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Tales from a student-PR agency at Kent State University


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Prominent Black PR Role Models

By: Chyenne Tatum

Hello and welcome to February! We all know that this month is associated with quite a few things: falling in love, celebrating love, avoiding all lovey-dovey couples that remind us of how single we are and (if it applies to you) being black and proud! There are many prominent figures in African-American history that we recognize for paving the way in the black community and their professions have varied from all types of fields. However, we rarely talk about black PR professionals who are killing the game and advocating for racial diversity in media and communications. That is why I have put together a list of nine African-American founders, presidents and CEOs of PR businesses and corporations.

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Robin E. Beaman

robin beaman

Who she is: President of Beaman Incorporated

What she does: According to her LinkedIn, Beaman’s agency was founded on doing innovative work that gives its clients maximum publicity, increased sales, and heightened brand awareness. Robin also serves on several boards, including the Diversity Advisory Board at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and the Youth Advisory Board at the Apostolic Church of God,

How she got there: Beaman earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Howard University and her Master of Science degree from the Kogod School of Business at American University. She began her amazing career in 1981 when she became director of public relations at The Capital Children’s Museum in Washington, D.C.  In 1984, she accepted a position at Black Entertainment Television (BET) and created the company’s first public relations division as its public relations manager. Shortly after, she was promoted to director of consumer marketing and public relations.

 

Nicole Garner

nicole garner

Who she is: Founder and CEO of The Garner Circle PR

What she does: According to her website, Nicole has leveraged her resources by creating an enterprise consisting of The Cosmetic Circus (a beauty business investment agency), The Entrepreneurs Ivy League (an online platform to empower entrepreneurs) and The Pink Lemonade Stand (a non-profit fostering entrepreneurship for girls’ ages 8 – 17 yrs. old). She’s also written two books on female entrepreneurship and a guide to PR in fashion, music, entertainment and film.

How she got there: Nicole graduated from Georgia State University and New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology. Beginning her career under the tutelage of some of the industry’s most famous entertainment and celebrity publicists, Nicole then realized her passion for the lifestyle side of PR. She’s worked with numerous clients, such as Ciara, Estelle, BET, MTV, VH1 and many more household names.

 

Gwendolyn Quinn

gwendolyn quinn

Who she is: Founder of GQ Media & Public Relations, media strategist, celebrity publicist, writer and producer

What she does: According to Huffington Post, Gwendolyn Quinn is a global award-winning media strategist and consultant with a career of more than 25 years in communications, entertainment and media. Throughout her career, she’s worked with some of the industry’s most well-known stars, including Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Chaka Khan, Prince, Queen Latifah and Sean “P. Diddy” Combs among countless others. Her publicity and marketing firm specializes in developing media strategies, coordinating special events and brand development for clients of music, theatre, corporate, non-profit, faith-based and the visual and fine arts.

How she got there: Music has always been a huge part of her life and career as a publicist and public relations executive for more than 15 years, and she has been in entertainment for more than two decades. Gwendolyn’s first public relations position at a record company came in 1991 when she became Publicity Coordinator at Mercury/PolyGram in New York.

 

Toni Beckham

toni beckham

Who she is: President and CEO of PR et Cetera, Inc., Chief Information Officer for Tracy African-American Association (TAAA)

What she does: According to her LinkedIn, the company assists the communications/media relations/promotional needs of a rising number of prominent individual, corporate and non-profit entities throughout the country.

How she got there: In the company’s earliest days, Toni promoted events for friends and acquaintances without charge to familiarize the public with her work. One such promotion led to her to her first paying client, Tavis Smiley, author, civic activist, and then host of the widely popular one-hour nightly talk show on national cable station, Black Entertainment Television, BET Tonight with Tavis Smiley.

 

Ramona Wright

ramona

Who she is: Founder of The Center of Leadership, Love & Relationships (LLR Center), host of The Chair podcast

What she does: According to her LinkedIn, Ramona currently empowers others as an integrative wellness life coach, host of The Chair podcast and founder of The Center of Leadership, Love & Relationships (LLR Center). Many can relate to her, especially women, because she has moved through professional changes and challenges and has overcome personal hardships including homelessness and dysfunctional relationships.

