The PR Wine Down Podcast
Grab a glass and get ready to wine down! Every two weeks, join public relations veterans April White and Laura Schooler as they gab, analyze, dissect and commiserate on the biggest issues impacting PR practitioners.
With special guests ranging from startup executives and communications juggernauts, to the journalists and filmmakers on the other side of the desk, April and Laura deliver the latest news, trends and horror stories for rookie publicists and seasoned professionals alike.
Call it tough love if you will, they’re on a mission to make our jobs easier, more relatable and more entertaining — and, in some cases, to kick down the door on today’s PR industry.
CROSSOVER SPECIAL: The PR Wine Down X Trust Relations: The Podcast (Feat. Doug Spong)
Welcome to our first-ever crossover episode! In this podcast special, the hosts from The PR Wine Down and Trust Relations: The Podcast team up to deliver advice, insights and hot takes for brands and integrated marketing professionals. Today’s episode also features a celebrity guest, with a name anyone in PR or marketing is sure to recognize. We’re pleased to welcome April’s personal friend, mentor and former colleague: Doug Spong! Together, they discuss the latest trends impacting PR, media relations and agency culture in 2023. They also share a few favorite campaigns from Doug’s storied career, including his work with Ty Pennington, Paris Hilton, Will Smith, American Standard, Hasbro’s Rubik’s Cube, Silk Soymilk, and more.
78: HOLIDAY SPECIAL: Unwrapping April & Laura’s Essential Tips for PR Success
Happy Holidays from the PR Wine Down team! In our annual Holiday Special, hosts April and Laura have a roster packed with PR stocking-stuffers featuring their top tips for PR success in 2023, with advice for PR veterans and rookie practitioners alike. This year, we’re taking a break from our typical anonymous stories of agency horror, with a lineup of your best listener submissions featuring fond memories from careers in the agency scene. The news segment in this episode includes an analysis of Dr. Pepper’s unprecedented RFP requiring agencies to accept payment terms for an annual retainer. They also discuss one reporter’s abrupt departure from the Semafor newsroom over an alleged conflict of interests.
77: PR Career Stories: Celebrating Our Military Spouses on Staff
In today’s special episode for Veteran & Military Families Month, hosts April and Laura chat with two of our military spouses on staff. Briana Cusimano is a senior account executive at Trust Relations, whose spouse serves in the U.S. Army. Veronica Yip is our integrated marketing and communications manager and podcast producer, whose spouse currently serves in the U.S. Navy. Tune in as they discuss how the military life has impacted their careers and share their advice for other milsos who want to find success in a linear communications career path. April and Laura also discuss how the language used by leadership teams can impact PR agency culture and discuss the recently-announced layoffs at CNN. Today’s Anonymous PR Horror Story comes from a listener whose PR client is asking for placements in military trade publications — without the right software or spokesperson to back up their product claims.
76: Halloween Special: Facing Your Fears in Media, Crisis and Career
Welcome back for our annual PR Wine Down Halloween Special! Hosts April and Laura are getting into the spirit of the season this week, with a spooky twist on your favorite PR topics. They’re discussing some industry news that’s sure to send a shiver down any crisis publicist’s spine, with an analysis of the latest round of public backlash against Netflix. They also chat through some advice for overcoming the experiences that might scare you at work, from public speaking, to intimidating bosses, to media pitching and more. As always, they’re also delivering a full lineup of our ghastliest anonymous PR Horror Stories from this year so far — featuring a special guest appearance from Hamish Anderson, co-host of Trust Relations: The Podcast.
74: Heather Willett: PR Strategies for an Increasingly Polarized Media Landscape
Hosts April and Laura welcome Heather Willett to the show this week. Heather is the founder of Willet PR, here to analyze the state of the media landscape today and share her best tips for helping clients to navigate the murky waters of public opinion. April and Laura also chat through the evolution of PR as an industry, with a look into the New York Times’ recent feature story on special “Lower Manhattan’s most infamous publicist, Kaitlin Phillips.” Today’s Anonymous PR Horror Story comes from a listener whose new entry-level job came with more personal drama than she’d anticipated.
73: Brenden Kumarasamy: Strategies to Improve Your Communication Skills
This week on the show, hosts April and Laura welcome Brenden Kumarasamy, founder of MasterTalk. He’s here to share tips, tricks and strategies that any executive can adopt to become a better presenter, speaker and interviewee. They also analyze the recent social media controversy over Cracker Barrel’s new plant-based meat menu offering, with advice for companies seeking to expand their markets without alienating existing customers. Next, they share advice for keeping your inbox organized—even as a busy PR professional. Today’s Anonymous PR Horror Story comes from one unfortunate listener, who mistakenly said, “I love you,” on a client call.
72: Veronica Yip – An Inside Look at Podcast Production and Development
Our guest on today’s episode comes from behind the scenes! April and Laura are pleased to welcome our very own podcast producer, Veronica Yip. She’s the integrated marketing and communications manager at Trust Relations, here to share a behind-the-scenes look at the concepts and development behind our three agency podcasts — including this one! April and Laura also share their favorite memories and lessons learned from co-hosting this show together. Today’s news segment covers the rise in pay-for-play podcast interviews, as some shows have begun to advertise prices upwards of $50,000. April and Laura also share advice to help PR practitioners develop effective follow-up messages for any media pitch. The Anonymous PR Horror Story of the day comes from a listener whose new agency boss has an affinity for extreme workplace pranks and antics.
71: David Oates – Crisis Communications Crash Course
On this show this week, April and Laura welcome crisis PR expert David Oates. He’s the founder of PR Security Service and has served as an officer in the US Navy, with over 25 years of experience in the field. He’s here to break down the most essential considerations for companies and executives to emphasize during a crisis situation, including immediate action and long-term reputation management. April and Laura also chat through their tried-and-true advice for managing remote working relationships. They also share an anonymous listener story from a PR person whose boss lashed out at the team due to burnout. Your favorite hosts also cover some top headlines from the PR industry this week, including Glassdoor’s lawsuit over freedom of speech and defamation issues and a breakdown of Cision’s top-ranking press releases of 2022.
