6 Stressful Elements of a Career in PR

I believe that my PR courses have prepared me for the stress I will deal with in the real world. On the NYC PR girls’ blog, Adrianna discusses six reasons why PR is so stressful. I was able to relate to each of these reasons and gain some insight on what my future in PR and event planning holds.

Here is Adrianna’s reasoning and my thoughts on it:

PR professionals have little to no control.

Adrianna is right; we cannot control the media. Whether you are representing an individual person or an organization, you do not have any control over what is said. Having said this, it is your job to maintain a respectable image for your client. This can be stressful because you also do not have control over the decisions your client makes. All you can do is give them strategic PR advice and be there to pick up the pieces if a communication crisis occurs.

Client maintenance.

Adrianna acknowledges that everyone has clients that will drive them crazy. I know that every client is not going to be an absolute delight to work with, which can be stressful. PR professionals need to know how to deal with an uncooperative client appropriately.

It’s 24/7.

Adrianna knows that PR is 24/7 because whenever a crisis occurs a PR professional needs to be able to do damage control immediately. It is important to reach your publics before the media does, if possible. This can be stressful, but let’s face it, it’s a huge part of our careers.

Constant change and topping others.

Adrianna discusses how there are always new ways to reach your publics because the industry is ever changing. I completely agree with this statement. Five years ago social media was most likely not the most efficient way to reach your publics, but now it is one of the most useful outlets to utilize. Keeping up with the newest updates may be stressful, but it is your job.

Media relationships.

Adrianna recognizes that keeping the media on good terms is crucial. They DO have control over what is said about your client. Make sure to be honest and ethical when providing the media with information. Relationship building is key to succeeding in the PR world.

High-strung colleagues.

As I said before, being able to build and maintain relationships is essential. Your coworkers or boss(es) may be high-strung, but you need to make sure to stay on good terms with everyone.

PR may be stressful but it definitely has its perks. If you are passionate about it, the benefits will outweigh the stress. Thanks to Adrianna for an awesome blog!

How to add context to your to-do lists

I am constantly making to-do lists. When I am feeling completely overwhelmed, sitting down and writing every task I have to accomplish makes me feel a little less stressed. As an aspiring event planner, to-do lists will be essential. An article I found called Energy, Time, Priority, Work/Life: 4 New Ways To Organize Your To-Do List by Mike Vardy, provided me with some useful tips to add context to a to-do list.

The four tips Vardy provides include:

1.    Energy-based Context

Vardy suggests organizing your to-do list by how much energy each task requires. He says it is important to do this because then you can decide what task you are going to take on based on your current energy level. This would be helpful for me because I can choose which task to tackle based on my motivation level.

2.    Time-based Context

Vardy discusses the importance of organizing your to-do list based on when each task needs to be completed. I think that it is also important to recognize the amount of time you think each task going to take you. This will help ensure that you give yourself plenty of time to accomplish each thing.

3.    Priority-based Context

Vardy recommends using “The Eisenhower Method” to categorize your tasks. The four categories in the method are: urgent/important, not urgent/important, not important/urgent, and not important/not urgent. I think this method is useful because it will help you distinguish which task needs to be accomplished first. I usually base my priority off of time. If something needs to be finished by the next day I will complete that before I begin something that needs to be finished by the end of the week. Another factor to take into consideration is importance. If something is important and more extensive it may be wise to get a head start on that first.

4.    Work/Life-based Context

Categorizing your tasks by location is something that Vardy advises. This way you will focus on tasks during the appropriate time. I find this piece of advice useful because when I have many tasks to accomplish I have a hard time just focusing on one and pushing the rest to the back. There is no point in worrying about a task that is not possible to complete at the moment!

One more personal tip that I would like to leave you with is always cross off a task when you finish it. It makes you feel more accomplished and less stressed! I hope these tips help you manage your time efficiently. I know I will always take them into consideration when creating my to-do lists.

3 Tips on Personal Branding

This week I chose to focus my blog post on personal branding. I found a blog post called The Kardashian’s Guide to Personal Branding by Heather R. Huhman. As a religious watcher of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, the post caught my eye. Personal branding plays a huge role in PR and event planning. The blog says that regardless of your thoughts on the family, they can teach you about personal branding. Huhman gives three tips on personal branding that the Kardashian’s do well. Here are the tips and my thoughts on them!

1. Contribute!

I agree that contributing is important. You cannot establish your personal brand if you are not contributing your thoughts, opinions and ideas. I think that the best places for an event planner to show his or her personal brand are through Twitter, Pinterest, and of course, his or her portfolio. Twitter is a way to establish personal brand through mostly words but images too. Pinterest is a way to establish personal brand visually, which is great because visuals are necessary when establishing your personal brand for event planning. Portfolios are a way to showing the work you have done to showcase your talent in one place.

