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- With the rise of YouTube and Instagram influencers, top public relations firms have developed digital departments and now work with popular creators like David Dobrik and Emma Chamberlain.
- Business Insider is recognizing the leading PR agents in the influencer and creator industry, who stand out in how they respond to news events and help clients jump on social trends.
- We chose these 14 power players based on factors like their roles, responsibilities, and impact on their clients and the influencer space broadly.
- Click here for more BI Prime stories.
From giving away Teslas and Lamborghinis to surprising fans with Justin Bieber, YouTube star David Dobrik is one of the internet’s most talked-about creators.
Dobrik is a powerhouse digital creator with 16 million subscribers on YouTube alone. But even off the platform, he is a popular face.
Dobrik has appeared on several notable talk shows like The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Live with Kelly & Ryan. And in 2019, alongside traditional celebrities, Dobrik hosted the Teen Choice Awards and presented at the American Music Awards.
To score these traditional media appearances on television or in magazines, digital stars like Dobrik often turn to public relations firms.
In Dobrik’s case, these opportunities were secured his publicist, Megan Smith, who is an account executive at Metro Public Relations. Smith works to help her digital-focused clients build brand awareness through features in a range of outlets from print to digital to broadcast.
Smith began working for Dobrik around December 2018, she told Business Insider, and in the beginning, the strategy was all about what red carpet event or presenting gig she could place him at to gain exposure.
“It’s much more fluid than traditional because you can really do press year-round,” Smith said. “When I spoke to the bookers [at The Tonight Show], they wanted to know what we would talk about, and I told them honestly, let’s talk the week of because he’ll probably have some crazy video out that they can discuss.”
Traditional celebrities on TV or in movies typically promote a new project in a press event. But for digital clients, the promotion may not be for something so concrete, and the strategy can be very different, she said. Her job is to decide when the right time is to pitch and what her client will promote.
Like Dobrik, many other top social-media creators are represented by PR agencies.
For interviews and events, YouTube star Emma Chamberlain (8.6 million subscribers) is represented by Align Public Relations, which recently worked to place her on the January cover of Cosmopolitan.
Align, Metro PR, and other power players in PR respond quickly to news events, help clients jump on social trends, and stand out for how they manage clients’ crises.
After highlighting the top talent managers and the top talent agents in the YouTube influencer space, Business Insider is now putting a spotlight on the top PR agents and publicists in the industry. In our inaugural list, we share the top 14 agents in the influencer and creator business who represent creators across YouTube, Instagram, and other social-media platforms.
To form this list, Business Insider relied on a mix of our own reporting, nominations from readers, and industry experts to narrow down the finalists. We chose them based on factors like their roles, responsibilities, and impact on their clients and the influencer space broadly.
The 14 PR agents are listed in alphabetical order by agency:
Beauty trends Advantage PR — Laura Ackermann
Ackermann is the CEO and founder of Advantage PR.
She launched the company in 2015, and previously to Advantage she was a partner at the firm Persona PR.
She works in helping digital talent break through to the traditional media landscape, with previous clients like Ingrid Nilsen, Gigi Gorgeous, Eva Gutowski, and Lauren Riihimaki, as well as media companies including Beautycon Media and Stylehaul.
Ackermann currently represents digital clients Tyler Oakley, the twin influencers Niki & Gabi Demartino, and creator Hannah Meloche, among others.
In addition to digital, her traditional media entertainment clients include child actor Lonnie Chavis, and actors Bex Taylor-Klaus, Ryan Jamaal Swain, and Owen Teague, among others.
Beauty trends Align PR — Nicole Perez-Krueger
Perez-Krueger is the founder of Align PR. She left her role as an executive vice president at PMK-BNC to found the firm last year.
She spent close to two decades at the entertainment PR agency Rogers & Cowan, where she worked on the accounts of Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, and Christina Aguilera.
Perez-Krueger’s current client list includes YouTube star Emma Chamberlain, as well as more traditional talent like Matthew McConaughey, Lea Michele, Lauren Conrad, and Jameela Jamil, among others.
Digital PR clients include: Emma Chamberlain (8.65 million YouTube subscribers), Camila Coelho (3.44 million YouTube subscribers), Manny MUA (4.7 million subscribers), and Joey Graceffa (9 million subscribers).
