Networking is everything: Before the pandemic one of my favorite parts of my job was networking and meeting people in person. Whether at red carpet events or going for coffee or drinks, there is something invaluable about actually knowing someone. Journalists and media members receive hundreds of emails a day and are often working on a deadline. You can send a perfect pitch and still not get noticed in their inbox. If you have a relationship or can even text someone you’re already steps ahead.
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 Kyra Breslin. As the founder and principal of One Fourteen Entertainment, Kyra strive to differentiate her agency from others through personalized client attention, relationship building, and brand identity. Over the last 5 years, she has implemented and grown a successful business all through word of mouth. Kyra has a deep understanding of the media that is inherent having grown up around the media as the granddaughter of NYC Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jimmy Breslin. She has a genuine love for helping people succeed.
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?
After studying journalism at Indiana University, I still wasn’t sure what path I wanted to take. I took an initial job working advertising sales at The Discovery Channel which wasn’t really for me. My manager at the time saw my natural ability to connect with people and strategize and told me she thought I’d be great in public relations. I was very fortunate to have an opportunity to then intern at the renowned firm Sunshine Sachs which allowed me to gain insight on working with some of the biggest celebrities and events. I was immediately hooked. Scanning magazines, attending high profile events, forging relationships with brands and writers… I couldn’t believe this was work. After a few months of working with the Sunshine Sachs team, I began another position specific to entertainment at a smaller firm where I could be very hands-on and continue to gain experience. It was there I realized I had all the tools I needed to start my own company and forge my own path. With nothing to lose and everything to gain, it was the best decision I ever made.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began at your company?
Rather than one particular story, I think the concept of growth and opportunity continues to be the most interesting part of what I do. Since creating One Fourteen Entertainment, seeing how many more doors open for you once you open one yourself has been the most interesting and exciting aspect. For example, when people see you hustling and creating opportunities for yourself, more people will gravitate towards you and continue to give you those opportunities. It sounds backward, but it’s not. There is something special about when you can prove yourself and prove to others your ability to operate a business as well as be profitable. The universe will recognize that energy and commitment and continue to challenge you with more opportunities. I am so thankful!
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?
We are all human and mistakes are bound to happen. Especially when working alone and being responsible for all the media pitching, database organization, and updates… the tedious side of the business, it is only normal that sending a wrong email will happen. I think, in the beginning, I wanted to get information out as quickly as possible to complete the task as opposed to taking my time with everything. As a result, I absolutely sent some emails with the wrong name or wrong subject matter entirely. At first, you are like ‘oh my gosh, that person will never work with me again or thinks I don’t know how to do my job!’ And it’s definitely scary and makes you question your own ability! Some journalists are really nice and respond with a funny email back, which is great…others not so much. You learn to shake it off though. It definitely helps you to be better at your job.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
My client roster is always changing and growing! At the moment, two of the most exciting projects I am working on is with a client who just made it to the finals of ABC’s Dancing With The Stars and absolutely killed it all season. This was a really exciting opportunity because working with ABC and Disney is like no other. You learn so much and have the opportunity to be a part of such a huge show. Especially during the pandemic, this show brought so much joy to people at home, and they were able to film and produce the show safely. It has been an amazing experience! Another exciting project I’m working on is with a longtime client who is a celebrity jeweler. Again, during the pandemic, his social media engagement was at an all-time high and we were able to connect with celebrities and stylists like never before. Through that digital networking, we’ve recently had jewelry placements on Kylie Jenner, Hailey Bieber, Gigi Hadid, Nicole Scherzinger and so many more. Watching his business grow and being a part of the ride is awesome.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
1. Being your own boss is not a 9–5 job: So this is probably the most important thing I learned once I started One Fourteen. PR and working in entertainment, in general, is notoriously not a 9–5, however, this is even more true when you work for yourself. It’s amazing to have flexibility and control over your schedule, but it also means that you might be up on your computer late into the evening. Also, I tend to work with a lot of people in Los Angeles that love to call me at the end of their workdays which means sometimes I’m taking calls at 11pmEST.
