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The PR industry is very fast paced, especially when you are working for a top-notch agency like Peppercomm. A successful PR professional must keep the momentum going in order to succeed. Here are some helpful tips I have learned from my mentors at Peppercomm that might be useful to future or current PR professionals tasked with conducting media outreach.

  1. Identify your target media outlets and journalists

Putting together a well written pitch takes time and effort. Instead of writing one pitch for all journalists, take a step back and craft unique, individual pitches for each. In the end, it is the quality of an individual pitch that wins over the quantity of an average mass pitch. A successful PR professional should make each pitch unique and personal to the reporter who will be reviewing it. Something sweet and simple might catch his or her eye!

  1. Take advantage of Twitter in exchange for soft introductions

Almost every journalist today uses Twitter as their main communication source. Following them gives a PR professional the opportunity to comment on their work and build a relationship. Don’t harass them, but there is nothing wrong with complimenting reporters on their work.

  1. Craft your pitch so it’s newsworthy

I think a successful PR professional needs to make sure that his or her pitch angle is newsworthy. Not only do you have to highlight a unique selling point, but craft a pitch that relates to the media outlet being targeted.

  1. Include statistics or hard data to back up your pitch

Including data and statistics in your pitch gives more credibility to the story you are pitching. Numbers stand out to reporters more than one expects it to be.

  1. Don’t make your pitch sound like a press release

Most press releases include a lot of “boring fluff” composed of a few company statistics mixed in with some equally boring quotes. If you craft your pitch to sound like a press release, don’t expect a response from reporters. Short, detailed and straight to the point will win every time.

 

By: Jessi Zhang

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OliviaRossIn today’s post we’re going to meet the one, the only. Peppercomm’s Pride of UNC, Olivia Ross.

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

I’m Olivia Ross and I’m one of the five PR interns this session. I graduated from The University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill this December with a double major in Public Relations and Economics. I’m originally from Indianapolis, Indiana, and yes, I have been to the Indy 500 (three times!).

Last summer, I had the exciting opportunity to intern at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro as a reporting intern. I was responsible for covering rowing, sprint canoe and kayaking, although I managed to go to other events as well, including an especially riveting gold-medal match of table tennis. I wrote for UNC’s student newspaper in college – although I love reporting, I couldn’t see myself doing it as a career.

I graduated early and knew I wanted to apply for internships before I looked at getting a full-time job in order to get more of a feel for what I wanted to do. One of my professors recommended Peppercomm.

When you’re not hard at work at Peppercomm, what do you like to do?

I love reading, especially foreign espionage thrillers. And as a Tar Heel, I have a passion for college basketball and eagerly await March Madness every year. I also enjoy attending stand-up comedy shows. Spin classes, brewery tours and podcasts are among my other pastimes.

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

So far, I’ve enjoyed B2B because I’m learning about companies I previously didn’t know about and the challenge of pitching a product or service meant for another business. I also like doing research and analysis and my B2B accounts give me the opportunity to be more analytical.

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

Working in PR has changed how I consume media and journalism. I’ve always been an avid reader of the news or human interest articles, and I’ve found myself paying more attention to how stories are crafted. I’ve also realized how much organization and attention to detail it takes to be successful in PR.

Where do you see yourself going in the industry?

I would love to continue doing PR in an agency setting and maybe explore investor relations. I like how fast-paced working at an agency is and how it gives me the opportunity to be constantly busy and working on a number of various projects.

 
INTERN LIGHTNING ROUND

Netflix or Hulu? Netflix

Text or Call? Text

Coffee or Tea? Tea

Library or Museum? Library

Dogs or Cats? Dogs – I have a labradoodle named Leo.

NYC or San Francisco? NYC

Star Wars or Star Trek? Star Wars

Crunchy or smooth peanut butter? Crunchy – unpopular opinion.

Mac or PC? Mac

Sweetened or Unsweetened Tea? Semi-sweetened

Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate

Seltzer or Water? Water

Cake or Pie? Cake

Tacos or Pizza? Pizza

Hogwarts House: Slytherin

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Feb
03

How to Survive an Internship

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An internship is an exciting, new and unique experience. But here’s something that is easy to forget when you’re on the outside looking in: it’s terrifying. Typically, an internship is your first stint at a real-life, corporate job, and it will challenge you and thrust you into a life outside of tests and quizzes. Some internships only last a few months, so it’s tough to navigate the water and understand the intricacies of the company. When you finally do, you’re probably sitting in the conference room with a mediocre farewell cupcake from the local bakery, wondering where the time went and if you could have – or should have – done better.

Luckily for us both, that last part has not happened to me…yet. I’ve been interning at Peppercomm since O.J. took his Bronco for a joy ride; along the way, I’ve learned numerous lessons that have kept me afloat. Some were learned the easy way, some involved being locked in a stairwell for an hour and a half. Hopefully these tips can speed up that learning process so your goodbye cupcake tastes that much sweeter

intern

Go to happy hour

You’d be surprised how different your co-workers – and you – can be outside of the office environment. This is a great opportunity to break the ice and really get to know one another. Just be sure to keep the drinks below the “crying about my ex” limit. There’s loose and relaxed, and then there’s fired.

