BLUEPRINT: something that acts as a plan, model, or template
Contents: Introduction …………………………………………… 7 Chapter 1: Talk the PR Talk …. …………………... 9 Chapter 2: Design your Path ……………………... 15 Chapter 3: Equipment Necessary ………………... 29
Chapter 4: Create Your Foundation and Build! ………………………………. 35 Bibliography …………………………………………... 42 About the Authors ……………………………………. 43
Introduction Prototype for Your Career in PR
As seniors in college and on the road to the real world, we decided to create a guide for those who will soon be in our position. No holding back. Like a blueprint to a building, this book is a model for young public relations practitioners, featuring advice given by those who already have experience in the public relations field. We have broken down each chapter into the steps we feel are most important in order to build on a career in PR.
CHAPTER 1 Talk the PR Talk
“PR is not just sipping cocktails and shooting the breeze with the rich and famous.”
How do you best describe public relations? Well, with so many definitions floating around and characters like Samantha Jones from Sex and the City creating unrealistic portrayals of PR practitioners, we can see how it could get a little confusing. The truth of the matter is, PR is not just sipping cocktails and shooting the breeze with the rich and famous. “Talking the PR Talk” is being able to articulate what you do, how you do it, and why you do it. “Public relations is a strategic Our friends at the communication process that Public Relations builds mutually beneficial Society of relationships between America came organizations and their publics.” up with this explanation of PR:
DISCLAIMER: Don’t ever repeat this definition in an interview or social setting, they’ll be just as tongue-tied and terrified as you.
However, this definition does help clarify a few things: 1. Public Relations practitioners are an essential asset to any business. 2. We are in the business of relationships so maintaining ties with the public, media and other stakeholders is key. 3. It most definitely is a process, so be patient. In order to make it in this industry, you need to be able to properly communicate your role as a PR practitioner. This is not only useful for interview purposes, but also explaining to mom and dad what you actually do for a living. FYI: â€œAccording to data from LinkedIn, one in three parents does not understand what their child does for a living.â€?
After asking professionals in the industry how they would best describe public relations, they came up with the following adjectives: Honest McCann Erickson’s credo “Truth well told,” basically sums up what public relations is. Honest communication is essential in maintaining a good reputation for both you and your clients. The truth shall set you free, literally. Creative In public relations, there are a variety of sectors available to work in that allow your creative side to shine through. Do you have a passion for sports? There is a whole side of PR dedicated to it! How about food? There are opportunities for that too. With so many options available, you just have to find your special niche.
Fast-Paced Thinking quickly is key in public relations, you never know what can or will happen. You have to be as fast as the news around you. Sociable Being sociable does not mean you have to be a â€˜chatty-Cathyâ€™, you just have to know how to talk to people in a respectable manner and take criticisms constructively. Highly-Reactive Always be up to date with the news, so many things happen in just 24 hours. Read newspapers (online or print), listen to the radio, or check up on social media outlets for your news. It can be found everywhere around you. In the following chapter, we will delve into areas we have experience in and share some helpful tips to get you started.
â€œIt takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.â€? - Warren Buffett
Chapter 2 Design Your Path
So now that you know how to explain PR, it is time to look in depth at some practice areas there are to choose a career in. Think of your career as if you are designing a house. You want every detail from the walls to the windows to be a reflection of your creative vision. So too should your career path be driven by your own personal blueprint, a detailed outline of how you want to see your future. An important step in designing your blueprint is to test out different sectors of the PR field that spark your interest. You will obtain hands-on experience and knowledge of the industry you would like to pursue.
In our opinion, it is valuable to learn the in’s and out’s of the business first-hand before you begin your search for a full time job. This not only allows you to figure out what you like, but more importantly, what you can’t stand (believe us that’s important).
We have interned at several different companies in both New York and London and across several different fields during our college career. Hereâ€™s some insight into what weâ€™ve done & advice weâ€™ve learned along the way:
Charlotte Healthcare: Although it sounds boring at first glance, Healthcare PR can be a truly rewarding career path. Whether working for pharmaceutical clients or health organizations behind a specific cause or disease treatment, this sector certainly reaps many benefits. Healthcare PR is highly regulated, so communicating key messages can often be challenging. While interning at Say Communications, an award winning communications agency based in London, I had the opportunity to intern on the Healthcare team. I assisted with the launch of a nutritional formula that was developed to help with the dietary management of early Alzheimerâ€™s disease. I took part in client conference calls, researched current studies on Alzheimerâ€™s Disease and helped plan the internal product release event. I learned about the tight regulations within the healthcare sector very quickly while working on this account.
