Going Long with Ciara Pressler on Pregaming your PR

Check out Pregame at a live taping of PR Talk with
Malia Spencer, PBJ startup and technology reporter

Ciara Pressler is a force of nature. Not only does she run Pregame — a training program for entrepreneurs who want to maximize their time, money, and opportunities — she’s also published two books and has written regularly for the Huffington Post.

Ciara gets a big charge out of helping other entrepreneurs realize their business goals. Much of that comes from giving them an opportunity to interact with other professionals. “Having a trusted group of people who can give you feedback is invaluable,” Ciara told me. And that’s exactly what Pregame provides.

Speaking of Pregame, I’ll be interviewing startup and technology reporter, Malia Spencer of the Portland Business Journal, during a live taping of my PR Talk podcast at Pregame HQ on Thursday, June 7th, from 5 – 7 p.m. The event is free for Pregame members and guests can attend for $47.

With so much on her plate, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to chat with Ciara about her history and experience in PR, along with the work she’s doing with other local entrepreneurs.

A Roundabout Journey Into PR

Ciara began her career working in the performing arts. From there she transitioned into marketing and quickly realized that if she wanted to serve her clients well, she needed to learn the finer points of PR. Before branching out on her own, Ciara worked for a company that produced 120 events every year in fashion, art, and music.

Pregame was born out of Ciara’s desire to get all the information she’d learned from years in the trenches out to more people. “I wanted to create an environment where people could come and learn — especially solopreneurs — who don’t have an office full of people to draw from,” she said.

The Pregame clubhouse has been open in Portland’s Pearl District since August of 2016 and before that, Ciara taught workshops for several years in New York, LA, and Seattle.

Ciara describes Pregame as “a gym for your goals” and the elements of her training take on similar sporting themes. Classes are called “workouts” and the weekly small group check-in meetings are called “hometeams.”

Pregame courses cover topics like setting and achieving professionals goals, marketing and PR fundamentals and even guidance on publishing a book, expanding your speaking career, and establishing yourself as a thought leader. Pregame members also have access to expert sessions on topics like sales, finance, operations, team management and PR — of which I am an honored PR “expert,” hosting a Q&A hour every fourth Wednesday at 11 a.m. that I am allowed to bring two guests to (let me know if you are interested).

So what common themes does she see with all these businesses? “It’s that balance between specializing and being general,” she told me. Pregame helps people refine their model so they’re selling something people want to buy that’s also something these entrepreneurs want to create and build.

PR Do’s and Don’ts

After years of experience working with entrepreneurs, Ciara has some advice to share on the Do’s and Don’ts of managing your own PR campaign.


  • It’s your responsibility to be PR ready. That means having photo assets, service menus, and a website that can handle increased traffic in place before you begin a PR campaign.
  • Trust your PR professional so you can let go of the reigns and let them run with their job.


  • “When I’ve dealt with clients who have come to me because they’ve had a really bad experience with a marketing or PR agency and they want me to fix it, sometimes they’ve started that process too early,” Ciara said. “If you don’t have your marketing on point that people are going to see if they do hear about you in a bigger press outlet, then you don’t have any business doing press yet,” Ciara said. “You can’t go back and do it over again.”
  • Don’t hire a PR firm when you need to elevate your sales. PR is for building reputation and brand.

If you’d like to sharpen your own PR skills, Pregame will be launching a DIY PR bootcamp this summer in partnership with Travel Portland. They also offer courses that will help you get ready before you hire a PR firm. Ciara says the goal for these courses is to “get people in a healthier place to maximize time and money before making that investment.”

About the guest: Ciara Pressler

Ciara is an entrepreneur with 15 years of experience advising entrepreneurs and innovators on brand and growth strategy. She’s consulted, coached, and partnered with hundreds of business leaders from New York to Los Angeles, Singapore to Moscow.

She’s the author of two books, Exit Stage Right: The Career Change Handbook for Performers and Game Plan: Achieve Your Goals in Life, Career, and Business, the founder of Pregame, and works as a member of Pressler Collaborative, a marketing and PR firm serving entrepreneurs, creators, and innovators.    

Connect and follow Ciara Pressler on social media:

This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out PRSAoregon.org for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.

PR Talk is sponsored by monday

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Amy Rosenberg
Founder and President at Veracity
Writer. Podcaster. Press Friend. Hand Holder.