Emily Blair Marcus on Magical Mornings: UnitePod- A Leading Podcast in MENA region
In this episode of Magical Mornings, we featured Emily Blair. Emily Blair Marcus is an entertainment expert based in Los Angeles. Following her career as a journalist working for Us Weekly magazine, interviewing hundreds of A-listers and attending major star-studded events, she founded her own public relations agency, Emily Blair Media, in 2019. She now caters to a wide range of individuals across various industries eager to expand their business with Emily's help. She leads an all-woman team specializing in PR, production, events, social media, brand development, and so much more, working with clients all over the world - the USA, UAE, England, South Africa, and more. Her goal is to continue growing her business and empowering other women to work hard to achieve their goals.
Here’s the interview with Emily Blair Marcus with UnitePod.
Q. Your accomplishments in the entertainment industry are very inspiring. Can you tell us how your journey began into this glamorous field?
Emily: Thank you so much for saying that. Its quiet a story. I have always been really fascinated by Hollywood, the glitz, the glamour. I grew up in Los Angeles and I grew up around a lot of recognizable names like the Kardashians. I was just always around it and always alert by it and always knew that I wanted to be a part of it. But not in the way that was in the front line like in front of the camera. I was always more interested about what happens behind the scenes and the inner workings and everything. I was always obsessed with the magazine world. I literally grew up creating my own magazine with my sister. We would write our own what’s in my bag column and create covers on Photoshop. I have always worked on magazines. I was always obsessed with the blogs on Inner Winter from very young age. That was a part of all of that. I always knew that where it will land me. My journey kind of started because being around Hollywood, I always wanted to be a part of that world. Even as early as middle school, when I was like 13, my friends and I would go to really fancy restaurants and order $10 deserts like very glitz and glamour place that we had no business being at. We kind of faked our way in that. One time we were at Chateau Marmont, which is a very exclusive hotel at Los Angeles. It is kind of hidden and very elite. You can’t use your camera, your phone, very exclusive with limited access. We were there when we were in high school, I was about 18-19, and I saw Cameroon Diaz leaving the hotel and I tweeted about it after I left of course and a reporter from Us Weekly Magazine saw my tweet and asked me more information about seeing Cameroon Diaz and I just had this gut feeling, like I just knew that this was my adorn moment. I told her everything I remembered about seeing Cameroon Diaz down to the attitude she was wearing, the mood she was in, the friends she was with, what they were doing, what they were socializing about, every single details of the atmosphere of the night. It turned out that what I saw was Kamardia leaving an engagement party and it was a very big deal and was a very big moment for her and I witnessed it by just pure chance. After I gave the reporter all the information’s, I asked her that if there is any opportunity to intern or help you out, please let me know. I would absolutely love that and she then started assigning me task here and there, research stuff for her, transcribe stuff for her and everything I can possibly do. I was going to college shortly after and I would bring my iPad to parties, to my friend’s dorm rooms and I would always be at the click of the button ready for her when she needed me. When she was under carpet and needed some research to be done, if she had to transcribe an interview, I kind of worked on table for her and did things that I knew that I needed to do to prove myself. Eventually I was transferred to sports closure to Los Angeles headquarters of Us weekly and I was offered an official internship. After that I became a freelancer reporter, a part time reporter and then a full-time reporter and writer. I worked my way up and I was offered to work as a full timer in a single year of my college. That was how I started my introduction in the entertainment world and slowly realized that my true passion really laid with PR. I think that working with Trade publication is what syndicated in Us weekly. I just realized that there were so many PR people doing wrong; they weren’t giving their clients best foot forwards the best opportunity to succeed. So many people were getting lost with no chance of becoming main stream and getting the covers they deserve because their representative s weren’t putting their best foot forward for them. I knew that I could do differently. I knew that someone had to do it. So I really transitioned out of it and used my experience working in a magazine to completely change the game and become a public relation expert that I know from other side of the field. So it has given me a very versatile approach to public relation and that’s how I got to the place I am today; covering Emily Media for Us weekly, interviewing every name you can imagine and taking that knowledge to help people on the other side of the world, expand their brands and promote themselves on the main stream media who wants to cover them.
