Archive for PR

In today’s post, meet current Peppercomm NYC intern and future industry star, Michael Pellessier.

DREW UnivTell us about yourself—where did you/do you go to school, where are you from and what brought you to Peppercomm?

Hello PRiscope readers! My name is Michael Pellessier, but in the office Co-Founder and CEO, Steve Cody, has given me the name “Drew Guy”. I’m a west coaster from Washington (state that is), that now lives in New Jersey and works in NYC. I’m a lover of traveling as I’ve traveled to; all 50 states, London, Brussels and Japan, and am always looking for another adventure to take.

As a recent graduate from Drew University with a major in Business Studies and a minor in Photography, I immersed myself into all that Drew had to offer. Throughout my four years at Drew I was involved with the university program board, orientation committee, student government and was the office manager for the office of student activities. If I wasn’t planning an event, or studying (yeah I found time for that as well), you could more than likely find me in our schools darkroom where I would be developing, exposing and creating film prints for my photography classes.

During my senior spring semester at Drew I participated in the first semester of our media and communications semester in New York City, where we traveled into NYC twice a week for class. As part of the course we spent the afternoons visiting agencies citywide. The first agency that we visited was Peppercomm, and from there it was the agency that I wanted to intern and potentially work at. The office atmosphere, intelligent employees, and small agency size was something that attracted me to Peppercomm, and yes, Co-Founder and CEO Ed Moed being an alumni of Drew was another reason. I enjoy that you’re given the ability to grow within the agency, and are given the lessons you need to learn while also being tasked with challenging projects for the accounts you’re on.

What area of the industry do you find the most appealing and why?

I enjoy that I’m able to work across seven different accounts and learn from the challenges and opportunities that arise in each of the accounts. During my internship here at Peppercomm, the knowledge that I’ve gained through pitching to the media, creating social media posts, interacting with clients, and creating briefing books are all beneficial and appealing to me as I know the skills I’ve got here are going to help me down the road.

Any surprises or revelations about your role, the industry or Peppercomm?

What surprised me the most was that on the day I started I was given so much responsibility for the accounts I was on. It really made me feel like I wasn’t an intern, but was a trusted member on my accounts. Being able to complete the tasks, but also learning that I was able to ask for help when needed, helped me learn even more about it takes to work in the PR world.

Where do you see yourself going in the industry?

Gosh that’s a hard question. The skills that I’ve gained during my internship have helped me understand the PR world even more. The industry is filled with so many different areas that I feel are all interesting and would eventually like to dip my toes in to get some experience in them, but I feel that because of my background with running events at Drew, getting involved with culture events would be an area that highly interests me. What’s to say that also spending time on the digital teams, creating content and visuals would be intriguing to me as well?

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Today’s guest post is authored by NYC intern, Robert Smith

Remember when Taco Bell purchased the Liberty Bell? The fast food chain took out full-page ads in a number of high profile publications, claiming it had purchased the Liberty Bell and was renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell. This was back in 1995, long before social media captivated their millennial customer-base.

Today, Taco Bell is clearly a brand that knows its audience, leveraging their influence to promote new products and campaigns. From 2007-2015, Taco Bell’s following has grown exponentially amassing nearly 1.55 million Twitter followers and 9.9 million Facebook likes at the time of this post.

In 2014, one day after launching a mobile payment and ordering app, Taco Bell wiped out its social media channels to promote the mobile payment application. Its Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr pages were “blacked out” with a single post promoting the hashtag #onlyintheapp, effectively driving traffic towards their ordering app.

Taco Bell manages accounts on several other social platforms including YouTube, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, Pinterest, Tumblr, and keeps a close eye on emerging social platforms.

So how can other brands replicate this success?

1. Incentivize, don’t control— It’s important to not try and control what people think or say, instead encourage or incentivize followers to share your content.
2. Be human— “Code-switching,” refers to when a person alternates back and forth between multiple languages in a single conversation (professional and personal personas). Understand that both come together to affect preferences.
3. Actively Listen, Answer Questions— Use conversations online as an opportunity to listen for insight.


Let us know if you’ve received a memorable response from Taco Bell’s Twitter handle!

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The Intern Spotlight: Amira Khatib

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In today’s post, meet current Peppercomm NYC intern and future industry star, Amira Khatib 

AmiraPriscopeTell us about yourself—where did you/do you go to school, where are you from and what brought you to Peppercomm?

I’m from Iowa and I graduated from Iowa State University in December 2014 with a B.S. in Public Relations. Originally, I majored in journalism, but after working as an editor for an on-campus magazine, I decided I wanted to be on the “other side” of the picture working in public relations.