Get organized

This was my quickest lesson. At Peppercomm, interns will be given a lot of responsibilities right off the bat. I tried to keep track of all of them, only to receive a “Where’s that briefing book I asked for last week?” email about once a day. Here’s what I suggest:

  1. Create a “TO-DO LIST” folder on your email. Every time someone sends you a request, move that email to this folder. Then, anytime you feel like you should be doing something, you can double-check your electronic checklist.
  2. Go to your local Walmart (Whole Foods if you’re SF-based) and get a good, old-fashioned daily planner. Write down what you need to do for the day and cross them off as you complete them.
  3. If you’re really unsure, ask someone. You won’t look stupid asking; you’ll look stupid forgetting. Which brings us to my next point…

Don’t be afraid of looking stupid

You’ll be on multiple accounts, and chances are they will all be wildly different. It’s okay to talk to other people on the account and ask what’s going on, or how they would like a certain assignment to be done. Chances are they are going to be happy with your attention to detail, not mad that you aren’t 100% in tune with everything going on around you. Even if you ask, and everything doesn’t turn out perfect, guess what…

It’s going to be okay

At Peppercomm, you will be trusted with plenty, and treated as a member of the team. No coffee runs for you…at least not the intern kind. This can be stressful as all hell. It’s important to really get a fresh perspective on what you’re doing, and to never make it worse than it seems. Remember: you landed a job at an awesome company, I guarantee you’re smart enough to handle any assignment that comes your way. And as I mentioned before, you’re surrounded by a great team who would be more than happy to help you. Which doesn’t bring me to my last point whatsoever…

Don’t use the stairwell

In my first two weeks at Peppercomm, I wanted to see what the stairs in our building looked like. Not even use them. Just out of curiosity for what stairs look like. Shortly after being disappointed by the fact that they weren’t made of solid gold, I also learned that the door to the stairwell locks from the inside. On every floor. All 30 of them. After spending 60 minutes trying each floor, I sat for another 30 trying to figure out how I was going to contact my team while also trying to come up with a reasonable explanation for what happened. The former happened, but the latter still has yet to be achieved. Just use the elevator.

 

By Chris Barlow

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In today’s post, give a warm welcome to Peppercomm’s very first writing intern, Hannah Tibbetts.

Hannah

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

Hi I’m Hannah Tibbetts (Tibbs for short), and I’m one of Peppercomm’s Spring Interns! I graduated from Syracuse University a few years back with a degree in Political Science and a minor in Geography. My specialty was how to deal with massive snowfalls. I’m originally from Chicago, Illinois and I take great pride in my hometown, especially the Chicago Cubs (despite living in a White Sox household) and the important delicacy of deep dish pizza.

I initially enrolled into Syracuse University as a Film major for animation to go into character design. Then I moved to Political Science and did two television news internships during my junior year. But I still couldn’t quite figure out what my purpose was after graduation, and thus the existential crisis began. I took a job at your favorite coffee chain while working on a New York Islanders blog on DYSTNow.com to make ends meet. My only regret is I can’t show off my latte art skills at Peppercomm, which is a bit of a bummer.

There had been a lot of learning curves to get to where I am now, and I owe a lot to the people who helped me along the way. Since they won’t take my kidneys, the best way to pay them all back is to work as hard as I can.

Peppercomm’s internship came up on a LinkedIn search for me, and I immediately applied on a cold Chicago afternoon. A lot of my close friends in college were PR majors and it seemed like a lot of the same skills I’d learned as a newsroom intern would apply to working with Peppercomm. I thought I would give it a shot and see if I could potentially fit in PR. I never expected to be called let alone interviewed!  The biggest relief I felt during the interview process was learning some of the writing team had a similar background in journalism, like me. When I was offered the position, I was scared to death to accept it at first because of my lack of PR skills. But, the Peppercomm team and other interns have made me feel right at home!

 

When you’re not hard at work at Peppercomm, what do you like to do?

Even though I’m incredibly easygoing, I don’t do idle well. I always need to be doing something in order to keep myself on track.

Because of my grandfather, I love baseball with my whole heart. With spring training just around the corner, I’ve been getting my Cubs hats ready for their New York debut. My mom, twin and I have a goal to visit every MLB ballpark in the US (I’ve got 11 down so far). I love to watch NHL, NWHL, NBA and Syracuse basketball as well. Another intern here at Peppercomm went to North Carolina, so there’s been a lot of gentle (or not so gentle) mocking from the pair of us.

I also enjoy hockey writing & analysis, gently mocking the Cubs and the Sacramento River Cats, kayaking, camping, reading, binge watching Star Wars for the 1977th time, watching terrifying movies at 3 AM, putting my dog in ridiculous hats and exploring my new home for the best cup of coffee New York can offer. Although, I’m still on the 12 step program to accept what New York calls pizza (To me it looks like pizza that got run over by a bus).

