By Sierra Goodman
In the SOJC, it is common for public relations majors, such as myself, to minor in business. I regularly apply concepts from PR and business to my classes and clubs such as IR Futures. Understanding business is beneficial not only for a career in financial communications but in all sectors of PR. Here is why:
Better serve your clients
Whether you work for an agency or in-house, your knowledge of business will allow you to understand your client’s business model faster eliminating a learning curve with concepts such as stock history and return of investment (ROI). It will be easier to communicate and simplify what your client or employer is trying to say to their audience if you have insight to the business side as well.
Pursue Investor Relations
Investor relations is a lucrative PR position and requires a strong understanding of the financial sector of business. Investor relations involves communicating an organization’s value directly to current and potential shareholders. This requires literacy of stock markets such as the NYSE, NASDAQ, Dow Jones, etc. A company’s stock value is a reflection of the shareholder and public view of the company. It is a PR professional’s job to find out why your client’s stock goes up or down and convey this information accurately to shareholders.
Expand Your Marketing Toolbox
Public relations is one of many business marketing tools. Other tools include digital marketing, social media, advertising and search engine optimization (SEO). Strong knowledge of marketing can help you advocate the reason why a client should use PR as a marketing tool opposed to another option.
It is helpful to understand your client’s target audience in both quantitative and qualitative factors. For instance your client may have a young audience of skateboarders and snowboarders (qualitative) and have 70% of that demographic in the Portland area (quantitative). The ability to find out these details will help you produce better results for your client.
A business mindset will help you gain credibility in a public relations role. The ability to argue a case from a business perspective is a valuable asset to employers. A business degree is not the only way to gain knowledge. Chapter president, Lily Gordon, takes online business classes through Lynda.com and communications director, Talia Smith, listens to business podcasts.
By Talia Smith, UO PRSSA Communications Director and former Veracity intern
For our last meeting of Fall term, Amy Rosenberg of Veracity Marketing in Portland was kind enough to drive down to Eugene to talk to our chapter about traditional versus digital PR. As we found out, there is no difference.
Amy’s presentation was unique to our guest speaker lineup as we had yet to learn about digital PR and how it can be the “secret weapon to SEO.” Many of us have heard of SEO and know it’s important, but we don’t really know what role we will play in SEO as PR students and aspiring professionals. Amy did a great job explaining what we can do to start thinking digitally to make media coverage go further while helping clients maximize their online presence.
First, if your client doesn’t have a website, encourage them to create one or outsource someone to make a “SEO-friendly” site. Amy compared a company’s website to a flyer, except this flyer doesn’t end up at the bottom of your purse. A website provides your brand’s stakeholders with a platform to learn more about them and follow up. “If you don’t have a presence online, you don’t exist,” Amy said. The call to action of most of your PR efforts are going to lead back to this website which is why it is essential your client has one.
Once your client has a website, you need to help people find it which is where SEO comes in. In a nutshell, websites can get lost in a sea of search results on Google and Bing and SEO helps a site rank higher to garner more clicks. Let’s be real, no one is going to click to the second page of Google. In order for a website to be useful it must appear in the top results when using keywords associated with your brand. Blogging provides a website more keywords for people to search.
Once a website and blog are up and running, PR and social media can be used to drive viewers to the site through links. When it comes to securing media coverage, Amy suggests keeping your pitch to five sentences or less and linking out to a press release as reporters appreciate brevity. Also, don’t spam anyone. Instead, take the time to personalize a pitch and offer the same respect to all positions in the newsroom. Amy says bloggers and writers are the most important people in the newsroom to PR professionals because they could be editors five years down the road.
Once you secure media coverage, it is imperative to get the link so it can be sent to your client and shared on social media, an important step to amplifying viewers. It is also wise to have an “In the News” tab on a website and have an ongoing list of links to recent media coverage. If you can’t find a link to coverage you know you secured, Amy recommends asking the digital editor who is responsible for placing stories on a traditional news media outlet’s website. You might feel like you are bothering someone just for a link but Amy assures that these digital editors understand you are asking for SEO purposes and will respect you.