While planning the internal product release event, I was responsible for contacting various vendors but could not discuss details about the product or event. I would often write out notes outlining what I could and could not say, to make sure I did not accidently slip information. It was a difficult task, but watching the event come together was satisfying. I learned so much about the disease and the debilitating effects it has on sufferers and their loved ones. It was an amazing feeling knowing that I could help communicate new ways to manage this disease, even in the smallest way possible. My experience at Say opened my eyes to a sector I was previously uninterested in but I am now currently considering as a career path.
Sports- Starting an internship or career in Sports PR might not involve working as Derek Jeter’s publicist, but there is a strong likelihood you’ll end up being a part of an exciting project. Sports PR could involve coordinating sponsorships, creating events, reaching out to media outlets and much more. A huge part of Sports PR is finding creative angles for news stories and contacting the appropriate writers. For example, while interning at Coyne Public Relations in New York City, I worked on the USGA (United States Golf Association) account, specifically the U.S Open Championships. One of my responsibilities was contacting entertainment outlets to tell them about the “Pace of Play” campaign videos, involving celebrities like Tiger Woods and Clint Eastwood. While it was certainly a sports-related topic, it was appealing to entertainment outlets as well because of the celebrities who appeared in the videos.
Unfortunately, being the biggest fan of a professional sports team does not mean you are qualified to work for that team. Employers look for dedicated candidates willing to work long hours and even sacrifice weekends. Although being passionate for a specific team is a plus, having the desired skills and connections is also important. Donâ€™t let this information discourage you though, being passionate about a specific sector can go a long way and drive you to make your dreams or goals attainable.
Charlotte & part of the Coyne Sports Team at an event at Citi Field
Michelle Fashion: PR professionals in any field are under pressure and have to meet certain deadlines. In Fashion PR, you have to work with many designers and stylists and try, as best as you can, to keep a smile on their face, as well as on your own. You do not want to see a French designer angry, it is not pleasant. While interning in London, I worked with the actual designer of a menâ€™s travel accessories brand, Otis Batterbee London. His name was Otis Batterbee, and though not as well-known as his competition, Paul Smith, his accessories were sold in high-end stores throughout London. I contacted different publications via phone and email to see whether they would like to feature Otis Batterbeeâ€™s collection as part of their gift guide, since I interned around the holiday season. I took part in store visits, receiving the title of Visual Assistant to Otis and checked to see if products were being sold.
During my internship, I was able to obtain a placement in Marie Claire UK featuring some of Otisâ€™s products for their 50 under ÂŁ50 gift guide. This taught me that hard work pays off.
The atmosphere in London was very relaxing, unlike how it is in New York City. This was my second internship in Fashion and when comparing the internships between the two cities, I realized the environments differed. Constant rushing and racing around occurred in the offices in New York, whereas in London, tasks were to be completed once they were finished correctly, not immediately. Time was not as big of a deal as efficiency was. 24
The different environments open your eyes to help you see the differences in cultures and the way they work. In my internship at PR Consulting in New York City, people came in and out of the office constantly and the tasks given to the interns were copious, but exciting nonetheless. Making friends with the other interns is beneficial because they are in the same boat as you and you can rely on one another. My â€˜teamâ€™ was great, we all worked well with one another and had endless laughs. Having stylists come in the office to peek through our closets filled with brands such as Versace, Acne, and Roland Mouret to dress well -known actors, singers and so on, for either an event or magazine shoot, was amazing. One time my team had the opportunity to choose outfits for Ashley Benson, one of the characters on the TV show Pretty Little Liars, for a cover shoot. If you enjoy fashion, I suggest you try to obtain multiple internships in the field because you learn about different brands, how items are sold, what consumers are interested in, and as an added bonus, you have the ability to know the new season trends before others! 25
Finance: If you enjoy marketing and public relations, financial PR should be a field of interest. Interning at Intermarket Communications was different in comparison with my other internships, specifically because this one was not in fashion. The company specializes in marketing communications and event planning. The employees work with different companies in the financial field and assist in gaining recognition through various publications, such as Financial Times and Oâ€™Dwyerâ€™s.
Like in PR Consulting, the employees were split into teams, and each team worked with various financial services, such as Corporate Insight, SWIFT, and Deutsche Bank. As an intern, I assisted in creating press releases, media briefings, and researching for article clips. Much research was involved, as well as keeping up with the financial news. I never watched CNBC prior to interning at Intermarket, but now I find myself constantly on the website researching brands such as Apple and Google, and their stocks. This field can become dry at times, but with the help of your coworkers, you will be able to get through 27
the day. After a while, your eyes may hurt due to staring at a computer screen for long hours, and well, you may get tired. You do feel rewarded however, especially when receiving new clients and recognition for your current ones. You also get to flaunt your knowledge about how and why the DOWJONES went up 0.06% after the announcement of the continuation of the tapering. Prior to working in finance, I did not know much about stocks and IPOâ€™s, but what I learned was intriguing. With your design plan in place, now all you need is equipment to start building.
