WBM: Why does what you do matter?
SASHA: On a macrocosmic scale, what I do probably doesn’t matter all that much. I’m not disillusioned into thinking as an entertainment publicist I’m going down in history books. But in terms of making a difference in the lives of my clients who are trying to successfully pursue their dreams? I’d like to think we have assisted tremendously in the process of making that happen, offering them a plateau to share their voice and talent, and achieve their lifelong goals. I think that matters.
WBM: You run a very successful firm, what do you believe has been the catalyst behind Helio PR’s success?
SASHA: I think it goes back to question number five about relationships and credibility. At the core of my job it’s a sales position. The mistake many peers make is getting into this thinking you can pay some news service to disseminate a press release and sit back and wait for some magical response. That may be true with the Coldplays of the world, but if you’re just getting into PR chances are your client “list” aren’t going to be at the top of the alphabet. You have to not only form genuine relationships with writers, talent bookers and producers but you have to see the world through their eyes. Figure out what they’re looking for and how to make your client sound breathtaking to a bunch of folks who have heard just about everything under the sun. I tell people out of everything in Robert Greene’s “48 Laws of Power” the tactics of mastering the art of timing and appealing to people’s self-interest when asking for something are definitely applicable in my profession.
Another key is imagination. Einstein once said it was more important than knowledge. There are so many publicists out here – in fact boutique PR firms pop up like Starbucks but many of the publicists don’t realize that you can’t be a linear thinker when you want to sell a product. I always admit how much I admire the billboard slogan writers of the world – you can tell these men and women sit there for weeks brainstorming in order to come up with really interesting, captivating and creative marketing mottos. In order to sell you have to know how to make your product attractive and set it apart from everything else in the market. Some people have the gift to be able to read potential customers and see the world thru their eyes – which is important because with sales you have to know what your target wants to hear.
Also organization skills are fundamental to success. When I was growing up my mother would literally organize to the point of us making jokes about it. She had her filing cabinet; color coordinated tabs for each subject and never misplaced a thing. I believe that’s where I inherited my “order.” You have to stay on top of interviews, returning phone calls, proper follow-up, invoices, making sure editors have the necessary materials to meet their deadlines, etc.
WBM: What’s next for you and Helio PR?
SASHA: Just continuing to go through the same motions we have for the past 13 years, finding inspiring and uplifting individuals to work with, promote projects, stay abreast of the ever changing media world. I would like to work with more authors, non-profits and benefit concerts – those type of campaigns are rewarding.
WBM: Ultimately, what type of impact would you like to leave with your efforts?
SASHA: That’s hard to say. Sometimes I think it can border a tad on narcissism to obsess over what type of footnote you’ll be post-mortem. I’d like to think we helped independent and grassroots talent receive visibility on a larger scale, one that perhaps they wouldn’t have obtained because they didn’t have the major marketing budgets. Many of our clients refuse to conform or produce commodity art, they went against the current of modern day trends and brought a breath of fresh air into the entertainment industry. Acting as a conduit for them feels impactful.