Posts tagged marketing

#Zimmtern Insider: Planning the Greatest Debate Watch Party Ever

By Amanda Benizzi

“I want you to plan a debate party, for around 300 people, in under a week. Go.”

Wait. What?

On October 19, Robert Zimmerman hosted a debate party, co-hosted by the Hillary Clinton campaign with special guest Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, for the third and final presidential debate of the 2016 cycle at the Paramount in Huntington, NY. In under a week, he invited more than 300 Long Island community members and local elected officials to watch history in the making. I was fortunate enough to work on the debate party in multiple ways, from inviting guests to preparing the room, all the way through the entire event and debate.

Public Relations is a fast-paced, ever-moving industry; practitioners have to be skilled in creating events swiftly to keep up with our 24/7 news cycle and generally fast-paced world. As an intern, working on the debate party gave me a real-life look at what work goes into planning an event in a small amount of time with a large amount of pressure. It made me realize that even the smallest things—like creating the actual invite, to mailing each individual letter, to the arrangement of the decorations in the room—make such a difference and can change the success of an event.

I don’t think we could have had a better night, to be honest. We arrived at the venue just two hours before the debate was set to start and just one hour before the guests were set to arrive. We decked out the room with games, posters, buttons and stickers. We assembled more than 50 Clinton-Kaine lawn signs, which to my surprise turned out to be the takeaway that guests were most interested in—some people even took them home for their friends and family.

Watching a debate with friends is an event in itself, but watching a debate among passionate members of a community next to their own elected officials is an electric feeling, not to mention a great opportunity for networking. It gives you the chance to meet other members of your field—those who influence the public relations world—and to build relationships with your coworkers outside of the office.

As an intern, if you haven’t had the chance to work on an organization or client event, ASK! It’s a very rewarding feeling to see the results of your hard work, and it shows your employer that you are engaged in the events your firm is holding and you’re willing to work on things beyond what you are assigned to do.

Working this event definitely put the perfect ending to a crazy debate cycle, one that’s been completely different than anything we’ve experienced. I’m grateful that I was able to take the opportunity to learn about event planning and combine them with my interest in politics. It’s true that you get out of something what you put into it, and if you put your time and effort you will come out with amazing experiences that will last beyond your time as an intern.

The Traits needed to be A Public Relations Pro and an Effective Traveler

By Courtney Reilly

During my time at Zimmerman/Edelson, Inc. I gained an immense amount of knowledge about public relations. As someone who loves to travel and is hoping to one day work in international PR, one of the most important things I learned from this internship is that there are specific characteristics that one must possess to be both an effective traveler and a successful PR professional. Here are 7 of them:

1) Be Flexible: As most people know, traveling doesn’t always go as planned. The same goes for public relations. As easy as it is for a flight to be delayed, a new technology or PR technique can be introduced. Therefore, you must be ready for anything and be prepared to adapt for your client or travel itinerary.

2) Strategize: Would you jump on a plane without researching your destination or choosing a place to stay? If you would, you are by far more spontaneous than me. Research is crucial for both travel and public relations. Making plans and setting goals for the campaign you are implementing are just as important as creating a vision of what you wish to accomplish during your trip.

3) Practice Patience: Patience is a necessary evil, and it’s a trait that I personally struggle with. I’ve learned that the art of patience is needed as a traveler and in the PR world. Results don’t happen instantaneously like we would like them to. Whether its not hearing back from a publication you pitched a story to, or having to wait in a line for a local attraction, patience is key.

4) Seize Opportunities: Like they say, “carpe diem.” If you see an opportunity arise, do what you can to take advantage of it. Whether that is a business opportunity to obtain a new client, or having the chance to do an adventurous activity while traveling, do it.

5) Willingness to Learn: There is a need to keep an open mind while traveling just as there is a need to be open to learning new things in PR. While traveling, you may come across different cultures, languages and customs. As a visitor, you must approach this with the desire to learn about the societal norms, not ignore them. The same idea applies to public relations. Instead of ignoring criticism, you should embrace it and use it as an opportunity to learn something new.