Chapter 3 Equipment Necessary
Like creating the perfect blueprint for a house, there are certain pieces of equipment, or skills necessary to be successful in the public relations field. Weâ€™ve narrowed down the skills we felt are most important: Writing for a variety of mediums: You must be able to tailor writing towards different mediums. The way you may write a press release is different than writing a media alert or tweet (try writing about a chic rental maternity dress in 140 characters, itâ€™s not easy) If you are able to take public relations writing courses, do it! Professors can help you develop these skills by offering constructive criticism and suggestions for writing these materials. Perhaps you are not able to take these courses but instead take part in an internship. Ask your supervisor if you could take a shot at writing something. Practice writing media alerts and press releases even if they do not end up being used. These documents can serve as great portfolio pieces.
Organization: With the fast-paced nature of PR, itâ€™s easy to get wrapped up in several activities at once. Organization is crucial so that projects meet deadlines and that you do not get in over your head. As important as your career is, so too is your mental well-being. Storytelling: When writing, you hope to connect with readers or audiences and make them feel as though they are part of the story. This is important in public relations because we are often communicating on behalf of people or organizations in an attempt for key audiences to connect with them. Nothing is worse than hearing a story told in a backwards, complicated way. Itâ€™s about being concise and to the point, getting all the key details in and attracting listeners.
Bravery: Never be scared to take risks or apply yourself to a task you feel you can never complete. Go outside of your comfort zone and take on opportunities that will better yourself and your career. If you do not believe in yourself and your talents, nobody else will.
Intellectual curiosity: A professor in college gave our Public Relations class the best advice one day: to constantly learn and crave information. Read a newspaper, go on a hike, watch a reality show, travel, take up a new hobby and so on. You can learn from all kinds of experiences and as hard as it may be to believe, it is these experiences that will shape your career. Media savviness: From new media outlets such as blogs to traditional newspapers and magazines, you need to be familiar with it all. PR practitioners spend a lot of time researching and communicating with various media professionals so it is important to stay up-to-date on these outlets, you never know when it may come in handy!
3 Steps to Staying Organized: Lists- this simple process can save you a lot of headaches. Making a To-Do list at the start of a day or week can help you plan out exactly what needs to be done and in what order. Find a list-making system that you work best with. Using a pen and sticky note or even the Notes section of your smartphone will do the trick. Nothing is more satisfying that crossing off something from the list when it is completed. Planning- procrastination can be deadly in PR. The best lesson I received while interning was to get the hardest tasks done first at the start of the day. It is far too easy to put things off, especially with social networking sites and other distracting apps at our fingertips. Folders- whether physical files or folders in an email account, many professionals overlook this simple step. Labeling folders by client or subject will come in handy when you are in a pinch for an email or document.
Chapter 4 Create Your Foundation and Build!
The final step of a blueprint is creating the foundation, the basis on which something stands that acts as the support for what is about to be built. In the 21st century, who is not on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Blogs? Social media outlets such as these help us learn what is new and what consumers want from a company. Embrace social media, for in this industry you will need to know how to use it to your, and your companyâ€™s, advantage. At this point you should familiarize yourself with such outlets: LinkedIn: Through this social networking website, you are able to connect with others and promote what you have done in the past so potential employers get a sense of who you are and the accomplishments you have achieved. Without sending your rĂŠsumĂŠ, companies have the opportunity to look at what internships and jobs you have had, as well as activities you have been involved in. News and updates on those who you are connected with are displayed on your feed. 36
Updating your status at least once a week will increase the chance of being contacted by a recruiter. With advances in technology, there is not a way to avoid being active on LinkedIn so make a schedule of when you can go on and stick to it. Practice makes habit. Make sure you have a profile pictures, companies are not going to hire someone if they do not know what he or she looks like. Always make sure the picture is up to date, for as you change so should it. Keep your LinkedIn account professional and make sure you only post positive content.
