15 years ago, a subscription service called Social Diary was unexpectedly born thanks to the frustration of inevitable event clashes in PR. The digital diary designed to avoid these clashes as well as keep the industry informed with media & PR news has helped form support as well as build the relationships between journos, PRs, brands, talent agents and influencers. Director of Social Diary (and PR lifesaver) Tiffany Farrington spoke to Mediaweek about recent highlights for the business, how the service is shaping the industry, as well as a series of lunches coming up this year designed for different groups of industry folk.
When we asked Farrington to tell us the story of how Social Diary was created, she said she always describes it as a fortuitous accident. She was producing a huge event for Cartier and was worried about clashing with another luxury brand, so she emailed the top 25 PRs in town to politely ask them if they were doing anything on June 1st 2004. “There was such a lovely response, and I secured that night and it was a huge success – I got my first Party of the Week in the Sun-Herald,” said Farrington.
“After that I consulted the group again for other events, and many asked if they too could check with the group. Soon there were dates flying around all over the place so I created a word document calendar and sent it to everyone to make it easier. I did this every week and suddenly had every PR in town calling me to be added. Within three months I was sending it to 600 people, so I popped it online and the rest is history. It all happened very organically as the industry had reached a tipping point.”
Social Diary is a small team of five, including Farrington – and six if you count the furry Social Diary mascot, Fang. “Nicola Weiss writes our daily newsletter, Lisa Scott runs the website and renewals, Rachel Iskander looks after NZ and Georgia Dawes manages new members. Fang just turned 14 and is a daily joy.”
Social Diary has reached the wonderful milestone of 15 years in business. Farrington said it made her realise there’s a whole generation of publicists who have never known their job without Social Diary. “You ask anyone older than 40 what it was like ‘before’ and they freak! Nobody knew what anyone else was doing, there were event clashes all over the place, and everyone worked as an island unto themselves. It’s such a connected industry now and that makes me really happy to see that.”
On the topic of how Social Diary is shaping the industry, Farrington said the service has always connected people and delivered key information that everyone needs in this industry on a daily basis. “It really did change the landscape and has allowed people to reach out and work together for mutual benefit of their clients. I have always believed you can work directly with your competitors – which sounds counterintuitive – but I have 15 years of proof that it elevates everyone.”
With their daily newsletter – which their members have a great appetite for – the features include media movements, editorial opportunities, product offers for goodie bags, an international celebrity list of who’s coming to Australia and when/how to contact them, influencer contacts, client wins and more. “We often run brands actively looking for a PR company and it always makes me so ecstatic when members get ongoing business through Social Diary.”
Farrington said all the talent agents in Australia and promoters are members, so they tell Social Diary directly when celebrities are arriving in Australia. “We also have our ear to the ground. We even manage to hear about the ones who sneak in!”
Apart from the big stuff, Farrington said she also loves the little things that have happened with Social Diary and their members. “For 15 years we have run a ‘flatmate’ section on the newsletter, so to see how many publicists and journos are now all living together is hilarious. I love how they form their own friendships through our platform and events over the years – it’s this warm, fuzzy stuff that I adore.”
In terms of plans for 2020, Farrington said they’re bringing back the 80s long lunch as well as other day-time events for their members. “After a decade of crazy costume parties we’ve been doing a series of lunches which have been so fabulous. We’ve done them in NZ and Perth, for talent agents, for freelancers. We also have lunches coming up in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney for different groups of industry folk. It allows us to really connect with our members and have fantastic conversations.”
Top photo: (Left to right) Rachel Iskander, Lisa Scott, Tiffany Farrington, Nicola Weiss, Georgia Dawes.