Beauty trends Align PR — Alec Huerta, Cait Bailey, and Paul Samaha
Align PR was founded in 2019 and represents clients across the entertainment industry and in areas of digital media like YouTube.
Alec Huerta — Publicist
Huerta earned his undergraduate degree from the USC in 2017 and his first job was as a talent and television publicity assistant at PMK-BNC, where he helped sign beauty creator Manny Mua and YouTuber Joey Graceffa in partnership with his colleague Paul Samaha.
He joined Align PR in August 2019.
Cait Bailey — Publicist
Bailey joined Align PR in 2019. She began her career in talent and entertainment at PMK-BNC in New York, where she worked for traditional media clients like Vanessa Hudgens, Carmelo Anthony, and the Kardashians.
Bailey shifted to working with startups on brand development, strategy, and positioning, at Align, and she now works out of NYC. Her digital clients include YouTube star Emma Chamberlain.
Paul Samaha — Publicist
Samaha graduated from USC in May 2017 and began his career in entertainment as an assistant at PMK-BNC. There he assisted talent publicists and later became a coordinator for Nicole Perez-Krueger.
Under Perez-Krueger’s leadership, Samaha signed clients like Manny MUA and Joey Graceffa, in partnership with his colleague Alec Huerta.
Samaha joined Align PR as a publicist in July 2019.
Digital PR clients include: Manny MUA (4.7 million subscribers), Emma Chamberlain (8.65 million YouTube subscribers), Bretman Rock (7 million subscribers), Camila Coelho (3.44 million YouTube subscribers), and Joey Graceffa (9 million subscribers).
Beauty trends Foundation — Kelly Fobar Davis and Jenny Lin
Kelly Fobar Davis and Jenny Lin are the cofounders of Foundation, a digital and communications agency based in New York.
As CEO, Davis oversees the agency’s operations, including legal and finance, while also helping to inform strategy for clients like Hourglass Cosmetics and Nécessaire.
Lin serves as a partner at Foundation, focusing on business strategy. Lin previously worked on communications with direct-to-consumer brands like Harry’s and Glossier and beauty brands like Maybelline and Dr. Jart.
Foundation’s digital talent includes Chriselle Lim, Michelle Phan, Patrick Ta, Christen Dominique, Militza Yovanka, Jkissa, Ivan Lam, and Ellen V Lora, among others.
The agency’s longest standing PR client Michelle Phan has 8.9 million subscribers on YouTube and over a billion views on the platform. It has helped place Phan on the covers of magazines like Forbes, AdWeek, Inc., Nylon, and Fashion.
Digital PR clients include: Michelle Phan (8.92 million YouTube subscribers), Chriselle Lim (1.1 million Instagram followers), Militza Yovanka (1.1 million Instagram followers), Patrick Ta (1.7 million Instagram followers), Jkissa (346,000 YouTube subscribers), Christen Dominique (4.2 million YouTube subscribers), and Ivan Lam (460,000 YouTube subscribers).
Beauty trends GdR PR — Gabriel del Rio
Del Rio has worked as an independent publicist for 10 years.
He’s worked to get clients like Dr Disrespect, a Twitch streamer and internet personality when announcing his exclusive clothing line, publishing deal with Gallery Books and his TV development deal with Skybound Entertainment, the creators of The Walking Dead; he landed YouTuber Preston Arsement on Forbes’ 2019 highest-paid YouTubers list, and creator NickEh30 a spot on Forbes’ 30 under 30 list.
Among his other clients is the Esports training platform, ProGuides where he works with both the brand and the influencers they hire to launch instructional course content.
Beauty trends Metro PR — Alexandra Duff
Duff has been with Metro PR for five years.
She is an account supervisor in the beauty and lifestyle division, overseeing clients such as Patrick Starrr, Jaclyn Hill’s Jaclyn Cosmetics, along with cosmetic brands like Morphe, and others.
In 2018, she relocated from Los Angeles to New York, where she heads up the Metro PR NYC office, currently based in Dumbo, Brooklyn.
In her role as an account supervisor, she leads all consumer and business-to-business communications for both brands and talent, like product and campaign launches.
She worked with Morphe on its “Fluidity” campaign, and on dozens of its launches in collaboration with influencers like Jeffree Star, Jaclyn Hill, James Charles, Nikita Dragun, and more.
Duff has also worked with Patrick Starrr on his personal brand, including the global launch of his year-long MAC Cosmetics collaboration, celebrity collabs for his YouTube channel, and event appearances.