2. Be confident. 

Confidence is key. Being confident will help you gain respect. If you are not confidence in your opinions and ideas then how can you expect other people to do? It is easier said than done, but expose yourself to as much experience as possible. It will help you gain confidence.

3. Don’t overdo it.

Huhman discusses not overdoing it just to make others happy. I agree with this. You need to be true to yourself because after all, it is your personal brand. Not anyone else’s. Having said this, make sure to follow your code of ethics. This will prevent you from making mistakes.

I enjoyed reading Huhman’s post and hope you enjoyed my take on it. Always remember these three steps. The Kardashians do!

3 Tips to Create a Visually Appealing Infographic

For the past couple of weeks, I have been creating an infographic for a PR course called Strategic Public Relations Communication. Infographics are an effective way to visually convey information. I chose to focus on how music affects the body. While I was creating my infographic, I came up with a few tips.

1. Always research first.

When I began my infographic, I started by choosing a template. This was a mistake. How are you supposed to choose a template when you do not even know what information you are going to be representing? After a large amount of research, I chose the facts I wanted to focus on and was then able to choose an appropriate template. Even if you choose to start from scratch, make sure to do your research before beginning the designing process.

2. Give yourself plenty of time.

I chose to keep my infographic simple. It may not look like it took a large amount of time, but it did. There are many steps including: finding information, choosing fonts, choosing colors, choosing graphics and arranging the content. It is not something you can quickly put together so make sure to give yourself plenty of time!

3. Look it over.

This rule may seem obvious, but it is essential when creating an infographic. After I ‘finished’, I still made many changes. You may be ready to finish, but after spending so much time on it, you want it to be perfect. Check spelling and grammar. Ask yourself if there are any changes you can make to improve the visual. This is the last step!

I hope these tips helped. If you are looking for even more tips check out this infographic on The Main Street Analyst. I found it to be helpful. Check out my infographic below!

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3 Tips on How to Apologize

Not everything always goes as planned. If and when something goes wrong, it is essential to remedy the situation. Apologizing is one of the best ways to do this.

In the article Too Many Sorry Excuses for Apology, by Andrew Ross Sorkin, Sorkin discusses the insincerity behind many apologies in today’s world. After reading this article, I decided to come up with three tips that I thought would help make sure that an apology is sincere.

1. Do not make excuses.

This causes it to look like you are shifting the blame, which you probably are if you are making excuses. If there is reason for you to apologize then chances are that you are at least partly to blame. Taking responsibility for your actions will show whoever you are apologizing to that you are accepting your role in whatever mistake was made. Hopefully this will help you gain respect and forgiveness.

2. Be sincere.

If you are going to apologize, truly mean it. If your apology is not genuine then people will be able to sense it. No one is going to want to forgive you if they feel that your apology lacks true remorse. Avoid reading your apology word for word.

3. Be transparent.

Be open to conversation and questions. This will show that you have nothing to hide. It will help explain your situation and clear up any doubts or concerns that someone may still have. This will also help you accomplish my previous tip of being sincere. If you take the time to communicate with whoever you are apologizing to it will show them that you actually care.

In the PR and event planning world, knowing how to apologize appropriately is vital. No matter how much of an expert you are in your field, problems are inevitable and there will be times when you have to apologize. Make sure to use these three tips. They may seem obvious but they will assist you in successfully apologizing.

How Mobile Apps Can Boost Your Event

A blog post called Efficient Tool to build Mobile Apps for your Events emphasized the importance of utilizing mobile apps as a tool for events. The blog discusses how people are expected to starting using the web on mobile devices over desktop devices for the first time. After reading through this blog, I decided to take a look into event planning applications in the app store on my mobile phone. The top three apps, in my opinion, were Event Planning for Your Business, Pro Party Planner, and Event Live.

Event Planning for Your Business

Event Planning for Your Business is an app that is organized by chapters to help with learning the profession, developing materials, networking, improving relationships, and inspiring creativity. This app is useful to look at before you start planning an event. Within each chapter are various videos explaining how to accomplish each objective. They provide both strategies and tactics. This app is free and has great reviews. Watching these videos can help you improve your event by providing you with knowledge and advice.

