Media Moves

Qwoted 100 PR Superstar: Stefanie Magness of Elevate U PR

May 28, 2024

Posted by Lou Carlozzo

Based In the D.C. area, Stafanie Magness of Elevate U PR is our latest Qwoted 100 PR Superstar.

As Publicist and Founder of Elevate U PR in the Washington D.C. area, Stefanie Magness has run her firm for more than 15 years, specializing in digital media and reputation management. Along the way, she’s been recognized for her outstanding abilities not just from Qwoted, but Ebony magazine as well.

With placements in outlets spanning from Newsweek to Southern Living, Magness is also a thought leader and writer, her work appearing in Brainz Magazine, Connected Woman Magazine and Black EOE Journal. (And we must say, judging by her answers, she’s a spirited scribe.) Here Stefanie shares her take on PR in mid-2024—and offers a metaphorical meditation on PR as an invitation to hit the dance floor with a celebratory spirit. 

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

Stefanie Magness: The future of PR is like upgrading from a flip phone to a smartphone: Everything is faster, smarter and more connected. We’re heading towards a world where PR isn’t just about sending press releases; it’s about using tech tools such as social media and analytics to drive our strategies forward. It’s like switching gears from a bicycle to a sports car—more speed, more precision, and a whole lot more impact.


Qwoted: What do you do that you’re most proud of and that other PRs could learn from?

Magness: It’s like when the DJ plays my favorite song at a party—pure excitement! I thrive on the buzz of seeing my clients featured in top-notch publications. It’s not just about getting them in the spotlight; it’s about crafting narratives that resonate and hit all the right notes. Other PRs can definitely learn from this—creating moments that make everyone want to click that article.


Qwoted: What’s your toughest challenge with reporters?

Magness: Navigating the ever-changing dance floor of reporter preferences can be quite the challenge. It’s like trying to keep up with a dance partner who keeps switching styles. Building and nurturing relationships with reporters requires flexibility, patience, and the ability to adapt to different rhythms. But hey, mastering those moves makes the end result all the more rewarding.


Qwoted: What learnings have made a tremendous difference in your career?

Magness: Learning to prioritize genuine relationships over transactions has been game-changing. Building trust and connections with clients, colleagues, and media partners has opened doors and fueled success. It’s not just about what you know; it’s about who you know and how you nurture those relationships.


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

Magness: Breaking through the noise floor to secure effective coverage is like finding the perfect beat in a crowded dance club: You need to stand out and make people want to tune in. It’s all about crafting compelling stories that resonate with journalists and their audiences. By understanding what makes a story newsworthy and leveraging creative angles, we can cut through the clutter and capture attention. Building strong relationships with the media and continuously adapting our approach ensure that our clients’ voices rise above the noise.


Qwoted: How does PR in 2024 square with the future of journalism?

Magness: PR in 2024 is like a dance partner with the future of journalism—always changing and working together. Today’s PR focuses on sharing real stories that people care about in new ways, as with social media and videos. It’s all about being honest and clear as we move forward together. As journalism grows, PR keeps up by using technology and creativity to connect with people and tell great stories.


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

Magness: It’s like finding the perfect teammate for your favorite sport: You want someone who understands your goals and knows how to score big. My advice? Look for someone who’s not just about fancy pitches but really gets your story and audience. Find a PR pro who’s a good listener, creative thinker, and has a track record of getting results. Most importantly, choose someone you trust to be your champion and guide in the media world!


Qwoted: What is your golden rule of PR?

Magness: Keep it authentic. In this fast-paced world, honesty and transparency are key. Building genuine relationships, telling compelling stories, and always staying true to your brand’s values set you apart. Remember: Credibility is everything in PR, so keep it real and watch your success unfold.


Qwoted: If there’s one thing you could change or improve about journalism or PR—in any area—what might that be and why?

Magness: If I could wave a magic wand over journalism and PR, I’d sprinkle some collaboration dust! Imagine a world where journalists and PR professionals work hand-in-hand like in a synchronized dance routine. Instead of a tug-of-war, it’s a harmonious partnership where we share insights, respect each other’s roles and co-create impactful stories. This shift would break down barriers, foster mutual understanding, and elevate the quality of storytelling. Together, we’d amplify authentic voices and navigate the media landscape with unity and purpose.


Qwoted: Anything else to add?

Magness: The opportunity to be a storyteller with a purpose fuels my passion for PR. I believe in the power of storytelling to inspire, educate and connect people. PR allows me to amplify voices that deserve to be heard and make a positive impact in the world. It’s incredibly rewarding to see my clients’ stories resonate with audiences and create meaningful change. PR isn’t just a job. It’s a platform for advocacy, creativity, and making a difference one story at a time.


Stefanie Magness is Publicist and Founder of Elevate U PR. Email or connect on LinkedIn. 

Lou Carlozo is Qwoted’s editor-in-chief and the editor-publisher emeritus of Talking Biz News. His memoir “The Lost Coin” is slated for publication this year. Email or connect on LinkedIn.

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