What I Learned at the PRSSA Regional Conference

Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 3.10.30 PMOver the past few months I worked very hard on helping put together the PRSSA regional conference, Expect the Unexpected. After all of the hard work was over, I was able to attend the conference and learn from some very successful public professionals. There were two speakers who I learned the most from.

The first speaker I really enjoyed was Tamra Strentz, the Starbucks account executive at Edelman. The best piece of advice she gave was that it is important to own your storytelling. In order to own your storytelling, she said you need to: set your news agenda, build your media strategy, select who the voices of your story will be, and produce and support content creation for your story. I thought this was a good strategy for getting media attention. Tamra said there are four types of media you should try to get when publicizing a campaign. The four types are traditional, digital, owned and social channels. Tamra was very interesting to listen to. She has worked on so many campaigns and has successfully faced many challenges during her career.

I also really enjoyed listening to Ron Fournier of the National Journal. I liked to hear about PR from a journalists perspective. Ron really stressed that public relations professionals need to understand how reporters do their job before they pitch a story to them. He also said that today relationships between reporters and public relations professionals are very important. He said that just because you pitch a great pitch to a reporter doesn’t mean they are going to take your story. If you have a strong relationship with that reporter, they are more likely to help you in the long run. Lastly, he said that little gestures, like thank you notes, go a long way. Ron emphasized the importance of old time relationships even during the digital age of communication.

Overall, I thought the conference was great. I met a lot of other young professionals from schools around the midwest and heard from some amazing speakers. All the speakers gave great advice that I foresee being able to use during my career sometime soon!

 

10 PR Disasters

While maybe not the absolute top ten PR disasters of all time, this video highlights 10 public relations disasters that could have been easily avoided. Whether companies had better employee communications, public engagement, or fact checked their sources, they could have avoided all of these events! I hope as a professional going into PR, I never have to deal with any of these types of crises.

PRSSA Regional Conference

I feel very fortunate to have been apart of the PRSSA regional conference! My role in this conference was the campus relations chair on the exec team. I was originally on the campus relations committee, but I was promoted to join the exec team.

If you know public relations, then you know that event planning is a crucial part. I was tasked with making sure Drake students attended our event. I developed a campaign to make sure that the most students know about our event and if they wanted to register, they could do so in one easy step.

Here are a few tactics I used:

  • Direct conversations with public relations and marketing classes to showcase our conference
  • Posters and table tents in all academic buildings and student union
  • Tabling (sitting at a sign up table) in Meredith so people could register on the spot
  • Student-body President email to all students with conference info and website link

All of these tactics combined helped up to increase student registration! Overall I think it was a great experience and I am happy to have played a role in the conference’s success.

 

Adventures in Internship Applications

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I have been trying to finalize my summer plans for awhile now. After five first round interviews, four second round interviews and one third round interview, I still don’t have a sumer internship. As a junior in college, finding the right summer internship is very important to me. It will most likely be one of the first things a potential employer will see on my resume when I graduate and it will help me gain professional experience that will aid me in finding the right job.

Here are some of the things I’ve learned from this rigorous experience so far:

  • Study! This has helped me the most. I always study what the company does and their mission statement before I walk into an interview. In addition, study your resume and projects that you could be discussing so there are no pauses and you come off as knowledgeable as possible.
  • Have a few different real life examples of your work. These are very important when potential employers ask behavioral based questions. Plus they are easier to practice discussing then guessing what types of questions you might be asked.
  • Find something that makes you stand out. Discussing my experience on Lead at Sea and internship at Broadway in Chicago, is something that helps employers remember me.
  • Lastly, send thank you emails or notes. This puts you at the front of the employers mind and it shows that you aprricate the time they took out of their busy day to meet with you.

Overall, this has been a great learning experience for me. So far I have applied to and interviewed at  Allstate, the Principal Finical Group and Aon-Hewitt.  I have really enjoyed getting to know many potential future employers and learn about their companies. Fingers crossed that I find a great internship soon!