Category: Public Relations careers

3 fun activities for a public relations class

Guest post by Chloe Trogden

The spectrum of public relations goes far beyond just writing press releases. There are a variety of other aspects students must learn during their studies that are not only essential to the public relations business, but fun and interesting as well.

Whether you’re a public relations professor and you’re hoping to integrate new activities to the students in your classroom, or you’re a public relations student and you need to think of a good team project for an assignment, here are three activities you could try in a public relations classroom:

    1. Promote a fashion show

Contact a local clothing store and see if the owner would be interested in putting some of their clothing and products in a fashion show for the university or classroom. Ask the students to find out various information about the different items of clothing as well as pricing information, and then put together a media kit to give out to the attendants of the fashion show.

You could even go as far as contacting other students who would be interested in modelling for the show, (if the owner doesn’t already have someone in mind already), and then include biographical information about the models as well as photographs of each item of clothing in the media kit as well.

You could ask your university student organization if they would help organize the show by hosting it in a classroom or a lounge area in the school, or ask the business owner if they would be interested in having the fashion show in their store as well.

    1. Conduct a survey

Ask a group of students to write up their own survey on any topic of their choice, and then ask them to write up a series of questions to ask other students or even professors on campus.

Once the answers are complete, tell the students to put their results in a power point presentation with graphics, percentages, etc. and then do a presentation for the classroom once they are finished.

You could even ask students to record a podcast discussing the findings of the survey, or write a post about it on a blog as well.

    1. Promote a campus talent competition

Ask your students to venture out on the campus and see if any music or theatre students would be interested in participating in an upcoming talent competition. In order to promote the competition, the students will need to write up a media kit which includes all the biographical information of the competitors, and also write up a press release to submit to the university or college newspaper as well.

You could even go as far as asking the students to record the competition with a video camera, and then post the video files on a website or blog as well.

 

Bio:

Chloe Trogden specializes in research involving all forms of college grants. She has compiled thousands of resources including teaching grants and Minnesota college grants along with many others. She is currently attending UNC Chapel Hill and is entering her Junior year in the fall.

 

#PRStudChat community invited to celebrate #HAPPO anniversary

#PRStudChat students, alumni and professionals are taking advantage of the opportunity to meet in person at the Thursday February 24th,  #HAPPO (Help A PR Pro Out) one year anniversary celebration. The events will offer an excellent opportunity to “take some of those relationships we’ve built online and cement them by meeting the people in real life,” explains #HAPPO co founder Arik Hanson

In New York City, #PRStudChat co founders Deirdre Breakenridge and Valerie Simon will be serving as co hosts with Tiffany Winbush and “PRCog” for an informal #HAPPO Hour at Connolly’s Pub. The event will bring together PR pros who are actively seeking a new position, along with those who wish to mentor, find potential hires, or simply connect in person with those they have grown to respect online.

 “I’m really looking forward to the HAPPO event on Thursday night. It’s great to be a part of a community that helps create opportunities for job seekers to network, make new connections and to learn from other professionals,” shares Deirdre.

#PRStudCast host, Temple University Student Harrison Kratz agrees, “As a young student and professional I’m excited to attend my first #HAPPO event because not only will I get to meet new professionals and make new connections, but hopefully I’ll be able to use my experience to connect other professionals and students at the event as well.  It’s always a pleasure to help others find new opportunities.”

“The HAPPO Happy Hour is an excellent opportunity to connect the online network of candidates and employers in an offline environment,” says Sara Whitman. “Representing Peppercom as an employer, I know the candidates I’ll meet will be invested in the industry, and will be savvy with social media-  two qualities of immense importance in today’s market.”

A large number of employers who are actively hiring will be on hand, hoping to connect with talent from junior staffers to senior level pros in a wide variety of specialty areas. Top PR agencies including Burson Marstellar, Devries PR, MS&L, Peppercom and Makovsky and many more will be represented.

Meryl Cooper, managing director of the Home & Lifestyle at Devries Public Relations and author of Be Your Own Best Publicist will be stopping by with her collaborator Jessica Kleiman, Vice President of Public Relations at Hearst Magazines,to share some career tips to help PR pros use their skills for their career and will be giving away a copy of the book to one lucky attendee.