Rather than studying abroad last spring, I interned at a boutique PR agency in New York.  It was a pretty bold move as I had never visited the East Coast before moving to the city. After living in New York for five months, I was completely in love — everything from the city’s pace to the energy of agency life revealed my true passion for public relations and complemented my adventurous spirit. Plus, it’s a media mecca so I knew it would be the best place for me to live as I pursue a career in PR.

When researching some of the best PR firms in the city, I found Peppercomm. After poking around the site and the PRiscope blog, I just knew it. I called my mom and told her that I had found where I was going to intern. I crafted a fun, creative cover letter, did a Skype interview, and a few weeks later I found out I had gotten the internship position. Things moved quickly after that – I had finals, graduated, celebrated Christmas and moved to New York a mere two weeks after graduation.

What area of the industry do you find the most appealing and why?

I definitely love the media relations side. It’s great to help craft pitches, pitch reporters, and get feedback – even if it’s not always positive. As far as industries, I’ve found that I’m most interested in the financial accounts. It’s a learning curve but I enjoy the sheer amount I learn every time I dive into those accounts. I look forward to the projects that I work on for those accounts because they can be a bit challenging.

Any surprises or revelations about your role, the industry or Peppercomm?

It’s wonderful to be welcomed with open arms. From day one, my accounts have valued me as an equal team member. In fact, within my first week I found and helped secure an opportunity for a client. I’ve always heard that no two days in PR are the same, and I’ve slowly realized how true that is. It’s exciting to be able to work on different projects and gain insight into companies and industries I may have never known too much about.

Where do you see yourself going in the industry?

It’s up in the air at this point and that’s the beauty of this industry. Though I have plenty of ideas, I enjoy public relations’ versatility and ability to translate into many different career paths. Right now, I would like to continue working at an agency where I can have a diverse set of accounts. I enjoy the creative and collaborative culture of agency life. Down the line, I see myself eventually starting my own agency or working in-house for an organization I’m passionate about.

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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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In today’s post, meet current Peppercomm SF intern and future industry star, Jenna Bigham. 

Tell us about yourself—where did you/do you go to school, where are you from and what brought you to Peppercomm?

Hey there! My name is Jenna and I am recent graduate of the University of Arizona with a degree in Communication and a minor in Business Administration. During my college years, I was very involved in my university’s student government, ASUA, and was involved in countless organizations and positions over the course of four years. I was also heavily involved in our student section for athletic events’ committee, ZonaZoo Crew and you could pretty much find me at every Wildcat sporting event that took place (Beardown!). I also was the TOMS Campus Club President for all four years of school, worked the front reception desk for the Pharmacology and Toxicology department of the university, and also worked (well, still work on the weekends) at the clothing store Anthropologie. Over-involved seemed to be the common theme throughout my college years and I could not be more proud to say I am a Wildcat alum now.

I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, but after 22 years of the desert and the longest, scorching summers, I decided to take a chance and move to the Bay Area! I could not be happier here and am constantly finding new and exciting things to do. Moving up here is actually how I discovered Peppercomm – I told one of my Aunt’s friends that I had just graduated with a degree in Communication and was looking to break into the wild world of public relations. Turns out, her next door neighbor is Partner and President of the West Coast Peppercomm office, Ann Barlow, and she put me in contact with her to get some tips on breaking into the industry. After learning more and more about the incredible things Peppercomm has accomplished and works on every day, and how awesome their internship program is, I had to get involved. Next thing you know, I was applying for the internship program and the rest is history!

What area of the industry do you find the most appealing and why?

I am so thankful to be working on a myriad of accounts that allows me to learn how each area of PR functions. The area that I definitely enjoy the most is the media relations side. I feel like I have really been able to experience how important it is for PR professionals and journalists to work hand in hand and combine forces to get both of their different (but somewhat similar) jobs done. Public relations, in general, has always appealed to me because I love bridging the gap between business and the media and ultimately working with a client to connect with the public.

 Any surprises or revelations about your role, the industry or Peppercomm?

I was totally surprised (and pleased) to find that I was immediately given so much responsibility as an intern. The second I walked in the door on my first day, a media list project was waiting for me and I dove on in. I have heard so many experiences through friends that they feel like they did not learn anything about PR and were treated as more of an office assistant in their previous internships. That has never been the case here at Peppercomm and it’s refreshing to be treated like a real team member and be expected handle the responsibility of an entry-level associate. I’ll admit, I was a little nervous my first week to be working with such a wide range of clients from financial to legal to non-profit areas of business but it has helped me to become so well-versed in the industry already.

Where do you see yourself going in the industry?

I can definitely see myself working more in the consumer/lifestyle or tech side, just because I feel like that has always been the area of business I have always been passionate about. Down the road, I would love to either work in-house at company or with an agency that specializes in these things. For now, I feel so grateful to have been given the opportunity to constantly explore so many parts of the industry and learn each and every day from the amazing team at Peppercomm.

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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