Kaela Asharin, Media Specialist
To prepare for a case study presentation in one of her undergraduate public relations classes, Kaela Asharin had to choose a communications agency and investigate its work. She stumbled upon a little company that impressed her with its client roster and track record, and in the course of her research, saw an opening for a job. The company needed a media assistant, and she was graduating. Why stop at writing a case study? Why not apply?
The rest, as they say, is history: The firm she was researching is now known as Subject Matter, and Kaela’s getting to live the case studies every day. We talked to the California native about standing out in a reporter’s inbox, Super Tuesday search terms and why she never gives up.
SM: How do you get reporters to pick up a story for one of our clients?
Kaela: When pitching TV and radio reporters, it’s important to think like one. Before reaching out, I try to think of the best angle that would work for each reporter. I make sure to note why this story is timely or if there’s local data that is informative for their listeners or viewers. A lot of research goes into this process, whether it’s making sure you’re emailing the right contact or looking to see who has covered a similar topic. Some light detective work. Reporters receive so many emails a day, and it’s important to make sure mine stand out and don’t get overlooked.
SM: What is your favorite project you’ve done at Subject Matter so far, and why?
Kaela: Working with Google’s Search Trends Team during Super Tuesday was an unforgettable experience. We conducted a media tour from Los Angeles focusing on what search terms related to Super Tuesday people were searching for on Google. Many searches were questions about candidates’ stances on certain policies. But there were also humorous questions and search terms, like “How old is Hillary Clinton?” and “Marco Rubio’s hair.” It was interesting to see the data they were able to pull and how questions people were searching for differed among states. The media tour was extremely successful. We completed 35 interviews across local and national TV and radio stations. Plus, I can’t complain about traveling to Los Angeles for work.
SM: What have you learned at Subject Matter that you didn’t learn in public relations school?
Kaela: The media team has really opened my eyes to a type of public relations I wasn’t really familiar with before coming here. In my college classes and previous internships, we focused mainly on securing coverage in print and online outlets. Satellite and radio media tours were merely a page in a textbook I occasionally grazed over. So when I began working in our studio and producing satellite and radio media tours, I was surprised to gain a whole new skillset that I honestly didn’t think I’d ever be exposed to.
SM: So, we hear you’ve run a marathon?
Kaela: Yeah, when I was 12 years old! I ran the Los Angeles Marathon through a program called Students Run LA. I was really excited about it and ready to go, had my best shoes on and everything. The day of the marathon, it was about 97 degrees out with no cloud cover. I finished the race, but I cried at mile 22. I have a photo if you want to see. The experience definitely taught me a lot about never giving up and the importance of finishing what you started.