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.
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2017 Student Development Conference

By: Hope Salyer

I am so excited to announce the 2017 Student Development Conference will be on Friday, Dec. 1, 2017 from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The conference’s theme will be Diversity.

Registration for the conference ends on Nov. 28, so be sure to sign up to attend the conference on our EventBrite page. The conference is free to all EMU students, and anyone else may attend the conference for a small fee of $5.

The conference will feature TaQuinda Johnson, EMU’s new Social Media Strategist, as our Key Note Speaker. There will also be an LGBTQIA in the Media Panel as well as a Diversity Panel.

Continental breakfast for the conference will be available from 9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Lunch will be provided following the LGBTQIA in the Media panel.

For more information on SDC including Speaker Bio’s and the event program, be sure to check out our SDC page.

I can’t wait to see everyone there!

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.

The Five Types of Media Coverage you Need to Know

By Nicole Raymond

At a recent EMU PRSSA meeting, we had guest speaker, Chris Austin from Identity PR speak to our chapter about media relations. Among a plethora of vital information to remember when approaching media relations, Chris defined the six different types of media coverage you can score for your company or clients.

1. Bylined column: A column anywhere from 500 to 2,000 words but generally between 800 and 1,000 words. This type of column is written by the public relations professional after they interview their client to gather information. The public relations expert then writes a draft of the byline and the client reviews and makes edits to the document. The PR professional then sends the byline to publications with the client’s name attached.

Ask an Expert

Source: https://thewritelife.com/find-an-expert-source-for-your-next-article/

2.  Expert Source: A reporter interviews your client and uses select quotes to accompany a story. For example, if a reporter is doing a story on cybersecurity and you have a client who is an expert in the cybersecurity field, you can connect the two and the reporter will interview and use the quotes from your client in their story.

3.  Executive/Company Profile: This type of media coverage is just what it sounds like, it is a piece written on an executive in the company or about the company itself. A profile piece is reporter driven, and they are placed in trade publications.

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Source: http://www.library.fordham.edu/itservices/videostudio.html

4.  In-Studio TV/Radio Guest: This piece of coverage consists of an interview with an anchor on television or radio. These types of segments can be live or taped, and television segments use heavy visual aspects. The goal of this media coverage is to entertain audiences.

5.  Brief/Press Release: One of the traditional media coverages is a brief or a press release. This type of media coverage is a way to get client news out. It is written by a public relations professional and sent out to media sources to cover the story.

Every organization has a story to be told, and you can use one of these six types of media coverage to help share that story with the organization’s audience!

Nicole Raymond graduated from EMU in 2017 with a Bachelor’s in Public Relations and served as PRSSA’s VP of External Relations from 2016 to 2017. Raymond is currently a graduate student in the IMC program here at Eastern.

#PRSSANC: Sports Public Relations with Nikki Barjon Recap

By Hope Salyer

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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.

Three ways that PR can Bring More Value Than Advertising Alone

By Michael Doute

How valuable is advertising? How many of us actually pay attention to advertisements? People who consume content have never had as many ways to avoid advertisements as they do today: ad blockers on the internet, streaming TV shows from services like Netflix, and recording TV shows to watch later have all contributed to this. Even if someone is watching live TV these days, don’t you think that they’d just pull out their phone during the commercial break? While this doesn’t look great for advertisers, it sets the stage nicely for PR. Here are three ways that PR can bring far more value to your organization than ads alone.

  • Don’t interrupt the content, be the content

I have never understood the advertising mindset. How did interrupting somebody’s TV show and trying to sell them something become the standard method of operation for every organization in the world? What makes far more sense to me is to become the content, rather than interrupting the content. For example, if you run a small company sells art, create content about art. The same time that you could spend buying, and placing ads could be used creating your own branded content. Whether it’s a podcast, video series on YouTube, or a blog, people will happily consume it if it gives them some value.

  • Storytell in a way that works for you

A big mistake that some people can make is that they assume that their brand should appear everywhere. If you have a big enough organization with the budget to hire enough talent to make that happen, it might work for you. But for the rest of us, you should storytell on a medium that you are talented on. Not a strong writer? Shoot some video or run a podcast. There are endless options out there, you just need to understand what your strengths are, and double down on them.

  • Don’t throw out advertising

I know that I questioned the value of advertising in the beginning, but I don’t want anyone to stop doing it entirely. The American Marketing Association defines IMC as “planning process designed to assure that all brand contacts received by a customer or prospect for a product, service, or organization are relevant to that person and consistent over time.” Good PR work helps an organization craft their story, create their story, and understand the publics that will ultimately consume that story. It should be up to advertising to help amplify that story.

