Four things I learned from SXSW
SXSW, for anyone who doesn’t know, is a huge film, interactive media and music festival and a series of conferences that takes place in downtown Austin, TX.
Not only did I get to attend this, but I got to network with lots of PR professionals from Pierpont Communications, Edelman, Muck Rack, Texas Medical Association, Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)’s Austin chapter, and HomeAway. They all had such amazing advice for us, especially since we are about to be thrown into the professional world.
Here are some of the most important things I learned during my trip:
Find common ground with people you disagree with:
This tip actually came from a member of Texas Medical Association’s marketing team. In order to have a conversation rather than an argument, it is best to find something you can both agree on. If your opposition can see that y’all have similarities and are working towards some common goal, they will be more willing to listen to you.
When you don’t know what to post, about think of the three H’s:
Holidays, Hashtags and History. Alissa Lippman had some excellent tips on social media content. Followers really like to see and will typically respond well to a brand or company using these three topics when there isn’t much else going on. Another insight she gave, was that followers care more about moments and emotions than they do about the perfect picture or caption from a company. They like to feel a personal connection and it makes an online presence feel like a two-way conversation.
You can’t ignore anything anymore:
We live a viral and trending world. Any mistake, minor or major, will depend on how you handle it. If you are dismissive or rude, that will most likely explode in your face but if you handle it professionally, you or your company will recover. We can’t be afraid to make mistakes but we have to know how to manage them. This idea came from Nancy Elder and Linda Boff’s talk on reputation management.
This seems obvious but hear me out. Consistency is a virtue of mediocrity. If we just repeat what has worked in the past, then we aren’t growing and chaning with the rest of the world. Carmen Medina challenged all of us to seek disagreements, evaluate priorities instead of the costs and to let people do what they are good at. She also said that calendars and schedules are the most important weapons and I absolutely loved that! She said that they should reflect individual priorities not simply what we are expected to do or have to do.
I cannot express how thankful I am for the opportunity to go to SXSW! I had such a blast and will be posting soon on my own blog about my personal experience!
PRSSA National Assembly
Imagine this: You walk out of a room of young professionals discussing the best practices for recruitment in student run firms, only to be greeted by an enormous manatee floating in a canal adjacent to your hotel.
Through PRSSA’s National Assembly in Miami, I don't have to close my eyes and imagine what on earth this would look like because as Louisiana State University’s delegate to Assembly, this was my reality for four days as I represented my school with around 150 other delegates from across the United States and South America. National Assembly, much like National Conference, is an opportunity to network with other young pre-professionals and attend sessions led by public relations experts to hone your craft with the main purpose of electing the new National Committee members in a day-long session.
Upon arriving, I assumed I would essentially be attending assembly then going on a solo-vacation of sorts in my spare time. I should've known better— there’s no such thing as a shy PR delegate. At assembly you meet equally dedicated PRSSA executive board and student firm members eager to share the secrets of their chapter’s success, recruitment strategies, and discuss organizational structuring to help improve the quality of you and your chapter’s PRSSA experience. On my first day I made two friends in the lobby who quickly became my go-to buddies for exploring the city and debriefing newfound strategies to bring back to my firm at the end of the day as we sat on the shores of South Beach. By the end of the week, I felt as though I had made 15 new like-minded best friends from across the country who I not only plan on visiting and keeping in touch with, but who share my motivation and inspire me to be a more driven professional and a better friend. We have a group snap so, yeah, its pretty serious.
Focused sessions based on the position you hold in your chapter helped me collaborate with other student firm leaders in a group discussion on ways to improve from conflict management, to client relations, to pointers on being taken seriously as a college student when you pitch real businesses prices for your services. Delegation wide sessions on ways to deliver savvier pitches on sensitive subjects such as asking for funding and more interpersonal topics like reaching out to professionals and faculty members for mentorship gave way to advice on how to get the most out of being an executive board member with personal accountability to your organization. Equally as constructive were the guest speakers from multiple facets of the PR Industry and Miami-based agencies who gave sage advice on sensitive topics such as crisis-management and resolution, areas that interest me but with which I had no personal experience or background prior.
The personal accountability that weighed most heavily on all of us was our duty of carefully reviewing and electing new officers to National Committee, compromising all presidential and vice-presidential offices. While definitely the most arduous and long day of the conference, it was necessary to see the legislative backbone and inner-workings of our organization during the voting process to fully understand the meticulous planning our organization carries out and in extension the legal an logistic aspects of the PR Industry on the whole. Between multiple qualified candidates for each position, several motions to attend Q & A sessions in order to garner more information to make the difficult choice of picking a candidate, and dashes outside to finally stretch our legs and experience a brief taste of freedom before resuming deliberation I certainly have a newfound respect for past and future delegates as well as the preparation and achievements of every candidate who ran for office. Voting was done electronically, but make no mistake, there was still room for surprises and even some shocks in-person on the assembly floor. Each candidate choses was highly qualified and I look forward to seeing the new benefits and innovation the 2018 National Committee will bring to the table.
