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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Six Questions with . . .Nepherterra Estrada, PR Maven

Nepherterra Estrada the founding principal of Mosaic Communications and partner with Pride PR, a former journalist and graduate of the greatest university in the world, Johnson C. Smith! OK, that last part was biased, but hey! That's my alma mater as well. And Nepherterra is my classmate as well. She's also one of the hardest working women in public relations. If you've heard about the Pride Sunset Jazz Festival, thank Neph. This lady knows her stuff and is gracious enough to share her insight!

  • What goes into putting together a public relations campaign?
Developing an effective public relations plan requires establishing clear objectives and goals and determining what tactics will allow you to achieve those goals.  Ultimately you want to create a PR plan that will help your business increase awareness about the brand while also increasing the bottom line.   When we work with our firm’s clients to develop PR plans, we plan for at least six months which allows us to be more strategic and look at the big picture.  PR requires flexibility so a PR plan is not written in stone.  Although the PR plan serves as a roadmap, things will change and adjustments will need to be made along the way.
                                 
  •   Tell the readers about the importance of branding.
Branding is critical because it is an organization’s face to the world.  It encompasses everything from the company’s name and logo to how that company communicates with its key audiences.  A brand determines how a company is perceived, which ultimately determines the inherent value they associate with that business. 

  • How do you decide who to represent?
The key is finding the right fit.  We typically work very well with clients in the corporate, nonprofit, government, arts and health care arenas because we have a wealth of experience working in those particular spaces.  We do have specific things we look for when deciding if we are going to take on new clients to ensure that the relationship will be a successful one.
  •    What has been the most successful campaign you’ve launched?
That’s a tough one.  I’ve been in public relations for 10 years and some of the campaigns that I am most proud of at the moment include 1) An aggressive media relations campaign we did for the Mental Health Association of Central Carolinas that resulted in unprecedented positive coverage for the organization and helped increase awareness about mental health issues and suicide prevention 2) A hugely successful advertising campaign we did for Mecklenburg County Health Department’s National HIV Testing Day  and 3) a branding campaign we are currently working on with the American Cancer Society that will be unveiled in Minneapolis later this year to help increase awareness about cancer prevention.
       
  • How did you get into public relations?
Honestly, when I was younger I didn’t want anything to do with PR.  I was a die-hard journalism junkie.  I was on the staff of my high school newspaper, served as editor of my college newspaper, interned at a magazine in college.  After college I worked as a reporter for a daily newspaper where I covered the education and court beats.  I learned so much at that job.  But about a year later I was offered a job at a small PR firm and I fell in love with the industry.  Coming from the newsroom made my transition to public relations very smooth.
  • What advice would you give to someone looking to get into the industry? Conversely, what would you tell someone –maybe an author – who is looking for a PR representative?
I tell anyone interested in public relations to work on their writing skills. You have to be able to write. Period.  If you are a good writer, you can write your own ticket in this industry (pun intended).   You also need to be a people person who understands the importance of building and maintaining relationships. 
As far as an author looking for a publicist, I would say find someone with experience and who has relationships with media and key influencers.  You need someone who will work tirelessly to make sure your book gets in front of the right people.  Promoting a book is more than writing news releases announcing that the book is out and sending copies to editors.  You need someone who is creative and is able to find ways to make the book relevant.

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