Thursday, October 22, 2009


On October 21, 2009 I announced a big, big giveaway while being interviewed by Roxanne Ravenel on the SavvyJobSeeker radio show.

Roxanne and I discussed how to boost your career with a powerful personal brand strategy. If you missed the interview, it's not too late. Listen to the archived show to find out how you can enter to win a free 3-month Personal PR Plan valued at $9,000.00!

Hurry! Offer ends at Midnight EST October 31, 2009. One (1) Winner will be announced and notified by November 2, 2009.

9 TheSavvyJobSeeker on Blog Talk Radio


Learn how to use the power of PR and personal branding to boost your career and catapult your job s
earch. This week's guest expert is Joy Donnell CEO of 720 PR, a boutique PR and branding firm. Joy will discuss how to define your personal brand, pitch yourself, and distinguish yourself from other job seekers or career professionals ...

Monday, October 19, 2009

3 Questions: Benu Mabhena's Global Movenment

Benu Mabhena made her big screen debut in Warner Bros.’ BLOOD DIAMOND. The African beauty spent months performing opposite Oscar-nominees Djimon Hounsou and Leonardo DiCaprio and Oscar-winner Jennifer Connolly. For the role of Jassie Vandy (Hounsou’s character’s wife), Benu had to embody the fear of a woman on the run with her children, terrified that someone would kill them or kidnap her son and force him to be a child soldier.

What virtually no one knew was that Benu brought a personal story to her moving character. When Benu was a child, a change in Zimbabwe’s political climate forced her family to flee and remain uprooted for years while staying where they could with family and allies in South Africa.

Though now residing in the states, Africa is still near and dear to Benu. She recently recorded “Wake Up- It’s Africa Calling” with Mopreme Shakur, brother of legendary Tupac Shakur, and world artist Youssou N Dour. The song is raising money for malaria treatment and education.

Benu paused for a moment to answer our 3 questions about international fame, publicity, and American film productions:

GP: As an American who was born in the UK and partially raised in South Africa, how does public perception of you change from country to country and how do you keep your message clear internationally?

: I was fairly young when I lived in Africa and when I was in the UK. I really wasn’t in the public eye until I was here in the US. I think people are really surprised when they hear me talk– I pretty much have an American accent, so they have this questionable, puzzled look on their faces. LOL. Most people back home and my family didn't have a clue of what I wanted to do with my life. If I wasn't becoming a doctor, Nurse, or anything in business, I was just out of my mind and I needed to get focused. My message is that you can follow your dreams and your dreams can eventually support you. That message is easy to keep clear no matter where I go.

: Did you find it difficult to share your personal story with the press while promoting BLOOD DIAMOND?

I did find it difficult... because my family and I have always been very private and I know that our life story is a very unusual one and who knows what telling it might bring. I wasn't quite ready to talk about it.

: What did red carpet events teach you about promoting yourself and your film?

: First of all, I think when you step on the red carpet you’re never as prepared as you think. If you think you’re prepared, prepare for the “unpreparable.” That’s not a word, but you get my point! When I got started in the business I was very shy and I couldn't talk to people. Now, I can and sometimes I feel like a different person when I'm in public. I’m able to talk to fans and network with professionals... it's kinda cool. I find that it's really an amazing tool that we have red carpet events to introduce projects to the media and make these projects (and ourselves) accessible for the public.

*Originally published in the July/August 2009 issue of 720 PR's GOINGPUBLIC [ Read ]

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

In the Spotlight But Not Shining?

I recently got an email from a woman who got anointed "spokesperson" by her company and is utterly miserable. Secretly, she had always dreamed of a gig like "spokeswoman" or even "spokesmodel," but the reality has left her feeling boring, robotic, and dull. She's vibrant off camera and away from the crowd... there's some sort of disconnect.

Even though you're brilliant off camera, you may find yourself shell-shocked in front of the media or during an event. The culprit can simply be personal fear and self-consciousness. It's been my experience that fear is alleviated through preparation. Training yourself on the speaking points until they become second nature is crucial if you want them to flow and not seem robotic.

It's also helpful to concentrate on the aspects of the business that fascinate you and ignite your passion. For instance, if you're particularly passionate about the staff and have personal stories about certain workers, try to incorporate these stories into your speaking points. The media and onlookers will respond to your sincerity.

Another possibility is incorporating your outside interests into the campaign wherever you can. If you love golf, involve yourself in a golf fundraiser and then use the press from that activity to further your message and your image.

