Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Samantha Luthra from Bread and Butter PR, a boutique hospitality firm in Los Angeles. Samantha, who graduated from the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication, began working at the firm only a week after graduation. She let me in on a few industry secrets and tips for breaking into the fast-paced world of hospitality PR. Check out these three highlights from our chat.
1. Bigger isn’t always better.
Originally, Samantha had hopes to work in a larger PR agency. However, when she received a job at Bread and Butter, which employs six people out of its Los Angeles office, she realized the benefits of a small firm. Although she often collaborates with coworkers, Samantha makes many decisions on her own and does not deal with the bureaucracy that can come with working at a big agency. While this leaves more room for error, it also allows for greater personal success.
“I have friends who are working at big agencies, and they’re doing work that I would have my interns do,” she explained. “I get to secure press hits and take credit for them, which is nice.”
2. Be interested and have a digital footprint that proves it.
When breaking into any area of public relations, Samantha advises that aspiring professionals establish an online presence. Employers want to hire candidates who care about the work they do, and a digital footprint that demonstrates interest can help job seekers get a foot in the door. If you’re interested in food, for example, you should be tweeting about it. Otherwise, your application seems inauthentic.
At the same time, don’t only focus on the industry you want to break into – showcase your personality as well. “I have to hang out with our interns all day,” says Samantha. “I don’t want to hire someone unless they seem like a genuine person.”
3. When in doubt, network.
Samantha doesn’t spend as much time at her desk as one might think. Instead of pitching clients through email, she often takes them out to lunch or happy hour to establish a personal connection. She finds that working with media and clients face-to-face is fun for both parties involved and creates an effective partnership.
It isn’t hard to see that Samantha Luthra enjoys what she does. Hospitality PR has allowed her to take creative initiative and work with exciting clients. “It’s not like tech PR,” she said. “There’s only so much you can do with a microchip, but the clients I work with leave me a lot of room to have fun.”