“PR: Case and Point” with Rebecca Howe and Emily Kuczynski

April 10, 2008 at 2:14 pm (agency, conference, PR, PRSSA, public relations) (, , , , , )

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

“PR: Case and Point” with Rebecca Howe and Emily Kuczynski

Rebecca Howe and Emily Kuczynski are associates from Lambert, Edwards & Associates. Both hold a bachelor’s degree in integrative public relations from Central Michigan University.

Lambert, Edwards & Associates is among the top 100 firms in the US. Howe and Kuczinski presented a very interesting session. They presented an issue and students discussed what they would have done. Howe and Kuczinski then described what they did in the situation.

One case was Biggby Coffee (formerly Beaners Coffee). When the company needed a new name, they also needed to do some re-branding. LE&A had to communicate to both internal and external audiences, such as the owners/operators, customers, and the media.

LE&A offers paid internships. One suggestion made by Howe and Kuczinski was to focus on things that make you stand out in your cover letter.

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“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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“Agency PR” with Robert Kolt

March 31, 2008 at 12:34 am (agency, college, conference, PR, PRSSA, public relations) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

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

Session 1: “Agency PR” with Robert Kolt

Robert Kolt is CEO and president of Kolt Communications, Inc., a privately owned communications corporation located in Okemos, Michigan. He is a CMU alumni with an undergraduate degree in broadcast & cinematic arts and journalism. He also holds a graduate degree in communications from MSU.

The following is an outline of what I learned in his session called “Agency PR.”

Kolt said that his corporation does a lot of strategic communications. For example, he might do research for a politician and tell them the facts and what they should say.” Another example would be interview rehearsals for Consumers Energy’s CEO.

Kolt Communications, Inc. offers media training, including message development strategies, speaking and presentation skills, and media interview techniques. They stage events that “help make news.” They are licensed as fundrasiers as well. Kolt said that fundraising and grant writing are growing areas in the industry.

One past client Kolt talked to students about was a lottery winner that wanted to remain anonymous. He did not want his face shown because he had a criminal record. His corporation also has staged fires to show crisis communication skills, done ground breakings, and has handled a crisis situation with the United Way. He also does advertising.

Kolt Communications, Inc. usually takes one or two interns that are paid $10 per hour. He said he looks for a good writer. Good interpersonal skills are important. You also need to be a hard worker. Kolt said that employers want to know what you’ve done and see your samples.

Kolt said that he does not actively pitch to businesses. Many clients come to him through referrals or he bids on projects.

One thing to remember, Kolt said, is “it’s not about you, it’s about your client,” Kolt said.

Kolt Communications, Inc. also handles a lot of crisis communications. He gave three steps to crisis management.
1. Prevention
2. Detection
3. Extinguishing

He said that many businesses don’t come to him until they need help with step three.

On starting your own firm, Kolt suggested the following:

1. Create relationships – Never burn any bridge
2. Be honest, knowledgeable, and creative
3. Add value and power to clients
4. Be philanthropic
This session was helpful to me because I would like to start my own firm one day. It was nice to hear from someone that had graduated from CMU with a successful firm.

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