TE&Co. Magazine: The ROI of PR Issue

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Don’t forget the “relation” part of Public Relations

HOW TO Your 8 Day Personal Branding Challenge

Smart tips to finally start leveraging your personal brand.

The ROI of PR Issue

Step Guide to Giving a Media Exclusive

We’re talking about the ROI of PR... “We” meaning, PR Executives from across the country!

Arthur Brooks
“You will never truly know what kind of impact your work will have had on others.”
Issue We’re Talking About the ROI of PR... “We” meaning, PR Executives from across the country! 10 Nycole Myden FOUNDER OF NYCOLE MYDEN, LLC 08 14 Mika Stambaugh FOUNDER & PRESIDENT OF TMI 17 Tikiyah Overstreet FOUNDER & PRESIDENT OF PRGIRL911 19 Cindy Ashton SINGER, ACTOR, AUTHOR, & TV HOST 22 Michelle Mekky FOUNDER & PRESIDENT OF MEKKY MEDIA RELATIONS, INC. 27 Christina Daves PR STRATEGIST & BESTSELLING AUTHOR 30 Marcella Raymond CEO & FOUNDER OF MARCELLA RAYMOND MEDIA
CONTENTS Features February / March 2023 44 48 Tamara Launches Her Biggest Project Yet Your 8-Day Personal Branding Challenge Invest 5 minutes a day for 8 days to unlock your personal brand strategy. 04 34 A Letter From the Editor XX, TAMARA EDWARDS A ThreeStep Guide to Giving a Media Exclusive
40 Pssst...Don’t Forget the “Relation” Part of Public Relations
Cover photo by HANNAH SCHWEISS

a letter from the editor

Keep reading if you own, operate, or work in a business where you want to expand opportunities and get in front of new audiences.

Keep reading if you’ve been promised a “simple fix” to grow your business — only to be on the other side of someone else’s online program or sales funnel.

Keep reading if you have a vision for how you want to show up, or if you’ve been on the fence about where to start. Because when you DO get started, you want the end results to not only represent you but also leave a lasting impression.

If any of this resonates, you are part of the 95% of working professionals who believe that the market will remain or become more competitive; you know that if you don’t stand out, your competition will.

(Source: Jobvite)

So, what’s your plan?

If the pandemic taught us anything, it was that digital presence matters. We’re living, breathing, complex people who are doing things in real life (*clears throat* “making human connections”).

So, how do you stand out both on and offline? What story are you telling?

Even more, how do you tell your story without peacocking or coming across as braggy?

Your story has to be true to your business or brand. This is, in a nutshell, the job of a publicist.

Your publicist cares for the state of affairs in your business. The story you’re telling.


And your story is the “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” and “why” behind external facing activities.

You need to go well beyond a press release. You need a strategy. And that’s good business.

In our experience, a client wants to have capital-M “MEANING” behind their investment in public relations. What we’ve learned in our five years of serving clients from across several verticals, industries, stages, sizes, etc., is that there isn’t one single definition of “the ROI of PR.”

That’s what we will explore here in the third issue of the TE&Co. Magazine. Certainly, our voice will be prominent

through this issue as a continuation of the intention behind this Magazine, to “celebrate our wins and take a behind-the-scenes look at how we build successful PR, Personal Branding and Communications Strategies.” We also knew that we aren’t the only voice on the topic of measuring the ROI of PR. In the pages ahead, you’ll be given the opportunity to spend time with several leading PR executives, entrepreneurs, mavens —you name it— from all around the U.S. who share the same dedication to their craft that we do.

Thanks in advance for taking the time to get to know these incredible women.



You get one shot at this precious life.


What do you want out of this life? How do you want to spend it? Who do you want to be?

It’s time to start prioritizing those answers, TODAY.

Ask yourself:

Who is the version of “me” that has what I want? What do I believe? What actions (or inaction) should I be taking? And most importantly, how can I show up as THAT version of me, TODAY — HERE — NOW?

brand identity / illustration / pitch & sales decks / UX, web design & development / email campaigns / packaging design / app design / creative & roll out strategies

Great brands listen closely before they speak loudly.

Because friends, this life is way too short to let your own bullshit distract you from making the most of this one time experience and frankly, the world needs what you got. So it’s time to get out of your own way and make the most of your one precious life. and


YEARS OF TE&CO. est. 2018


My tried-and-true list of favorite professionals. If you’re in need of a hair stylist, copywriter, creative director, photographer, business coach, etc - they’re on this list.


Building a community of professional women through events that lift one another and inspire conversations

Features February / March 2023 CONTENTS 7
we start TODAY.

The ROI of PR

Public Relations. Media Relations. Strategic Communications. Crisis Communications. Publicity. Public Affairs. Community Relations. External Communications.



o, when is PR simply a press release? When does it overlap with branding, marketing, or advertising? How can PR help move product, expand new opportunities, or give your business more structure? The answer is yes to all of the above.

There are several different types of PR that can pull different “levers” towards business growth, brand recognition, reputation management, and so much more.

We are so excited to introduce you to several leading PR executives from across industries.

