“I just love the media!” publicist Anne Leighton said. She is the owner of Anne Leighton Media, Music Services and Motivation in New York City and provides media outreach services to classic rock artists including Blackmore’s Night, Ian Anderson/Jethro Tull and Grand Funk Railroad. She took time out of her busy day to speak with the Daily Sundial and encourages CSUN PR students to have a sense of “media cool.”
A typical day for Leighton involves setting goals. She spends the first part of her day warming up and laying in bed watching the news. Leighton feels it is important to know what is going on in the world especially when an individual is involved in public relations. She then stretches and is ready to start making phone calls. Somedays she will call Europe, and may start her day earlier, but typically she starts making calls between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m.
Multi-tasking is crucial with Leighton. As she is sending pitches, she will check email. Around 1 p.m. or 1:30 p.m. she will go for a walk. She tries to do two to four tour dates a day and makes calls to many local media organizations. She is always in touch with somebody regionally or internationally.
Over the years, Leighton has become friends with the world’s most distinguished journalists and it is because she is a great listener and communicator. “To be a great publicist, an individual has to be a good listener,” Leighton said.
The concept of new media is an evolution for Leighton because to her, sometimes it feels like almost everything she does is online. “It may be a totally different world for other publicists,” she said. She believes results come from communication. “Publicists need to work the real world as well as the internet. For instance TV is one of the most important mediums,” she said.
To be successful in public relations, “You have to answer to journalists. Ethics is huge. I have long-term relationships with most of my clients,” she said. She goes on to explain that publicists need to make sure campaigns are honest and to choose clients with integrity. She also believes relationships are really important. “Tell the truth and edit press releases with your client. Think about the journalists and be an advocate for your client. Write the press releases with the journalists in mind,” she said. It is often easy for a statement to be made in a press release and taken the wrong way or out of context.
“When an individual is first beginning their career in public relations, they will realize it is a fast-paced business and they have to be obsessed with media. Learn to respect people,” she said. She believes in having a sense of “media cool.” At first an individual will deal with publicists who are upbeat she explained. “As an individual contacts more publicists he or she will begin to realize that there are some who abuse or neglect contacts,” she said. Leighton believes respect is vital to doing well in the business. If an individual burns one bridge, they may all come tumbling down. “People talk. That’s media, if you think about it,” she says.