Q. You have helped many clients expand their brand and create opportunities for them. How did you accomplish this and what contributed to it?
Emily: Thank you so much for saying that. I have always been a person that really gets pleasure watching other people grow around me, people I care about. I get joy and feel valued when I know that I contributed something greater than myself. And that’s how I look at my clients. The few requirements for me to onboard a new client is just two word Passion and purpose. I need to have a passion and a purpose foe what you are about and I also need to see that you have a passion and a purpose for what you wanted me to know. And at the end of the day, there need to be harmony there because I can never represent someone or something that I don’t follow, whether it’s a product that I am trying to push, I need to be fully willing to use it myself and believe in the value of it why it should reach the classes. If it’s a person spreading the message, same thing. Musicians spreading music, same thing. No matter what it is, no matter what I am promoting, I always need to see the value of it. That actually things one of my clients really in music, I can’t say his name unfortunately, but he is a big music executive and everybody on his team have to have project that they work on, that they are passionate about but they would rather be working for him because he says that if you are not advocating for yourself than how can you advocate for him for his goals. So I am really passionate about mutual respect and enthusiasm and everybody need to be on the same hedge and fighting for the same dream because that’s all that’s going to win at the end of the day. Intellect will be the approach that I have while helping my client is just having the purpose and passion for that and being their biggest helper. And my team is the same way, they are b=very hands on with the clients, we are very boutique and we are full on managers. And because we have that relation with our clients, it’s very close, very personal, they trust us completely and we don’t take that trust lightly. And it allows us to know them on very personal level and understand why they are what they are, their back story, and really getting behind that and getting that back story we can elevate them and help them reach their highest potential.
Q. Did the 2020 pandemic work in your favor or did it make it more complicated to work with your clients? Describe how you managed to succeed despite this conflict.
Emily: It’s really interesting. I am sitting here in flabby way. Nearly a year since Los Angeles, where I am currently based was in full lockdown. At this time last year, I had few clients. I had just signed my third one and it was me and I had one intern and that was pretty much it. Now a year later, it’s me, a full-time staff of four and about 20 clients. It is absolutely incredible to see how my business grew during this pandemic and it’s something I incredibly think of for units and honestly I touched the sky; everything changed for me in 2020. I keep thinking why that happened and some reason I keep coming back to at is this time was so difficult for some people and I think people really treasured people brands and fashion projects really took its time to evaluate about what they care about, what they want to focus on, what matters to them and to start putting things at forefront that has been at the back for all this time whether it’s a jewellery brand you started as a hobby, and you never really took the time to see if it’s a dream that can actually become true. Whether it’s a music that you have been making, and you never really thought about publishing it. No matter what it is, everybody has a story and a lot of people came to me, and I am glad that they did, for help push that story during this time. People really valued it and reflected on what’s important to them and what they wanted to spend their time on. People are dying around us and people are sick around us and people are isolated around us is what really matters and for a lot of people those hashes that they had not prioritize in the past. I really feel honored that they choose me to help see those dreams to the finish line. It’s just really a blessing to see how many people with such growth. I have learned a lot. I have grown a lot. I guess that they had managed to succeed in spite of the global complex. I just keep my head in my work by working incredibly hard. My business is my baby. I always looking to enact with different people and see where I can help other people see their dreams realize to because they really got to see mine realize by allowing me to work with them.
