How To Become Best Friends With Your Inbox

Email. Whether you love it or hate it, it’s the preferred method of communication, making it a critical part of virtually everyone’s day-to-day. Especially if you work in PR.

But let’s get real for a second. How many of us actually like email? It can be demanding, inconsiderate, disruptive, and distracting. It’s safe to say that it can get out of control, and fast. But does our relationship with email have to be love/hate? I say no. Just like most relationships, it’s about setting boundaries. And then employing strategies for keeping that relationship harmonious. After 12 1/2 years of utilizing email for professional purposes, I’ve learned a thing or two. I do think it’s possible to become best friends with your inbox. And to stay BFF. Take a jaunt through my typical day with email to see what I mean.

BEFORE OFFICE HOURS

If you want a healthy relationship with email, you’re going to need to set boundaries. The reality is that it’s *always* going to be there, receiving messages and beckoning you to check them. But that doesn’t mean you should. In the early days of ACPR, I was too available via email. And it literally drove me crazy, made me neurotic and interfered with my personal life. So I learned to set boundaries. No checking email before 7am or after 7pm. Instead of reaching for my phone first thing when I wake up, I take time to actually wake up (yes, that’s a thing). And while I still have slip ups, I try my darnedest to stick to my boundaries. For my next trick, I’ll share how I detox from social media every week!

MORNING

Next, take my advice and upon arriving to the office in the morning, don’t start your day by immediately checking email. Instead, touch base with your team (if you have one), set your intentions for the day, take note of your appointments, and evaluate your to-do list. Then, check your email. This will ensure that you’re well equipped to take on the day. Plus it will minimize your chances of becoming derailed by a challenging email. We’ve all been there, and let’s be honest, ain’t nobody got time for that.

Once you dive into your inbox, take stock of your messages. Scroll through your inbox to evaluate what’s leftover from yesterday and what’s new today. Scan all of your messages quickly, assessing what can be handled quickly and what will require a little more work. Anything that can be handled immediately, go for it. Everything else can be tabled until you can dedicate the time to reply properly.

SIDENOTE

This brings me to a very important detail: delete your emails! I’m not saying you need to purge them from your system (I’m actually a huge fan of keeping my deleted items for a year), but once they’ve been handled, get them out of your inbox. A tidy inbox is a massive key to success. And what about those messages that you might need in the future? Stick them in folders and revisit them when you need them. I love folders. They’re there when you need them, but not in your face when you don’t.

MIDDAY

Now back to those messages that need a little more love. I like carving out “email time” in my schedule everyday. Don’t get me wrong, my email is always open and I see when emails come in, but I’m not always actively replying. I find that dedicating time to replying to the more intensive emails helps to keep me on track. It can be a little bit of time here and there, or a larger block of time once daily. Figure out what works best for you, then stick to it (hey, boundaries). Otherwise, I could easily spend 8+ hours a day *just* reading and replying to emails. And then nothing else would get done!

So what happens in between tending to emails? Work. Hello.

EVENING 

Then, as you find most days, you realize that it’s the end of the day (where exactly does the time go?). I approach my last email check of the day at the office with the objective of cleaning up. I want to clear as much out of my inbox as possible. This means that any leftover emails need to be addressed, then deleted. Think of it like tidying up your desk at the end of the day. I don’t know about you, but coming into the office and seeing a clean desk brings me joy (it’s the little things). The same goes for my inbox.

AFTER OFFICE HOURS

I *do* check my email several times after I get home, but it’s plugged into the wall in the kitchen and untouched after 7pm. I have dogs to cuddle and shows to bingewatch. So email can wait until tomorrow.

Maybe I haven’t convinced you that you too can become besties with your inbox. And that’s ok. You don’t have to be. As long as you get along, my work is complete. But aim for best friends. Trust me, it just feels good.

Until next time,
Allyson

Allyson Conklin is ACPR’s founder and chief crystal collector. Currently on her desk is pyrite, selenite, green calcite, amethyst, rose quartz, clear quartz, citrine and jade. 

Photo by Cassie Rosch, Photographer

Four Not-So-Obvious Skills You Need To Work In PR

*NEWSFLASH* School doesn’t teach you everything! I’ve found that most of the skills I use in my day to day are those I’ve gleaned through my internships. But there are still a few that I didn’t realize I needed until I started working at ACPR. There are four skills in particular that I’ve learned on-the-job that are must-haves to be successful in PR, and I’m sharing them with you here. So take notes!

Memorization
Memorization isn’t just for science majors who have a million definitions they need to know. It’s important that you’re able to recognize (and recall at the drop of a hat!) editors’ names, media outlets and even know which editors you’ve pitched before.

