A firsthand look at entertainment PR

By: Elena Panyard

For the last few weeks I have been interning at Allied Integrated Marketing. Allied works with some of the world’s largest entertainment, consumer and lifestyle brands. The Detroit office mainly works with movie studios. I’ve been able to work on early screenings for “Snatched,” “Baywatch” and “Baby Driver.” I’ve always been interested in working in entertainment promotions, so this internship is the perfect fit for me. On a day-to-day basis, I am collecting clippings of mentions of our client’s work, as well as creating social media content and contacting local businesses who may be interested in partnering with us. I work on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so when I’m not in the office I am working on early screenings for the press, as well as any events for businesses that may fit certain movies that are coming out. Not only is the work I’m doing enjoyable, the office culture has been a great fit for me. I’m learning that I love agency life. There is always something to do when you have multiple clients.

While I’ve always wanted to work in entertainment, I’ve never seen myself working with films. This internship has been great in showing me that no matter who your client is, you become extremely attached to your work. I used to never go to the movies, but now I love going to see what the crowd thinks, and I’m always reading reviews in my free time. If I’m scrolling through Facebook and I see people talking about an event coming up that relates to one of our clients, I write it down and send it to others in the office.

Internships are the perfect opportunity to see if your major is the best fit for you, and this internship has shown me I am 100% in the right industry.

Posted on July 13, 2017 .

Senior Year Reflections

By: Alyssa Tippens

To say, “time flies in college,” is a colossal understatement. One moment, it’s your first day of college. You’re strolling across campus with a pit of nervousness and anticipation in your stomach, praying you manage to find your classes in what feels like a jungle of longboards and Vera Bradly backpacks. Everything is new-- scary, in a way, but liberating. The next moment, it seems, you’re slapped with a jarring realization that not only are you a second-semester senior, on the brink of being ripped away from the place that has become your home, but it’s time to start looking for real-life jobs. Goodbye, perfectly curated list of take-out establishments. So-long, friends and mentors who have guided you along the way. You’ve always known that this day would come, but never dreamed it would arrive so soon.

Personally, I thought I would feel far more prepared than I do. The biggest challenge, for me, has been accepting that I am indeed ready to enter the “real world.” It seems I’m not alone, as I’ve yet to meet a fellow senior who has zero qualms about life after college. So, if you can relate to these feelings, I hope my perspective will provide some comfort amidst this time of anguish and great anticipation.

You’ve learned a lot more than you realize. These past four or five years have equipped you with a strong foundation of necessary skills knowledge. You’ve made it this far, so you have undoubtedly learned perseverance and determination. You’ve dealt with challenging group project members, reasoned with more than the occasional ornery professor and survived your fair share of eccentric roommates. Your resume is perfected, the applications have been sent and the imperative LinkedIn connections have been made. So, have some faith, and accept that you’re ready for your post-grad journey.

To those lucky enough to call yourselves underclassmen, please make the most of your experience at Central. Work hard, but take time to embrace this time in your life. In the blink of an eye, you’ll move moving your tassel from right to left

Posted on April 25, 2017 .

Five tips on speaking to professionals

It can be difficult and a little intimidating when speaking to business professionals. Most of us have been there.  If you haven’t, it is okay. The PRSSA Professional Development Committee has some tips for you.

1)      The Handshake

If your hands are naturally cold, go to the bathroom and wash your hands with warm water before approaching the professional. It will make your handshake more welcoming. Make sure your handshake is firm and extend your hand so it runs parallel to theirs – this means no one is dominating the handshake.

2)      The Pitch

Briefly prepare a pitch stating your name, year in school, major, previous internships/work experience, and what you are looking to get out of the conversation. Don’t wait for them to ask you questions, just dive right in. You will come off as more prepared and professional.

3)      The Conversation

Always remember in the back of your mind that the person you are speaking to is a human as well. We should treat the conversation as if we are talking to a parent or one of their friends. Watch your language, but you do not have to throw in extra words to sound smart.

4)      SMILE! :)

It’s okay to laugh and smile! Actually, please do! We are all at the conference to learn and have fun.

5)      Thank You

Thank the professionals for their time speaking with you. If you would like to keep in contact, bring some business cards with you, or ask for one of theirs. It’s even a good idea to email them when you get home, and thank them for coming to the conference.  Refer to something specific from the conversation to make the email more personal. Remember, they took time out of their day to be there.

 

Posted on April 14, 2017 .

10 Reasons to go to Conference

1.  Expanding your knowledge - At Age of Polarization, you’re going to walk away knowing something you didn’t before. This conference is about learning new dynamic material in a time of constant change.

2.  Networking- Our conference will allow you to network with some of the top PR professionals in Michigan.

3.  Focus- Sometimes we doubt our major, even when we’re half-way done with it. This will allow you to regain your focus for public relations.

4.  Encouragement- You’ll be even more fired up for public relations! Your productivity and passion for public relations will dramatically increase and you’ll want to do more than ever.

