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!