Tag Archives: Public Relations

3 rules when pitching a story

By: Hope Salyer


Source: Janet Murray

Public relations specialists have to keep up with the latest trends and news going on around the world in order to better serve their clients. They also have to stay current on the latest trends in the PR industry.

One big trend in the PR field that has been going around recently is the importance of knowing how to pitch a story to journalists. This has always been a struggle, but with the ever-growing social media platforms, journalists are now sharing the mistakes that PR practitioners often make when trying to pitch a story. Here are three rules to follow to help you pitch your next story to a reporter:

  1. Know the reporter and his or her target audience.

As PR specialists, we are always told the importance of knowing our target audience. We think about who we are writing a story to, what language we should use for that audience, and even what pictures to include that the target audience would find helpful. We oftentimes are so focused on our own target audience, that we don’t think about the target audience of the reporter we are pitching.

When sending a pitch email or tweet to a reporter on your upcoming story, be sure to do some research on what topics that reporter covers. You don’t want to send a pitch about Kanex’s new GoPlay Series of portable gaming controllers to a reporter who covers the beauty industry. You have to know what that reporter is going to want to cover, and what is going to benefit him or her as much as it will you and your client, otherwise you are wasting everyone’s time.

  1. Know whether your story is actually newsworthy.

PR practitioners spend so much time trying to help build a client’s visibility that they can sometimes get caught up in seeing their client in the news. You have to keep in mind whether your story or pitch is actually newsworthy. Not everything that your client does is going to be important. It might seem that way in the moment, but PR practitioners have to be able to decide what matters to reporters and what doesn’t.

If you are constantly sending pitch emails to the same reporter, he or she is going to get sick of seeing your name in his or her inbox. You have to focus on building a mutually beneficial relationship between you, the PR practitioner, and the reporter.

  1. Know how to send a pitch.

Screenshot by Hope Salyer

Numerous journalists have been posting photos online of pitch emails from PR specialists. The reporters are unable to tell what is being sent by a PR practitioner, and what is a spam email. Pitch emails that follow the spam format are oftentimes deleted within seconds of opening them because journalists don’t know what email is going to help them cover a story and what email is going to give them a virus.

Pitch emails that begin by saying they saw a link post from the reporter and have a similar story at this link are suspicious to journalists before they even begin to read the email. Try to keep from linking out too much in emails. One link to the story is fine, but you don’t need to link to the reporter’s story from last week.

These are my top three tips for pitching a story, but I want to know what yours are as well. Leave a comment below on what your “Golden Rules” are for pitching a client story to a reporter.

Hope Salyer is a junior public relations major and journalism and communication double minor. Hope is serving as the Chief Financial Officer of EMU PRSSA. This is Hope’s first semester serving for the PRSSA E-Board. A Michigan native, she hopes to start her career working for an agency in the Detroit area. Her dream is to become the public relations coordinator for the Detroit Tigers. Contact Hope on Twitter @hsalyer01 or by email hsalyer@emich.edu.


The best and worst PR of 2016

By: Nicole Raymond


Photo created by Nicole Raymond using Canva

The year 2016 witnessed drastic change throughout the world that will go down in history. There were plenty of memorable PR moments this past year, and I’ve chosen two for us to learn from. Here are my top picks for the best and worst PR of 2016:

In a bold move toward the right direction, Cover Girl, who typically hires female celebrity spokespeople, did something mind blowing when they hired a male high school student to be the newest face of the Cover Girl brand. Although Cover Boy James Charles is not a celebrity in the traditional sense, he does have well over half a million followers on Instagram and 100,000 subscribers on YouTube.

This big decision made by Cover Girl allowed the brand to show their disapproval of the gender stereotypes our culture perpetuates. The year 2016 saw a lot of acceptance and many brands used their platforms to showcase their commitment to crushing stereotypes, which is why I chose Cover Girl for the best PR in 2016 (Safronova, 2016).

Wells Fargo had a heavy crisis on their shoulders when it was discovered that millions of fake bank accounts had been created by employees, in real customers’ names to meet their sales goals. This crisis was huge, and Wells Fargo couldn’t seem to make it out of the headlines.

Initially, the banking giant tried to fix the crisis by firing more than 5,000 employees, but that wasn’t enough. More and more information trickled through their Band-Aid covered wound. They allowed the woman in charge of the employees to retire and keep her millions of dollars in bonuses and stocks, even though she failed to see the misjudgment of her employees and stop their actions.

