Meet Desirae, a 5-star rated publicist and journalist with published work across the globe. As a successful woman in the industry, Desirae has faced unique challenges and has helped a diverse range of clients achieve their goals through effective public relations strategies. In this interview, she shares her insights on the industry, working with music artists, handling client crises, and promoting gender equality and diversity. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from a seasoned professional and take your PR game to the next level.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your work as a publicist and journalist?
I would be glad to. I would first like to extend my appreciation to you for asking me to do this interview with Pump It Up Magazine. It is a pleasure to share my story with your audience.
I got my start in publicity while I worked with a news crew in Japan. I was doing print and commercial modeling at the time and the producer for the Fox Television network found out a little more about my background and felt I would fit in nicely to run one of their celebrity segments. Due to my background in journalism and linguistics, it truly was a perfect fit. Over the years I expanded my reach, developed more and more substantial relationships, and made my way up the proverbial ladder of success. Once I relocated back to the states, creating my own public relations company was a natural segue from my background with journalism and my wonderful experiences with the media.
What challenges have you faced as a successful woman in the field of journalism and public relations, and how have you overcome them?
I look at challenges as opportunities to make a situation better for all involved. In the area of journalism, I have found that words can make or break a story or a press release. It is important to do your research on all the topics you are covering so you can be well informed and in turn, inform your audience. The challenges that I have turned into opportunities dwell in the area of creating a balance in a piece of writing. There are times when the topic of the article or the person is so vast that you want to tell it all, but there must be some precision and order to how you craft a story.
Public relations in and of itself is full of topics and it is constantly evolving. The one challenge that comes to mind that I have turned into a teaching opportunity for my clients is that we may appear to do it all, but we don’t. Publicity has limits and it’s best to be clear about that upfront. There are no guarantees that your client will land on the cover of Time magazine, nor is it guaranteed that the media will pick up their story. Public relations professionals focus on telling someone’s story to the kind of audience that will appreciate it, while at the same time introducing your client to different demographics and building from there. A publicist should in fact have a very good relationship with the media to help leverage coverage and news opportunities for the best interest of their client.
As someone who has worked with a variety of clients, what do you think sets successful female entrepreneurs apart from others?
Following up and following through. The two are not the same, but both work together. This is not only true when it comes to those you work with, but also for yourself. You must be accountable for making connections, setting boundaries, and following protocol so all aspects of your name and brand remain professional.
What advice would you give to women who are just starting out in their careers as entrepreneurs or in the field of public relations?
I would advise them to take a good and hard look at what they are setting out to accomplish. Ask those hard questions of themselves to be sure this is something they are built for. Just like many things in this life, certain things aren’t for everybody. If all boxes are checked and they are ready to move forward, I would advise them to expand their circle to those who are like minded and goal driven. These people will cheer for you, push you, and help celebrate your success.
In your opinion, what can be done to promote gender equality and diversity in the field of public relations and journalism?
It’s important to highlight males and females equally in these areas because both genders are bringing their own energy to the table. A female may write and story much different than her male colleague even if it focuses on the same topic. This is because the way they view the subject at hand and see the world can vastly differ. I believe panel discussions and forums where both sexes can discuss their experiences in the field can help to shed light on what’s missing and what can be fixed for the benefit of everyone involved.
How do you stay updated on the latest trends and developments in your industry, and what resources do you recommend for others?
I make sure I am heavily involved with whatever my clients are doing. I may accompany them to an event, reach out to people who are in the same niche, read articles and watch live discussions on industry topics, and learn more about things that are new to me.
Can you tell us about your experience working with music artists in the past, and which artists have had the best results from your public relations strategies?
The musicians and singers I have worked with are some of the most creative and dynamic people I have ever met. I like to let my work and my hashtags speak for themselves. All the musicians I have worked with have enjoyed tremendous success. I invite your readers to explore the hashtag: #DesiraeLBensonPR
Can you tell us about a time when a client faced a crisis, and how you handled it through effective communication and public relations?
I had a client who recently went viral on social media because they were accused of making inappropriate comments to a guest at a function. It was a situation that needed immediate attention because social media was eating them up. I was able to put out a statement and clear the air for the most part. When things like that happen, it’s essential to put something out there publicly that is professional and conveys an air of acknowledgement.
What are some common misconceptions people have about public relations and how do you address them?
That we have superpowers! Well, really, we do kind of sort of ha ha! In all seriousness, we are human, we may be very good at what we do, but we make mistakes too, we have good and bad days, and we juggle a tremendous amount of material on paper, electronically, and in our heads. There are some folks who think we never sleep because we are always involved in something. I address these issues by letting my clients know that I work with people other than them, that I am also a mother and wife, and that there will be times that I am not available. Once these boundaries are set, everyone can be on the same page.
What are some of the most rewarding aspects of your job, and what keeps you motivated to continue working in this field?
Seeing the wonderful smiles of my clients before, during, and after a great campaign is always rewarding. My motivation comes from the time, effort, and energy I put out there. Being a publicist is a labor of love and I absolutely love what I do.
For those who are interested in your services as a publicist, how can they find you and get in touch with you?
I am all over social media, if they search Desirae L. Benson, I will come up on Facebook. My handle is DesiraeBBB on Instagram. My email address is, DesiraeBBB@gmail.com