5.  Trends- Current trends in the professional workplace change every single day. As college students, we’re not always aware of what’s going on. Our speakers will be here to share and educate our audiences on what’s new and what’s to come.

6. Our speakers- Between top PR agencies and Fortune 500 company executives, our speakers have all the bases covered.

7.  Inspiration- sometimes we get into a creative rut and not sure where to go with our next project. Hearing new ideas and outside ideas can inspire you to something new with anything!

8. Ah-ha Moments- When you listen to speakers and absorb the expertise, talk to others with the same passion and learn about new things, you’ll have your Ah-ha moments.

9. Surrounding Passion- You’ll be surrounded by people who have the same passion that you do for PR.

10.  Food- We have food. Good food. What more can be said?

Posted on April 13, 2017 .

21 things I learned in 21 years

By: Samantha Meyer

1. Choose what makes YOU happy

            Go on the trip or choose that person. Regardless of what your friends or family say, if it makes you happy do it. You only have one life and, lets face it, you’re already quarter of the way through it.

 

2. Volunteer your time

            Helping someone or giving your time to a great cause will help you appreciate things a little more. You will walk away with a smile knowing you made someone’s day.

 

3.  Your mom DOES know everything

            As much as you disagree with what she has to say, she will always have the satisfaction of saying “I told you so.”

 

4.  It’s okay to say no…

            You don’t have to attend every party or go out on every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night. Those nights will be there next week or the week after, and regardless, it’s the same thing every week.

 

5.  …it’s also okay to say yes

            College is NOT supposed to be all work and no play. Reward yourself with a GNO or a cookie from insomnia. Don’t forget to have a little fun while in college.

 

6.  It probably doesn’t matter

            As one wise Polish man once told me, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” –Jim Wojcik

 

7.  Family is EXTREMELY important

      FaceTime can cure homesickness, USE IT. Your family is always going to be there for you no matter what. Cherish your moments with them.

 

8.  Take time for yourself

      “Me time” is my favorite time. Read a book, take a bubble bath or a nap. Take time for you - relax and treat yourself.

 

9.  Pay attention to your own thoughts

      Listen to others but think for yourself. Question everyone… why is someone telling you that? Is it true? What do you believe? You’re 21 now, it’s time to be independent and create your own ideas.

 

10.   Keep a diary

      This is one of the most important life lessons I have learned, especially because I have the worst memory. At this time in your life you are going through a million life changes so write them down. What is important in college to you now might not be in five years but you will still want to remember every part of it.

 

11.  You don’t know everything

      Think about when you turned 16, 18 or even 20. You know a lot more now than you did then. You will never stop learning so listen to your elders.

 

12.  Don’t make time for “friends” who don’t make time for you

      This may seem self explanatory, but it’s not. Keep friends who are there for you and get rid of the ones who aren’t. They don’t have your best interest at heart trust me.

 

13.  Exercise

      You don’t have to do crazy workouts or even take fitness classes but do go for a walk. Don’t let yourself sit around all day in classes or at work. Your body needs to keep moving to keep yourself healthy and sometimes just to stay awake… yes college is hard.

 

14.  Pay off your credit card EVERY MONTH

      Yes, growing up is hard but you don’t want to be that person that blows their credit in their twenties. DO NOT buy things if you DO NOT have money. Self-explanatory...

 

15.  You can never have too many friends

      College is the time to make friends. Talk to the people you sit by in class, you never know who will become a new best friend.

 

16.  Tweeting about your problems will not solve them

      Nobody follows your twitter account to hear about you complaining about your life. Vent to a friend or write it in your journal. Just PLEASE don’t post it on twitter. On the flip side, if you are following someone who posts negative content all the time…    UNFOLLOW THEM!

     

17.  Success does not happen over night

      Work towards your goals… They don’t call it blood, sweat and tears for nothing.

 

18.   Learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable

      You’re not going to be doing the same thing everyday for the rest of your life. You will try new things and you will get uncomfortable but it’s a good thing, push through it.

 

19.  Value your education

      Having an education is one of the most valuable things you can have – do not take it for granted.

 

20.  Take a lot of pictures

      You will want to remember these times of your life. Take pictures and pay the 40 cents to develop them. It is worth it in the long run.

 

21.  Don’t be afraid to try something new

      If not now, when?

Posted on March 22, 2017 .

Political PR in today's climate

By: Ethan Hogan

There are a few things in political public relations that you need to know. One: politics today is changing from what we were used to. Two: politics will always be changing, thanks to the 24/7 media cycles. Three: You will often be tasked with conveying sensitive information to your publics—it’s important to do so in a way that is fair and respectful to any parties that may be involved.

1.      If we have learned one lesson from the political upheaval that the United States of America is experiencing, Washington D.C. needs public relations experts. The social media accounts of politicians running rampant, and approval ratings dropping astonishingly low, show the need for a guidance of a trained PR pro. Political PR has challenges, and it is always vital to make sure you are presenting opinions based in fact. When working with a politician, it’s crucial to verify their information, and ensure that your own personal beliefs do not influence the way it is presented.

