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October 18, 2016

No Internship, No Experience, No Problem

By Staff, 11:07 am

– Stephanie Barber

Congratulations, college graduate! You’ve got an outstanding grade point average, a killer cover letter, and the recommendations of your favorite professors – time to go land the job at Google and demand your corner office in HQ, right?

Not so fast. You’re missing one vital item on your checklist – an internship.stephanie-oct-pic

Welcome to the big world, recent college graduate. The most common misconception I have seen throughout my exposure to higher education is, “College will give you all that you need to land the job.” Internships have increasingly become the deciding factor in whether an employer will even give your resume a second glance. From first-hand experience, I would like to take a crack at a few internship myths. Let’s discuss why we need them, why we may think we don’t need them, and everything in between.

1. Check Your GPA at the Door

Sorry college kids, but having only that piece of paper that you will pay tens of thousands of dollars for and a stellar resume won’t land you that job on its own. Employers want to see experience for multiple reasons. Knowing you have real-life experience within the field, combined with the confidence that you want to remain within said field, allows employers to feel confident in whom they are hiring. Internships will not only instill confidence in your own skills and knowledge, but will also build confidence among potential employers.

2. I’ll Have a Grande, Sugar-Free, Vanilla Latte with Soy Milk

Believe it or not, internships aren’t always code for “professional coffee-runner.” Most internships are created because businesses actually need help with real work their full-time employees are doing. When you interview for an internship opportunity, it is the perfect time to also interview them! Make sure that you will gain useful knowledge and skills while making a contribution to the business – that’s what an internship is for.

3. Get Out of Jail Free Card

Many college students think that internships are only for those who know exactly what they want their profession to be upon graduation, and lack benefit for students with undecided majors. On the contrary, if you are unsure about your future profession, an internship is going to be incredibly beneficial to you. Take time to explore the fields that interest you, especially as an undecided underclassman preparing to claim a major.

4. Once Time is Lost, It Will Never Be Found Again

“I do NOT have time for an internship with my crazy schedule!” I entered college with the classes of a double-major, a Division I sport that required me to wake up at 5am every morning, and the perspective of an overwhelmed freshman. I convinced myself I had no time for an internship, not now, next year or ever. That was my mindset, and it’s one you do not want to have.

You usually have only four years to openly explore your options within various career paths. Take the opportunity, whether it means you take a part-time internship with minimal hours, or find a virtual internship to conduct on your own time. Many students join sports, clubs and organizations while also finding time for an internship. Remember, you may be having a hard time finding the perfect internship, but employers may be looking for someone just like you! Don’t give up, you’ll benefit in the long run.

5. May Your Grades Be Ever in Your Favor

If you fear the need to fulfill your credit requirements and think taking an internship will cause your grades to suffer, I’ll let you in on a little secret. Employers and academic advisors are more than happy to work to get you credits in exchange for your time at an internship. Not only will you gain real-life experience within the field of your choice, but you can benefit academically from the experience. Two birds with one stone.

6. Millionaire? More like Nillionaire

Students are known to pull the “I’m living on a college-student budget” card. Getting a job that will support your lifestyle and living expenses is a priority over finding an internship that can be unpaid. But, did you know there are a lot of incredible internship opportunities that are paid? In fact, there is a high probability you will get paid more when you graduate if you have held one or more internships! Employers take into account the value of an internship and are usually inspired to express that through your pay.

7. I Know “People”

You may have some strong connections already established in your aspiring career field, but you can never network too much. During your internship, everyone you meet becomes a possible connection. Whether it is an individual you can contact for advice or someone you go to for a referral, networking could be the reason you land your dream job.

8. Time Management Is Life Management

“I can’t handle 17 credits, how am I supposed to manage an internship on top of that?” Internships will teach you better time management as a college student. They give you a sense of structure beyond your spotty class schedule and daily nap in the back of the library. It is an unspoken addition to your resume – showing that you were able to balance a loaded class schedule successfully with an internship.

9. You Did It, So What

Congratulations on finishing your internship, but it does not end quite yet. You may think putting your internship on your resume is good enough, but we can find something better than that for you. Ask your internship supervisor for a letter of recommendation. A reference directly from the source speaks volumes to future employers.