Q. In your opinion, what is the best accomplishment you have had so far with Emily Blair Media? How did you achieve it?
Emily: I think at the end of the day, my biggest accomplishment that I am proud of is the team that I have cultivated around me. I am nothing without the people who support my business, my clients and my dreams and believe it in as much as I do. I have an incredible staff that really is the backbone of my business. I can do nothing without them. We all have a lot of different roles and a lot of different responsibilities. It’s an all women team and we are all in our 20s and we work incredibly hard. We have clients across all industries beauty, fashion, health wellness, fitness, entertainment, influencers on YouTube and everything you can imagine, and we have seen it. I am really proud of the way my team understand my client’s objectives and dreams just as passionately as I do. They really work so hard and they are very driven and much focused and this allows me the opportunity to grow my business and keep acquiring new clients and be the face and be the main point of contact and making sure that everything is okay and really managing. My team keeps everything moving. They keep the wheels turning and that’s really something that I am proud of that I am able to have this team that is so strong and so hard working, I am very thankful at the end of the day. I think that I have achieved this by working for those policies again - passion and purpose. The people around me, the people that are higher and seeing them favoring them when they are working on a project they are passionate about. I always tries to see who are my team and what they strive at , what they enjoy doing in giving them projects whether it be event planning, whether it be styling. I want them to do things they enjoy. I want them to be happy. I want them to love what they are doing for Emily Media. So that’s my ultimate goal to keep my team strong, keep my team satisfied and hard working and motivated. And I am proud of what I have accomplished with them so far and hope to keep doing that and inspiring that energy in them. It’s super important to me.
Q. What personality characteristics are the most important to be successful in public relations?
Emily: Public relation is a tricky game. Someday you are a therapist. Some day you are a chauffeur, someday you are secretary, someday you are an assistant, a housekeeper, a dog walker. I wear many hats. I think that the personality that you have to keep in this line of work is to be versatile. You can’t just yourself down to one thing. You can’t just be a publicist and just pitch and just answer emails. You need to be the boots on the ground for your client. You are the forefront of your client’s brand. You are representation. So show us what you got, show us what you are made of. That is something that’s super important for Public Relation professional to be. It’s just multi dimensional. Also, you have to be a networker, you have to open your mouth and speak the truth because you are a representative just like a lawyer. Their job is to advocate for their client in courtroom and my job is to advocate for my client in the media field. Whether I am doing it as a reporter or whether I am doing for a brand, I am my client’s representative and that’s a huge honor and a huge responsibility which I don’t take lightly. I think that it’s super important to keep that in mind and be on the front line, to be the advocate, to be versatile, flexible. I think that I always say that every industry has its game and you have to know how to fight it because that’s how you are going to win it for your clients. So, I definitely think that having worked for Us weekly, having worked for huge national syndicate magazine and knowing how the other side of the industry thinks, I am able to apply my skill to PR and really give my clients their best foot forward. You have to know the game; you have to be savvy and quick. It’s like playing a sport. You have to think on your toes especially with PR. Sometimes some crisis comes up, that you can’t anticipate whether maybe your client said in an interview that they shouldn’t have said and you have to back track. Someone asked you for a comment on something and you have to drop a statement. There have been all of these situations before and its very important to be able to think on your feet and think quickly and with that comes in your writing skill as a publicist. I am thankful that, it has always been something I am good at. I am a strong writer. I sure can write. I have had instance where I have to write up a statement in minutes. I have had reporters flying and asking me questions. So being fast and quick on your feet and being flexible and multi dynamic is all very important. You have to be multitasker for sure to be a publicist.