2.      The 24/7 media cycle will drive you insane from time to time. One moment you’re going through daily motions, and the next moment a crisis happens in your politician’s constituent region, the politician makes a gaffe in a speech or there is heavy criticism from an opponent or news organization. It is equally important to pay attention to positive news. If your opponent said something that works in your favor, and you make a note of it for immediate or future reference. Whether it’s positive or negative, the media is never off the clock.

3.      Be kind and compassionate. From local offices to national ones, kindness is never a bad idea. Make sure that social media and speeches are accurate without being offensive or inconsiderate. Ensure publics understands what you are saying so they are not confused about the message at large or specific policies. It is impossible to make every voter and constituent happy, but it is possible to be respectful at all times in public forums.

Political PR can be a whirlwind, but is an experience unlike any other. The ever-changing media cycles and platforms require adjustment, which makes clear and crafted messages to the public more difficult to create. Political PR is not for the faint of heart, but will force you to grow and evolve as a professional.

Posted on February 24, 2017 .

The importance of embracing your dream

By: Elena Panyard

When I first started public relations I knew that my dream job would be to work in the music industry. Working in entertainment public relations is not the most common career path, so instead of telling people that’s what I wanted to do I would tell people I wanted to do a more common form of public relations, corporate.

 It wasn’t until I heard motivational speaker Michael Miller talk about saying “I will” instead of “I want to” that I started telling people I was going to do PR in the music industry one day.

The whole idea of this is that you can “want” a lot of things, but that does not mean you are going to achieve them. Saying “I will” is a whole new form of motivation. If you tell yourself that you will, you subconsciously start taking the steps you need to get there.

Once I started confidently saying “I am going into music PR,” rather than, “I want to do music PR” I completely changed tracks. I started doing PR for a concert on campus, a professor reached out to me and gave me the contact info for someone who could help me and I started to find internships that actually excited me.

Finding your passion and confidently working towards it gives you an entirely different drive than just accepting the track that you are on. So think about your dream job, start saying “I will” and then maybe, you will.

Posted on February 6, 2017 .

Surviving the Spring Semester

By: Alyssa Tippens 

Upon your return to campus following winter break, you probably had great hopes of starting the new semester feeling refreshed, renewed and ready to take on the second half of the year. However, if you’re anything like me, you’re quickly realizing that you still feel a bit run down with a case of the post-holiday blues. Chances are, you’re experiencing the inevitable “second semester slump” and beginning to question how on Earth you will survive until May. While balancing school and life during these wintery months can seem intimidating, it is possible to make the best of spring semester if you follow a few basic guidelines.

Make Sleep a Priority

You probably pulled your fair share of all-nighters during fall semester, but now’s the time to reevaluate what’s most important. When’s the last time you had a great, productive day on less than six hours of sleep, anyway? Sure, you could put off studying and stay up until 4 a.m. as you cram for your first exam of the semester, but chances are, it won’t do you much good in the long-run. One of the hardest lessons to learn in college is that sleep is more important than getting a couple extra hours of studying in. So, put down the textbook and get some rest!

Eat

It seems that this should go without saying, but it’s a necessary reminder. We college students are infamous for our poor eating habits, after all. But when it comes down to it, we need food to give us the energy needed to bounce around from class, work and the library. So even if it’s something as small as keeping a box of granola bars in your car to ensure that you’ll always have a small snack on hand, do it. Nothing is worse than the unfortunate moment of complete silence as your stomach growls loud enough for the entire class to hear. 

Stay on Top of Things

The biggest reason why so many of us have a hard time sleeping and eating properly is because we’re too busy doing a million other things. Staying on top of your workload is crucial to making the best of this semester. Sometimes it’s easier said than done, but you should still make an honest effort to work on your assignments sooner rather than later. Always keep a planner around and make reminders for things you don’t want to forget. Try to keep your school life in order by establishing a study/homework routine that you can follow every day.

Relax

You’ll find that a great motivation for staying organized and on top of your work is that it will provide you with some time to relax. Amidst the chaos of living the life of a college student, it’s important to take some time to blow off steam now and then. Whether it be through a night out, or simply staying in and indulging in some Netflix, everyone needs a break once and a while to maintain some sanity. College is first and foremost about getting an education, but that doesn’t mean you can’t occasionally treat yourself.

Posted on January 24, 2017 .

A Contentious Election

By: D.J. Glover

In the weeks after after the election, there have been polarized responses worldwide from President-elect Donald Trump’s victory. People on both sides have taken to extreme forms of protest or celebration. Many individuals have taken alternative routes through boycotting or supporting companies who voted Mr. Trump and Clinton.

As PR professionals, these types of polarizing responses are difficult to address because there are people who absolutely choose not to support a company once they go public on their stance. Should a company publicly support or oppose, having the potential to win or lose a massive amount of customers? Should the personal accounts of company leaders and figureheads be monitored as well to prevent backlash and crisis?