At the end of the presentation, Amy was asked what students can do to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to digital and traditional PR. She suggests “showing up” to professional development organizations such as PRSSA and PRSA for PR and SEMpdx for digital. Fortunately, Amy will be speaking at SEMpdx’s Engage conference in March 2018.
Thank you, Amy, for sharing your insight about traditional and digital PR. Please come back soon!
By Pablo Lopez
Connie Chandler, a public relations instructor in the School of Journalism, gives us her top-three reasons to build relationships with our instructors on campus.
Networking. Networking. Networking.
This word gets thrown around at us in college classrooms like our parents reminding us to eat our vegetables at the dinner table. But like our vegetables, why is it important?
More importantly, why should we network with instructors that we have to deal with for 10 weeks? Ten weeks should be more than enough time, right? Wrong.
Personally, I rather call it “building relationships.” It doesn’t sound as professional, but as students, I think we’re here to look at instructors as our friends and not as an associate that we’re competing with, dreading to ask them for help and cringing at the thought that they’ll embarrass you in front of the boss.
It’s true, we have a lot on our plate. It is almost impossible to meet with instructors when you’re trying to balance the workload of four or five classes while working a daily job that requires countless hours of physical labor.
Connie Chandler, a public relations instructor in the School of Journalism and Communication (SOJC) agrees. Chandler says, “Students are busy. And going to office hours, if you feel like you have a pretty good handle on what’s going on in the class, may seem like it’s too much to add to your schedule. But I think that the other part that students need to think about is that the instructors in the program that you’re in –in this case PR – really care about where you end up.”
These are Chandler’s three reasons to build a relationship with instructors.
1. Connection: We are here to learn from instructors.
It’s obvious that books cannot teach us everything. We can go to class twice a week, ace the course, and still be oblivious to what’s going on in the work place. Chandler says one of the best reasons to build a relationship with instructors is not only because they ‘have great deal of knowledge on the skills we are learning,’ but because they have ‘a fair amount of practical experience in the work place that you want to go into using those skills.’ They’re here to help; use them.
2. Good Practice: Instructors welcome “cold emails”
It’s an awkward, and sometimes intimidating introduction that you have no idea how to approach. As hard as it sounds, it’s not that bad. Instructors know that we have questions, and sure we might sound a little nervous, but don’t be hesitant and just do it.
Chandler explains that it’s as easy as sending an email. “Most instructors in, for example, the PR sequence, would be open to even just an email that says: ‘I’m a student in the public relations program and I know you are an instructor in the program with a special interest in leadership – for example like Dave Remund has – and I’d like to sit and talk with you. Can we do that sometime?’”
If you have a relationship with an instructor already, she recommends you simply ask to be introduced either virtually or in person with another instructor in the department that they think would be a good person for you to sit and talk with.
3. Access to Opportunities: Guidance into the right path
If you’re reading this, you’re most likely in the same boat as I am. We need a well-trained sailor to help us get to the destination we’re trying to reach. Which is exactly where the instructors come in to play. Chandler shares, “part of helping you get to that place is certainly the skills that you’re learning in the classrooms, but it’s also in getting to understand what you’re specifically interested in as an individual and helping in anyway that we can to guide you toward the path that you really want to take.” An exceptional staff surrounds us in the SOJC, and ultimately, they are here to help.
Every term UO PRSSA plans a trip to a different city to visit public relations and communications agencies. Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Eugene, and soon to be Santa Monica, are a few of the cities PRSSA has visited and will be visiting in the future. Attending an agency tour has numerous benefits, however, you may still be unsure about what those are. If so, here are five reasons why you should go on an agency tour.
Attending an agency tour allows you to make face-to-face connections with professionals in cities you may not have other opportunities to visit. By attending an agency tour, you are able to create connections with professionals that may lead to internships or jobs. By making these connections in person, your professional relationships become stronger and you’re likely to make a lasting impression.
Professional Q&A sessions take up a large quantity of time on agency tours. During these sessions, you are able to practice asking questions you may ask in an informational interview at an agency. You are also able to network with the professionals in the offices and are able to practice your elevator pitch. The agencies we visit want to get to know you and help hone your skills.
