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PR Rock Stars: Bellmont Partners’ Maggie Lamaack

The first thing I noticed upon meeting Maggie Lamaack is this is one woman who’s not afraid to speak her mind. Or, share her loves (Hello–Tay-Tay! More on that later). I’m drawn to people who aren’t afraid to share their opinions or perspectives–even if they run contrary to popular opinion. And, I also tend to like people who just kinda march to the beat of their own drummer. I’m not sure Maggie would describe herself that way, but I say that in the most positive way. So, it came as no surprise to me at all when she won the MN PRSA Young Professional of the Year a couple weeks ago at the MN PRSA Classics event.

Let’s hear more about this PR rock star…

 

Maggie 1

Let’s just get to the big question right out of the gate–you won the MN PRSA Young Professional of the Year last week at Classics. What does winning this award mean to you?

I would say it was an honor just to be nominated, but that would be incredibly cliché, right? Well, it was an honor.

I didn’t get to give a speech at the ceremony because I was the PRSA committee member in charge of the script this year and wrote in, “Maggie walks on stage, accepts award and walks away as fast as possible.” (Just kidding, sort of.) But if I had given a speech it would have been about how fortunate I have been in my career to work under talented people who have given me the opportunity to grow both personally and professionally, and haven’t fired me for tweeting about Taylor Swift too much.

When I first started in PR, I always felt a little out of place. I would go to interviews and hear a lot of feedback that I was too shy, or too quiet to work in this industry. It was a fair assessment at the time, and now I can even go to networking events without feeling nauseous beforehand! But I think to me this award really proves that if you do good work, any personality type can make it in this profession. 

You’ve worked for two smaller PR shops in your young career (Bellmont Partners and McFarland Cahill). Do you think working for smaller PR firms has benefitted you early on in your career?

Maggie 2

Working at small agencies has given me so many leadership opportunities I may not have had otherwise. I have never worked at a large agency, but I think it is safe to assume I would have had less responsibility earlier on in my career. Having face time with clients and running entire events with the help of one or two other people has taught me a lot about this industry in a very short period of time.

It’s also fun to know all of your coworkers. Everyone at Bellmont is very different, but we all get along great. I think I would miss that.

You also take time to serve as the editor of the popular LOL/OMG blog here in the Twin Cities. Why do you make the extra time for that work? And, how has it helped you in your “day job” at Bellmont?

Writing for LOL/OMG Blog was one of the best professional decisions I ever made. I started my #MSPtweeps column around the same time I started working at Bellmont. I am so lucky that I work for people that encourage their employees to have outside interests.

Writing that blog each week allowed me to start writing for other outlets like City Pages, Vita.mn and the Flyover. I landed my first City Pages cover story through a tweet I sent about how someone should write an article about the normal people on Twitter.

In terms of how it helps my real work, I have met so many journalists and members of the media through social media. I think I have more “Internet” friends now than I have “normal” friends. While those relationships are valuable, I also think keeping tabs on what is happening on Twitter is so important. It keeps me informed and teaches so much about human behavior, which easily translates into my day-to-day job.

At BPR, you’ve had the opportunity to work on some pretty interesting and fun accounts. I know you can’t play favorites publicly, but what’s the one piece of business you’ve worked on that’s been professionally fulfilling?

Maggie 4

Right now we’re in full on event mode, supporting the planning and implementation of nine Fuel Up to Play 60 Reward Summits throughout the Midwest for our client the Midwest Dairy Association. I will be traveling a lot over the next month, putting on events to reward students for their work throughout the school year.

I was recently talking to one of our clients on the phone and she was telling me how excited all of the kids were to come to these events, and get to meet a real life NFL player. It’s easy to get caught up in all the work and tiny details, and kind of forget you’re creating an event that these kids are going to remember forever. That is pretty cool.

I’m no math major, but by my count you had FIVE internships while you were still in school at the University of Minnesota! How do you feel those internships prepared you for your first ‘real job’? And, based on your experience, do you think multiple internships is a must for today’s student given the hiring landscape?

It’s funny, because at the time I never thought five internships was a lot. When I graduated from college I still had a hard time finding a job.

I learned more about PR in those internships than I did in college (no offense, U of M). I think there should now be college classes about how to send emails correctly, because it’s things like that that make internships so valuable.

Now, getting a job is more about who you know than anything. So, building those relationships within the industry is important, and internships are a great way to do that.

I don’t think I’m breaking any news here when I say you’re a fairly big Taylor Swift fan. So, the question is: Do you prefer pop star Taylor Swift or country icon Taylor Swift?

Maggie 3

Both! I think “1989” is perfect — other than “Welcome to New York,” which is terrible. But I also love her last album, “Red.”

I also think Tay is a PR genius. I’m sure she has quite a marketing team behind her, but I would also venture to guess the woman knows what she is doing. I could write a whole guest blog post about this. The way she has handled herself throughout this press tour has been genius, and she and her post-gym outfits are going to be laughing all the way to the bank.

Like me, you’re a bit of a local coffeehouse aficionado. So, what’s your absolute fave Minneapolis coffeehouse to work from and why?

Spyhouse Uptown for real work. I don’t know why but it is the only place I can really be productive. Plus, they play good music.

Spyhouse Northeast when I’m writing. Everyone there looks like they just walked off some sort of independent movie set. It’s inspiring.

Canteen on the weekends. Their toast bar is the best and you can get unlimited refill coffee.