T-Mobile CEO John Legere, a vocal opponent of Mr. Trump, published various tweets contesting Trump on Twitter. In light of the election and Mr. Trump’s victory however, Legere has taken a step back and congratulated Trump. He may be doing this because of business stakes with Mr. Trump’s new administration. The reaction to Legere backtracking on his stance has created negative images with both him and T-Mobile. Going public with support may have benefits in some cases, but a company’s stance may backfire at anytime from any number of factors that may arrive. In some cases, it is safer to stay quiet in political conversations, more so for smaller companies who may not have the ability to recover form backlash and boycotts. Rather than support a specific candidate, businesses could support causes that are important to them.

Posted on December 29, 2016 .

'Tis the season for nonprofit PR

By: Ethan Hogan

Lights lining shop windows, the first snowfalls of the season and Christmas carols on the radio can only mean one thing: nonprofits are busier than ever.

Nonprofit public relations allows you to fulfill a lifelong passion. Doing nonprofit PR means you can turn take your passion to the next level by helping your community. Nothing says giving back more than giving your time to a cause that you feel excited about.

Here are a few tips to work PR in the nonprofit sector:

1.      Take advantage of social media. A popular trend within nonprofit PR if the use of “paying it forward” campaign. Encourage your following to perform an act of kindness and begin the domino effect.

2.      Get creative. A nonprofit needs a support base and you’re going to help spread the message of support. Bring first hand stories and situations that will move an audience. It’s necessary to fundraise and take donations, or even encourage funding through legislation.

3.      Tell your stories from the heart. If you care about the cause, chances are others will, too. Put that passion on to paper. In order to promote a brand that betters communities and the people within, you need a touch of heart to get the job done.

4.      Make sure it’s your passion. There are a variety of nonprofits that cover almost every matter and problem the world has. Do some research into the company and make sure their core values align with yours’s. I always find that working with a nonprofit that hits home are the best ones to work for. 

Posted on December 7, 2016 .

Social media snapshots while traveling

By: Ethan Hogan

We’re all going to embark on travels in our lifetime. You might even be traveling this holiday weekend to and from your hometown. As PR professionals, we want to capture the moments. Here’s a few tips on how to make sure your travels are properly documented on social media:

1.      Quality over quantity. Make sure the photo you take is stunning. As we scroll through Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, we want to see the beauty of nature or the structural beauty of a city. A million bad photos are worth less than one great photo.

2.      Be original. You may post a picture of iconic structure or a beautiful landscape, but make sure it’s not something you see frequently.

3.      Make sure you’re not experiencing your travel “through the scene.” Take a moment and step back from the camera or phone and enjoy your moment. You’re not going to be where you’re at that exact time ever again. Take in that breath of European air or watch the American horizons.

In today’s society, we’re told that the world needs to know the great and exciting things we’re doing. Remember to take a great photo, post it and then take the rest of your time to enjoy your travels.  

 

 

Posted on November 23, 2016 .

Dress for success

By: Brianna Brugel

            You know the attire at Internship Fair is business professional, but what exactly does that mean? This dress code isn’t something most college students are familiar with, we are used to wearing sweatpants and faded jeans. As a college student transitioning into the professional world, it can be difficult to decide what is appropriate to wear. We don’t want to look overdressed, but we also don’t want to look too casual. With Internship Fair right around the corner, it’s easy to become intimidated by the dress code. Follow these tips to dress for success!

Attire

            First impressions are crucial. Make sure your clothing is clean, fits appropriately and is nicely pressed. You don’t want to be wearing wrinkly ill-fitting clothing because that can make you look unprofessional to the employer.

            Men should usually opt for a suit, preferably in a traditional color such as black, gray, or navy. For your undershirt stick to lighter colors, this will create a slight contrast with your suit. For ties try solid colors, don’t wear extreme patterns or bright colors that will draw to much attention. If you don’t have a suit, dark slacks with a light colored dress shirt and tie is the next best thing.  

            Pantsuits are a good option for women. Should you decide to wear slacks make sure they are not too tight, nor too loose. If you decide to wear a skirt, really pay attention to the length. It is important that your skirt ends either at the knee or just above the knee. This not only looks more professional, but also ensures that your thighs will be completely covered while sitting down. For a blouse look for something that complements the suit. A little pop of color can be appropriate but nothing too flashy. Make sure the blouse has a high neckline; you want to avoid anything that may be too revealing.  If all else fails, a nice pair of slacks or a skirt and an appropriate blouse will work.

Shoes

            When looking for the perfect internship fair outfit, shoes are often overlooked. Shoes play an important role in your attire. An appropriate pair of shoes can make you look more polished and put together.

            A dark polished loafer will do the trick for men. Make sure the shoe is free of scuffs and doesn’t show excessive wear. It’s important to wear dark socks that match your pants as well. Try to wear socks that reach your mid-calf to ensure that no skin will be showing should you decide to sit down.

