The write stuff

Publicist sets herself apart with a slick arsenal of PR tools

Regina Lynch-Hudson has always had a flair for writing celebrity and VIP profiles — which she once did regularly for Atlanta Metro magazine. Armed with this talent, plus a ready-made client base of former interview subjects, Lynch-Hudson, 40, opened her own public relations firm, Atlanta-based The Write Publicist, in 1991.

She started her home-based business with $15,000 in savings and doing all the work herself. Rather than spend money on developing a slick brochure, she invested in client-focused tools such as media databases, public relations manuals and directories. “I discovered that some of the smaller public relations firms [in the area] didn’t have many of these resources available,” Lynch Hudson says. “These tools are necessary to effectively service my clients.” To drum up business, she advertised in the Metro Atlanta Black Pages — a highly successful tactic she continues today, although a significant amount of her business is referral. Last year, her firm grossed more than $250,000 in total billings and sponsorship fees.

Today, Lynch-Hudson subcontracts graphic artists, photographers, printers and design firms to help handle press releases, copywriting, biographies, product promotions, brochures, proposals and special events for a growing roster of clients.

Included on that roster are African American artist Steve Allen, who is creating a painting as a gift from the city of Atlanta to Sydney, Australia (the site of the 2000 Millennial Olympic Games); the National Black Arts Festival in Fulton County, Georgia; Coca Cola; and recording artists Bobby Brown and Morris Day and The Time. One of her sweetest assignments was creating a name for an ice cream product — Choc-Co-Bloc — for an Idaho-based food novelty company.

Many clients became familiar with Lynch-Hudson through her self-syndicated feature, “Regina’s PRemedies,” an advice column that addresses public relations concerns. The column, sponsored by Gateway 2000, is distributed to the more than 200 African American newspapers that are members of the National Newspaper Publisher’s Association (NNPA), and reaches more than 12 million readers per week. One of only a few African American business-related columns in the country, “Regina’s PRemedies” has consistently garnered hundreds of inquiries a week since it first appeared last March.

Syndicating the biweekly column was a major feat. There were costs involved in trying to sell the column to newspapers, which, for budget reasons, tend to prefer using in-house columnists. “All of the research I did said it was nearly impossible to do,” says Lynch-Hudson, who invested more than $4,000 in phone calls, mailings and high-quality packaging over the course of a year. “A lot of practitioners can’t afford to do it or aren’t willing to make that investment in themselves. But I saw the big picture. The column puts me above the local competition and gets my name out there on a national basis.”

Despite all of her success, Lynch Hudson has faced some obstacles. “Gaining respect in a field that’s somewhat cliquish is one of the barriers, and running the business by myself is a challenge,” she says. “There’s a lot to juggle when you start without any help. But I’m frugal

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