10. Do It, I Dare You

Most schools have online resources to help you find and filter through internship opportunities to best fit your needs, whether it’s a paid internship or a credit-exchange opportunity. You have the ultimate power to decide whether or not you’re going to go out there and get that real-life experience. So now that we’ve debunked most of the excuses you have been using, get creative and start searching!

October 11, 2016

Finally Capturing the Unicorn

By Nicole Lasorda, 12:01 pm

A few weeks ago, the perfect HARO (Help A Reporter Out, for those of you uninitiated) came through from a very high-level reporter who’s something of a Unicorn at the Buchanan PR offices. Many have pitched her; no one has ever gottenUnicorn a response. This new HARO wasn’t for a client, but for Buchanan PR itself and I decided to take my chances.

So, off I went, drafting my pitch and rewriting it at least five times, mulling over the subject line for a solid 10 minutes and then hitting send with much hesitation. When I didn’t hear back, I thought, “Oh well, another one down the tubes.” Then, like magic about a week-and-a-half later, a reply appeared in my inbox that said, “Nicole, I’d love to speak with Anne. Can you set it up?” I immediately told my coworkers who were shocked and excited. When Anne was interviewing with the Unicorn, we learned a few things: She will only cover a company once, she gets between 50-100 HARO responses each time she posts one and she loved my pitch so much she had to tell Anne. Anne asked to see my pitch – I was a little nervous, I mean I liked my pitch, but I didn’t think it was Oscar-worthy or anything. Anne agreed with the Unicorn and asked me to share it with the team.

Fast forward to last week, when another HARO comes through from the Unicorn and this one is  a great fit for a client. Even though I have somewhat of a relationship with her now, I was still feeling the pressure to come up with a pitch that was worthy of her praise.  I went through the same routine of writing, rewriting, mulling and hitting send. Again, I didn’t hear from her until yesterday, a reply came through that said she’d like to speak with my client and she was glad I reached out again. I felt like I’d hit the jackpot…a second time!

So, why give you all of this background? Because I want to offer some tips on the way I pitched the Unicorn and why I think it worked:

1. I was completely on-target: This goes without saying, but when you’re responding to a HARO or ProfNet, you should never send something that’s not 100-percent what the reporter is requesting. When I see something that’s “kind-of” right, I’ll usually make a note to add that person to my future media lists, so he/she is receiving all of the appropriate client’s information.

2. The subject line: If the reporter is getting 50-100 responses to a query, your subject needs to stand out. I decided to go with witty in both cases. My subject lines pulled out what was most important about my ideas, but weren’t boring.

3. I let my personality shine through: When I tell stories, I inject a little humor and fun into them. I tried to do that in the first pitch (which was a more feature-y topic). The second pitch was more business-oriented, but I still kept it conversational. Reporters are people and I think sometimes we’re so focused on making sure they have the information that we forget to be human with them.

4. I kept it short: I’m a huge fan of brevity in pitches. In fact, my most successful pitch ever (until now) was only three sentences. So, in both cases, I kept it brief and to-the-point. I included only enough to interest her and have her request more information.

Now that I’ve established a relationship with the Unicorn, I feel confident that I can pitch her without a HARO, when appropriate. And, I’ll use the same style of pitching again.

Do you have a Unicorn? What’s worked for you when pitching high-level reporters?

October 4, 2016

(PR)oject America

By Staff, 10:24 am

– Justyna Wierzba

I’m sitting in the Buchanan Public Relation office, writing this post and still can’t believe how it happened. But, maybe I’ll start at the beginning.

My name is Justyna Wierzba and I am from ‘exotic’ Poland. I am double majoring in Economics and Communication Management at the University of Wroclaw. Throughout my life, one of my biggest dreams was a trip to the United States of America. The first step which I have taken to realize my dream was joining the ‘Camp America’ program. And this was the beginning of my adventure.justyna-oct-pic

On May 30, 2016, my American dream came true. I was sitting on the plane to USA, twice as scared as normal, because it was the first flight in my life. First stop – New York. My first view of the city was breathtaking. I couldn’t even believe that I was walking through Times Square or Central Park. After three hours of walking with my head in the clouds and drinking a Coke (which had much less bubbles and much more sugar than in Poland), I took the train to my next adventure – to work at Deer Valley YMCA Camp in Fort Hill, Pennsylvania.

