By Lindsay Shearer
When Josh Nass left the Brandeis University campus on a Wednesday evening in the Spring of 2013 and got into a limousine that awaited him, nobody on the entire University campus knew where he was going. Nass sat quietly in the backseat of the car as he was driven to one of Fox’s remote studio locations outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Soon, more than two and a half million Americans would hear his commentary on Fox News.
Dressed in a black suit, Nass smiled confidently for the camera, as if this had already become a regular occurrence for the then-twenty one year old college student. As the host came on-air, and turned to him during the interview to offer his perspective, Nass lit up social media with all sorts of reaction about the views he was sharing. He then got back into the car and was on his way back to campus to finish up a research paper that was due the following day in his American history class.
Over the course of his college experience, Josh Nass made some variation of this trip to and from major cable network studios to offer his commentary some three dozen times. But the story of how a twenty-one year old college student secured television appearances that commanded the attention of millions of Americans at a time, remains untold. Today, Nass, the chairman of Josh Nass PR, runs a boutique PR agency with an impressive roster of clients providing media relations services to titans of industry. We had the opportunity to sit down with him for an interview last week. We’ve posted it below and condensed portions of it for spatial purposes.
Lindsay: At what age did you realize you wished to work in public relations?
Josh Nass: I always had an interest in media and politics growing up. I would spend hours watching C-Span as a child. To the extent I get the opportunity in my current work to marry those two interests, I consider it a blessing.
Lindsay: Your PR firm represents media properties, leading companies in the healthcare space and an array of companies in the financial services space. How does one go out on their own and build such an impressive roster of clients as you have in such short order?
Josh Nass: There really is no secret formula but there’s also no substitute for hard work. Nobody works harder for their clients than my team and I. But it’s not just the hours we invest. We bring a substantial amount of creativity and innovation to the execution of public relations programs we spearhead. Thinking outside the box counts for a lot. We’ve built our practice purely through word of mouth. And I’m proud of that. That’s a testament to not only the remarkably talented staff I employ, but also the outstanding work-product we’ve been able to produce for clients. Word spreads quickly when clients are satisfied by what they regard as outstanding and top-tier work.
Lindsay: Switching gears for a moment to your past-life, how is it that you became such a sought after political pundit at a young age?
Josh Nass: By pitching myself from the comfort of my college dormitory. There are no coincidences in media. People assume that if one is on one of the cable networks it automatically means they’re an expert. Of course, that’s far from reality. I started cultivating relationships with members of the media while still in college; and would consistently pitch myself to bookers and producers in a way that made my then-millennial outlook on politics, relevant. The key to any successful public relations program is making the subject of the campaign relevant to the news-cycle. My team and I use those same fundamentals I practiced then, in the campaigns we manage for clients now.
Lindsay: We know you’re an attorney in addition to being a PR guru. How does your legal background lend value to your current practice?
Josh Nass: Our firm does a lot of crisis PR and reputation management work, and are regularly called upon by some of the nation’s leading law firms to service their clients. Being admitted to the bar ensures that all my communications with clients are privileged. That’s an enormous benefit to have over some of our competitors. Without getting too technical, there is a distinction between confidential and privileged communications, and those in need of crisis PR help are well aware of it. And of course, they appreciate it greatly.
Lindsay: What’s a piece of advice you’d give to someone looking to enter the PR space?
Josh Nass: If you love to read, write and shape narratives, this is an industry that’s perfect for you. The media landscape is rapidly changing and much of that has to do with the evolution of digital and social media. In some ways, there’s no industry that’s better suited for a young and savvy person than the PR field.
Lindsay: Any parting words of wisdom for our readers?
Josh Nass: Work hard. Then work even harder. And through it all, be sure to stay humble.