Q. What is your take on the importance of PR and marketing for any business?
Emily: I don’t think any business could survive without proper PR marketing. PR marketing is very different. A lot of people see the overlap in this, which definitely is there. But marketing is investing to further your brand and PR is about boosting the exposure which is my bread and butter. I often recommend my client to outsource from marketing or I have my own people working as well because I know my strengths but I also know where I am not, you know, something I don’t specialize in. I don’t specialize in marketing, I specialize in PR. But that said, PR marketing is important because how are you going to build something incredible when you don’t drive the word out as much as possibly can. You have to have investors in your business in order to grow your business and PR marketing is for that reason exactly especially new brands may have investors who want to see that people are caring, that people are giving it attention and are talking about it. That’s why Public Relations is a key. I have clients on working visas and their lawyers working on their visas that they are doing something that’s profitable and that’s worth it and contributing to the society. I have clients who are working on startups and their initial investors need to see that people care about their products and are using and talking about it. So, people have PR marketing for variety of reasons but again its all the same. You can’t have a business that is not being promoted and pushed. It can’t just exist. You need to give a voice to it and on top of that, you need to give it a story. I always say that there is a story behind every brand and business and people believe in that. People believe in the story, they want to relate and feel something. That’s why advertisement is so important. You see an ad and you believe in what you are seeing and you are hearing it, thinking about it, reflecting on it and that kind of drives your purchasing decisions. It’s the same thing in PR. I think that’s super key. I have a client who is a fashion designer. She is not only a fashion designer but an immigrant from Venice, Vales. She came to America with nothing and built an empire. That’s a story you want to know more about the brand and believe in the brand and wants to know where the brand come from and what’s the history is. I learned that when I spent time in Conde Nast College of Fashion and Design in London three years ago. That’s where I learnt almost everything that I do; creative direction, production, storytelling, PR. I shadowed editors and professionals and learned all that I know. I really give credit there. But I think storytelling is number one thing even down to still photo shoots, you have to read into everything you see because it’s all there for a reason. So, I think PR is doing the same thing. We just get the word out to the masses to make people believe in it and tell them why they should believe in it.
Q. What is the one common myth about your profession or field that you want to debunk?
Emily: So I think the common myth that I want to debunk in the field of PR is that it’s very competitive. I have some clients which will never get out. But that’s very rare for me. I am a huge believer in collaboration over competition. My best friend also owns a boutique Public Relation firm. They have clients from wherever I do. They have choice very similar to mine. They have the same projects going on. Honestly, we all merge our resources; we all talk all the time because at the end of the day the clients are important. If we shed each other out and don’t listen to what each other have to say, where our connection were, it will get jealous and bitter instead of celebrating each other accomplishment and also seemingly work with each other, the only person that moves is our clients. If we merge our resources, merge our connections and see where we can help each other, we get more coverage and at the end of the day that’s what our clients are paying us to do. I think its super important to not cut yourself off, to not be a one man show, it’s a team effort and you have to lean on people and trust people and willing to work with people, show your strengths and weakness and ask for help. My best friend Matt owns a PR firm and he used to work in Us weekly. I used to get his clients havoured, we used to share our stories. We worked together like that. When I told him that I am transitioning into the PR field, he didn’t once get insecure, jealous or wondered how I got into his line of business. He guided me in everything and he has been an immense help and a solid friend and the reason I am able to get to where I am today. We still collaborate on everything and always talk about how we can help each other. He is the one who taught me that it’s all about working together, you can’t shut people out. You really can’t especially if you want to grow and build and help your client to reach their maximum potential.
Q. What makes an ideal pitch in the current social media era?
Emily: What makes an ideal pitch? That’s such a good question. I guess I would start by saying that when I want a client I never just drew one pitch. I always think all the ways to push someone into the masses. So far, I have beauty brands that I work with. Internet cameo Makeup Company is Makeup Product Company. They make clean sponges, clean brushes and nothing else you have ever seen. We have a lots of different angles of tackling whether its cream BB or whether its product you have to buy your mom this year or an angle everyone is talking about- Covid; how to stay safe and why is it important to clean your makeup brush during covid, why you need to prioritize clean beauty and hygiene now than ever. So, I think what makes an ideal pitch at the end of the day is always be multi dynamic, look at the trends about what going on in the world. So the pitch needs to be relevant. So with my fitness clients, when it’s Thanksgiving in America, how to not gain weights in holidays; when it’s New Year, how do you keep your resolutions. You have to always make pitch relevant. There has to be a reason why people want you and read your story. You have to stay tuned with the time, read the news, see what people are talking about, understand the trends and then make your pitch relevant as much as possible.