            Women can wear either a heel or a flat, both however should be closed-toe. Find a neutral color that matches your attire. If you choose to wear a heel make sure the heel is 1-3 inches you don’t want it to be too high. Keep in mind that you want to be comfortable and look natural. If you have a difficult time walking in heels, it is better to wear flats instead. This way you will not only feel more comfortable, but you will look more comfortable too. As for what to wear under the shoe, look for sheer nude hosiery. Don’t worry, hosiery can be purchased in various lengths so it won’t feel like you are wearing tights underneath your pants. Hosiery simply gives you a more polished look by concealing exposed skin while still having a skin like appearance. Make sure your shoes are free of scuffs and don’t show excessive wear.

Accessories

            Accessories are an important part of any outfit, whether it is a piece of jewelry or a watch. Oftentimes, we view accessories as the finishing touch. They can make or break an outfit. However, when dressing in business professional attire less is more when it comes to accessories.

            A watch can be appropriate as long as it looks professional and matches your attire. If you need to wear a belt make sure it matches your outfit, don’t wear a belt that draws attention.

 Keep it simple. You don’t want to wear anything large such as long necklaces, dangling earrings or large rings. You also don’t want to be able to hear your jewelry. Clinking jewelry can be very distracting to both you and the employer. It is recommended that you wear minimal jewelry, should you wear any make sure it is conservative and not too flashy.

Personal Appearance

            Your personal appearance is just as important as what you are wearing. Potential employers are going to be looking at you as a whole package. Make sure you look your best and feel your best.

            It is important that your hair looks well kept. If you have long hair make sure it is combed and pulled back away from the face. Employers want to be able to see your eyes. As for facial hair make sure it is well groomed. Scruffy unkempt facial hair can make you look less professional. Your fingernails should be clean and trimmed. Cologne should be avoided; often time’s cologne can be overbearing and unpleasant. Everyone’s preference on fragrance is different so it’s better to be safe and avoid wearing it. You may decide to cover any visible tattoos as well.

            For women: Make sure your hair is done, don’t show up with wet or uncombed hair. You don’t need to do anything fancy with it, but running a straighter through it or throwing in a few curls can make it look more polished. Also, make sure it’s not falling into your face. It can be distracting if you constantly have to push your hair away from your face. For makeup, keep it simple. Stick to neutral colors that match your skin tone. You don’t want to wear anything too drastic or harsh. Save that killer cat eye and bold lip for a night out and choose a more natural and conservative look instead. Nails should be clean and trimmed. Nail polish should be neutral avoid any color that will draw attention, you want it to blend seamlessly with the rest of your look.  Most importantly, don’t wear chipped nail polish. Perfume should be avoided, the scent can be overbearing to some people. You may want to consider covering up any visible tattoos as well. However, this is up to your discretion.

            With these tips in mind, you should have no problem making a great first impression at the internship fair. Keep in mind that your personality and accomplishments are the most important thing. As long as you look professional and present yourself in a professional manner, you will make a memorable impression for the right reasons. 

Posted on November 8, 2016 .

Don’t be spooked to pitch yourself at internship fair

By: Simonae Dismuke

Presenting yourself to recruiters at Internship Fair can be nerve-racking, but the tips below will help you be calm, cool and collected while pitching. 

There are many different ways to pitch, but the first step should always be to know your audience. In the case of Internship Fair, it means researching the companies you are interested in ahead of time. Know key facts and values about the company forward and backward and be able to answer any question thrown at you. Be aware of what is important to the recruiters, and imagine their perspective.

When pitching about yourself, it is important to make what yourself stand out. Start out with a nice, firm handshake and an introduction. To make yourself stand out, you can capture interest with a brief PR story, or something really cool or unusual you have done.  Make your skills sound fresh and applicable by noting the various roles you have utilized them in.

A way to keep nerves away is to have basic information at hand. At Internship Fair, your resume can serve as a basic outline for your pitch. If you forget any part of your pitch or draw a blank, a quick look at the sheet will refresh your memory. This way, there is no need to think of what to say each time and you can add information that would specifically interest the person you are pitching to.

To make your pitch the best it can be before internship, remember that practice makes perfect! Practicing in front of friends or family members is a great way to get feedback and refine your pitch.

Last but not least, remember to stay relaxed. Your audience will respond better if you appear comfortable and confident while presenting. 

Posted on November 2, 2016 .

The dark side of social media

By: D.J. Glover

Social media is an amazing tool that allows people to connect and share information distances away in mere seconds. It provides us with news, the latest updates in culture and business and entertainment. Though there are many benefits, social media also has negative aspects.

For example, there is anonymity and perceived safety behind a keyboard. The perceived anonymity causes vicious comments and behaviors to be posted in frequency. Reality star Kim Kardashian’s alarming victimhood of robbery is example enough of how people can be insensitive and downright cruel. Being bound and robbed at gunpoint in the privacy of your residence is a traumatic experience for anyone. People seem to forget that reality stars are humans with emotions, too. Many negative comments have emerged, like disgusting posts talk about killing or even sexually assaulting her. This behavior is unacceptable and a low point of human sensitivity.

