Tag Archives: insights

From intern to teacher

As yesterday marked the new Dix & Eaton intern’s first day, it also represented the official end to my spring internship.  As I had been engulfed in the culture and work of the firm for the past 5 months, D&E asked me to return, help train my replacement and impart as much knowledge and insight as I could fit into a 7.5 hour workday.   After finishing my day of training, I left with a slightly hoarse voice and a realization of all I had gained throughout my time at the agency. 

Media Relations  While going over Ken’s first project, follow-up calls to national reporters regarding a book previously sent and the expert source who wrote it, I remembered what it was like that first day and how far I have come in my media relations skills.  As Ken made his first call, starting off with a smaller pub and working right up to the main news outlets on day one, I remembered going through the same experience- the uncertainty and fear one feels when you are asked to jump head first into something completely new and hopefully land on your feet.  I can confidently say I have and now feel great confidence in my ability to not only call the media, ranging from a local paper to an international publication, but also be able to speak with confidence and knowledge, while providing reporters with real, relevant news, foster placements and gather useful feedback.

Research and media list building skills While research is something we all must be familar with in school and in the workplace, is something that many people struggle with as it must be thorough, well-compiled and completed in a timely fashion.  I have always thought of myself as someone with strong research skills- I am naturally inquisitive an therefore enjoy learning all that I can about the world around me- but after going over the different tools and research tasks used and required at D&E, it solidified for me the importance of these tasks and the benefit of being proficient in using and compiling strong research, especially in the public relations world.  PR practitioners are expected to be experts on their clients and have deep understanding of what they are pitching and who they are pitching to.  This requires a strong research background in all aspects of the the pr process and makes daily news clippings and recent coverage reports seem all the more important.

Writing Skills  To be a skilled writer is a one of the greatest assets a person can have.  It is also something that you can work on and improve throughout your entire life, no matter what skill level you currently are.  I consider myself a strong writer, but this internship has helped me improve my abilities and better understand writing for pr and the importance of capturing the attention of your audience and making your writing clear, concise and well-edited.  It is also something I plan to continue to work on everyday as everyone can always use more practice 🙂

Confidence in my abilities and my future in the world of pr  Although not a tangible asset gained from my time at D&E, this may be the most valuable.  D&E was a fantastic opportunity as they truly allowed me to test the waters of the pr world and see if it is a field I am well-suited for and going to thrive in and enjoy.  I can safely say that my time with D&E not only strengthened my desire to pursue a career in public relations, but also has given me the confidence to know that I have the skills and the ability to succeed in this field.  Confidence is something that is hard to gain, especially when beginning one’s journey into the working world at such a challenging time, but I feel confident in my place right now; I am ready for the world of pr and can’t wait to jump head first into my next endeavor.

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VisualCV, the Social Media Release of Job Hunting?

Thanks to a recommendation from my friend Brian, I listened to an NPR story a few weeks ago about interactive resumes and their benefit in today’s job hunt.  Since listening to that story I have begun to build my own interactive resume through VisualCV, which although still a work in progress, will soon debut on my blog but of course. 

VisualCV is an Internet resume that allows you to include more interactive features than a standard resume allows.  Aside from the usual list of past jobs and relevant skills, VisualCV allows you to include work samples, references, images and craft your own personalized url to send to prospective employers.  After beginning to build my own VisualCV, I had a realization- the progress and advancement VisualCV represents for resume-building is the same as what social media releases (SMR) mean to the practice of sending news releases in the public relations world. 

I first experienced social media releases when Dix & Eaton utilized them for one of our clients CPI.  The difference between traditional releases and SMR is amazing.  SMR allow for additional interactive sidebars of related information and videos, direct linkage back to the company’s website, RSS capabilities and the ability to distribute the release via the world of social media (i.e. Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon, etc).  Although the traditional release is still relevant and sufficient for many companies, SMRs show the way the public relations world is evolving and the true power of the new social media movement.