From Miami’s flourishing arts district, to a brief foray to the northernmost Florida Key for lunch, and the countless LinkedIn requests from new friends over Cubano sandwiches downtown I can truly say PRSSA gave me opportunities I wouldn't have been able to pursue on my own. I’m so eager to bring all the new ideas assembly gave me back to my chapter and firm
over the next two years of my college journey. My only complaint? Apparently you cant take a manatee home with you on an airplane as a checked bag.
Being the unprepared student that I am, I walked into MC 2035 not knowing what the name of the class was or what I was going to learn over the semester. This was simply a required class I had to take. After the first lecture, I realized how interesting the class was going to be.
“A brand is the sum of all the emotions, thoughts, images, history, possibilities and gossip that exist in the marketplace about a certain company.” -Luke Sullivan
A brand is not just a logo or a font, it is the personality of a company. Branding is the reason you choose a certain company over another. It is a promise to your consumers; it is a promise to deliver an experience or results. Brands communicate this promise by having an interesting, consistent look and a strategy. By having a strategy and consistent look, brands become familiar to the audience.
Digital branding is when a brand uses digital channels to show their purpose as an engagement program. Digital branding is constantly changing. There are more and more media platforms every day, this impacts digital branding. The shift from having three or four news outlets on television to millions on the internet is a great example. There is more content available to society than ever before. This means there are more channels to manage and coordinate, but simply it does not change that much. Companies are still communicating a brand message.
This class has forever changed the way I watch commercials on television or advertisements online; I will always try to analyze and see if it is central or peripheral route processing.
Are you pursuing a public relations degree, or getting close to completing one, but you are just not sure what you want to do with it? According to Brad Plumer, reporter at the Washington Post, data from Jaison Abel and Richard Dietz of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that only 27 percent of college grads land jobs pertaining to their major.
Here are 15 ideas of different jobs you could have a career in related to public relations including, but not limited to:
A publicist generates and manages media coverage for a company, brand, or public figure they are the link between their clients and the media to promote publicity for the people they represent.
Some of the work a copywriter will do on a daily basis: Research, interview, edit, proofread, manage projects, source images and plan and implement marketing campaigns. They write for different mediums such as print, radio, television and the internet.
3. Public relations specialist.
A public relations specialist works on behalf of company’s initiatives to help build and maintain relationships with their publics. They organize and
manage budgets campaigns, draft new releases, draft speeches and write new letters – to name a few.
4. Social media manager
A social media manager will monitor, filter and guide a company or brands presence on social media. They also promote the brand they represent and engage with their audiences through a number of social media platforms.
5. Brand ambassador.
Brand ambassadors are paid to promote and help generates sales on behalf of a company. They also create a specific image for a brand and its products and bring awareness to what they promote.
6. Director of public affairs.
Public affairs work deals with current and political issues. This work is specific to the public concerns including policy, legislation and public administration. It is a blend of government relations, media relations, corporate social responsibility and issues management.
7. Event manager
Event managers delegate the duties and responsibilities in order to ensure an event or project is executed efficiently. Leadership is vital in this role to encourage, motivate and support team members to accomplish set goals.
Lobbyist work for legislatures, constitutes and corporations to influence and persuade members of Congress or other elected official to push legislation and get their support on behalf of their clients.
9. New media coordinator.
Multi-tasking is a key skill in this field of work. New media coordinators are responsible for online campaigns such as digital advertising and social networking. They assess the effectiveness of the campaigns for their companies.
10. Public information.
Public information work involves to distributing facts and information to the media, organizing special events and producing print and video content for their organization.
11. Corporate communications.
The main focus of corporate communications is to distribute information inside and outside of an organization and achieve the company’s strategic goals.
12. Strategic communications.
Responsibilities of strategic communication involve implanting communication programs with in a company and handle the responsibilities of crisis communication and corporate social responsibility. Strategic communicators are sometimes tasked with being the spokesperson for the company.
13. Marketing communications.
Marketing communicators deliver information to the public and media. They gather information to distribute to internal and external clients. Additional responsibilities include organizing meetings and planning timelines for executing goals for a project.
14. Media relations.
It is important in this role to develop a list of contacts for different members of the media. The handle any publicity issues a company may have and promote their company’s image. Strong writing skills are required, as this position involves constantly creating and editing news leases.
15. Fundraising manager.
A fundraising manager oversees all aspects of fund raising. Creativity is important to implement strategies to get people to donate to the foundation or charity. A fundraising manager also organizes events, gathers volunteers and manages the budget.
With all of these options in mind it is important to gain work experience through jobs and internships to get a feel for the professional you might want to pursue. Several of the job titles listed above overlap in numerous industries, which is why it is essential to consider what seems interesting to you or what you are passionate about. The first job you land does not determine what you will do
for the remainder of your working career. If it is not the right fit and you want to take your career in a different direction, there are plenty of options to find the perfect job for you.