How she got started: Ramona has had 15 years of experience in strategic communication and she taught public relations and social media marketing at her alma mater, Loyola Marymount University. She’s worked in the corporate, non-profit and tech sectors and is the fund manager for a STEAM internships initiative promoting underrepresented multi-cultural youth.

Other interesting facts: In 2011, Ramona was named one of the “Top African American Public Relations Agents”​by MadameNiore.com, and she wrote and produced a Telly Award winning Public Service Announcement (PSA) about homelessness featuring Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx and Ryan Seacrest.

 

Nia Rice

 nia rice

Who she is: Co-founder of Serene MGMT

What she does: According to the Huffington Post, Serene Management is a branding, PR, marketing and event company specializing in the entertainment and lifestyle industries. Nia manages her PR clients from her office in New York. Currently she represents Dr. Arabia Mollette; a podcast host, and physician from the Bronx, New York.

How she got there: Nia became interested in PR after interning with Priscilla Clarke of Clarke and Associates when she was a sophomore at University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Once her internship was over at Clarke and Associates, she earned a position with 66 Raw Radio, a broadcast digital platform. While working at the radio station, Nia fell in love with photography, videography, sales, and of course events and PR. She landed the position as Director of Events and PR.

 

Megan Alston

 megan

Who she is: Co-founder of Serene MGMT, along with her business partner Nia Rice

What she does: According to Huffington Post, Megan considers herself an event specialist and up-and-coming publicist. Her day-to-day duties for Serene MGMT include contract negotiations, the facilitation of all legal and business documents for the company, event coordination and some occasional PR, marketing and branding outreach.

Why she’s passionate about PR: Megan loves being able to unapologetically unleash her creativity through PR

 

 

Kevin Williams

kevin

Who he is: Founder of 4.0 Public Relations in Chicago

What he does: Kevin’s firm specializes in sports and entertainment public relations, marketing, branding and advertising.

How he got started: According to Huffington Post, he discovered the art of public relations in high school. His first PR project was with Tammy Brawner of the Harlem Globetrotters. She became a client, and within two months, Kevin secured placements for her with BET’s Celebrity Basketball Game, among other celebrity games. He also landed a hosting opportunity with the National Musical Artist Wale, and media placements with “Black Hollywood Live” and “CBS Radio,” among others.

Other interesting facts: Kevin mentors young teenage boys on the West Side of Chicago and teaches them how to play various sports while motivating them to pursue college. He also collects toys and clothing items during the winter for the homeless and less fortunate children.

 

Ciara Brooks

ciara

Who she is: Founder of Brooks PR Solutions, vice president of National Black Public Relations Society’s Washington, D.C. chapter

What she does: According to Huffington Post, Ciara’s daily duties involve research on her client’s goals and objectives as well as creating strategies to build brand awareness. She helps produce the Executive Meet and Greet, which is an annual event that prepares members of the National Black Public Relations Society’s Washington, D.C.’s chapter to network with leading personalities in the Washington, D.C area.

How she got there: Ciara became interested in public relations once her mother suggested it during her years in high school. Her first public relations position was as an intern with the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), which happens to be the largest federal employee union representing over 700,000 federal and Washington, D.C. government workers nationwide and overseas.

Why she loves PR: What Ciara loves most about PR is the results. She likes to measure the hard work that she’s put into an organization or company that assisted in her growth and development as a PR professional.

 

Antonice Jackson

antonice

Who she is: President of the National Black Public Relations Society, Washington, D.C. Chapter, founder and principal of Audacious Publicity and Management Group

What she does: According to Huffington Post, Antonice’s role as President of NBPRS is to ensure clarity, efficacy and consistency of messaging to the chapter office as well as the national office. She led the affairs and activities of a ten-member executive board, with more than 70 chapter members. She also serves as the chapter’s spokesperson, serving as a liaison between national leadership and other local chapters across the country.

How she got there: Her first public relations and communications position was as a public affairs specialist with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in Bethesda, Maryland. During Antonice’s two-year tenure, she assisted in minority and community outreach initiatives, led social media and strategic communications campaigns for fireworks safety, minority outreach and the Safe Sleep campaign.

Why she loves PR: Antonice loves the opportunity to engage and connect with people and she values each relationship. Sometimes a new relationship doesn’t always result in a placement for a client, but the connection often develops into other opportunities.

