Ohio University ImPRessions

Ohio University ImPRessions

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Press release template

October 22, 2010

The most important function of ImPRessions is to provide students at Ohio University with professional experience that will prepare them for future internships and employment opportunities. We hope to achieve this through  a variety of learning experiences and practices.

ImPRessions has recently created a press release template including some of the basic how-tos and don’t-forgets of writing a press release. The document includes tips on a strong introduction, qualities of a good quote and overall structure. We hope that the template may be a learning tool, no matter what type of work students are doing for our clients. We hope that everyone finds it useful.

ImPRessions seeks associates for Bob Evans account

August 30, 2010 1 Comment

With only a week left before classes start, we are preparing to hit the ground running with ImPRessions. After meeting with our Bob Evans contacts, it has become clear that the account needs to get started as soon as possible. That being said, we would like to find two or three associates to start work on the account ASAP and will be accepting applications immediately. Anyone is welcome to apply, though previous experience in ImPRessions or PR is preferred.

Those who apply should be prepared to meet the first week of classes and ready to work hard. The Bob Evans account has big things planned for this year and will be an amazing learning experience for everyone involved.

If you are interested, please fill out this form:

Bob Evans account associate sign-up form

and send it to ouimpressions@gmail.com. The deadline for applications is Sunday, Sept. 5 at 6 p.m.

If you have any questions, please let us know.

Top reasons to join ImPRessions

August 24, 2010

By Ashley Showen
VP, Operations

As the school year quickly approaches, we are preparing for a great year with ImPRessions. With 13 clients, seven of which are brand new, there is no doubt that this year will be a successful one.

There is plenty of room for students to get involved with the addition of four more clients than last year. We would love to have more members and encourage anyone interested to join.

Here are the top reasons why you need to be a part of ImPRessions:

  1. Real world experience from day one. Whether you’re a freshman who barely knows what PR is or a senior looking to get an extra boost before graduating, joining ImPRessions will allow you to get hands-on experience that cannot be simulated in class.
  2. Great way to meet fellow students. Once you are assigned to an account, you will be working closely with a group of five to 10 other members. You will get to know each other well and learn a lot from each other. Members are not required to be PR majors, so you will get the chance to meet students outside of your major as well.
  3. Prepare you for internships. You will get the opportunity to write press releases and PR plans, create promotional materials, plan events, pitch stories to the media, and much more. Learning the basics of so many different things will give you the experience you need to be a superstar at your first internship.
  4. Get experience in a field you’re interested in. ImPRessions serves clients in entertainment, health care, non-profit, consumer services, public service campaigns, small businesses and more.

We can’t wait to get started and hope you will join us as we work hard to get results for our clients.

Account executives and supervisors for the upcoming year: Encourage everyone you know who may be interested in ImPRessions to contact us or come to an informational meeting.

If you are looking to join as an associate, either as a rookie or veteran, we invite you to attend one of two informational meetings in the beginning of the quarter to learn about each client in detail, meet the account executives and supervisors and sign up for an account!

Tuesday, Sept. 14, Scripps 111, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 15, Scripps 111, 7 p.m.

If you would like more information or have any questions, please contact us at ouimpressions@gmail.com.

Building an empire

August 19, 2010

By R. Devin Hughes
CEO

Recently, the SVP of professional and government relations at Cardinal Health spoke to the intern class, giving background about her job and providing helpful advice. One thing she said that really stuck out to me was, “you have a responsibility to help the people below you get promoted.” Looking at how ImPRessions has developed in my time with the firm, I couldn’t agree more.

As an account executive or supervisor, you might be tempted to think “success” means that your account produced strong results for your client this year. While that is great, I think you are missing the higher-level goal: contribute to the long-term growth and stellar reputation of the firm. ImPRessions might be on your résumé for a long time, and therefore, you will always want the firm to be in high regard with those who are familiar with its activities.

