Skills Entry-Level PR Hires Should Have

starting lineThree months from now, the class of 2013 will walk across the stage to collect their diplomas and immediately have a panic attack when they realize it’s time to look for that first job out of college. First, let me give you a piece of advice – you have the rest of your life to work, take the summer and explore the world if you have that luxury. That’s something I wish I had done (I started my first job the day after graduation).

For those of you that need to get a job – you know, like yesterday – I thought it would be helpful to share my perspective on the skills I believe most employers are looking for in a PR hire. The reality is, if you’re a recent grad and don’t have these skills, you’ll have a harder time finding that first job. If you’re an undergraduate, learn from this post – so you’ll be in a better place 2, 3 or 4 years from now. [Read more…]

The Two Most Effective Media Relations Tactics for 2013

two most effective media relations tacticsYou want more publicity, don’t you? Whether it’s for yourself, your organization or the clients you represent, more publicity is a good thing. For many of us, it’s what attracted us to media relations in the first place. It was pure magic the first time I read an article in print that was the result of a story I pitched. In this post, I’ll share what I believe to be the two most effective media relations tactics for 2013 (hint: it’s all about inbound and real-time).

Before I get to the two most effective media relations tactics for 2013, let’s agree that the smile and dial approach doesn’t work anymore.  In the example I shared above, I used the ‘smile and dial’ approach to land that first placement. Back then, if you called enough reporters, you would eventually find a couple willing to listen to your pitch – and perhaps one or two that would write a story. When I think back to what I was actually doing, I was interrupting busy journalists with pitches that probably had nothing to do with the stories they wrote about on a daily basis. While I’ve long since learned my lessons (and taken my fair share of tongue lashings from irritated journalists), I worry about the young professionals who are still calling down a media list trying to get anybody to write about the story they’re pitching. It’s wrong and it gives the PR profession a bad name – even if media relations is only a small subset of all the elements of public relations (for you purists out there). [Read more…]

The Future of PR… Facial Recognition?

Facial recognition software has been a facet in science fiction stories and television for decades. The truth is, though, real, honest-to-goodness facial recognition software has been used for social, security and creative reasons for over ten years now.

Marketers are now getting into the game when it comes to the clever use of this technology. As the future of PR marches down the technological road ask yourself the question – could facial recognition become part of your marketing mix? How could it be used in PR campaigns of the future? Too Minority Report for you? Think again…

Facial recognition is no longer the stuff of fiction, but a technology woven into our everyday lives. Take Facebook for example; facial recognition a key behind the automatic picture tags applied to every photograph loaded onto the site. [Read more…]

The Changing Face of Public Relations

Log on to Twitter and it’s easy to find companies getting trashed for careless business practices (like creating an environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico).  On Facebook, corporations have their fan pages inundated with negative comments about lackluster customer service and local restaurants get to read reviews from unsatisfied guests.  In an age of social media, it may appear to many that the PR industry is facing challenges that are threatening its very existence.  Companies seem to be left defenseless to open mass media critique at any time from just about anybody with an internet connection.

Despite these new challenges, PR is going through an age of revitalization.  Over the past year PR has been adapting new techniques to reach consumers, and expanding in ways never seen before.

Traditionally, PR has fought to establish itself as more than just fluff; immeasurable marketing or meaningless corporate rhetoric.  The PR industry has had to rely on relationships with journalists as the sole channel to broadcast messages.  Now the PR industry is using new media to develop a complex identity.  This new identity blends with other pieces of the communications puzzle, as PR practitioners take on a hybrid role as journalists, advertisers, and marketers.

PR professionals can now reach consumers directly.  Companies are taking on endeavors such as running microsites with blogs about philanthropy initiatives or creating viral videos and vignettes.  Social media has given companies the chance to extend a brand image that can connect with consumers.   [Read more…]

Is Art or Math More Important in PR?

I shouldn’t tell you this, but it’s a funny story. Do you know how I got into PR? I flipped through the course catalog to find a major that had the least amount of math involved. I liked to write and talk, so the classes in the PR major looked like a lot more fun than the ones in my original major of Economic Crime Investigation (think lots of accounting and economics). I never liked math in school. I took Algebra a couple of times – with the same teacher no less. I can’t help but feel like somebody is playing a cruel joke on me, as more and more of what we do in PR and marketing hinges on numbers.

I recently sat through a breakout session on the topic of analytics and social media ROI at SoCon10 in Atlanta, a social media “unconference” hosted by Kennesaw State University’s Center for Sustainable Journalism. One of the topics that came up in the discussion was how much of marketing is art versus math (hat tip to @lance for leading the discussion and bringing up this topic – you can find his presentation here). [Read more…]

How Is PR Changing?

I get this question all the time. How is PR changing and what can I do to adapt? For starters, everyone that’s asked that question is on the right track. It’s the ones that don’t ask that question that I worry about. PR is always changing. So is media. So is everything.

The real question is how quickly do you adapt to change? Are you in tune with changes in your industry? Part of our responsibility as PR professionals is to help others learn about the changes at hand, and what they can do to stay current. [Read more…]