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10 Things to Love about Public Relations

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By: Audra Gormley

  1. Getting to work and network with creative, intelligent professionals. Public relations professionals are often very creative, innovative people who are motivated in their field. Ideas and connections seamlessly flow between one PR pro to the next. Public relations professionals are great at being mentors, friends and easy-going colleagues.
  2. We have the power. Public relations runs on advocacy and through advocacy comes change. Public relations professionals are really good at setting out to change the world and making their organization’s wishes a reality. Public Relations can be used to make a real impact. Public relations can raise awareness, inform people on serious issues and ultimately lead in acting to better the world around us.
  3. We’re the friend who tells the best stories. Public relations professionals are great at telling stories and relaying the message. With terrific writing skills and effective communication, we can make any story into a hit!
  4. anigif_enhanced-buzz-15656-1381982607-5We are your Swiss army knife. Public relations professionals are good at many things, from writing, to social media, to interacting with clients, we can pretty much do it all. Our general, solid skills can be morphed into just about any task on your to do list. We’re great to have around!
  5. We can pivot our career to suit our changing interests. There are so many facets of public relations. It seems like there is something for everyone. There are careers in public relations relating to: politics, fashion, entertainment, environmental, travel etc. Pretty much any interest you have, there is a PR job for you out there.
  6. Working with cool clients. Public relations is an essential tool in any organizations success. That being said, we get to work with some pretty cool companies ranging from Panera to GE to Starbucks. There are endless opportunities to work with fun, creative organizations.
  7. butter-flyIt’s okay to be a social butterfly. Public
    elations professionals are almost always interacting with clients, organizations, attending events and getting to know their co-workers. Being social is just part of the job!
  8. Work can be flexible! With technology being at our fingertips, working remote as a PR professional becomes possible from any place in the world. Public relations is becoming more digital and is creating more opportunities for working moms, retired professionals and up-and-coming pros, to work from wherever they are.
  9. Public Relations makes you feel like a BOSS! We are quick on our feet and very good at smoothing out the bumps. We are great planners, event coordinators and there is nothing getting in our way!
  10. tenorWe’re taking over the world! Well not exactly, but according to statistics collected about growing careers, public relations is on a steady incline! That means more jobs for PR pros! Whoohooo!

 


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Looking for a Female PR Role Model? Here are 11

When starting out in our PR, communications and marketing careers, it’s empowering to know that these industries have so many amazing female role models to learn from. However, because of the “behind-the-scenes” nature of our field, they can be hard to find through just a quick web search. But never fear! The team at Flash Communications has put together a list of 11 amazing women in PR, communications and marketing and how they got to where they are:

sharonrothstein

Sharon Rothstein

Who she is: Executive Vice President, Global Chief Marketing Officer for Starbucks

What she does: According to her bio, Rothstein leads the creation of the brand narrative for Starbucks Retail and Channel development, marketing initiatives, creative expressions, advertising, and key business partnerships. She also has direct responsibility for leading Starbucks Global Creative Studio, Global Digital Marketing team and Global Category Brand Management.

How she got there: Rothstein earned her MBA from the University of California, Los Angeles and her Bachelor of Commerce from the University of British Columbia. She serves on the board of directors for the Ad Council. Prior to joining Starbucks in April 2013, Sharon served as Senior Vice President of marketing at specialty beauty retailer Sephora. Prior to Sephora, Rothstein held senior marketing and brand management positions with Godiva, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, and Procter & Gamble.

TammyrobertsmyersTammy Roberts Myers

Who she is: Vice President, External Communications for Limited Brands, Inc.

What she does: According to her bio, Myers is responsible for establishing and building relationships with local and national media and nongovernment organizations; developing and coordinating the company’s external communications and corporate CSR strategies; providing leadership counsel on issues that could impact the reputation of the company; and collaborating on communication with the brand public relations teams within the company.

How she got there: Tammy earned her MBA from the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio, and graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Otterbein College in Westerville, Ohio. She began in Communications at Bob Evans Farms, Inc. where she managed and directed all investor relations, corporate communications and consumer relations activities.

JanaFleishmanJana Fleishman

Who she is: Head of Communications at the record company Roc Nation

What she does: According to an article in Business Insider, Fleishman says it changes from day to day: juggling personalities, schedules, agendas, making impossible deadlines, keeping a level head when people make wild assumptions, accusations and false stories, etc. She also loves helping people realize their dreams.

