Posts tagged media

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.

My First Week With #ZimmEdU

By Haylee Pollack

Starting a new job or internship can be stressful. You don’t know what to expect, and you don’t know if it will be worth your time and effort. But after finishing my first week at the firm, I have already taken away so much from this position. Here are five things I learned in my first week as a #Zimmtern in the ZimmEdU program:

1) Writing a press release

Sure, we’ve written a press release or two in my PR classes, but never to this extent. During my first few days as a #Zimmtern, I wrote four press releases for real clients. I learned how to format it correctly for the company and what needed to be included in every release (never forget a quote and the boilerplate). I already see a difference in my writing style, and I can thank this internship for giving me the opportunity to write a real press release and receive immediate feedback to help me grow.

2) Answering the phone and calling the media

Not going to lie: Talking on the phone stresses me out. As a millennial, I prefer texting and emailing. However, in public relations, communication over the phone is essential. During my first week as a #Zimmtern, I learned how to answer phones, what to say, what information I needed to get from the caller, and how to then transfer the call to the correct Zimmerman/Edelson Inc. employee. I learned how to communicate with the media and how to best represent our clients. I have to admit, I still need to work on this skill, but it’s only the first week, and I am confident that the rest of the summer will give me the time and experience to do so.

3) Writing photo captions

In just the past three days I have written countless photo captions. I did this in school a little bit, but not for real clients—or even with real pictures. As a #Zimmtern, I have an opportunity to write photo captions with real people and actual information, which is an experience I wouldn’t have gotten if I did not take on this internship. Z/E employees taught me the correct way to format a photo caption, including how to write the headline and subhead and how to attribute photos.

4) The Zimmerman/Edelson Inc. clipping process

On my second day as a #Zimmtern, I was taught all about the clipping process at the firm. This included how to work the scanner, cut out articles from newspapers and file clips. My favorite part about this lesson was the woman who taught it, Lynn. She really gave us insight into how much this internship can help us in the future, and she even told us more about herself. This definitely took made me feel more at ease on my second day. Thank you Lynn for giving us this lesson.

5) Communication with others

On my first day as a #Zimmtern, I wasn’t sure how to approach other employees to ask if they needed help with anything—I didn’t know if I should email, message, etc. I found that any method is fine, since everyone in the office is so nice, friendly and willing to help you grow. I started off by helping Jill, but by day three I had helped almost everyone on the first floor with a photo caption, press release, phone call or other task. The main thing I learned from this was that I shouldn’t be shy, and that having more work to do makes the day go by faster and makes the experience much more enjoyable. Always ask people if they need help. And if nobody does… read Newsday.

If you are debating whether to pursue an internship in PR—such as one with the ZimmEd U program—I recommend you do. It will be worth your time and will only be beneficial to you in the future.

5 Tips on Making Media Calls

By Marykate Guilfoyle

Media calls are a necessary part of any PR job; PR Professionals need to make sure the media outlets receive their press releases and advisories. Making your first calls to pitch a story can be nerve-racking but with the right guidance you will be a pro in no time. If you follow these five tips you will be well on your way to a successful media call:

1. Know What You Are Talking About.
This is the most important thing. If you are trying to pitch an event to the media, you must know all the details so you’re ready for whatever questions they may have. You should have the information in front of you, that way you are prepared for whatever questions someone may throw at you.

2. Be Confident.
It’s important to assert yourself as an expert on what you are talking about. Be clear and be confident when speaking and you will be received better. If there is ever a question you do not have the answer to, let the person know that you will point them in the right direction.

3. Be Respectful Of Time.
Reporters are busy people. Try asking if it’s a good time to talk or if they have a second to speak to you before you begin your pitch. This shows respectful, and it helps to know how quick you have to pitch your story. If they say no, ask them when would be a good time to reach them.

4. Be Concise
Give a brief but interesting overview of the event you are pitching. If the media seems to be interested they can ask more questions on specifics. Always make sure you get the time, place and what the event is answered in the pitch.