I was looking out the window of the train anxiously and wondered, “What’s next? What should I expect? What kind of people will I meet there?” When I arrived to the Camp, all my fears just disappeared. It was amazing, even my English became better and better. Thanks to this, I could talk freely, participate in the life of the camp, explore culture and make friends. And so, it happened! The most valuable thing that I achieved is the people whom I’ve met and memories which I’ll remember to the end of my life. Honestly, I didn’t expect something like this at all. My new friends support me and bring cheer with everything. This was clear, especially after working at camp – which of course was an amazing experience. After three months at camp, I started the trip of my life.

I decided to travel with my friends – more fun and pleasure. The first stop of our trip was Washington D.C. We just wanted to start from a very important place for citizens of USA. Then we went to Pittsburgh, where I could feel like a real student, because I took Slovak classes at the University of Pittsburgh with my friend. After that we flew to Las Vegas, which was our starting point for further travel, especially to see the Zion National Park and the Grand Canyon, but it wasn’t the end of National Park tour. During our trip to the West Coast, we also went to Death Valley and Yosemite National Park. After our nature trail, we finally arrived in San Francisco. To be honest, I can’t say which park was my favorite, because every single park was totally different and, at the same time, amazing. San Francisco welcomed us with rainy weather, but it didn’t disturb us from making our dreams come true.

From a very chilly place, we flew directly to the ‘tropics’ – Miami. And again it happened – a completely different world. What captivated me in this city is the Wynwood district – a place of street art. In general, I love every single piece of art and architecture. During the seven-day stay in Florida, we went to Naples and Orlando and were met with heat and sunburn. After two weeks of life at fjustyna-oct-pic-2ull speed, it came time for New York. There, I spent a week of sightseeing, exploring architecture and fantastic places. I even tried my first Pumpkin Spice Latte (I heard that I had to try this coffee during Halloween season. For sure, I won’t forget this coffee- for three days I have not eaten anything sweet 😉 ). Personally, I fell in love with Brooklyn, and even though it may seem that NYC is so huge and totally different from the Polish cities, I felt at home there (I even know how to use the subway!).

After a wonderful time in NYC, I went to Philadelphia to see the city, and also, it was the home of my friends from the Camp — Anne Buchanan and Jon Ericson. When we first met, we found out that we are interested in the same area – PR and Branding. Anne offered me the opportunity, if I travelled to Philadelphia, to take me to her office and show me what PR looks like here. I was so excited because this was also one of my dreams. And so it happened. After one day at her office, I literally fell in love (again) with her PR agency, and I realized that this is exactly what I would like to do in the future. The atmosphere which prevails here is amazing. The team creates one big family, and at the same time, everyone is working hard. Even I, after this short time, felt like a family member.

I’ve never expected that my trip to the United States would affect so much of my life. I met lots of great people, made my dreams come true. These are things that I have never even dreamed, and now … now I realized that if you want something, you have to be determined and never give up. If you do this, you can achieve more than you think.

Justyna is a friend of Anne Buchanan. She is considering a career in public relations, so Anne invited her to spend the week at the Buchanan PR offices to learn about the profession in the U.S.

September 28, 2016

Dear Writers, Lose Your Style

By Megan Keohane, 4:03 pm

As PR professionals, our career is so heavily focused on writing – news releases, pitches, emails, blog posts like this, etc. We are all “idea people” full of creativity. But sometimes, as creatures of habit, we can get caught in the monotonous routine of writing in the same style for each client. It is great to have a system that allows us to write quickly and efficiently, but sometimes that comes at the cost of our underlying creativity. And after all, isn’t that supposed to be the bread and butter of what we do?

So what do you do to keep from falling into a routine? Answer: Don’t limit yourself.

When meg-sept-picdrafting content for a client, we educate ourselves as much as possible so we can write knowledgeably on the topic – especially complex ones. While this is a necessary step, we often have much to gain by exercising our writing chops beyond the subject matters covered by our day-to-day client base. Believe it or not, writing a movie review or sending a handwritten letter to an old friend can help renew a whole different layer of creativity that may have been hiding beneath your standard writing style.