70: Agency Reset: Navigating Issues in Workplace Culture and Client Management
On this show this week, April and Laura are chatting one-on-one about the latest news and trends impacting PR. Tune in as they discuss the role of alcohol in agency culture as Americans reduce their alcohol consumption. They also analyze the latest public backlash against Victoria’s Secret as the brand faces accusations of performative tactics in their rebranding efforts. For this week’s “Thing I Should Have Been Trained On,” our hosts discuss some best practices on how to deliver bad news to a client. This week’s Anonymous PR Horror Story comes from a listener who faced an uncomfortable situation an an offsite client meeting—and decided to step back from the account as a result.
69: Sharon Taylor – Audio Ads: Maximizing Your Audience Exposure
On this show this week, your favorite co-hosts welcome Senior Vice President of Podcast Strategy & Product Operations at Triton Digital, Sharon Taylor. With her, April and Laura discuss the rising popularity of audio ads and how brands can get the most out of their in-house podcast operations, attract advertisers and reach niche industry audiences. They also cover some recent research on polarization in the public perception of brands with political affiliations. They also discuss the role of authenticity in PR through the lens of Tom Hanks’ recent statements about whether he would choose again to star in the film Philadelphia today. This week’s Anonymous PR Horror Story comes from a listener whose boss is notorious for weekend emails, and how to maintain work-life balance boundaries while still addressing his requests.
68: Greg Galant – PR Tips and Trends with the CEO of Muck Rack
Our special guest on the PR Wine Down today is Greg Galant. He’s the CEO at everyone’s favorite PR platform, Muck Rack! Tune in as Greg chats with our hosts about podcast pitching, subscription newsletters and the latest updates to the Muck Rack platform. They also cover some interesting data from Muck Rack’s State of Podcasting report. Next, our hosts dive into some industry news discussing the challenges rookie PR pros are facing today, as they enter the post-pandemic workforce. They also chat about some broader issues in agency culture, with advice for professional mentorship and management skills. In this week’s Anonymous PR Horror Story, a listener faces backlash from a client when their colleague’s sick day conflicts with a regularly-scheduled PR call.
67: Rai Cornell – PR Practices for Long-Term Brand Authenticity
On this show this week, hosts April and Laura welcome Rai Cornell, founder and CEO of Cornell Content Marketing, to discuss PR best practices for brands in the digital era. Together, they discuss why Rai believes it can be beneficial to be “polarizing” as a brand and how companies can determine whether to take a stand on social issues. Next, our hosts discuss Major League Baseball’s handling of the racism allegations against Josh Donaldson and analyze a recent announcement from The Guardian urging employees to delete old social media posts. April and Laura also share press release strategies, including the media benefits and SEO value that come with putting an announcement on the wire. For this week’s Anonymous PR Horror Story, they read a submission from one listener whose new freelance client has unrealistic expectations for his marketing webinar.
66: David Ciccarelli – Audio Branding and the Power of Sound
This week on the PR Wine Down, hosts April and Laura take a close look at the expanding world of audio branding. With special guest David Ciccarelli, CEO of Voices, they’re covering audio production best practices and discussing the brand archetypes that define voice over acting in today’s era of podcast and video content. April and Laura also hash out the best ways to navigate the delicate art of pushing back on unreasonable client expectations and share advice for an anonymous listener whose new job has an unfortunate history with her past employer. For today’s PR news, they offer some expert PR perspective on the recent scandal at Ulta over its poorly-worded email blast featuring Kate Spade and offer their hot takes on Amber Heard’s decision to fire her PR firm before taking the stand in her legal battle with Johnny Depp.
65: Jennifer Cronin – Management Gut Check: Improving Team Leadership and Client Relations
This week on the show, we’re joined by Jennifer Cronin, client services manager here at Trust Relations. She’s here to talk through her best practices for client management and team leadership, including some useful tips for identifying problems in your professional relationships. And, as an added bonus, Jennifer also chimes in on this week’s Anonymous PR Horror Story, from a client contact whose PR program isn’t turning out to be as fruitful as anticipated. April and Laura also share their advice on how to develop friendly working relationships with reporters. They also discuss the PR implications for the New York Yankees and the Cleveland Guardians, after fan and player behavior got out of control during a game at Yankee Stadium last month.
64: Backstage with April White: PR Storytelling and the Making of an Official TEDx Talk
This week on the PR Wine Down, we’re taking you behind the scenes of the making of an official TEDx talk! April and Laura are sitting down in the virtual studio with special guest host Hamish Anderson, our executive VP and marketing group director here at TR. Together, they’re taking an exclusive look at April’s recent talk for TEDxAlmansorParkLive, “Is Living United Worth the Fight?” The dynamic trio also covers best practices for PR storytelling, how to incorporate narrative elements into your client’s brand story, and how the power of self-reflection can unlock your potential in both your personal and professional lives. This week’s Anonymous PR Horror Story features advice for a listener whose biggest freelance client stretched the truth about their product quality and corporate charity initiatives.
63: Alex Sanfilippo – Guesting Vs. Hosting: Leveraging Podcasts to Build Brand Trust
This week, April and Laura welcome special guest Alex Sanfilippo, founder and podcast host at PodPros. He’s here to chat with your favorite hosts about his “Know, Like and Trust” approach to branding, and how leveraging opportunities on both sides of the podcast mic can help entrepreneurs and thoughts leaders to establish brand credibility. April and Laura also discuss how PR practitioners at any stage of their careers can get better at taking constructive feedback and unpack why taking criticism can be challenging in an industry where perfectionism is a common trait. For this week’s Anonymous PR Horror Story, they share advice for a listener who recently faced a dangerous mandatory team building exercise — and April even shares a team-building flashback of her own!