Furthermore, Wells Fargo’s two CEOs have been signing off on their annual reports, meaning they were either ignorant and weren’t doing their jobs properly, or they knowingly were committing fraud. Their CEO was eventually forced to resign and all the while their PR practitioners were creating videos to tell their public that Wells Fargo was trustworthy, furthering their time in the limelight. Maybe not the best use of resources, which is why I chose Wells Fargo for the worst PR of 2016 (Watson, 2016).

Do you think there was a company with better or worse PR than Cover Girl and Wells Fargo in 2016? Let me know in the comments or by tweeting me @NicoleRaymond74.

Nicole Raymond is senior majoring in public relations and double minoring in marketing and communications. This is her first year serving on EMU PRSSA’s E-board as VP of External Relations. Nicole is a wife, aunt, daughter, sister and friend. Connect with her on Twitter and Instagram @nicoleraymond74.

Free? Now that is speaking the language!

By: Jordan Ross

By now, you’ve probably heard about or were able to take part in it, but on Oct. 11, Blaze Pizza in Ann Arbor had a free pizza day where it gave away 11-inch personal pizzas to customers that came in between 11am-9pm. While anyone was able to take advantage of this promotion, Blaze Pizza did have one requirement for those who came to get a free pizza from them—you had to follow the company on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat. Unfortunately, I was not able to get a free pizza due to my hectic schedule this semester, but I couldn’t help but notice this campaign.


Source: MLive

While Blaze Pizza could have simply just offered free pizzas to the public, they instead asked their customers for something in return. The public had to pay for their pizzas with the simple action of following their social media pages. As many of us in the public relations field know by now, social media plays a huge role in what we do in our careers. Millions of people around the world, and thousands in the metro Detroit area already have social media accounts. For people who wanted to partake in getting a free pizza from the restaurant, they didn’t have to go out of their way. Blaze Pizza utilized the tool of social media for their own benefit, but they also gave something in return to the public.

While it doesn’t cost anything for the public to follow Blaze Pizza on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat, it doesn’t mean that it was not of any value to the business. As more people followed Blaze on social media, it helped them spread the word about their business. Blaze Pizza is a new restaurant in the area, so they want to get the word out about their business to the community so they can increase traffic to their location. Not only do they want to get the word out about their business, but they want the community to spread positive words about their business. Blaze Pizza can say all day long how great they think their business is. What really draws people in and keeps them coming back is hearing the opinions of others who live in the community and have been to Blaze before and enjoyed their experience.

There is a famous saying out there that goes, “The best things in life are free.” If something is free, people are going to show interest and want to learn more about it, regardless of what it is. People work hard for their money and when they spend it, they want to make sure that it is not going to waste. When something is first introduced and you have even the slightest bit of skepticism regarding the product, you may not want to take the chance and spend the money on it. Giving something away for free for the first time can get customers’ feet through the door and minimize the fears they may have of losing their money on something they don’t like. If a customer tries something for free and actually enjoys it, that means they may actually come back and keep buying the product or service. The consumer may also be grateful to the business that they were allowed to try the product for free, which helps build the relationship between the business and the public. That is what PR is all about people!

Today, you would be hard-pressed to find a service that doesn’t provide a free trial of some sort. For example, with internet video companies, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, or even YouTube Red, you can sign up for a free-month trial of their services. In the food industry, while sometimes it’s common for restaurants to give away free samples of their product, it is very uncommon for them to give away full portions of their product for free. Blaze Pizza broke away from the norm, and the public appreciated that. The turnout of this event was very good, and many people were able to come in and enjoy some of Blaze Pizza’s offerings for no cost. People who enjoyed the pizza have a great chance of coming back to the restaurant and becoming repeat customers. Blaze was able to boost their social media presence, which will allow the company to reach more people and get them into their restaurant.

I couldn’t help but view this situation as a win-win for everybody involved. While it may be a risky proposition giving away a free product, I can easily see how this will pay off for Blaze Pizza and help build a relationship with the community. When the public feels a connection with a business that is located within their community, it gains the public’s support and they will want to see your business thrive. Blaze Pizza did just that with this giveaway.

Jordan Ross is a senior at Eastern Michigan University majoring in public relations and minoring in communications. Jordan is in his first semester serving as the Vice President of Professional Development for EMU’s Eleanor Wright Chapter of PRSSA. Jordan is also a member of EMU’s Honors College and serves as the President of the EMU Student Center Student Employee Advisory Committee. You can find Jordan on Twitter @_JJRoss.