Twin Cities PR This Week – April 27

Every two weeks, this is where you’ll find who’s been promoted, who’s changing jobs, who’s looking for talent and who’s hosting events here in the Twin Cities. It’s your one-stop shop for all things PR and digital marketing here in town!

Want to make it even easier? Sign up for my weekly e-newsletter and you can get all this stuff right in your inbox.

Fenced In, Part 3

Congratulations…

Congrats to Maggie Lamaack at Bellmont Partners PR for winning the Young Professional of the Year Award at #mnclassics a couple weeks ago!

Changing…

Sad to see fellow MIMA board member and friend, Brad Spychalski, move on to the Windy City. Chicago–I hope you know you’re getting one of the good ones. PS: You’re also getting another Packer fan to incessantly heckle you!

Promoted…

Jolina Pettice was recently promoted to vice president at TopRank Marketing. Couldn’t happen to a better person!

Seeking…

space150 is seeking PR and social media interns: http://www.space150.com/contact/careers/pr-emerging-media-intern/

Bachman’s is seeking a corporate content manager. Apply at jobs@bachmans.com (if you want the job description, please send me a note).

Preston Kelly is seeking a public relations specialist: http://prestonkelly.com/about-preston-kelly/news/public-relations-specialist/

Maccabee PR is looking for a PR and social media account executive: http://maccabee.com/pr-social-media-account-executive-technology-sought-by-maccabee-public-relations/

Events…

MIMA will be hosting a new kind of event on May 20 with “Tactics in 20″. The format? 3 panelists sharing tips in 20 minute increments. Simple as that. The first topic–data and tech. Register here.

 

Talking Points Podcast: Is focusing on 5% of your fans enough?

That’s essentially the question we sought to answer in this week’s edition of the Talking Points Podcast. The question is based off Mark Schaefer’s new book, “The Content Code”, where he talks about nurturing trust and catering to your “alpha” audience as a means to building broader-scale awareness.

It’s an interesting talker–hope you’ll take a listen.

Talking Pts Podcast

SHOW NOTES – April 23, 2015

“Social Sharing: How to Get More People to Share Your Content”

http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/social-sharing-with-mark-schaefer/

“The Rise (and Fall) of the Lazy Marketer”

http://www.convinceandconvert.com/podcasts/content-pros-podcast/the-rise-and-fall-of-the-lazy-marketer/

“Episode #19: Mark Schaefer on What Every Marketer Needs to Know”

http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/britt-michaelian/the-mass-amplify-show-with-britt-michaelian/e/episode-19-mark-schaefer-on-what-every-marketer-needs-to-know-37503855

“How Target’s #lillyfortarget launch was a huge social media (and business) win”

http://www.arikhanson.com/2015/04/21/how-targets-lillyfortarget-launch-was-a-huge-social-media-and-business-win/

“Why the economics of blogging are diminishing”

http://www.businessesgrow.com/2015/04/22/blogging-will-never/

“Why there is so much bullshit”

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-so-much-bullshit-josh-bernoff

“6 Reasons Why You Need Personal PR Now”

http://www.inc.com/john-boitnott/6-reasons-why-you-need-personal-pr-now.html

Are we going about influencer outreach all wrong?

Last week, I had a brainstorm with a new client about influencer outreach.

As we mapped out our approach, we considered folks who might be “influencers” in the niche we were targeting (for purposes of this post, let’s just assume we’re talking about the music industry).

Who are the music bloggers in town?

Who attends concerts regularly and tweets/records/Instagrams? (Hello Kyle Matteson!)

What media are talking about music?

Influencers

The basic, run-of-the-mill-type questions (by the way, these women up top here? I have no idea who they are. But, don’t they just look like influencers!).

Then, we stopped and thought: Wait, why are we limiting this to just “music influencers?” After all, just because you don’t have a blog or work in the media, doesn’t mean you’re not an “influencer” of behavior in a certain sector.

So, we widened our search and started thinking about people who were socially active, but also that had shown a solid interest in music. And, those who interacted often with our target audience.

Then we thought–why does it have to be an “A-list” influencer? What about “B-list” influencers (i.e., everyday people)? What about the next level down? Don’t those people still have influence? Just because they have 2,000 Instagram followers instead of 50,000 doesn’t mean they’re not influencing purchase behavior.

And, who’s to say the person with 50,000 followers is influencing the people you want (as a brand) and in the states/country you want (remember these follower counts don’t discriminate)?

We started thinking differently about our list.

We started thinking about approaching those regular people who talked about music from time to time.

Sure, we’ll still go after some of those media and blogger-types. But, maybe not as many.

Maybe we’ll go after these everyday influencers instead?

Why does this make sense? Think about it.

* The everyday influencers aren’t getting pitched as much–if at all. A thoughtful pitch will go a LONG ways.

* Their influence might be even more genuine and lead to more lasting brand relationships.

* Since they’re not getting pitched as often, and not doing hundreds of sponsored posts each month, people may actually trust them! (have you SEEN a lifestyle blogger’s blog lately?)

* If we were to go down the sponsored post/influencer route, we may not have to pay as much as we would to the A-list group (who again, may not have the trust you think because of all the sponsored stuff they’re currently doing). In fact, depending on the “ask”, we may not have to pay anything at all.

Makes too much sense, right?

Yeah, maybe we’ll probably just pay some mom blogger $25,000 to promote our concert instead.

photo credit: LE WEB PARIS 2013 – EVENT – WOMEN INFLUENCERS DINNER via photopin (license)