“I love being part of exposing a great talent to the world. There’s nothing like seeing a fan walk up to someone and say ‘That song/concert/interview/appearance changed my life,’” Fleishman said in the article.

Best advice she got: “Two things ‘Our job is to push the culture forward and create the right conversations. If they aren’t talking, then what is our real purpose’ and ‘You’re in the grown woman world now. If you really want to be an executive, there’s no crying in this world. Suck it up, move on and focus on your own growth.’  I was 18 and 6 months into my internship.”

MonicaGillMonica Gil

Who she is: Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs at NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises

What she does: according to her LinkedIn profile, Gil oversees the company’s corporate communications, government relations, and community relations efforts. In addition, she manages high-priority company-wide initiatives across all Telemundo Enterprises business units.

How she got there: Gil has a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California Berkeley and an M.A. from the USC School of Public Administration. Most recently, Gil was Senior Vice President and General Manager of Multicultural Growth and Strategy at Nielsen where she was responsible for driving growth, providing market insights and delivering comprehensive strategies to reach diverse consumer segments. Before joining Nielsen, Gil served as a senior member of Antonio Villaraigosa’s political campaign team and was part of his historic mayoral victory in 2005. She also served as Press Secretary for the Speaker of California State Assembly.

PalcicAmy Palcic

Who she is: Senior Director of Communications for the Houston Texans

How she got there: According to her Linkedin Profile, Palcic got her B.A. in Communications from Auburn University. She worked as the Director of Communications for the Cleveland Browns for 10 years, then moved into agency work before getting the job working for the Houston Texans in 2013.

Why she chose to work in a “boys’ club:” According to an article for Glamour Magazine, Palcic left her job with the Browns for an agency in L.A. in 2009. Now Palcic is the only woman heading an NFL team’s communications department.

“As a woman it would’ve been easy to give up and say, ‘Hey, this wasn’t for me,’” says Palcic. “But I missed it every single day—the pace, the crazy hours, and feeling part of a team.”

MarthaboudreuMartha M. Boudreau

Who she is: Executive Vice President & Chief Communications and Marketing Officer for the American Association for Retired People (AARP)

What she does: According to her bio, Boudreau is responsible for setting enterprise brand and communications strategy and unifying AARP’s voice throughout the organization’s extensive channels: social, digital, earned media and paid media along with AARP’s leading publications, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin.

How she got there: Boudreau received her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She started as a legislative assistant to Congressman David Bonior in 1980. Before coming to AARP, she served as president of the mid-Atlantic region and Latin America for FleishmanHillard, a leading global communications consulting firm. In addition to her financial and client service responsibilities in the Washington office, she was central to the global coordination of client work and new business efforts.

carolpotterCarol Potter

Who she is: President and Chief Executive Officer, Edelman, Europe

How she got there: According to her bio, Potter started her career at Saatch & Saatchi in the 80s. In the late 90s, Potter helped head the New York office of J. Walter Thompson whilst running the Unilever account in North America. From 2001 and 2004, she oversaw the De Beers account globally, during which time more women in the world received a diamond than at any time in history.

She built BBDO from a 60 people office in Shanghai to a company of over 450 people in 7 offices across the cities of Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Taipei.

Favorite quote: Potter told marketing-interactive.com that her favorite quote is: “People share products with friends not because they like the products, but because they like their friends.”

“As a brand you need to think about how you can give your products a real value,” Potter said. “Consumers now expect a holistic experience from the brand; they don’t compartmentalize where the messages come from, so I don’t think we can either.”

noel-schureYvette Noel-Schure

Who she is: Co-Founder, EVP for the publicist agency Schure Media Group

What she does: According to her bio, Schure has developed press campaigns for artists including Mariah Carey, Will Smith, Jessica Simpson, Prince, John Legend, Adele, Wyclef Jean, Destiny’s Child and for each of that group’s members: Kelly Rowland, Michelle Williams, and Beyoncé; as well as media launches for Maxwell “BLACKsummers’night”) and Beyoncé; (“I Am … Sasha Fierce”).

How she got there: Schure got her B.A. in journalism and public relations from New York City College. She worked as the editor for Black Beat Magazine until 1993 when she went to work as the Senior Vice President of Media for Sony Music. Schure co-founded Schure Media Group in 2010 with her husband, David Schure.

