Working with editors and reporters always on-the-go with fast-approaching deadlines, it catches PR pros off guard more often than not when coming across media who are as responsive and open as AdExchanger’s Senior Editor Allison Schiff.
Allison has been working with PAN for some time now, and she is incredibly thoughtful, asking insightful questions to each executive we set her up with. She not only asks about the news at-hand but also covers industry topics and latest trends to dig at what’s driving digital advertising today and beyond.
A talented journalist, she also helps put together events for AdExchanger, and is an all-around player when it comes to creating valuable and impactful content for her readers.
Here’s her recent Q&A with PAN:
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a born behind-the-scenes observer. I like asking questions rather than answering them. Guess I chose the right job! One of my favorite things to do other than travel (who doesn’t love to travel) is to sit in a coffee shop, read and people watch. Other than being creepy in coffee shops, I’m an aspirational bike rider, as in I own a bike that I rarely ride but talk a lot about riding at some point in the not-so-distant future. I’m from New Jersey, but I’m hopefully not a Jersey Girl. After college, I spent time living abroad in Ireland and Scotland working odd jobs and taking cheap flights around Europe on the weekends.
What type of stories, trends or issues are on your radar today?
An increasingly large portion of my time is focused on regulation and privacy-related issues. Luckily, I find those topics interesting since they’re unavoidable today. My favorite type of story is one that lets me get into the weeds and learn something new. I’m not an overly technical person, but it’s fun to roll up the proverbial sleeves and get wonky. I don’t mind being in a position of ignorance. That’s how you learn.
What makes a good story hook for you?
I don’t mean this as a cop out, but anything I can sink my teeth into. The best stories are the ones that get more interesting as you dive in, rather than having all the details packaged up and waiting for you.
Over the last few years – what have you seen that were the biggest moments of opportunity?
I can be rather shy, but a few years ago AdExchanger started bringing us up on stage more often to moderate sessions and participate in fireside chats at our events. I started out nervous and (I’m sure) terrible, but over time, it’s become fun. I even look forward to it. That’s on a personal note. From a coverage perspective, the biggest opportunities often come from the least likely places, like a random chat. That’s why I’m always open to taking briefings. You never know what you’ll uncover.
Are you noticing any trends and specifics in how brands are digitizing?
It seems like brands are less channel-focused. Rather than a specific mobile strategy or social media strategy, they’re thinking a little more holistically. (God help me, I can’t believe I just used the word “holistically.”)
How has today’s consumers/buyers changed the way brands do business?
To state the obvious, brands are (you can argue successfully or not) talking to people more, rather than at people. That said, I’m not sure how much I really need a personal relationship with a brand or that it’s all that important to me what my toothpaste brand thinks about something. Then again, I, and I think this is true for more and more people, don’t want to buy products from companies that don’t at least make an effort to embrace Google’s (old) mantra of not being evil.
What is your dream assignment?
Someone paying for me to travel to different countries around the world and interview people who have strange jobs.
What advice do you have for PR folks who want to pitch you?
Please don’t start out pitches with the words, “I’m getting in touch because I see that you cover marketing” and then link the word “marketing” to a story I wrote 3 years ago.