Q. Can you remember a social media crisis you had? How did you handle it?
Emily: A social media crisis I have had I am actually in the middle of putting out the fire right now. I run an account for a streaming service called Dame and Dash Studio created by iconic music producer Damon Dash and there are tons of fake accounts out there. People keep creating fake accounts to ask for money, try to silicate things from fans, Dm them so to have a few extra letters maybe an underscore or something like that. And people get confused that there can actually be the Damon Dash Studio account. But it is not. There is only one that I manage, so I am always reporting those new accounts whenever I see pop-up. I am always replying to fans who email me, Dm me letting them know about new ones that exist. It’s horrible people creating new accounts to exploit my client’s fans and so that’s how I handle it. Every time any situation comes up and it comes to my notice, I put out the fire and I am always reporting the accounts. Honestly the reason the verification request exist, so many people have verification that really can’t justify having it, no matter what they means they parted for is really for the purpose of this. These fake accounts that keep being created. So it’s a really interesting thing and it helps with verification accounts too actually when they see that there are 20 fake accounts that aren’t the real deal. So that’s really interesting.
Q. PR and marketing requires creativity and innovation. What or who inspires you to provide exclusive content in order to help your clients achieve their goals?
Emily: Yes, PR constantly require creativity and innovation. You have to always be thinking about the next thing, the bigger thing, the best thing, keeping up with trends, keeping up with what people are talking and care about so you can guide your client for achieving their goals. In terms of what and who inspires me to do that, I think I watch a lot of trends, whether it be fashion, I always watch fashion shows. I examine trends in the show. I keep up with pop culture, TV and am always aware of what people are talking about, what latest now, what social media challenges are existing now, what restaurants in LA are popular now. Like for example Sarah Ranch is a popular restaurant in LA these days and I have my clients there. I think social media is the place to be. People around me are the ones who inspire me. We all have to help each other so brands create and we can see that like social media influencers are sharing what they are doing so other people can try that. I think it’s all a giant cycle at the end of the day. But I am really into the idea of trend forecasting. I know there are firms of trend forecasting that exist. It’s not that big of a thing and the stakes are also that up. But when I was studying in Conde Nast, I learned lots about it. I am really fascinated about the people who do that because other markets are way above in America in terms of fashion, tech, lifestyle culture and we are always a little bit behind and might be fading out in those countries. I think that’s super interesting to me. So, I am always looking what the most fashion forward regions in the world are doing and how they are acting, what they are interested in and I try to get ahead of that curve as well and try to forecast. So I guess I am really inspired by what’s new, what’s the latest, keeping up with everything. I do a lot of Pinteristing, I do a lot of loop hoarding and try to find inspiration from the things. I love exercising that creativity. I think there is lot of influencers and trend setters who we are inspired by like Kardashian are always creating new concept especially in their beauty brands, Kylie cosmetic photo shoots are incredible and there are a lot of inspiration I drive from them. They are created and directed so well. So I think that they are absolutely trend setter who we are inspired by whether it’s working on own brands or bringing on photo shoots. What we are looking to are the biggest people on social media and how we can do that. It’s a matter of fact.
Q. Your work has been featured in several well-known magazines and you have interviewed different celebrities. What else would you like to accomplish in the near future?
Emily: Thank you. My time with Us weekly was incredibly transforwarding and rewarding. I am so grateful that I covered everything including the Oscars, Emmys, Grammys, Golden Globes, Critics Choice Awards and a myriad of galas and premieres. If there is an award show you name it and I have been there. Same with galas premieres. I have interviewed everyone you can possibly imagine. I guess the one person that I didn’t get to interview and I would like to is Taylor Swift. Sounds very cliché but she has always been one of my favorite people. But there is so much to accomplish. I mean I am very young, I am just 23, I am still grilling, still burning every day. There is so much I want to accomplish. I think that working for a magazine really gave me a great foot forward to continue working with the work PR related position I produce a ton of cover shoots for clients across various publication of different countries like Elle, Cosmos, FHM, playboys, tons and I am really passionate about Life influencing too. I think that it’s a huge opportunity and really be a big thing in a few years and something important to capitalize on. So, I am exploring life influencing right now in Scandinavian market with the few business partner I have out there. And I think that’s a huge opportunity to take that to the magazine and take my short experience in PR and in entertainment journalism and bring that to the magazine that I run some day. So that is one of my absolute cause that I hope I have the pleasure to accomplish someday.