Of course networking is not simply for those looking for a job. As the professionals who support #PRStudChat know, it is important take the opportunity to mentor and learn from others in the industry

“Experienced PR practitioners have an obligation to pass on their experience, creativity and vision, as well as to learn new methods and ‘rules’ for communicating. Forums that facilitate the exchange of information and ideas — as well as passion for the profession –are more important now than ever,” said Lourdes Brezo-Martinez, director of communications at an international professional services firm and former journalist.

The New York event will be held from 6-8pm and is free. To get on the list, simply RSVP here

May 2010 #PRStudChat graduate Lauren Novo

The transition from student to professional can be a bit frightening… and very exciting. Florida State University 2010 Lauren Novo has started a new series on her blog, GEN-Y PROGRESS  to learn more about her peers transition from PR student to professional. With Lauren’s permission, we have been sharing the series on prstudchat.com.  We thought it would be fun to turn the tables on Lauren and see how how her own quest for a career in public relations is progressing.

What are you currently doing? Include your job title/responsibilities/location/etc.

I work at a public relations firm in Tallahassee, Fla., where I am in charge of managing multiple national/international sports business client accounts. My primary duties include creating and implementing traditional and social media plans for clients and generating new business for the firm.

How closely-related is your job (title/location/responsibilities) to your college major and what you planned to be doing after graduation?

I didn’t major in public relations; I actually doubled in media/communication studies and creative writing and thought I might be a columnist or reporter when I first started college. But by junior year, I discovered my love for PR and pointed all efforts toward securing a position at an agency after graduation. I knew I wanted to work with journalists and integrate new media into PR campaigns – so in that respect, my job turned out exactly as I’d planned.

On the flip side, I’m managing client accounts, writing proposals and bringing in new business. I never thought I’d have those incredible responsibilities so early in my career.

What tactics did you take before and/or after graduation to get to where you are today?

Before: I learned everything I could about social media (by participating and learning from industry leaders); networked consistently at professional luncheons and events; committed to blogging; treated my internships like full-time jobs; and since I wasn’t allowed to take the PR writing course (given my major), I sought one-on-one lessons with the professor to ensure my skills would be up to par.

After: I’ve made it very clear to my boss, colleagues and clients that I am fully invested in my job. My work email is synced on my iPhone (by choice) and I do what needs to be done regardless of the time or day. I also took a board position with the FPRA Capital Chapter to stay connected with the local PR community and to get more hands-on experience in event planning.

What tips would you give new graduates who will soon be facing the “real world”?

Learn how to stand out at a career fair. There are more job applicants than job positions available. Make a great impression in-person and then keep the relationship going through social media, etc.

Learn how to pitch. You will likely write many more pitch messages on the job than press releases and media advisories. Plan accordingly.

Get involved in professional development organizations. Don’t just show up to the local PRSA or FPRA event. Join a committee. Volunteer for an event. You’ll meet more people and add additional skill sets to your resume.

Don’t be afraid of creative job-search tactics. The economy won’t always be like this…but while it is, take the opportunity to try new things. If you can be a publicist for a client, you can certainly be a publicist for yourself.

What are your short/long term goals and what do you plan to do to accomplish them?

Short Term: In 2011, I want to grow my client base, pull off a successful Image Award event with FPRA Capital Chapter and become more comfortable with public speaking.

Long Term: I plan to pursue my APR and CPRC as soon as I become eligible. Ultimately, I see myself doing PR internally for an innovative, worldwide corporation or for a theatre in a large city. I’d also like to write a novel and get paid to blog one day.

As long as I stay motivated, continue to network and learn all I can about the business from those more experienced, I think I can attain each of these goals.

Anything else you’d like to contribute to this conversation?

Be proactive. You cannot be successful in PR if you aren’t proactive. This is true when it comes to getting a job, keeping your job and keeping your clients happy.

A lot of times, it comes down to anticipating the needs of others.

