career karma – Debra Goldblatt

Debra Goldblatt of rock-it promotions is one of Toronto’s top publicists for fashion, lifestyle and celebrity clients, and has been a great connector and supporter towards the fashion bloggers in the city for years. Her straight talk, genuine warmth and love of the business makes her a total PR darling.

This year rock-it promotions launched their own blog called On The Fourth Floor, and one of the most popular features is called Media Darling, asking PR-related questions of various personalities in the media (including me). I turned the table to get her perspective from the other side.

Who are your PR heroes? What inspires you about the leaders in your profession?

I have many colleagues that I work with in the PR field that are heroes. Some are owners of their own agencies and some are more junior and starting out. I don’t kiss and tell, but I will say that PR people who handle themselves with grace in difficult situations as well as have a sense of humour are my favourite people in this profession. It’s not always easy and it’s a very demanding career and a smile can go a long way.

What do you wish people understood better about PR, especially when it comes to fashion events?

I wish people understood how difficult it is to please all the people, all the time. There is a lot of ego in the fashion world which, to be frank, is quite unlike the other fields we work in (film, lifestyle, health, hospitality, etc). During a really large scale event like a show during Fashion Week, we really do try our very best to ensure that everybody is treated with the utmost respect and occasionally, there is a mistake. It could be a seat forgotten, a volunteer making an error, or an rsvp missed. Trust us that we kick ourselves harder than anybody ever could when those situations happen, so no need to kick us when we’re down (unless you’re dealing with a PR person who isn’t remorseful – then you should kick them. Hard.).

How can an independent blogger grab your attention? What do you look for when you choose the bloggers you want to work with?

I think this is very similar to the feedback we hear from media about PR professionals. I hate spelling errors and I hate it when somebody addresses a note to another agency and sends it to me. It’s impersonal and shows they are saying the same flattering things to another agency to get into an event. I like sincerity and soul. And a blog that is clean, well written and has relevant content for my client(s).

What is your biggest pet peeve when it comes to bloggers?

Not acting professional. Don’t get hammered at an event b/c there is an open bar. If you want to work with us, save the slurred rants and drunk tweets until after you’ve been our guest. It’s no different than us inviting you into our house if it’s our client’s event. You look bad, we look bad. We want everybody to have fun, and believe in freedom of speech, but work with us, not against us. Positive energy is so much better than being a bitch.

Rock-it now has its own very lively, content-rich blog, On The Fourth Floor. What are your thoughts on the blogging experience?

It’s a TON of work! I’ve always had major respect for our friends in the blogging world, but it has been a really eye-opening experience to be the editor of our own site. It’s a collaborative effort in our agency, but most of it falls on a few specific team members and we def. feel the added work. We’ve had a ton of fun getting ‘fan’ mail and we just got our first piece of critical mail, which was equally fun. The Media, Darling posts have been wildly positive. I wanted to create a blog that PR professionals and students, in particular, would subscribe to because it was fun, digestible and offer something of value while being fresh. The fact that other agencies out there have been reading it and letting us know how much they enjoy it, totally rocks. I love that kind of good karma.

Full disclosure: rock-it promotions is a sponsor of Final Fashion. Thanks Deb!

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