Today’s edition of Pro Interviews features Lauren Wasley. Based in Toronto, Lauren is a partner in the PR agency Carlaw and is a creative content curator.
Pagezii – Lauren, please tell us a bit about yourself.
Lauren – Well I’ve been working in PR for just over nine years now and it has all been with agencies. What has always appealed to me is the variety that agency life provides. Between juggling a number of clients at once, it’s also really unpredictable which can be exciting as no two days are ever the same.
Pagezii – What got you started into public relations?
Lauren – I ended up in public relations after completing a journalism internship that ended when the outlet folded. I was left questioning my future in journalism, but as I’d always enjoyed writing and communications, I wanted to stay in a related profession. One day someone suggested I look into public relations and thought I would be a good fit. It seemed like a profession I would enjoy, so I went back to school. To graduate we had to complete an internship, which I did at a great shop called LexPR. My internship ended with a job offer, and the rest is history!
Pagezii – What is Carlaw Communications?
Lauren – Carlaw is a boutique PR agency located in Toronto. We use a hybrid business model, which allows us to combine the flexibility of a freelancer with the structure and discipline of a larger agency. As a virtual agency we have limited overhead, which allows us to pass these savings onto clients.
Being accessible and responsive is key for success
I started the agency with my business partner, Carolyn Kilbourne, and although we’re small, combined we have more than 30 years of different but complementary experience. On top of that, we are able to offer two uniquely different perspectives, which has really resonated with clients. Currently we work with a range of clients from food and beverage, technology to online businesses.
Pagezii – What important skills are needed for people starting off in PR?
Lauren – There are so many! But being hyper-organized is definitely up there. There are always a lot of moving parts, so managing your time and staying on top of your deliverables is an important skill.
When it comes to media relations being accessible and responsive is key for success. When a journalist reaches out for information, if you don’t respond in a timely manner, you can easily lose the opportunity to another source.
Pagezii – How important is social media to public relations?
Social channels provide a visual platform
Lauren – When I started in PR, social media was just starting to take off. It wasn’t really a consideration for most campaigns. Then as it gained traction, it became a nice to have, but now it’s a must-have. Social media has become a key driver for engagement and visibility in PR. Social channels provide a visual platform that encourage and embrace interaction and engagement, which is becoming increasingly important for brands that had previously been heavily focused on impressions.
Pagezii – What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Lauren – I don’t think there are ever enough hours in the day! But other than that, navigating the evolving media landscape keeps me on my toes! As a lover of traditional news outlets – yes I still read newspapers – it’s sad to read about all the cuts and closures happening on the print media side. With depleted newsrooms, editorial coverage has never been as hard to come by. There has definitely been a strong shift on the PR side to influencer marketing and other “sponsored” initiatives, which are challenging for smaller brands with limited budgets. But at Carlaw we firmly believe that if there’s a story, we’ll get it told.
Pagezii – Thank you Lauren for a very interesting and informative interview.