We visit many different kinds of PR, communications and marketing agencies on our tours. The agencies we visit focus on industries ranging from tech, lifestyle, food & beverage, fashion, hospitality, consumer, business-to-business, and more. We also visit agencies that are small and boutique, or large and global sized. If you are unsure about what areas of PR you might be interested in, this is a great way to explore and learn more.
Attending an agency tour also means you get to know fellow PRSSA members. It is always great to make new friends (especially those who share your major) and attending an agency tour is a perfect way to bond!
Visiting a new city with PRSSA will open your eyes to new places. Going on an agency tour provides you with the opportunity to enjoy an awesome city for a few days. By the end of the tour you may even find your new home post graduation. Either way, you are guaranteed to have amazing new experiences and connections after attending a PRSSA agency tour.
Tatiana Skomski is a junior studying public relations. She is originally from San Diego, California, and loves spending time with her dog. After she graduates, she hopes to relocate to Souther California and begin her career working at an agency. Tatiana specifically wants to work in lifestyle and consumer branding public relations.
Portland is known for it’s foodie scene and, lucky for you, this year’s PRSSA National Assembly is happening right in the middle of it! We put together a list of ten of our favorite Portland eateries so you will be sure to get a taste of the best that the Rose City has to offer, all within walking distance of the PRSSA National and PR PDX venues.
529 SW 3rd Ave #110
We know stopping at the nearby Starbucks is tempting, but Portland has so many great coffee shops that you’ll definitely want to stretch your legs a little bit to try something new. A local favorite, Barista is the perfect place to get your coffee fix.
Stumptown Coffee Roasters
128 SW 3rd Ave
What would a trip to Portland be without a visit to the city’s most renowned coffee company? If you’re attending our PR PDX event on Saturday, make sure to stop by Stumptown Coffee Roasters just a few blocks away.
212 SW Stark St
Mother’s Bistro is another local favorite known for its incredible breakfast offerings. The breakfast menu is served from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. so head there for an early breakfast prior to the National Assembly programming or even after PR PDX if you’re craving breakfast for lunch.
SW 3rd and Morrison
If you’re looking for affordable options, you’ll definitely want to check out Café Yumm. Started in the University of Oregon’s hometown of Eugene, the unique Yumm Bowls served here are hard to describe, but delicious – trust us! This Eugene favorite comes highly recommended by the UO PRSSA chapter.
1220 SW 1st Ave
Since it’s only a block away from the Marriott, I had to recommend my personal favorite brunch spot along the waterfront. It’s one of the more expensive options on this list, but well worth every penny.
Lúc Lác Vietnamese Kitchen
835 SW 2nd Ave
To get a sampling of the international cuisine Portland specializes in, head to Lúc Lác Vietnamese Kitchen just five blogs from the Marriott. Our vice president recommends their pho. Plus, it’s open till midnight – perfect if you’re looking for a late night meal!
Rock Bottom Brewery
206 SW Morrison St
Looking for a sample of Portland’s craft beer scene? Rock Bottom Brewery is just off the waterfront and offers a selection of craft beer brewed in-house and delicious food. This is also a great place to catch the Blazer game Friday night!
Portland City Grill
111 SW 5th Ave
Known for its spectacular views of the city from the 30th floor of the US Bancorp Tower, this is one Portland restaurant you won’t want to miss! Stop by for their affordable happy hour from 4-7 p.m. or after 9 p.m., make sure to order their Kung Pao calamari and enjoy the views!
Hot Lips Pizza
1909 SW 6th Ave
Hot Lips Pizza is another Portland favorite. The closest location to National Assembly is on the Portland State University campus, but it’s worth the trek if you’re craving great pizza!
22 SW 3rd Ave
Last but not least, if the Portland classic Voodoo Doughnut is on your must-visit list, there’s a location not too far from the Turnbull Center, where our PR PDX activities are taking place.
To make exploring Portland as simple as possible, we’ve put together a map with all of the PRSSA National Assembly and PR PDX venues as well as the locations on our dining guide. Check it out below!
Hannah Osborn, Public Relations Director, is a senior pursuing a double major in public relations and magazine journalism. She manages all UO PRSSA social and digital media platforms. Follow her on Twitter at @hannahmarieoz.
