1. How did you get Patrice Poltzer Creative started?
I was at the TODAY show for six years where I learned from the best in the business how to tell a story and captivate an audience, winning several awards while I was there. Because I came into my role as a TODAY show producer already knowing how to shoot and edit video, I was also able to create original digital content alongside my job of making television which created this hybrid storytelling job and allowed me to think of stories from a multi-platformed discipline. When I was on maternity leave with my second child I was recruited (yes kids are not a job death knell!) by a media startup to join the team helping lead video strategy and content for its editorial arm. With my boss’s insistence I took the position but ended up getting thrown to the brand client side of making content at this company, which was not what I was used too. While I was there, I saw the crazy amounts of money brands were throwing at video production and not always getting quality content back. The brands were often focusing on the wrong elements of their video (i.e. when is my product being shown, where is my logo on the screen, when will we list the ingredients in the video, etc.) – things that at the end of the day didn’t make the story more emotional or impactful for the audience. I decided there that I could use my journalism background and help these brands tell better stories using the tools and skills I had built up over the course of a decade working at some of the biggest media platforms in the world. Six months later, I left and started Patrice Poltzer Creative.
2. How did your experience working at larger content hubs influence your current business?
While there can be downside working at a big company (red tape, too many middle managers, office politics) the upside is there are truly some of the most talented storytellers and creators working at places like an NBC, CNN or a Bloomberg. You see it in action when breaking news would hit. Yes you have Twitter and social media but people crave credible sources and NBC shines under these types of high pressure circumstances. You see how all the different departments seamlessly gel together as not one person can do it alone. You need to collaborate with coworkers and often other divisions to make sure the best and most accurate story is being told. This beautiful dance that then allows amazing stories to emerge are tools I try to apply to every client project. I, alone, can make a pretty good piece of content for a client. But me with the creative collaboration of other minds and the client itself makes for truly magnificent content. I learned that from being at big media networks. The best stories and the best pitches were always are a result of many. Leave your ego at the door!
3. What’s your favorite thing about what you do?
Nothing makes me happier than successfully bringing a founder’s business to life. I love being able to show why that business is unique and I love when a founder says to me, “oh my God, you just got it.” Founders are passionate creatures and while that is amazing it can sometimes be hard to translate that passion on behalf of a founder…but it’s something I do well. I love talking to them and asking questions that make them think introspectively about their business and why they’re doing it. Sometimes they don’t see the story in the same way I do, but so many years of hard knocks training at the TODAY show make me look at business and brand content no differently than a powerful story for a media platform. The path and blueprints are very similar and to be able to give that to a client and give them a powerful piece of video that could open up new avenues or pieces of business is something I love doing. It’s like I’m playing Santa all year round!
4. What is a challenge you’ve had with your business?
Time management. It’s so true that the most precious commodity you have in life is your time. But when you’re working for someone else, it doesn’t feel as precious because you get paid no matter what you do (for the most part) and if you slack off one day, you can usually rely on someone else. The same cannot be said for running your own business. So I’ve had to completely overhaul my relationship with time and it’s a really hard exercise. What to prioritize, what to say no too, what to go after, what clients to pursue, how to split my days, etc. All of it can be overwhelming at times. It’s a work in progress and I work on this challenge every single day!
5. Do you have any other business enterprises in the works?
Yes! I co-founded a parenting platform called Citykin which is a resource platform for parents raising kids in cities around the world after seeing a big gap in the parenting content space. Citykin is a mix of tips, inspiration, essays and humor videos to connect city parents as it really is a different experience than raising kids in a suburb. We profile parents in other cities, brands that are city-friendly and delve into provocative topics that we’re not seeing on other parenting communities. We are also very dad focused as most of the city dads we know are super involved because the moms are also working passionately. The dads are left out of a lot of other parenting communities because there is still this old-fashioned sentiment that “dads make money and moms take care of the kids” (even if she is also working.) We have a weekly newsletter, website and Instagram for our Citykins to remain connected. Or maybe we’re just trying to make other parents feel better for also denying their child of that blissful backyard upbringing in the name of 46 bars and restaurants a block from their house!
6. Do you have any advice for aspiring content creators?
You just have to start. You will not be good the first time, first ten times, maybe even the first 50 times you put something out there. But you WILL be much better by the 100th time you create something. Making content is ripe for all the insecurities about “what if people hate it,” “why would I do create ANOTHER ‘fill-in-the-blank’ site,” “who am I to even make something that people would want to read,”, etc… It’s amazing how when you want to be creative all the negative insecurities rise to the top in one major cacophonous symphony. My advice: Ignore and make it anyway. There is nothing worse than sitting on all of your creative content ideas you “want to do” a year out and realizing you have not even started anything because of fear.
7. Why do you think video is so important?
There is no other medium that has the ability to connect at the emotional level that is video. Data shows that video commands consumer attention greater than anything else and it has a higher rate for customer conversion. I’ve seen the power of one effective piece of video transforming a brand. I always tell my clients, “Think of video like your 24/7 concierge service on your home page. In what light do you want to present your brand?” That piece of video could be the only interaction you get with a future customer and you want to impress them. Making the investment to tell the best possible story you can on video can literally transform a bottom line. My team is also great at optimizing the shoot day so we’re not just getting one piece of content, but lots of content the brand can roll out over time. Be on the lookout for some of Patrice’s creative work when we drop the Jayaram Law brand video later this summer!