6) Network: In PR, connections are a big deal. By networking with people within your industry, or even within other industries, they just might be the contact you need when you’re in your next PR jam. Now when it comes to traveling, take time and speak with the locals. Linking up with people from the area can point you to the big highlight of your trip that your guidebook forgot to mention.

7) Honesty: Public relation professionals are often given the adoring names of “spin doctors,” “flacks” and “truth-twisters.” But, PR practitioners focus heavily on making ethical choices. We understand that being honest with clients and the media can save the reputation of a company and our profession as a whole. Honesty while traveling will most likely be beneficial to you as well. Whether it’s admitting you are lost and asking for directions or correcting the waitress for undercharging you during lunch, you know it is the right thing to do.

Overall, being an intern at Zimmerman/Edelson, Inc. has taught me that one must possess certain traits to be successful in PR. I personally hope to use this information as I continue my journey in both public relations and travel. If you are debating whether or not to take on an internship, I recommend you do it. What you take away from it will not only prepare you professionally, but it can help you in other aspects of your life.

Why Adaption Is Key to Being a Successful Public Relations Practitioner

By Ashley Zachariah

Sitting on the train, I anxiously listened for upcoming stop announcements. I turned to a Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) employee and inquired about my transfer stop. As a newcomer to riding the LIRR, I didn’t realize a double transfer was necessary. Somehow I had managed to end up in Brooklyn, far from my desired destination. I scrambled to Penn Station, pushing past moody New Yorkers craving their coffee on their morning commute. Sprinting onto the Port Washington line, I arrived just in time for my summer internship interview at Zimmerman/Edelson.

My internship interview experience is more than just a comedic story to tell my grandchildren one day. It opened my eyes to the importance of adaptation on both a personal and professional level. Experiencing life outside of my suburban hometown in Connecticut and a quaint college town in upstate New York has been a constant adjustment.

After completing my undergraduate career at Binghamton University, I made the decision that I was ready to try the New York City lifestyle. After all, I went to school with so many Long Islanders and was always eager to see how different city life was. As I write this blog, I have been living on Long Island as a graduate student at Hofstra University for about a year.

Adjusting to the lifestyle has not been as glamorous as anticipated. I’ve had to figure out how to get myself from point A to point B smoothly, learning various train lines and the best travel apps to use. I’ve had to change to a much quicker pace: In the city, I can’t walk and observe the environment around me; on the contrary, I must move briskly, even at the risk of developing massive blisters from not wearing the right shoes. Lastly, I’ve had to adjust from commuting via Amtrak to the LIRR and the subway system. Unlike Amtrak, where I always had a seat, clean air and personal space, the LIRR and subways can be rather uncomfortable. I often lack the luxury of my own seat and am squished too close for comfort with another passenger.

In many ways, public relations practitioners must also be able to step out of their comfort zone and plant themselves in an unknown, constantly shifting environment.

No one would argue that the fundamentals of PR will ever change. The critical need to be an excellent writer and storyteller will remain the same in this industry. However, technology is undeniably changing how to effectively communicate.

For example, one of the newest social media trends is live streaming. As a #Zimmtern, I’ve learned that Facebook Live and Periscope are dominating the social media world. Just when PR professionals adjust to a new social media platform or various platform features, a new one emerges. As the digital world expands, so too must our PR knowledge toolbox.

Change is never easy. However, I believe it is essential for anyone considering working in this industry.

A Proud Moment for #ZimmCasters and the Girl Scouts of Nassau County

By Marisa Drago and Marissa Kelly

This year was the 100th Gold Award Ceremony for the Girl Scouts of Nassau County, and we were lucky enough to cover the event in our new role as #ZimmCasters! When we were presented the opportunity to attend, we weren’t sure what to expect. We were Girl Scouts when we were younger, so we knew a bit about the organization, but never made it far enough to earn the prestigious Gold Award. We were excited to attend the ceremony and learn what the award was all about.

The two of us are currently interning at Zimmerman/Edelson Inc (Z/E), a public relations firm that has the Girl Scouts of Nassau County as a client. This summer, as part of our season-long intern project, we were tasked with becoming “ZimmCasters.” This means we must challenge ourselves by becoming reporters and social media handlers for Z/E and several of its clients. As #ZimmCasters, we wanted to experiment with live steaming videos at different events. When we found out about the 100th Gold Award Ceremony, we recognized that it had great potential to be shown live on social media.

