Ohio University ImPRessions

Ohio University ImPRessions

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Taking a Peek Into Agency Life at Edelman

August 13, 2013

Edelman_Logo_ColorAgency life keeps you on your toes; it’s fast paced, mentally demanding yet very exciting. Professionals working at an agency have different day-to-day agendas and are constantly challenged to be creative and curious thinkers.

During my time as an Edelman Trainee, I got a taste of what agency life is really like and what traits are essential for success.

Here are four characteristics of a successful PR pro at Edelman:

Creative- clients are always looking for the next big thing. Agency staff must be creative to drive interactive content and impression numbers with innovative strategies.

Enthusiastic- in order for the client to be enthusiastic, so must its PR team.

Team player- agencies are all about team spirit and encouragement. A PR pro must engage with the team to conquer daily obstacles and reach set goals.

Strong work ethic- agency staff work long hours. Most get to the office early and leave late in order to complete all assignments. With this, attitude means everything. A strong work ethic paired with a positive attitude will get any PR pro far.

Here are four perpetual aspects of agency life:

Client service- is the center focus for each project. Agencies strive for client satisfaction, and every effort has the client’s wants and needs at the focal point.

Large teams- depending on the client, teams can be rather large. It takes a small army to reach deliverable results. At Edelman, I met Account Associates, Assistant Account Executives, Senior Account Executives, Vice Presidents, General Managers and many interns.

Busy- everyday is busy at an agency. As PR pros, we are focused on creating the buzz for a product or cause. Agencies carry out multiple projects at one time.

Collaborative- two heads are better than one, and agencies truly hone that statement. Edelman pulls talent from the creative team, digital team and account teams to work together to tackle a particular task as a team….and their results show it!

Working on nation-wide campaigns and with brands such as Pop-Tarts, Pringles and Rice Krispies, I was exposed to a variety of PR tactics. I gained experience in media relations, digital analytics and consumer PR. While all this was cool, what I enjoyed most at Edelman was meeting Senior Account Executives to account Vice Presidents, and realizing what agency life actually entailed.

“PR is more than a set of tactics and tools. It’s a mindset.” –Richard Edelman

-Marisa Dockum is a junior communications studies major with a global leadership certificate. Follow her at @MarisaDockum

Do I Take the Unpaid Internship or Not?

July 22, 2013 3 Comments

If you’re a current college student (especially a PR student) then you’ve definitely heard the debate about unpaid internships. It’s been all over the news especially after the “Black Swan” scandal. Are they legal? How can employers get away with it? The debate never ends and court cases trying to fight unpaid internships keep popping up. Unpaid Internships are one of the top things that is searched on Google:

GoogleAlthough I agree that in some instances unpaid internships should definitely be illegal, especially if you’re doing nothing but grunt work and getting coffee or running errands, there are positive benefits as well. I am currently in an unpaid internship and although it sucks to be broke, I CHOSE to take this on because having experience at an agency was better than just sitting at home or working a summer job that had nothing to do with PR.

With that being said here are three positive benefits to unpaid internships:

1. Unpaid experience is better than no experience.  Having three unpaid internships on your resume is better than having zero internships at all. An internship is about the learning experience, shadowing and mentoring. Whether your internship is paid or not you are still learning something valuable and adding to your resume and portfolio.

2. Unpaid internships can be more hands-on. Often time’s internships are unpaid because you are working at a smaller company that can’t afford to pay their interns. This means that you may be able to get more hands-on experience and participation since there is a smaller staff.

3. It shows that you’re serious. We all have to start at the bottom and although it sucks, everyone has to do it. If an employer notices that you did one or two unpaid internships and worked really hard, then they are going to see that you really care about this field and that you are dedicated.

If you are planning to take an unpaid internship here is some advice:

  • Remember that it is YOUR choice to take on an unpaid internship so don’t complain about not getting paid if you knew that going in. If you really need money then get a part-time job on the side or apply for scholarships while you’re interning.
  • Research the company before you decide to take the unpaid internship. If you see or hear that their interns only get coffee and file papers then that’s probably not where you want to intern. But if people are talking about how much experience they got, that’s a different story.
  • Although an internship is unpaid you still might get a small stipend. Most unpaid internships will still give you a travel stipend or reimburse you for driving to an event or maybe a lunch stipend. My internship gives us a small stipend each month for traveling so this might be something to look into!

Overall, remember that internships are a learning experience and they might not always be great, but in the end you come out with greater knowledge and an expanded skill set.

To read more on surviving unpaid internships check out this Fox Business story: http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2013/07/05/how-students-can-survive-unpaid-internship/ .

