Charming Charlie manager offers insight into public relations
By: Molly Deaver
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Although she only started her career eight years ago, Meg McGuire has been going places.
She has traveled to more than 25 countries and lived in New York City, Atlanta, Dallas and Houston.
Her interest in fashion has led to opportunities in a variety of positions.
After graduating from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School with a bachelor’s in marketing and consulting/venture management, she started her career as a fashion editor at Jezebel magazine. Although she loved working as an editor, she switched to public relations so she could be more strategic.
Her public relations career began with Alison Brod Public Relations in New York City where she learned the world of public relations — how it works, what’s expected and how to create a strategic campaign for a company. This job also gave her the insight into retail and how that industry works.
Next, she worked as an assistant buyer at Stage Stores and then a customer relations manager at Calypso St. Barth. Now, she is the public relations manager at Charming Charlie.
At Charming Charlie, McGuire has a multitude of responsibilities. She is constantly busy; her phone and computer are a necessity for her daily work. She is in charge of photo shoots, along with managing, creating, and executing the annual public relations calendar, plan, status reports and budget. She is responsible for the entire public relations program, and she works to build strong fashion contacts with the media. Although Charming Charlie has a social media manager, McGuire is still required to work closely with the media.
McGuire has had experience in both an agency and at an in-house agency. In an email interview, she gave some pros and cons to working with both:
Pros of working with a public relations agency
- There is the opportunity to work on a variety of brands.
- Your colleagues are all publicists so everyone understands what you do and how you do it.
- Clients are frequently added.
Cons of agency work:
- It becomes hard to devote the same amount of time to all of your accounts.
- There become favorites by default.
- The pay at times isn’t the best.
Pros of working in-house in public relations:
- You often make a higher salary than at a public relations agency.
- You can put all of your focus and energy on one brand.
- You can make strong connections with all employees and other executives.
- You are allowed to work with other functions in the company and not just public relations.
- You have a better understanding of the company itself.
Cons of working in-house in public relations:
- You often have to deal with “issues” that arise with the company. In an agency, you’re not involved in the company’s internal issues.
Having worked for both, McGuire says, “I prefer in-house because you can focus and put your energy towards one brand. At an agency, I had six to eight clients at a time.”
Even though McGuire isn’t an editor, she says that editing is an important part of her job. She gave three tips during the interview:
1. “Always reread your emails, press releases, paragraphs etc. You will almost always catch spelling errors, grammar mistakes, etc.”
2. “In public relations communications – keep it professional when it comes to media alerts and press releases and informal when communicating with editors.”
3. “Less is more. Edit your sentences to be as succinct as possible.”