As writers, we must continue finding new ways to stay fresh and keep the juices flowing. Here are some ideas every writer should consider.

Write for another outlet. Recently, I started writing for The Odyssey. I love this because it gives me an outlet where I can write about almost anything, express my views and get published. If you find yourself with the opportunity to contribute to an existing outlet, go for it. But, creating your own blog is equally as good – even better if you hold yourself accountable to regular, consistent posts. This forces you to stretch your brain in a way that it is not used during the day and think outside the box.

Make use of LinkedIn Pulse. If you do not have the time or resources to maintain your own blog, another option is to share content on LinkedIn Pulse. LinkedIn Pulse serves as a blog platform and news aggregate where you can share your own posts and follow the posts of others. The content you write and share will be visible to your connections, as well as to a broader industry network, based on the topic.

Keep a daily journal. Or weekly – whatever works for you. This could be about anything from a food log to daily happenings. For some, this may be less pressure than writing something that will be published. However, it is still a great way to put pen to paper and keep stretching your brain.

These are just a handful of creative outlets where writers can express their style and continue strengthening their talent outside of the daily work grind. Writing in all sorts of ways helps keep us on our toes and can make it easier to bring new ideas to the table at the office, too.

Fellow writers – anything else you recommend trying?

September 20, 2016

Hey Future PR Professionals, This One is For You

By Lesley Amy, 11:30 am

Landing a full-time job right after college graduation is the ultimate goal of students today, and I was fortunate enough to do just that.  I graduated from Drexel University in March, accepted an internship at Buchanan Public Relations in April, and joined the staff as its newest full-time employee in July.

After being a full-time team member for a few months now, I am looking at the potential intern interviews through a new lens. As a former job-seeker, I know what it’s like to want the big, full-time job right away. My greatest piece of advice? Take the internship.

lesley-sept-picThe only reason I am a full-time employee with Buchanan today is because of my decision to take an internship, and it was easily the best decision I could have made for myself and for the beginning of my career. Here are some reasons why you should accept an internship, too.

  • You obtain real-life experience. Internships provide the real-life experience you need to see before going out and doing it yourself.  Classwork teaches you the basics of WHAT is done, while an internship teaches you to apply what you’ve learned in the professional world and learn HOW it’s done.
  • You receive really great advice. Some of the best career advice I received was during my internship. Everyone you talk to is genuinely interested in seeing you succeed and wants to provide you with every little tidbit of helpful information to get you there. Whether I chose to stay at Buchanan or not, I felt like I was equipped to be successful anywhere.
  • You build an amazing contact list. Once you get to know the people you work with, they become great contacts to help you after you leave. My previous internship was with the Philadelphia Eagles, and I’m still in touch with my former co-workers there from time to time. LinkedIn is a great way to stay connected, as well. I learned that the Eagles were a previous client of Buchanan a few years ago and having your contacts overlap really helps to strengthen your professional network.
  • You can get your feet wet. An internship is the perfect opportunity to see what your college major looks like as a well-oiled machine and if it is the right choice for you. You can take this time to really fall in love with what you want to do, or figure out what your next step is going to be.

Entering the job market is intimidating for a new graduate, but an internship can take the pressure off by allowing you to see what the job requirements will be, and if you are really happy with it. And if I can believe what I’m told, your happiness is the most important thing because if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life!

Do you have some great reasons to take an internship? Leave them in the comments below.

September 15, 2016

Honesty is the Best Policy

By Jen Tedeschi, 11:47 am

One of the first lessons I remember learning as a child was that honesty is the best policy. It may or may not have taken getting grounded a few times for it to sink in, but my parents made sure that I knew it’s always better to tell the truth, even when I’ve done something wrong.

Fast forward to 2016, and several people in the spotlight seem to have forgotten this important lesson. With recent scandals ranging from Ryan Lochte’s fabricated robbery story to the Wikileaks debacle and Donald Trump’s upinocchio-5nending string of dishonest statements, it appears that more public figures are choosing to lie than admit their faults.

When it comes to crisis communications, owning up to your mistakes right away is almost always the best course of action. While it’s never easy to admit that you’ve screwed up, the backlash you’ll endure is much more manageable than the often irreversible damage caused by getting caught in multiple lies.

