Media, Darling: Erica Ehm

Erica Ehm is founder and publisher of YummyMummyClub.ca, the online social network that speaks to the woman in every mom.
Erica’s message is one of empowerment. It was her difficult transition from career woman to exhausted mother that inspired Erica to create an online destination for women with children. A multi-tasking mom of two, Erica and her yummy YMC team have become well-read resources for Canadian women looking for insight and advice on how to survive mummydom. Coming up with new and playful ways to connect brands with moms is Erica’s definition of fun (she doesn’t get out much).

Her son Joshua, daughter Jessie, and husband Terry are the reason Erica is a Yummy Mummy.
Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?
I’ve always been the outsider, the bystander. I like to watch and report. I want to reflect and share the stories of my peers. I did it while working on MuchMusic about pop culture and now I’m doing it for motherhood at YummyMummyClub.ca

Where would you like to be five years from now?
I would like to not be in front of my computer as much as I am now. I hope I’m out in the community empowering women, and more importantly, spending lots of fun time with my kids and husband.

Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
Get ready to put in a shitload of hours into building your business. Especially if you’re involved in the world of blogging and social media, the amount of time you put will directly relate to your level of success in building relationships and audience/readers.

What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own?

I like perusing other Canadian mom-run sites likes WeeWelcome, Canadian Family, SweetMama, ParentCentral.ca. I like Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, HuffingtonPost, and Good.is for general reading.

Best interview you’ve ever had?
My favourite interview is usually the last one I’ve done because I get smarter and more accomplished as time passes.


Worst?
Do you mean someone interviewing me or me interviewing someone, because I play both sides of the coin.

Best advice you’ve ever been given? 

Be nice to everyone ‘cuz you never know who you’ll be passing on their way up while you’re on your way down.

What rule(s) do you live your life by? 

Life is all about choices. Make good ones. I love how John Steinbeck brings that to life in East of Eden.

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Remember that moms who blog are often professional writers trying to make a living. If you want them to promote your product, treat them with respect. Pay them for their time. Don’t patronize them/us.

Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
Duri AlJarami isn’t a PR person per se. He was, until recently, the head of Digital Social Media at Ogilvy and he understands how to create great relationships with influencers and respect the work they do. When I work on a campaign with Duri, he doesn’t micromanage the content.

Instead, he has carefully researched his influencers and then lets them free to write, blog, tweet anything they feel inspired to say in relation to the brand and product. He (and his clients) benefit by having loyal social media bloggers who always give him more than he asks. He understands the importance of authenticity in social media. I am an ardent fan of his. All media types and brands could learn from him. Tell him I sent you.

I hate?
Negativity, especially online. Mean-spirited comments and tweets break my heart.

Bureaucracy. It’s dumb.

Wasteful government spending. Too prevalent.

Wasting time when there’s so much awesomeness to do.

I love?
My kids and husband who made me a yummy mummy, and give me the freedom to devote so much time doing what I love, which is building my “Ehm”pire and connecting with amazing women.

Reading?
Just finished Pride and Prejudice to coincide with my family tour to the U.K.

Best place on earth?
My home. It’s fun to venture out, but its heaven to come home.

Dinner guest?
I’d love to have all my Yummy Mummy staff and bloggers over for dinner. They are an inspiring, intelligent and passionate bunch. Although we all have different passions and interests, we’re all struggling to maintain our sense of self while giving so much to our families. There is so much to talk about when we get together! And if Oprah wanted to show up for dessert, that would be fun, too.

Hero?
That’s a tough one to answer because heroes come in all shapes and sizes. From local mom Heather Hamilton who lost her son and is on a mission to do good in his name, to Oprah for building her empire, to my mom for inspiring me with her personal and professional power. I am in awe of so many women who have a dream and make it happen.

Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
Hootsuite and my flashlight app.

Pool or ocean?
A farm in the country with a babbling brook.

Voicemail or email?
Twitter.

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Media, Darling: Arren Williams

As a stylist, designer, editor and leading trend consultant, Arren Williams’ work has popped up over the last decade in many of Canada’s top style mags and newspapers, including Canadian House & Home, Wish, Style at Home, Flare, Chatelaine, Canadian Family and the National Post

He also pops up occasionally on HGTV, and appears as a guest expert covering style and design for Citytv’s CityLine. Online, you can catch him blogging at www.arrenwilliams.com, as well as writing for SweetHome and the National Post’s home and design blog, Posted Homes.