Of course, at that point, you are no longer with the firm, meaning you can’t directly impact the quality of its work. The only way you are able to play a part in ImPRessions’ future is by fostering leadership in its present. As an account executive or PRSSA mentor, I went to great lengths to help develop the raw talent I saw. Today, many of my former associates/mentees make up the ImPRessions or PRSSA executive boards, and I know that they will do a good job because I’ve had the privilege of watching them develop into PR superstars (to borrow a phrase from former OU professor and always leader-developer Michelle Honald).

So how do I recommend you do this? Everyone has their own styles, but I’ve compiled a list of tips that I’ve found to be helpful over the years:

Identify passion, not pedigree

Seriously. The freshman who knows nothing about PR but wants to be involved with ImPRessions is much more valuable than the junior with three internships who just devotes what little spare time he/she has to your account. The junior may be tactically stronger, but the freshman is the one who will want to make the firm better, especially if you are there to help him/her stay enthused and develop. You can teach PR; you can’t teach passion.

Get them involved

Once you’ve identified that hunger, you need to feed it. Give them more responsibilities. Ask them what they want to learn or if they have ideas for the account, then let them run with it. Most of our clients are open to new ideas if we’re able to execute them, so take advantage of that and go nuts. These people want to be involved, and if you’re able to get them excited about what they’re doing and feeling as if they’re getting a lot done, you’ve basically reeled them in. Look for the forward leaning in meetings, the fire in their eyes or the more subtle “ImPRessions 4 Life” tattooed on their arms.

Be available and approachable

Seems like a no-brainer, but I really mean go out of your way to be there. Would my ideal midnights involve phone calls from hysterical associates who are giving up on PR, the world and men? Probably not, but I take them anyway because I feel a responsibility to do so. You aren’t just their boss, you’re their mentor. Embrace it. I humorously added the “men” part, but it does touch on the fact that I think you should be there for them for any life-related ordeal, not just PR-related. Happy associates are helpful associates.

Praise

I admit I have to make a concerted effort on this one, as I am notoriously demanding and have high expectations, so sometimes I take it for granted when those expectations are met because I feel they should have been met. But you need them to feel like their great work has been noticed, and more importantly, you need to instill confidence. If Nick thinks he sucks at PR, I really doubt he’ll apply for a leadership position with the firm. To apply, he needs to believe he can do it, and to believe, he needs you to tell him he can do it. Often, I’ll straight up ask the person, “Are you thinking of applying for account executive? I think you should.” It meant a lot to me when I heard it, and I bet it will mean a lot to anyone else.

Tell the world

Involved as I’d like to think I am, I have to admit I probably won’t personally get to know every member of the firm, so how am I supposed to know where the top talent is? You have to tell me. You have to tell everyone. That person will have a harder time getting promoted if nobody has heard of him/her. If you aren’t making sure the right people know how great a person’s work/enthusiasm is, you are really doing that person a disservice.

That’s how I do it. If you have other suggestions, I’d love to hear them. Any way you do it, the goal is universal: build an empire. The firm needs to be outstanding this year, five years from now and even fifteen years from now when I’m in my thirties and probably dead. ImPRessions 4 Life.

2010 PRSSA National Conference in D.C.

August 13, 2010

By Nicole Bersani
VP, Administration

You’ve probably been to a PRSSA chapter meeting, maybe even a Central Ohio PaRtners Conference, but have you been to a PRSSA National Conference? If so, you know the feeling – writing ideas/advice frantically in your notebook, getting inspired by successful PR pros and peers, forming friendships with fellow students in your chapter and chapters across the nation – it’s a feeling bigger than you, than the Hugh M. Culbertson chapter of PRSSA, than ImPRessions, than all journalism students in Scripps. I guess you have to go to a national conference to know the feeling. I went last year and it was one of the most inspirational experiences of my life, to say the least. To know more about last year’s conference, read my article in Ohio University’s chapter of PRSSA’s Winter 2010 PR Success issue titled “Members stay classy in San Diego” (page 3).