If you’re feeling stuck and unsure about how to respond to a crisis, here are some tips for how to admit the truth gracefully and help your brand recover:

Act fast. When a crisis strikes, it’s crucial to have the facts ready to share with the media before the story goes public. Staying silent about the issue creates the impression that you have something to hide, and can offer reporters the opportunity to fill in the gaps themselves. Being proactive about sharing a clear, concise message allows you to regain control of the narrative before it gets out of hand.

Take responsibility. Although placing the blame on someone else may deflect criticism momentarily, the truth will catch up to you eventually. Taking full responsibility not only shows that you are truly sorry about what happened, but also helps the public remember that we all make mistakes. You are far more likely to be forgiven for a genuine error than for intentionally lying.

Show what you’ve learned from the issue. Regain trust by showing how you’ll move forward from the matter. Creating and implementing an action plan to prevent the situation from happening again proves that you care about doing the right thing.

Although no one wants to have a crisis happen, responding in an honest, empathetic way is a true display of bravery. Mistakes are inevitable. It’s how you react that makes a difference.

What other tips do you have for responding to a crisis?

August 30, 2016

Four Quick Ways to Enhance Your Website

By Joe Cerrone, 2:54 pm

There are myriad factors to consider when assessing the quality of a website—from aesthetic design and layout to the type of content presented and its overall standing in search engines. Sometimes, planning basic website improvements becomes a trip down the rabbit hole, with conversations jumping from slight modifications in copy to whole-scale redesigns. Nevertheless, for those who want to tidy up their website without too much fuss, here are four helpful tips for making some simple enhancements.

Balance your use of keywords.

Once you have developed a list of targeted keywords for use in your SEO strategy, it may be tempting to use them with wanton abandon—peppering every title, paragraph and photo caption with as many targeted words and phrases as possible. Despite this inclination, Google’s search algorithm, and average readers, are too smart to be tricked by keyword overload. Choose carefully when and how you use certain keywords, ensuring that they support your overall message, and do not overshadow it.Image result for website icon

Take advantage of coding.

Although the actual task of coding an entire website is too complex for all but experienced professionals, there are several steps that anyone familiar with WordPress or similar platforms can take to improve page quality:

  • Be sure to use internal links in your web copy that connect to other parts of the website—blog posts, “about” pages and job listings are great places to start. Including these internal links, and ensuring that they do not contain the “nofollow” attribute, will encourage readers to delve deeper into your site and will send a positive message about your website’s quality to search engines.
  • In order to maintain a proper text hierarchy, be sure that each page contains only one <h1> heading. This largest text size should be used for the main title or heading of a page, with sizes <h2> through <h6> being utilized for sub-heads, photo captions, body paragraphs and the like.
  • Take advantage of each page’s meta description, which gives you the opportunity to write a brief, keyword-focused description of the content of the page that will appear on a search engine’s results page. Most platforms offer widgets that make including a page’s meta description easy and accessible to all.           

Improve text-HTML ratios.

Although unseen by readers, website crawlers will notice the ratio between how much actual text is present on a page in comparison to the corresponding amount of code. Pages with a low text-HTML ratio (meaning more code than text) can negatively impact a page’s search engine ranking. Adding more text to a page or removing code-heavy scripts and styles are two possible ways to improve your website’s standing in this area.

Increase word counts.

When producing website copy, every word counts. Too much or too little text can not only affect how the content looks on the page, but how visitors and search engines perceive the page’s overall value. Ensuring that content-heavy pages, such as blog posts, company overviews and staff profiles, have at least 200-250 words is an important step in increasing your website’s perception of quality. Crawlers may be more favorable to pages that appear to have robust content, which can affect rankings on search engines, such as Google. While not going overboard, maintaining a minimum content length for all pages is a relatively painless fix that can have great rewards.

While plans to improve your website can easily become sidetracked or too big to handle, taking a few short steps, such as the ones presented above, is a great way keep on the path to ever-improving web quality.


August 23, 2016

Surviving the World of PR

By John Reynolds, 10:35 am

“Survivor” recently announced the cast for its upcoming 33rd season, which premieres September 21. Before I go any further, I’ll answer your question. Yes, “Survivor” is still on the air.

