Advice from PRSSA’s 2011 National Conference

During October, Cherese Colston and I attended the PRSSA National Conference in Orlando, Fla. We learned a whole bunch of useful tools, tactics and information to bring back to share with our chapter members.

We also developed ideas for what to do with our own chapter. Below are some of the most useful tips that I gained from the conference.

Tips from Craig Dezern, Vice President of Global Public Relations for Disney Destinations

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  • To deliver a message globally, you must: listen, tap local expertise, observe and look for connections.
  • Consumers want you to speak to them in a way that is useful to them.
  • When bringing Disney, a United States company, to Paris, it was important to incorporate local culture, food and customs. Take your global brand and connect it to a local story.
  • Want a career in international public relations? Get curious about the world! Remain open to whatever your destination may be – any international experience is better than no international experience! Have a valid passport (and visa if necessary).

Internships & Jobs

  • Engage! Face to face, personal connections will help you get your foot in the door. Go the extra mile to stand out and brand yourself well.
  • There are always a lot of jobs at your internship that nobody wants to do – do them.
  • Try to learn something that nobody else can really do and use it to move your way up.
  • Tailor your resume to the internship/job – don’t use the same resume for everything. A resume can get you the interview, not the job.
  • Even if you aren’t doing something you want to do for the rest of your life, you have to it with enthusiasm.
  • Write – a lot! It is the most important skill.
  • Have an online/digital portfolio. Send it with your resume, it is impressive!
  • International internships are an amazing experience and there are a lot of them. Don’t limit yourself to just the United States.
  • Everyone needs a communicator.

Media Relations

  • What are the “Three C’s of Media Relations?” Control, competence and concern.
  • Research the questions that reporters are more than likely going to ask.
  • Only release what is releasable.
  • Tell the truth and tell nothing but the facts.
  • Always remain calm.
  • If you know the answer, answer. If you don’t know say: “I don’t know, but I will find out. However…{reiterate the key message here.}”

Thoughts from Rick Leventhal, Fox News Senior Correspondent

Photo retrieved from

  • Make relationships with the people you are going to be pitching to – get to know them.
  • It is better to pitch to an individual than to an organization.
  • People stories: everyone has a story and everyone can relate to someone.
  • Pets are great on TV.
  • Know who you are pitching to! Do they do features? Interviews? How do you package your “thing” so you know they will be interested?
  • Phone calls are OK if you have a very, very good pitch. But always ask, “Do you have time to talk? If not, when is a good time to call.” Email is always better.
  • A TV station is a great place to get an interview – you will get to see how it works on the other side.
  • If you can get a reporter to an event, you are ahead of the game.
  • You are better off pitching to one person at every outlet than every person at one outlet.
  • Don’t tell a journalist to do their job, just give them what they need. Don’t write the story for them.
  • Reporters want to travel, but they might not be able to because of budgets. Journalists will not and cannot take a free ride.

As you can see, we went to a lot of great sessions and got a lot of great advice. The information we obtained from this conference will forever be ingrained into our minds and will always be something we remember when we are looking for jobs once we graduate.

This is just another reason to become a member of PRSSA – so you can attend national events like this and learn from PR professionals from around the country. Mark your calendars because National Assembly is in North Carolina next spring and National Conference is in San Francisco on October 2012.

Emily Vontom
Special Events Coordinator

One response to “Advice from PRSSA’s 2011 National Conference

  1. Pingback: EMU PRSSA Year In Review | EMU PRSSA

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