Angela Hartman: “Do your homework”

I think that one of the most important things I’ve learned is that it’s not your skills that are going to take you to the next level; it’s your mindset. You have to remove your limiting beliefs in order to elevate yourself personally and professionally. As a part of my series about the things you […]

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I think that one of the most important things I’ve learned is that it’s not your skills that are going to take you to the next level; it’s your mindset. You have to remove your limiting beliefs in order to elevate yourself personally and professionally.

As a part of my series about the things you need to know to excel in the modern PR industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Angela Hartman. Angela is the founder and CEO of Angela Hartman Media, which she launched over two decades ago in Los Angeles, California. She is responsible for everything from New Media PR and podcasting to new business development and producing live events.

She has been working in the marketing, public relations, and communications fields for over 25 years, and has developed rock-solid relationships with thousands of industry influencers, bloggers, agents, publishers, media, and celebrities. Her career has covered everything from negotiating multi-million dollar contracts for her various clients, securing large corporate sponsorships, coordinating domestic and international speaking engagements and executing media campaigns for her clients in a variety of industries including health & wellness, fashion, beauty, non-profit, spirituality, entertainment, technology, and publishing, among others.

Thank you so much for your time! I know that you are a very busy person. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I majored in communications and sociology in college. One day my PR professor pulled me aside to tell me that I was really talented and possessed a natural gift and that I should think about a career in PR. And what did I do? I basically ignored it. Fast forward to five years later, I was in my 20’s, living in NYC, and having the time of my life. My first exposure to PR and live events in the workplace happened while I was working as a receptionist/part-time day manager at the legendary nightclub Webster Hall.

They produced all types of live events including Madonna’s pajama party, Mick Jaggers’ solo concert, and various award shows and launch parties.

Every day was a new adventure from working with PR professionals, producers, talent, and the media. Working there definitely inspired me to re-think PR after all. After Webster Hall, I moved to a company in the Tribeca Film Center and became their PR liaison.

Side note: The company offered to triple my salary and give me stock to remain at the company. I refused as I wanted to move to Los Angeles. I believe they ultimately ended up selling to Google.

In 1997, I quit my job, sold all of my possessions, and with only 1000 dollars in my pocket drove cross country to LA without any promise of employment. Within a few months, I found work as a production assistant on a few commercials and movies. Then out of the blue, a publishing rep asked me to help with inviting media to one of their author’s book launches. As a result that the author called to say that she wanted to hire me and a friend to handle her PR and the rest is history. We purchased a fax machine, printed business cards, installed a landline, and just like that our PR company was launched from the floor of our West Hollywood apartment.

Our small boutique company out-hustled the other publicists and ended up getting better results than many of the other more established companies that were charging five times our rate.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began at your company?

One of my clients in the natural health & wellness industry owns a company that sells healthy chocolate. He told me that he wanted to somehow participate at the upcoming Warner Brother’s Willy Wonka film premiere, the version starring Johnny Depp. My client was completely unknown at the time. I cold-called Warner Brothers and pitched them my client’s company to offer his healthy chocolate at the premiere party. We ended up not only exhibiting at the party, but his book was given away to every attendee as part of the “golden ticket” machine. Larry King, Johnny Depp, and many of the other guests were all seen carrying my client’s book around under their arm at the party.

Oh and I failed to mention that one of the largest mainstream chocolate brands was a top-tiered sponsor of that event.

It just goes to show what strategy and one cold call can do…..the impossible can happen.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I’m not sure that it’s actually funny but the one mistake I made very early on was with a chiropractor client.

He was on the set of a movie, working as the massage therapist and I happened to mention it on a phone call with a journalist of a very large magazine. Well, they printed it and he ended up getting fired. I will never forget that. The lesson? I am now a stickler for getting a written permission for everything. Lesson learned.

Also always make sure you thank and support journalists. They have a demanding job. It took me a little while to realize that journalists/hosts appreciate you sharing their work and tagging them on social media.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I’d say one of the most exciting projects that I’m working on right now — well, was working on prior to COVID-19 hitting — was a live event with Shomer & Associates. I have been part of their team for almost 20 years.

The event was for the charity “Love Button” and it was to be held at the Ace Theater in downtown LA with Coldplay. The caliber of talent on the roster was beyond epic.

As many companies are now doing, we are pivoting the format and are now producing virtual events with such incredible talent for many of our clients.

Other projects that I am excited to be a part of include working with high-profile health & wellness experts including David Wolfe (over 12 million fans on his Facebook and a NutriBullet spokesperson,) Nadine Artemis co-founder of the 16-year-old Living Libations brand (one of the first organic clean beauty and wellness brands) and the legendary Udo Erasmus (inventor of the method and machinery to distill flax seed oil). They are disrupting the health and beauty conversation by educating the masses on alternative options for well-being.

I also have a new client, Brandy Gillmore. She has the ability to help shift people out of pain using only the power of their minds. It’s cutting-edge work.

I maintain long-term working relationships with my clients. The longest is at 24 years.

I’m also very excited about the work that I am doing in the podcast and affiliate marketing world.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

1. From the very beginning, you need to manage your clients’ expectations. A lot of experts will think that they should be on the cover of People Magazine or booked on a top podcast that is clearly not a good fit for them. When the truth is they might not be ready for that. Always make sure that you’re on the same page. I will assist them in implementing a strategy or additional media training or perhaps it’s platform building to help get them to a place where they are a potential for that type of placement.