Jen Eisenmann is a University of Oregon SOJC alumna who works as a social media and event production intern for the San Francisco Giants. During her time at the SOJC, she worked as a digital strategist for the University of Oregon Athletic Department and an account supervisor for Allen Hall Public Relations. Below she discusses her experience in the professional world.
Q: What are you responsible for as the San Francisco Giants’ Social Media and Event Production Intern?
A: My responsibilities change depending whether the team is home or away. When the team is home, I help with day-of responsibilities. This changes depending on what is going on at the park. Usually I am responsible for updating our Snapchat, gathering content for Facebook and Twitter, preparing a Run of Show for our social media center, the @Cafe. Since my job also includes event production I will help with any special events going on in the park that day. This can include bringing different groups onto the field for on-field performances, coordinating National Anthems and helping with events around the park. When the team is away, my days are more of the classic 9-5, I have planning meetings and prepare for the next homestand.
Q: How did you get to where you are today?
A: I started working in social media through an internship with The Duck Store. I randomly applied the summer after my sophomore year and ending up getting it. About 6 months after that, the Quack Cave asked if I would like to join their team. After working there the whole summer I was asked to be the lead for football. I tweeted for every home and away football game during the 2013 season. When football ended I took a little break until baseball season started and began tweeting for Oregon Baseball. I was graduating a term early and decided to start applying for jobs in late-January. In mid-February I got a call from the Giants for an interview. After three rounds of phone interviews they called to let me know I had the job. In late March, I moved to San Francisco and started working for the Giants during their preseason games.
Q: Is there anything you wish you had learned or a skill you wish you had spent more time honing during your time in school?
A: I wish I would have taken a CIS class. So many social media jobs these days ask for you to have some experience with HTML coding and I have absolutely no background there. I also wish I would have taken one or two more design classes, just to be more confident in my abilities on Illustrator and InDesign.
Q: What is the most needed skill in your job and why?
A: I think the most important skill for someone who wants to work in sports is flexibility. Things change every single day and it can seem like nothing is going right, but you have to keep going because the game still has to start on-time. I think you need to be ready for really bad days and really good days. You can’t let little mistakes get to you and you really just have to be prepared for whatever gets thrown your way.
Q: What advice do you have for a student seeking a job in PR?
A: Apply for everything and be ready for anything. Everyone says it’s all about who you know; I knew no one at the Giants when I applied for the job here. I was hired because of what I knew. So if you think you are qualified for something and want a certain job, go for it. Don’t discredit what you know.
Be sure to attend our meeting at 6 p.m. tomorrow night in Allen 141 to hear from Jen Eisenmann as she shares her insight with us!
Nicola Hyland, external relations committee member, is a junior pursuing a degree in public relations and a minor in business administration. Follow her on Twitter at @NicolaMorgan_.
Life after graduation can be daunting, but Kylee Plummer has navigated it like a pro. Kylee is a recent graduate from the UO public relations program. During her time in the SOJC, she was actively involved with PRSSA, serving as the 2013-2014 Event Director. She’s now living and working in Portland and took the time out of her busy schedule to share about life after college and her tips for seniors.
Where are you currently working and what are some of the projects you are working on?
I am currently working at Edelman Portland as an Assistant Account Executive working on a mix of consumer and tech clients. Right now, I’m my clients include HP and Travel Portland. Some upcoming projects will possibly include Emerald Nuts and Starbucks. It’s really a large variety! My job involves a heavy amount of media monitoring, measurements, analytics and a lot of writing – which I love.
It’s exactly what they say; you’re never doing the same thing and you never know what you’re going to be working on. It’s very exciting.
What does your typical day look like?
A typical day includes monitoring the different social platforms for brands I’m working with, pulling reports for them on a weekly basis and performing a lot of research. In a typical day (I think at most agencies), there are a lot of meetings. I would say about 70 percent of each day consists of meetings, and I think that’s why with PR you have such flexible hours. You’re always on and fitting different tasks, brainstorms and planning into each day. You could have a somewhat easy day head home at 6 p.m. or you could have meetings most of the day, as well as a few deadlines that require you to work pretty late – but that doesn’t happen all the time! This is just a great example of how varied your days can be in an agency setting. Always busy and always learning new things – but always exciting and challenging!