Before arriving at the ceremony, we came up with interview questions to ask some of the Girl Scouts, emcees, and the executive director of the Girl Scouts of Nassau County, Donna Ceravolo. We compiled possible tweets to send out, ideas for footage and interviews, and taught ourselves how to use the live-stream app, Periscope. When we reached the US Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, where the ceremony was held, we were fully prepared and extremely excited to cover the event.

First, the two of us took a tour of the facilities at the Marine Academy that were being used for the event. Throughout the night, we would be traveling back and forth between two buildings: Wiley Hall and the auditorium. Wiley Hall is where this year’s Gold Award projects were on display for families and friends to observe. We held several interviews in this building, some of which were with Girl Scouts Bianca, Maribel, and Chloe, all of whom were receiving their Gold Awards. The ceremony took place in the auditorium, where we caught footage of the 101 Girl Scouts receiving their Gold Awards, the Girl Scouts of Nassau County’s Chorus performing, and several speakers proudly talking onstage.

We were lucky enough to sit down with Donna Ceravolo and ask her some questions. She opened our eyes to what an accomplishment the Gold Award truly is, and she beamed with pride speaking about the girls earning their Gold Award this year. Her evident passion and excitement for the event and for the Girl Scouts of Nassau County showed us how remarkable the girls who complete their Gold Awards projects truly are. “This project is a symbol of the tangible steps that girls have taken to make the world a better place,” said Ms. Ceravolo.

This ceremony was nothing like we have ever experienced before. Both of us were blown away by the extensive and thoughtful projects put together by the Girl Scouts of Nassau County. Each Gold Award Project, along with the girl who created it, was more amazing than the last. As we sat in the auditorium and watched every girl cross the stage we recognized their true leadership qualities, and every single one of the girls should be incredibly proud of their accomplishments. The Girl Scouts of Nassau County gave us an opportunity to learn, not only about their incredible organization, but about what it’s like to be behind the scenes of such a meaningful event like this one.

We extend our true congratulations to all of the girls that earned their Gold Award this year and would like to thank the Girl Scouts of Nassau County for letting us be a part of this wonderful event!

5 Reasons Why #ZimmEdU is the Ideal Place to Intern

By Jillian Baker

1. The People. In any job, it is essential to surround yourself with good people in the workplace. You want your fellow colleagues to be amiable, intelligent and approachable. At #ZimmEdU, everyone fits these criteria and offers much more! Each team member wants to get to know the interns on a personal level to help him or her feel comfortable. Interns never feel worried or nervous about asking a question or two, because the team members are extremely friendly and approachable. One of the many goals of the Zimmerman/Edelson team is to see their interns succeed and take the most from their opportunities. Essentially, the firm wants each intern to leave this program with great experiences and new insights in public relations, social media, advertising, and marketing. Everyone is excited to teach and help!

2. The Work: Too many students land an internship and find themselves bogged down with “intern work,” work like filing or making spreadsheets. However, at #ZimmEdU every intern is provided with real work with a variety of clients and graduates from the program with a significant understanding of public relations and the work involved. Additionally, the work provided covers every aspect of communications—interns get a well-rounded education! They gain experience in marketing, advertising, social media, and public relations and, from there, can decide which subject they enjoy best. The team is happy to provide interns with specific responsibilities and jobs that fit their preferences, so they can truly enjoy the work they are doing each day. Overall, from one session, interns learn a great amount in all areas of the public relations field.