This year’s conference, “The Capital Connection: People, Press and Politics,” will be held October 15-19 at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park hotel in Washington, D.C. I’m going to give it to you straight: rooms are $259 per night for four people and the conference registration is $295 per member. Then, you have to add the cost of food, transportation and any site seeing you might do. (Look below for approximate costs.) To be honest, the cost is rough – it’s in D.C. after all – but the experience you have, the people you meet and the amount you learn are priceless. However, good news to PRSSA members that are interested in health care or travel, tourism or hospitality public relations! If that’s you, you can apply for a grant to recieve a free conference registration – see below for more information or click here

Between professional development and networking sessions, expert and compelling speakers, and casual to fancy socials, you will not be wasting your money. The keynote speaker this year is Jim Margolis, a senior partner at a political consulting and advocacy advertising firm called Greer, Margolis, Mitchell, Burns (GMMB). According to the PRSSA national conference committee, he was the senior advisor to Barack Obama’s campaign. Other exciting events are a speed networking session, a student-run firm workshop, PRSA speakers, and sessions about every PR topic imaginable from international to agency, heath care to entertainment, and sports to environment. (To look at other speakers and events, scroll down to link to the program calendar of events or click here.)

There is one catch though – the deadline to register is fast approaching. The day of our first PRSSA chapter meeting of the year and only one week after we start school is the same day as the national conference deadline on September 13. Slightly better news is that you can register now and if you decide not to go, you can get a full refund back – but you have until September 20 to make that decision.

According to the PRSSA national conference committee, “The Conference is the biggest annual meeting of public relations students in the United States, gathering more than 1,000 students for a weekend of networking, professional development, career preparation and leadership training” (http://www.prssa.org/conference/about.aspx).

It’s kind of a big deal. You might think that our chapter or firm of 100 or so members is competitive, but wait until you go to a national conference. You are not the only enthusiastic, smart, hard-working PR student, which may sound discouraging but I mean it as the opposite – take it as an opportunity to learn and network beyond Ohio University.

FYI: I am planning on car pooling and then splitting the cost of gas and parking. It’s around a six-hour drive from Athens to D.C. – e-mail me at nicolebersani@gmail.com if you want to talk more about transportation, this and/or last year’s conference or anything in between.

Estimated cost:

  • HOTEL ROOM (four nights split by four people): $259
  • TRANSPORTATION (car, bus, train, plane): $40-$300 **if car, add parking
  • FOOD/MISC ($15-25 per day, five days): $75-125
  • REGISTRATION (dues paying member): $295
  • APPROX: $669-$979

Hotel information:

Washington Marriott Wardman Park
2660 Woodley Road NW
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 328-2000  

PRSSA Room Rate:

  • $239 single/double
  • $249 triple
  • $259 quad
  • Group Code: PRSPRSA

For more information:

Attractions in D.C.

  • National Zoo
  • Smithsonian
  • Georgetown

Get involved

August 11, 2010

By Hollie Amato
Account executive, Backdrop Magazine

There is nothing more intimidating than freshman year of college—thousands of new people, new classes and, most importantly, new opportunities. If you thought that high school offered a lot of chances to get involved, college will surely blow your mind. These options change from “extracurricular activities” to “organizations” and their variety ranges from Greek Life to Frisbee disc golf teams.

I am going to begin by saying something that everyone has heard a million times but cannot be stressed enough,—GET INVOLVED! In high school, I was the type of person who had a million different things going at once. I constantly found myself doing things that I felt that I had to do, instead of ones I actually enjoyed doing. That is one of the first differences I realized about organizations in college, particularly in the Scripps school. In college you actually get to pick what you want to do, rather then feeling obligated to participate in certain activities.

In my Journalism 101 class fall quarter of my freshman year, Dr. Stewart made sure that all Scripps kids were fully aware of the opportunities that were available to us. That was when I first learned about ImPRessions. I was slightly apprehensive at the time because it was the beginning of the year so I hadn’t met my current group of friends yet, and of the few friends I had, none of them were PR majors like me. So this meant I would be going to the first meeting alone, which to me was terrifying.