  • Trying to land a job? Research the clients the employer serves. What is going on with the clients? Are they blessed with ample media coverage but completely inactive on Twitter? Create a Twitter strategy to present at your interview.
  • Trying to pitch your client to a reporter? Do your research, find the right reporter and approach that reporter in a way that will resonate with him/her.
  • Your client hasn’t asked you for anything in awhile? Come up with a list of creative ideas and ask which they’d like you to tackle first.

Be proactive and your boss, colleagues and clients will value you.

May 2010 #PRStudChat Graduate: Stephanie Majercik

We’d like to start 2011 with an update from the Class of 2010. It has not yet been a year since the #PRStudChat Class of 2010 graduated, but these new public relations professionals are already demonstrating a passion for their career choice. Florida State University 2010 graduate Lauren Novo has started a new series on her blog to learn more about her peers transition from PR student to professional. With Lauren’s permission, we will be sharing the series on prstudchat.com. Today’s interview is with Stephanie Majercik, a May 2010 Canisius College graduate.

What are you currently doing? Include your job title/responsibilities/location/etc.

I work as an Account Coordinator at O’Keeffe & Company – a marketing, advertising and public relations agency in the D.C. Metro area. In this position I am responsible for supporting client teams from the bottom up. I am learning the ins and outs of agency life, client industries, and the greater public relations and marketing industries.

How closely-related is your job (title/location/responsibilities) to your college major and what you planned to be doing after graduation?

I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect fit. My goal was to find work in an agency and I had focused my search on Washington, D.C. and New York City. I am learning what it takes to be a professional, learning more than I could have imagined about public relations, as well as the industries in which our clients operate.

What tactics did you take before and/or after graduation to get to where you are today?

I started looking early in order to get a feel for what was out there. I networked as much as I possibly could, using Twitter of course, participating in online events such as HAPPO, scheduling informational interviews with professionals and attending other in-person networking events. After graduation, I continued to network in-person and on social media and spent a lot of time researching positions, companies and applying for jobs. Trust me, when you hear people say looking for a job is a full-time job in itself, they aren’t lying.

What tips would you give new graduates who will soon be facing the “real world”? Continue reading the post at Lauren Novo’s PR Journey

 

May 2010 #PRStudChat Graduate: Rachel Esterline

We’d like to start 2011 with an update from the Class of 2010. It has not yet been a year since the #PRStudChat Class of 2010 graduated, but these new public relations professionals are already demonstrating a passion for their career choice. Florida State University 2010 graduate Lauren Novo has started a new series on her blog to learn more about her peers transition from PR student to professional. With Lauren’s permission, we will be sharing the series on prstudchat.com. The first interview is with Rachel Esterline, an account executive and social media specialist at AGP & Associates in mid-Michigan.

What are you currently doing? Include your job title/responsibilities/location/etc.

I work at AGP & Associates, a marketing communications firm in mid-Michigan. I am an account executive and social media specialist. My responsibilities vary, but include: writing (news releases, Web copy, newsletter articles, direct mail, e-mail marketing and more), media relations, social media planning and implementation, trade show tactics, project coordination for clients and much more. I’ve also been able to write proposals, pitch new business and speak at conferences.

How closely-related is your job (title/location/responsibilities) to your college major and what you planned to be doing after graduation?

It’s funny how closely my job relates to all of the things I wanted to do. When deciding on a major, I bounced from marketing to journalism to business to advertising – and finally settled on PR. And, at my current job, all of these areas come into play. I actually prefer marketing communications over some aspects of PR (such as media relations). It’s not always what I expected to be doing though.

What tactics did you take before and/or after graduation to get to where you are today?

As simple as it sounds, the main tactic is to be proactive and ambitious. AGP had offered me an internship for the summer in 2009, but I ended up moving to Columbus to intern at Fahlgren Mortine. When I returned to CMU for my senior year, I contacted the CEO and took an internship there. In February, I asked if there was a chance I would be hired after graduation. I received the official job offer letter shortly afterward.

And, if it wasn’t for networking at a PRSA event, I probably would have never gotten an interview at AGP in the first place. One of the people I met at the event told the CEO about meeting me. There is some truth in “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

What tips would you give new graduates who will soon be facing the “real world”?

Continue reading the interview with Rachel at Lauren Novo’s PR Journey