3. The Culture: Zimmerman/Edelson has many unique aspects that establish the company culture that makes this firm successful. The environment is extremely welcoming, the relationships are close, and the work ethic is efficient. Everyone has an open desk, which epitomizes how approachable each person is. Furthermore, the traditions play a germane role in company culture. For birthdays and other milestones, everyone gets together to enjoy the celebration. This portrays the relationships that exist within the company, which I instantly felt my first day. Everyone was so engaging and friendly that I felt comfortable discussing almost anything. I was immediately embraced with open arms and accepted as a member of the Zimmerman/Edelson team. Lastly, it is quite clear that the people here are diligent and efficient. Everyone gets their work done in a timely manner and is open about the projects they are doing. During the weekly Monday meetings, each member explains their plans for the next several days. People ask for help and offer assistance depending on their schedules in order to provide the best services for their clients. Overall, the company culture is derived from unity and efficiency- the perfect fit for an intern.

4. The Zimmtern Program: The #ZimmEdU intern program is unique in that it encourages the interns to form relationships, work outside of their comfort zone, and choose their tasks. It provides the perfect load of dependency and reliability and pushes interns to think and try new things. At the end of the session, interns give a presentation to the firm regarding what they have learned and done during their time with #ZimmEdU. It gives them the freedom to create one unique project, which can involve live streaming, blogging, and more. In addition, they are invited to go to events for the clients that the company is responsible for in order to get the full experience. Zimmerman/Edelson does a phenomenal job of recruiting students who fit the company culture, which is why I have become friends with the other interns. For instance, we get lunch, talk about work, discuss our social lives, and go to events, which creates the relationships needed to feel fully comfortable in the workplace! Overall, the #ZimmEdU program has made this experience very enjoyable and educational.

5. The Result: From writing press releases and photo captions to giving live interviews, I learned so much about the field of public relations. By my third week here, I had learned how to write on social media platforms for clients, how to write a variety of public relations documents, and the best strategies and tactics to advertise events. I’m not even halfway through the program, and I’m learning such a significant amount at the perfect pace. I am constantly being taught something compelling and new while improving my writing every day. Coming to Zimmerman/Edelson was definitely the right decision because I know how prepared I am going to be for the future and how much I enjoyed learning about the various elements in this field. Especially as a rising sophomore, I now have the experience that many students don’t receive until much later in their academic careers, and I know that I have the capability to succeed when I am truly dedicated and driven.

Networking at the Hofstra PRSSA “Welcome to NY” Mixer

By Jessica Avenia

Recently, I joined fellow public relations students at Hofstra’s PRSSA Regional Conference, which kicked-off with the “Welcome to New York” Networking Mixer. It was the perfect way to launch the conference because it gave us a chance to connect with young professionals in a laid-back atmosphere next to the Empire State Building, a novel experience for students visiting from out of state.

As graduate committee chair for the Hofstra PRSSA chapter, I was in charge of securing the venue and executing the final details of the event. This responsibility gave me hands-on experience on the event planning side of public relations. It also allowed me to take a step back to observe the interactions taking place with plenty of networking tips to takeaway.

I enjoy meeting new people and consider myself a friendly person, but I absolutely dread going to networking events and having to talk about myself with strangers. The pressure can be overwhelming, as though somehow you don’t fit in because you’re still a student.

That right there is the wrong mindset to have.

Remember, every professional started where you are. Some might be natural networkers, but they most probably learned through experience until they got it right. The key is being confident in what you know, asking questions about what you don’t know and listening to your peers. At the mixer, I actually encountered someone with whom I had a few mutual friends. Once you find that connection, you go with it, engage in conversation and just be yourself. Experiences as a student are interesting and valid, as long as you express passion and eagerness to learn.

Networking can be intimidating for students who are breaking into the field and lack work experience to share. I think school events are the perfect place to build confidence and get accustomed to comfortably introducing yourself to professionals. A few students and I noticed others missing out on this great opportunity by not approaching any of the professionals. We decided two of us would make introductions throughout the night to ensure each student connected with at least one professional. Once they realized most of the professionals were recent Hofstra graduates who not long ago were in the same shoes, they started to let their guard down and enjoyed the rest of the night conversing, asking questions and even exchanging business cards.

The Hofstra PRSSA “Welcome to New York” Networking Mixer was undeniably a wonderful learning experience, and I am thankful I was able to be a part of it. The guests were friendly, approachable and very excited to share their PR stories with us. I now feel that I can go to any networking event and present myself with confidence and not be intimidated by going up to a professional and introducing myself.