I strongly believe that we are currently experiencing a great shift in our world and our use of technology.  Social media, although starting small, has grown into a force making a huge impact on our society including  the worlds of public relations and job hunting.  I am still learning to navigate this world, but everything I have tried and seen has amazed and inspired me.  Social media releases are a great new tool helping pr professionals publicize news in a way that the public will listen, and interactice resumes I believe will soon become a dominant tool in the job hunt.  Social media is continuing to grow and is here to stay so I say jump on and enjoy the ride.

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‘Hyperlocal’ websites, the news outlets of the future?

At work today the head of our MR department shared a very interesting New York Times article with us – “‘Hyperlocal’ Web Sites Deliver News Without Newspapers” link.  This article describes a new wave of Web-start up companies that are creating a whole new idea of the news as we know it.

Now what is a ‘hyperlocal’ site you may ask?  Well don’t worry I asked myself the very same thing.  ‘Hyperlocal’ news sites are website that allow users to choose their location and read the news happening right in their area.  The news is often links to articles and blogs as well as local data that would be of interest to dwellers in that specific area.  Most of these sites do not have their own journalists, but rather gather their information from other sources- definitely not your average news site.

Now I deeply love newspapers and hate to see the demise of print news, but these websites might be onto something.  We have already seen the immense growth of social media and the legitimacy of blogs and tweets as sources of news, so why not sites customized to your specific region?  Now I do not think all news as we know it is gone and lost forever but especially for local news, this might just work.

Currently most of the sites are only offered to the top U.S. cities.  Now as I reside in Cleveland, there is not information currently available (surprising I know), but I did play around on EveryBlock stealing a friend’s Chicago address to use for my trial run and I was very impressed by what I saw.  When using Wrigleyville as my location I learned of a dead goat found hanging on the Wrigley Harry Carey statue, 2 real estate listings, 1 theft, some business reviews and new business licenses, all from toda- April 13.  There was also an archive of previous days news, in case you missed your local fix over Easter weekend.

Although not the international, in-depth news we all love and enjoy from traditional news sources, these new ‘hyperlocal’ sites provide customized, up-to-the-minute news that meets our need for knowing what is going on right now.   Although still in the very beginnings of growth, I predict these sites will soon become forces to be reckoned with.

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Intern Insights… Media Pitches

This week marked the beginning of my second month at my internship.  After four weeks in I finally feel less like the new girl and more like a pr professional who has a perspective and view on the field, no matter if it is still a small one 🙂  That being said I thought it would be beneficial to myself, other new pr professionals and people looking to get into the field to hear my thoughts- me being a bright, fresh new face to the profession.  That being said, I decided my first topic would be…. media pitches.

Since the start of my internship much of my time has been devoted to pitching the media.  Not only has this task taken over a good portion of my time sheets, but has also proven to be the most challenging and rewarding aspect of my internship thus far.  I have not only  pitched one story, but numerous over a variety of topic areas and therefore, although still very new at this staple pr task, I have already come up with some hints/tips for myself as well as anyone pitching the media.  I’m sure more will come as my internship and life continues but for now here it goes:

  1. Know the topic you are pitching, WELL.  One of the reasons I was initially drawn to PR was because of the wide range of subjects and assignments you are exposed to due to the nature of the field.   Once starting this internship I was not disappointed.  I have already worked on such wide ranging subjects as art, hr, finance, public utilities, just to name a few.  One of the very first things I learned when contacting the media though is, know your shit.  It does not matter that you may have 20 different clients in 20 different sectors because at that moment you are the pr expert on *subject a* and you better be sure to know what you are talking about and be able to answer questions if you are asked, or else how are you going to be taken seriously by anyone let alone a reporter?
  2. Know your reporter, or try your hardest to.  One of the major frustrations I have had thus far is being new and not familiar AT ALL with the reporters I am expected to pitch to.  Sure I know the reporters I previously followed in my personal time, but I quickly learned there is a whole world of journalism to navigate and it takes finesse to master.  I did not realize the importance of this tip until I began pitching for myself and realized that if I don’t know my reporter and his/her interests or beat I could end up wasting both of our time.  It is near impossible to pitch a story to someone who is not interested or does not cover that topic no matter how persuasive you are.  Therefore Lexis Nexis, Google News, and online pub searches are quickly becoming my best friends.
  3. Be persistent.  This is by far the main thing I have learned about media pitching  over the past month.  Media pitching is hard.  Media pitching is time consuming.  Media pitching is a lot backtracking.  But with persistence, you can succeed.  Now of course by persistence I do not mean annoyance, but I do mean making sure you and your story are visible, you are doing the appropriate follow-up, and you are not giving up especially with a story that is great and a pub or reporter it is perfect for.  Of course you might not always succeed, but you could.