What has been your greatest obstacle in your new job?
This may sound a bit cliché, but my biggest obstacle has been trying to find a good balance for using my time wisely. This job requires you to really prioritize and manage your time. Going straight into agencies from graduation has forced me to get a lot better at this – so has my planner.
Which classes at UO prepared you the most?
I absolutely respect Kathryn Kuttis, and I loved her portfolio class. She really gets imprints it in your mind that you need to work extremely hard and have interesting, clean materials in your portfolio that help you to stand out or you’re not going to be able to land the dream job that you want. That class taught me a lot; even though it was for a weekend, it really helped to put everything into perspective and I’ll never forget it. The workshop forced me to start working toward a pristine, beautiful collection of work that would eventually help me land a real job out of college. Apparently it worked! Overall, Kathryn is super inspiring and her class helped immensely.
Stay involved until the end because you never know what will make the difference in landing you the job you want.
When did you start the job search your senior year?
I was in the spring 2014 cohort for the Portland Senior Experience so I actually left Eugene in early April to jump in right away before graduation. I started my internship at Urban Airship, a tech startup in Portland, and I was actively job searching while I was there. I knew that I wanted to get into an agency and desperately dreamed of going to Edelman! With that, I started looking into smaller agencies. To recap, it was probably three months before graduation that I really started looking for jobs. Starting early is always a good thing!
Do you have any advice for senior PR majors?Get involved!
Do something! Get an internship and/or get involved in PRSSA and AHPR. It really makes a huge difference. Also, make sure you network like crazy. Networking is honestly one of the main reasons I landed where I am now. Go to events like Portland Paddle; it’s so much fun and you end up meeting the most inspiring, smart, wonderful people. Get involved, brand yourself in a positive way, network, network, network and the rest will fall into place. Honestly, if you work hard and have an end goal, you can do it all. Go for it.
Shelby Nelson, External Relations Committee, serves as a project manager for the PRSSA blog. She is a senior pursuing a Public Relations degree. Feel free to follow her on Twitter at @shelbybriann.
It can often be nerve-racking or even intimidating to go on PR agency tours in different cities. You are meeting PR professionals who could potentially hire you one day for your dream job. However, when going on an agency tour, there are a few things to remember that can help you get the most out of it and have an experience that will benefit your future.
Do your research.
Before going on an agency tour do your own research on the agency or agencies you are visiting. Find out what type of PR they focus on, who their clients are and the size of the agency. After some basic research on the agency itself, read over their employee bios to find out more about the people who work at the agency. This will give you a better picture of what the agency culture is really like.
While you are researching, brainstorm potential questions you would like to ask. Think beyond the generic questions you can answer yourself by looking at their website and ask questions that will make you stand out. Also, ask questions that show you have done your research. Mention specific clients you know they have worked with based on the research you have done, not just what they are telling you on the tour itself.
Be professional and courteous.
Remember, the agency you are visiting is taking time out of their busy schedules to educate you on what their agency does. Be respectful of that and engage with the professionals who are conducting the tour. Say, “Thank you for your time, I really appreciated learning more about your agency.” When it comes to networking after a general presentation, remember not to jump the gun by giving them your resume or business card. Unless the moment is right, this will give the wrong impression.
Dress to impress.
It is very important when going on any agency tour to dress appropriately and in business professional attire. It is always better to be overdressed than underdressed. Slacks, pencil skirts, appropriate blouses, blazers and closed toed pumps or flats are appropriate for women. Men should wear slacks with a dress shirt and dress shoes. Blazers and ties are also appropriate.
Didn’t make it to our meeting last night? We heard from Trevor Steele, Communications Strategist at Funk/Levis & Associates. Here are six things we learned from him about crisis communication and digital strategy:
Always expect the unexpected. Be prepared for crisis by doing your research, understanding your audience and what their concerns might be, being aware of related issues and preparing for more than one outcome of a situation.
Details matter. Even the smallest errors make a difference in your reputation and future success. What may seem like a minor mistake could become a liability for your client.
The biggest difference between crisis communication and normal PR is time. Crisis communication is the same; it just happens faster.