While there are several common threads in our collective attitude and approach, each and every one of us (and our wonderful teams) represents a business and bottom-line focused solution that has been carefully designed through our individual experience. Without further ado, please meet the PR industry’s leading innovators:


From a tactical standpoint, I know “what” to do when it comes to PR. The insight that I was missing was a very specific focus that Nicole brings to her work-

shops, clients, interactions: the “how.” It was about their belief in themselves.

I remember sitting there in awe at her message, which she delivered with precision. She used keywords like “worthy” and “deserve” — and any other words that speak to you in an encouraging manner. Just brilliant.

It was my honor to yet again appreciate her insights through the lens of sharing it with you all. (I would even suggest bookmarking this section to read again and again, so you can truly absorb Nicole’s spirit.)

icole, your background sounds like a movie trailer!

Tell us! Tell us!

I’ve been working in the public relations industry for 23 years now. My career started in May of 2000 when I had the great opportunity to shadow a film publicist as an intern at the Cannes Film Festival. Post trip, I was back in Los Angeles working at a prestigious agency that represented celebrity talent. I spent my first few years working in the entertainment public relations niche and then found myself working in the consumer product, lifestyle and hospitality space for a bulk of my career.

My journey in PR has been a combination of holding upper management roles at some of the most respected agencies in the industry with a combined handful of years as an entrepreneur, serving both regionally focused and national businesses. In the last few years especially, I’ve found great joy in helping small business owners learn how to garner their own media coverage, for it is my core

I met Nicole Myden when I attended one of her PR workshops geared towards small business owners. I remember being absolutely blown away.

belief that everyone is worthy of press! They just need to understand how to tell their story and communicate it in a compelling way that shows people how they solve a problem with what they are bringing into the world through their business and or offerings, etc.

How did you get your start at your current company / organization?

I love being a guide to open up a client’s eyes to what is possible. I’ve had students show up to my workshops who don’t believe they are “worthy” of being on TV or in a magazine. Within 2 or 3 months of working together, they are seeing themselves on TV, in magazines, and opening doors for larger

opportunities, because they had a shift in mindset and energy to align to these opportunities, and focus on calling them in.

I love to see the small business owners rewarded and celebrated in the press for their amazing causes, businesses, missions or ways they improve people’s lives. Press coverage is not just something for big brands, everyone deserves it!

What do you enjoy most about your work?

The infamous question of my career. At various stages of my career, my answer to this has

looked very differently. I am very transparent with clients and tell them always, there is no guarantee in working together you will get placement. I prefer to under promise

and over deliver and let the process take shape. I’ve personally seen the entire trajectory of a business change because of solid and consistent press coverage. I truly believe you have to be known these days, to stay relevant. Brands can’t afford to not be out there, so invest in the energy of PR, the momentum it will bring to your business, rather than gripping on the dollar return for every placement.

“because they had a shift in mindset and energy to align to these opportunities, and focus on calling them in.“

What topics could you talk about endlessly?

Trust the process, nothing happens overnight, but if the press coverage can help you impact just one person’s life for the better and reach just one new person with your mission and story, we’ve done our job!

Anything we haven’t asked?

Yes, the media landscape has changed so much since I started in my career over two decades ago. I love traditional media, I love magazines, I always have. I cherish the traditional media landscape and what it can do for brands still, even amidst all the incredible digital noise.

If you had to narrow it down, what is your specific area of expertise?

It has now become niching down to teach small business owners how to engage with the press in their local media markets and garner placements where their business is based.

Nicole Myden is the Founder of Nicole Myden LLC. Stay in touch with Nicole on LinkedIn and Instagram! @nicolemyden

“I’ve personally seen the entire trajectory of a business change because of solid and consistent press coverage.”

Mika Stambaugh

I met Mika for a coffee date in the winter of 2018. I remember meeting her and thinking: “she just knows.”

Mika has the kind of energy where:

1) You know she’s in the room and

2) you gravitate towards her. And once you get close enough, she’s even more kind and fun loving than you imagined.

Mika is the Founder & President of her firm, TMI.

Mika is magnetic.


ika, give us the background, the history, the tales!

I started my career one month out of college at CBS 2 News in Chicago in 2004. I have been in news, communications and PR ever since.

WOW, 20 years flew by!

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I love telling stories that haven’t been told before.

The 100-yearold infrastructure construction company that has kept our roads and rails safe. Or the non-profit that takes care of 2500 foster kids in our area that don’t have parents or homes.

In your own words, how would you describe the ROI of PR?

People and companies hire us to get out messages, promote an event or product or to inform their industry of their existence for a possible merger (we have successfully helped sell 2 companies in 5 years).

Everyone needs PR. But PR doesn’t have to be unattainable due to high monthly retainers.

We used to use software and send out reports and do it all properly, but post pandemic we don’t do any of that anymore. We aim for a minimum

of 2 stories per month on average. If we aren’t landing you news coverage, then we aren’t doing our job.

Luckily that hasn’t happened.

Do you have any case studies or stories that can showcase the ROI of PR/ Communications?

One of my favorite success stories came full circle for me after 30 years. One of my first best friends, Brook, hired TMI in 2021 after starting a small business in Raleigh, NC. She didn’t have huge expectations, but wanted to land some small, hyper local and industry coverage.

A few months after working together, we landed a media opp on WGN-TV Chicago’s Midday magazine show.

Not only was she so pumped to share her work in the 3rd market and nationally, but she was able to fly in, stay with me, and I handled the press for her. It was a win-win for us as friends as well as our client/consultant relationship.

