Category Archives: PRSSA

Become A PRSSA Member This Winter

By: Hope Salyer

There are many reasons why PRSSA is a fantastic organization to join on EMU’s campus, but probably the simplest one is that it just makes sense! If you are a public relations, journalism, communication or business student at EMU, PRSSA is the organization to be a part of. For $65 a year, EMU PRSSA provides students with the opportunity to network and speak directly with local professionals to enhance your professional network before graduation, allows new and nontraditional students to become part of an organization on campus, and starts a lifelong friendship between PRSSA members!

As a PRSSA member and a 2-year e-board member, PRSSA has given me so many experiences that I would not have gotten at Eastern otherwise. I’ve traveled to different cities and states with PRSSA, meeting hundreds of new individuals I wouldn’t have been able to without the organization. I’ve heard lectures from nationally known professionals like Nikki Barjon and Jon Iwatta, I’ve made lifelong friendships with my fellow e-board and general members, and I’ve gotten to create and execute a campaign as part of our Bateman team for the National Campaign to Change Direction and raise awareness of the five signs of mental health.

While I can, and plan to, utilize these experiences for my upcoming job interviews as graduation approached, these experiences have given me so much more than just something to put on my resume. As much as each trip I’ve taken with PRSSA has allowed me to learn new things about PR, and more specifically what I want to do with it post-graduation, it’s also allowed me to gain new personal experiences. I got to travel to Boston, Mass. And experience being in a new city without my parents for the first time. I got to watch the Houston Astros win one of the playoff games on its trip to the World Series Win (I mean who wouldn’t want to see Justin Verlander pitch again even if it wasn’t in a Tigers uniform?). I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of a book drive and bookmark making event to benefit the children of Mott’s Children’s hospital during Christmas, and I’ve volunteered with PRSSA at our local Food Gatherers of Ann Arbor to help aid in the growing fight against hunger in Washtenaw County.

PRSSA has given me so many experiences to be thankful for in the two years I’ve been a part of the organization, and I know I speak for the rest of our e-board when I say I’m not the only one who feels this way.

The EMU PRSSA Winter Kick-off Meeting is Tuesday, January 23 from 6 to 7 p.m. in room 310B Student Center. I hope to see everyone there, and I hope you will consider becoming a part of this amazing organization!

Hope Salyer is a senior public relations major and journalism and communication double minor. Hope is serving as the Vice President of Special Events and Programming of EMU PRSSA. This is Hope’s second year serving for the PRSSA E-Board. A Michigan native, she hopes to start her career working for an agency or local nonprofit in Michigan. Her dream is to become the public relations coordinator for the Detroit Tigers. Contact Hope on Twitter @hsalyer01or by email hsalyer@emich.edu.
Advertisements

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.

#PRSSANC: Sports Public Relations with Nikki Barjon Recap

By Hope Salyer

sports.png

Source: NIUPRSSA

The amount of sessions at PRSSA National Conference can be overwhelming when trying to decide your schedule for the conference. This year’s sessions ranged from Sports Public Relations to Celebrity PR. I’ve decided to write a recap of the Sports Public Relations session with Nikki Barjon of The Barjon Group in Atlanta. Be sure to keep an eye on the EMU PRSSA blog for more session recaps from my fellow e-board members.

Barjon started the session with the energy of a walk-off home run in the final game of the World Series. Right from the start Barjon gave an honest, straight to the point presentation.

In the beginning of the session, Barjon told the audience that landing a job in sports is high-stakes, intense and not for the weak or fake. The industry is very cut-throat in today’s world, and it is easy to pick out those who can’t handle the stakes. As Barjon pointed out, you are working with multi-million dollar deals, and your client’s livelihood is at stake if you screw up.

Barjon said because of this, as a practitioner, it is your job to be your client’s coach. You have to constantly be thinking about the big picture: offense and defense. Barjon stated she can’t risk focusing only on offense because you never know when the other shoe is going to drop.

In the world of sports PR, practitioners also have to remember that they are working with a sort of celebrity PR as well. Practitioners have to always be nonjudgmental. You can’t risk or take the time to judge your client. You just need to figure out how to solve whatever problems you are presented with.