62: SIDE HUSTLE SPECIAL: Passion Projects and Business Adventures with April and Laura
On this episode of the PR Wine Down podcast, your favorite hosts are the news topics du jour! April and Laura are sitting down for a one-on-one chat, to give you an exclusive look into their current passion projects and latest business ventures. Tune in to hear all about April’s new store, Cowgirls & Fairies, featuring a virtual tour of this whimsical, experiential boutique located along Route 66 in downtown Williams, AZ. She also delves into her work as a musician, and dishes about how her ethereal pop band, Violet & the Sun, inspired the store’s aesthetic. Then, Laura dishes about her foray into the world of vintage clothing resale, with a look at her own storefront vision board. Our hosts also deliver some PR advice about what to do when a pitch falls flat. For this week’s Anonymous PR Horror Story, we have a confession from one listener who got swept up in a competitive workplace culture — and asked his teams to lie as a result.
61: Steve Markman – Speaking Engagement Strategies for Today’s Thought Leaders
On the show this week, hosts April and Laura welcome special guest, Steve Markman. As the founder of Markman Speaker Management, LLC., he’s here to discuss the power of speaking engagement for executives and through leaders seeking to build their professional reputations, boost their brands and reach a wider audience for their businesses. Our hosts also chat through the pros and cons of the four-day workweek for PR agency operations, and share an Anonymous PR Horror Story about a food & beverage executive with some unorthodox content-editing standards. New this week, we also have a segment called “SPONSOR US!” Tune in to hear why April and Laura and raving about Fireflies.ai, the automated meeting assistant that makes note-taking a breeze for the whole team.
60: Jay Jay – Best Practices in Personal Branding for PR Pros
Hosts April and Laura are joined this week by Jay Jay, founder of the Ace of Spades PR and social media agency. He’s here to share his professional journey from world-class magician to accomplished agency owner, including advice for entrepreneurs, common branding blunders and an inside scoop on how to best position your application for Instagram verification. April and Laura also weigh in on the factors at play in Joe Rogan’s recent clash with Spotify, and offer advice for business leaders seeking to build a healthy and vibrant workplace culture. This week’s Anonymous PR Horror Story comes from a listener whose top-tier media placement fell flat — in the middle of a strategy dispute between client contacts.
59: Robert Hatcher, III – Analytical Advertising and Making Marketing Magic
Welcome back to the Wine Down! This week on the show, co-hosts April and Laura are welcoming special guest Robert Hatcher, III to the recording booth. Robert is a self-described full-funnel marketer with a decade of marketing agency experience, and is currently the Global PPC Manager at LogicMonitor. Together they’re breaking down the evolution of the modern marketing industry, from the Golden Age of advertising to today’s data-driven approach to marketing and brand management. They also touch on Peloton’s recent PR crises and share their thoughts on working with high-profile spokespeople. April and Laura then share some practical tips to master time-tracking at any level of your PR career, and read an Anonymous PR Horror Story from a listener who witnessed a company culture shift that went south fast.
58: Angela Bonnici – Agency Operations: From Over-Servicing to Over-Delivering
Today on the show, your favorite hosts are chatting with Angela Bonnici, Chief Publicity Officer at Super Connector Media. They’re tackling the common pain points and challenges PR practitioners face — from client management to account profitability. They also take a deep dive into agency leadership, operational efficiency and lessons learned from their favorite PR roles over the years. April and Laura also assess the impact of news industry scandals on the overall credibility of the press, share their best tips to avoid over-servicing client accounts, and weigh in on the recent Vans x USPS brand collaboration. This week’s Anonymous PR Horror Story features a listener who sent a heated email to their boss, only to regret hitting “send.”
57: Ronjini Joshua – Handling Hiring, Navigating Newsletters and the Path to Agency Ownership
On the show this week, April and Laura are chatting with Ronjini Joshua. She’s the CEO of the Silver Telegram PR agency and the podcast host and author behind “The PR Playbook.” Ronjini is here to discuss her career journey and life an as agency owner, including lessons learned along the way about hiring, company culture and the tech scene. BONUS: She also shares a PR Horror Story of her own! April and Laura also dish one-on-one about the dos and don’ts of how to upsell a client, and share an anonymous story about how nepotism interfered with one listener’s big promotion. Stick around to the end for a news update on all things Substack — including an insider tip from April about how to source media contacts from free newsletter subscriptions.
56: Donna Loughlin – Trade Shows, Tech & Tackling the Work-Life Balance
In the virtual recording booth this week, our hosts welcome Donna Loughlin, founder and president of Loughlin/Michaels Group PR (LMGPR). She’s here to chat with April and Laura about the evolution of the Silicon Valley tech scene and how the pandemic has changed trade shows and supply chain issues for the tech sector. Together, they also discuss Donna’s advice for female entrepreneurs and PR pros seeking to find a better work-life balance. April and Laura also share their best practices for crafting the perfect press release for rookie publicists and seasoned practitioners alike. They also cover the latest news on the rise of independent newsletters and freelance journalism, with a discussion on how Substack and Facebook Bulletin have attracted high-profile reporters and commentators to their ranks.
55: HOLIDAY SPECIAL: Unwrapping the Best Anonymous PR Horror Stories of 2021
Happy Holidays from the PR Wine Down team! In this special episode, hosts April and Laura are closing out the year by unwrapping the best listener horror story submissions from the past year. Pour some nog, kick back and relax as we revisit some tales of holiday horror to keep your spirits bright and start off 2022 the right way. The lineup includes stories and advice about: a client who went off-script during a live interview, an account executive working with limited senior guidance, inappropriate behavior from an executive-level boss, tough reporter feedback and a PR pro who got sick during a major client meeting.