-Cidnye Weimer is a junior studying strategic communications with a minor in business administration and a Global Leadership Certificate. Check her out at @CidnyeWeimer.

 

An Entertaining Entertainment Internship

July 15, 2013 1 Comment

Receiving the opportunity to work at an entertainment agency this summer has opened my eyes to the entertainment industry and photo (1)I am now a dedicated fan of the Kardashians (I still don’t know if I am proud of this or not). I am interning in Cleveland with the Talent Group and their office is located right outside the city, and by right outside I mean I could walk four blocks and be in the heart of Cleveland.

It’s odd that I decided to take this internship because I have never had an interest in the entertainment industry. I’m not the typical girl that watches E! Network all the time, nor have I seen all of the must-see chick flicks (although, I do love a Nicholas Sparks movie).

In late spring, I landed this internship as a junior agent intern. My duties consist of answering phones, getting lunch and calling our talent. Some days are slow and some days I have to come in early and leave late.

After working here this summer, I think experience in the entertainment industry is crucial to any field of PR you may want to enter. Knowledge in the entertainment world is something I never would have imagined being important to a professional that didn’t want to go in to entertainment.

So far, I have learned the ins and outs of working with real talent including actors, models and voice over talent. People will come in to audition and we must keep their confidence level up with motivational talks and compliments. We also assemble their wardrobe for them.

The entertainment world is different from the typical PR world mainly because you are working with individuals instead of clients. Although our office manager handles our clients (clients book our talent), most of the employees here work directly with the talent. This can be stressful because the talent can be very hard on themselves while auditioning or modeling. Our job is to make sure they know they are doing great.

As a junior agent intern, I call most of the talent and let them know about upcoming auditions we have booked them. I tell them what to wear, schedule them and let them know their scripts. The entire office must work together if we want to stay organized.

Experience in the entertainment world can give you a lot of insight into what the real world is like.

Some talent come in and expect special treatment and others want to be treated like a normal person, even though they are booking thousand-dollar jobs on a weekly basis. The stereotype is true for some; actors and models can be a little stuck-up. For the most part, I work with some really talented and sweet people. After all, these people are entertainers. Most of them are very personable. Watching some be so friendly and others so rude has showed me how important it is to be extra nice so you give a great first impression.

In the PR world, having a grasp on the current trends in entertainment is crucial, even if you plan on doing political PR. Having a background in an entertainment agency not only provides you great connections, but it teaches you the ins and outs of scheduling, producing and managing your time.

My advice? Intern for an entertainment agency, paid or unpaid. You won’t regret it and you will come out of it with valuable experience.

-Meagan Dixon is a senior graduating a year early and studying strategic communications with a minor in business and a sociology specialization. Follow Meagan at @MeagDixon.

Paid Fall PR Internship in NYC

July 11, 2013

Current is a consumer public relations agency based in New York City and is looking for a PR intern for fall 2013. Heather Bartman, former CEO of ImPRessions and recent Ohio University graduate, interned with Current summer 2012. Details of the internship are included below. Please contact Heather Bartman if interested at heatherbartman@gmail.com.

Current:

We are looking for enthusiastic, self-starters who are good multi-taskers and are organized. It is a very hands-on role where you will be integral to the team and be given the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of PR. Core tasks include writing, researching, event planning, compiling media lists, pitching client stories to media, and participating in creative brainstorms.

The internship is 3-6 months, paid at $12.00/hour and candidates must be available to work Monday – Friday 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. College students and recent graduates are welcome to apply. Ideal start date is August 15th (however, this is flexible).

Bobcat Network: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

July 9, 2013 8 Comments

We hear it all the time – Bobcats are everywhere and willing to help you out. I always believed it when I heard those words, but this summer I got to experience it firsthand.

Over winter break this past year, I went on interviews and received an internship at a small agency in Cincinnati. I was ecstatic considering this would be my first internship, I had it lined up early and I wouldn’t have to worry about it anymore. Rawr

As the end of the school year was approaching I had been in contact with my boss and several of the employees. However, I began to feel uncomfortable with some of the comments that my boss had been saying to me (we will just leave it at that) so I made the VERY tough decision to quit. Keep in mind that it was the first week of May when this was all happening.

So, I went into panic mode as I began to search for a new summer internship. I emailed Professor Gerl and Professor Stewart, and they immediately emailed me back with suggestions and references. It was awesome to see how willing they were to help a student out. As I was searching through the references, I realized that two of the internships had Bobcat connections! I interviewed with both of them, and they both immediately pointed out how amazing their experiences had been at OHIO. I had so much in common with people whom I had never even met!

