Dana Dobson is an award-winning public relations consultant, speaker, author, workshop leader, ghostwriter and TEDx speaker coach with 30 years of experience working with both Fortune 500 companies and entrepreneurs to solve their two biggest marketing challenges — how to get the word out to mass audiences, and how to bring the leads in.
She has made it her life’s work to demystify the public relations process, reframe brands to attract 21st century consumers, and help her audiences to learn to build a stronger public presence to impact bottom line results.
Known as an “expert who entertains,” Dana brings her performing skills (and piano) onstage, using songs and her wicked sense of humor to drive her messages home.
Dana is the author of, “How to Reach Millions with Artful PR: What They Don’t Teach You in Marketing School.” She is also an accomplished ghostwriter who has written books for business leaders, industry influencers and generally fascinating people with interesting stories to tell.
A former reporter, editor and freelance journalist, Dana understands the media from the inside out. She is the host of the “Media Pro Spotlight” podcast, which features interviews with top journalists who share the ins and outs of life in the media and what it takes to secure media coverage.
She is also the creator of the PR Breakthrough™ Publicity Workshops, comprising live events and online training programs that provide entrepreneurs, nonprofit leaders and others the skill and confidence to expand their reach to larger audiences through newsworthy content creation.
Dana speaks frequently on building profitable market presence for leaders and experts, demystifying traditional and digital media outreach, how to create wildly successful publicity campaigns, and how to adapt to the new value principle of content delivery in the digital age.
Raised by theatrical parents, Dana studied acting at New York University’s School of the Arts, but left to form a highly successful rock band with her sister. Later, Dana earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Mass Communications and a master’s in business administration from Western International University.
After a long career as a journalist and marketing and public relations executive, I decided to pursue my bliss as a professional keynote speaker. I hail from a long line of storytellers, actors and troubadours. Speaking allows me to combine theater, music and business experience, but it took years to get here. And during those years, I tried on a lot of hats.
At first, I tried selling hats. At age five, I folded sheets of newspaper into oversized pirate hats and attempted to sell them from a card table in front of my parents’ house in Glen Rock, New Jersey. I sold two, one to a family member and one to a kindly neighbor.
I tried on the “actress” hat. New York University had an acting program back in the day at its prestigious School of the Arts. (Today, it’s the Tisch School.) I’m not going to lie—at the tender age of 18, the life of New York’s aspiring actors and dancers scared the hell out of me. There was such an awful, competitive desperation about them. I met only a handful of fellow students I considered “not completely insane.” But who’s to say what’s normal? Me? I don’t think so. Anyhoo, the acting hat flew off in a stiff wind.
My favorite was the “singer, songwriter and keyboard player” hat. It fit really well, and I still have it. It sits on a high shelf in my closet and I pull it down once in a while and put it on. I rarely wear it in public anymore. I certainly paraded it around back in the glory days. I’m making a music video out of my song, “You Need Publicity.” It rocks!
There were other hats—life lesson hats, pleasant and unpleasant, some with flowery brims and others with black veils. I’ll bore you with the details when I write my memoir. Instead, let’s skip to the part where I graduated from Arizona State University (a mortar board and tassel) with a bachelor’s in journalism and a minor in public relations and discovered that writing was something that blows my hair back. Wearing the single mother hat, I made ends meet as a reporter and freelance journalist. What fun that was! (Really!—no sarcasm intended.) I wrote hundreds of stories of all shapes and sizes. I loved especially my time as an experiential journalist for a fitness magazine. I twisted my ankle jumping rope, fell off a horse or two and took many blows to the head learning to box, but it was fantastic fun. Rise and fall with the leg on the wall. Keep your hands up, kid.
I have worn the professional marketing communications and public relations hat for many years now. I believe that the skilled use of publicity and effective communication with target audiences are the most effective tools a business or professional can use to achieve critical objectives. I’ve served clients such as Campbell’s Soup, the Pennsylvania Lottery, Intel, Motorola, PetsMart and hundreds more. I like showing ambitious, hard-working dreamers how to find their voices and develop their strategies. I also help with some of the heavy lifting—planning, writing, coaching, implementing. Everyone needs a little help sometimes.
Years go by. More mortar board hats, one for an MBA in marketing and another for earning the APR designation from the Public Relations Society of America. Still writing, but now in a position to offer years of experience, service and expertise to others through public speaking and training others to speak with confidence. Business is a warehouse of hats: hard hats, fedoras, pill boxes, sweat bands, Stetsons. I’ve worn most of them, and quite a few shoes, too. They don’t always match, and they don’t always fit, either.
I love my author hat. It’s glorious, and I made it myself, not from folded sheets of newspaper, but with words, thousands of them, a few at a time, every day, with love, passion and persistence.
Whatever your dream, I hope you pursue it without delay.