You also have to always remember to ask, “Is this what happened?” With celebrity PR, the old saying there are three sides to every story rings truer than ever. Barjon stated that she is always either one of two phone calls in a crisis situation: the first or the last. Ideally, Barjon says she should be the first; however, more times than not she is the last. In these types of situations, Barjon has to always ask if she is going to get the real story, or a dwindled down version. It is critical to ask this questions because as a practitioner, you can’t do your job to solve the problem and minimize the impact if you don’t have the whole story.

Barjon ended the session by stressing the importance of getting your own playbook. She said she is always surprised by the number of people who come up to her and tell her they want to be just like her. Barjon said no one is ever going to be her because every individual has his or her own strengths and weaknesses, and passions and goals. What worked for Barjon to get where she is today is not going to work for someone else who doesn’t have her same skillsets or interests.

For this reason, Barjon says you need to get your own playbook. Find what you are interested in and what you are good at, and work your way up from there. What works for the Broncos is not going to work for the Lions, and the same goes for practitioners. Once you figure out what your passions are, don’t stop until you get what you want.

Barjon ended the session with one final piece of advise, and it stuck with me so well I wanted to end my blog with it as well. “Do what you need to do to win because losing sucks!”

Hope Salyer is a senior public relations major and journalism and communication double minor. Hope is serving as the Vice President of Special Events and Programming of EMU PRSSA. This is Hope’s second year serving for the PRSSA E-Board. A Michigan native, she hopes to start her career working for an agency or local nonprofit in Michigan. Her dream is to become the public relations coordinator for the Detroit Tigers. Contact Hope on Twitter @hsalyer01 or by email hsalyer@emich.edu.

6 Things Incoming PR Majors Should Know

By Heather Pruitt

At the beginning of 2017, I was given the opportunity to become a Group Leader as a part of Eastern Michigan University’s Orientation program. As someone who loves interacting with people, and has a passion for Eastern, working this job has become one of my favorite things to do.

However, my favorite part about being an Orientation Group Leader is getting to know the incoming students. I am excited for them to find their place at Eastern, just as I have found mine, and to start writing their own story while they’re at college.

I enjoy talking with all students at FastTrack (the segment of orientation where students register for classes) but nothing gets me more excited than meeting a future PR major. Even though I have only encountered a handful, I am incredibly excited for everything that they are about to experience when they start PR at EMU.

While I am excited to see the students start their journey at Eastern, there is nothing that I want to do more than to tell them everything I wish I had known when I started. But with one short day, it can be a little intense for incoming students to register for classes, get their first taste of college, and be bombarded with advice about their program all in one day. So I decided to create a list of the six things I wish I knew about PR as an incoming freshman.

Learn to love writing.

When I started the program, I expected to exclusively be planning events, posting on social media, and standing up in front of my class giving presentations about the future of Facebook. While these aspects are apart of the Public Relations program, I was in the dark about how important writing is in the world of PR. Press releases, feature articles, crafting newsletters, and blog posts, are all incredibly important parts of PR. So learn to love writing, learn to love your writing, because it will become an important part of your life.

Start networking from the beginning

Within the first few weeks of starting my freshman year, I decided to join PRSSA. I’ll be honest- joining PRSSA freaked me out because I had to learn to network and get acclimated to college life. How was I, an 18-year-old, who was stressed about finding new friends, supposed to network with professionals for a career that was years away? I found that having someone in the program who I felt comfortable asking questions to, and getting help from, was reassuring. They can help ease any worries you have about entering the world of PR. Additionally, the earlier your start networking, the more people you come in contact with, which can benefit you in the long run.

Join PRSSA

Joining PRSSA is great way to start networking and to learn about PR. It allows you to learn how to network, as well as give you information about subjects that are relevant to the PR world. Joining PRSSA also gives you the chance for great leadership opportunities in and out of the organization.

Invest in a ‘professional outfit’

When I started college, I had no idea what clothes would identify as ‘business casual’. I didn’t even know when or why I would need them! I found that it is important to invest in clothing that is appropriate for the occasion. While it may not be frequent when you start college, there will be occasions that require you to dress in business casual and possibly business professional. Make sure that you are prepared and have outfits that fit criteria. Having the wrong outfit can leave the wrong impression! However, if you are unsure about what outfits are business casual or business professional, there are lots of ideas on Pinterest!