Twitter: This website allows communication between people from all around the world, with just the usage of 140 characters or less. Hashtags allow others to see the tweets you make and thus creates conversation or retweets. Set up an account and start following agencies that spark your interest and read up on their tweets. Be cautious though, Twitter stores all of your tweets and whatever you tweet could come back to haunt you, make sure you keep that in mind. Some companies will not hire those who they do not feel are appropriate for the company due to pictures and posts you are a part of. Blogging: Blogging websites such as Wordpress, Blogspot and Tumblr allow your writing skills to soar. Through tags, other bloggers can view and comment on your posts. Blogging demonstrates your writing skills and abilities, which could potentially help you stand out when applying for internships or jobs. In your blog, be sure to add the links to your other social media accounts, such as Twitter and Facebook so employers can get to know your work better.
Side Note: Do not forget to remove any pictures, tweets or links deemed inappropriate! Networking Networking is essential Sometimes itâ€™s not in developing your career. If you know about what you know, someone who knows itâ€™s about who you someone who knows someone else, that could be your know. way into landing a job. College career fairs give you the chance to have a short interview with companies that you have an interest in, and learn about what exactly they look for in an employee. Attend these fairs and dress in business-casual, believe us it is worth it! In the final stages of your college career, make sure to send your resume to companies, set up interviews, and try to sell yourself in a way that makes you a better candidate than others. Scope out the market for jobs in the PR field and find out when they are hiring and how they go about hiring, and let your researching begin. 39
BLUEPRINT CALENDAR December 2013 TALK THE PR TALK
DESIGN YOUR PATH
CREATE FOUNDATION AND BUILD
Final Notes Keep your chin up, it may be a long and bumpy ride, but having a positive attitude can take you a long way. Everything you do in this process is a learning opportunity. Do not forget to send a thank you email or phone call, even if you have to bite your tongue in doing so. Making connections with others and embracing the advice given to you will help you get where you need to be. The best part about PR is that the skills you need for this field are transferable to a variety of career paths. Hopefully after reading this book we have inspired you to pursue PR further but if not, we wonâ€™t take it personally! We wish you luck and hope this BluePRint made your career path that much easier to build.
Bibliography Castro, K. (2013). Best creative jobs: Public relations specialist. Re trieved from http://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/publicrelations-specialist?int=7acb53 Collier, S. (2013, November 5). 4 secrets to standing out on linkedin. Retrieved from http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/15521.aspx Gormly, A. (2013, September 30). Interview by M. O'Rourke. Capstone questions. Griswold, A. (2013, November 08). Why linkedin ceo jeff weiner brought his parents to work read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/ linkedin-wants-you-to-bring-your-parents-to-work-2013-11 Hope, G. (2009, June 01). Building blocks: Ivar krasin ski.constructionweekonline.com. Retrieved from http:// www.constructionweekonline.com/article-5403-building-blocks-ivarkrasinski/ Lane, D. (2013, June 11). Finally a “night” update – with demo. Re trieved from http://drewlanemusicals.com/tag/path-lesstravelled/ PRSA. (2011/12). What is public relations?. Retrieved from http://www.prsa.org/aboutprsa/publicrelationsdefined/ Oates, J. C. (2003). Beasts. (12 ed.). Carroll and Graf Publishers Re trieved from http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/558179-thedistinction-between-assistant-and-intern-is-a-simple-one Smith, I. (2013, September 2013 30). Interview by M. O'Rourke. Cap stone questions. Structures and Interiors. (2012, February 03). [Web log message]. Re trieved from http://structures-interiors.com/?attachment_id=1064 Tuttle, B. (2010, Mar 01). Warren buffett’s boring, brilliant wisdom. Retrieved from http://business.time.com/2010/03/01/ warrenbuffetts-boringbrilliant-wisdom/ Cover designed by Louis Shaw. Photos that are not cited were taken by Michelle with model Charlotte. 42
About The Authors
Charlotte Catania Marist College senior and lover of all things chocolate, Charlotte has interned at several public relations agencies in New York City and London. She was the former Director of North Road Communications, Marist Collegeâ€™s student-run public relations firm associated with the Marist College PRSSA Chapter. Charlotte hopes to obtain a job in PR after graduation and own a micro-pig someday. Connect with me: www.linkedin.com/pub/charlotte-catania/49/261/801
Michelle Oâ€™Rourke Currently a senior at Marist College, Michelle enjoys fashion, photography and French Bulldogs. Her internship in London with designer Otis Batterbee, assisted her decision in wanting to work in the Fashion PR field. Michelle hopes to have a career in this sector after graduation and eventually reach the height of five feet.
Connect with me: www.linkedin.com/pub/michelle-o-rourke/4b/3a2/823 43
Without their help this book may not have been possible. Thank You!
Alexandra Gormly Ian Smith Otis Batterbee Louise Stewart-Muir Louis Shaw Dr. Koch Marist College Library Donnelly Computer Lab Google