“If you keep going you will win.” The field of publicity is difficult especially if you are not performing public relations within a major company. You have to become creative on your projects to get things done. Don’t be so hard on yourself. If you take one step by step it will make sense when you get opportunities. I was reaching out for a friend’s referral to a lawyer and she didn’t end up hiring me yet asked to do a profile on me that ended up with me speaking at Lionsgate for her official launch her company, Diverse Representation.com on the topic of Diversity in Publicity. Your accolades will come from the people you least expect it to come from yet you have to keep going to see it.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Francis Perdue. Francis is a Senior Publicist at PS Media Talent. Francis Perdue, Sr. Publicist of PS Media Talent has been a full-time publicist since 2009. Ms. Perdue currently holds the position of The Director of Communications for My Beverages, a new water company, based in West Hollywood, California. In 2016, her firm was nominated for a Black Business Hall of Fame Award by The Hart Foundation and City National Bank. Her feature in She Boom was a catalyst that led to the discovery of her talents and philanthropy work. With 100 plus products placed for high-end events, The Doctor’s TV Show and her annual FUSE Pre-ESPY Event Ms. Perdue added a product division to her company. This has deemed her a hot commodity in the Product Placement side of events and television & film. Recently, Ms. Perdue was nominated again in 2018 for her Philanthropy work with youth as well as her Annual Pre-ESPY party entitled FUSE where she gives honor to various charities.
As a seasoned senior publicist, Francis is sought after for sponsorship, public relations for businesses and individuals. After 8-plus years in education, Perdue decided to take teaching beyond a confined classroom and started PS Media Talent in 2009. Always known as “The Hub” for information and research, people approached Perdue daily within and outside of education for solution strategies and connections. When thinking of making her life more fulfilling she pondered how she could help people attain their goals without boundaries and went into PR Services.
Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
One day a friend called me and asked me to help them with getting sponsorship from Monster Cable Company. He was a music producer and went to NAMM show. He gave me the contact information for the head of marketing and I got him sponsorship for the “Boom Boom” room.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began at your company?
The most interesting story that happened to me was I ended up working for an NGO under the United Nations. I applied online to do sponsorship wrangling for ARTIVIST a film festival for the UN. When I met the founders they decided that they loved the way I worked and they liked the fact that I talent wrangled major executives From Sony as well as Universal. I actually ended up becoming an Executive Producer and Publicist.
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?
A funny mistake I made when first starting is that while at an MTV Gifting Suite I took the advice of a client and went around signed him in, took pictures of clients who were interviewing guests on-site per their request & collected his gifts so that client could go through and take pictures with the products. I should have waited for him even though he was late with a delayed flight. I was saved by the client because he would not deal with anyone but him. So, the people who lied and said I got gifts for myself started praising me and my photographer once he demanded me only.
Lesson learned from that experience is, “Never listen to the client; You are the expert do what you think or know is right!
How did you scale your business to profitability? How long did it take? Please share the steps you took.
To scale the business to profitability I stopped looking at what people could afford and started looking at the scope of work. I compared rates for services to other firms and started estimating how much time it took per service offered. I created a rate sheet and invoice for billing and added an accountant to help keep track of billing. It took 2 years to get a system down.
Steps to Profitability
· Scale Services to match workload and time to complete
· Create a scope of work, contract, invoice, and a consulting fee
· Base rates on the need for services and scale to serve the client
· Give time to create actual success, no terms of contracts less than 3 months to track progress
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
The most interesting projects I am working on currently are a start-up beverage company entitled, My Beverages. Two flagship products are on the cutting edge of health. My Hemp Water has great components such as Co-Q10, B12 and 8.5 Alkaline Water. We’ve started an affiliate program which has included musical artists, actors and more.
Yearly, we have an ESPY event entitled, FUSE Pre-ESPY event and we are gearing up to pick our charities to honor and host for 2019. We give back each year to a charity as we party with a purpose.