Telling a good story and bringing actual value to a consumer is much more compelling than any advertisement. Often times, advertisements are the best way to amplify the message of your story, but I don’t think that any brand should rely on them alone to tell it. PR has a big opportunity over the next few years to become content advocates within organizations. What kind of branded content do you consume? Is it a podcast? A video series? Let me know!

Michael Doute is a senior majoring in public relations. He is currently the VP of Professional Development for the PRSSA organization at EMU. Mike’s passion is with storytelling, and he hopes to end up working for a company that allows him to be creative.

#PRSSANC – An Experience of a Lifetime

By Josie Bobeck

October 5th was a big day for PRSSA. We woke up early to catch a flight to Boston, Massachusetts to go to the Public Relations Student Society of America National Conference.

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Source: giphy.com

Not only was this super exciting for us because we were invited back for the second year in a row to present a student development session, but we were able to attend seminars on the Revolution of Public Relations.

The session that I went to the stood out the most to me was the New Professionals Panel. See, I’m graduating in April, which is both exciting and terrifying. To be able to listen to people who were in my position a year or two ago who are successful young people was very appealing to me, and I am very glad I went. Below are a few of my key take-aways from the panel:

Pick two things you need in a job and two things you want, and the rest is extra. If location and salary is something really important when you’re job hunting, but you also want a job that lets you dress business casual and has good benefits, that is what you should focus on.  It’s okay to want those things, but you also have to be realistic.

Show your impact. You are capable of doing wonderful things, so make it happen and you will stand out.

Don’t be the hero. You physically, mentally, and emotionally cannot do everything for everyone, so it’s best to not even try.

Use your network. This is so important. You never know when you will cross paths with someone you met at #PRSSANC later on. The people in your network can help you in a multitude of ways , so it’s best to keep on good terms with them.

If you’re thinking you want to go to National Conference next year in Austin, Texas, I would recommend it 100%. You learn so much, you get to meet incredible people, and you get to travel to new places.

I’m lucky to have wonderful E-Board members to share these memories with. Boston has such an important place in my heart and I’m grateful to have been able to go to National Conference.

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Source: Josie Bobeck

Josie Bobeck is a senior majoring in written communication 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 or for a record label doing publicity. Connect with Josie on Twitter at @Josephine3laine or by email at jbobeck@emich.edu.

4 Things I Learned from my PR Internship at Make-A-Wish

By Abby Cousineau

“School can teach you a lot, but nothing beats real-world experience.”

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Source: Abby Cousineau

I’m sure you have heard this phrase more than a few times in your life. And while it sounds cliché, there is a ring of truth to it.

This past summer, I spent my days working for an awesome non-profit, Make-A-WishÒ Michigan. While I learned a ton about PR and communications at a non-profit, here are the top four things I got out of my internship:

  1. Being a good writer is crucial

I can honestly say I wrote something every single day at my internship. Whether it was an email, a press release, a feature story or social media copy, it felt like I was literally always writing. At most non-profits, Make-A-Wish included, there is a small communications department that is responsible for pretty much everything PR/marketing related, so being a strong writer is important. You learn a lot of these writing skills in school, but nothing truly prepares you for your boss telling you she needs social media copy, a feature story and a press release by the end of the work day. Being able to write well, write quickly and being capable of taking one topic and translating it into multiple stories fit for different mediums is essential.

  1. Having solid research skills is almost as crucial as being a strong writer

During the summer, there were many times where I had to write about something I had no clue about. Being able to gather information and apply it to your project is a very good skill to have. Your boss will expect you to be able to find out what you need to complete the task on your own, and they will want you to be able to take that information and put it into something organized & clear.

  1. Event planning is tedious

Make-A-WishÒ Michigan puts on multiple fundraising events every year and I got to be part of & observe one of their largest events: the Wish-A-Mile Bike Tour. This event lasts three days, participants ride over 300 miles and there are multiple “mini” events that take place over the course of the weekend. I won’t get into the whole thing, but I got to see first-hand how event planning works at a non-profit. SO much goes into this process & it is extremely tedious. Communication between team members and extensive preparation has to be more than solid to pull off large-scale fundraising events. The weeks leading up to the Wish-A-Mile tour were hectic, but seeing everything come together in the end was truly magical and made all the stress feel worth it.

  1. If you want to work in PR, you have to be passionate about the company you work for

I think this is especially true if you choose to work for a non-profit, but working in PR in general can be exhausting. At my internship I saw my supervisors put in 15 hour days, push themselves physically and mentally for three days during the Wish-A-Mile Tour, and spend countless hours planning events, writing stories and working on design projects. PR can be draining, but if you work for a company you truly believe in it makes everything easier. There were a few times where I questioned why I was going to school for PR, but when I saw a kid get their wish granted, or talked to a parent on the phone and heard them cry about how grateful they were for the wish experience, it made me realize how powerful and meaningful the jobs we do every day really are.

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.