Advice: Schure told Out Magazine, “I grew up in the Caribbean and as an immigrant child, there’s nothing that’s taught to you with more passion than hard work. Do not feel bad if you’re the last one left there. Get it done. Finish it. Wake up early. Wake up with the sun.”

judysmithJudy Smith

Who she is: Founder and President of Smith & Co, a leading strategic and crisis communications firm with offices in Washington D.C. and Los Angeles.

What she does: according to her bio, she is known as the “fixer.” Perhaps best known for her expertise as a crisis management advisor, Smith has served as a consultant for a host of high profile, celebrity and entertainment clients over the course of her career including, but not limited to, Monica Lewinsky, Senator Craig from Idaho, actor Wesley Snipes, NFL quarterback Michael Vick, and the family of Chandra Levy.

How she got there: Smith received a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Relations from Boston University and graduated from the American University Washington College of Law where she was the first African-American woman to serve as Executive Editor of the Law Review. She served as Associate Counsel and Deputy Director of Public Information in the Office of the Independent Counsel, Lawrence E. Walsh from 1987 to 1989. In 1991, Ms. Smith joined the White House with her appointment as Special Assistant and Deputy Press Secretary to President George H. W. Bush. Prior to founding Smith and Company, Ms. Smith was a partner at several Washington D.C. – based public relations firms. Before that, Ms. Smith served as Senior Vice-President of Corporate Communications at NBC. Additionally, she served as NBC’s chief spokesperson for domestic and international programming and business ventures, and also helped with the groundbreaking launch of one of the nation’s first cable news stations, MSNBC.

1Joanna Hoffman

Who she was: Hoffman was the fifth member of the Apple Macintosh team in 1980, and the first marketing person for Mac and later for Steve Jobs at NeXT.

How she got there: According to an article in the Daily Mail, Hoffman earned a Bachelor of Science in Humanities and Science from MIT. Then she pursued a Ph.D. in archaeology at the University of Chicago. During that time, she attended a talk at Xerox PARC, the legendary Silicon Valley research center where Steve Jobs first saw the graphical user interface he adapted for the Mac. When Jobs left Apple in the fall of 1985, Hoffman followed him to NeXT. After NeXT, Hoffman worked for promising startup General Magic with other exMac employees. She retired in 1995 to spend more time with her family. Kate Winslet portrayed Hoffman in Danny Boyle’s 2015 movie Steve Jobs.

2Katherine Lyon Daniel

Who she is: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Associate Director for Communication

What she does: According to her bio, Daniel leads the agency’s external and internal communication aimed at putting the best information available into the hands of people who need it to protect their health or the health of others. This includes providing accessible information through strategic communication, digital media and campaigns for changes in health behavior.

How she got there: Dr. Daniel earned the B.A. in Psychology from the University of Virginia, and the Ph.D. in Social Ecology from the University of California at Irvine. Her dissertation research focused on communicating long-term health risks to the US Senate. She has conducted and published research on risk perception and understanding risk behavior. She has authored or co-authored more than a dozen scientific articles. In 2010-2011, she completed the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative at Harvard University.

 

 


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What PR job is right for you?

By Sarah Heber

Has anyone in your family asked what the heck you plan on doing with a degree in public relations yet? If not, just wait, they will ask soon enough. It is a good question though: what job could you do with a degree in PR? There are plenty of different types of PR jobs out there, so don’t get caught in a field you won’t like.

Here are some tips on how to figure out what type of PR job you should look for post-graduation:

Government PR (public affairs) Crisis Management
So you want to be the next Olivia Pope? Don’t we all. I’ve grouped these two because often times politics involves crisis management. If you’re passionate about politics and wanting to make a difference in the world, public affairs may be the field for you. However, be prepared for all the crises that this field brings about. If you also excel in cleaning up others disasters, you’ll be perfect for public affairs at the highest levels. If you still enjoy political issues but would rather stray from all the bureaucracy of Washington D.C., try looking into state or local government PR jobs.

Agency PR
Are you good with deadlines and planning out your entire day? If you know exactly where to be and when to be, you’ll thrive in agency. This type of PR deals with many different clients and any different deadlines so sticking to a schedule is imperative. It is also important to impress as many clients as possible because the more clients you have in agency, the higher your sense of job security will be. While corporate and agency have similarities, one of the biggest differences is the amount of creative freedom agency allows. With fewer guidelines, creative and innovative minds are free to explore new ideas, if you have the time, that is.