Based on your personal experience, what advice would you give to young people considering a career in PR?
The advice I would give to a young person entering into the field of publicity would be to stay open to opportunities to think outside the box to make solutions to problems clients may have. Do actual research, not just Google things and utilize people who are veterans in the business as guides. Learn new techniques daily. Network and gain allies to get through the toughest challenges you will face in the business, which usually include access and knowing someone to get it.
You are known as a master networker. Can you share some tips on great networking?
Tips to networking:
· Be open to new groups
· Try to make everything even when you do not feel like it.
· You can’t say the right thing to the wrong person and the wrong thing to the right person, so say Hi
· Keep cards even though it’s old school it works to give out when your phone dies
· Always get the other person’s information
· Always Follow-Up so you can say you at least did your part
· Look on sites like Eventbrite for new opportunities to network
· Join Facebook Groups like CZARS, Women In PR, PR Connect, etc. to network with seasoned professionals who make like easier in publicity.
· Use your gut, if you don’t vibe with the person its ok to fall back and not become besties
Is there a particular book that you read, or podcast you listened to that really helped you in your career? Can you explain?
Books that really helped me were, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, The Greatest Salesman In the World, Gary Vaynerchuck Jab Jab Right Hook, Blink & Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, and The Game of Life and How To Play It by Florence Shovel Shinn.
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?
A Movement that I would love to inspire is The “Justice League” Movement. My vision is to create an endowment that changes legislation to promote civil rights by creating a diverse representation in the field of law. There are no “anti-lynching” laws on the state or federal law books. Within the endowment, it would pay for law school for potential lawyers to go to school for free in exchange for them opening up their own practices and focusing on the law that protects the rights of people of color. By having laws that make consequences for hate crimes, deliberate killings due to race and killing of Black men, women, and children.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
FiveThings I Wish Someone Told Me before I Started as a Publicist are:
1. “There is not a right or really wrong way to do things when thinking outside the box especially when you are creating a new way to things or a new invention.”
I got hired to be a talent wrangler and sponsorship coordinator for an NGO and I simply gave suggestions and did my best job and they were stuck on what they did previously, so I went along with the rules. The rules were not getting results. I stopped following the script and went for what I felt was right which went in my database and others and find the people and their team to contact them and let fate do the rest. I was in a Panera bread and this man hit on me while I was working and asked me what I am doing. Then, I told him and he actually ended up knowing a person who could help me surprise one of the honorees. It was told to me that the executive producer credit.
2. “Always think outside the box.”
When you look at resources outside of the normal you become more valuable. I used plenty of sources for contacts that came through websites and made allegiances with other people in my groups. That’s how I get things done quickly and efficiently. I discovered share websites that allowed you to share contacts.
3. “Network until you think you don’t need to anymore then network some more.”
Join groups on Facebook, Google, and other platforms. Go to networking events in other fields to gain allegiances as well as Engage and ask for assistance and give assistance and your reputation will breathe reciprocity. I reached out to a Facebook group named CZARS for Public relations and media professionals and assisted a major TV Show with product placements and trade-outs with high-end companies to fulfill a three-day request. I basically pulled off a miracle due to a great network of people assisting with a project.
4. “Donate your time you never know who you will meet and click with.”
I donated my time for organizations that serve kids since that’s my “hot button.” While volunteering my time I met actresses who were needed for a film I was working on. We were walking to the front together because it was dark and we hit it off by just talking about what we had going.
5. “If you keep going you will win.” The field of publicity is difficult especially if you are not performing public relations within a major company. You have to become creative on your projects to get things done. Don’t be so hard on yourself. If you take one step by step it will make sense when you get opportunities. I was reaching out for a friend’s referral to a lawyer and she didn’t end up hiring me yet asked to do a profile on me that ended up with me speaking at Lionsgate for her official launch her company, Diverse Representation.com on the topic of Diversity in Publicity. Your accolades will come from the people you least expect it to come from yet you have to keep going to see it.