2. You’re going to make mistakes: This is totally normal, and mistakes really do help you grow and get better at what you do. As I mentioned, especially when you’re starting out there is a learning curve. Rather than beat yourself up over sending a wrong email or not giving a client the right information for an interview, you make sure to do better and be on top of everything the next time.
3. You’re going to be stressed: This is the most difficult thing I learned and wished I had been warned. When you are your own boss, everything rides on you. This in turn can lead to a lot of stress and anxiety. Especially when you are in the service industry and all you want to do is perform well for your clients. You want to control every little detail but sometimes you can’t.
4. There are highs and lows: Like any business, there are highs and lows. For some reason when you work for yourself you feel these things more intensely. The highs are so incredible because you know that you are solely responsible for that win, but the lows are equally as discouraging because you have nobody to share the blame with when something goes wrong. Being fluid and going with the ebbs and flows are crucial. Whether it’s saying goodbye to a client or signing a new one, or a big media placement or not getting the feedback you want for a client…understanding how to manage your own expectations as well as your clients is key!
5. Networking is everything: Before the pandemic one of my favorite parts of my job was networking and meeting people in person. Whether at red carpet events or going for coffee or drinks, there is something invaluable about actually knowing someone. Journalists and media members receive hundreds of emails a day and are often working on a deadline. You can send a perfect pitch and still not get noticed in their inbox. If you have a relationship or can even text someone you’re already steps ahead.
You are known as a master networker. Can you share some tips on great networking?
Networking is a skill and understanding how to network can be a make or break in this business. The key is realizing that most entities, especially the industry, runoff the social currency. It’s a society to help me help you. That is what makes everything go around. If you have a big client or story and you give that opportunity to a journalist that is a win-win. If you do a favor for a journalist understanding that they might owe you one down the line with something that might not be as stellar is also a win.
Knowing how to play your hand and make connections with people and how to play into their hands is the best because everyone wants to succeed. Also, networking is so valuable because you make those face to face connections that resonate deeper than emails. The nature of journalism is constantly changing, and people get new jobs all the time. When you know the person and have a true relationship with them, you’ll be able to continue working with them no matter the outlet.
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?
Generating good leads comes down to 2 things- the relationship with the journalist and pitch. I’ve had successes for my clients with journalists with whom I’ve had no relationship with because I had clean, organized pitches. Also, being sure you are not wasting their time pitching something they don’t cover. A close friend of mine has written for celebrity publications for years and always tells me what she likes about my pitches. Being sure all the information is there, having great photos and all social media links are necessary. You don’t want them searching for anything and making their job more difficult. I also stress that photos are really important and often go overlooked. Depending on the outlet you’re aiming for, or who the client is, photography can severely impact your chances of inclusion.
Knowing the photography style of where you’re pitching is a huge help especially for fashion, beauty and lifestyle publications. The saying a picture is worth a thousand words has never been truer here. Great photography can enhance a journalist’s piece tenfold. This is the same whether you have an outstanding relationship with the journalist or not. On the other hand, when you have a lead right off the bat due to a close working relationship with someone at a particular outlet that is always easy and seamless.
Is there a particular book that you read, or podcast you listened to that really helped you in your career? Can you explain?
Admittedly there is not! I’m a big advocate of learning through experience. However, what I do is study the people I admire and read or listen to things they have said to learn more. I also like listening to the journalists I work with on best practices for pitching and working with them and I find that has made me all the better at what I do!
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’d love to inspire a movement of honesty and transparency. I think today, there is a lot of smoke and mirrors. Whether it’s from being told to buy a certain product from an influencer or even seeing a certain media placement and not understanding that not all media is organic. People are often bullied into believing certain things to be the truth when they’re not. This goes all the way up to the highest level of our lives down to the smallest most minute detail. I think if there is a way that everyone and everything can remain honest and fully transparent with their motives we would live in a much happier and more productive society.
This was really meaningful! Thank you so much for your time.