“Adventures In Agency PR: Two Young Pros Tell All” with Lauren Panaretos and Nikki Stephan

March 31, 2008 at 9:32 pm (agency, conference, interview, PR, PRSSA, public relations) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

CMU PRSSA’s 6th Annual Spring Conference
The Road to Reinvention

Session 2: “Adventures In Agency PR: Two Young Pros Tell All” with Lauren Panaretos and Nikki Stephan

Lauren Panaretos and Nikki Stephan are account executives at Franco Public Relations Group in Detroit, Michigan. They both graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Integrative Public Relations and were active in PRSSA and PR Central.

The following are things I learned at their session:

  • Media Tips
    • Get familiar with the reporters
    • Google Alerts – can be used to monitor clients nationally
    • Media lists are important because you can’t send the same release to every report (for example, a sports reporter won’t care about business trends)
    • Pitching – read the reporter’s articles, be clear and concise on the phone, and when pitching to TV, let them know what the visuals could b

To work in an agency, you must be able to: (from their PowerPoint)

  • Juggle multiple clients
  • Be organized
  • Track your time
  • Pay attention to billing issues
  • Be creative, “outside the box” thinker
  • Be a flawless writer

One thing I didn’t know about was tracking time. In order to bill clients, you must keep track of how much time you spend working on their accounts.

How to land the interview: (from their PowerPoint)

  • Watch for spelling, grammar on resume
  • Include work experience before education
  • Get creative with your cover letter
  • Showcase what makes you unique
  • Build portfolio with most relevant work from classes and internships
  • Get involved on campus and take on a PR role

Also, don’t say that you are a “people person.”

On your cover letter, it is important to show that you know the company and that you are interested in their clients. You also should find what makes you unique, include relevant information, and summarize your skills (teamwork skills, thriving in fast-paced environment, etc.)

How to land the job: (from their PowerPoint)

  • Showcase your personality, confidence
  • Show familiarity with company
  • Ask questions
  • Be able to sell yourself without being over the top
  • Be prepared for a writing test and do well on it
  • Write thank you cards

Also, as much as they are interviewing you, you are interviewing them.

Where to look for jobs: (from their PowerPoint)

  • Company websites
  • PRSA, IABC, Media Bistro websites
  • PR Direcotires
  • Avoid Monster, HotJobs, etc.
  • Talk to your friends
  • Never burn bridges with people
  • Clean up your Facebook and MySpace accounts

Agency Tips: (from their PowerPoint)

  • Every agency is different
  • Remember, culture is key – find a place where you can be happy
  • Dress appropriately
  • Always maintain professionalism
  • Think about the big picture

Also, when getting a job, you should ask about the starting salary, the advancement process, and the room for growth. Benefits and vacation/personal time are also important.

Lauren and Nikki said that the starting salary for agencies in this area is $25,000 to $30,000.

This was definitely my favorite session. Lauren and Nikki have a lot of energy and are very interesting to listen to. I actually job shadowed both of them last semester for IPR 101. There were some tips they gave that I had heard from then before, but this was still a very valuable session because of interview, job, and agency tips. I actually hope to someday work at Franco.

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3 Comments

  1. Nikki said,

    WOW you took great notes! Glad you enjoyed the session and learned a lot. Lauren and I feel famous that we’re included in a blog posting 🙂 Take care and keep in touch!

  2. Lauren said,

    Rachel,

    How funny is this…I came across this blog via a Google Alert (I have one set-up for Franco)! Nikki and I feel so honored to be a part of your blog!

    Blogging is an excellent way to practice your writing skills and be that “step ahead.” Keep steppin’ girl, you’re destined for great things!

    Lauren =)

  3. April 2nd: Jo’s PR Top 5 | Strive Notes said,

    […] young American PR pros tell the world how it’s done. This one isn’t a post that I found funny like the others. I put it in simply because I […]

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