Long story short, I got offered both of the internships! I took a corporate route with Hobsons, an educational services company in Cincinnati, and I couldn’t be happier! Now, I have met even more Bobcats in the office, making it feel like home. It is a good feeling to have that connection with people that I work with. I’ve had conversations revolving around OHIO sports, Scripps and even Court Street. There are not many bonds stronger than a Bobcat bond, and this summer I got to experience it firsthand.

-Annie Beard is a junior studying public relations. Follow her at @annie_beard.

A Day in the Life: PR Professional

June 24, 2013

This is the first of a three-part series detailing the daily life of a public relations professional, intern and student.

DevinName: Devin Hughes

Company: Global Prairie

Location: Cleveland, OH

Hourly Snapshot

7:30 AM – Wake up, shower, and check Facebook/Twitter/News RSS Feed while eating a granola bar for breakfast. This includes both personal interest stuff (friends’ Facebook posts, sports scores) as well as work stuff (industry news/tweets)

8:30 AM – Arrive at work. Whole bunch of emails to sift through. Better make the first cup of coffee (in our Keurig!)

9:00 AM – A new team member has joined our office! We have a welcome breakfast to meet him and chat.

9:45 AM – Every week, we send a weekly media monitoring report to the client on Friday morning. I haven’t started on it yet. Guess I should get moving on that.

10:00 AM – Better make that second cup of coffee.

10:30 AM – Call with a major national organization about a partnership our client has with them. What can we do to enhance the partnership? How can we promote it?

11:00 AM – Call went well. Now, I have to take everything we discussed and build a formal strategic recommendation for our client to review. Better get started on that while it’s fresh on my mind.

11:30 AM – Or not. Now I have a different call, for the same client, for a totally different project. This time, we’re even working with another agency (that does event planning) to discuss how to coordinate our efforts.

12:00 PM – No time to debrief from that call. Now, we have an all-agency call; all of our regional offices and employees dial in for this one, where we go over agency-wide matters of importance.

12:30 PM – Another meeting on the calendar? This is the 5th one and I haven’t had lunch! Now, we’re brainstorming about how to improve a mobile app for our client. Some awesome new ideas bouncing around — ranging from major changes, to simple functionality tweaks.

1:00 PM – All right, a break! Grabbed a few coworkers and ran to the local market for a salad.

1:30 PM – Let’s dig back in and work on that media repo—oh never mind. Boss needs me to do quick research for a new business opportunity that just came up.

2:00 PM – Finished that up, and just got some feedback on a social media proposal I put together. Sweet! Really excited about this project. Let’s prioritize it. Incorporated those edits and sent back through to the team.

2:30 PM – Grab a Pepsi and work on that report I keep putting off, but not for long because…

3:00 PM – A brainstorm meeting! About Twitter! We’re creating an account for a client and are discussing the look and feel of the account. Graphic design team is on this call, always fun to work with them.

3:30 PM – Another call, this time about work one of our clients does with NASCAR. That’s pretty cool.

4:00 PM – Let’s wrap up that report, already. The document has literally been open on my computer all day.

4:30 PM – Call with a senior strategist at our firm to run through a PPT I put together. He really likes the plan! Sending to the client now

5:00 PM – Oh hello, mountain of emails I haven’t had a chance to reply to. Let’s catch up on those

5:30 PM – A few of us are actually going to a fundraising event for the National Kidney Foundation tonight. Pretty cool to do after-hours stuff with coworkers while also giving back.

8:00 PM – Home! Long day…let’s sit back and watch the Indians game (while tweeting of course)

11:00 PM – Bedtime. Can’t stay up late like I did in my OU days.

What is an example of a curve ball you may face during the day as a PR professional?
You can plan out your day all you want, but PR is driven by the news of the day, so be ready to get disrupted. For example, when I did PR for a grocery chain, anytime the news wanted to spontaneously come film at the store I’d have to drive out and meet them. One phone call from ABC was all it’d take to literally change the entire complexion of my day.

Do you find that you specialize in a certain area of PR or are your responsibilities more general?
Can I say “both?” I got into the agency world because I wanted to wear a lot of different hats and learn about any aspect of PR that I could. That said, I naturally gravitate toward social media and really enjoy doing that type of work, and my company has noticed that, so they’ve begun viewing me as more of a go-to person on social media matters. But, that doesn’t mean I’m not still doing all the other stuff! Best advice I can give is to be open to learning anything and everything, but also become conscious of what you really enjoy doing, and have dialogues with your manager about what those things are.