Corporate PR
If you like the sound of agency but not the fast pace or need for creativity, the corporate world may be a better fit. In corporate PR, you only have one client that you work for and therefore expectations are usually kept the same. Having only one client does limit the creative freedom; however, you rarely have to worry about job security because you and the client co-exist. It is essential to stay up-to-date on the news, especially news that could affect the client you work for. If the idea of structure and having a black-and-white set of rules to follow sounds up your alley, corporate will be a great fit.

Nonprofit PR
No, nonprofit does not mean you won’t get a salary for this job. Nonprofit PR employees often describe themselves to wear many hats in the office. They are typically a Jack-of-All-Trades, specializing in social media, writing, communication, event planning, fundraising and literally everything. Excelling in all these categories is important because nonprofits typically have a small staff. One huge characteristic about nonprofit is the audience. They are more than consumers; they are the supporters of your cause. Nonprofit may seem a bit intimidating at first but often times it is the most rewarding line of PR. Plus, what better way to be a well-rounded PR guru than having to do it all?

Sports PR
Sports PR doesn’t need much of a description, or does it? Sports PR and entertainment have more in common than you may think. In sports PR, you have to either create or maintain a persona for your team or athlete. If you’re interested in sports PR, it is crucial to be tech savvy and great with social media. Storytelling is also a huge component of this job so if you’re good at feature-style writing this could be the perfect job for you. Plus, if you end up working for a team you like think about all games you would be able to attend.

Entertainment / Fashion PR
If you’re good at making yourself known and love music or fashion, then look no further. The entertainment and fashion industry can be tricky for PR grads to land a big-shot job in though. This field is a lot about knowing the right people so if you think you want to go into either of these fields, start networking early on in your college career. Try to get internships with local venues and get your brand and your name out there. If you are a strong writer and influencer in your community, you’ll do well in these fields. Make sure you hone in on your writing skills too.

If you’re still feeling lost, don’t worry. The best thing you can do it give these industries trial-runs during your internships. You can learn what you do and don’t like before entering the real world and before you have to find a full-time job. You never truly know what PR field you’ll like the best until you try it.


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Three Quotes for the Young PR Professional

We all need some inspiration and advice when it comes to figuring out our career paths. Quotes give you a guide, something easy to remember and helpful to live by. Here are some of my favorite quotes for the young PR professional to know:

“Advertising is saying you’re good. PR is getting someone else to say you’re good.” – Jean Louis Gassee

This quote is as close as you’ll get to an accurate depiction of public relations. In public relations, we don’t pay for promotions, advertisements or others to say they’re good. We need to work our butts off to make sure people BELIEVE we are good, and tell others we are good. It’s about building a relationship with your clients, making sure there is a mutual trust. If you can get someone else to talk positively on behalf of your company, then you know you’re on the right track.

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” – Warren Buffet

Strategy, strategy, strategy! When performing tasks, especially those with high media exposure, make sure your actions are done with strategy. It is never good to “wing” it in the public relations field.  Check out what happens when you don’t think it through before acting.

digiorno

A simple social media blunder: DiGiorno Pizza tried to jump on the #Hashtag bandwagon, but didn’t understand what the hashtag meant before posting it. In reality, the #WhyIStayed hashtag was to discuss powerful stories of domestic violence… not something worth joking about with pizza.

They didn’t take time to think this one through. Urbanurban outfitters Outfitters released a “Vintage” on-of-a-kind Kent State sweatshirt that had a clear reference to the 1970 killing of four students protesting the Vietnam War by the Army National Guard. Urban outfitters later apologized on twitter saying, “Was never our intention to allude to the tragic events that took place at Kent State in 1970 and we are extremely saddened that this item was perceived as such.”

 

“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.” – Rudyard Kipling

cigs

Comparing cigarettes to terrorist attacks may not be the best analogy.

