Monthly Archives: December 2017

A PRSSA Love Story

By: Josie Bobeck

2017 was a good year for the Eleanor Wright Chapter of PRSSA at Eastern Michigan University. We worked hard, stressed out a little bit, and laughed a lot. We held professional development events, went on agency tours, and traveled to Boston for National Conference.

They get it. PRSSA is unlike any organization I have ever belonged to. We function like a well-oiled machine – always having each other’s backs no matter what. Not only are they my colleagues, but some of my best friends. I mean, you really bond with people when you live together in a tiny apartment for five days.

They’re my network. A lot of us graduate at the same time, and we don’t know where life will take us. May we end up at an agency, a nonprofit, or graduate school, we always have people we can call when we need a reference or a favor, and that makes me feel a lot better about not knowing what I’m doing come April.

They are so smart. We are all so different in our talents, and we work so well together. I can’t imagine being in this organization without any one of them. We know when we need to ask for help and everyone is willing to step in, and the support is a truly amazing feeling.

I have made so many memories with these people. From figuring out the bus system in Boston to stressing out at E-Board meetings, I wouldn’t want to be doing this with anyone else. I’m so lucky to be a part of such a wonderful organization with the people who have helped me shape the person I am today.

Josie Bobeck is a senior majoring in public relations and minoring in communication. She is currently the VP of Public Relations, previously serving as VP of Member Relations. Josie hopes to one day work in a creative environment in a big city. Connect with Josie on Twitter at @Josephine3laine or by email at jbobeck@emich.edu.
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Agency Tour Recap: Weber Shandwick

By: Madison Harmon

Recently, our chapter was given the grand tour of Weber Shandwick Detroit! It was inspiring, to say the least. We were guided by a relatively new employee and fairly recent graduate, Shelby. She made us feel welcome as we settled into a gorgeous meeting room. Weber Shandwick Detroit is a quintessential example of Detroit’s industrial past and its modern urbanity; sleek glass surfaces and espresso colored wood were in tasteful contrast to the exposed overhead ceilings and metal light fixtures. It looks like a television set designed by millennials come to life before my eyes. The pretty face of Weber Shandwick Detroit is matched by its talented and diligent personnel behind its walls. We got to meet several team members and leaders and ask questions and exchange information for quite a while. Here are the golden nuggets of what I learned:

  1. ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING! One team member said she would rather work with a person who is able to face a challenge with optimism rather than a person who might be great at the job but is awful to be around. So, keep your head up!
  2. REACH (FAR) OUT! Stretch those arms a little for that next handshake! As we all know, networking is everything. Another team member of Weber Shandwick Detroit encouraged us to reach out to professionals that we may only have one tiny connection with. So that could mean a mutual connection on Linked In, or that they just happen to have graduated from your school. Suggest meeting up for coffee and having an informational interview – people remember being in our undergraduate shoes, and are often happy to set time aside for someone looking to better themselves. Think about it! Showing the initiative to reach out and learn makes you look good all by itself!
  3. BE A SPONGE! Get as many experiences as possible. This doesn’t always have to be a rigid summer internship! Be creative; if you notice a small business in your hometown doesn’t have a large social media presence, offer your services to them pro bono. Don’t disappoint! Or write a blog in your free time; this serves you by enhancing your writing skills (practice makes perfect, 10,000 hour rule, etc.) and proving that you can operate a functional website. Learn everything you can from your peers, professors, and jobs.
Madison is a student and loves learning no matter what she’s doing. She is both an optimist and a realist, which gets a bit hard to maintain! She is independent and self-assured, both in her personal and professional potential, and in her ability to find the bottom of those supposedly bottomless chips and salsa. Petter of dog bellies, ruler of quips, Madison is sure to make you laugh whenever you’re around her (or cry, but don’t take it personally). Ask her for brutally honest opinions, but never for directions. Madison can be reached at mharmon3@emich.edu.

Basics of Media Relations: The Bread & Butter of PR

By: Abby Cousineau

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The role of a PR practitioner has changed so much over the years, but one responsibility that has always remained ours is media relations. Media relations is the “bread and butter” of PR and has been our specialty since the days of Edward Bernays. While our jobs have certainly evolved to include various responsibilities associated with social media, marketing and advertising, we are still the ones responsible for earning space in the media.

Since media relations is so vital, we wanted to learn more, and we brought in an expert to teach us. Last month, Chris Austin, senior account executive at Identity Public Relations, ran a workshop about media relations for us. We learned about what media relations is and the role of the PR practitioner in the process. Here are the key highlights from Chris’ workshop:

The media room is shrinking every day. There is less money and reporters have more work to do than they did in the past. Reporters rely on media relations specialists to provide accurate and interesting information and story ideas.

While social efforts often grab most the attention today, the media is still important. The media provides thee important things to clients:

  1. Visibility/awareness
  2. Credibility
  3. Relationships

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Many different types of media coverage exist. Each client is different and may require unique media coverage to tell their story. You can learn more about the different types of coverage here. Some examples include:

  • Bylined column
  • Expert Source
  • Executive or company profile
  • In-studio TV or radio guest
  • On-site TV guest
  • Brief/press release pick-up

Pitching is how we give reporters story ideas. Pitching is usually done through email and is concise, interesting and informative. Chris offered the following tips for what the media looks for in a pitch:

  • Newsworthy content
  • Interesting to the reporter
  • A story their readers will want to read
  • Provides useful information
  • A story that can be written by their deadline
  • A story that applies to a broad spectrum of readers, listeners or viewers

And finally, he summarized what the news actually is:

  • Timely
  • Relevant
  • Useful/impactful
  • Controversial
  • Unusual

Are you interested in media relations? Did you think this summary was helpful? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Abby Cousineau is a senior at EMU majoring in public relations and minoring in graphic design and marketing. She is currently serving as president of EMU PRSSA and is excited to be leading such a creative and dedicated group of individuals. You can usually find Abby outside anytime the weather is nice or otherwise spending her time behind a computer screen, working on one of her design projects. Connect with Abby on Instagram @abcattt.