“I love telling stories that haven’t been told before.”

(BTW - check her out, Brook Belden, is in every women’s corner.)

What is the best PR/ Communications advice you give your clients?

You must love your PR person. Sometimes personal sticky secrets are released or not-so-public situations arise and you want to be in the “uncomfortable zone” with a PR person you trust and feel safe with. If there isn’t a sticky situation, then you want to put “your baby” in someone’s hands that you also know is going to treat it like their own. Also, stay out of the process. Trust us. When I hire a plumber or electrician I don’t tell them how to do their job.

Is there anything we haven’t asked that you’d like to add?

I believe everyone is an expert at something now, post Covid. I launched a subscription-based PR software that is affordable and truly for everyone. It is almost 2023 ... don’t let a large monthly retainer keep you out of the conversations you should be a part of.

TMI was started in 2018 to offer PR with purpose. When a client hires us, we have an understanding of the FREE media we can leverage to share their message in all media platforms.

Mika Stambaugh is the Founder & President of TMI. Be sure to follow Mika’s firm, TMI on instagram (with probably the best ig name of all time) @tmi2gsd

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A diverse range of food and beverage offerings are spread across ten unique vendors. Guests can find local food favorites, international cuisines, classic cocktails, curated wines and crafted coffee.

There are also many options for us to host your next private event. WWW.ASTERHALLCHICAGO.COM

I love the name of your company, it’s so pointed. TMI = The MAS Ink, Too Much Information. Love it.


I was introduced to Tikiyah through our mutual media friend, (The true king of Chicago media)

Brandon Pope, and was so excited to be connected to her. You will be DRAWN to her the same way I was when I realized what she is all about.

Meet Tikiyah!

Founder of PRGirl911

ikiyah, what’s your professional background?!

I like to tell people that I tripped and fell into the public relations world about 10 years ago while living in Los Angeles. Which I did. I’m a Chicago native who also worked in radio and TV prior to leading campaigns in the public relations industry.

Currently, I specialize in consumer publicity, and I have a passion for cultural brands. In particular: beauty, lifestyle, fashion, food and beverage, cannabis, celebrities, and health – and I collaborate with award-winning PR agencies around the globe.

What makes me genuinely elated is when the client is visibly happy about the top-tier placement in Forbes, LA Times, etc. It’s a great reward after a hard day’s work.

In your own words, how do you describe the ROI of PR?

If you have patience,

PR could be one of the best investments that you can make while building a brand. Public Relations is about storytelling. People want to be able to relate to your brand. While PR and advertising can go hand in hand, acquiring a publicist will help develop a passionate following among consumers, which will equate to a strong ROI over time.

Do you have any case studies or stories that can showcase the ROI of PR/ Communications?

Storytime. I worked with a team of PR professionals in the past, and one of the clients was a children’s toy. After weeks of steady pitching and following up in hopes of snagging their 1st TV placement, we secured a holiday segment for a national TV show. The segment was about “the best holiday gifts for

your kids.” The segment aired, and the client sold out within hours!

What is the best PR/ Communications advice you give your clients?

1. Please be patient, results do not happen overnight. 2. Step out of your comfort zone. 3. Communication is gold.

Is there anything we haven’t asked that you’d like to add?

It’s highly advised for companies to include diversity and inclusion in their messaging, and it should also reflect in the scope of work.

You can stay in touch with Tikiyah on LinkedIn or by following her on instagram: @Prgirl_tips

“Public Relations is about storytelling. People want to be able to relate to your brand.“

Cindy Ashton

Our next PR Maven is someone who has received awards from President Obama and Queen Elizabeth II, and lights up every room she steps into.

I met Cindy Ashton through a mutual friend and was immediately clear on what she was all about. She is the type of woman who lives for her purpose and shows you all of who she is. She is truly admirable, fun, and inspiring.

Now, let’s all fall in love with Cindy!

Singer, Actor, Author, AwardWinning TV Host training you to Speak For Your Power

indy, how would you describe your career in the PR / Communications industry?

From performing and speaking on thousands of stages to being featured in countless media outlets to interviewing celebrities on the red carpet to training tens of thousands of people to speak from their power to close more deals, it’s truly been a remarkable career. To know my voice and the voices of our clients are making a positive impact in the world is deeply satisfying.

How long, background, what industries, etc.

At 19 years old, I was an apprentice on several pre-Broadway shows and learned what it really took to tell a compelling story and create an unforgettable experience for your audience. From there, I have gone on to do musicals, opera, comedy improv and television, giving

me the opportunity to understand how to build deeply rooted connections with any audience. I started training others on their speaking, presentation and influence skills over 25 years ago and have had the joy of working with everyone from small business owners to billionaire CEOs.

If you had to narrow it down, what is your specific area of expertise?

I love training our clients on how to speak from their power across all parts of their business, so they can have greater influence with their message and close more deals. And it can be done without using any slick sales methods. The key is learning how to be in alignment with

your brand and message, and taking people on an emotional journey that draws them to you as well as speaking your message from a place of deep truth and embodiment (no fake posing, posturing or speech effects!).

What do you enjoy most about your work?