Every crisis is different, but every crisis has happened before. However, in most situations, you don’t really have enough time to think about what’s happened before. When handling a crisis in the moment, get as many details as you can. Ask yourself what the first question is that other people will want to know and find the answer. Time and information are the two critical pieces you need in order to solve a crisis.
Be aware of the media filter. The media filter is what the media decides to show out of the information you provide them. Sometimes you have to get around the media filter in order to get your message out.
Want to work in crisis communication? Be a good writer. Writing is critical when dealing with crisis. Train yourself out of writer’s block by practicing writing on demand about topics you know nothing about.
Join us for our next meeting on November 19 to hear UO alum Jen Eisenmann talk about her role as the social media and event production for the SF Giants.
Hannah Osborn, Public Relations Director, is a senior pursuing a double major in public relations and magazine journalism. She manages all UO PRSSA social and digital media platforms. Follow her on Twitter at @hannahmarieoz.
Are you interested in crisis communication or digital strategy? Trevor Steele will be joining us tonight to explore a few topics PR practitioners tend to overlook within the broader theme of crisis communications and digital strategy. We asked him a few questions to get to know him a little better before our meeting.
Q: How did you begin your career in the public relations industry?
A: I haven’t met a six year old who says “I want to work in PR when I grow up.” Perhaps this will change someday, but it certainly wasn’t my original life goal. I worked in professional politics through high school, college and a couple years after graduating from college, during the start of the recession. In college, I studied political science but found that communication studies had all the action. After a few years as a lobbyist, I opted to go into communications full time. I’ve never looked back.
Q: What is your favorite part about working in an integrated agency practicing PR?
A: I love the variety of the work I do and the skills each member of the team brings to a problem. I have an opportunity to work with incredibly creative designers and skilled account managers who bring different experience to the table. As part of an integrated agency, I have the freedom to look at both paid and earned media, and choose the best tool for the situation. This is the biggest benefit of an integrated agency practice.
Q: For students interested in crisis communication, what is one piece of advice you would give them?
A: The “rules” for crisis don’t differ as much as one might expect from most other types of PR, but things often happen faster. The best advice I can give is to come on Wednesday and ask questions. One other piece of advice: train yourself out of “writer’s block.” Writing is the one skill you can develop in school and apply to any situation in PR. Being able to write on command is crucial.
Q: When it comes to social media, what do you foresee its affect on the PR industry in the next five years?
A: Social media touches on so many different areas of an organization. Public relations is in the best position to take advantage of the changes in social media, but it requires an industry-wide approach. Don’t discount traditional media, but look at an integrated approach that blends traditional and digital into what is quickly becoming a “traditional” environment. Note that this is different from social media, which is also critically important. Social media is a little strange in that it is upsetting both marketing and PR, but ultimately I think PR will win out.
Q: What skills do you think students will need to embody when entering the post-graduate world?
A: Flexibility. Be ready to explore different areas with your career, and avoid getting locked into any one thing. That said, I also really want to see students pursuing their passions. At the end of the day, communications is a critical part of any industry and any effective organization. Look for the opportunity to pursue your passion using the skills you have acquired in school. Look for opportunities to continually learn and grow, but don’t lose sight of what makes you tick and what you want to do.
About Trevor Steele
Trevor came to Funk/Levis to help as a political strategist for the Lane Community College Bond campaign. His work to message, galvanize volunteers and implement outreach was an important part of the success of the campaign. Trevor returned to Funk/Levis in 2009 to help work with LTD in doing outreach to key influentials for the West Eugene EmX project. Trevor is heading up our Strategic Digital Communications department focusing on new media and social integration into branding campaigns.
Trevor graduated from Lewis & Clark College with a degree in political science and communications and from USC’s Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism with a Master of Arts in Strategic Public Relations. During his time in Los Angeles, Trevor was hired by the Milken Institute where he developed and ran the Institute’s social media program and developed new digital communication tactics.
Abbie Mulligan, President, serves as the chapter’s resource and mentor, for our members and the executive board. When she’s not in Allen Hall, you can find her helping to strengthen the university’s relationship within the community. Follow her on Twitter at @abbsmulligan.