As PR professionals we are constantly writing. Press releases, newsletters, tweets, grants, speeches, you name it! With all of this experience under our belt, we can accidentally get in the “robotic” flow of writing, not paying attention to how each word may resonate with the audience. It is important to pick and choose your words carefully when going into the public eye. Be cautious of derogatory words, slurs or negative connotations. We need to know our audience, and we need to be aware of triggers within that audience. Pick words that will make your audience rally behind

whales

PETA didn’t think through their body-shaming advertisement before it was plastered over a huge billboard.

your cause instead of fight against it. Practicing and testing out your work before releasing it for everyone to see and hear is the best way to avoid a PR discriminatory disaster. Also, keep in mind how the audience may take your words verses what you actually mean. If you answer a question with “no comment’ you may actually not know the answer to something, whereas the audience may take it as you’re hiding something. Think before write, and rewrite before you speak.

 

As you navigate through the PR industry it is important to have quotes like this to keep you in check. No matter how much experience or fancy titles you’ve had, everyone is susceptible to mistakes. By having go-to quotes to live by in your profession can ensure you’re doing public relations the RIGHT way, being a positive influencer between an organization and its audiences.


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“What are your Hobbies?” The Hardest “Easy” Question You’ll Ever Get in a Job Interview

Imagine you’re in a job interview for your dream internship. You’ve been preparing for days – you have your elevator speech fully memorized, you’ve practiced your responses to the “where do you see yourself in five years,” and the “what are your biggest strengths and weaknesses,” questions, and now it’s time to ‘wow’ the interviewers with your smart and concise responses. And you do – until, near the end of the interview, the interviewer breaks out the one question you weren’t prepared for: “So what do you do in your spare time? What are your hobbies?”

The question seems harmless enough at first, until you realize you don’t have an answer. Because let’s be honest: between classes, organizations and work, your “spare time” is extremely limited. And what spare time you do have involves venting about your busy life to your friends or watching Netflix in your room while eating ramen. And it’s not like you can tell THAT to your prospective bosses. So, what do you do?

This very situation has happened to me a couple of times now, and both times the question caught me off guard. What do you say to a question like this? Do you tell the truth and sound lazy? Or do you lie, and risk being caught? Here’s my advice for answering one of the easiest, yet extremely mind-boggling questions you’ll ever get in a job interview.

What is a “Hobby?”

When I first think of hobbies, I think of the traditional ones: painting, or knitting, or playing a sport or instrument. Now, if you’re already doing one of these things, great! You’re all set for this question. But, if you’re like me and you don’t do any of that stuff – at least not on a regular basis — you might be thinking you don’t have a hobby. But don’t fret! You don’t have to pick up fencing or ballroom dancing just yet. There are a lot of things that you’re already doing that could be considered a “hobby.” Do you cook? Cooking is a hobby. Do you like to hike and explore? That could be considered a hobby. Do you like movies? Passion for films is a great hobby. These may not be as exciting or skill-based as say, competing in tennis or making your own clothes, but they’re still things that not everyone is passionate about and can set you apart from the other job candidates.

What Your Hobby Should Say About You

The reason why this question comes up so much is job interviews is that employers want to learn as much about you as possible. Questions like this could stem from concerns the employer might have, such as your overall health and energy level, your mentality or how you might engage and entertain clients and coworkers. They also want to try and get a sense of whether they’d get along with you, and feel comfortable chatting in the break room or making small talk during a one-on-one meeting.

You should know there are certain subjects that you should never bring up in an interview — even if your favorite way to spend free time is gambling, partying, or any type of illegal or questionable activity, never bring it up in an interview. Political involvement is also not a good response – unless you’re going to work for a political organization or you know FOR SURE that the people conducting the interview align with you politically. Make sure your answer positively reflects you and your ability to achieve success in the position.

You can also use the hobbies question to touch on things that are on your resume that weren’t already brought up in the interview. If you didn’t already get a chance to talk about your work in your extra-curricular activities or your volunteer and community work, this question is a great opportunity to expand on that. Just make sure you’re not being repetitive – your interviewer wants to learn as much about you as possible, not hear the same answers applied to different questions.

No matter what your answer is, make sure it’s as genuine as possible. Chances are, your employer already knows whether you’re qualified for the job: they want to get to know YOU. So remember to sound passionate and enthusiastic when talking about your “hobby.”

