Congratulations on the job… But seriously… What do you do?

8 Sep

This was originally posted on my personal blog 95toThe5.com, but I thought it would be interesting to the readers of this blog as well. Read the entire post here.

In my last post, I attempted to explain the public relations profession in a little more detail since everyone that I know always asks me what it is that I do for a living (except for the people who studied or currently work in public relations, of course.)

Since this blog is supposed to give you a little glimpse of my life here in California, I thought it would be great to give you specific examples of what I’ve been doing for the past month at my job. Like most Americans, I spend the majority of my life at my job, so this is a great way to give you some insight into my daily life. I currently work as an account coordinator at a public relations agency. You may be more familiar with the term “publicist,” but PR practitioner, publicist, account coordinator/account executive, media relations coordinator, public relations manager, etc., are all pretty much synonymous. We all are PR people.

Keeping Up With the Kardashians

Matt likes to tell people that I do for my clients what Kris Jenner does for the Kardashian sisters, which is a semi-accurate example, and a concept that may help the average person to understand what PR is. Kris Jenner is also a manager for all of her children, so her work is a little more involved than what most PR people do. But the aspects of “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” that involve Kris communicating with people at magazines, newspapers, television, etc., to coordinate interviews, feature stories, photo shoots, etc., for her children, and the episodes when Kris goes into crisis mode when Khloe was in jail, when Kim had her public divorce, etc., are all good examples of things that PR people may do. It is actually because of Kris Jenner’s hard work as a publicist that this family has become so well-known, despite many of the scandals that this family has been associated with. Kris has the ability to get this family seen everywhere, and she can quickly divert negative attention away or spin things into something positive. Of course, now it is much easier than before, but she definitely played a major role in shooting this family into stardom. If you recall during the first season, this family was not really well known, so Kris worked hard during those years to make a name for them. That is exactly what publicists try to do for their clients everyday.

While as I discussed before, there is no “typical” day in the life of a PR practitioner, some of the things that I have done in the past month of working at a PR agency include…

Read more of “Congratulations on the job… But seriously… What do you do?” on my personal blog 95toThe5.com.

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Congratulations on the job… But what do you do?

8 Sep

This was originally posted on my personal blog 95toThe5.com, but I thought it would be interesting to the readers of this blog as well. Read the entire post here.

I get asked this question a lot, and it’s hard to give a simple answer. I touched on the subject of “What is PR?” in my professional blog, but still, many people don’t understand. This is partly because the world of public relations is multi-faceted. One PR practitioner may be doing something completely different from another. The kind of work you do depends on what industry (or industries) you work in and whether you work in-house or at an agency. It’s hard to sum PR up in a simple definition. The best short definition is that PR is the building, maintanence, and repairing of a brand’s image and reputation.

“Building” is usually the first stage for new brands. PR practitioners may be employed to draft copy for the company’s website, social media, brochures, newsletters, etc. Additionally, they may draft scripts for television and radio commercials/public service announcements. This is an integral part of building a brand because this is where the brand will develop its key messages, mission statement, slogans, etc. Additionally, this stage can include product launches or grand openings. It would be the role of a publicist to draft and distribute press releases in regards to the new business, product launch, and/or grand opening. Additionally, the publicist would follow up with media to ensure that local (and possibly national) television and news reporters attend the event and/or write a story on the new product or business.

“Maintaining” is the stage that most established brands are at. It involves alerting the media of any newsworthy happenings with the brand, positioning the brand or its chief executives as experts in their field through securing media placements that allow the brand’s leaders to discuss important industry topics or current events and how they relate to the brand, and overall maintaining a positive presence. This can involve the drafting of press releases, newsletters, annual reports, speaking points for television/radio media, media pitches, etc.

“Repairing” is a stage that most brands try to avoid, but it’s usually inevitable to occur at some point. This is when something bad happens that may ruin or tarnish the brand’s image or reputation. Crisis management and control is necessary to ensure that the public continues to trust the brand and its leaders. Some examples that the common person would be familiar with are the Penn State/Jerry Sandusky/Joe Paterno child molestation scandal, the BP oil spill, and Chik-fil-A’s public opposition to gay marriage. These were all events that jeopardized the parties involved and their credibility and reputation with the public. When crises occur, it is the job of a PR practitioner to strategically devise a plan of action, which usually involves taking responsibility for the problem, making a public apology, and publicly explaining the course of action the brand will take to “fix” the problem and prevent it from happening again in the future. Also, in this stage, it may be necessary to attain additional media placements that make the brand look really, really, really good in the public eye.

It’s hard to describe a “typical” day in the life of a PR practitioner. Currently…

Read more of “Congratulations on the Job… But what do you do?” on my personal blog 95toThe5.com.

Mobile PR Tactics in This Digital Age

9 Jul

For years, we have always delighted at the astonishing fact that information is available at our fingertips. People who are in their mid-to-late 20’s have been the first generation of consumers of the digital age – from learning to use the internet and participating in chat rooms and instant messenger to now drowning ourselves in all forms of social media. If curiosity ever consumes us, we know we are just one Google search away from an endless amount of information. We are always connected, not only to our friends and family, but connected to celebrities, professionals, and pretty much anyone and everyone around the globe. Today, we the inventions of the iPhone and iPad (and other similar tablets and smart phones), information is literally at our fingertips. We no longer have to be in the library, at a home office, or “plugged in” to a computer… information has now become mobile.

With the increase in mobile usage and overall information gathering via mobile devices, I have often thought that mobile advertising and PR would be the new mediums for PR professionals to focus on. But I wondered how? How would it differ from other digital forms of PR? How would we target people via mobile tools?

Well, I recently had brunch with friends at a restaurant called Little Havana in Baltimore. It is a popular brunch spot, and it is often difficult to get a table, especially if you arrive in the later hours of brunch. (They have bottomless mimosas and bloody Mary’s, so people often linger for quite awhile.) Anyway, as I approached the hostess stand to put my name on the wait list, I was pleasantly surprised to see the hostesses did not have computers with OpenTable software or a traditional dry-erase layout of the restaurant, but they were equipped with iPads. They asked me for my name and cell phone number, and they told me that they would text me when my table was ready. How awesome is that? I could stroll through the harbor, go to nearby shops, or just sit at the bar. It didn’t matter if  I was still in the building  or a few blocks away, they could still easily contact me to let me know that a table was available. It sure beats those other little devices that buzz or light up when you’re table is ready, but you have to stay in the building or within a few feet of the building for them to work.

I enjoyed a couple of drinks, a delicious Cuban-inspired meal, and time with my friends. Since I had known these particular friends for the past 6 years, and I will be moving over 3,000 miles away in just a few weeks, we spent a couple of hours in the restaurant. We left around 2 p.m. Around 2:30 p.m., I received a text message from the same number that had texted me when our table was ready. It told me to reply to the message if I was interested in receiving text updates and exclusive text specials for Little Havana. I thought that was brilliant!

I think utilizing a text messaging service is a great way to tap into the mobile market. With people constantly being connected through their smart phones, mobile advertising and PR may become one of the most effective means to target people – especially young people. We have our phones attached to our fingers almost at all times, and many of us even sleep with our phones. People do not pay much attention to traditional advertising anymore, and many people have started to ignore internet ads as well. Mobile advertising is definitely the way of the future.

What other ways have you seen businesses utilize the mobile medium to execute advertising and/or PR plans? Or what other ways do you think we can utilize this medium?

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