Everything! But if I had to choose one thing, it would be when I take our clients through relaxation and grounding exercises and then have them present their talk. Learning how to BE in their body and express their truth without having to push to be heard is magical. It’s so simple yet gives our clients a feeling of power and trust in themselves in a way they never thought was possible.

People buy from people they know, like and trust.

In your own words, how would you describe the ROI of PR?

Delivering your message on stage and on camera is a game changer. People buy from people they know, like and trust. When people see you, feel your energy and experience you, it builds that authentic connection needed to inspire them to buy from you and spread the word about your message.

Do you have any case studies or stories that can showcase the ROI of PR/ Communications?

Doug Brown is the former President of Sales for Tony Robbins.

“Even though he was a master of sales, by simply tweaking his talk to be more about the emotional journey you take people on and upleveling his presentation style (body language, voice, stagecraft), he added an additional $660,000 to his revenue within one year.“

What is the best PR/ Communications advice you give your clients?

Alternatively though, if your speaking voice or body language comes across as insecure or too aggressive, it turns people off, losing you sales and credibility which is why it is SO important to learn how to Speak from Your Power™.

Your speaking voice and body language shapes how people perceive you. To avoid coming across as disengaged, insecure and untrustworthy, avoid fidgeting, crossing your limbs and having wandering eyes.

One of the ways to do that is to get calm and present in the body. Take a couple of minutes to roll your shoulders, shake out your body, feel your feet and stretch your mouth open and closed a few times.

It frees up the voice to sound naturally confident without sounding aggressive and the body to appear relaxed yet strong.

Cindy Ashton is an Award-Winning TV host, Singer/Actor, Keynote Performer & Speak From Your Power Trainer and Author of Liberate Your Voice: How to Trust Your Power In A World That Shuts You Down.

Connect with Cindy on LinkedIn and Instagram: @CindyAshtonOfficial


Michelle Mekky


Michelle Mekky is THE woman behind all of the big things happening in Chicago.

ichelle Mekky, where did you get your start?

I started my career in journalism after getting my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Northwestern University’s Medill School (of Journalism). I was a news writer and then senior producer for FOX 32 in Chicago.

It was a grueling workload and schedule, but I loved it.

After several years of being pitched by every publicist on the planet, I began to realize that I had a passion for public relations and marketing, and I made the transition from TV to working at agencies.

I had gained a lot of insider media knowledge and connections during my time as a producer, and that experience helped me achieve top-tier coverage for a broad range of clients, from small startups to global powerhouses.

In 2016, I finally decided to take the leap of launching my own PR agency after overcoming some twists and turns in my life including surviving cancer and losing a job. I started Mekky Media Relations at my dining room table, with just one client. It was definitely a risk and a huge challenge. I basically worked around the clock for the first few years.

But it was so worth it!

Today, I’m so proud of the agency that my team and I have built. I employ nearly 20 people. We have clients throughout Chicago and coast to coast and have global reach. Last year, we experienced record growth and became a seven-figure business.

It has been a rewarding journey, and I’m so proud of the work we do to elevate our partners and expand their reach.

If you had to narrow it down, what is your specific area of expertise?

I believe my expertise is connecting with people and developing an understanding of them and their business, then providing creative and impactful storytelling that fuels their growth. At Mekky Media, we specialize in PR strategy, media relations, media training, event promotion, social media strategy, influencer outreach, internal communications and integrated digital and PR programs.


What do you enjoy most about your work?

I enjoy getting to know so many creative and hardworking entrepreneurs and leaders who are building companies and nonprofits that are making a big difference in our world. Our clients and partners and the work they do inspire me, and I’m proud to be part of their journey. I also very much enjoy the creative storytelling aspect

of PR. There are so many things I love about working in PR and leading my company. As a cancer survivor, I am grateful for every single day that I get to do this work that is so fulfilling.

In your own words, how would you describe the ROI of PR?

Good strategic public relations is a crucial part of growing a business, especially in these challenging times. It pays off in terms of media impressions, optimizing SEO and an increased social media following, to name just a few of the benefits. This can all help you stand out in a crowded field and attract customers, donors, employees, etc. PR also can position an organization or individual as a trusted expert or leading voice, which supports credibility and gives you the power to reach new audiences. In short, PR – when it’s done the right way – is an essential tool for driving revenue and growth. Leaders who understand this position themselves for long-term success.

“PR also can position an organization or individual as a trusted expert or leading voice, which supports credibility and gives you the power to reach new audiences.”

Do you have any case studies or stories that can showcase the ROI of PR/ Communications?

We have case studies for all of our clients that show the tremendous results achieved through our strategic PR partnerships.

One that stands out is Abt Electronics, which has been a Mekky Media client for several years. We work closely with them to develop timely, compelling pitches and messaging that resonate, and we’ve been able to put them on a national stage by consistently achieving placements in high-profile publications and on national TV networks.

We’ve also had a longstanding partnership with Wealth Management Group, regularly placing owner Craig Bolanos on TV and radio and turning him into a financial media star. His elevated media presence has driven a consistent stream of new revenue for his business.

Other great examples are the new restaurant concepts we helped launch during the pandemic, like Edie’s All Day Cafe & Bar, which received a great deal of media attention and is now launching a second location and continuing to grow.

