3 Character Traits To Grow A Successful Career In PR with Kathryn Van Kuyk

PR Strategy Series with Kage Spatz, Founder of Spacetwin.com

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The best results are achieved when the momentum is maintained.

Welcome to another installment of our PR Strategy Series, where you can learn directly from top industry experts on how you can leverage media attention to grow your business.

Today we are talking about how you can grow your PR career by highlighting parts of a conversation I had over at Authority Magazine with Kathryn Van Kuyk.

Kathryn Van Kuyk is the co-founder, co-CEO, and PR Director at Media-Wize. With over 20 years of experience, Kathryn has worked on local and international campaigns that have achieved their goals and won global recognition, including a United Nations award for excellence in public relations. She won ‘Best campaign on a small budget’ for Code Like a Girl with BENCH PR at the CommsCon Awards 2018.

Media-Wize offers services tailored to startups through to unicorns and enterprise-level organizations. Kathryn and the team lead the Australian PR accounts for Tesserent (ASX: TNT), Pure Security, SugarCRM, Everbridge, CIM, The Secure Board, and CiGen.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

I grew up in Melbourne as an only child with a big imagination and had two grandfathers that had wanted to become journalists but WW2 got in the way. By the time I was 14 years old, I decided I wanted to work in media and 31 years later, I remain just as committed. I completed a BA in Journalism and hit the newsroom when I was 20 years old, that was pre-internet when press releases arrived in the mail and off the fax!

After 18 months, I realized that PR was my calling and made the transition and have relished every opportunity since then to hone my craft and learn.

After working in numerous PR agencies for 20 years, it was only after my 40th birthday, when I spotted a gap and wanted to do things differently. I found myself a single mother with two children and a burning passion to reinvent the way I work and decided for the first time to launch my own business.

But, I didn’t want to partner with another PR, I wanted to partner with a journalist to deliver a very different service model, one focused on helping spokespeople in technology companies become strong media performers.

Wonderful. Let’s now jump into the main part of our interview. What 3 media strategies are typically most effective in generating more business for a national brand?

We would commence the process with a media training session for the C-suite spokespeople and we would involve the wider team in what we call a ‘Story Discovery Session’. Bringing together the C-suite with the marketing, product, customer service, and technical team we would discover as many hidden stories as possible in the business.

We would then take these learnings and develop a communications strategy and tactical implementation plan with advice on how to target these stories to the right journalists and media outlets for success. This could cover news announcements, media pitches, thought leadership, customer stories — win/go-live/case studies, and also content for use on the blog and social media.

One more before we go: If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

The reason why Anthony Caruana and I started Media-Wize was to bring a disruptive new PR model and movement to the industry. We wanted to flip the old ways on its head, the days of PR teams dreaming up creative ideas in a vacuum, like they’re an advertising team, then often not even discussing the pitch ideas with the spokesperson and pitching them out for an interview. If they’re lucky the journalist will go for it and the poor spokesperson with zero visibility will be comfortable with it and achieve success and if not, refuse to talk to the journalist and the whole thing falls flat, wasting a lot of people’s time and the clients budget.

We wanted to work closely with our spokespeople to find their views, to gain their input in the PR program, to find out what they want to say, to coach them on how to understand the media, what makes a story, and to hone and refine their messaging so that when we pitch ideas that they are ready and excited to talk to a journalist about them.

Thank you for sharing so many insights with us!

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