54: Anna Boudinot – Elevating Owned Media and Optimizing Earned Media
This week on the podcast, April and Laura sit down in the virtual recording booth with Anna Boudinot! She’s the the CEO and founder of the Mustard and Moxie content marketing agency, and she’s here to break down the differences between owned and earned media. Together, they chat through the best ways to ensure your brand has an iron-clad content strategy to support effective media relations and rich storytelling. Our hosts also offer some training tips for how to conduct a new business pitch with your agency team, and share a new Anonymous PR Horror Story from a listener whose dream job turned out to be more of a nightmare. April and Laura also analyze the handling of and public response to the Dave Chappelle comedy special on Netflix, and share their hot takes on Facebook’s rebranding as “Meta.”
53: Kaila Pryzmus – Revving Up Your Affiliate PR Program
This week on the PR Wine Down, our hosts welcome Kaila Przymus, CEO of KMO Consulting. Kaila specializes in generating high-revenue affiliate-based PR programs, and she’s here to walk us through the key elements of a successful affiliate program, from setting up your links, to boosting your pitches, to landing placements that can generate revenue for years to come. April and Laura also discuss best practices for managing reporter relationships when a media contact goes dark — even after an interview. In this week’s PR News segment, April and Laura take a critical look at the PR strategies business leaders should consider when navigating vaccine mandates for their employees and customers; they also touch on the recent Facebook whistleblower interview and discuss the role of data privacy in media today. As always, they also read the latest Anonymous PR Horror Story to land in their inboxes, this time from a listener whose client failed to pay for their PR services.
52: Mandy Menaker – Using Metrics to Make Media Magic
On the show this week, out hosts are sitting down in the virtual recording booth with special guest Mandy Menaker, the Global Head of PR at ClassPass! She’s here to share her experience leading the health and wellness brand throughout each phase of the pandemic, and discuss how using metrics can help communicators to generate meaningful stories even in challenging times. April and Laura also chat about a recent NPR report uncovering one man’s experience with false accusations reported in the Wall Street Journal, and discuss the impact of reporting revisions and SEO for negative press. Your favorite hosts also offer advice for navigating common questions during client media training sessions, and share an Anonymous PR Horror Story from the audience about a client with a tendency to stretch the truth during interviews.
51: ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL: Cheers to One Year of the PR Wine Down Podcast!
Stop the presses — Season Two is here! Join us this week for The PR Wine Down Anniversary Special, as our hosts April and Laura grab a glass and reflect on their first year in the virtual recording booth together! With special guest Brandy Whalen, co-founder of Kitcaster and CEO of Whalen Media, they’re discussing all things PR and podcasting. April and Laura also throw it back to re-read our first-ever Anonymous PR Horror Story submission —still as chilling as ever —and take a walk down memory lane to chat about the highs and lows of starting the show. Thank you for joining us, and cheers to another year!
50: Halloween Special: Media Mishaps & Tricks of the Trade
The PR Wine Down Halloween Special is back from the grave! If you loved our Halloween episode last year, you’re in for a treat. Our hosts April and Laura are getting into the spirit of the season with back-to-back PR Horror Stories, and a lineup of ghastly tales from the news this week. This year, our hosts are sharing the tricks of the trade for handling horrifying media feedback on a pitch gone wrong, and responding to one listeners’ encounter with some frightfully inappropriate workplace antics. They’re also diving into recent coverage of a branding nightmare at AT&T and assessing the fate of Instagram’s kid-focused platform.
49: Sofia Coon: PR Career Trajectories and Choosing the Right Path
On the podcast this week, we are welcoming Trust Relations’ fabulous account director, Sofia Coon! Sofia is here to share about her experience in carving a unique path in the PR field, including her experiences working at agencies large and small, as well as some lessons learned from working on an in-house communications team and now as a full-time freelancer. April and Laura also chat about the dos and don’ts of staffing a client kickoff meeting, and take a deep look at Fortune’s decision to postpone its CEOI conference over fears of disruptions from newsroom staffers who planned to picket the event. As always, our hosts share an anonymous PR Horror Story from the audience — this time, about a PR pro who found himself on the receiving end of a scathing Tweet from a reporter.
48: Lee Caraher – The Old, The New and The News
This week on the PR Wine Down, our hosts are joined by Lee Caraher. She’s the CEO of Double Forte, a national independent PR and communications agency, and an acclaimed communications strategist. She’s wining down this week on the show to discuss the work Double Forte is doing to close the gender “Say Gap” in PR, evaluate how PR has changed over recent decades and discuss what small brands can do to make a splash in the news media today. April and Laura also deliver a new Anonymous PR Horror story featuring an account coordinator who offered inappropriate advice, discuss gender dynamics in the workplace today and chat about the latest viral Tweet in journalism this week.
47: Rick Smith – Content Syndication 101
On the show this week, April and Laura welcome Rick Smith, Founder and CEO at NewsUSA and NewsCanada. He’s here to discuss his experience in the content syndication business, including the differences between a press release and a mat release, how video syndication can complement a company’s marketing strategy and where the future lies for independent content creators. Our hosts also discuss the latest Anonymous PR Horror Story to land in their inboxes, this time about an account lead learning to manage an overzealous new hire, and share tips on the questions clients always ask when they’ve been burned by PR in the past. They also deliver the latest PR industry news on The New York Times’ subscription newsletter launch — featuring a bonus baseball story from Laura!
46: Jenn McManus-Goode – Managing Clients, Accounts and Tough Conversations
This week on the show, our hosts welcome Trust Relations’ own Senior Vice President, Jenn McManus-Goode! Having worked with in-house teams and agency clients alike, Jenn is here to share her best advice for client management, including tips for a successful up-sell and advice for navigating major client transitions with grace. April and Laura also discuss what not to do when the company you work for gets acquired, and chat through the implications of the recent unionization efforts at Forbes. This week’s Anonymous PR Horror Story comes from a listener seeking immediate advice about a premature promotion; April and Laura weigh in with their words of encouragement and some advice for finding the right mentor.