Photography
While your Instagram feed may be 🔥🔥🔥, there are a few photography basics for PR that Instagram can’t teach you. You need to know what a quality photo looks like (especially for clients whose images are paramount, like interior designers), what differentiates a high res photo from low res, and the correct sizing and resolution you need to submit for editorial opportunities, email pitches and more.

 

Sleuthing
Unfortunately, just because we work in PR, editors’ emails aren’t handed to us on a silver platter. This means we often have to do some serious sleuthing. This means sifting through Twitter and Instagram bios, Facebook pages, personal websites and LinkedIn profiles just to (hopefully) find an email address.

Style
I’m not saying we all have to be Iris Apfel (because, #goals), but you need to be able to put an outfit together. And well. It’s especially important if you meet with clients and editors often. Lean more towards tailored, timeless pieces as opposed to what’s currently trendy so to look professional and avoid looking inappropriate.

Practice makes perfect and if you master these before landing your first job, I guarantee your new boss will be impressed straight out of the gate. #browniepoints

#Wowem,
Cait

Photo courtesy of @on_topham_the_world

Caitlin Topham is ACPR’s Public Relations Assistant and Christmas enthusiast. Throughout the holiday season, you can find her singing Christmas carols 24/7, perfecting her cookie recipe for Santa and decorating her house to the nines.

We’re Hiring: Public Relations Assistant

ACPR is hiring! We’re seeking a savvy professional to join our team as a Public Relations Assistant. This position will report directly to the Founder & Principal. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in journalism, communications or another relevant area with both internship and work experience. Ideal candidates will have a solid understanding of public relations (with an emphasis in media relations), vast knowledge of media outlets, proven track record of success in their career, and a basic understanding of how to market beauty, home and lifestyle brands.

This is a full time, salaried position that includes benefits including: paid time off, paid company holidays, holiday bonus, 50% health, dental and vision insurance, mobile phone stipend, fitness stipend, annual enrichment trip and conference, regular team building activities, and employee meals.

Job responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

Administrative:
• Support Founder & Principal with day-to-day requests
• Achieve monthly objectives set by Founder & Principal
• Update and maintain all company lists: media tracking, press coverage, monthly pitches, monthly focuses, etc.
• Compile and submit daily press hit sweeps
• Manage the ACPR blog: What We’re Reading, 20 Questions With, regular posts, etc.
• Management of magazine subscriptions
• Writing projects

Client Relations:
• Develop strong relationships with clients
• Act as backup to Public Relations Coordinator as point-of-contact for clients
• Attend in-person meetings with clients when appropriate

Media Relations:
• Develop strong relationships with media
• Identify, pitch and follow up with media
• Create and distribute high impact and creative media email blasts
• Rapid Response daily pitching
• Identify and pitch feature story opportunities
• Secure press hits: long lead, short lead, broadcast, awards, etc.
• Assist in the creation of press materials (fact sheets, bios, press releases, media alerts, pitch letters, etc.)
• Schedule media visits and appointments
• Fulfillment of client product mailings
• Management of editorial calendars and awards
• Identify other client exposure opportunities: sponsored posts, gifting, trade shows, events, etc.
• Attend in-person meetings with media when appropriate

Social Media:
• Management of ACPR social media channels
• Strategically write and schedule social media content calendars on a monthly basis
• Upload client press hits to Facebook

Basic job requirements:
• Bachelor’s degree in journalism, communications or a related area
• Prior PR internship and work experience
• Be committed to building a fat rolodex of contacts
• Demonstrate knowledge of how to land press hits, and maybe even have a few existing hits to share
• Be an excellent communicator—verbal, written and beyond—with a strong understanding of both the AP and creative writing styles
• Be a strategic thinker with endless amounts of creativity
• Be a self starter and multi-tasking master that’s highly organized, have the initiative to start and maintain projects, and be willing to go above and beyond the job description
• Be a pop culture junkie and know what’s hot in the press and to consumers
• Be passionate about the beauty, home and lifestyle categories
• Proficient in Microsoft Office programs, Cision, InDesign and WordPress

###

All qualified candidates should send their resumes and a short description
explaining why they want to work at ACPR to:
hello@allysonconklinpr.com
No phone calls, please.

We’re Hiring: Public Relations Coordinator

ACPR is hiring! We’re seeking a savvy professional to join our team as a Public Relations Coordinator. This position will report directly to the Founder & Principal, and will act as her right hand and trusted go-to. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in journalism, communications or another relevant area with a minimum of 2 years of post-graduate public relations experience, either at an agency or in-house. Ideal candidates will have a solid understanding of public relations (with an emphasis in media relations), a handful of media contacts (and a commitment to growing their editor relationships), proven track record of assisting in press hits, and a basic understanding of how to market beauty, home and lifestyle brands.

