Public Relations

Cast Yourself

Fashion is already a competitive industry, so you can imagine how intense breaking into public relations can be. Believe it or not, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do until last year. Heck! I didn’t even know what PR was, let alone where to even start.

I’ve always had a knack for wanting to connect people or being in the midst of networking. I found that PR was broad enough in any industry. Yet, I do regret not having more strategy when it came to my post-graduation plans. Things were still up in the air…all over the place! Still is! Trust, I have a plan though which I may share in a more personal post.

For now, here are a few things I would recommend you do as early as sophomore year:

Intern

It may not be the best experience for some, but it is fun and amazingly interesting to see how much you grow within a few months. You DO NOT learn everything sitting in a classroom. You learn how to deal with people, attitudes and all of the essentials to this so called fast-paced industry. More importantly, you learn more about yourself.

Even if you don’t specifically intern in the fashion industry, you are still learning basic skills that you can apply to any job.

Create a Portfolio

As I said, you don’t learn everything in a classroom. In the beginning, it can be hard and nerve-wracking to learn how to pitch to media, or to businesses for sponsorships. Take those PR tasks and assignments serious; they’re exactly what will help you transition into entry-level positions.

Writing skills will be the most impressive to potential employers.

Network! Network! Network!

I really cannot stress this enough. You never know who you’ll meet, better yet…where your next job will come from. There are all types of job fairs, networking events and socials held during the semester. What about ‘networking’ cards? An interesting twist to business cards; utilize these cards to reach out to people you admire. Invite them to lunch or a Starbucks coffee break.

As a general rule of thumb, NEVER stop meeting people.


Wondering when, where or how to start? Your college community! Are you a part of any school clubs or volunteer for any non-profit organizations? How’s your social life? Try speaking with local bar owners or managers that host weekly events. These small-scale projects really help you learn the ins and outs of the PR world.

PR Becomes You

Coming into this PR business, it isn’t as bad as I expected…but it is time-consuming. I have been working on starting my own side business and have been learning more and more that I still need grooming. I’m not quite there yet.

After graduation, I expected to jump face first into my career as a publicist…ha! These days I spend many hours researching information, strategizing and absorbing as much information as possible. I receive numerous emails daily for new career and marketing tool updates and lay awake most nights thinking of new business opportunities.

It’s not too stressful, just not the average 9 to 5 experience. If people knew the amount of hard work, dedication and time that it takes to accomplish a task…we’ll probably get hand and feet massages each week! Yes! It is well deserved! 

There are a billion ways to start and grow a business, but if we aren’t clear on what we want, it’s easy to get off track. It’s also easy to become complacent in doing what we feel is ‘best.’ As I said before when starting my blog, I’m here to grow and learn just like the next PR superstar. So, as practice makes perfect…here are a few tips that we can all use to cultivate our careers:

Be clear on your purpose.

What is your WHY? What is it that you really want with your career and your business? Think about clients you’d love to work with, connections you’re willing to make, or projects that interest you. Envision your values and set your principles into steps that you take daily.

Keep track of everything.

We all have ‘lightbulb’ moments, where we get an idea or thought and the next moment its gone. Keeping up with everyday thoughts can get overwhelming, trying to remember important messages or people you meet daily. Being able to put your thoughts on paper or an app, allows you to clear the busy circulation and places your focus on things that actually matter. It works…TRUST ME…I am the NOTE QUEEN!

Develop a daily reading and writing habit. 

The consumed material will help you develop and influence how you communicate with others. Find great reads that share insight on ‘what to do’ and how ‘not’ to fail. Learning from others’ mistakes will save you time and trouble in the future.

Create a consistent routine. 

Ever heard the saying, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” I believe it to be true. Do you have ‘to-do’ lists? What about career projections? My aunt told me about her ‘vision board’ that she uses to place images and quotes, providing daily inspiration. You should try it.

This may be the beginning, but I hope you’re just as excited as I am! One day at a time. One step away from our goal.

Celebrity Social Media + Status

“Celebrities have been using social media along with everyone else for quite some time.” We see and hear about it everywhere. It is definitely an intrusion value that we can’t ignore. Of course, many people have their opinions about celebrity accounts because they feel the connection isn’t ‘real’ enough or just isn’t the actual person. This is true. Many celebrities have account managers to take on the load when they’re busy…busy living like us.

I have many favorites that I follow on Twitter, like Jimmy Fallon, Tim Gunn, Ellen Degeneres. The celebrities I choose to follow offer great wisdom, career advice and are stepping-stone achievers that I wish to meet one day. I don’t believe I’ve ever unfollowed anyone significant, but I recently unfollowed Emmanuel Hudson, a YouTube Comedian now featured on Nick Cannon’s ‘Wild ‘N Out.’ Now that he’s famous, he only retweets or have nothing of relevance to say. It gets old, quick. (BUT, his videos are HILARIOUS.) This one made him famous:

Of the celebrities I follow, I would probably give most of them a ‘B’ for being relevant and true, and a ‘C’ for those that tweet to promote movies, quotes and tv show debuts A L L   D A Y   L O N G. Sometimes it would be nice to see a continuous reality of the actual person I initially chose to follow.

Will Ferrell using his celebrity and social media presence to raise money for charity is a great thing, a fantastic move! Asides Scandal’s Kerry Washington, I never really see too many celebrities consistently promoting goodwill via social media. If they do, it doesn’t come up on my timeline. I follow many, many people. Like Will and Kerry, I believe many celebrities use their social status to get many people to participate, especially to give funds. It’s been successful, so no complaints there.