Q. If you could step into my shoes, what would you have asked yourself that I didn’t?
Emily: I think I would ask myself that what are the biggest challenges that I have faced and there are many. I think that if you are any business owner or are working in any creative field, you can’t be afraid of failure. You have to just go with the flow. I have had really low lows and very high highs and you just have to be stable and consistent and believe in what you are doing to pick yourself back up. I am lucky enough that I relied on people around me. My family is full of entrepreneur, my best friends are entrepreneur and I am constantly asking questions and constantly seeking advices and feedback. I came to know all the answers because I don’t have all the answers. So that are some of the challenges in the area that helps you move on in the future to keep vulnerable and asking but also like get myself some grace when I ask them like we are all in the learning curve. I have a long way to go to and I have started something very big and it gets ahead of me sometimes. So it’s important to seek guidance and stay grounded and realize that you are not alone and there are lot of people who want to help you and lift you up so I am lucky to have those people in my life and I continue to lean on them and I encourage everyone else to do the same with those they have in their lives who are in the position to help and empower them.
Q. What message do you have for our listeners and where can they connect with you online?
Emily: My message to all the listeners will be to keep doing what inspires you, drives you, what sets your soul on fire. Working in social media, PR the creative industry I too have a giant question mark. I am not a lawyer or a doctor and I am not selling anything that makes total sense to people. The creative industries are very flexible and very exploratory. You can’t really explain all the time what you are doing and a lot of times when I told my family and friends what I wanted to do and what I am interested in, it didn’t make a whole lot of sense. Nobody really understood how I can get to where I needed to be, what I wanted to be. They understood in a very basic sense which is fine it’s a very new faint. But when it started becoming lucrative, started scaling, ones it started showing my work and having tangible results that’s when a lot of people around me started to understand what I was doing. And it is a very special feeling to know and have them believe in the vision. One even got involved. My uncle is an entrepreneur who is in licensing and now he wants to go into magazine licensing with me because he knows how I became an expert in the field and I understand all the sides of it. Honestly, its flattering to have someone who owns a huge company in licensing to want to support me in that and to work alongside me on that and want to be a part of that journey. So I would inspire you to keep doing what you are doing even if the people around you don’t understand they will one day. Keep working and keep proving it because when that feeling come and people understand and realize what makes you, it’s the most special feeling ever to feel supported and feel understood. So I am here as a resource for anybody who have questions and wants to be involve in PR, creative content and if I can help I will feel absolutely flattered to be of assistance in any way. My business Instagram is @emilyblairmedia and my personal is @emilyblairmarcus. I hope to see you all very soon. Lots of love.
This has been a great podcast. Having you here has not only inspired me but also inspired all of our listeners all over the world. Thank you so much Emily to coming on today. I hope you and your team grow more and more in the future achieving many goals. Thank you so much for coming.
Emily: Thank you so much everybody at UnitePod for inviting me. This was so much fun and this was a great opportunity to have been able to share my story and I hope that I inspired everybody out there to keep living your dreams and seeing it through. I hope to keep up with you guys on social media.
That’s a wrap of another episode of Magical Mornings featuring Emily Blair Marcus. Emily's insider knowledge about the industry's inner-workings, matched with her sharp eye for emerging trends and understanding of strategic media channels, allows her to successfully guide her clients toward achieving their personal and professional goals.
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