Thinking ahead

Now, just because you don’t have a “traditional” hobby right now, doesn’t you can’t pick one up! It’s never too late to learn a new skill, and in most cases, it’s not hard to find opportunities to do so. Most colleges have classes and organizations dedicated to teaching or expanding on a specific craft. So when you’re going to register for next semesters classes, be sure to check out that yoga or dance class, or see what kind of painting, sewing or pottery classes your university offers. You can also go online to see what clubs and organizations your university has that are dedicated to specific hobbies – join a knitting group or book club. If you’re like me and don’t have very much time in your schedule (or money in your bank account) to devote to a new hobby, check out YouTube for tutorial ideas! You can learn how to make friendship bracelets or how to do the electric slide in no time. The possibilities are endless – so go out and find your passion! You’ll thank yourself at your next job interview.


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Five Tips for Choosing a Good Minor to Complement Public Relations

So you’ve settled into public relations as your major – Congratulations! You’ve chosen well.

But on the first day of classes in your new major, you realize that many of your new classmates not only have their PR major, but also have minors – and some of them have more than one.

You may panic for a second: “Minor?! I just chose my major, and now I have to choose something else?”

Well, never fear! Here are five tips to help you chose the perfect minor:

Passion is key

Passion is key

When it comes to choosing any minor, it’s always good to start with something you’re already passionate about. Do you like fashion? Try a fashion media minor. Do you want to work in the corporate world? Maybe a minor in business or marketing would do the trick. Are you interested in sports? A sports administration minor may be the right fit for you.

Luke Armour, an assistant professor in Kent State’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication (JMC) sequence says that choosing a minor for PR should revolve around your future goals.

“Public relations is a multi-faceted field. You can work in sports, entertainment, healthcare, public affairs, internal communications, technology, higher education – the list goes on and on,” Armour says. “Kent State has a lot of programs that can help you gain a better understanding of a specific field of study that can help you – so be sure to look around. The possibilities are vast.”

Diversify yourself

Diversify Yourself

Along with being something that holds your interest, a great PR minor should help you to stand out among your fellow PR students. The public relations industry is a competitive one, and you should jump at any chance to get a leg up on your opposition.

Michele Ewing, an associate professor in JMC, says that a minor for PR should further enhance a person’s ability as a communicator.

“I especially advocate for students to study a second language,” Ewing says. “Public relations professionals who understand different languages and cultures are more effective communicators – and more marketable for jobs.”

Complement your major

As previously mentioned, minors that complement the PR major should serve as a way to further enhance your education in the PR sequence. For example, a psychology or sociology minor will help public relations students with analyzing audiences and developing a communication strategy. Be sure to think about potential career interests and find a minor that will provide some additional expertise.

Complement your major

Stephanie Smith, an assistant professor in JMC,says that selecting a minor is comparable to  picking a running mate for office.

“You should ask yourself, ‘what makes a good balanced “ticket,” and what will supplement the skills and competencies you don’t have and won’t necessarily get from a PR curriculum?” Smith says. “If you’re not sure what field you want to enter, stay flexible and strategic. I’d look at some fields of study that employment and demographic trends tell us are going to be highly impactful in the future.”

Be decisive

Be Decisive

You don’t need to choose a minor in your first semester, or even in your first year — but once you do decide on a minor you think you’ll like, try to stick with it. Much like changing your major, repeatedly switching minors can set you back for graduation and leave you with a bunch of class credits that don’t go towards anything.

A good way to avoid this is to take a class or two in your chosen subject prior to declaring a minor. You can also meet with an advisor in that program to discuss what requirements accompany each minor you are considering. This way, you can decide whether the minor is for you before fully committing.

Armour also recommends looking directly at the classes you’ll have to add to get your minor.

“Look at the content,” Armour says. “Is it really in line with your interests? Will it make you more valuable to an employer? Will it give you skills or knowledge you need in the industry? And definitely talk to upperclassmen who have selected that minor – are they happy? Be sure to find out everything you can about your prospective minor before you choose it.”

Don’t overwhelm yourself

Don't Overwhelm YourselfIf you’ve read all of the previous advice and are still nervous about choosing a minor, don’t worry! You’re not alone — this just means you’re taking your education in PR seriously, which is a good thing.

Take a deep breath, clear your head and let that knot in your stomach ease up. Declaring a minor isn’t a requirement, nor should it cause you to stress out. Just start from the beginning – make a list of the areas you’re already passionate about, and go from there. There are plenty of resources and people in Kent State’s  public relations department will be there to help you out along the way.