How many clients do you work with and what is it like transitioning between the different clients throughout the day?
It’s hard to quantify. There aren’t just different clients, but there’s different businesses within clients. So like, maybe your “client” is Toyota but you do some work for the marketing manager of the Toyota Camry; some for the Tundra marketing person; some corporate communications work; some general crisis consulting. It’s one “client,” but they have multiple billing codes and you report to different people.I actually really like transitioning between a bunch of different clients/types of work. Maybe I’m scatterbrained, but it helps keep me feeling fresh and energized. I think I’d go insane doing the same thing every day. The biggest challenge is juggling various client deadlines. I can’t tell one client that her work is less important to me than another client’s work. Luckily, our agency team is extremely supportive and when time crunches like this come up, anyone who can will jump in and help out.

What experiences from your days as a PR student and intern have helped you in your work as a professional?
I’ve said before that in a lot of ways, school is like its own PR agency. Your “clients” are your 5 classes, your 3 student organizations, your PACE job, etc. And you need to manage your time on all of these clients, prioritize assignments and get things done, while still having a social life. The running joke is that Scripps Kids tend to overextend themselves and sign up for everything; however, this actually prepares you really well for the demands of agency PR, if that’s a field you’re interested in.

-Kerry Tuttle is a junior majoring in public relations with specializations in marketing and international business. Keep up with Kerry at @kerrtut.

8 Unlikely Jobs for a PR Major

June 2, 2013 1 Comment

In the world of PR, many people believe there are limits to the jobs you can hold upon graduation. You can be a PR specialist, some level of account manager, possibly an event planner and of course you must work at a PR firm. This could not be more inaccurate.

Public relations is a vast field that can get you in to almost anything. Especially with the background that E.W. Scripps provides you, as long as you are good at what you do and have lots of experience, your future career possibilities are truly endless.

An understanding of public relations shows that you can work with the public, understand their needs, the business’ needs and problem-solve. These are all extremely valuable assets to any company, not just PR companies.

Here are some off-the-beaten-path career routes you could end up in with your journalism/PR degree.

Suggestion: if you choose to take one of these routes, you will need to have some other qualifications in that specific field (specialization, minor or internship experience), since these aren’t just about PR.

1. Recruiter Recruiters (aka “headhunters”) get paid to stalk. They do background checks, interviews, meetings and they know every single piece of work the person they are stalking has ever done. Think of Mila Kunis in Friends with Benefits. She was an executive recruiter. After the stalking is complete, you sell this person to a company so they can bring that company hundreds of thousands of dollars and you can get your thousands. To become a recruiter, you need to have experience with recruitment (you could find this through an internship with an entertainment agency). Recruiter’s typically don’t have a specific field they graduate from, but most have a background in public relations, business and marketing.

2. Agent Agents are different than recruiters. Recruiters work for the business, agents work for the people they are representing. An agent will recruit talent to keep them, not to sell them.  Agents can also work at the agency, corporate or private level, similar to PR professionals. To become an agent you need to have the same background as a recruiter, as well as experience in the field which you can obtain through an entertainment agency. Recruiters and agents must be determined to create their own brand.

3. Consultant A consultant is great for those who enjoy a challenge because it can be very fulfilling. A consultant understands management and strategy involving a business problem and they find the best solution. So for you problem-solvers out there, this could be the job for you.

4. Buyer (Purchasing Agent) How would you like to go shopping for a living? A buyer is an awesome career for you somewhat-controlled shopaholics. Buyers must understand the consumer preferences and know all the latest trends because they will be stocking major department stores or a retail chain. They must also know how to manage a budget, seek out vendors and beat the competition. This normally requires a public relations, business or fashion background.

5. Lobbyist For those interested in politics, this is a dream job. Lobbyists contact members of Congress and other elected officials to persuade them to support legislation favorable to their clients. This job would pair well with a minor or specialization in political science. There is also a wide degree of creativity allowed.

6. Editor This is something a lot of people in journalism start out to have dreams of being, and then realize there’s more to journalism than just writing or reporting. An editor writes, edits and proofreads a variety of documents. An English minor or specialization would provide a great background for this. An editor typically reports to a supervisor or manager.

7. Funeral Director A little on the depressing side, but funeral directors make good money. This position requires a lot of planning, directing and coordinating. A business background would be great as well as public relations because the director must be able to determine prices as well.

8. Corporate Travel Manager This one is for the thrill seekers. This one requires a background in public relations as well as a background in business, travel or management. Travel managers make group travel arrangements for different companies as well as arrange flights and hotels for customers. Internship experience in the travel industry is essential to landing this position.

These are just a few of the many fields you can enter with a public relations background. Of course, as with any job, there are pros and cons to each of these and previous experience in the field is required. The important thing to remember is that you are not limited to PR firms once you graduate. Explore your options!

-Meagan Dixon is a senior studying public relations with a business minor and a sociology specialization. Follow her on Twitter @meagdixon

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