WIA Profile: Denise Kraft

WIA Profile: Denise Kraft

Each month, industry news media organization XBIZ spotlights the career accomplishments and outstanding contributions of Women in Adult. WIA profiles offer an intimate look at the professional lives of the industry's most influential female executives.

Naughty Business founder and owner Denise Kraft has mastered the craft of public relations in the naughtiest of industries.

I have spent the last six years learning about every aspect of the industry from SEO and traffic to talent agreements and booking … we work with such a diverse set of clients it’s required that we know how every part of the industry works.

From her early days as a writer for an adult webmaster to her initial forays into PR courtesy of real-life friend Gianna Michaels, Kraft paid close attention to her surroundings and took studious notes.

What began as a vessel for getting the word out about her clients’ latest projects, expanded into a full-fledged marketing service, replete with social media management and strategy consultations.

Now, Kraft is eyeing the horizon, as she leverages her entrepreneurial mindset and amiable personality to take her business to the next level.

Step behind the velvet curtain with the PR maven, in this exclusive XBIZ interview.

XBIZ: What was your professional background before joining this industry?

Kraft: My degree is in applied psychology, but I actually dabbled a little bit in the industry writing website text for a friend of mine who was an adult webmaster. Previously, I worked for over 10 years as an estate manager in the Pacific Northwest. I also worked in an adult retail store in Seattle as a sales person while I was in college.

XBIZ: How did you get involved with PR for adult entertainment?

Kraft: I started working with Gianna Michaels, who is a personal longtime friend. Once I started learning about the inner workings of the industry and meeting more people I became enamored with the public relations and marketing side of both the online and pleasure products side of the business.

XBIZ: Tell us about the origins of Naughty PR.

Kraft: One of the people I met is my husband and business partner Pete Housley. Once we started working together and came up with a business strategy that we felt made more sense for where the industry was at that time and where we thought it was going, we implemented our strategy.

XBIZ: How do you balance wearing so many hats between your various ventures like Candy.Adult, Porn Star Tweet, etc.?

Kraft: Balance is the thing I struggle with the most. At first, when Naughty PR only had a few clients, I spent a lot of time working on our assets like the Naughty Tweet Network and creating unique content for our consumer-facing platforms. As Naughty PR has grown and evolved into Naughty Business, which we now operate, it has become about delegating and letting everyone run their respective projects. Candy.Adult, for example, has its own dedicated editor who entirely operates the platform.

Having so many ventures has been a considerable advantage for Naughty Business. We are the only adult PR and marketing company who has a built-in consumer-facing platform with significant traffic that we can use to help promote our clients. We have also taken all of our social media knowledge and partnered with companies like XBIZ to provide live social media coverage for awards shows and special events.

XBIZ: What social media strategies have proven most effective in getting the word out and maximizing engagement?

Kraft: I think one important thing to remember about social media is that your strategy needs to be reflective of your brand and messaging. There isn’t a foolproof blanket strategy for making social media useful. There is a lot of misinformation surrounding social media; many people believe the more you post and the more followers you have, the more successful an account will be; when in fact followers don’t matter if you’re not engaging with your base.

The most effective strategy and things I always tell everyone about maximizing engagement are to create unique content that people want to look at, post content your follower base would be interested in, that isn’t directly related to your brand, but still relates to your brand messaging. Don’t ignore the direct messages regardless if they are positive or negative. Many customers use social media as a customer service tool now to give feedback and communicate problems. It’s essential to have a plan in place to deal with these customers to resolve issues and keep a positive presence.

XBIZ: How do you seek out new clients and retain current ones?

Kraft: I am primarily focused on client retention and not as much on seeking out new clients. We have long-standing working relationships with most of all of our clients. I’m very proud that our core group of clients has all been with us for between two to five years. We recently signed a couple of great companies, but we’re pretty selective about who we take on as clients. We are striving to have a well-rounded client base in all sectors of the adult market.

XBIZ: Which of your business partnerships has proven most fruitful?

Kraft: I wouldn’t say there has been one single partnership that has been most fruitful but more of a principle that I’ve always believed since starting in this business, which leads me to help someone if they ask, even if they aren’t my client. I will still take five minutes to answer a question or help someone out if I can.

Sometimes a performer will call to ask advice on a toy deal, or a company doesn’t have money for PR but has a quick question, or someone needs a contact for something; this principle has allowed me to meet and form relationships with people across all sectors of the industry.

As an industry, we face an unbelievable amount of adverse judgment from outsiders, and I believe that if we support each other and ask for help from our peers, it helps the industry as a whole.

XBIZ: How have you evolved as a marketing guru, over the years?

Kraft: When I started working with Gianna, I had no idea what I was doing, and I was a little naive about just how competitive the industry was until we went to a meeting that wasn’t going well and then all of a sudden something clicked — we walked out of that meeting. That one meeting changed my entire approach going forward. I then started working with Pete on building NaughtyPR, which at that time just wrote and distributed press releases.

We started having a lot of inquiries about additional marketing services like social media, graphic design, advertising and overall product and marketing strategy consulting on case-by-case projects. Once we expanded into a full-service marketing and PR company, we changed the name to Naughty Business to be more reflective of what we do.

I have spent the last six years learning about every aspect of the industry from SEO and traffic to talent agreements and booking … we work with such a diverse set of clients it’s required that we know how every part of the industry works.

XBIZ: What is your approach to writing PR and getting them to the right outlets?

Kraft: Our job is to let the media know about a story opportunity concisely and directly, prompting them to include and publish that information to their consumer base. We don’t believe in sending out PR unless there’s something to talk about.

Putting out releases merely to put out a release, or make some monthly quota, devalues the opportunity when there is something of merit to put in the hands of the media. Each of our clients has a customized press distribution plan and tailored list specific to individual needs and demographic target.

We don’t combine different companies in a single press release unless it’s a joint project, and try and keep focused on a single message to the media — not dump multiple stories into a single release.