In addition, I’m incredibly proud to represent Red Bull and see the gains we’ve achieved for them. My team’s work for this national brand has resulted in millions of media impressions and impacted attendance at events, driving increases in the thousands. We have also contributed to

increased donations and attendance at many fundraisers and for non-profit organizations of kinds. These are just a few examples where we’ve seen the intense and valuable ROI of smart PR programs and strategies.

What is the best PR / Communications advice you give your clients?

You can’t just start blasting press releases and gain meaningful coverage. You have to really identify a strong message on what makes you different and newsworthy, and really strategize how to get your message out.

When you are willing to invest and give it time, PR can be absolutely crucial to your success.

I have clients who have been with me from the beginning.

Additionally, get media trained! We love training our clients and outside experts and businesses and have seen dramatic success.

“Trust the process, PR takes time.”

Is there anything we haven’t asked that you’d

like to add?

I am also very passionate about leadership. I did not expect to have an agency of the size I do today. I literally imagined myself at my dining room table, with three clients. But now I have a staff of 20 that I am responsible for. I need to show up every day and lead with passion, strength and empathy.

It is a big role I do not take lightly. I pride myself on the culture we have built and the amazing team of people making my dream happen of having a successful healthy workplace that cares about its people and its clients.

Michelle Mekky is a PR veteran, award-winning broadcast journalist and public relations executive. She is founder and president of Mekky Media Relations, Inc., a boutique PR agency with clients in Chicago and coast to coast that range from startups to industry leaders.

To follow Michelle, visit:

Facebook: @MekkyMichelle

Instagram: @Michelle.Mekky

Twitter: @MichelleMekky

LinkedIn: Michelle Mekky




Christina is exactly my type of entrepreneur. She is someone who knows that everything is “figureoutable.” And, if you pay close attention, it’s also teachable. And that is what she’s done throughout her impressive career.

Mine was accidental but it’s been an incredible ride. I had invented a product that didn’t exist before (a fashion line for medical boots). I hired a consultant who scammed me out of $25,000.

The good news to that is that it forced me to figure things out.

Christina Daves TAMARAEDWARDS.CO 27
PR Strategist & Author
hristina, how would you describe your career in the PR/ Communications industry?

I realized publicity is free and I figured out a system that has allowed me to appear in over 1,000 media outlets including three appearances on the Steve Harvey Show, Dr. Oz, Forbes, Entrepreneur, Bloomberg, and many more.

Together with my clients we have over one billion views and over $100 million in sales from free publicity.

How long, background, what industries, etc.? Tell us more!

I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was in my early 20s. I sold real estate and then went into business with a friend. We had an event planning company where we threw huge parties and concerts for tens of thousands of people all in their twenties. We had the Dave Matthews band at an event two weeks before they were on the radio. I owned a retail boutique store for 10+ years which really allowed me to understand the value of customer experience and also PR.

I would regularly get our products featured in the Washington Post, and we got one of our vendors on the O List after attending the Oprah Winfrey Show.

I sold the store, broke my foot, and the rest is history!

If you had to narrow it down, what is your specific area of expertise?

My gift is uncovering what makes a particular person or company

newsworthy. I come up with very creative story ideas the media loves. I’m an idea gal and I love to work with my clients on outside-of-the-box ideas that will have the media saying YES! To do this well, you have to be good at hooks. You have to hook the media in, and that’s another strength I bring to our clients.

Together with my clients we have over one billion views and over $100 million in sales from free publicity.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

There is nothing I love more than turning on my television and seeing a client on television. I’m like a proud momma seeing her baby shine. It means they pitched a great story idea and got the yes!

And once they start and get a taste of it, I know they’ll continue pitching and continue becoming known in their industry.

In your own words, how would you describe the ROI of PR?

The ROI of PR is showing that YOU are the authority in the industry. YOU are the person the media chose to use to interview. There is third-party credibility associated with PR as well. They call it “earned media.”

It’s someone else telling the world how great you are. PR allows you to become known in your industry. It gives you visibility, credibility, and authority!

Do you have any case studies or stories that can showcase the ROI of PR/ Communications?

Antrina Curry, RN, BSN, owns a home health care company called Caring Hearts with Healing Hands. We got her on her local CBS station during lockdown by pitching a story, “YES! You can hug your grandmother!” The show aired live, and by the time she got back to her office, she had five new clients.

What is the best PR / Communications advice you give your clients?

Landing in the media is all about providing value to an audience. When you pitch, when you are interviewed, make it about them not you. You will reap all the benefits of being in the media. They need you to be an expert and provide information and value. You’re not there to sell yourself or your service. Be prepared and give good value and you’ll be invited back again and again.

Christina Daves, PR Strategist, is the best-selling author of the #1 best-selling book, The DIY Guide to FREE Publicity that shares her journey of landing exposure for a product she invented, medical boot fashions.

You’ll definitely want to follow Christina to get all of the PR tips and more on LinkedIn and Instagram @christinadavesofficial

MarcellaRaymond 30
CEO and Founder of Marcella Raymond Media

We look after each other, talk shop, and laugh about the woes of the day.

I met Marcella before she was Marcella Raymond Media when she was working as a reporter with Chicago’s WGN-TV News station. The day we met in particular was a ‘big news’ day, and there was a gaggle of press following us.

Marcella just so happened to be the first member of the media call me to cover our story —so I made sure to tailor the client’s questions and focus on her.

