It’s made up of publicists, marketing managers, event organisers and media professionals, each with unique skill sets. Some test target markets, others develop brands. Although not strictly sales people, selling is exactly what’s going on. Most write, many investigate and others throw amazing parties.
Like every industry, it has its up and downs and, to some, can still maintain a rather stereotyped reputation. But for every champers swilling, two-faced, coke sniffing Faaaabulous Dahling, there are ten more hard-working, genuine, intelligent media professionals quietly working away and carving their own niche. (Ok, I lie, they’re not usually terribly quiet, but you get the idea.)
An oft found characteristic among successful PRs is thinking with creativity and flair. Combine that with good old common sense and you’re usually on your way to a winner. Tiffany Farrington is one such example.
After 14 years in public relations, most of which was spent working in lifestyle, fashion and beauty, in 2008, Tiffany closed the doors on her business Breakfast PR and focused full time on Social Diary. Having begun purely as a calendar tool to help avoid parties and launches being scheduled on the same night, it’s now turned into a thriving online business that services both Australia and New Zealand. Members pay an annual fee that gives them access to the site so that they can see what events are coming up and also allow them to list their own functions. This helps companies to plan when to hold events so that there are minimal clashes and helps the media work out what they’ll cover.
There are also other extremely useful tools aligned with Social Diary. On the site is a ‘Brand Search’ which lists hundreds of different brands and companies and provides details of the PR representative. Then every week there’s a helpful, newsy newsletter that is sent to all members (which is always a welcome joy to receive in your inbox on a Friday afternoon). It connects you with other PRs whose upcoming event may align with your brand and also keeps you up to date with editorial changes and call outs from media.
Non-members can also get a taste for Tiffany’s PR expertise at www.socialdiaryaustralia.blogspot.com
And then there are the infamous parties that Tiff loves to throw… If a bubbly bunch of PRs and journalists on the loose doesn’t already sound like a good night, just add a wacky theme, hilarious costumes, a hot venue and some of the best food and beverage sponsors into the mix and you’ve got a Social Diary kind of cocktail, usually served shaken AND stirred.
I caught up with Tiff recently to find out more about Social Dairy and how she started her own exciting business.
How do you think Social Diary best helps media and PR professionals?
It’a community in the truest sense of the word. Prior to Social Diary none of us really had any idea what events were coming up, and no real way to reach out to each other beyond just cold-calling other PR agencies. Social Diary allows everyone to work together rather than against each other, which is lovely to see.
Your passion for PR is very clear, as is your love of a fun, strong, honest PR “community” – where do you think this came from?
I started in the PR & Events industry at 21 and loved it passionately from the very start. I am very social by nature so it perfectly suited my personality, and as I progressed in my career I developed a true love of all my peers. As I always say, publicists and journalists are those kids who talked the most in the playground and always brought the best stuff in for Show & Tell, who then grew up and worked out how to get paid for it! Bringing everyone together via Social Diary happened very organically and I couldn’t be happier.
Social Diary was created out of necessity – you simply began it to avoid event clashes and it’s grown to the fab business it is today. Relating to running a business, if “necessity is the mother of invention”, what do you consider the “father” to be? (If you can’t choose just one, feel free to offer what the uncle, aunt, sister, brother or same-sex-partner might be!)
Great question! I think the father would be practicality. For an invention to work it has to be easy to use, and I think fathers always provide practical advice! I think the sister would be creativity, the brother common sense, and the lover would be that little bit of magic! The same sex partner would of course be fairy dust!
What’s your #1 PR and communications “rule / hot tip / motto” (again, if you canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t pick just one, feel free to give a few.)
Be quirky! To achieve cut-through for your clients you have to think outside the box. A wacky, unique fact about whatever product your spruiking is going to achieve much more than a long drawn-out media release. If reading paragraph after paragraph about a new lipstick sends you to sleep, it will most certainly bore the pants off a journalist. Be smart, snappy and cheeky. Let your personality shine through.
I also believe in being who YOU are. When I first started in PR I looked to the glossy PR girls above me and tried to emulate them – you know the type: they always look immaculate, have perfect hair, gorgeous nails and the right shoe. This lasted about 5 minutes for me as it’s just not who I am (unfortunately!) My hair frizzes and my nails chip. So I decided the best thing was to be myself – naughty sense of humour, the occasional swear word and all. People in the industry over the years have often told me this is what sets me apart, so my best advice is to just be who you are, not what you think you need to be to fit the mould.
How digitally savvy are you / have you had to become to maintain and develop your online presence?
I would say I’m moderately digitally savvy after running an online business for six years but have definitely become better over time. I didn’t really love Twitter at first but started using it to promote my blog to a wider audience beyond Social Diary members, and really enjoy it now.
What / who inspires you?
Travel always inspires me so it’s what I spend every last cent on. And, as always Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the industry. Fabulous events, brilliantly written articles, and the people who make them happen.
Anything in particular you’d like to spruik / promote at the moment?
We are gearing up for the Social Diary Xmas Party on November 4th (yes, I’m going for the ‘earliest Xmas Party EVER’ award). The theme is “Social Diary Sleepover” with a dress code of ‘sweet dreams or beautiful nightmares.’ It’s a huge amount of work but I am SO excited! I’m also about to launch Social Diary in Hong Kong which is huge.
Just The Facts:
Title: Director, Social Dairy
Home: Lives in Paddington, Sydney with two friends and her beloved Jack Russell, Fang
Drink of choice: Shiraz
Shoe preference: Sandals over stilettos
Dream holiday destination: Travel is Tiffany’s passion. Her last trip was in September to Croatia and Montenegro and her next trip is a diving expedition in Indonesia. “I work best when I have at least two trips on the horizon – it’s what keeps me going”.