Duff also led PR for the relaunch of Jaclyn Cosmetics, and the first launch of Nikita Dragun’s Dragun Beauty.
Digital PR clients include: Patrick Starrr (4.4 million subscribers)
Beauty trends Metro PR — Megan Smith
Smith is an account executive at Metro PR with an emphasis on influencer publicity and career and brand strategy.
She currently oversees PR for digital and traditional talent, including David Dobrik and Angela Kinsey.
Smith began her career in studio PR where she focused on film promotion for Allied Integrated Marketing before moving to Los Angeles to pursue talent publicity. She started at Metro PR in 2017 with an assistant title, and she took on the role of account executive three years later.
National broadcast appearances secured for her client roster include: Live with Kelly & Ryan, Good Morning America, the Today Show, the Kelly Clarkson Show, the Ellen DeGeneres Show, and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
She also helped leverage Dobrik into different hosting and presenting opportunities including hosting the 2019 Teen Choice Awards and presenting at the 2019 American Music Awards.
Beauty trends Metro PR — Tommy Fortmann
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Fortmann is currently a senior account executive at Metro Public Relations.
His digital roster includes clients like YouTube creators and podcast cohosts Alisha Marie and Remi Cruz, internet star Anthony Padilla, and YouTube creator and musician Scotty Sire, among others.
Recently, he worked in leading publicity for Alisha and Remi’s podcast Pretty Basic, which launched at No. 1 on iTunes and is now in its second season. Fortmann’s work has landed the duo in publications like The Los Angeles Times, Variety, and the cover of Locale Magazine.
Fortmann began his entertainment career at Chicago-based agency, Lily’s Talent Agency, before moving to Los Angeles and working at Forefront Media under Matt Labov. Shortly after, he worked at Advantage Public Relations, where he was introduced to the digital media industry.
Digital PR clients include: Alisha Marie (8 million subscribers), Remi Cruz (2.5 million subscribers), Anthony Padilla (3.8 million subscribers), and Scotty Sire (2.9 million subscribers), among others.
Beauty trends Motiv PR — Kat Jones
Jones is the founder of Motiv PR and has worked for over 15 years in global communications and marketing in digital and traditional fields.
Prior to starting Motiv PR, Jones was vice president of communications at Defy Media, where she ran all communications strategies for Defy as well as the consumer brands under the Defy umbrella, including Smosh, Smosh Games, Clevver, and others. Defy Media was formed in 2013 in a merger between Alloy Digital and Break Media. After a series of cutbacks, Defy abruptly shut down in November 2018.
Before joining Defy Media, she ran communications for the live streaming video platform Azubu. Before that, she worked at Machinima, the multi-channel network on YouTube, where she eventually took a leadership role overseeing communications and PR.
Beauty trends Rogers & Cowan PMK — Jennifer Abel
Abel began her career as a broadcast journalist after earning a degree from the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. She worked as an on-air talent for NBC affiliates in Minnesota and Florida, an assignment editor for CBS and Fox affiliates in Florida, and an NBC Page in New York.
After moving to Los Angeles in 2008, she worked as a freelancer for MSNBC, Yahoo, AOL, and Splash News. She then moved into public relations at PMK-HBH, now Rogers & Cowan PMK, and has been working as a PR representative for entertainment clients since.
Her client list includes Tati Westbrook, Gigi Gorgeous, Chantel Jeffries, Bethany Mota, Jenny McCarthy, Frankie Grande, Tan France, and Sharon Stone.
Digital PR clients include: Tati Westbrook (9.66 million YouTube subscribers), Gigi Gorgeous (2.89 million YouTube subscribers), Chantel Jeffries (1.09 million YouTube subscribers), Bethany Mota (10 million YouTube subscribers).
Beauty trends Sunshine Sachs — Paul Panday
Panday is a publicity account manager at Sunshine Sachs. At Sunshine, he’s worked with streaming platforms like Twitch on its creator strategy and event clients like the Grammy’s, Golden Globe Awards, PGA Awards, and TrevorLive.
Panday previously worked at Metro Public Relations, where he helped YouTuber Coyote Peterson score a television show on Animal Planet and creator Rosanna Pansino earn her first late-night show appearance.
Panday’s current client list includes Mila and Emma Stauffer and Smosh Games cofounder Mari Takahashi.
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