Aside from that, we’ve stayed in contact, met for lunch over the years, and a friendship began to form.

She’s just the best.

She has challenged my thinking and taught me so much about the art of PR in such a short amount of time. Her wit, her honesty, and quick thinking are why we come. Her warm heart is why we stay.

arcella, how would you describe your career in the PR/ Communications industry?

My 30+ years in journalism has prepared me for PR. I know what producers and reporters are looking for in a story. My jam is working with female owned businesses. Their passion is infectious. My clients include chef/ restaurant owners, authors, health and wellness coaches, small business owners, among others.

If you had


narrow it down, what is your specific area of expertise?

I can go into a business and find the best story to promote. “What’s unique about your business?”

“What kind of image do you want to portray?” The stories I feel work best with media outlets are the personal ones. As a journalist,

Marcella is my sister bear. Not my momma bear, but my sister bear.
“My jam is working with female-owned businesses. Their passion is infectious.”

I get ten emails a day from publicists. Most go in the trash because they don’t have an interesting story.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I love when a plan works! It’s so exciting to brainstorm with a client, come up with ideas and a plan to execute it. We also have to believe and trust each other in order to get the best outcome.

In your own words, how would you describe the ROI of PR?

A client cannot expect results overnight. You have to be patient. PR is a tool that when used over time, grows your business. The more your brand/name gets in front of the right people, the more you’re

building awareness. The more you appear on TV, radio, in papers and magazines, you elevate your presence which brings more customers to your site and more money in your pocket.

Do you have any case studies or stories that can showcase the ROI of PR/ Communications?

I have a client who appeared on two Chicago newscasts in the same week. After the segments aired, visitors to her website increased 300%. That’s definitely a good investment!

What is the best PR/ Communications advice you give your clients?

You’ve come to me for a

reason. Let me use my expertise to build and deliver a strategy plan that works for you.

Marcella Raymond is the CEO and Founder of Marcella Raymond Media. Keep up with her over at @ marcellaraymondmedia on instagram.

you’re building awareness.

PR is a tool that, when used over time, grows your business. The more your brand/name gets in front of the right people, the more

In wordsyour how would you describe the ROI of PR?


A 3-Step Guide to Giving A Media Exclusive


Follow these three steps to understand how to administer an exclusive as part of your PR strategy.


So, what exactly is a media exclusive?

Simply put, a media “exclusive” — in the context of Public and Media Relations — is a noteworthy piece of news, information, or content that is withheld for a specific publication, outlet, or journalist.


In an ideal environment, it is premium coverage or is often reserved for “breaking” exciting news. Follow these three steps to understand how to administer an exclusive as part of your PR strategy.


In a few sentences, what would it say? The key is to focus on the metrics, the change that you are making for your industry, community, the world, etc. and why it matters. A client case study/ example: Our client, Cloud Apartments, recently shared the announcement of a funding series from a prominent investor. The story was intended to invite more investors to the table by naming the individuals behind the company. Big names helped, but the story was about the promise that Cloud Apartments makes to its customers, to “cut housing costs by 30% with modular apartments.”

Think of this first step as if you were to have a publication like Forbes or Business Insider (or even your leading local or business publication) “break” news about your business or brand.

craft your message

industry, community, the world, etc. and why it matters.

Case Study: Cloud Apartments, Picture of Curtis Wong, Founder

The key is to focus on the metrics, the change that you are making for your

This step is about relationship building. These days, a LinkedIn connection or Twitter follow can lead to coverage. Think of the ways that you can engage with your ideal publication and their reporter or journalists. What are they currently writing about / covering and what have they covered? It’s important to consider their audiences as well as for you to craft your message as to why they should cover or break your story. You may also offer them an exclusive as the pitch angle

pick up the phone on the first ring. Make their job working with you as easy as possible.

Other considerations are to work through a proper deadline and other terms, to protect the relationship for your client.

Tools for a Media Kit: Photos, story, facts, messaging. These are all needed BEFORE YOU start the process of giving a media exclusive.

If you earn the opportunity to get an exclusive, your job has really just begun. The key is to make sure that the reporter has all of the resources, facts, figures, personnel, photos, etc. that they need. Your job as a publicist or person who is interacting with the media for this short period of time is to accommodate their needs both in real time and with ease. For example, when they call you,

but the key is to make it known that it has been considered for their specific “beat” or area of coverage.
STEP 02 source your journalist reporter / publication / outlet
STEP 03 close the deal

A collaborative space for Chicago creatives to meet, network, uplift and create together.


Not out of fear.

Out of focus.

Out of thinking outside the box. And, pursuing my edge by trying things I haven’t tried before.

I’m creative. I love art, I love production, I love talent.

And so, I’d like to think of 2022 as the year that I began pushing my own envelope creatively to see what I can create.

If you know me, you know that I internalize a lot.

What came out was magazines, video, production, new ideas. Some of them took shape, others went away. My head was down. My ear, to the ground.

And somehow, we came up with the idea to do a documentary.

Enter the internal monologue of creative thinking: “What would it be about? Me and my business. From what vantage point? My own.”

I wanted to share what I was experiencing while building my business. The highs. The lows. The euphoria. The moments. I also wanted to document this for my future self. This moment of my life is something that I know will change in no time. I want to remember it because I am so beyond proud of what I’ve built for myself, my community.