What many of these individuals don’t seem to understand is that their comments are seen, and every action has a consequence. As up and coming PR practitioners, we have the right to post our feelings and thoughts about all types of events, but our words can be seen by anyone. Especially controversial opinions and comments may result in unemployment. Even worse, you may not even be noticed for an interview.

Your social media says so much about you and perceptions are what count most. Remember, when you want to make a post about any topic, think about how others may perceive it, and if it is publicly appropriate. Again, social media is an incredible tool with limitless potential, but use it intelligently. When in doubt, err on the side of caution. 

Posted on October 19, 2016 .

PR in real life

By: Brianna Edwardson

A common question many PR majors will face is... what is public relations?  A loaded question asked by your public relations professors and your family. You’ll eventually ask yourself the question too. 

We see public relations on TV and in movies showing PR as a fluffy, female dominated business in the entertainment field. You can thank Scandal, Sex in the City and Mad Men for the biased interpretation of PR practitioners. Obviously, this isn’t the case. 

Think of public relations as a Band-Aid for some companies. PR can be crisis management in dire needs such as reputation, public safety and financial hits. For example, PR can help heal and mend a reputation of a business, which suffered a hit of bad press. We can make the “boo-boo” go away with no signs of scarring. 

Public relations is networking. As a PR practitioner more than likely you will work with clients needing a product or service promoted. You’ll gain connections with radio stations, newspapers and broadcast networks. Taking each network with you and furthering your career. Building connections with the mass media is the golden ticket to a great PR experience.  

Public speaking is PR, and PR is public speaking. Having good communication is what makes a great PR practitioner. We give the speech when a crisis hits. We give the speech to sell our client’s service or product. We give the presentation, and with great public speaking we can deliver the message without being ignored. 

PR practitioners are writers. Mentioned previously, we write speeches but don’t take it lightly. Like the saying goes, walk a mile in my shoes but PR practitioners need to walk five miles at best. As PR practitioners we certainly do need to walk a mile in their shoes. We can take on the challenge of being someone’s voice for their company, organization and product. As writers we can take on different personas with different businesses. We are the Jedi-Knights of writing. 

In the end, PR is the Swiss Army Knife of the communication, journalism and broadcasting world. We can do it all. We are more than just a fluffed up character on a TV show, looking great in business suits while constantly being on their phones. We’re professionals with an insight on all media outlets. 

Posted on October 11, 2016 .

PR is . . .

By: Rachel Riehl

“What’s your major?”

“Integrative public relations,” I say.

“What’s PR? What do you do with that degree?” 

Every family gathering, every introduction, every interview, this question comes up: what is PR? PR is such a broad field; this can be a daunting question. Even with the prevalence of PR in business and mass media, many people still don’t know what PR is.

PR is bettering a business. We work to raise brand awareness, market products and services and connected consumers to the business. We improve businesses by creating an organic form of advertising that is more genuine and trusting than traditional advertising.

PR is problem solving. When a crisis hits a company, we are the first responders. PR practitioners get the trust back from the public and communicate the point of view of the business we are representing.

PR is becoming an excellent writer. We learn all the rules and regulations of AP style and how to apply them. We write articles, press releases and fact sheets.

PR is selling yourself. You have to be prepared to make a connection with your colleagues and people in your business. Networking is key. Have business cards ready wherever you go and prepare to sell yourself with your elevator pitch.

PR is marketing, advertising, broadcasting, journalism, brainstorming and collaborating. PR is what you make of it. It is essential to a company’s existence.

Posted on September 27, 2016 .

Starting the semester off right

By: Nicole Roberts

The 2016-2017 school year has officially begun. Welcome weekend has passed, syllabus week is over and now it’s time to get ourselves prepared for the homework, exams and dreaded group projects that are soon to come. College is hard. We’re expected to do well in classes, be involved on campus, work part-time jobs, and on top of all of that, we’re all trying to maintain a social life. It can be hard.

Going into my fourth year of this busy college lifestyle, I’ve learned that the key to being successful is to get prepared early. Starting the year off right is essential, so I’ve provided some tips that can help you stay on track throughout the entire semester.

1.      Buy a planner and actually use it

Think you’re going to remember that assignment your professor told you about that’s due two weeks from now? Think again. Even when you’re a pro at remembering things, we all slip up. There can always be something more exciting to remember than reading chapter 4 of your communications book or studying for that AP style quiz. That’s where your planner comes in. Life gets busy and last minute obligations pop up, so you’re naturally bound to forget something at some point.  By simply getting a planner and actually using it, you can save yourself the struggle of trying to remember what day that quiz is or what time that RSO meeting is. 

2.      Make to-do lists EVERY week

There’s really nothing more satisfying than crossing things off of a to-do list. Give yourself 10 minutes on Sunday night to sit down and write out all of the things you need to get done for the upcoming week. I’ve found it beneficial to color code them so you can easily see what needs to be done for school, work, extracurricular activities, etc.

