Monday, August 31, 2015

and the New PR Girl said, "...newspaper?!"

Fresh from graduating with an advertising and public relations degree, my mind was ready and focused on approaching my new position here at C. Pharr & Company. If we are being honest, my professors would warn, “While print is important, it is also dying” and “Our class will focus on digital, since that is where advertising and public relations is headed.” With these things in mind, I whole heartedly believed that as I moved into my first job, my focus should be on improving digital strategies more than solely focusing on traditional approaches to PR.

Hear me new public relations professionals:

Within my first month here, my eyes were opened to the reality that there is no separation between “traditional PR strategies” and “digital strategies.” Rather, the combination of the two working hand in hand is vital to a successful campaign. Several industries, particularly those with business-to-business communications strategies, heavily rely on the press coverage that print publications allow as well as online coverage. This may seem like common sense, but after speaking with communications students who graduated with me, they all related to my new found epiphany.

That being said, I feel the need to share four basic things new PR professionals should know:

       1.  Read the news, but don’t rely solely on Twitter. Knowing what’s being reported in local publications is important to your clients! 

 2.  Learn to clip articles. Clipping coverage for clients shows them the results of your hard work, lets them know that you’re reaching their target audience with their message and shows that their communications strategy is being effectively executed. Plus it just makes you feel good to know how many pubs ran your story. 

       3.  Media lists, people. Extensive and accurate research of print and online contacts when building the list is key.  PS - color coding is your friend!

       4.  Know your local reporters better than anyone else should. Building relationships with these professionals will help you as you pitch in the future.

Moving forward, it is clear that my goal will be to become an expert on combining both traditional and digital PR strategies – using them both harmoniously. Understanding that print is equally as vital as digital or social platforms will not only make me more knowledgeable as a professional, but will allow my clients to be well-rounded and assure that they are reaching their audience. PR is always evolving, but some things will always be the same. 


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Lessons Learned From a C. Pharr & Co. Internship

Stepping foot into any office on the first day of work is always intimidating; first impressions are crucial and the night before my first day as the summer intern at C. Pharr & Co. consisted of me scrambling around my room until late, flinging clothes out of my closet in exasperation because nothing was "right." I wanted to make the best first impression possible because this was my first public relations internship and I knew it could lead to many opened doors for me in the future. Leaving the next morning with ample time to get there, a packed lunch and hopeful attitude, I embarked on the commute from Fort Worth to Dallas.

Arriving without any time to spare and I was welcomed into the cozy office with wide smiles and cheery hellos, I received a quick round of introductions and was led to my desk for the summer. I went over terms, phrases and example documents of what I would be doing and was shown how to media clip, an action I would become overly familiar with early on into the summer. Possessing a practically nonexistent knowledge of public relations besides a few terms remembered from the one class taken at SMU, I eagerly soaked in the new concepts and worked hard to strengthen these new skills. I grew comfortable entering the quiet office, sitting at my desk and working diligently all day until my time came to leave. At first, I was perplexed by how silent the office was all day; I'd imagined an office where people were constantly chattering. However, the silence suits the work attitude they all possess: efficient, time aware and hard working.

As I wrap up my last day at my first PR internship, I am so thankful I was given the opportunity to engage with such a knowledgeable team. I'd heard so many horror internship stories where all anyone did was scan, fax, and file papers, and I feared I too would be doing the same, but it couldn't have been more opposite. The hands on opportunities pushed me so far out of my comfort zone at the beginning, but I grew to love coming to work to see what I would learn. This internship has not only taught me about the many different aspects of a PR firm and how to do the behind-the-scenes work, but also countless important career advice. I sat down with all the women who work here and compiled a list of the most significant words of wisdom they had to share:
  • Be resourceful always
  • Never be above anything
  • Take an intro to business class so that you can understand their perspective
  • Learn about particular industries and become a "surface level expert"
  • Absorb as much as possible
  • Always keep up with the news
  • Be proactive
  • Keep in touch
Hearing advice from professionals who have been in my same position of "What am I going to do in one year?" is comforting. Their tidbits were beyond useful because they not only motivate me to keep working hard throughout my senior year, but also push me to strive for excellence in my work.

The next time I'm freaking out about my "first day" outfit and stressing about what everyone will think of me, I just need to remember that everyone has been there before. The women at C. Pharr & Co. have been supportive and eager to help me grow, and I know they wanted to provide me with an internship that would teach me lessons I would utilize later on, which I know I certainly will. 

This post was contributed by Molly O'Connor, CPC Summer Intern.