Arthur Brooks often talks about the core functions of what is meant for happiness.

Faith. Family. Friendships. Meaningful work.

My hope is that when you watch this film, you see someone who is striving for just that.

Sure, money feels nice. Success. Recognition. I mean, that’s the fun of this industry. I have to

test new modes to help my clients leverage their stories — and do it in a way that is aligned with how they want to ‘show up.’

But, it’s about what’s right in front of you, too. I have the ability to challenge myself continuously. And the luxury of working with people that I want to be working with.

And there’s the peace I feel, having structure to all of the projects I am juggling and the responsibilities I have to others and to myself.

There are moments that feel heavy. There are moments it feels less heavy. But we know this is how life is, and it is beautiful. And worth documenting

I’m so excited for you to join me on my biggest project yet.

Even more, I am excited to authenticate this exploration in a way that opens up your thinking around the possibilities of exploring your personal brand and all of the ways that you can share and live your values.

Let’s all make sure 2023 is our best year yet.




Psssst… Don’t forget the relation part of PR

To relate & act in real time and with relevance

Public relations. Relating to your public. Sometimes business leaders and marketers forget what this critical tool in the marketing arsenal really is intended to do – build relationships and relevance between your company and consumer. Yes, it can help sell or drive action, but its super power is relationships.

How do you build authentic, meaningful connections that lead to long-term loyalty? You have to earn it. You have to work at it. Investing in PR for your company or product isn’t a flash-in-

the-pan one time thing. Consistency is critical. But most importantly, to build relationships, you must be relevant and relatable.

Ever meet someone at a party and they only talk about themself? They don’t try to get to know you, ask about your life or what’s important to you. Chances are you won’t be interested in talking again, and it’s even less likely you’ll be interested in a relationship. Businesses need to think of PR the same way – talk less about you and way more about them.

With paid media and traditional marketing, you control the message – you’re paying for it. This is where you can push harder on your sales message or product features. With PR, you must earn the opportunity – earn the media coverage, headline clicks or engagement on social content. Understand what your customer is thinking about. Right now. Move beyond just an audience insight, but – what do they care


about this week, this month? What’s going on in the news or culture that matters to them? The best way to authentically relate to someone is to show you get them and connect to what’s relevant to them. Right now.

Did I mention right now?

A key tenet of a modern PR strategy is real-time actions and short-term planning. With a few exceptions, planning your PR program or an editorial calendar a year or even six-months in advance is for the dinosaurs. When you plan that far out, you’re more likely to focus too inward and it leaves little room for in-the-moment reactive opportunities. Sometimes the word reactive has a dirty connotation in marketing, but being savvy with reactive engagements or storytelling that brings your brand into the center

of what everyone is talking about is a smart way to create relevance and relationships.

arning: this isn’t easy. It takes practice and creativity. And it requires consistent observation of news feeds, headlines and trends. And a strategic filter for your brand or product – how could or should you fit into what’s happening right now?

Investment in this piece of the marketing puzzle pays dividends long term. Being relevant and relatable grows affinity for your brand over time, not to mention keeps you top of mind. The greater affinity and awareness, sales will follow.

Jennifer Dohm is the owner of tulips / mktg., which specializes in creative communication consulting. She’s spent the last 15 years leading all aspects of marketing communications for Fortune 500 brands like Corona Extra, United Airlines and Hotels. com. Get in touch with her at www.tulipsmktg.com. 47 Wouldn’t it be nice to have clarity around a career path that is fulfilling, energizing, and utilizes your purpose & strength? Look no further than the Discover Your Purposeful Career & Life AUDIO EXPERIENCE built by NEHA O’ROURKE A nationally recognized, award-winning coach, and founder of Somewhere in Between Coaching


Your 8-day personal branding challenge starts now.

Invest five minutes a day for eight days to unlock your personal brand strategy.

It all starts from within - seriously

First things first: Take a moment to understand that you will need to take time to invest in yourself and your personal brand. It is important that you clarify your goals. You are here for a reason and you need to make a commitment to yourself and your goals. Grab a pen or a sharpie and write down what you want. Anything, everything, let the mind wander. This exercise is about finding stillness and visualization.

01 DAY

When someone says ‘Brand Positioning,’ what comes to mind?

It all starts with brand positioning. Brand positioning is all about the “why” behind your goals. It’s important to clarify this and leave it all out on the table. Take time to consider the following questions:

Although each question will require thoughtful consideration, please be sure to listen carefully and trust what your gut is saying to you.

What is the problem I want to solve?

Who do I want to help or influence?

Why does it matter?

02 DAY

How do I see myself elevating this perspective?

What has shaped this perspective?

What influence do I already have?

Why am I the right person for this idea, mission, vision, etc?

How would others describe me?

If I had a book, what would the title be?


Yes, it’s a classic “Competitive Analysis”

Start by generating a short list of different ‘figures’ or brands who you admire. Examine what you like about their brands and consider what you would do differently. Nothing more or less, other than to explore your own taste level through available resources, etc.

Brand / Company:

What do you like?

What would you do differently?

Brand / Company:

What do you like?

What would you do differently?

03 DAY

Brand / Company:

What do you like?

What would you do differently?

