Posted: March 19, 2014, 1:45 p.m.
by Jonae Shaw.
Recent University of Alabama graduate Alexandria Washington has created a name for herself, as well as a channel for other young public relations professionals.
She is currently a contemporary specialist for Dillard’s Corporation, a voiceover talent and on-air personality for Streetz 101.1 FM in Little Rock, Ark., as well as a freelancer in public relations with BET Networks.
However, even with this line up of endeavors keeping her busy, she’s begun a project of her own. She started a brand that’s quickly growing, and making a vast impact in the field of fashion and entertainment PR among a large crowd of young PR professionals. It’s called The Link Up.
Alexandria Washington, who prefers Ally for short, became a UA alum in May 2013, and within a few months after graduating, she started her own personal brand, Ally the Pub.
“I was beyond frustrated with the after college job search and just wanted to do something in my field in the meanwhile. I was asked to intern as a writer for a highly prominent entertainment blog, but it was unpaid,” Washington said. “After I began, I started thinking, why am I writing for someone else when I can do this myself!”
Washington, along with the help of close friends, then developed The Link Up brand.
“I got a logo, wrote my mission statement, asked a few friends to be my editors, posted it on IG [Instagram], and it went crazy!” Washington said. “I got over 300 résumés of writers in my email inbox. It was then that I knew its true potential!”
It did, indeed, have potential. On Jan. 1, 2014, she and her team launched The Link Up. There were more than 600 people in attendance, and the money the launch event raised was given to a local charity.
“It was a great gathering for my community to come and show support in launching my brand along with my friends’ endeavors . . . [It] really showed the power of what The Link Up had potential to be,” Washington said.
The Link Up is a group of correspondents who cover stories, conduct media relations and host events about all things in the entertainment and fashion PR industry. This developing brand provides PR professionals the opportunity to get involved with various individual and businesses in need of public relations assistance.
“It’s your one-stop shop for it all — fashion, beauty, entertainment, sports, gossip and current news,” Washington said.
Washington reaches out to her network through her website, Instagram and Twitter accounts, and recently launched a YouTube channel, informing them not only of opportunities her group provides but also jobs, internships and opportunities other companies need. Ultimately she’s become the in-between person linking young professionals to opportunities in the entertainment and fashion PR field.
“I have so many of my peers who write, text, email and call me all the time about internships, jobs and them starting their own blogs and brands,” Washington said.
The Link Up is based out of Little Rock, Ark., and allows Washington to travel to many places, mainly between Atlanta, Ga., and Los Angeles, Calif. During the planning of this initiative, there were only two official correspondents who handled the link-up of professionals and public relations opportunities. However, The Link Up now has five official correspondents due to its recent expansion into the Atlanta, Los Angeles and New York areas.
“We are literally everywhere. I met my first person from Wyoming who writes for me! It’s been a great experience meeting people from all over the U.S.,” Washington said.
Washington believes this is just the beginning of what The Link Up has the potential to be. She has big goals for this new brand.
“The Link Up is actually in negotiation with becoming a part of a bigger entertainment brand based in Atlanta that manages a number of celebrities,” Washington said.
It’s difficult to take an idea and build a brand, but with an eager drive and supportive team, it can happen.
“I never knew how much money it costs to make your dream a reality. To be an entrepreneur, you HAVE to have some funds behind you to get started,” Washington said. “[However,] it’s important to brand yourself and remain consistent with your brand. That has allowed so many doors to be opened for me and my team that it’s mind blowing! People will only take you as seriously as you present yourself.”
Inspired by the outreach and growth of The Link Up in just three short months, Washington definitely plans to continue expanding and fostering this brand of networked individuals.
“To know that my small idea and grind have inspired my friends and people I haven’t had the chance to meet yet is so amazing to me,” Washington said.
Building your brand doesn’t end with yourself. Washington’s endeavors demonstrate that when you reach out to others who have the same passion and drive, you can do what you enjoy, while bringing to success to your clients, as well as others.