Archive for professional

Today’s guest post is by Peppercomm account executive, Ali Hughes.

aliAs you can imagine from where I left off in my last post, television news is not as glamorous as most people think. Everyone has their favorite anchor, or weather person that they allow into their lives every day to keep them up to date on the world around them, but not many people think about the work that goes on behind the scenes to pull off one 30-minute show that will never be aired again.

Despite the hard hours and your work often going unnoticed or underappreciated, a well-oiled newsroom is a thing of beauty. One show depends on so many people, and as the producer you have to keep everyone happy – from the photographers, to reporters, anchors and the control room. Everyone wants to put on a great show, but no one can do it alone. It is a unique job, putting all your hard work and emotions into each story you write just to start all over again the next day, and the only people that really understand that is your team.

After two years in Michigan, working every show from the morning to evening, from Fox to NBC, I aimed for bigger and better things and moved to San Francisco, CA. Jumping from a 114 market to a top 10, I had visions of amazing benefits, a higher pay and a great schedule. No more being underappreciated and overworked, no more working every holiday and having to sleep while everyone else is out enjoying their lives. Boy was I wrong. Of course working for a national network had its perks, such as higher pay, a much nicer newsroom, bigger staff and even a helicopter for breaking news. Yet the decline of the newsroom is hitting the country – no matter what market you’re in. The days of getting your news from your favorite local anchor is over.

Newsrooms aren’t just competing with each other anymore– they are up against twitter, news apps, Google – a world where news is instant. That means more work for a smaller staff and having to work at a station for many years before having off holidays or being on your dream show. For most that dream show is the 5 o’clock evening shows – meaning having a shift of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. — normal working hours!

Needless to say, I quickly realized I needed to get out of the news industry. It took me three years and two stations, but I finally believed what older anchors and producers (lifers) kept telling me – “get out now while you’re still young.” I started dreaming of normal work hours, of not having to sleep during the day and walk through the city at two in the morning for work.

After secretly interviewing at many public relations firms in the city, I found Peppercomm and tried to let my news director down easy. I ended up working both jobs for a few months and am still a freelance writer at the news station; despite my new and exciting career it is hard to cut ties with an industry that feels so familiar. As I get ready for work in the morning, I still get excited hearing the morning news intro music and often find myself trying to catch errors in the slugs (writing on the screen).

As I work on the other side of the media now, I realize how much the news industry taught me, and how much I learned from lifers that I first thought were just trying to scare me off. I have a new life now in PR, but the local news will always have a special place in my heart.

Hopefully you’ll keep this post in mind next time you’re pitching a broadcast reporter or producer – who is probably over worked and very tired. When they snap at you or delete your emails without even reading them, don’t take it personally. And one last thing – when you’re on your way home at 5:30 to see your family or enjoying a paid holiday, try not to take it for granted – I know I never will.

 

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The use of social media is becoming more important each day. Working in public relations there will be opportunities to strategically use social networking sites for all businesses. B2B and B2C companies alike all have a target audience that they are trying to reach and most likely those audiences are active on social media. The above video breaks down the socialnomic benefits of using social media in a professional setting.

When you are in a client or team meeting and there’s a question on whether social media is a good idea for a client, just play this video and the answer should reveal itself. Keep in mind that not all social media sites are for every company. If you can share this video and give recommendations on why a specific social network would be best you will be a shining star on your team.

Do you believe social media has a role in all industries?

 

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Dec
18

Network, Network, Network

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Today’s guest post is by Peppercomm associate, Chris Piedmont

To help land the coveted first job, young professionals spend their entire college careers laying the building blocks of their professional network. But, the networking that was oh so important to get hired is pivotal in building a successful, long lasting career in public relations. Your newest contact could be a new business lead, job opportunity or best friend in the making. Having people who understand the daily life of a PR pro also gives you an outlet to bounce ideas off of someone for a fresh perspective. As a fairly recent southern transplant to New York City, I’ve also found networking events to be one of the best ways to make new connections with common interests and goals. Here’s a few tips for continuing to grow your network in the early stages of your PR career.