2. You have the power to influence the masses — you need to be responsible. Anything that’s in print or broadcast people will take it to be the truth. Do your research.

3. In a way, it is a constant hustle. I just booked a very popular podcast interview for one of my clients, and the elation lasts about 5 minutes before it’s like okay, so what’s next? You are only as good as your last placement.

4. When you find a great fit for your services, do everything in your power to retain that client. It’s much easier to keep a client happy than to acquire a new one.

5. Do your homework. Deep research is key. Always know who you are pitching. Make sure you listen to several episodes of the podcast, read their columns, visit their social media accounts. Then take the information that you learned and craft a customized pitch for that journalist or host. Go the extra mile. One time, a colleague pitched a podcast host and was turned down when I knew it was the perfect fit. So I did my homework, wrote a laser-focused pitch, and booked the show.

There will be some people that you don’t understand or who are outright rude to you. Do your best to not take it personally. You can’t ever know what’s going on in other people’s lives or past experiences they might have had with other publicists. Always show up in an authentic, polite manner.

An example, when I was first starting out I was doing PR for a restaurant in Hollywood. I think that because the owner was gay and they had a “gay night” once a week, they ended up being branded as a gay restaurant in the media and their business was decreasing because of it.

I called the lifestyle magazines and I was told flat out by a very rude editor that the restaurant would NEVER be an A-List establishment. The following week a celebrity forgot their credit card at the restaurant. I called Page Six ( a popular gossip column in the NY Post) to run one or two sentences to help me get in touch with the celebrity to return their credit card. Well, guess what happened? One of the competing magazines ran a list of the top A-List restaurants from that placement and guess who was listed?

I took the A-List page from the magazine and faxed it to the previous journalist. I wasn’t faxing it to them to be rude but rather to show them that the restaurant was indeed capable of being A-List. When I look back now, I’m not sure that I’d choose to do that again. I’d probably approach it slightly differently.

You are known as a master networker. Can you share some tips on great networking?

Warm introductions are always the best. Always follow-up and stay in touch with them periodically.

Go to as many live events in your industry that you possibly can attend. Meeting in person when possible or now on video with Zoom or Skype is always the best.

No autographs or selfies mostly — be professional.

Always deliver on your promises and if you can’t, let them know and make good on it immediately.

Personally, It’ s really important for me to come from a generous place. To always give back and support others as much as I can…. I know it may sound a bit cliché, but I always try to be of service, without expecting anything in return.

Lead generation is one of the most important aspects of any business. Can you share some of the strategies you use to generate good, qualified leads?

All of my lead generation up to this point has been word of mouth referrals from my clients, both old and current. Also from warm introductions. My number one tip is to take every requested meet and greet call. You never know where it will lead or who they might be able to introduce you to. I am so fortunate to have the ability to turn potential new clients down when my roster is full, or when it’s not a perfect fit. When that happens, I love referring them to my other PR colleagues.

For lead generation overall, I would suggest guesting on podcasts. Over the past 3 years, I have really seen the power of the podcast world to generate new business.

in the next few months, I will be co-creating a course for podcast hosts in order to help them book top guests and also to grow and scale their shows. I’m eager to see what type of lead generation that creates for my business.

I also recommend that individuals and companies test different ways to increase their brand awareness and exposure. I suggest including interviews in various new media PR outlets like podcasts, with social media influencers and affiliate/JV opportunities especially with those that have a mailing list. Webinars can also be very powerful.

Is there a particular book that you read, or podcast you listened to that really helped you in your career? Can you explain?

I’m a big fan of podcasts, especially ones that feature mindset experts. Currently, I have over twenty podcasts that I keep on heavy rotation. I really love Sam Harris’ Making Sense podcast, Hustle & Flowchart, and The Jordan Harbinger Show.

I think that one of the most important things I’ve learned is that it’s not your skills that are going to take you to the next level; it’s your mindset. You have to remove your limiting beliefs in order to elevate yourself personally and professionally.

Of course, new skills are still very important but beware of the shiny object syndrome. You can get lost in all of the new technologies and platforms.

Our world is shifting at a lightning-fast speed. You don’t want to get left behind.

Because of the role you play, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I find that there is so much polarization in the world today, and it’s not just confined to politics. I feel that it is also within the health & wellness community. So many in the allopathic world completely reject Eastern medicine/holistic healing modalities, and many in the natural health world are quick to dismiss more mainstream Western medical options. I’d love to see them come together — maybe in a national or even internationally televised event — with renowned thought leaders, scientists, researchers, doctors and healers from both sides of the healing/medical worlds. You’d probably have to include some famous celebrities and musicians to attract more awareness to the event, or possibly align with a few different charities, but I think it could really help bring people together and instill a sense of collaboration, rather than disconnection. Can you imagine the impact of all of our brilliant minds of today’s joining forces?

I’m also in conversation with those on the frontline of the new wave of technology. It may very well fast trackless of a harmful impact from factory farming and industrial agriculture. It’s a very promising mission for those that care about what’s happening to our ecosystem, our animals, and to the planet.

As Buckminster Fuller once said: “You never change things by fighting against the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”

This was really meaningful! Thank you so much for your time.

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