Jessica Armstrong – PR Superstar at CuddlyNest in Sevilla, Spain.
So, what is Public Relations and why should a company hire PR professionals? Well, meet Jessica Armstrong, a native Californian, living in sunny Sevilla, Spain since August 2015. With a passion for travel and exploring the globe, Jessica knew she wanted to elevate her passions for travel and connecting with people, professionally. After four years as the PR and Partnerships Manager at Glamping Hub, Jessica is now the PR and Social Media Manager at CuddlyNest, and today she talks about the magic of PR.
What is Public Relations, and why should a company hire a PR professional?
When you first hear the term PR or Public Relations, two things come to mind. 1. Either you’re famous and need someone to manage your publicity, or 2. You’re having a crisis and need someone to do damage control. Right in between there, in a very very large space, is where all other responsibilities, aspects, and true roles of a PR professional lives. It’s so much more than publicity and crisis management. If you would like a definition, PR is the spread and release of information about a person, brand, story, company, you name it.
What PR means to me is being able to share with the world the most important, inspiring, and informative news about your brand or company. Just as you would want someone there to promote you or be there for you in an emergency, you want a PR professional in your day to day life to assist in managing your news, stories, and overall business. Someone who is going to know what and how to share you in the best and most honest and trustworthy way possible.
How has the PR industry changed in the last five years? How do you think it will develop as we move into a new era?
I once said to someone that working in PR is wanting everyone to know everything and anything about you, but also being able to control the narrative. Today, everything is so incredibly public. There is also so much content out there, and these days every one has the opportunity to be a content creator or influencer.
In the last five years with the boom in content creation and influencer era, having a PR team is more important than ever, whether you are your own PR team or have one in-house or you outsource to an agency. I think more and more businesses are going the route of having an in-house team to keep things more on brand and close to the chest. Your team and the people you work with every day know your business better than anyone.
Tell us about a campaign that you’re especially proud of.
Having freshly started at CuddlyNest, there are so many things I am already proud of—both for the business and the team—but especially our #PlanNowStayLater campaign. It was quite the shock transitioning from one travel company to another and to one that is getting its feet off the ground, only to be hit by a global pandemic that has essentially halted the travel industry. So, we wanted to create something that showed our community that we are there for them, but that we want their safety and health to be the top priority.
It’s also been a beacon of light for me, personally. I tried to step back and watch as a viewer and ask myself, would this inspire me? After reading about this and looking at what CuddlyNest is doing, would I still want to travel, and travel with them? And I could honestly say yes. Getting very positive feedback on that project from friends, family, and even strangers, was truly rewarding.
How do you manage ethics as a PR professional?
Honesty is the best policy. The only way to create an audience of loyal customers and followers is honesty and to create a trust for your brand.
What are your thoughts on Public Relations being a female-dominated industry?
I think the PR industry is generally female-dominated because there is a lot of pathos and ethos involved in the work. PR professionals have to bond with their clients to better understand their needs and how to best represent their company or brand. Females typically go the extra mile to make sure all of the bases are covered and nothing is missing when sharing the perfect story of how a brand came to be or what a brand is doing for a campaign. In all my connections in the PR industry, there is definitely a female dominance, and I think there is a unique curiosity in learning about what it takes to own such a specific part of your company, its reputation.
What is your definition of success?
For me, success is being able to define a goal and accomplish it. We do this in business by setting KPIs or working on interactions, but I am old school. I’m a big believer in manifesting my goals and achievements. Writing them down in my planner, on the mirror, sticky notes, telling friends and family, coworkers, and really putting it out into the universe helps motivate me, and keeps me accountable to set my goals, and actually achieve them, big or small.
Whether you want to be featured in a top tier publication or achieve a certain amount followers for your brand, recording this information and setting milestones that you can look back on, will help you trail and create new goals to continue climbing.
How do you define a female frontier?
By nature, I am a very competitive person, and I have had to learn how to properly use this part of me in business and my career. I have always had the mentality that if I can’t do something, I have only two options. Learn or find a solution on how to achieve my goal in another way.
I think being a female frontier is being able to own your skills, build on them, and teach others along the way. My goal is to be someone who constantly motivates others, as well as myself, to push harder, learn more, and achieve constantly. And when I can’t do those things, find new ways to achieve those goals. I absolutely love my job and career, and the access it has given me to so many other incredible and inspiring leaders in the industry.
What are three important things any female frontier should know?
It is 100% okay to fail. You don’t learn until you fail big or small. Failures and mistakes are an opportunity to learn, but the way to come out of them better than before is by being accountable for your actions, learning from them and creating new solutions, and not giving up but persevering.
Being a female frontier is no easy task, but we have such a unique and powerful opportunity to really build each other up and pave the way to a better future for young girls with role models from every walks of life, in every career path.
With the big boom in social media careers, what are your two tips for using these platforms effectively and efficiently?
My first tip, which has been a pretty popular one lately, is taking the time to know your audience. I love using engagement features on channels like Instagram and Facebook because I receive important value, feedback, and information directly from our audiences, and then provide them with answers and things they want to know from our side. I would also say that community engagement is a very important part of social media and should not be overlooked.
What is your advice for emerging PR professionals?
There are so many unique platforms and publications offering advice, tips, and guides on how to hone your PR skills. I am a big fan of taking online courses because there is always new material to learn trends, and opportunities to have a foot in PR, whether for your brand or business. And always ask questions whether to friends or colleagues that you know in the industry.
Networking is a huge part of PR, and it is always good to have your virtual Rolodex of contacts and people to reach out to. Building these relationships can go far beyond where you currently work, and you never know who you’ll need to reach out to in the future. The PR world has a huge community full of people looking to inspire and be inspired by each other. It’s a wonderful place.