Today we are featuring Sarah Maiellano, Senior Manager of Communications at Philly POPS, the largest standalone pops orchestra in the United States. Sarah is a Philadelphia native and a new member of PPRA.
PPRA: Sarah, tell us a bit about your background and what you do.
SM: Born and raised in Philly before moving to D.C. for college at GWU. Spent 10 years working in D.C. — first at a PR firm, then in Government Affairs at the National Restaurant Association.
Moved home to Philly this summer and started working at the Philly POPS — I handle media relations, social media and writing.
I freelance write about travel, food, booze and small businesses for Travel + Leisure, USA Today and the Washington Post (www.sarahmaiellano.com).
I also run a fun small business with my husband Joe — http://www.homemadegin.com. We sell a kit that turns vodka into gin and have sold upwards of 60,000 units since our 2012 launch. I handle the communications for the business.
Joe and I just bought a house in Washington Square West and couldn’t be happier to be home!
PPRA: Who are your clients and/or what projects are you working on right now?
SM: At the Philly POPS, we’re gearing up our Billy Joel show in March, Broadway in April and the world premiere of Cirque Goes to the Movies in May. On the freelance side, I’m writing a story about the PHS Flower Show and just finished a guide to visiting Philly like a movie star in the lead up to the Oscars and a round up of Philly’s best dive bars.
PPRA: What is your favorite part about your job?
SM:I love being around the music. Philly POPS concerts are just amazing. I was in the restaurant industry previously and now music – what could be better?
PPRA: What was your latest and greatest accomplishment at your job?
SM: I’ve generated a 50% increase in Facebook followers for the POPS since I started in August. Plus, in the last six months: 1.1 million post impressions (a 550% increase), over 210,000 video views (an 1,800% increase), 1,700 post shares and a record of 222,000 people engaged in one week. For a page with a comparably small following of about 5,500 and a modest social media budget, I’m extremely proud of those figures.
PPRA: What one piece of advice would you give to your fellow PR pros?
SM:When reporters reach out, answer their emails! When I’m freelance writing for Travel & Leisure (a pub most places would kill to be in), I only hear back from half the PR reps that I contact for quotes, photos, simple questions. I always follow up once, but if I don’t hear back, the business likely won’t make it in the story. And my quick tips on social media: don’t use the phrase ‘check out’ and remove ugly link text once Facebook populates the link preview..
PPRA: What book or movie could you read or watch again and again?
SM:Groundhog Day (ba-dum ching). It’s second only to my favorite: The Princess Bride. For books, I adore The Sun Also Rises.
PPRA: What’s your favorite spot in Philly?
SM: I’m really liking the Italian Market these days, especially now that I live in walking distance of it. Joe and I jog through it when the weather’s good before work and pretend we’re Rocky. It’s so iconic, and of course, the food!
PPRA: How do you take your cheesesteak?
SM: American, without.