3.      Actually read your class syllabuses

Yes, syllabus week is over, and you’ve heard your professors give their spiels on their classes, but this doesn’t mean you should never look at those documents again.  Read them and familiarize yourself with the expectations your professors have for each of your classes. Print off copies and keep them in a place that is easily accessible. Not only can you keep track of upcoming assignments and tests that are coming up, but you’ll also have easy access to attendance policies, grading scales, assignment expectations, class schedules etc.

4.      Eat your vegetables

Take care of yourself. College gets busy and stressful and sometimes it’s easy to drop you from your priority list. Don’t let this happen. Make time to work out, make time to go grocery shopping so you aren’t eating out every day and make time to relax. All of that work you have to do isn’t going to get done if you’re sick or sleep deprived, so it’s important to schedule in “you time” so you can stay healthy and energized.

5.      Get to know your professors

Don’t be that student that only goes to their professors’ office hours at the end of the semester because you’re desperate for extra credit. Go to their office hours throughout the year even if you aren’t struggling in class and make the effort to build a relationship with them. I can’t stress enough how important this is. Having these relationships means having someone who’s available to give you advice, constructive criticism, that letter of recommendation you’re going to need, and it means having someone who can mentor you throughout your time at CMU. 

Posted on September 20, 2016 .

Traditional Vs. Digital PR

By: Drew Forrest 

Times have changed in the PR industry over the years. There is a divide in the industry’s communication strategy between new technology and the older original tactics. While I’ll go over these differences, it’s important we know where the industry is going and how we can master our craft with both.

Ways of Communicating

When the traditional PR expert needed to contact the masses they would go through the usual. This consisted of TV, radio, and newspapers. The PR agents of today emphasize a lot more two-way communication through social media. They still deliver their message through traditional mediums, but they also utilize social media to create conversation and communication.

Messages

The messages of traditional PR where completely introspective. Today’s digital PR messages provide much more meaningful content. When groups on social media show dissatisfaction or have questions about said organization, our PR expert can provide much more tailored individual messages about the company that special publics care much more about.

Message Attractiveness

In traditional PR a press release, is a press release, is a press release. Today, not only are there millions of organizations fighting for the media’s attention, but also, there are many underutilized ways to do it. With all of today’s digital technology, we can craft messages to be eye catching. This is extremely important in a world of constant competition for attention.

Tools of the Trade

In the field of communication, contacts are everything. In the days of traditional PR, managing those contacts could be a mess. Because of this, things would become detrimentally slow, and in the field of PR, slow communication is bad communication. In the digital age, a PR agent has a plethora of tools for just such a thing. These tools, also known as CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools, keep communication quick and organized with things such as automatic reporting and managing influencer databases.

Tone

In traditional PR the lines between communication and promotional material were skewed. Every message was centered on how their company, or organization, was the best of the best. Today’s messages are much more personal. PR professionals focus on taking the successes of their company and talking about how they’ve grown, where they’re headed, and asking how their customers feel.

The field of PR is an ever changing landscape, constantly growing and evolving. The PR expert must be constantly adapting. Whether a college graduate or a seasoned expert, the job of learning what is trending on the forefront of the public is never over. 

 

Posted on April 3, 2016 .

SPRING BREAK 101

By: Alyssa Tippens

It’s finally here; the magical time of year we’ve been counting down the days until-- Spring Break. The long winter days have been pretty excruciating, so it’s only natural to jump at the chance to lay your responsibilities aside for a while. But before you fly off to sunshine filled lands, (or simply hide away in your room and binge on your favorite movies), there are a few things you should keep in mind in order to maximize your chances of a successful vacation.

Sunscreen is key

If you’re anything like me, you have the uncanny ability to repress all the memories you’ve accumulated over the years of terrible burns, sun poisoning fiascos and overall failed attempts at getting a tan. If this sounds like you; do yourself a favor and just buy some sunscreen for once. You’ll still be able to reduce your pastiness, and stay healthy at the same time. Bad sunburns exponentially increase the risk of skin cancer later in life, and no tanning attempt is worth the problems that go along with it. Not to mention the terrible, terrible experience of taking the trip home with a bad sunburn (been there, done that).

Have an adventure

Spring break shouldn’t be all about parties and late nights. If you’re lucky enough to travel somewhere interesting over break, make sure you make the most of it and explore everything your vacation spot has to offer! If you’re near the ocean, try snorkeling or windsurfing!  If you’re in a more mountainous terrain, try some skiing, mountain biking, or hiking. Whatever you do, make sure to try something new. The best spring breaks you can have are the ones in which you seize opportunities that allow you to step outside of your comfort zone.

