The world of public relations is full of successful people who share a common ladder-climbing story: intern, assistant account executive, account exec, VP, onward and upward. Then there’s Kristin Lisi Buehler, founder of Lipstick & Sweatpants Communications in New York City — who literally burst onto the scene straight from the makeup room.
Starting behind the chair as a licensed hair stylist, Buehler worked for the likes of Paul Mitchell and Aveda before attending New York’s Makeup Designory. From there, while working full-time as an artist on various sets and for MAC Cosmetics, Kristin set her sights on “taking her love — and knowledge — of the industry and pairing it with her gift of gab.” Fast forward to 2022 and look who’s gabbing now: the PR industry as she tears it up.
As part of our ongoing Qwoted 100 series, Buehler spoke with us about her approach to PR, her strategies for getting attention and the valuable lessons she’s learned in her career.
Qwoted: What do you see as the future of PR—technologically, strategically, or in any category you’re passionate about?
Kristin Lisi Buehler: As we continue to move more and more into a digital world, I see PR entering into new territories. Traditional PR simply won’t cut it anymore and we need to explore all avenues. For example, recent years have seen an explosion of affiliate marketing on more traditional websites and I only expect it to grow.
Qwoted: What do you think you do that other PRs could adopt?
Buehler: I pride myself on organization, timeliness and flexibility. Organization to keep yourself sane and on target, timeliness to maintain good standing with media, and flexibility to continue appealing to new and current clients.
Qwoted: What’s your toughest challenge with reporters?
Buehler: The toughest challenge with reporters is more a “me problem” than a “them problem” — but standing out amongst the crowd and clutter. It can be disheartening to not receive feedback or responses to pitches, but with the volume of emails they receive, it’s completely understandable.
Qwoted: How do you approach breaking through the noise floor to get effective coverage?
Buehler: It’s so important to pitch things that are truly newsworthy. Additionally, it’s imperative to take the time to make sure you’re reaching out to the correct person — find out their beat and pitch accordingly. A personalized note also tends to go a long way and shows you’ve done your research.
Qwoted: How does PR in 2022 square with the future of journalism?
Buehler: The way we pitch may have to adjust to journalists’ new and changing needs: for example, affiliate links and negotiations. But regardless of the changes within PR and journalism, both sides of the equation will continue to rely on each other.
Qwoted: What advice would you give to those seeking to find an effective PR person?
Buehler: First and foremost, seek out someone you like and who specializes in your industry. Clients and their PR reps work so closely, it’s important you enjoy the time you have together and hire someone who understands you/your brand. Have an intro meeting or video call if not nearby, request recent press placements, and rely on your network if you can.
Most of my clients have been through referrals — so ask your people if they have someone they can recommend and vouch for. Chances are they’ll know someone, or someone who does.
Qwoted: What is your golden rule of PR?
Buehler: Don’t ever think you know it all. Turn to others to continue your personal and professional growth; do your own continued research and learning; and always stay open to feedback.
February 14, 2023