After running the residential real estate division at Rubenstein, Barbara Wagner opened her own company at the height of the pandemic last year.

"I treasure all of the background I had at Rubenstein, but part of me has always kind of wanted to see what I could do on my own," she says. Going out on her own also allowed her to expand her scope beyond the real estate world, and "do culture and lifestyle as well."

The first part of succesfully launching her own business, she tells Doug Simon, was making sure she left her old job the right way. "It was very important for me to resign properly, to give enough notice, which I did," she says. "That was important, to just be extremely respectful and to let them know how much I had learned, and how much they have given me, and how much I have appreciated my job and career."

While she says that having "a cushion of money that I could put into it" gave her a sense of security as she started her business, equally important was her "confidence to be able to get clients. If you are someone who is good at bringing clients in, it is really something to consider."

Earning media is a big part of Wagner's job, and she gives Simon some pointers on how to do that. "One thing that became clear to me about a year after being a publicist is, I really try very hard not to send a writer something that's not a good story."

Once you've got that story, she says, you have to know how to pitch it. "Pitching the story is critical, and knowing how to get your point across in a few sentences, and with a good reference line, is key."

She also stresses the importance of keeping the lines of communication with reporters open after you've made your pitch. "I'm just very quick to answer, I'm really on top of it. If I don't get an answer right away if they've given me their cell phone, I actually will text them and just be as helpful as possible."

When pitching about art and culture topics, Wagner says it's especially valuable to "find the compelling story." Another key quality a PR pro should have is perseverance, not giving up on a story or a client. "If you don't believe in your client, you shouldn't take that client."

And to successfully work with clients in the art world, you also need to make your familiar with that world—"to look at art, to get an idea of what trends are."

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Interested in taking part? Contact Doug Simon at [email protected]

D S Simon Media helps clients get their stories on television through satellite media tours and by producing and distributing content to the media. The company also produces live social media events.