Look out for others

Wherever you go for spring break, make sure to always be looking out for your friends. (And everyone else, for that matter.) The buddy system is a tried-and- true way of staying safe, so don’t let a friend wander off in a strange place. You may be a grown up now and consider yourself responsible enough to navigate your way through a foreign place, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. On that same note, make sure to always have your phone fully chargedbefore you make your way out for the day. If you do get lost, at least you’ll have your trusty GPS to help you find your way home.

Stay ahead of the curve

While it’s tempting to completely forget all school-related matters over break, try to challenge yourself to get ahead on at least one assignment during your time off. It really won’t be as painful as it sounds (still trying to convince myself of this). If you’re stuck at home, you might as well make the most of your free time. You’ll feel super accomplished and prepared to take on the rest of the semester. 

Posted on March 3, 2016 .

Confessions of a Coffeeholic: Barista Edition

By: Claire Kupris 

            For those of you who choose methods of staying caffeinated outside of coffee, then suit your depresso self. Those who indulge in the espresso life, you know that you did not choose it, but it chose you. Especially when your own body sabotages you with the slug-like feeling when you are feigning for coffee and can hear the sound of a brewing pot from across the way. For me personally, that is what I get out of bed for. It also happens to be the way that I make money while being a college student. Luckily, instead of seeing stars from all the bucks that I throw at coffee, I manage to save some pennies from working amongst it. My tolerance for it is higher than my GPA, and my insight may vary from the average coffee sipper. However, being behind the counter a few times and making a couple hundred drinks, I would like to think that I brewed a thought or five while being a barista.

            For you posers out there, a “Frappuccino” is not really coffee. In fact, that buzz you feel after drinking it is not a caffeine rush, but rather, your body beginning to convulse from all the sugar it is processing. There is probably an eye-drop’s worth of caffeine throughout the whole drink, but in reality, all you are taking in is your daily dosage of calories. It also costs significantly more than any other orders on the menu, so consider it more of a delicacy than a drink.

            That dark roast that you ordered with no regrets? Well, you may not regret a letter, but you may rethink the roast. In fact, the lighter the roast, the more caffeine it contains. For a little lesson in the logistics of roasts, dark-roast coffees contain less coffee grounds due to their greater volume. This leads to a weaker brew and less caffeine power per mug. In other words, if you are looking for something that will transform you into a superhero, it may be safer to go with the lighter roast. Lighter roast, higher flight.

            No one actually likes “black” coffee. If you do, then you will agree that it is an acquired taste. One does not simply go from not drinking coffee to drinking black cups of it, not without jumping off the java wagon or making a face that only your mother would love. Black coffee drinkers are veterans who have managed to figure out that the drinks that taste good also are not good for you. When trying to cut calories from their favorite drink, it is going black that is going to count less. To get to this level, one may want to start with a minimum amount of creamer, eventually weaning it off until you no longer need it. However, one’s version of “need” may vary, so lets go with until you can accept the fact that how it makes you feel is better than how it tastes.

            Espresso shots are key when having little time to drink but a lot of work to do. For me personally, I can have five by ten in the morning and could go for five more. In fact, just today, I have consumed nine shots. Although, I would not recommend that to anyone unless you have already experimented with how your body reacts to caffeine.  Espresso shots are major key in the making of your latte or adding it to the brew of your choice, so cutting out the whole process of chugging a mug and replacing it with a few shots may just be doing yourself a favor. Again, use this advice wisely. No one wants to have a caffeine coma, am I right? Side note: save yourself from being the source of laughter and make sure you are pronouncing espresso as it is, and not as “expresso”.

            A latte is the skeleton of all specialty drinks outside of a traditional brew. Essentially it is espresso, steamed milk, and whatever flavoring that you ordered. A caramel macchiato is simply vanilla and caramel in a latte, and so on. A cappuccino is a cousin of a latte, just with less milk, more espresso, and a hearty heap of foam.

            When ordering a specialty drink, the barista is always going to make it with whole milk. The flavoring you asked for is also going to have sugar. A lot of sugar, so much you can give some to your neighbor. If you are someone who is body conscious or sensitive to dairy and or sugar, then speak up or forever down your fattening drink. Most locations will offer non-fat milk, soy, and sugar free syrups. Sure, it will not be a dessert in a cup, but you could save yourself a few extra pounds in the long run, if you are that type. If you are someone who is happy with your whole milk, sugary latte, then cheers to you.

            Overall, the art of drinking coffee is perceived differently amongst the masses. For someone who lives, breathes, drinks, and will probably die from coffee, it is a drink of the Gods. Others that know nothing about it other than the compulsive order they make when they are on an awkward blind date, they have probably dabbled in different drinks that were cringe worthy or left them content. For some of you, maybe you have managed your whole life without it. If you happen to be someone who has avoided up to the current day, then do not be surprised when you start to hug the pot when you are in your cubical having a mid-life crisis in twelve years. By then, coffee may be your saving grace. If you have made it to this point in this crash course in coffee, you are either craving a cup of your favorite poison or have maybe learned a thing or two from your friendly fellow barista. Whatever your method, stay caffeinated. 

 

Posted on February 21, 2016 .