Any time I tell people I’m a die-hard “Survivor” fan (I’ve tried out for the show multiple times and may use this blog post to try out again), I almost always get a response along the lines of, “Oh, that show is still on?” “Survivor” began as a social experiment, having strangers coexist and survive on their own in the wild, and it has since grown into one of CBS Network’s most successful TV series. As I’ve binge-watched old seasons in anticipation of the season premiere – along with my daily dreams of winning the title of “Soul Survivor” – I’ve started to notice some parallels between being successful on Survivor and in public relations. Here are some of the key characteristics shared by successful “Survivor” players and PR professionals.

First Impressions – On “Survivor,” you’re placed in a tribe with a group of strangers. First impressions are crucial here, because in a game where those strangers decide your fate, you want everyone to see your value. You can’t come off as too aggressive or bossy, but you also don’t want to be too quiet or distant. In PR, whether you’re meeting a client for the first Johnny Aug Pictime, pitching a potential new client, or reaching out to a reporter, that first impression can make or break the relationship. You need to show that you are knowledgeable, approachable and trustworthy, so a reporter will be open to working with you in the future, and clients – new and old – can trust you to handle their business.

Strategy – Being strategic is a focal point of “Survivor” and public relations. The worst thing to do on the show is to run around like a chicken with its head chopped off – and that’s not because the starving contestants will want to eat you. To advance far in the game, you need to develop a proper strategy with respect to whom you’re going to target, when to look for a hidden immunity idol, or even who will go on a reward with you. Each decision you make ultimately decides your fate in the game. PR professionals are similar in that a proper strategy is needed for a successful campaign. We don’t go around sending unsolicited pitches to every reporter with an available email. We take the time to research and develop in-depth media lists to target the proper reporters for each particular pitch.

Timing – Building off strategy, timing is a crucial part of public relations and “Survivor” that will greatly impact a plan, no matter how much strategy is put into it. Survivor is all about making a big move, but timing that move correctly is pivotal to its success. Do you take out a big player too early, leaving yourself as the biggest threat? Do you tell people who you’re voting for too early, giving that person time to flip the vote? Likewise, in PR, timing a pitch could be the deciding factor between success or failure. PR pros need to stay up-to-date on the latest headlines and news stories, as well as what reporters are covering, so that a pitch is relevant but will also not be overshadowed by a more prominent event. Additionally, we need to consider the time when we’re sending a pitch. Is it a Friday afternoon in August? The Monday after a holiday weekend? Proper timing, in both “Survivor” or public relations, is key.

Alliances – In “Survivor,” it’s called an alliance. In PR, we might refer to it as a relationship. Either way, the end goal is the same. Alliances have become one of the show’s trademarks. To be successful, you need a solid alliance built on trust. Wavering between groups will constantly leave you on the bottom of the totem pole, and most likely, the first one they’ll vote out when it comes time is you. While you’re not necessarily forming an alliance, PR pros need to build successful relationships with reporters. Similar to “Survivor” alliances, these are built on trust. Giving the reporter quality information and quick access to knowledgeable sources will build this trust, and opens the doors for future work. If you’re constantly slow in answering emails, offering sources who are unavailable or providing lackluster information, the reporter will vote you off his or her Rolodex.

Perseverance – There might not be a quality more visible in a “Survivor” winner and PR professional. Survivors must battle Mother Nature, who might reveal herself in the form of extreme heat, torrential downpours or vicious wildlife, as well as compete in challenges testing their physical and mental abilities, all while living on minimal food and water. They must do all this while attempting to maintain alliances and not ruffle any feathers. In PR, you can spend all day working on a pitch and building the perfect media list, only to get zero replies. Or better yet, you get a snarky response from a reporter questioning you on your pitch. Good PR professionals will not let this discourage them, though. They will rework the pitch, make a new list and continue looking for a successful connection.

Are you a die-hard “Survivor” fan too? Or do you see parallels between your favorite TV series and your work? Let us know in the comments. And before I finish, I think there’s only one line that can truly close a “Survivor” themed blog post: The blog post has spoken.