So I realize that was only three tips, but I didn’t want this post to take up my whole page and plus hey, I’m still new and there is plenty of time for insight in the future.  But for the start of week #5 that is my first intern insight, and be sure there will be more to come 🙂

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Holiday Humbug

Working in retail I have had my fair share of unpleasant customers.  Sometimes justified, other times not it is something that comes with the territory.   But never before have I experienced the unpleasantness that comes with the upcoming holidays.  Holidays are meant to be a time of happiness and family, but from a retail manager’s perspective it is a time filled with unpleasant people I like to call “Holiday Humbugs.”

Although it may sound strange I was excited to work my first holiday retail season.  The busy stores, present buying and gift wrapping, it all sounded like a fun and wonderful way to work through the holidays.  What I have found instead is that the holidays bring out the worst is shoppers and workers alike.  I have yet to decide why but rather than focus the meaning behind the holiday season people focus on the negatives.  Long lines become personal attacks on customers, messy stores show disregard for our workplace and tired looks are taken for scowls.  Especially with the financial squeeze we are all feeling, now more than ever seems like a time to show common courtesy towards yourself and others.  I hate the lines and the hassles as much as the next person, but I think we all could benefit from stepping back, taking a deep breath and remembering our holiday cheer.  It may sound corny but if the holiday humbugs went away, shoppers and workers alike would experience a much more rewarding and positive holiday season.

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Election ’08

So that time we have all been waiting for is finally here.  Election day.  It’s hard to believe that soon the yard signs will be coming down, the endless string of commercials will be pulled from the air, and no longer will every conversation surround the battle between Obama and McCain.  I thought I would be ecstatic for this day to arrive but I find that the end of this battle is actually bittersweet.  On the one hand the end to the constant name calling, politically-driven commercials and discussions regarding who is more qualified will be a pleasant change but on the other the time before election day I find to be exciting.  During this time is one of the rare times in which everyone in America has a common agenda and can relate with everyone else.  Living in one of the biggest battle grounds in the U.S. makes this time all the more exciting.  Just this past week we have had the opportunity to hear Jay-Z and LeBron James state their support of Obama, Bruce Springsteen and Obama himself host a rally bringing in 80,000 people, as well as Rudy Giuliani hosting a rally in my very own home town.  This election I find to be unique in that in seems that everyone is involved.  More people than ever are out and registered especially in the category I find myself in- the youth.  We have found our voice and today are able to share our views and show that are opinions do count and that we are not as apathetic as we were once thought to be.  Today is history in the making.

Barack Obama.  I never got the opportunity to post my pre-election blog on November 4th so instead of deleting it I decided to just add my post-election comments to the same post.  November 4th is now a day that will be forever remembered.  Whether or not you helped elect Barack Obama to the Presidency you are still witnessing the amazing steps America has made as a nation.  We, the United States of America, now have a black President.  This amazing turn of events shows how far we have come and that we are still the tolerant and accepting nation we were founded as.   I was sadly not at Grant Park or in New York City with the masses when this monumental event occurred but even from my couch in Chagrin Falls I could feel the emotion and significance felt by those people.  This is the first step into a new chapter for our country and I myself am excited to see where it will lead.

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