Being your authentic self during your public appearances will help the experience seem less alien and stressful while helping you be genuine and interesting.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The TIP Sheet: Bad Press Shouldn't Get Worse

Whether you're a small business owner, a rising actor, or a city councilperson, the thought of bad press can completely freak a person out. When individuals feel threatened by bad press, they want to defend themselves, even when they haven’t been accused of actual wrongdoing. Over-reacting and being overly defensive are the worst moves to make and prove an absence of control.

The closed mouth catches no feet. So when a media crisis happens, be as non-reactive as possible. Breathe, focus, assess, and take real control.

Ask three questions:
1. Has my reputation or career been misrepresented by a biased article?
2. Will this press threaten my business success and consumer base?
3. Is reaction, like an interview or public statement, truly necessary?

If the spotlight isn’t actually focused on you, keep it off. Don’t solicit interviews or issue a press release. Instead, prepare short concise responses to serve as statements to the media as needed. Share these responses with your employees (and I mean all your employees), family members, representatives and anyone else who could approached for a statement so that everyone knows what should and shouldn’t be said.

Respond to direct media inquiries as quickly and personally as possible. Keep the answers contained and don’t get too conversational or chatty. Maintain a cool head and strive to not let the situation go from bad to worse.

Monday, October 5, 2009

A Twitter Story

Since stumbling upon on HARO a while ago, I've been hooked. This cool site features interviews with business people who are single and doing their thing. Of course, married people experience their own challenges when starting a business, but few address the unique issues that come from being single with no interpersonal support base when you go off to fight the good fight.

Last week, the site's editor (Twitter handle @singlestartups) and I began following one other on Twitter. Yet, when Laura (the editor) direct messaged me on Twitter last Friday, it was an awesome surprise. She wanted to know if I was free to talk, and our phone chat turned into an interview. I love putting the "social" in social media:

If you see this face aimlessly wandering through Southern California, you know Joy Donnell is having a good day. The East Coast transplant and Beverly Hills based PR professional who spends most of her week working to keep her corporate clients happy, describes just that as her ideal day.

Friday, October 2, 2009

3 Questions: Camille Solari = Ultimate Hollywood Hyphenate

Camille Solari is creating her own version of Hollywood. When the roles she wanted weren’t coming across her inbox, let alone being written, she wrote them herself. Her resume consists of acting, writing, producing, and even directing, but her multiple job description is no detriment to her image. In fact, it’s part of her edge.

Solari wrote, produced and appeared in True True Lie, a psychological thriller that was picked up by The Weinstein Co. This Boston native performed the same hat trick for the recently released feature, Rocker, about a female musician in the L.A. music scene. To top that off, she also recorded the songs that appeared on the soundtrack.
She has co-produced and directed an intimate documentary on James Brown, which wrapped just weeks before his death.

She recently shot Boston Girls, a dark comedy about Italian and Irish love feuds in Beantown. This film marks her directorial debut in a narrative feature. Oh, and by the way, she also wrote and stars in it. Right now, Solari’s in pre-production for Forever, a supernatural thriller based upon her own script and starring... herself. Edward Furlong and Dennis Hopper are in negotiations to co-star.

Her over-the-top comedy, Hooker’s INC, recently showed in select LA theatres. She co-wrote, produced, and acted in that one, too. It may look effortless, but there was a time when this multi-hyphenate powerhouse was shying away from the idea of publicity. She stood still long enough to answer our 3 questions about PR and branding:

GP: In the past 3 years, you've dramatically increased your publicity and visibility. Were you hesitant at first to put yourself in the public eye, and if so, why?

CS: Yes, I was hesitant. It does feel awkward to go out there and do interviews and promote myself and talk about my movies. It sort of goes against my East Coast grain of being humble and self-deprecating. But it is TOTALLY necessary.

GP: What has your publicity campaign taught you about yourself?

CS: I am doing so many movies and special projects, but personally, I always feel like I want to be doing even more. Yet, the feedback I get from people I run into or those who email is ‘How can you be doing so many movies? How do you have the time? And who the hell is your publicist, and can I hire them?’

GP: Can you name a few results you've seen in your career due to publicity that you doubt you would have received without PR and branding?

CS: Basically, when I go out to social functions or events, I am constantly recognized by people I don’t know. I also got a theatrical release for a feature I did solely as a result of my fan base- which I didn’t have until my works got publicized and I started doing publicity through interviews, print articles, public appearances, and things like that.