This is a full time, salaried position that includes benefits including: paid time off, paid company holidays, holiday bonus, 50% health, dental and vision insurance, mobile phone stipend, fitness stipend, annual enrichment trip and conference, regular team building activities, and employee meals.

Job responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

Administrative:
• Support Founder & Principal with day-to-day requests
• Achieve monthly objectives set by Founder & Principal
• Update and maintain all company lists: media tracking, press coverage, monthly pitches, monthly focuses, etc.
• Contribute to the ACPR blog
• Other writing projects as assigned
• Assist Founder & Principal with monthly status reports
• Assist in managing company interns
• Suggest and participate in activities to grow company exposure
• Identify new business opportunities

Client Relations:
• Develop strong relationships with clients
• Act as backup to Founder & Principal as point-of-contact for clients
• Attend in-person meetings with clients when appropriate

Media Relations:
• Develop strong relationships with media
• Assist in the creation of PR Plans
• Identify, pitch and follow up with media
• Create and distribute high impact and creative media email blasts
• Secure press hits: long lead, short lead, broadcast, awards, etc.
• Write press materials (fact sheets, bios, press releases, media alerts, pitch letters, etc.)
• Schedule media visits and appointments
• Fulfillment of client product mailings
• Identify other client exposure opportunities: sponsored posts, gifting, trade shows, events, etc.
• Attend in-person meetings with media when appropriate

Basic job requirements:
• Bachelor’s degree in journalism, communications or a related area
• 2+ years of post-graduate public relations experience, either at an agency or in-house setting
• Have existing media contacts, and a commitment to building a fat rolodex of contacts
• Demonstrate knowledge of how to land press hits, and maybe even have a few existing hits to share
• Be an excellent communicator—verbal, written and beyond—with a strong understanding of both the AP and creative writing styles
• Be a strategic thinker with endless amounts of creativity
• Be a self starter and multi-tasking master that’s highly organized, have the initiative to start and maintain projects, and be willing to go above and beyond the job description
• Be a pop culture junkie and know what’s hot in the press and to consumers
• Be passionate about the beauty, home and lifestyle categories
• Proficient in Microsoft Office programs, Cision, InDesign and WordPress

###

All qualified candidates should send their resumes and a short description
explaining why they want to work at ACPR to:
hello@allysonconklinpr.com
No phone calls, please.

What We’re Grateful For

Endless amounts of food, all day football coverage, family gatherings, and sales that make us click ‘Add to Cart’ quicker than you can say “Gobble!” These are all the things we love about Thanksgiving. It’s a time to reflect on the year and spend quality time with our loved ones. We are grateful for so much this year, and wanted to take a few minutes to share with you before we close down for the week!

Who will you be celebrating Thanksgiving with?

Allyson: I will be celebrating Thanksgiving this year with my husband, Michael, my mother, and my in-laws (and my three furbabies, of course!). We’re hosting for the second year in a row and I can’t wait to set the table! I’m dreaming of dining on all the carbs over a vibrant pink table. It likely won’t happen (my linens are all neutral)… well, except for the carbs. #carbsgiving

Kelly: I’ll be on vacation in Paris and London this week! I’m going with my best friend and meeting two of our friends that live in the UK. We’ll be at Versailles and seeing an opera at the Palais Garnier on Thanksgiving day. I’m really excited but will miss my family and the delicious spread. Have an extra slice of pie for me!

Caitlin: My family is driving up from Texas (and bringing my dog!) and we’re renting a home in Steamboat Springs with my Aunt, Uncle and cousins who live in Colorado. I can’t wait to have a mini vacation in the mountains and eat all of the foods (especially dessert). This year, I volunteered to bake three pies and I plan on having at least one slice of each. Oh, and Blue Bell ice cream of course. Calories don’t exist during the holidays, right?

What do you hope to score on Black Friday, Shop Small Saturday or Cyber Monday? 

Allyson: I’m eyeing pave diamond earrings from Adina Reyter that I’m hoping to score on Black Friday or Cyber Monday!

Kelly: I’m hoping to score these Louise Et Cie Booties or this totally not necessary, but swoon-worthy Harry Josh Straightener Set on Cyber Monday!

Caitlin: Anything and everything from Spiritual Gangster’s Ballet Rib collection on Black Friday!

What are you grateful for this year?

Allyson: This year I’m grateful for change. That’s new for this girl who thrives on stability and consistency! 2017 has presented me with so many opportunities to learn, adapt and grow through times of change. I’ve learned a tremendous amount about myself this year because of change, and I’m incredibly thankful for that.

