I had the pleasure of interviewing Kate Lobel, the Director of Public relations at Power Digital Marketing. At the age of 22, Kate was given the opportunity to build a public relations offering at a full service digital agency in San Diego. In 2 years, the department grew to over a million in revenue and she was nominated for the San Diego Business Journal’s “Women Who Mean Business” award.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
Having lived in 13 different zip codes, you could say my upbringing was anything but typical.
Amidst all of the chaos, the one thing I can confidently say I’m grateful for was the fact that I had 13 different opportunities to restart. Each time, I learned to build relationships from the ground up and I learned to love doing that.
I began building my rolodex of contacts when I was about 10 years old!
For example, the only reason I’m in my current role is because my 4th grade bestie introduced me to the job! Leaning into what I knew I loved doing, making connections, I fell into the world of traditional media relations.
Why did you found your company?
I spent my first few years in the media industry writing press releases, fact sheets, and sharing about the placements we secured. I quickly realized that we lost clients after the first few months and it wasn’t because we were underperforming.
We were on FIRE at the time and I couldn’t understand why the business kept losing revenue. The reality was that we didn’t know how to show our value and share how our placements actually affected the bottom line for our clients. Too often, clients would say they “felt” an influx of sales, but could never weigh what that actually meant for them.
I knew I needed to position myself in an environment with tools and skill sets that would allow me to create a formula that showcased how media placements actually make an impact on the bottom line.
That’s when I founded Power Digital Marketing. After 6 months, we were able to create a proprietary report that completely disrupted and surpassed industry expectations.
Thanks to the technicians on the team, we utilized a variety of tools to identify what truly mattered to clients: direct ROI from each placement.
The digital agency I’m now at knew that in order to differentiate itself from others and provide the most excellent results, they needed to invest in PR and ultimately took a risk in 22 year old me.
I was blessed to be given the opportunity to develop this team within the company and offer something very different but integral to the other channel’s performance.
What is it about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
We’ve utilized years of technical SEO, analytics and digital marketing experience to be able to quantify PR results.
We’re able to tie a hard number against the traffic we drive from placements, behavior metrics from the traffic landing on the site and, most importantly, the actual revenue that is being brought in from each placement.
We also are able to optimize our campaigns since we can identify which placements are actually meeting the client’s goal.
For instance, if the client isn’t looking to convert, but to drive traffic to retarget through Facebook ads, we know that niche blogs do a better job at doing that as opposed to a top tier placement so we focus our efforts there.
We all need a little help along the journey — who have been some of your mentors?
Sarah Hardwick, CEO and founder of Zenzi Communications, has been a huge influencer and motivator for me. She is always approaching each decision from an outside perspective. She thinks innovatively and down the field, which has really helped me envision the PR offering as a long term success.
Most prominently, I’d say the CEO at Power Digital, Grayson Lafrenz. Not once has he ever questioned my ability to build our offering into a multi million dollar success. Without his confidence and intelligent, forward thinking mindset, I wouldn’t be in the position I am today.
How are you going to shake things up next?
We are actually creating a proprietary software that will integrate the many tools we use to identify and qualify outlets, as well as measure the success of each placement.
It will be unlike anything out there and will impact the way clients interpret the the value of PR seeing its truest impact.
The goal is to redefine the way PR is viewed by brands and reposition it from a supporting role to a leading revenue driving must-have investment.
Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.
- Never stop innovating. The CEO of Power Digital Marketing has always pushed for the PR offering to outperform not only the other channels at the company, but also all other agencies in the world. That huge vision I knew was only attainable if we could innovate and identify what it was that we could offer that no one can come close to replicating.
- Lean into your strengths and focus your time on what you alone can do best. Early in my career, I tried to be master of it all, and ultimately failed. Once I realized my truest strength and love for relationship building and connecting, I was able to resurface a passion and drive like never before.
- Have fun and don’t take yourself too seriously! Sounds super clique, but if you aren’t doing work that excites you and in an environment that allows you to laugh, (even if you are laughing at yourself) it may not be the right role. It’s always okay to take a step back and reset, really taking into consideration what motivates you and helps you fulfill your purpose.
What’s a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Share a story with us.
Bob Goff’s top selling book called, Love Does. Bob said in this book, “We’re all rough drafts of the people we’re still becoming.” I was really impacted by this book in general, (it’s incredible!), but this quote stood out to me because when looking at my life and career so far, I realize it’s not about the story that’s already been documented, but the perspective of what your future has to hold.
I always try to look forward, stay humble and challenge myself to approach each new chapter with as much positivity and love as I possibly can.
As I’ve done this, so many doors have opened for me, relationships built and purpose defined. You could be making the most money and in the best position, but without a grateful mindset and acknowledging that you will always be a “draft” and moldable, it will be hard to live a life of purpose and contentment.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂
I’d say Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook and total inspiration to all women in leadership.
She has proven herself time and time again to be a savvy, out of the box thinker who impacts businesses like no other COO.
I admire her ability to find joy and if she can’t, pivot her mindset to reset and be grateful.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
You can follow me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/katelobel/
Originally published at medium.com