to make their brand or business known. That being said, traditional advertising doesn’t get the job done. A tourist might be intrigued by a billboard, but by the time they get to their hotel, they’ve seen too many for it to have been effective.
As a PR professional, you should ask, “What added value did I get for that?” You’ll get lost in the shuffle of marketing, advertising, and public relations not working together. Alissa recommends asking for articles through media relations, planning events, and ultimately making sure the audience takes in the information repetitively. They should see an advertisement at the airport, in their hotel room, hear about it on TV or in the paper, and then see it again when they’re out exploring. When it’s repeated, you’ll have an edge over your competition.
Know Your Audience
It’s important for PR practitioners in Vegas to remember that they’re not just trying to reach the tourist, especially if it’s a client on the strip. It can be easy to forget about the other audiences, like the locals, when involved in such a high-tourist city. It’s also easy to get creative with your messaging when you remember who your audience is. She suggests getting involved with the community, doing radio promotions, and always looking for opportunity to engage with the locals.
Alissa says the locals that work at the hotels become influencers for her clients. Since they’re next to tourists all the time, they become ambassadors for the brand. PR Plus makes sure the locals know about their clients; when they’re opening a new restaurant or promoting a new event, and when they have something new for them to try. They have them try the food or attend a show so they can give their opinions when asked by tourists.
Don’t forget who your client is. She can’t just show up to Terry Fator with some media, she has to inform his team, let the hotel know that media will be on property and where they will be filming, otherwise things would be a disaster. Professionals in the industry must remember that the sole piece they’re protecting is their client and that they need to fight for them. When working with an entertainment client, reputation matters. “At the end of the day, you’re responsible for whatever shows up on the TV screen or in print the next day,” she says.
- Make sure you try a little of all of it. Try new things, get involved in the process, and see what you like.
- Media training is a science. Your client’s three minutes is three minutes. Make it count.
- You don’t know who’s listening, so always be prepared and ready when working with the media.
- ALWAYS communicate with your client. They might not think something they’re doing is newsworthy, but you could see a different angle.
- You really have to love what you do. Get into it. Enjoy yourself.
Courtney Fogle is a senior studying advertising and public relations at Grand Valley State University. She’s an active member of GV PRSSA and hosts their podcast, PR Hangover. In her spare time you can find her prepping for her future career in entertainment PR as the Public Relations Intern at River City Studios.