After the first couple weeks as a member of ImPRessions on the College Book Store account, I immediately felt comfortable. Because it is a student-run PR firm, everything is handled by other PR students. This makes it easy to bounce ideas off one another and to feel comfortable giving suggestions and speaking your mind. In my freshman, year we handled everything from press releases to personally handing out flyers to other students around campus. I even helped to design one of the posters that hung at College Gate promoting one of our big weekend events!

Words cannot even describe the amazing experience I got as a member of this account.  After just one year, I already feel as if I have more hands-on experience that I wouldn’t be able to get in a classroom.

Starting in the fall, I will be one of the account executives for the Backdrop Magazine account. I had not even planned on applying for an account executive position, but a fellow team member encouraged me to do so. I would have never been able to take advantage of this opportunity if I had not gotten involved fall quarter of my freshman year. If there is one piece of advice I could give after year one as a member of ImPRessions, it would be get involved and do not be scared. You never know what could happen if you try!

Creativity, brainstorming and the big idea

July 30, 2010

By Ali Myers
Account supervisor

I am lucky enough to be spending my summer in New York City interning for Quinn & Co Public Relations, a firm specializing in the real estate, travel, food, and wine + spirits industries. This is the first time I’ve done major PR work in a place other than Athens, Ohio and I would say that the audience I’m working with in New York City is just a bit different. (OK, a lot different.) The thing is, New Yorkers have seen it all. They are not easily impressed, and to grab their attention is a difficult task. Journalists are seeking out new and exciting pitches. Clients are relying on you, the public relations professional, to land them spots in publications and get their name out to the public. In order to do so, you have to change your way of thinking. Sometimes those “in the box” ideas aren’t going to cut it when you’re pitching to major publications. This brings me to the first major lesson I’ve learned at my internship:

Creativity is important.

Now before you say, “But, I’m not creative,” you should know that everyone is capable of thinking creatively, and in a field like public relations, it’s extremely important to do so. You just have to go about doing it the right way. Which brings me to lesson number two:

Brainstorming sessions are a necessity.

While interning at Quinn & Co this summer, I have had the opportunity to attend several team brainstorming sessions. The ideas that come out of these are fascinating. Some of the most brilliant pitches come from sitting in a room with your team members and throwing out everything that comes to mind. Even if the first idea is something very small and simple, your team members may add to it and eventually build it up to a bigger idea, which is a nice little transition to my final lesson:

Don’t be afraid of the BIG IDEA.

So, what is the big idea? It can be many different things. It can be trying a risky new campaign strategy or taking a new approach to the way you typically do things. With so many companies competing for that limited number of consumer dollars, sometimes getting your client or company’s message out will take a BIG IDEA. The most successful public relations campaigns probably seemed risky in the beginning, but sometimes you have to (cautiously) move forward anyway.

I would like to challenge our accounts this year to hold regular brainstorming sessions. Think of new ways to promote your client on a college campus. We’ve all been handed papers at College Gate or seen chalking on the sidewalks. I encourage you to think creatively, brainstorm and maybe generate a big idea that will stir up some noise on campus.

It’s not always about the money

July 28, 2010

By Molly Essell
Account executive, State of Ohio Prescription Drug Abuse Campaign

As hard-working college students, it sometimes becomes difficult to think of a job or internship as something other than a form of income. However, if you can find a niche in the PR world that you feel passionately about outside of the job, I guarantee you will feel rewards greater than any paycheck by using your PR skills to promote their cause.