Brand / Company:

What do you like?

What would you do differently?

friendship trade. small batch. highest quality. roasted for those with chicago spirit. VISIT US 900 W Van Buren St, Chicago ORDER BEANS ONLINE groundupchicago.com TE&CO MAGAZINE 2023 53

Building your Personal Brand Archive

This exercise will lead to a Personal Brand Archive, a showcase and a reference point of your overall body of work and digital footprint.

Step 1. Google yourself and outline your top 10 mentions in this exercise.

04 DAY
1 ) 2 ) 3 ) 4 ) 5 ) 6 ) 7 ) 8 ) 9 ) 10 )
Step 2. Using “I” statements, please take a moment to write down and reflect on projects that you have helped create impact, or support in your personal and professional capacity.

Bring your brand to life

Ask yourself, how would you like to show up? And be very specific. Start with creating a mood board for your brand, search for key terms, revisit your competitive/aspirational analysis, and allow resources like Pinterest to become your go-to search tool.

Cut, paste, doodle, take notes, use this white space as your bank canvas.

05 DAY

First get acquainted, then get great with video


is the universal form of communication.

Map out your Communications Calendar

I hope it’s universally accepted by now that video is an extremely effective tool – especially for personal brands. The best thing you can do is to rip the bandaid off and practice being on camera. This will help you learn how to navigate your own ideas and direct them.

What are a


7) of important things that you want people to know about you?

(5 -

Milestones, news, partnerships, etc. By charting these items out, it gives you and your audience clarity around “the what” behind what you are all about. Most people live their values and by integrating these important updates, etc. we are able to showcase your story over time.

07 DAY
06 DAY

Putting it all together

Create. Post. Publish. Hit Send. Share your ideas, your memories, milestones and news.

Now that you have taken time to identify, clarify, and collect the key aspects of developing a personal brand — and you have carefully considered the impact that video, photo, and creative assets can have, it’s go time.

Weave together your stories. / Lean into your voice. / Bring those ideas to the forefront of your conversations, opportunities, and content.

Personal branding is NOT always about developing something new. It’s about extracting from what exists.

Feeling inspired, stuck, or looking to go deeper? For complimentary 1:1 session with Tamara email: hello@tamaraedwards.co

08 DAY
YOUR 8-DAY PERSONAL BRAND CHALLENGE 1 ) 2 ) 3 ) 4 ) 5 ) 6 ) 7 )
PERSONAL BRAND-IN-A personalbrandinabox.com Now booking Chicago, DC, San Diego
5 Celebrating Five Years of TE&Co. 125One hundred twenty five client media placements 04Four Industry and Business Awards 04Four Core Team Members 13Thirteen Fellows / Interns 60 Sixty Personal Brand-in-a-Box Clients 23Twenty Three Broad Shoulders Events TAMARAEDWARDS.CO est. 2018
TE&Co.’s Directory of Recommended Services You’re Welcome. 64

Glam / Hair / Makeup

Alyssa Cruz @makeupbyalyssacruz / Marina Oraha @ hairbymarina / Mallory Sills of Salon 833 @mallory_

salon833 / Jen Sorrentino @jennovakbeauty / Suite 115

Salon @suite115salon / Adam Downs @adamdownsmakeup / Kiley Cleckner @makeupbykileyy / Francisca Rogel


Editors / Co-Authors / Copywriters

Keri Wyatt @ keriwyattkent.com / Elka Carroll

@elka_carroll at TheBergenHaus 469.363.9477

Coaches / Consultants / Business Resources

Neha O’Rourke @somewhereinbetweencoaching / Anna K.

@msannakuusela / Lindsey Difiore @lindsey.difiore / Kiley

Peters of RAYNEIX @rayneix

Photography / Video / Production

TFF Productions @tff_productions / Hannah Schweiss

@hannahschweissphotography / Hunter Floyd @ hunterfloydfilms / Ali Stone @alialistone / Alexi

Dabrowski @alexidabrowskiphoto / Wilbert Cheng @ wilbyyyy / Michael Smith @steadi_productions / Karen

Louise @karenlouisedocumentaries / Jenny Lundquist

@jenrosemedia / Brandon Bott @brandonhbott

Creative Direction / Graphic Design

Brooke Adams @brookeandmortar.com / Alisa Hood




Working Women we

On July 14th, 2022 the women of Broad Shoulders made their way to Aster Hall (inside the beautiful 900 Shops on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile). The event was called “Veuve & Views” and was cohosted by Jasmine Hernandez and Tamara Edwards.

Together, Jasmine and Tamara facilitated discussion prompts intended to encourage attendees to talk about their biggest accomplishments, goals, and so much more.

All ticket proceeds went to Girls Inc. of Chicago, which delivers life-changing programs and experiences that empower girls to be strong, smart, and bold enough to overcome challenges and create a brighter future.


Be sure to follow @ be.broad as we visit cities around the U.S. for the ‘We are Working Women’ Tour.

Follow along for our journey as we continue building our community of professional-minded women through events that are intended to build each other up, and strengthen conversations.

67 www.bebroad.life

Hair and Makeup: Marina Oraha and Alyssa Cruz

Photography: Hannah Schweiss Photography

Creative Direction & Design: Brooke and Mortar

Creative Direction: Elka Carroll

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