5. Practice Your Pitch
Know what you are going to say before you get on the phone. You don’t need a script, you want to sound natural, but it is important to have an idea of what you are going to say. You don’t want to stumble on the phone.

Tips from a Journalist on How to Pitch the Media

By: Dan Schaefer

One of the most difficult tasks for a public relations intern or young professional just starting out is getting in contact with a major publication for the first time. However, there are ways to ensure that developing a connection and building a relationship with a media outlet goes as smoothly as possible.

John Jeansonne retired from New York’s Newsday in 2014 after an illustrious 44-year career as a sports writer, and he is now an adjunct professor at Hofstra University’s Lawrence Herbert School of Communication. He says the first step is to keep in mind that “any good reporter should always be keeping their eyes and ears and mind open to possible stories.” This is key to building the confidence needed to start typing that e-mail or picking up a phone. Reporters, no matter how busy they may seem, are always looking for story ideas.

Keeping that in mind, the next step is research. The PR practitioner must make sure he or she knows the story being pitched inside and out. Be prepared to answer any and all questions about the story.

“I have had publicists call me to pitch a story and found that I knew more about the story than the publicist did. On occasion, the publicist would have facts wrong or would demonstrate a general lack of knowledge. So, the first thing for the publicist to do is know his or her stuff before contacting a reporter,” said Jeansonne.

In addition, the practitioner needs to study the outlet that he or she is pitching. The story has to be relevant to the outlet’s audience for it even to be considered. Next, the correct reporter must be targeted.

“The reporter might steer the publicist to another reporter, another department at his paper or magazine or radio station,” Jeansonne said, in the event that the practitioner has contacted the wrong reporter. But this is not a given, especially if the reporter is on deadline or busy. Getting in contact with the correct reporter helps the publicist’s image.

Jeansonne says that e-mails or phone calls are appropriate to pitch that first story. If the publicist does send an e-mail, he or she should avoid blasting it out to multiple outlets. Personalize the message to each reporter, and be sure to follow up with a phone call to make sure the message was received and to gauge the reporter’s interest.

“A good relationship between a reporter and publicist is vital to both, and through those relationships you learn who is competent, who can be a real go-to person when you need information,” said Jeansonne.

The First Day for a #Zimmtern: Part Two

By Greg Stengel

After finding out I was headed to the New York American Water Press Conference featuring Senator Chuck Schumer on my first day, the feelings of both excitement and diving into the unknown had doubled. I found myself, an intern on his first day, in a room full of media, elected officials and Long Island water industry representatives. As the press conference began, I found myself learning more than one priceless lesson in public relations.

From the moment I pulled into the parking lot the learning experience had begun. I was starting to learn that for a press conference, and for any in-person or on-camera statement, the message is almost equally as important as how you present the message. First off, the press conference was being held at Massapequa Water District Well 9, which was an iconic location for a press conference on Long Island’s water industry. In addition, it served as a great backdrop for the conference; when talking about water on Long Island, it adds legitimacy when you are speaking at a well that provides water for the area.

As the conference continued, several more lessons would reveal themselves. As Senator Schumer spoke, he and the two water industry representatives wanted to make a point how safe the water on Long Island is to drink: They each drank a glass of water and showed that they truly believed in what they were saying, that the water really is safe for everyone to drink. It added both a visual and emotional effect to the press conference, which I think really helped them convey their message.

The final lesson I learned from attending this press conference was that the use of visuals is key to making sure your audience comprehends the message you are trying to get across. The entire time the senator and water representatives were speaking they had a large map in the background. The speakers would periodically reference this map and show it to the cameras, physically displaying locations and reinforcing their point to the audience in a more clear way through the use of a visual reference.

From not knowing if I was even going to be able to make it into my first day at Zimmerman/Edelson, Inc. because of the snow storm, to attending a press conference with Senator Schumer just a few hours later, it’s possible that my first day experience will go down as one of the most exciting and interesting first days in the history of the Zimmtern program.

Looking back it will all be worth it knowing that in such a short time I took away several valuable lessons in public relations that I will without a doubt carry with me for the rest of my career.