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Public Relations Jedi: Will Boye Q&A

When our clients make it into the news for something cool they’re working on, that’s often because of our Senior Public Relations Executive Will Boye. He spent 20 years in journalism before moving into public relations, including 12 years at the Charlotte Business Journal covering banking and real estate. He aids YDM’s clients with everything from drafting press releases and pitching media to overseeing interviews, developing media kits, building social media calendars and creating content. Will earned his Bachelor’s degree from Davidson College, a Master’s degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri and an MBA from Queens University.

Q: Public relations is a big field. Which aspects of it do you most often work on at YDM?
A: Media relations, or earned media, which includes drafting releases and working on story pitches. But owned media — developing bylined or sponsored content — is another big piece that I work on along with developing social media posts for clients.

Q: How has your past career in journalism informed your public relations work for YDM’s clients?
A: I received a lot of story pitches when I was a reporter, and I like to think that I have a good sense for what will work and what won’t from that perspective. Reporters are as busy and overworked as they’ve ever been, so you need to try to deliver something that has news value for them and then try to anticipate their needs and questions ahead of time. Be responsive and cognizant of their deadlines — I always appreciated that when I was a reporter.

Q: The news is always moving fast. How do you keep track of what’s going on at so many media outlets around Charlotte?
A: I’m still a news junkie, so I spend time scanning all the local and national headlines and email newsletters every morning to stay current. And as toxic as it can be, Twitter is a good resource for keeping up with local media as well.

Q: Around the office, you’re known as a beer connoisseur. What are a few of your local favorites?
A: Resident Culture is right around the corner from our new office, and they have an India Pale Lager called Confidence of Youth that I love. Hoppy up front but with a smooth finish. And this one isn’t exactly local, but Olde Hickory Brewery has a bourbon barrel aged Imperial Stout called Photon Sphere that is delicious — brewed with honey, cinnamon, vanilla, cocoa and habanero. Client plug: It’s available on draft at Queen City Craft & Gourmet at Promenade on Providence.

Q: In PR, it’s all about a good pitch. What are some of your favorite tips for getting YDM clients coverage?
A: This is pretty basic but often bears repeating: Having visual or photo assets to go along with each pitch is critical. If you don’t have those, it’s a much tougher sell. I think it’s also about maintaining relationships with various reporters and trying to stay top of mind with them so that when they’re looking for a quote or a resource, you can connect them with a client that has the expertise they’re looking for.

Q: Why did you choose to work at YDM?
A: I knew Julianne from my days as a reporter covering real estate and have always had a lot of respect for her and the team she’s built here, so when the opportunity arose it was an easy decision for me. Because we’re a full-service firm, if a client needs marketing services outside of public relations, I know that we have the expertise and resources here to help them, which is great.