The importance of an internship in PR

By: Hope Salyer


Ask any public relations practitioner what advice he or she would give to PR majors, and the answer is going to be to complete at least one internship. In a day and age where companies like the McTigue Financial Group in Chicago are receiving over 1,000 resumes a year for a mere 40 positions, an internship has never been more important.

With so many people competing for one job, it often comes down to a well-selected internship. Securing an internship provides you with real-world experience that is so valuable in today’s PR workforce. Companies and clients want someone with experience. They want to know they can count on a PR practitioner who is creative, innovative, has experience dealing with problems when they arise, and can lead their brand in a constantly-changing environment. There is no better way to prove you are that person than by completing an internship.

Internships are becoming so important and popular now that many companies pride themselves in having a successful internship program, oftentimes hiring interns for full-time positions. According to PR Daily, interns are 70 percent more likely to be hired as full-time employees with a company.

Internships also help to provide you with a portfolio of work for future employers. According to Webershandwickseattle.com, an internship provides you with great examples of professional and quality work that you’ve done. You can then create a blog of your own using a site like WordPress.com, and publish all of your work and writing samples in one easy place for future employers to find.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of a college internship is the opportunity it provides for you to discover what you like and what you dislike. By completing multiple internships during college, you get to experience the reality of working in an agency, corporate, and nonprofit setting or any others you would like to learn about. Internships allow you to explore what you want to do in the field, whether it’s the event planning aspect of PR, or crisis management—without the pressure of being stuck in a position you hate.

The importance and benefits of an internship increase each year. With so many opportunities out there for PR students around the country, an internship is a great start to your career!

Hope Salyer is a junior public relations major and journalism and communication double minor. Hope is serving as the Chief Financial Officer of EMU PRSSA. This is Hope’s first semester serving for the PRSSA E-board. A Michigan native, she hopes to start her career working for an agency in the Detroit area. Her dream is to become the public relations coordinator for the Detroit Tigers. Contact Hope on Twitter @hsalyer01 or by email hsalyer@emich.edu.


Meet the Speaker: Corporate Public Relations Workshop

Join EMU PRSSA Tuesday, Oct. 18 for a corporate public relations workshop hosted by guest speaker, Tim Wieland. To learn more about our speaker, check out his bio below!


Tim Wieland

Tim Wieland is manager of media and public relations for Robert Bosch LLC, where he handles mobility and technology topics for Bosch in the U.S. Prior to joining Bosch, Tim spent 12 years at Airfoil Group, culminating in a role as vice president overseeing accounts, such as Microsoft and Parrot. His previous experience includes brands, such as eBay, Best Buy, Brookstone, FordDirect and Carbonite.

The workshop will run from 5:30 to 7 p.m. and will be held in SC 304. See you there!

Confessions of a new PR intern

By: Jordan Ross

At Eastern Michigan University, and many other colleges and universities around the country, in order to graduate with a degree in public relations, you will need to complete an internship. The possibilities as to what you can do are endless, as long as at the end of the day what you are doing relates to PR in some capacity.

By undertaking an internship, a student gains valuable experience that can’t exactly be taught in the classroom. The great thing about an internship is that it can enhance all that is learned throughout a student’s studies, and prepare them for a life after college when they are out in the workplace contributing to the growth of the PR field.

Actually, finding an internship can sometimes be a tricky situation. As someone who’s been through it and had a heck of a time finding an internship, I’m here to give you a little advice that will hopefully calm any nerves you may have.


Don’t have any hard feelings.

Let me take you way back to December 2015, when I began to look for internships that would not only provide me with a lot of valuable experience, but also those that I found to be really interesting. I was browsing the website Indeed.com, which is an excellent tool for searching prospective jobs and internships, and happened to find an internship for the Detroit Zoo. I thought that would be the coolest thing ever! I applied once I saw it, and even emailed the coordinator because I was so eager to talk with her about this opportunity that looked so amazing.

One week went by…no response. A second week went by…still no response. I began to feel distraught and down on myself since I didn’t hear back from them. Was it something I did? Was it something I didn’t have that they were looking for? There were so many questions running through my head that I wanted answers to.

At the time I didn’t realize it, but I was not the only one who wanted this opportunity. There are people out there who might be just as or even more qualified than I was, and that’s OK! I kept faith that someone would give me an opportunity, and when they did, they wouldn’t regret it. After going through that experience, I can say that while it may not feel the best at the time, things do get better. Even if you don’t get the internship you were seeking, don’t take it personal. There are other fish in the sea of internships—I promise you!



Source: bashny.net


Sometimes, it’s just good to be lucky.

