[By Cianna Wilkinson]
Julie Martinson is an associate creative director at Environics Communications – a Toronto-based integrated public relations agency that has worked on numerous campaigns with reputable brands such as the Canadian Liver Foundation, Fisher-Price, and Ebay Canada… just to name a few. She is also editor of popular makeup and beauty blog, Swatch and Review. Equipped with an honours bachelor degree in English from York University, as well as training in copywriting and journalism from Humber College, Julie gives insight to working in the fast-paced field of PR.
Why did you choose a career in PR?
I started as a copywriter at a digital agency and worked my way up to being a team lead. From there, I jumped to another digital-focused agency, then a more traditional advertising shop (TV, print, radio). I knew there were more opportunities and challenges for me out there, so when an associate creative director job opened up at Environics Communications (and it was for a creative duo which meant I could stay together with my design partner), I jumped at it!
What are the three biggest challenges you face as a PR professional in your job?
- A lot of clients don’t see the value of involving the creative team in work. However, we can always find ways to look at problems differently.
- Influencer burn out! I’m finding the same influencers are working on the same projects every time. It is becoming a bit repetitive.
- The changing media landscape. People trust more authentic or genuine reviews and opinions, so finding the right balance of traditional and new media is key.
How has the public relations industry changed in the past five to ten years?
It has changed absolutely. It used to be digital, traditional, and that was it. Now PR is seen as more important to the marketing mix and the lines are blurring. I see it becoming more integrated with mainstream advertising. As someone in the creative department, I work on everything from TV, to print, to web, to video, to influencer campaigns, to press releases.
You also run a popular makeup review blog – has this helped you to connect with other PR professionals?
Actually, being in PR has helped the blog quite a bit. I am able to pitch bigger campaigns and blogger problems to PR firms that I work with on the blog because that’s how my mind works. I also use my experience in both PR and blogging to help run initiatives with the Canadian Beauty Bloggers network. I find having the experience and credentials of being in the industry for over 10 years makes people stop and listen.
(Photo by Julie Martinson)