45: Allison Ullo – Master Media Maneuvers & All About Affiliate
April and Laura are sitting down this week (virtually, of course!) with Trust Relations’ own Lifestyle Group Director, Allie Ullo! Together, they dissect recent changes in the modern media landscape as Allie delivers an in-depth lesson on her favorite under-the-radar PR tricks and tactics. Together, they cover everything from affiliate programs, to effective subject lines, to landing the ultimate brand feature. April and Laura also discuss what every client needs to know before they sign on the dotted line with a new PR agency, how to handle a media interview that’s taken a turn for the worse, and deliver an Anonymous PR Horror Story from a listener who mistakenly distributed a major celebrity news announcement — before the exclusive went live.
44: Susan Prekel – The Intersection of Product, PR and Brand Promotions
This week, hosts April and Laura welcome guest Susan Prekel, owner of Done & Done Branded Goods, to discuss her background in event production and planning, and her journey into the branded product industry. Together, they’re chatting about the intersection of PR and product, the brand collaboration process, and why today’s branded goods are a notch about the typical “swag” you might expect to see at company events. Out hosts also introduce a new segment called “Schooler School,” wherein Laura gives us the scoop on the latest trends impacting PR practitioners; this week, it’s all about the post-COVID hiring environment. April and Laura also analyze the controversy over the recently-announced Victoria’s Secret rebrand, and share one listener’s Anonymous PR Horror Story about a feature article gone awry.
43: Laura Schooler’s Official Guide to In-House vs. Agency PR
This week’s guest on the PR Wine Down is our very own Laura Schooler! April White is putting her co-host in the interview seat, for an impromptu interview to discuss the differences between working in-house and at a PR agency — and what Laura has learned from her years of experience in doing both. Our hosts also chat about crisis communications, with a deep-dive into some best practices for PR practitioners, and discuss what not to do when your client is working with two PR agencies at once. This week’s Anonymous PR Horror Story features one listener’s experience with a highly-competitive hiring evaluation, as April and Laura weigh in with some advice on how to navigate tricky job interviews.
42: Ryan Hartwig – PR Implications of Facebook and Fact Checking
In this week’s episode, April and Laura welcome Ryan Hartwig, president of the Hartwig Foundation for Free Speech and author of “Behind the Mask of Facebook: A Whistleblower’s Shocking Story of Big Tech Bias and Censorship.” They’re discussing his experience working as a Facebook content moderator, what led him to become a whistleblower and how large media companies intersect with the PR landscape today. April and Laura also chat about John Oliver’s recent exposé on sponsored content, and deliver a double dose of PR News with an article on fact-checking from Matt Taibbi on Substack. Our hosts also share some advice for navigating your next interview (from both sides of the desk!) and read an Anonymous PR Horror Story about an AI meeting recap that went rogue.
41: Cristina Dennstedt – Pandemic Branding Pivots & the Remote Work Reckoning
This week’s episode features guest Cristina Dennstedt, the Director of Marketing Communications + Brand Experience at Vorwerk, LLC – Thermomix USA, to discuss the lessons she learned while managing PR initiatives for a world-class kitchen brand amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Hosts April and Laura also bring a bit of PR news into the mix, and loop Christina in on a controversial Washington Post op-ed that caught fire on Twitter this month. Together, they assess the professional and cultural implications of a return to office life, and consider the long-term value of remote work for PR professionals. As always, April and Laura share a PR Horror Story from the listening audience – this one, about a live TV interview that went very wrong. They also share advice for crafting a strong media strategy following a major client announcement, when company news may be lacking.
40: Matthew Kneller – Technology and Tips for Getting Your Clients Qwoted
This week on the PR Wine Down Podcast, April and Laura interview Matthew Kneller, the Managing Director and co-founder of Qwoted in NYC. Together, they discuss Matt’s past experience on the business development side of PR, and dive into the inspiration behind the industry-disrupting network that’s helping to connect journalists with and savvy PR pros. They also discuss how the media landscape has changed in recent years, what journalists today are looking for, and how PR professionals can use technology like the Qwoted platform to improve their media relationships. April and Laura also chat through some best practices for securing coverage without a client spokesperson available, and discuss the recent controversy over whether the New York Times will update past bylines for transgender journalists on their staff. As always, the two also deliver an Anonymous PR Horror Story from the listening audience – this week, from an AE who got caught caught up in one agency’s “work hard, play hard” office culture.
39: From the Directors’ Chair: Behind the Scenes of INFLUENCE with Diana Neille & Richard Poplak
Today on the PR Wine Down, hosts April and Laura welcome special guests Diana Neille and Richard Poplak, directors of the industry-exposé documentary film, “INFLUENCE: the Rise and Fall of the World’s Most Dangerous Public Relations Company.” Together, the award-winning investigative journalists take our hosts behind the scenes to discuss the creation of the film, which premiered at Sundance last year and traced the rise and fall of the notorious British multinational PR firm, Bell Pottinger. They also discuss advancements in weaponized communication, analyze the forces shaping the geopolitical landscape today and assess the state of the PR industry on a global scale. April and Laura also deliver some practical advice for pitching to potential clients, read an Anonymous PR Horror Story about a Zoom call gone very wrong, and react to the recent news that The New York Times has retired the term “op-ed.”
