Fusion Spotlight: Victoria Yarnish – PR expert, Birthday girl, Morrissey fanatic.
By Gabby Cox
[A view of Victoria Yarnish’s office. Please note the awesome Harry Potter themed poster to her left. You can’t tell in this picture, but she also has some Morrissey-inspired art spread across her window, and a deeply inspiring poster with the caption “If Britney Spears can get through 2007, you can get through today.”]
Today, I’ll be interviewing my colleague, Victoria Yarnish, a senior account executive in the Los Angeles office. There are various reasons for choosing to profile Victoria. She brings seven years of PR knowledge to the team, and has worked with an impressive roster of clients in the entertainment, digital, and CE industry. Most importantly, though, her birthday is TODAY (May 25)… and what better way to celebrate than to answer a few questions about her life?
Gabz: How did you get your start in PR?
Victoria: I actually started off studying journalism at the University of Arizona. While I was a student, much of my focus was on sports broadcast – mostly radio and some TV. While doing those internships, I met a PR executive who told me I had many of the qualities of a PR person. And from there, the seed was planted. Plus, during that time, there were major shifts in the media. Those were the days of massive newsroom lay-offs and online content taking priority over print. So I started PR on a trial basis, originally thinking I’d go back to journalism. Once I graduated from college [Fun fact: Victoria accidentally overslept and missed her class graduation], I responded to a Craiglist ad for a PR intern, and I’ve been in PR ever since.
Gabz: Earlier this month, journalists were able to vent about their PR pet peeves via the hashtag #muckedup. What do you think is the worst stigma that PR reps have to overcome?
Victoria: I think the reason PR gets a bad rep with journalists is because there is a lot of room for error and for unqualified pitches. By having to get a message across to a broad audience, some PR reps don’t put in the appropriate amount of time it takes to deliver a well thought-out pitch to the right contact. We constantly have to prove ourselves, which is unfortunate for those of us who do put in a lot of research before a pitch is sent.
Gabz: What are your favorite resources as a PR rep?
Victoria: Muck Rack has recently evolved to a paid subscription model, but it used to be my Holy Grail of PR resources. It catalogues every blogger, reporter, and editor at every major news outlets. It would pull in their social media feeds to easily monitor what they’ve recently covered. I love the personal touch that a journalist’s Twitter feed can provide. It allows PR reps to reach out in a qualified manner. Plus, it’s cool to know if someone at New York Times shares your interest in ‘The Real Housewives’.
Gabz: What is your favorite PR parody on www.99problemsbutapitchaintone.tumblr.com?
Victoria: My favorite is “Being told you have to share a hotel room with your co-worker during a business trip…”
[You can view the GIF here: http://99problemsbutapitchaintone.tumblr.com/post/23478664682/your-reaction-to-being-told-you-have-to-share-a-hotel]
[Screen shot: Golem feeling the pain of having to share a room with his co-worker]
Gabz: Let’s play a little word association. What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the following?
- Victoria: Timeline. Not in a good way.
- Victoria: EPIC!
– Overused buzzword
- Victoria: There are so many! “Cutting-edge” or “innovative.”
- Victoria: Reminds me of that flop movie. That’s why my Twitter bio says that I’m a PR freak and not a PR guru; ‘guru’ doesn’t vibe with me.
– Media list
- Victoria: Meticulous. In order to have a good media list you have to check every single thing and be meticulous, so it takes a long time to develop.
- Victoria: Fun team lunches and dinners.
[It’s easy to figure out why Victoria immediately thought of fun Fusion lunches. This week, we celebrated Victoria’s birthday with a quick outing to Bru’s Wiffle for waffles galore.]
Gabz: For those looking to break into the PR business, what are the top three traits or characteristics that you feel they should possess in order to be successful?
Victoria: Confidence, intuition, and they should be a good problem solver.
Gabz: What’s your favorite thing about working at Fusion? I mean, aside from having neighboring offices with me and getting waffles on your birthday…
Victoria: My team! I like having the chance to work with everyone, from Jordan [CEO] and Bob [VP], to Alyzeh [our LA intern].
That wraps up my “Gabz Gabs” interview with Victoria! Hopefully you all enjoyed this glimpse into her life as a successful PR rep at Fusion. Happy birthday Victoria!
You can learn about her latest waffle adventures at @vikkiweho. And for the latest on my feelings about the Real Housewives (and every Bravo TV show in existence), follow me at @omgitsgabz.