Kelly: I’m grateful for the little moments this year that were always consistent like snuggles with my dog, lazy weekend mornings with my best friend, a venture to the library or dinner with my family.

Caitlin: This year has been full of milestones. Graduating from college, moving to a new state, landing my first job (that I love!), so I’m thankful for all the people who’ve been there and supported me through the ups and downs.

And with that, Happy Thanksgiving from all of us to all of you!

Photo courtesy of @allysonconklinpr

20 Questions With: Elizabeth Irvine

Elizabeth Irvine is the 55 year old health & wellness educator, author and creative director of The Jewelry Project, the intentional jewelry line. An alumnus from the University of Kansas (B.S. Nursing), Elizabeth started her career across the pond in nursing. With an undeniable yearning to help others, it felt like the truest path for her. Flash forward through many rewarding years in nursing, having children and relocating back to the states, thanks to yoga and alternative medicine she found herself going down an entirely new path. Elizabeth started both as a way to combat stress and improve her overall wellbeing, and it caught on like wildfire. She made the shift towards living a natural lifestyle, while taking every opportunity to share how it transformed her life, and has never looked back. This is when Elizabeth discovered her true calling. It was a way that she could combine her years of nursing experience with a desire to help others, but in a totally different way. Elizabeth started with writing, and her first books, Healthy Mother, Healthy Child and A Moment’s Peace, guides for bringing peace and serenity into the home, initially put her on the map. Her words and philosophy caught the attention of many, including Miraval Resort and the Jung Center, where she was hired to lead workshops and speak on the topic of living on a higher level, which she continues to do today all over the country. But she wasn’t done just yet. In 2010, Elizabeth founded The Jewelry Project as a way to provide a tangible keepsake for women, creating jewelry that pairs affirmations with gemstones. You could say we’re a tad obsessed, particularly with the new Touchstone Collection (blue topaz!)! Elizabeth is worldly, wise, kind, and giving, with enviable poise. From sharing the character trait vital to her success to her go-to crystal (we had to!), we’ve tasked Elizabeth with 20 of our favorite questions.  

1. What was your first job out of college?
NEO Natal ICU nurse.

2. When you were in college, what did you think you’d be doing today?
I thought I would be working as a nurse practitioner. I dreamt of helping women at a higher level, which I guess is actually what I am doing, just in a different way.

3. What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?
There are many people who influenced my path along the way. At the beginning of my career in London, my yoga swami, Vedanta Saraswati, was the one who taught me to uncover the true essence of who I am and how to live out true wellbeing. Jane Sill, the editor for a yoga magazine that I wrote for—she was the first person to encourage me to take my articles and submit them to a publisher to become a book. Joss Pearson of Gaia Publishing, she gave me the confidence in my ability to become an author. I guess the best piece of advice from all of the people along the way would be the encouragement—the words “you’re doing great.” Boosting my own confidence in my work to keep going. Following your bliss.

4. Can you recall the moment you felt like you hit a groove in your career?
I think it would be when my first book, Healthy Mother, Healthy Child, was published.

5. What’s the first thing you do when you get to the office every morning?
My office is my home, so I start my day with meditation and set intentions for the day.

6. What’s one thing you do daily to stay organized?
Meditation. And I keep a notebook with thoughts, ideas, and my to-do list.

7. How do you sign off emails?
With best wishes,

8. What’s the one character trait that’s vital for success in what you do?
Perseverance. And not being too hard on yourself.

9. Can you share a career goal for 2018?
Taking things in a new direction. Taking time for a sabbatical—to retreat and replenish and allow my creativity to come through.

10. What’s your favorite magazine?
WSJ. Magazine, the insert that arrives on the weekends.

11. Do you have a can’t-live-without beauty product?
Aquafor.

12. What’s your go-to cocktail?
I like Hendricks with Pellegrino and cucumber.

13. Do you have a wardrobe staple?
Yoga pants and anything cashmere.

14. Do you have a spirit animal?
The eagle!

15. Do you collect anything?
Geodes, offering bowls, paintings and Native American carvings.

16. How do you stay healthy?
Yoga, hiking, a heavy plant based diet, meditation and a good night’s sleep. And moderation with everything.

17. What’s the best hashtag of all time?
#truewellbeing

18. What’s your decorating style?
Bohemian chic.

19. What do you eat for breakfast most days?
A piece of toast and a cup of strong coffee! And green tea and green juice throughout the morning.

20. What’s your go-to crystal and what does it do for you? 
Clear Quartz! I love the magnification and energy. The color is neutral, but it goes anywhere and feels powerful—whether in a room at home or on a piece of jewelry or telling time in a watch.