38: Stephanie Rudnick – Athletes, Agencies and Adapting Your Career Path
Today’s guest on the podcast is Stephanie Rudnick. As a seasoned PR and brand marketing professional, Stephanie wears many hats in her career, including: Head of Global Communications and GM of hospitality and events at MKTG Sports & Entertainment in Australia; Head of PR at Angel City Football Club in Los Angeles; and Director of Communications at Beautiful Game Group, LLC in New York. Stephanie is here to chat with hosts April and Laura about her experiences in working with high-profile client athletes and Olympians, key takeaways from her career, finding her dream job and how the pandemic has changed the PR industry as a whole. They also discuss navigating contracts, client photoshoots and the importance of nurturing your professional relationships. April and Laura also revisit the rise of Substack as a force to be reckoned with in modern journalism, and offer job-vetting advice for an anonymous listener who encountered a PR Horror Story in her first agency role.
37: Olu Green – Brand Marketing in the Big Leagues
This week, April and Laura are joined by Olu Green, director of sports & entertainment marketing at Rogers & Cowan PMK. Having worked with big name brands like the NFL, ESPN, Beats by Dre, Stance Socks, Call of Duty and more, Olu gives our hosts an inside look at what the cool kids want in 2021. They discuss the behind-the-scenes of brand marketing, influencer relations and PR opportunities for high-stakes client accounts, as well as Olu’s experience as one of the first 50 employees at Beats by Dre. Our hosts also discuss Volkswagen’s recent April Fool’s Day flop, offer advice for fielding tough feedback from clients and read an Anonymous PR Horror Story about vetting your early job prospects as a rookie publicist.
36: Brian Garrido – Discussing Diversity in PR & Advertising
Welcome back to the PR Wine Down podcast! This week, our hosts welcome Brain Garrido, Marketing Department Specialist at Meticulous Design + Architecture (MD+A). They’re discussing diversity in the advertising and PR industries today, and touching on the state of tourism, wine and hospitality amid the changing landscape of the pandemic. April and Laura also share a new PR Horror Story from the listening audience, and weigh in with their reactions to journalist Seth Colaner’s viral Twitter thread.
35: Trust Relations Anniversary Special – All About April, the Agency and the Journey So Far
In this special episode of the podcast, we’re celebrating the two year anniversary of Trust Relations. Laura is putting April in the hot seat this week, to discuss why she decided to start her own firm, her hopes for the future of the industry and the personal experiences she’s had as a PR practitioner along the way. Also joining us are two guest hosts from the Trust Relations team: Sara Blood, senior vice president and Maggie O’Brien, senior copywriter. Wine down with us as we celebrate the journey so far, and hear a few words from the “dream team!”
34: Rachel Flotard: Pulling Back the Curtain on Artist Management & Music PR
On the show this week, we’re welcoming Laura’s long-time friend Rachel Flotard, artist manager at Red Light Management and lead singer & guitarist of VISQUEEN. She’s here to discuss her experiences in music management for clients like Neko Case, doing PR for her own band and record label, and how she found her way in the industry. April and Laura also share an Anonymous PR Horror Story from the listening audience about what to do when a manager crosses your boundaries at work, and chat about Sarah Silverman’s recent public statement.
33: Gem Pinkney – All About Flack and the Real-Life PR Behind the Hit TV Series
This week, April and Laura are chatting with Gem Pinkney, the publicity manager from the industry-favorite UKTV show, Flack. We’re discussing the first two seasons, the true stories that inspired the writers of the show and Gem’s own experiences doing PR for a show about…well, PR! Our hosts also cover the latest brand collaboration between Chipotle and E.L.F. cosmetics and weigh in on another Anonymous PR Horror Story from the listening audience about how to set boundaries with a tough client.
32: Howie Abrams – Publicity, Production and Publishing
April and Laura are chatting this week with Howie Abrams, former music business executive and author of several books including “Hip-Hop Alphabet,” “The Blood and the Sweat: The Story of Sick of It All’s Koller Brothers” and “The ABCs of Metallica.” They’re diving into the processes of book publishing, artist and band promotion and how PR plays into the mix — including some behind-the-scenes stories about stars like Britney Spears, Kiss and Sick of It All. April and Laura also share some advice for aligning with clients on their messaging and deliver an Anonymous PR Horror Story from a listener who took a PR job that didn’t quite match the description.
31: Behind the News Desk with Kelcey Alonzo from Guitar Connoisseur Magazine
April and Laura are chatting this week with Kelcey Alonzo, Editor in Chief and Founder of Guitar Connoisseur Magazine. Together, they discuss the magazine’s recent re-launch and what it’s like working behind the scenes at the publication. They also cover Kelcey’s advice for PR pros, based on the pitches he receives at the editor’s desk every day. April and Laura assess the public handling of the abuse allegations against Marilyn Manson. Our hosts also deliver a PR Horror Story from the listening audience, about a PR intern who who faced some surprising demands at the office.
30: B.L. Ochman – Behind the Scenes of PR & Podcasting
This week’s episode features special guest is B.L. Ochman. She’s a uniquely experienced digital pioneer, co-host of the Beyond Social Media Show and head of the creative team at whatsnextonline.com. She’s here to chat with April and Laura about avoiding mistakes in pitching, writing and social media strategy, when to use brainstorming (or not!) and how the internet era and the rise of podcasting has changed PR as a whole. Our hosts also discuss the recent layoffs at Bloomberg, and share an anonymous Horror Story with advice for getting the most out of an internship.
29: Lana Dao – Operations Overhaul
Our hosts welcome Trust Relations’ Chief Client Officer, Lana Dao, to discuss all things related to operational efficiency. April and Laura chat with her about how to improve operations at any agency, identifying workflow pain points and the steps to take before implementing changes that impact the team. April and Laura also share an Anonymous PR Horror Story about what to do when a client leaves you out of the loop on a major announcement, and how to get the most out of rejections from journalists.
28: Erin Mathe – Best Practices for Broadcast
This week, our hosts are joined by Trust Relations’ own Media Relations Director, Erin Mathe, to discuss best practices for broadcast from pitching, to media training, to what makes for a great moment on air. April and Laura also read the latest Anonymous PR Horror story, share advice about how to maintain a positive attitude on tough client calls and dive into the PR impact of the recent events with GameStop on Wall Street.
