Interview with the Expert: Maggie Palmer, PR specialist
Maggie Palmer, PR specialist, is the Principal/Owner of MKP Creative, a full service Public Relations firm specializing in integrated marketing and social media. MKP represents clients in the health and wellness industry, authors, small businesses, non-profits and more. She is also a published author and has written for various publications in Ohio, Los Angeles, Chicago and Portland, as well as produced television shows for the National Geographic Channel. She spent time working with The University of Illinois at Chicago on a special project, which developed a series of educational video games, to be used in training and research for public health workers.
Maggie is currently serving for her 4th year on the Board of Women Entrepreneurs of Oregon, a local non-profit that helps other women find their way in entrepreneurship and small business leadership. On a personal note, Maggie’s greatest project to date has been her family: a loving husband, a young son, a toddler daughter, and another baby on the way this summer.
What is your expertise?
My expertise would be PR, Media Relations and Social Media. MKP clients enjoy press coverage both locally and nationally, depending on the goals of the campaign. People tend to confuse PR and advertising, but the truth is that they are quite distinct. While good advertising can bring your business plenty of publicity, there is nothing like great PR to give you that boost in the public eye. I love to tell a good brand story that’s worth writing about. I work with my clients to develop their unique voice and story, and then I approach the media with these stories and highlight the value they bring to their audience. It takes a lot more effort to create good PR, but it’s well worth it, since this method is far more effective to creating affinity for the brand.
Why do you love what you do?
I love working for myself, and working with different clients from all walks of life and in different sectors. My days are always new and exciting, with different challenges. I also get to work with creative designers and other consultants, which energizes my creative process. At the end of the day, I enjoy being my own boss and creating the life I always wanted for myself.
What is the most challenging part of what you do?
PR and Earned media is just that- you have to earn the placements. Finding that perfect pitch, working on media relationships and always nurturing those, as well as keeping my clients happy and informed can be a challenge. When you are working on advertising, you already have the spot. The challenge is how to be creative and unique. When you are working in earned media, or PR, the spots are not guaranteed. It’s your media relationships and pitching skills that are put to the test. Also in social media, things are always changing. It’s still a bit of the wild west out there- new platforms are emerging daily, old platforms are going by the way side or trying to change their algorithms to keep up with new platforms. It’s important to always stay up to date on the emerging trends, which for me is a daily process to stay informed.
What do you think are the most important aspects of a successful public relations campaign (and/or company)?
Building a strong brand voice, knowing your audience and identifying a strong company spokesperson. People want to feel connected to a brand, and you do that through emotions. I think one of the most important things a company can do is take a stand, have a voice and identify a person who the audience can relate to. It’s important to keep things real, to offer something to the audience, and to always remember the audience you’re speaking to and their needs. Collaborating with a community partner is also a great way to give back, stay connected to your roots, and lead by example.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
I enjoy getting nice emails, calls or comments from my clients. When my clients are happy, I’m happy. I also enjoy positive feedback from the media. I like when they can see how much research I’ve done about them and then build that trust that they know I will only come to them with a really dynamic story. Doing something new every day, meeting new and really interesting people- all of that drives me and makes me love my job. And the best part is I get to choose who I work with, which is also very rewarding. I love what I do, and if I ever stop loving what I do, I’ll find something else to do. Life is too short to hate your job or not do what you are truly passionate about doing, and I’m glad I made the changes I needed to make early on in my career to make those moves to create this business and my own business philosophy, and I only work with other consultants, businesses and clients who are in line with that philosophy.
What is one piece of advice in your industry you would give to business owners?
Hire smart people. Understand what you’re good at, what you’re passionate about- and do it. Everything else, find the person who’s good at it, passionate about it- and hire them to do it. Surround yourself with a great team, build strong roots and you can only grow larger and stronger each year.
Make sure you take a moment to check out her business, MKP Creative, and see the services she offers! Her testimonials speak for themselves!
Special thank you to Maggie for taking the time out of her busy day to answer all of my interview questions!