Posted At: January 21, 2013 4:10 P.M.
by Alexandria Washington
“A lot of people get confused between public relations and publicity. Publicity is something we read about and see; public relations is the act of doing.” – Anje Collins
As the founder of Agenda Miami, The Agenda Group, and founder of Women in PR, a company geared to inspire and empower women across the globe in the growing field of public relations, Anje Collins has paved her way in the world of entertainment public relations. With more than 20 years of experience on her résumé, she has become an entertainment PR powerhouse.
I met Anje almost a year ago through Twitter by following both her personal and Women in PR accounts. Every morning, I would wake up, roll over and get my inspiration from those two Twitter handles. Throughout the year, we developed a relationship that I’m glad I had the opportunity to come across. Anje became more than a powerhouse to me; she quickly transformed into my mentor and gained the name Mama Anje.
I will never forget the day Anje asked me what I wanted to do when I graduated. I nervously cleared my throat and asked, “Like my dream job?” and she replied, “Yes.” I went on to explain how I wanted to ultimately work in public relations for a sports team or Black Entertainment Television.
She sat and listened to the long list of other things I saw myself doing. Upon hearing my plans, she paused and asked, “Well, Ally, what are you doing to get there, doll?”
In that very moment, I didn’t have an answer to her question. Mama Anje made me think about how to plan my future. I realized there was no way that an “average Joe” work ethic was going to propel me to my dreams. I realized that my red, five-inch stilettos didn’t have magic power like Dorothy’s. I had to get to work.
Anje constantly encouraged me to network and introduced me to her colleagues via social media. Through these connections, I have built experience and attended a number of exclusive events, as well as assisted in the groundwork, planning and executing of these events.
Anje constantly poured tips and advice into my life. She not only offered professional advice, but she also gave me a behind-the-scenes perspective. It was Mama Anje’s honesty and candidness that I fell in love with and grew to appreciate and respect.
Mama Anje always told me that I have to be better to stand out against the crowd, but I will let you in on some of her secrets to break into entertainment PR:
1. Intern! Intern! Intern! It is VITAL that you get your foot in the door. No one wants someone planning an event or managing a major account if the person has no working experience. Once you gain this experience, you will not only strengthen your résumé, but also move up the totem pole.
2. Get out there and network! In the public relations field, especially in entertainment, it’s all about who you know. In Heather McDonald’s “How to Network in the Music Industry” article, she tells readers to be prepared. You never know who you might meet in the right place at the right time. Be sure to have a business card on hand at all times, because it shows you’re business-savvy, professional and eager to get the job done.
3. Learn how to have peace and be still! Patience is a virtue. For some people, fame has the possibility of happening overnight, but for others, patience is the only thing that keeps them going, which is why they remain at the top of the food chain. When you’re in a rush to make things happen too quickly you tend to overlook important steps in the process. Use the free time that you may have to sharpen your skills to become the best that you can possibly be. The goal is for someone to look at you and distinguish you as a stand out among the rest. You have it in you; just tap into it!
4. Study your craft! There’s no possible way you can succeed in anything if you don’t study your craft. Mama Anje told me that she lived, slept, ate and breathed public relations. It was so encompassed in her day that there was no way around it. When you get to that place where you want success that bad, that’s when your environment will change and opportunities will come. Stay up to date on information, social media trends and campaigns. When you hone your working knowledge of the components, you can quickly recognize what will work and what will not.
5. Love what you do! When you love what you do the good always outweighs the bad. Know that you will hear the word no. Rejection is a hard thing to deal with at times, but it makes the reward in the end that much sweeter. To get to where you want to be, don’t run from other facets of public relations. Never turn down work! Entertainment is a field that only a few jump into headfirst and succeed.
The entertainment industry is one that requires a person to possess drive and dedication, noted in an online article titled, “Five Qualities to Breakthrough the Entertainment Industry.” While working in this field, you have the freedom to choose from event planning and managing celebrities and athletes to working with top name brands in media to increase sales and marketing efforts.
To be successful, you have to be willing to break a few rules and make exceptions to turn your dreams into a reality. The opportunities in this field are endless. So work hard, stand out and be great!