27: Tara Wyckoff – Degrees, Diversity and Finding Your Dream Job
April and Laura are joined this week by Tara Wyckoff, assistant teaching professor at Penn State’s Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications. In this episode, they’re discussing markers for good mentorship, underlying issues in diversity initiatives at agencies today and best practices for setting young people up for success as they enter the working world. April and Laura also discuss a new Anonymous PR Horror Story from the listening audience, offer advice for dealing with toxic team members and analyze Rolling Stone’s new pay-for-play contributor program.
26: Lynn Power – Confessions of an Ad Pro Turned Entrepreneur
April and Laura welcome Lynn Power, Co-Founder & CEO at MASAMI and former CEO of J. Walter Thompson in NY, to chat about her journey from being an accomplished advertising executive to launching a beauty brand. Together, they also brainstorm new PR strategies and discuss Lynn’s experience navigating crisis communications during the early days of the #MeToo movement. As always, April and Laura share a new PR Horror Story from an anonymous listener, and chat about the impact of the pandemic on live events and industry conferences.
25: Don Klos – SEO for PR Pros
April and Laura are joined by Don Klos, Director Of Sales And Business Development at Nuclear Networking, to break down the key components of an SEO strategy. Together, they’re covering the basics of backlinks, keywords and other components of the technical side of the marketing mix, as well as the ways that SEO and PR intersect.
24: Mikal Reich – All About Advertising
This week on the PR Wine Down, we’re crossing into advertising territory with special guest Mikal Reich, Executive Creative Director and Co-Owner at Dead As We Know It creative agency. With hosts Laura and April, Mikal discusses his career path into the advertising industry, navigating common client challenges and how to use creative ideas to generate press coverage. Our hosts also discuss their advice for showcasing your value during new business pitches, deliver a brand-new anonymous PR Horror Story and share their thoughts on the recent rise of Substack among journalists.
23: Holiday Special – Ghosts of Agencies and Episodes Past with Arthur Solomon
On the PR Wine Down Holiday Special, April and Laura are chatting with special guest Arthur Solomon, PR industry veteran, former journalist, and previous Senior Vice President and Senior Counselor at Burson-Marsteller. April and Laura also revisit their best advice from the show in 2020, along with a roundup the craziest moments and most important tips on What Not To Do in your PR career. They’re also delivering a double-feature Holiday Horror Story segment you won’t want to miss.
22: Rembrandt Flores – Influencer Marketing 101
April and Laura are joined this week by Rembrandt Flores, CEO & founder at Entertainment Fusion Group, to discuss the ins and outs of entertainment marketing, influencer partnerships and working with celebrity spokespeople. Our hosts also cover the importance of mastering multitasking for rookie publicists who want to advance in their careers and become well rounded PR mavens. As always, they’re covering the latest marketing news with the appearance of several mysterious monoliths around the world, and reading an anonymous horror story about an integrated campaign that didn’t quite go as planned.
21: Ed Zitron – PR Pitfalls and How To Not To Pitch
April and Laura interview Ed Zitron, founder of EZPR and author of This Is How You Pitch: How To Kick Ass In Your First Years of PR and Fire Your Publicist: The PR and Publicity Secrets That Will Make You and Your Business Famous. Together, they discuss the future of PR and creating lasting relationships with journalists, as well as a few industry pain points and advice for young professionals. Our hosts also deliver a hair-raising PR Horror Story from an anonymous listener, and recap some pitching mistakes from the news this week.
20: Hamish Anderson – Aligning Your Marketing and Business Goals
This week, our hosts welcome Hamish Anderson, founder of Three Piece Marketing, to discuss the power of perspective, how identifying industry pain points can unlock success, and the importance of aligning your marketing and business goals. April and Laura also discuss key takeaways for building out a client contract and doing your due diligence to research a client’s competitive space. As always, our hosts also deliver the latest industry news and a new PR Horror Story from our listeners.
19: Thanksgiving Special – Career Moments & Mentors
On the PR Wine Down today, hosts April and Laura are gathering around the virtual table to reflect on some positive career milestones. Our guests this week are Trust Relations Senior Vice President Jenn McManus-Goode, and Account Executive & Podcast Producer Veronica Marie-Leffler Yip. Together, we’re sharing our gratitude for some of the mentors and moments that have meant the most to us in our careers. April and Laura are also sharing the most interesting Thanksgiving-themed campaigns in the news for 2020.
Aaron Wolpoff – The Magic of a High Visibility Campaign
Aaron Wolpoff, CEO and co-founder at Double Zebra, joins the podcast this week to discuss the trends, strategies and tactics that make for a stellar high-visibility marketing campaign. April and Laura also deliver a hot take on the items every professional should ban from their Zoom wardrobe and read a jaw-dropping PR Horror Story about ethics, HR and knowing your rights. Our hosts also ask today’s guest to weigh in on a bold move in PR news from Burger King.
Heather Delaney – PR from the UK to the USA
Heather Delaney, founder of Gallium Ventures and international publicist extraordinaire, joins the show this week to discuss the nuances of media relations in the U.S. and Europe. She’s chatting with April and Laura about cultural differences, reporter relationships and how product development plays into PR. Our hosts also discuss how to navigate expectations at work, the wildest marketing campaigns from Orbit Gum, and a PR Horror Story that runs the gamut of challenges with traditional agency structures.
Jon Kasle – Why Content is King and Brand Stewardship is Key
PR veteran Jon Kasle joins April and Laura this week to discuss the many facets of brand stewardship in today’s communications landscape. They’re covering how to navigate a rocky year like 2020, where ethics play into brand identity and how to take the reins in your career. Our hosts also share their reactions to Donald Trump’s handling of his recent 60 Minutes interview and advice for hitting the ground running with media wins for a new client.