Make time to do a little PR everyday.

Make an investment to look at a PR blog a few times a week to stay updated with the ever changing world of PR. There are some professors who like to use current events as teaching points for their classes. When you are up to date, it gives you an advantage to speak up in class, and really helps fuel class discussions. Additionally, if you don’t have a lot of time I recommend subscribing to Help A Reporter Out (HARO). HARO is an online database that helps journalists with upcoming stories. They send you emails several times a day with topics that are relevant. This is a great way to stay updated on current trends.

Set out a timeline of how you want things to go.

It is one thing to know that there are goals you want to accomplish in college, however, it is another thing to achieve those goals. Create a timeline of what you want to do in your college career, and set dates to accomplish those goals by.

Heather Pruitt is a junior majoring in Public Relations. This is her first year serving as VP of Member Relations.

Why you should write for PRSSA

By: Josie Bobeck

why you should write for prssa

Image created by Josie Bobeck using Canva

The PRSSA blog features a wide array of topics, from recaps of events to current events to what’s new in the world of social media and PR. Did you know you can be featured on the PRSSA blog, too? It’s super easy, so why wouldn’t you? Here are the top three reasons why you should write for the PRSSA blog:

  1. It gives you practice writing. The more you write, the better you become at it. Figuring out a topic and writing about it, and potentially rewriting it until you’re happy with it, only improves your writing skills. Writing is a huge part of PR, so it’s best to start now.
  2. It gives you a taste of what a part of PR is. Not sure what you want to do? Maybe you’re thinking of media relations or social media strategy, but chances are you might have to write a blog post at some point in your career. The more blogs you write, the more comfortable you are with AP style, formatting and brainstorming, so why not?
  3. You’ll get to say you’re published. Yep, we’re official! Writing for our blog is an awesome resume builder, and it can help you build your writing portfolio for when you apply for jobs.

Are you interested in writing for the PRSSA blog? Send your post and graphic, plus a 75-word bio to our VP of Public Relations to be featured! Posts should be anything PR, social media, communications, journalism, business, and professional development related.

Josie Bobeck is a junior majoring in communications with a minor in marketing. This is her first year serving on PRSSA E-Board as VP of Member Relations. Josie likes music, writing, traveling and people.

Beer, crisis and design: Regional Conference part three

By: Abby Cousineau

A recap of the last few sessions of PRSSA’s Regional Conference.

Being on the executive board of PRSSA has been a great experience this year. I have learned so much, gained lifelong friends and have gotten the chance to network with many professionals. However, as the end of my first year on E-Board was nearing, I realized I hadn’t attended any conferences, something I had wanted to do since initially joining PRSSA. Luckily for me, our Regional Conference was coming up in Grand Rapids and I decided there was no reason not to attend.

If you have kept up with our blog, you already read about Friday’s events from Hope Salyer, and the first part of Saturday from Nicole Raymond. The last few sessions of Saturday covered beer, crisis communications, and the importance of visual design in PR. So let’s jump in!

The first session after lunch was all about beer, and since we were in Beer City, USA (aka Grand Rapids) this was such an appropriate topic. We got to hear from marketing representatives from Founders (Grand Rapids’ OG brewery), Perrin and Brewery Vivant. Each marketer was coming from a different place, with Founders being a national brand, and Perrin and Brewery Vivant being fairly new to the game. Here are some of the takeaways:

  • Marketing beer is different than promoting other products because it’s a more personal relationship. Craft beer companies aim to provide an individual experience for each customer.
  • Marketers focus on beer reviews, social media influencers, one-on-one conversations with customers, samplings, beer festivals, and local media engagement to garner attention for their brands and products.