What was your favourite class in high school? 
Art class. I went to a sports and science focused boy’s grammar school and it was the one place I felt like I actually fitted in.

How did you get your start as an editor?
That was with Style at Home a gazillion years ago. They needed someone to take on their upfront news section ‘Home & Style’ and I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.

If you weren’t a Media, Darling, what would you be doing right now?
Making jam in Provence. Seriously.


Pitching or follow up: Phone or email?
Email, definitely. Nice short and concise, info and low-resolution-image-filled e-mails! 

We know irrelevant pitches, calling you the wrong name and eight follow-ups are no-no’s; what else should publicists avoid doing?
Please check the sex of who you’re contacting. I am a bloke (obviously!) and you’d be amazed the number of times I get an e-mail addressed to Ms. Williams. And getting my ‘feedback’ i.e. mining for ideas on how to pitch/launch/promote their products or services.

Sunrise or sunset?
Sunrise in Palm Springs. Sunset in Hawaii.

Scent?
None. It gives me a headache.

Cookie?
Dangerous. I’d hafta say Garibaldi, a.k.a. ‘Flies’ Graveyard’ – It’s a raisin cookie from the U.K. that’s hard to find here that I loved as a kid.

Flower?
I’m more on the greens side of things, really.

Ticklish?
Absolutely.

Shower or bath?
Shower.

Film?
Digital. 😉

Crush?
Orange. 😉

First job?
‘Bottling up’ at the age of 12. In other words, filling the shelves with bottles of beer at a local pub.

Inspiration?
Pattern and colour, and anyone who can actually pull their finger out and create something beautiful.
 

Media, Darling: Suzanne Dimma

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Suzanne Dimma is the editor-in-chief of Canadian House & Home magazine, Canada’s leading authority on decorating and design. An expert in all matters of style, her 20 years in media include three years hosting her own television series, The Style Dept., on HGTV, as well as conceptualizing, producing, writing, styling and art directing for a variety of outlets. Her previous roles include design director for Wish, Canadian Family and Gardening Life magazines, and creative director for House & Home’s product line.


House & Home
Twitter: @suzannedimmaHH


How can someone grab your attention with a pitch?
Be direct, clear and brief. I, and all the other editors at House & Home, receive at least 40 different promotional announcements a day. We simply don’t have time to read through anything epic. Make your point in the first line – or even better, the subject line – of anything you send. 

A good understanding of the company you’re pitching too is also essential. Do you really think the product, event or person is a good fit for House & Home? I find that belief in whatever is being promoted always shines through. You can tell when a pitch is a stretch. Approaching us anyways wastes everyone’s time.

What do you find most useful when dealing with public relations professionals?
Be accommodating, quick and thorough. I love PR people who can anticipate my questions, so I don’t have to send a zillion follow-up emails. If you’re alerting me to a great new line or design, include pictures! We run a lot of photography every issue, so having strong images to choose from – both seamless and in situ – is a huge help. And since our deadlines are demanding and things often change at the last minute, anyone who can make things happen quickly and accurately becomes a go-to resource.

What is the biggest mistake PR professionals make?
Being pushy is never appreciated. Sending an email, then following up with a phone call on the same day isn’t being helpful. Perhaps most damaging, though, is negotiating an exclusive, then shrugging in surprise when the story pops up in a competing publication. Making promises you can’t deliver is the fastest way to erode trust.

My pet peeve?
Gimmicky, wasteful, over-packaged promos. We feel terrible putting all that packaging in the garbage.

Any other thoughts you’d like to add?
Nurturing your relationships goes a long way. Instead of sending those make-believe personal emails, actually get to know your contacts. If I think you understand my best interests and have them in mind, I’ll give your emails, phone calls and packages my attention. For the past few years, a company has been sending me products to consider that don’t fall under House & Home’s interests. I have never received a phone call from them and I’ve never featured any of the products. At the end of each year, the products are donated to charity.