August 16, 2016

Public Relations vs. Journalism

By Amanda Mueller, 3:56 pm

It’s 10:30 a.m. in the newsroom, and our newscast has just wrapped up. That’s when the calls start. My phone lights up, as pitches and press releases begin to pop up in my inbox. I wonder what it’s like to live the life of a PR representative – to supply information and connect sources with the reporter, instead of delivering the finished story to the viewer from the TV screen.

That was a year ago. The truth is, I didn’t know what a public relations executive actually did.

Now, I am one.Amanda Aug Pic

As someone who crossed the bridge from broadcast journalism to public relations, my professional world can be a messy one. Lines blur for me on a daily basis when it comes to decisions regarding story angles and writing style. I still hesitate to pick up the phone or press “send” on emails to a journalist when I know she’s on a strict deadline. I have seen the reaction in the newsroom over an ill-timed pitch firsthand.

I know that journalists and public relations professionals are frequently at odds and frustrated with each other, but the truth is, we need each other. A deeper understanding of the different challenges we face would go a long way toward generating better content and cultivating improved relationships.

Product Reception
In journalism, your worth is counted in ratings and clicks. It doesn’t matter if your viewers don’t like your final product, as long as they react. There is a certain luxury in printing the facts and not ultimately having to care about your critics. In public relations, your success depends on your clients’ satisfaction with the coverage of their story. If the client is not happy, your job is not done.

Information Control
When I was a journalist, I lived with the assumption that if I dug far enough, I could find all the information on my own. Once I entered the world of public relations and crisis management, I was shocked to realize how much information regarding prominent litigation exists but never makes it to a news desk, simply because the media hasn’t asked the right questions. The fact is, journalists aren’t the only watchdogs in the information world, and a healthy working relationship between reporters and PR professionals would benefit news consumers greatly.

Journalists have daily, sometimes hourly, deadlines that they meet each day. The rush is best explained by comparing it to a roller coaster—the steady ascent as you go through editorial meetings and collect your sources, and then a midday freefall as you struggle to make your interviews and execute your story before your print or on-air hit time. It is an adrenaline and caffeine-fueled world, but each day brings a finite end to the rush. PR deadlines are a different beast entirely. Oftentimes, it is a waiting game until that story is approved or that crisis call comes through… and then you are off and running. Deadlines in public relations are not fixed; you often work on a story or crisis until the issue is resolved, which can be days or months.

At the end of the day, there is a reason the crossover rate between PR and journalism is so high, because we share more characteristics than differences. Both jobs require tenacity, a way with words, and most importantly, thick skin. Oftentimes, it’s the interactions with each other that leave us needing that last thing the most.

Let’s work to close that gap, and create better content for everyone.

August 4, 2016

Design and PR

By Staff, 9:37 am

–Laura Tabbut

On my first day at Buchanan Public Relations as the agency’s first-ever Graphic Design Intern, I wasn’t really sure what I would be doing for the company. Of course I did my research on PR firms and discussed general ideas for what I would be doing in my interview, but I was still unsure how design would fit into the PR world. Now, after a couple of months working here, I see that design has a perfect place in public relations.

There are many facets of PR that greatly benefit from graphic design. Here are a few I’ve noticed during my internship.Laura Aug Pic

  • Social media posts – Making a memorable social media post often involves an image, especially with the popularity of Instagram. A graphic designer can make an original image that suits exactly what you want to convey (without using ugly clipart).
  • Presentations – Whether it’s for a media training session, a potential client or internal meetings, a clean, professional, interesting PowerPoint presentation makes a huge difference in how the information is remembered.
  • Websites – The first thing someone will do when researching your – or your client’s – business is scope out the website, so it must be perfect. Not only should it look nice, the user experience must be seamless, so the user does not get frustrated with the site. These are things graphic designers are always thinking about and could be overlooked by someone in a different field.
  • And many more – While I’ve been at Buchanan, I’ve created animations and designed flyers and audit reports, all things that I didn’t expect to be doing at a PR firm. It goes to show there are many areas where design can be utilized for PR.

Graphic design and PR go hand-in-hand. With these two fields combined, there are many more options for you to offer to your clients, thus expanding and improving business. How does your company use graphic design? Let us know in the comments.

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