During the second session, we heard from local healthcare professionals from Mercy Health, Mary Free Bed and Spectrum Health about how to handle crisis situations. One thing our PR professors tell us over and over again is that it’s not whether a crisis will happen, but when one will happen. In other words, we must prepare for a crisis to happen. Some crisis communication tips the speakers mentioned were:

  • Having relationships with the media prior to a crisis is extremely helpful.
  • Be prepared in advance: have standby statements crafted, which can be used when information is being gathered. Have a crisis communication plan prepared in advance.
  • Utilize intranet systems to notify employees when a crisis occurs. Use texts, emails, printed materials, overhead intercom systems…whatever will get the word out the fastest.
  • Have a cellphone charger handy! In a crisis, things happen fast while the media, employees, and higher-ups are blowing up your phone looking for answers.

During the last session of the day, we got to hear from creative directors and designers from 834 Integrated Communications, BoxBoom Creative, and Visualhero Design Company about the importance of visual design in PR. The speakers discussed the creative process, overcoming creative block, and creative advice for PR students. This is what I took away from the conversation:

  • One of the most important parts of the creative process is research. Learn everything you can about your client, customers, and the message the client wants to convey.
  • Some of the best ways to get out of a creative rut are to: change your physical surroundings; don’t force yourself to be creative, just take a break and come back to the project; seclude yourself so you can focus; create a journey map and reference it frequently; use your team, bring in other people to brainstorm and get opinions; and look at many different visuals to get inspiration.
  • Some creative advice to PR students is to be curious, don’t be afraid to ask questions, and suspend judgement.

Attending Regional Conference was a great experience, and I would definitely recommend everyone go to at least one before graduating college!

Abby Cousineau is a junior at EMU majoring in public relations and minoring in graphic design and marketing. Abby is currently serving her first year on EMU PRSSA E-Board as social media director. She was drawn to social media because it allows her to merge her passions of writing and design. You can usually find her outside any time the weather is nice, or exploring the Ann Arbor restaurant scene. Connect with Abby on Twitter @abcattt.

Dear PRSSA: Thank you!

By: Andrea Mellendorf

Dear PRSSA,

I’m not sure how to properly thank or say goodbye to an organization that’s given me so much in four years, but here we go.

Thank you for the years or professional development. For the professionals you have introduced me to who have contributed so much to my public relations success. Thank you for the agency tours, the workshops, the conferences, and more. For all of the things that have helped me grow in the profession outside of the classroom.

Andrea pic 1

Courtesy Photo

Thank you for the mentorship. For introducing me to the people who are some of my most impactful mentors now. For providing relationships that will last a lifetime. For creating a support system to help me navigate this crazy college life and the PR career that will eventually follow.

Andrea pic 2

Courtesy Photo

Thank you for the countless adventures. From Atlanta to Indianapolis to Austin to Seattle, this has been an adventure even greater than I could have imagined when I first came to a meeting four years ago. I’ve learned so much about myself just through fully immersing myself in this society in all corners of the country.

Andrea pic 3

Courtesy Photo

Thank you for the challenges. I’ve learned the true art of resiliency and mastered the art of problem solving thanks to you. These have been some of the greatest life lessons and I wouldn’t trade any of the challenges for the world.

Thank you for the scholarship opportunities. Seriously, college is so expensive, so enough said here.

Thank you for the leadership opportunities. Serving this society as Chapter President for the past year+ has been one of my greatest honors. Working with some of the most brilliant student leaders I know has helped me to become a stronger leader, better collaborator, and all around team player.

Thank you for the friendships. For the lifelong PRSSbAes who I know will always be there for me no matter where I go. I can’t wait to watch them thrive in this field and change the world through strategic communication. I know they will do incredible things.

Andrea pic 4

Courtesy Photo

Thank you for being such a major part of my four years at Eastern Michigan University. For helping me to grow into a better person, stronger leader, and more prepared member of the public relations profession. My PRSSA career may be coming to an end, but I’ll forever and always be a PRSSbAE in my heart.

Sincerely,

Andrea

Andrea Mellendorf is a senior and serves as the Chapter President for EMU PRSSA. She previously has served as the Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Special Events and Programs for EMU PRSSA, and as an intern for the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum. Andrea currently is the Social Media Operator for The Honors College where she manages their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and for the College of Arts and Sciences, where she manages their Facebook and Twitter. Connect with Andrea on Twitter – @AndreaMell!