Fast forward to summer 2016, and I still hadn’t found an internship. My goal was to find one before the summer since I’d have so much free time on my hands for activities, but alas I was unable to. Many people I knew had already secured their internships, and there I was still looking for one. To be honest, I was pretty bummed out and was not sure how I was going to get this internship that I needed to graduate. But somehow, someway, my luck changed one day by just doing what I did in my normal routine in the summer and going to work.

At my job, I help customers prepare for the events they have, and as a result, I have the opportunity to interact with many people. One day I happened to meet the principal of Washtenaw International Middle School. She asked me what my major was and I told her PR, and she told me that she just so happened to know someone who was looking to hire an intern. I hadn’t even said I was looking for an internship so it must’ve just shown on my face.

I don’t remember whether it showed on my face, but it was the most excited I had been in a long time. It just goes to show that you never know when opportunity will strike, so be ready.



Make friends—you never know when you will need them.

Shortly after I received my first long-sought-out internship opportunity, a friend and old co-worker of mine emailed me about another internship opportunity that he thought I would be interested in. I must say I was very interested in the opportunity. The only downside to this situation was that I was just offered an internship, and didn’t want to turn it down because it was my first opportunity. A few weeks before, I couldn’t find an internship to save my life—now I was having a hard time making a choice between two! Life just works in crazy ways sometimes.

Which leads me to my last quick tip!



Don’t burn bridges.

After much thought, I ended up accepting the second offer that I had received from my friend and old co-worker. Although I accepted another position, I still keep an open line of communication with the school that gave me my original internship offer. We agreed to still meet up every once in a while when our schedules align to have coffee and discuss things that both of us are working on. By keeping in touch, we both are able to develop a relationship that can last through the future. As I mentioned before, you never know when your friends may come in handy.

Just as no two people are exactly alike in this world, no two people will have the exact same experience in gaining their first internship. As someone who had a more difficult time than what they anticipated, just hang in there. Things have a funny way of working out over time. Continue to work hard and have confidence in your abilities. Once you get that call that the internship is yours, you will thank yourself that you did.

Jordan Ross is a senior at Eastern Michigan University majoring in public relations and minoring in communications. Jordan is in his first semester serving as the Vice President of Professional Development for EMU’s Eleanor Wright Chapter of PRSSA. Jordan is also a member of EMU’s Honors College and serves as the President of the EMU Student Center Student Employee Advisory Committee. You can find Jordan on Twitter @_JJRoss.





Pushing past introversion to succeed in an extroverted field

By: Nicole Raymond

Public relations is a field that often demands practitioners to be friendly and extroverted, which is why I was a bit confused when my counselor at career services said the university’s PR program would be a great fit for me and my personality. I’m a hardcore introvert. I would much rather stay inside my house with a good book or my favorite Netflix original TV show than go anywhere or hangout with anyone. I need alone time to recharge and relieve my stress.

Despite my hesitation toward PR, I did some more research and decided it was something I was interested in and declared it as my major. As I started going through the classes, I fell in love with all things PR. I’ve always liked school, but I loved going to my PR classes and doing the homework. As much as I was enjoying school, there was one problem—I’m still an introvert.

Being an introvert in a mostly extroverted field has its challenges, but if you are driven, you can face each challenge and become an even better professional. One thing that really helped me step out of my shell was getting involved with people who have similar interests to mine. For example, I joined PRSSA and made a point to emerge myself in the organization and make friends with other members. Being around like-minded people, and talking and learning about things that scare you help to combat the introvert and unleash the extrovert within.

Another factor that helped me break through my introverted shell was my internship. Again, I was surrounded by people who did the same type of things that I did or wanted to do. I had people to look up to and turn to when I needed help. I was constantly working with my peers and bosses to create all types of PR documentation. This collaboration gave me the confidence and support I needed to make it out of the introverted cocoon. Of course, being an introvert in PR isn’t all bad, but having a good balance is important.

Finding the extrovert within wasn’t easy and I’m by no means finished searching, however, this doesn’t mean I now enjoy leaving my house or attending any event that has over three people I don’t know. I will never like that, but I made a decision that I wanted to be better. So, when needed, I push the introvert down and allowed the extrovert to take center stage, which has allowed me to succeed in my personal and professional life.

Nicole Raymond is senior majoring in public relations and double minoring in marketing and communications. This is her first year serving on EMU PRSSA’s E-board as VP of External Relations. Nicole is a wife, aunt, daughter, sister and friend. Connect with her on Twitter and Instagram @nicoleraymond74.