Martin Waxman

12 Days of Christmas: Seven PR Pros to Follow

By: Martin Waxman | December 11, 2019 | 
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12 Days of Christmas: Seven PR Pros to FollowOn the seventh day of Christmas, Spin Sucks gave to you…seven PR pros to follow, six SEO tricks, five breakable habits, four productivity tools, three AI experts, two PR trends, and one mindset shift in a pear tree.

It feels like we’re barreling toward the holidays. At warp speed.

And when you’re moving that fast, the one thing you need is a trusted guide.

A navigator.

Someone who keeps you on track and heading in the right direction.

Which brings us to today’s post: seven PR Pros to follow.

Because when it comes to social media, it’s all about who you’re following (and NOT who follows you).

If you’re following the right people, they’ll bring you fresh ideas and insights, new perspectives, helpful tips and strategies, real—as opposed to fake—news and of course some fun and entertainment, too.

This year, we looked to the greater Spin Sucks community (sounds like we’re becoming a major metropolitan area!) to find our recommendations and boy, was it difficult to choose!

That’s because we have such a wonderfully active community.

We’d need about 45 days of Christmas, and the biggest blog post ever, if we decided to mention everyone on our long list!

So we’re limiting it to seven.

And without further ado, here are our magnificent seven PR pros to follow with a few words about why we believe they’re worthy:

  1. Shane Carpenter
  2. Serena Ehrlich
  3. Heather Feimster
  4. Gina Luttrell
  5. Tressa Robbins
  6. Bill Shelton
  7. Ozan Toptas

Shane Carpenter: Our Resident Drummer Boy

I didn’t realize Shane Carpenter was a drummer. But, it makes sense because his timing is impeccable.

Shane came to the communications industry the way many of us do: by following a circuitous path that somehow led him to PR.

In Shane’s case, it started as a comms project when he was working in HR.

He liked communications so much he decided to go back to school to study it.

After he graduated, Shane did a stint on a political campaign and worked at an agency.

Then he started his own firm specializing in public relations and digital marketing.

Like me, he’s fascinated by artificial intelligence and how it’s going to change the industry.

You can read about that and digital communications on his blog.

Serena Ehrlich: All About the Visual

How many people do you know who are savvy enough to beat a tennis pro in a match to get a one-name Twitter handle?

That’s just one of the things that makes Serena Ehrlich stand out.

She’s also a hilarious and engaging presenter and storyteller and her sharp sense of humor is evident in all her social media posts.

Serena is director of product marketing management – growth at BusinessWire and one of the authors of the BusinessWire blog.

She and her husband also have a really cute daughter and you’ll hear lots of stories about the travails of parenthood on her social posts, too.

But if you want to know about how to integrate multimedia storytelling into communications in an effective way that achieves your organization’s goals, Serena has the answers—or will find them!

Maybe we can encourage her to share some of her secrets on a #SpinSucksAMA

Heather Feimster: Energy to Spare

Heather Feimster is one of the more engaged members of the Spin Sucks community and a frequent contributor to our #SpinSucksQuestion.

And from her posts, you can tell she’s into the finer details of communications and design.

In fact, it was Heather who uncovered this great tidbit, “Before there was Pantone, there was this Dutch dude (in 1692), who made an 800-page watercolor mixing guide!”

Heather is communications coordinator at Provenance Consulting, and prior to that, was an independent graphic designer and web developer.

Heather has an infectious energy that comes through in all her comments.

And she’s always there to offer her take on any situation and more importantly, her advice and help.

Gina Luttrell: PR Prof Extraordinaire

I got to know Gina Luttrell after I’d gone back to school to get a Master of Communications Management from McMaster and Syracuse Universities.

Gina is a prof at the Newhouse School of Communications and one of the most knowledgeable and forward-thinking people I know when it comes to the integration of digital and PR.

And boy, does she know her platforms and social media tools!

I’ve heard Gina speak at events and she’s super-smart, witty, and engaging.

Gina was also a guest on our PR Student Chat earlier this year.

She’s the author of a number of books on communications including Public Relations Campaigns: An Integrated Approach, where she presents a dynamite business case for the PESO Model.

Side note: Gini Dietrich wrote the foreword to Gina’s book.

Tressa Robbins: You Are What You Measure

I first met Tressa Robbins in person at PRSA Counselors Academy and other PRSA events, and we stay in touch in the Spin Sucks community.

Tressa is vice president, client onboarding and implementation at Burrelles and writes for the company’s Fresh Ideas blog, PR Daily, HubSpot and, um…Spin Sucks.

She’s also a past-president of PRSA St. Louis, an instructor at Southeast Missouri State University, and gets to look out at the Ozarks from her home office.

I keep meaning to ask if she’s ever spotted Laura Linney and Jason Bateman!

Tressa is a fun force to be reckoned with.

And she’s a great resource when it comes to PR measurement that focuses on outcomes and impact, not simply impressing with impressions.

Bill Shelton: Shoots and Scores

Bill Shelton is the founder and CEO of Left Field Creative, but we’re only slightly mixing metaphors using that subhead.

It’s actually a reference to Bill’s LinkedIn header photo, and the fact that he’s a St. Louis Blues fan.

Bill’s got a Mad Men-esque story about the way he started his firm. A large petroleum retailer said they wanted him to leave a job, start a business, and handle their account.

So he did. The rest is agency history.

Bill is also an Agency Jumpstart grad and happy to share his knowledge and expertise with the community.

And he’s got a wicked sense of humor.

Here are a few of his suggestions on what to give staff as a holiday gift: “ASPIRIN!!!!!, earplugs—to use in unnecessary meetings, and a bail bond account to use after the company holiday party :).”

We like to think of him as our very own Don Draper—um…we’re referring to his style and creativity, of course!

Ozan Toptaz: Relationships and Reciprocity

Based in Turkey, Ozan Toptaz is another active member of our community.

Ozan is a senior communications associate for the World Food Progamme, an emergency relief organization that delivers food to people in crisis and works with communities to improve nutrition and health.

Prior to that, he was a marketing manager and managing partner in a small agency.

Ozan understands the power of reciprocity.

And he always gives much more than he takes.

You’ll often find his thoughtful perspective on all aspects of communications, including issues and crises, ethics, fake news, and PR tools.

You might say he’s our resident philosopher-communicator.

Are You Following our Seven PR Pros Yet?

These are seven of the PR Pros who stood out for us.

And we encourage you to follow them on social.

Their posts are like communications gifts that will keep on giving throughout the year.

Of course, they’re all part of the Spin Sucks Community on Slack and you can connect with them there, too!

If you’re not already a member, what’s stopping you? It’s free to join and you’ll find an answer to pretty much any marketing and communications questions you have.

You’ll also have fun.

And who knows, maybe you’ll be on next year’s list!

In the meantime, you can add your suggestions and the reason you’re nominating them in the comments.

About Martin Waxman


Martin Waxman, MCM, APR, is senior advisor to Spin Sucks and runs a consultancy, Martin Waxman Communications. He leads digital and social media training workshops, conducts AI research, and is a LinkedIn Learning author, and one of the hosts of the Inside PR podcast. Martin teaches social media at McMaster University, UToronto SCS and Seneca College and regularly speaks at conferences and events across North America. Find him on Twitter @martinwaxman.