4 Tips for Building Your Network as a Young Professional

  1. Join a Professional Organization: Organizations like the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) are a great way to meet other professionals in the field while also building your skill set through professional development opportunities. PRSA also has a section specific to New Professionals to network with others beginning their careers.
  2. Connect With Your College Alumni Groups: Most colleges have active alumni groups in major cities. Getting involved with your alma mater’s alumni base can introduce you to others outside of the communication industry.
  3. Utilize Social Media: Embrace the power of social media to expand your network and continue learning. Follow and interact with the leading minds in the industry and participate in regular Twitter chats sponsored by PR News, PRSA and others.
  4. Continue to foster existing relationships: There’s an old song that goes “make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other’s gold.” The same can be said for network connections. Stay in touch with those you met during your time in college and continue nurturing those relationships.

 

What other tips do you have for building your network?

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Not another News App

There are many apps that should be on every public relations professional phone, tablet and/or iPod Touch. After taking a look at Facebook PagesHootsuite and Pulse, I began to question why I never used Pulse before this time. Facebook Pages and Hootsuite are fun and easy to use, but Pulse is chalk full of information tailored for me.

The iTunes app store describes Pulse as, “Pulse by LinkedIn is the professional news app tailored to you.” The description goes on to say, “The Apple Design Award-winning app allows you to customize your news reading experience, easily explore compelling professional content, and share stories to your favorite social networks.”

There’s nothing like being introduced to a new app and I’m glad that Pulse is now part of my app library.

PR Professionals, This App is for You

Since all public relations professionals are on LinkedIn (or at least should be), it’s easy to signup for this app. Just login with your LinkedIn credentials and you’re all set. After walking through the demo it’s time to tailor it to deliver the news that you want. You can have news sights such as NPRPeople Magazine or industry trade news sites at your fingertips. The best part, it’s all in one location and with a click on the screen you’re taken to the full article.

The purpose of this app is for you to create different news channels based on your interest. So, if one of your clients works in the agricultural industry then maybe you’ll have an ag related news channel. Then below that you may have a tech related news channel for a different client. You are then able to scroll through the most recent articles published on that site and read a preview before clicking on it to read the full article.

Upon clicking on the preview you are taken to the full article or sometimes more of the article with the option of opening the rest of it via the web. Within the app you are able to leave a comment, share the article across your various social media channels, like it, bookmark it and click on embedded links.

Download vs. Not Download

It goes without saying that I think this app needs to be downloaded. Working in public relations you have to stay current with the news, especially when that news can affect your clients. Having all of your main news sources in one place makes that so much easier. You don’t have to worry about visiting individual websites and scrolling through Twitter hoping you’ll see every relevant article.

Ease of Use

From my use so far, I don’t think there are any deficiencies that I can name at this time. Maybe with a bit more time using the app, I will be able to point some out. It’s easy to change the reading style, clicking and scrolling through the articles is simple and most importantly finding and creating new channels is a breeze.

As you are navigating the busy news landscape, give this app or other similar apps a try to help make your life easier. Your teams and managers will thank you once you begin sharing relevant news articles with them each day.

 

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Nov
03

5 Skills PR Interns Need

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Someone recently shared this PRNewser article with me, 5 Important Skills PR Interns Should Possess Before They Get the Gig. Starting my career as an intern, I remembering hearing these tips (and similar ones) many times. This advice came from mentors, internship managers, professors, school advisers and the like. After reading the article, I have to agree that having the following five skills will help interns move to the next level. Although, these same tips should be remembered at any stage in a public relations professionals career.

  1. Writing
  2. Multitasking
  3. Speaking
  4. Researching
  5. Questioning

Writing is a given. Be it in the form of a press release or email, being able to write is crucial in this industry. Multitasking for me is more about balancing my workload to get everything completed without trying to do everything at once. Attempting to write a press release, make a phone call and send a tweet all at the same time is a recipe for disaster. Instead, it’s about your ability to switch quickly from one project to the next while still producing quality work.

Speaking is an important skill to have when giving a presentation or making a cold call for a media pitch. Learning how to master the art of talking with a purpose is key to communicating with clients, the media and coworkers. Researching as an intern was one of the task I remembering having to do almost everyday. Using resources outside of Google really helped in sharpening my skills and gave me the opportunity to bring fresh ideas to my teams. Finally, ask questions. Questioning is something that you should never stop doing and as you advance you’ll become a lot better at it.

These are just a sample of skills that a PR intern needs in order to reach that next level. What other skills do you think are important?

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Intern Video

To find out more about life as a Peppercom intern, check out this YouTube video produced by former Peppercomm interns who share their experiences. Click Here