Honestly, if there are celebrities not utilizing social media it has to be for personal reasons. Any celebrity, expert in PR/social media alone will never miss the opportunity to share as much as they can to the world. Social media is thriving and if there’s one not on its train, they’re missing out.

Photo source: Google

Get On The Radar

A few weeks ago, Hal Thomas of Noble Mouse spoke to my PR class and offered some great humor advice for surviving agency life. I liked him so much that I felt a need to get some one-on-one inspiration for excelling after graduation! I just thought I’d share:

BLOGGING: Have fun with it.
  1. Write about things in your industry that get you excited or piss you off; point out that something is a good or bad example because_______
  2. Try to write at least once or twice a week

Every blog post doesn’t need to be long-winded or contain a brilliant insight.

RELATIONSHIPS: Start following people on Twitter who work for places where you’d like to work or who do the kind of work you’d like to do. What you’re trying to do is develop a relationship with them over time.
And don’t just follow them, actually comment on the things they say. (In other words, be an actual person.)
RESUMES: Show your best experiences.
Honestly if you’re networking online and offline, your best job opportunities are not going to happen because you emailed someone your resume.
PORTFOLIOS: Sound excited when you’re talking about them!
Most folks I know say go with your 6–8 best pieces of work and be prepared to talk about why you chose those pieces for your portfolio, what interested you most about the projects, challenges you faced and how you overcame them…
SKILLS: The best people to work with are always the most curious, the ones who aren’t afraid to learn something new.

That, for me, is one of the most valuable things anyone can bring to a team.


You can follow Hal on Twitter at @HalThomas, for more inspiration and tips! Also, if you’d like to trade your study/work break for innocent humor, here are some great blogs to follow:

AdVerve
Brand Flakes for Breakfast

Source: JJC

No One Says What They’re Really Thinking

Are PR practitioners and the media getting along?

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PR practitioners and members of the media have roles that compliment each other. Both sides of these relationships have common goals of creating stories, or developing features, that keeps readers, listeners and viewers informed. The media is known to some as the central vehicle for the PR industry’s messages; and PR practitioners want to place their stories in the news or other media publications. The media have become more dependent on PR to supply content for column space. PR can control access to information that media wants, which give them much leverage in negotiations with media, as they can refuse information. PR could lose one of its main avenues for communication with the public without media. Both have many opportunities for tension in the relationships between them, which lead to many ups and downs.

For example: “…when Armstrong Williams, billed as a conservative commentator, reportedly accepted $240,000 from the U.S. Department of Education to promote the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) on his syndicated television show. Public relations firm Ketchum, a unit of Omnicom Group, brokered the deal. The incident raised a number of questions, including whether it’s appropriate for the government to use tax dollars to promote policy in the media, whether Williams should have disclosed the relationship to his audience, and whether Ketchum crossed the line.”

This brought about much controversy tension between practitioners and media. There should be open, positive communication between the two. Relationships between PR and media professionals are built on mutual respect, so that both groups are able to reach the public with good stories and information people can use to improve their lives. Not everything will be all peachy-keen.

Media professionals sometimes resent PR practitioners who pitch boring, non-newsworthy or off-topic ideas. PR professionals sometimes resent media for writing stories in unwanted directions or not responding to their pitches at all. Public relations practitioners want to see the most flattering media stories about their clients. They learn what producers, journalists, columnists and popular bloggers want in terms of news and topics, and the exact ways these people need news pitched to them.

The media is always in need of constant streams of compelling content to fill airtime and print space. They are looking for experts and guests daily. As a practitioner, you have to keep up on breaking news and trending topics that a client’s product, company or expertise could somehow tie into so as to expand that client’s business and reputation through media coverage.

There are some services such as Help A Reporter Out and PR Newswire that serve as matchmakers between media and PR professionals. They help in delivering media professionals’ needs regarding stories, deadlines and interviewees wanted for PR practitioners who can determine if their clients fit.

At the end of the day, both professionals should learn to keep it simple, clean, straight to the point, and fun! It does matter!

Why am I studying Public Relations?

Welp! This would make this the third time that I have typed this post; hopefully, this will not get deleted once again!

So, I am choosing to study public relations because I feel that it is an interesting topic. It seems fun and is always ever-changing. After volunteering with the PR team for Miami Fashion Week, I felt inspired to pursue public relations. I have been in love with it since! Although I am a fashion major, Fashion PR is my ultimate goal at the moment. Everything about it gives me life! I admire the women in the field, and have every intention on working as hard to be as successful. I can honestly say that being involved on campus, whether a fashion event or not, I have always chose the public relations task (although that isn’t what we were calling it.); I still had my hands in some type of PR.

I now have two internships, both geared towards PR, so I’m hoping that with all that I will be learning I will be successful in the field..no matter what company I choose to be with. Overall, I strongly feel that the best is yet to come with this career goal. Maybe this is for or maybe it isn’t…but at the moment, I know that Fashion PR is where I want to be. I get daily inspiration from Crosby Noricks of PR Couture; the website is EVERYTHING! I have learned so much more about fashion public relations reading her website, along with the principles that I have gained here at GSU. I feel that everyone interested in PR, in general, can gain new insight to the business.

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