Pro Party Planner

Pro Party Planner is an organization app that is useful while you are planning your event. It helps an event planner stay on top of their guests, budget, and logistics. The apps main focus is on meetings, conferences, tradeshows, parties, and fundraisers but also has an app dedicated to wedding planning as well, called Pro Wedding Planner. The app enables a party planner to create a seating chart, visualize decorations, communicate with attendees, track budget and progress, collaborate and delegate tasks, build shopping lists, and send or receive invitations, RSVP’s, thank you notes, and gifts. I don’t know about you but this $4.99 app sounds more than worth it to me. One of the main skills a PR professional needs to have is organization. This app helps you stay organized by allowing you to accomplish many different tasks in one place.

Event Live

Event Live is a free app that creates a social experience through mobile devices. The app’s creators say it is ideal for conferences, sports, expos, conventions, concerts, and festivals. Event life keeps everyone that is involved in the event organized, informed, and engaged. Organization, information, and engagement are three subjects constantly being brought up in the PR world. The app also helps event planners increase the number of people that attend by informing people in the area of the event. It provides all kinds of details including what the event is, who is hosting it, and when and where it will take place. Everyone is able to chat within the app before, during, and after the event.

After looking into these three apps, I completely agree with the writer of the blog post I discussed earlier. Mobile apps are helpful before, during and after an event. I know that I will be utilizing them and believe that they are going to continuing becoming more and more popular.

How to Generate Press Coverage at a Movie Premiere

Convincing the press to cover a red carpet movie premiere like Catching Fire may be simple. Getting the press to cover a movie that is not quite as big needs to be done strategically. So how can a PR representative make a movie as successful (or almost) as Catching Fire. I am going to discuss exactly what I would do to help generate buzz about a movie premiere.

The best way to generate buzz is by reaching out to your publics through different media outlets. This may seem basic but it is important. Reaching out to the media will help the movie premiere by increasing awareness to its publics. Strategically choose which outlets will be most effective. The newspaper, the radio, television, social media? You can make the best decision by establishing what publics you want to reach out to. For a movie premiere I have chosen three outlets to focus on.

1. Utilize social media

As I have previously said, social media is an effective way to reach out to various different publics for no cost. Create a Twitter account for the film. It would also be wise to create a hashtag for the movie premiere. This way people can use the hashtag to see what kind of conversation is generating around the movie premiere.  Encourage actors and actresses to frequently tweet about the movie. You need to get people excited and the actors and actresses have the ability to do this. If possible gain support from popular actors and actresses via Twitter. They have a huge influence on movie publics.

2. Publish a press release

Press releases are a basic way to get information out. Publishing a press release will cause the media to hear about the event. Make sure to include all necessary information. Think of the five w’s. What is the premiere for, who is in the movie, when and where will it take place, and why is it important. Hopefully, they will choose to cover the premiere whether its via newspaper, television or radio.

3. Connect with channels that host talk shows

If possible, get air time on a talk show. Have the main actors/actresses use this air time to generate buzz about the movie and the premiere. This will also help get the movie’s publics excited. It is a more personal way to hear exactly what the actors and actresses have to say about the film.

Popular movies have completed all of these steps in the past, including Catching Fire. In my opinion, these are three steps that will help spread the word about the movie premiere so that the press shows up.

How Planning Events Requires PR

Many people wonder what PR has to do with planning events. As a PR major and an aspiring event planner, I have made it my mission to explain why it is important to have a PR representative involved in planning major events. In my opinion, their strategic thinking, writing and planning skills are vital. To back my claims up with evidence, I found an Event Planning Checklist on the KCTCS Style Guide that focuses on planning major public events. Although the article focuses on KCTCS as an organization, the checklist outlines all of the event planning elements that a PR professional can help with.

The checklist first outlines event protocol, honing in on managing the speakers. PR professionals have been trained on how to keep a positive image while public speaking. They can help the person hosting the event speak professionally to uphold a respectable image. This is not necessarily telling them what to say but finding out what the host wants their message to be and helping them present it as strategically as possible. Most major figures (politicians, celebrities, etc.) have a PR representative to help them communicate with their publics. This is necessary because in the heat of the moment someone can destruct his or her image by saying something inappropriate or even wording something the wrong way. Having a PR representative at a major event can prevent any of this from happening.

It did not seem like Kanye West had a PR representative at the VMAS. After all, he did grab the microphone right out of Taylor Swift’s hands and proceed to say that she did not deserve to win the award, Beyonce did, in front of the entire audience. Although he may have not been trying to insult Taylor Swift, this turned into a PR disaster.

Next, the checklist discusses the importance of media kits, invitations, press releases, and advisories. As I have said before, these are all ways to effectively inform publics of an event. Having a PR representative construct these written pieces ensures that they are done right.

Staging the event is another topic on the checklist. Although this may not be as pertinent at some events, at major public events it is. The checklist specifies seating at events. There needs to be a place for reporters and photographers. A PR representative can ensure this will happen. Having one close by to help with public speaking during the time of interviewing is useful. If anything were to go wrong, the representative would be right there to help.

