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Qwoted 100 PR superstar: Sarah Mawji of Final Edit Public Relations

October 23, 2023

Posted by Mariam Ahmed

Sarah Mawji of Final Edit Public Relations has garnered success by keeping current with trends while staying true to the fundamentals.


As our latest Qwoted 100 PR superstar, Sarah Mawji is riding high after less than two years as principal of her own firm, Final Edit Public Relations. Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Mawji has created a company that supports private and public companies worldwide across tech, finance, commodities and lifestyle.

We spoke with Mawji to learn about what makes her PR engine go, while gaining insight into the role of overlooked tools such as augmented reality and virtual reality. She also offers an engaging glimpse into what it’s like to have a mind that “works overtime day in and day out.”

Qwoted: What do you see as the future of PR—technologically, strategically, or in any category you’re passionate about?

Sarah Mawji: Public relations is highly evolving, influenced by technological advancements, changing strategies, and a shifting media landscape. PR is also expanding across many industries that traditionally have not used it. PR efforts are strategic in nature: They are complex and require PR professionals with an aptitude for knowledge beyond major news. In today’s world, some of the key facets of PR include technology-driven PR, automation tools; virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR); stakeholder and investment engagement; content evolution; and storytelling.

While PR technology is no doubt the future, the fundamentals remain the same. Trust will be paramount. Brands that maintain transparency, acknowledge mistakes, and communicate authentically during crises will be better positioned to recover and rebuild trust.


Qwoted: What do you do that other PRs could learn from?

Mawji: In a short period, my company has grown extremely fast. While fancy tools make the process cleaner, more efficient and in some ways make the appeal of the job more exciting, it really comes down to those fundamentals. Being in PR requires you to be a self-starter. You can be given 100 story ideas from each company you work with. Most of the time, you end up with great ideas for advertisements, paid editorials, etc. not for earned media. Therefore, in the first 30 days with a new client, you should immerse yourself in their industry through calls and conversations, but also through your own in-depth analysis. This will tell you what the stories are.

What you can bring to the table from a strategic POV iswhat publications are right for your client(s). I’m industry-agnostic, which means my brain works overtime day in and day out. Somedays feel like I’m doing a bachelor’s degree all over again, just across finance, energy, lifestyle and technology verticals. But by working with private and public companies across different industries, I’m often able to connect the dots on where two industries may overlap. Sometimes that puts the right fuel to the fire and helps me land amazing coverage, which makes it all worth it in the end.


Qwoted: What’s your toughest challenge with reporters?

Mawji: I want to say when they don’t respond, but my response rate is pretty high. I think it’s their perception of all publicists. I know I do good work and work exceptionally hard at training my clients in good media etiquette. After all, it’s my job to know this, not theirs. At the end of the day, everyone works on different timelines and to expect seamless execution during a campaign is not realistic. This makes it hard when you actually have a good story. Maybe you send a story slightly late. The reporter needs something. Your client is slow to respond cause they don’t get the urgency. The reporter is frustrated and you sit in a place wondering if the story will actually get covered.


Qwoted: How do you break through the noise floor to get effective coverage?

Mawji: By staying up to date with the industry and finding the diamonds in the rough. For example, technology use in just about any industry is a story. Especially when it comes to machine learning and AI. In 2020, one of my finance clients removed their legacy technology and brought in cutting edge solutions. I landed several pieces of coverage out of this! Same goes for some of my energy clients. Outside of the technology angle, the best thing to do is learn about the company you represent and where they sit in the grand scheme of things. This cannot be done overnight nor should it be expected but it’ll help you grasp the landscape. On the week I pitch I spend 80% reading, learning, absorbing industry intel and 20% pitching. This is the way to get your clients coverage. Do not mass pitch.


Qwoted: What advice would you give to those seeking to find an effective PR person?

Mawji: Do not let the number of media contacts they have be the reason you hire them. Ask about their track record, their approach and their strategy. If they “guarantee” coverage in certain publications, that’s a red flag. It doesn’t work like that. Remember, ask about past results and ask about their approach. PR is expensive because it’s hard so don’t expect to get stellar results with small budgets.


Qwoted: What is your golden rule of PR?

Mawji: For clients, if you want to generate credibility, trust and awareness in a way that’s authentic and backed by third-party validation — journalists, reporters — use PR. If you just want quick publicity, use paid editorial services. Note, I am not against paid but it’s about 5% if not less of what I do. And it’s not technically PR: it’s marketing. For publicists, stick to “the method.” Stay up to date with PR trends, industry trends. Develop a strategy. Build your information repository. Spend less time on making things pretty. And on client presentations and presenting analytics. Instead, focus on securing coverage.

Pitching lies at the heart of this. When you build trust with your clients this process becomes that much easier.


You can connect with Sarah Mawji of Final Edit Public Relations at sarah@finaleditpr.com or connect with her on LinkedIn.

Lou Carlozo is Qwoted’s Editor in Chief and the Editor/Publisher of Talking Biz News. Email lou@qwoted.com or connect on LinkedIn.


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