Halloween Special: Scary Stories in Media & PR
Welcome to the PR Wine Down Halloween Special! Hosts April and Laura are getting into the spirit of the season this week with a PR twist. They’re delivering a full lineup of our ghastliest anonymous PR Horror Stories sure to send a shiver down any publicist’s spine. We’ve also pulled the scariest news in the media this week for an analysis that’s sure to be a scream. Wine down with us as our hosts share their industry insights and advice for navigating tough situations at work, questions in office ethics and the strategies behind the latest round of election news headlines.
Austin Sandmeyer – PR in the Marketing Mix
Austin Sandmeyer, senior marketing manager at Beekeeper, joins April and Laura this week to discuss where PR fits into the marketing mix. Austin weighs in on how media wins impact lead generation, leveraging case studies, building customer relationships and how to find new opportunities as a young marketing professional. Also on the docket for this week is the latest news about the rise of freelance work during the pandemic, how to keep sales messaging out of a press release and how to “manage up” to your team leads at a PR agency.
Todd Merkow – Unpacking the Trends in Today’s News Media
Hosts April and Laura chat with Todd Merkow to dissect the problems with today’s news landscape and trends in media consumption. They also cover advice for working with publicly traded companies, dish about some of the latest big-name brand collaborations and share a Silicon Valley PR horror story from an anonymous listener.
Be Bold, Not Bland – How Design Plays Into Branding and PR
Our hosts welcome Natalie Sharma, senior web designer at Trust Relations and founder & creative director of Pixetal design studio, to discuss modern trends in branding and design and how to find the right designer for your business. April and Laura also deliver their weekly PR news update, share an anonymous listener story and chat about censorship, social media, and how the value of PR stacks up in terms of ad dollars.
Agency Basics: An Inside Scoop on Teamwork, Ethics & Getting Ahead
April White and Laura Schooler are talking one-on-one this week to dive into the realities of agency PR, with advice on handling ethical dilemmas at work and how thinking creatively can set the entire team up for greater success. They also chat about tips to avoid sounding “Clueless” during client calls and putting your best professional foot forward. Of course, out hosts will also tackle the latest PR news and fails of the week, with an early Halloween headline in the mix.
Christopher Tompkins – How to Marry PR with Digital Marketing
This week, April and Laura welcome Christopher Tompkins, CEO of The Go! Agency and online marketing specialist. Together, they dive into the elements of a successful digital marketing strategy and discuss how social media and PR can amplify each other. They also dish about their firsthand experiences working with clients and colleagues across the gamut of the communications world. April and Laura deliver the latest news happening in PR this week, discussing Jelly Belly’s recent Willy-Wonka-style campaign, the controversy surrounding Netflix’s ad campaign for the film “Cuties” and more.Listen to this episode >
Beth McRae – MBA or MB-Nay?
This week, Beth McRae joins April and Laura this week to break down the value of a MBA as a public relations professional, the difference between working with small agencies and large agencies and small clients versus big clients. April and Laura also talk about KFC’s “finger lickin’ good” campaign, The FDA’s blood plasma PR blunder and more.Listen to this episode >
When Worlds Collide – The Intersection of Social Media and PR
On this week’s episode of the PR Winedown, April and Laura discuss the intersection of PR and social media, when to know what you don’t know, the genius social media play by Planter’s Peanuts and the importance of staying engaged in social media discussions – especially those around your brand.Listen to this episode >
Danielle Arceneaux – Breaking Through a Busy News Cycle
Communications consultant Danielle Arceneaux joins April and Laura this week to chat about the current state of the media, managing client expectations, the reality of placing content behind paywalls and how to breakthrough a busy news cycle. Your favorite hosts also talk about how to regain trust within your organization’s culture and what to do when your client doesn’t have any “hard news” to pitch.Listen to this episode >
Abel Flint – Pivoting Your Marketing and PR Strategy
April and Laura are joined this week by Suzy Senior Brand Manager Abel Flint. Together they discuss the importance of being able to quickly pivot your marketing and PR strategy to adapt to the changing world around you, how to use market research to create products that resonate with customers, how to get on the Joe Rogan podcast, a PR slip up from presidential candidate Joe Biden and what the heck is going on with TikTok. Have a question for Suzy? Contact the Suzy team at Suzy@trustrelations.agency or Abel.firstname.lastname@example.orgListen to this episode >
Paul Rosengren – A Government Affair
Paul Rosengren joins April and Laura on the show to give an insider perspective of government communications and how it can be used to influence legislation. April and Laura also have discussions around the Trader Joe’s controversy, racial sensitivities and what Matel is doing to push the brand towards the future.Listen to this episode >
Joaby Parker – What exactly is a fractional CMO?
This week, April and Laura chat with Fractional CMO and Co-Founder of Cover3 Creative Joaby Parker about what it means to be a fractional CMO and how to avoid conflicting interests. They also get into discussions around the importance of media training, knowing that anyone can be listening at any time and how to handle conflicting personalities in an agency setting.Listen to this episode >
Mike Bush – Creating a Seamless Client/Agency Dynamic
This week, April and Laura discuss the Bari Weiss resignation letter, answer anonymous listener questions about providing feedback and get into a discussion with client, colleague and friend Mike Bush about what to look for when hiring a PR agency and how and when to respectfully push back on client expectations to create the ideal client/ agency dynamic.Listen to this episode >
Chris Atkins – True Tales of a Life in PR
April and Laura sit down with long time professional, consultant, author speaker and professor of public relations Chris Atkins to discuss his 35 plus years of PR experience, how the industry has changed and the truth about a PR degree.Listen to this episode >
Welcome to the Winedown
April and Laura welcome you to the first-ever episode of The PR Wine Down. Your hosts chat about why they decided to start the podcast, what’s wrong with the traditional PR agency structure, what’s going on in sports PR and more.Listen to this episode >