I say this confidently, because this year, I have had the amazing opportunity to work for a foundation that means a great deal to me in and out of the office. I am currently the Race for the Cure intern at the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Greater Cincinnati Affiliate. For those of you who are not familiar, Susan G. Komen is the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists fighting to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures for breast cancer. Before even thinking of a career in nonprofit or Komen specifically, I have been known to wear pink ribbon attire, support their annual Race for the Cure 5k, and purchase products (such as ice cream scoops, socks and potato chip clips) just because they have the pink Komen ribbon decorated on them. Having the opportunity to internally support Komen now is more rewarding than any amount of money I have previously spent for the foundation.

For the first time in any of my jobs or internships, I find myself working hard not because I’m trying to learn a million things at once or be a super intern in the office, but because I believe the work I am doing this summer will make an impact in the lives of many deserving people.

An important lesson I have learned is that working in nonprofit PR does not just involve asking people for money and writing grants, but you get to meet lots of interesting and respected professionals! I’ve met local breast cancer survivors in the committee meetings I’ve lead, I’ve met with executives in many organizations across Cincinnati, such as the Cincinnati Reds and local news stations, and I’ve gotten tons of experience writing all kinds of PR materials. The best part is, it’s all been in support of Susan G. Komen’s Race for the Cure! Nonprofit PR is really a mix of all sectors of the PR world and can be a wonderful place for gaining experience!

For anyone looking to pursue a career in nonprofit PR, here are a few things I’ve learned firsthand this summer:

The Dos and Don’ts of working in a nonprofit office:

1. DO your research! Make sure you know the ins and outs of what the company does in its community, in the nation, worldwide–everywhere. It is one thing to know the company raises money for breast cancer. It’s another to know that over 100,000 survivors and activists make up the organization and over $1.3 billion have been raised to date.

2. DON’T get your feelings hurt if there are some people who will never be as passionate as you are about the organization. It’s only natural that not everyone will find the need to save lives and raise money for a cause they are unfamiliar with. Use this as a way to spread knowledge and education of what your organization accomplishes!

3. DO show your support outside the office! One thing I’ve learned from my bosses at Komen is they become known in the community for the job they do. Sometimes it’s as simple as wearing their pink ribbon t-shirts to the grocery store or posting pictures of events on their own Facebook walls. My bosses have become women that people all over Cincinnati respect and look up to because of their dedication.

4. DON’T give up if there isn’t an available job right away. The one negative I have found from the nonprofit world is that there are fewer jobs. Because of the nature of the nonprofit organizations, many places hold few positions in their offices, meaning it can be difficult to find an organization in need of a PR pro. However, there are still plenty of opportunities! Be a volunteer. Get up close and personal experience with the organization you’re interested in by volunteering at one of their events, or even contact someone from the organization and ask if they would need any help with PR work. They will very much appreciate your desire to help and it will give you great experience.

All in all, I truly believe nonprofit PR can be the most gratifying experience possible in your career path. If you’re unsure of what your PR calling is at this moment, I urge you to take a step back and think of a cause you are passionate about, and see if that can’t be an opportunity in itself.

Do what you love, love what you do

July 26, 2010

By Sam Browning
Account supervisor

While most PR students in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University are utilizing this summer to expand their knowledge with various internships across the country, I decided to take a different route.

I am claiming this summer as an opportunity to regain my sanity for next year. I have no internship that takes up each day and no job to frustrate me. At times during last spring quarter, my summer plans were embarrassing to admit.

I am a typical JSchool kid. I am too involved, too committed and spread too thin with the hopes of gaining one more ounce of experience. Last year, I was involved in several organizations: an account executive with ImPRessions, the public relations chair in a service sorority, the public relations intern for a local non-profit organization and a very time-consuming position as the administrative resident assistant in Lincoln Hall. Topping that off with 16-20 credit hours of classes, I found myself scrambling and without much free time. I burned out pretty quickly and found that a summer mental break was necessary if I want to have a clear mind to tackle what my senior year has in store: finding a job.

This inevitable entry into “the real world” terrifies me. I constantly find myself thinking, “PR is entirely too broad of a field,” and have no idea which direction to take when looking for a position. This idea that frightens me; however, it is actually a blessing in disguise.