Publicity is another major aspect a PR professional can help with. Although this part of PR can be negatively frowned upon, let’s face it, it is necessary at major public events. The host of the event will want to generate positive buzz so that many people hear about the event. A PR representative can help with this by preventing any communication issues and reaching out to the correct media outlets.

After discussing all of the ways a PR professional can help, I hope that you understand how important of a role they play in event planning!

“PR is extremely important, and being able to use it in the right way means everything. You have to market your success.” – Lee Haney

How to Handle Event Crises

This week I decided to focus on the aftermath of major public events. What happens if something goes wrong? Lately, there has been many celebrity events where something goes awry. Whether it is Miley Cyrus offending millions of people by twerking provocatively on stage with a married man at the VMAS or Justin Bieber showing up two hours late to his own concert. How do PR representatives handle it? Which party addresses the public?

In Miley Cyrus’s case, she does not regret her actions at the VMAs or anything else she has done that caused public uproar. From her provocative music videos to using drugs on stage at her concert, she stands by her actions. So how do PR experts respond? If Miley does not want to justify her actions at the VMAS, should MTV? What Miley did was not necessarily wrong, but many of the people who saw it did not approve. Does this make MTV responsible?

From a PR standpoint, not a personal one, I think that MTV PR representatives should have acknowledged the performance. Even if they did not apologize for allowing the performance, they could apologize for anyone who saw it and was insulted. This could prevent them from losing viewers in the future. Having said that, MTV is a channel that constantly has provocative footage. They have aired various shows that involve inappropriate actions including the Jersey Shore and The Real World. So maybe it is the viewers responsibility and they should know not to watch the channel if they do not want to see anything risqué. What do you think?

Moving on, I think the Justin Bieber issue is a little easier to tackle. Bieber has been late to various different shows. Unless there is a life changing or threatening reason, there is not excuse for showing up late to your OWN concert. His fans paid money to come and watch him perform. Regardless of the reason, there should have been a public apology and explanation from Bieber and a press release explaining why he was late. Instead, he blew it off. Bieber should have utilized social media and news outlets to reach out to fans. If an artist’s PR representatives do not help he/she respond quickly and effectively, he/she could lose fans and success.

Crises that occur at major events like these can have long-lasting effects. In my opinion, neither of these issues were handled appropriately. Both were PR fails.

How to Cover a Product Launch Event

In the article A Product Launch PR ChecklistAshley Halberstadt provides a checklist to plan a successful product launch event. The checklists includes five elements:

1. Press Materials – In my opinion, press materials are standard protocol. The materials are necessary in most PR cases whether it’s planning an event, responding to a PR crisis, or informing people of important news. In terms of planning a product launch event, press materials are a clear and concise way to provide necessary information to the public. These tools can include information on both the event and the product. Some resources that Halberstadt thought were vital are a press release, a fact sheet, and a reviewer’s guide. A press release is a written piece that will provide all of the details of the product and event. A fact sheet will do the same but is written in a different form. This form is usually: Who, What, Where, When, Why. A reviewer’s guide explains how to use the product. This is especially necessarily if the product is complex.

2. Product Samples – This resource is more specified towards a product launch. Offering product samples allows the public to see what the product is all about. Although they will not be able to purchase the product yet, they will be able to test it out. As Halberstadt says, this allows media coverage to begin.

3. Exclusive – When launching a product, Halberstadt says that a company has to decide if they want to offer an exclusive to a select member of the press. In my opinion, both options have their advantages and disadvantages. If you offer an exclusive, the product information becomes more valuable in a sense. If an exclusive is not offered, the product launch is covered through more channels allowing more people to hear about it. This choice has to be made depending on the company and product.

4. Product Images – Halberstadt says it is necessary to have an image of the product before the launch. I agree that this is more than necessary. If people do not get to see what the product will look like, they will quickly lose interest. Editors will also not want to cover the story if they have no picture to show the public. Halberstadt says that product only shots on a white background are most ideal because it is versatile and can be used on different layouts. Other shots that can be useful are of people using the product. This is also an important PR step geared towards product launching.

5. Press List – A press list allows the company to focus on what media outlets are most important for their specific product. You want to generate press coverage during the product launch and this step will help.

Although there are basic PR steps involved in the process, product launch events have to be handled differently than other events. The events involve innovative thinking and planning. I look forward to observing future product launch events and seeing what steps on the checklist they have followed, perhaps the iPhone 7!? Thanks to Ashley Halberstadt for providing such useful insight.