As San Francisco has long been lauded as the nerve center for all things high tech, it’s definitely the place to be for the latest of our Qwoted 100 PR superstars, Aneska Alino of Kickstand Communications. And as data plays such a huge role in the digital universe, it’s no surprise that Alino sees it playing a crucial role in PR in the months and years ahead.
Qwoted spoke with Alino on a host of subjects running the gamut from connecting news cycles, trends and pitches to why it’s so crucial to treat every media opportunity as a chance to push a client’s overarching narrative forward.
Qwoted: What do you see as the future of PR—technologically, strategically, or in any category you’re passionate about?
Aneska Alino: The future will exponentially rely on data. We’re living in a data-driven world and it’s becoming more integrated into our daily workloads — from how we generate reports and calculate share of voice to tracking the success of pitch ideas. In tandem, the need for empathy, connection and creative campaign ideas will rely on public relations professionals flexing their soft skills and thinking more critically. PR is constantly changing and as the digital landscape expands, finding a voice and platform that makes sense for clients makes this industry so interesting and continues to intrigue me.
Qwoted: What do you think you do that other PRs could learn from?
Alino: Timing is everything! Be ready for the unexpected and prepare as much as possible. When I feel ready and know I’ve done everything I can to prepare, it makes me feel empowered. My starting point is to pursue last-minute or spontaneous media opportunities and tasks. The right timing also applies to having a spokesperson available for interviews, hitting deadlines and getting into a reporter’s inbox right when they’re thinking about an idea.
Don’t let an initial pass stop you from pursuing another route. Sometimes a setback can feel like a missed opportunity but I always like to think it means there’s another opportunity just around the corner. At Kickstand, I’m known for my resourcefulness and resilience when pursuing media and event opportunities — which has allowed me to really push us closer to our clients’ goals and dream big.
Qwoted: What’s your toughest challenge with reporters?
Alino: Coordinating schedules can be difficult with reporters due to individual schedules, a reporter’s deadline and working across multiple time zones.
Qwoted: How do you approach breaking through the noise floor to get effective coverage?
Alino: Anticipate trends that align with news cycles. I find it effective to regularly check in with my clients about their opinions on trending news. Fresh insights make pitching efforts more relevant and unique. I think it’s always important when trying to break through the noise to be the first to say something and evaluate how this news is having an effect on the industry.
True thought leadership in action is when you gaze into the crystal ball and anticipate what’s going to happen — while incorporating your client’s narrative — and then leverage your spokespeople in front of the right media crowd. Encouraging our spokespeople to share their opinions with a sense of humor if appropriate often makes the final cut. Identifying the audience — and thinking about not only who will read the final article, but what will also make a strong headline and pull quote — helps the journalist, spokesperson and the teams I’m part of to think more effectively about how we can make an impact.
Qwoted: How does PR in 2023 square with the future of journalism?
Alino: Just like the future of journalism is evolving and shifting, so is PR. From the time I started my career to now, every year is different with how I approach a media relations strategy. However, one thing remains the same, and that’s human connection. It remains a focal point in every story: how a company was founded, the reasoning for a product launch, or sharing why there is a business strategy pivot paints a more holistic picture.
Journalism in the future will focus on shorter, more digestible quality content that reaches people in their inboxes and through audio, which is why we’ve seen an influx of newsletters and podcasts lately. I also think the way people read and access news has changed and as a result, publications are putting efforts into meeting consumers where they are.
Qwoted: What advice would you give to those seeking an effective PR person?
Alino: When looking for an effective PR person, ask about their process and how they’ll integrate with the current in-house team. PR people should be an extension of your team, understand the industry and share actionable insights as to how they will make your plans possible. Effective writing and speaking are building blocks and critical skills. Learning more about their results and methodology makes for a winning formula.
Qwoted: What is your golden rule of PR?
Alino: My golden rule is to remember the ultimate north star for a client when it comes to telling a story. Will this opportunity help push our narrative forward? What kind of story are we telling and does that resonate with our actions on a daily, weekly and quarterly basis? Consulting clients about why their story is important and digging deeper to find those answers enables PR professionals to find clarity within details and reverse engineer actions into plans.
Additionally, on a personal level, I also believe that remembering the reasoning behind my own motivations and career goals is a golden rule for success. PR is a quick-paced industry and staying agile and adaptable is key. Being in the moment and focusing on the task at hand, while having the perspective and roadmap to the final result, keeps me going when the days are busy.
Qwoted: Anything else to add?
Alino: I feel very honored to be a part of the Qwoted 100! This recognition means a lot because I’ve worked hard to build reporter relationships and learn about what’s important to reporters as I navigate the evolving media relations world. Every PR person needs a solid toolkit and Qwoted is an integral tool in mine.
February 14, 2023