With this realization of the field being so broad accompanied by my lack of specific direction, I have become eager to start working because I know I will not be disappointed. I have no preconceived ideas about what my job should be or needs to be. I will just be in the field that I love, gaining experience, establishing connections and growing up.

I would like to share this eager attitude for the future with you, the reader. If you are involved with ImPRessions, get excited about this year! There are so many interesting clients with whom to work and so many opportunities to build connections with fellow PR students across the firm and with PR professionals in the field. If you are already a PR professional, do not find yourself in a slump with your current position. It is perfectly fine to say no, to change your mind and to work elsewhere. Life is too short to feel trapped.

Most importantly, if you are going into your senior year like I am, do not feel saddened that your college years are almost over. Your real life is about to begin. Savor the experiences and look forward to your bright future in a dynamic field.

Organizing is key

July 23, 2010

Sam Bartlett
Account executive, E.W. Scripps School of Journalism

What’s that we’re all hearing? It’s the sound of carefree summers screaming goodbye and the hello of ‘the real world.’ Although I do know some students who are still enjoying their free lunch and not having to work or intern…their reality will soon hit, and hit hard.

I have personally been going nonstop–better start calling me the Energizer Bunny. Between working Monday through Friday at the Lorain County Fairgrounds, helping out around the house, hanging out with my boyfriend, family and friends, along with my exciting project of planning a book release party, I’m pretty busy.

My secret to keeping up with it all? Organization.

The first thing I suggest is to buy a planner. When I was in middle school, I thought they were pointless, but now I would be lost without one.
Now that you’ve got your cute Lisa Frank daily planner, you should write down everything you have going on–when you’re working/interning, meetings and appointments, class assignments, exams, study groups, important deadlines…everything. I highly suggest writing the exact time things are due/going on too. Things will go smoother and it will be a helpful reminder.

I also suggest being extremely on top of communication, whether it’s with your team and your clients or any other party that might be involved. This involves frequent e-mails and actual face-to-face communication. Only use text messaging if it’s a last resort. Sometimes texting is OK with your team to double check on things, but should never be used as the main source of communication.

For example, last year I was co-account executive with Nicole Bersani for the College Book Store account and we were constantly checking one another through mass e-mails we sent to one another and to our team. We met at least once a week outside of our regularly scheduled meetings. We also always triple checked with our team to make sure they understood everything that was going on—probably to the point of annoyance, but at least they knew what their roles and assignments were within the account.

My next suggestion of all-star organization is to make lists. To-do lists, grocery lists, pro’s and con’s, and every type of list imaginable. I’d even say getting a separate notebook for this purpose would be a fantastic idea.

Organization makes everything go smoothly and if you’re lacking, people will notice. For example, this summer the Lorain County Fairgrounds decided to put on their first car show during the Fourth of July weekend and there were a few things that weren’t 100% perfect. Since it was he first year doing the event, many people tend to point out the bad points rather than the good. My advice is to write down everyone’s’ comments and organize them in a manner that the directors will understand so that they can work with it at a later date. Getting criticism doesn’t mean you’ve failed by any means. Take suggestions from people into consideration and smile, nod, tell them you’ll take care of it for next time, and then actually follow through with what you say you’ll do.

Between ImPRessions and being a ‘JSchool kid,’ I have a lot of enthusiasm and tend to get overly excited and busy. My simple solution [KISS – keep it simple, stupid] is to stay organized and on top of things. And, of course, some ‘me’ time sprinkled on top.

Even though I am still learning to do this, another step to being really organized is having the power to say ‘no.’ I have always had a hard time telling people no and continuously find myself helping set up for almost every event of various clubs  with which I’m involved. It would make life easier if to be able to say ‘no,’ once in a while.

Once you’ve got your style down of how to keep track of everything you have to do in a logical way, even if it’s not my method of keeping it in a daily planner, your life will become much less of a headache.

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