 

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

I initially thought my answer would be the Consumer branch due to my background in human geography, but I’ve found that Financial Service has been the most interesting (please don’t tell my dad, he’s still hoping I’ll do something in finance). By setting up and organizing a lot of the material on several financial services accounts, it had given me a crash course in whatever subject I need to write about and I enjoy that a lot more than I thought I would.

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

As the first Writing intern at Peppercomm, I’ve been introduced into the world of PR while having the ability to hone in on my writing skills. I’ve explained it as a bit like wading into the pool and learning to swim. Every new skill builds on ones I already have and I’m given new ways to utilize those skills in order to float.

I can’t stress enough how amazing everyone at Peppercomm has been with teaching me the ropes of PR and making sure I understand what it is they need from me. They also loop me in with the other PR interns and their tasks, so I am introduced to more than just the stuff I have to write. It’s such an amazing introduction into PR and with their help, PR isn’t as terrifying as I thought it was. Surprise!

I never realized how extensive PR actually is. I knew about various campaigns and some of the work that went into PR, but most of the work and vocabulary is new to me. One big thing I learned about is the amount of accounts the people here at Peppercomm actually work on. It’s multitasking to the extreme and I’m in constant awe of everyone here and the amount of work and flexibility that goes into these accounts. To an outsider, it is absolutely unreal.

 

Where do you see yourself going in the industry?

I hope that I can continue building up the skills I’m learning here and begin to take on a more active role in whatever work I end up doing after this internship. I strive to work hard and be challenged with what I am doing. I have a feeling that PR has a lot more to teach me moving forward.

 

INTERN LIGHTNING ROUND

Netflix or Hulu? Netflix for my good TV habits and Hulu for Real Housewives of New Jersey. J

Text or Call? Text, although I’m awful at both.

Coffee or Tea? As a former barista, my moral obligation tells me coffee is my answer.

Library or Museum? Library, I was always that kid sneaking a book into classes.

Dogs or Cats? Dogs! I have a 16 year old Golden Retriever in Chicago and when my twin and I went to college, she became the Favorite Child™.  She’s an absolute brat but she’s hilarious and my best friend.

NYC or San Francisco? NYC! Less hills.

Star Wars or Star Trek? Star Wars. I had a 5-foot cardboard cutout of Luke Skywalker when I was 6.

Crunchy or smooth peanut butter? I’m allergic to peanut butter so I’m voting Nutella.

Mac or PC? I use a Mac. I can’t believe how thin they are now, mine is about the thickness of a Cheez-It.

Sweetened or Unsweetened Tea?: Unsweetened is the way to go.

Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network? Disney.

The Simpsons or Family Guy? Bob’s Burgers.

Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate!

Seltzer or Water? Seltzer has become my life since working here.

Cake or Pie?  Pie.

Tacos or Pizza? Deep dish pizza.

Hogwarts House: Gryffindor

So, that’s me. In as much as I can cram into one blog post, working at Peppercomm is such an experience. In my first two weeks, I was writing about cost allocation problems and then the next day my desk was overrun with Fruit Ninja Pigs. You never know what’s coming next. And I kind of like that.

 

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That awful moment when you hear the sound of your alarm at 7 a.m. and realize that you have to get up and get ready for work. This can cast a scary veil on your entire world. Ugh, it’s Monday.

 

For many years, Mondays have been considered the worst day of the week because of the negative perception that people have of them. To many, Monday represents the beginning of another work life balance or lack thereof. According to researchers at The Telegraph, Monday mornings are so depressing, that on average, we don’t crack our first smile until 11:16 a.m. But what if you could do something to change that and start loving Mondays again? Here are five ways:schedule

Start by changing your mindset- We’ve been manufactured to believe that Monday is when we should be our most productive, but Mondays shouldn’t be the time to get through our entire to-do list. Monday mornings are a perfect time to do things that can make the rest of the week more productive, such as organizing some files, or clarifying goals for the rest of the week.

 

You can start fresh and find your motivation again– Wish you didn’t spend so much money over the weekend? Or eat that slice of chocolate cake? Then Monday is a great day to start over, wipe your slate clean and go for your goals.

 

Monday Night TV is the bestThe Big Bang Theory, 2 Broke Girls, The Voice, Dancing with the Stars, the list goes on…

 

Mondays are the best for grabbing a bargain– Cyber Monday falls on November 28 this year. So save your Christmas shopping list and make the most of this Monday steal where all your favorite retailers will have some great deals.

 

Only four more sleeps until Friday- No I’m not trying to put Mondays down with this one, but we all know Fridays are the best. And guess what? Just four more sleeps and you’ll have that Friday feeling again!

 

So the next time Monday morning rolls around, forget feeling down and celebrate instead.

 

 

By Aissata Kourouma

 

Picture (WatchFit)

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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