What I Wish I Had Known Before I Got Into PR

What I Wish I Had Known Before I Got Into PR

By: Regina Sampayo

Before I came to college, I wasn’t 100 percent sure of what I really wanted to do with my life, therefore I didn’t know what to study. As time went on I tried focusing on what I thought I was good at. I realized shortly that where I needed to be was at Moody.

I was a little indecisive about choosing between advertising and public relations. I felt that advertising and PR are similar in many ways. Although the idea of advertising has always seemed a much more creative hands-on route, the PR route seemed a bit broad and had many similarities with advertising. If you’re in this situation then I hope these questions will make you realize what you really should be doing.

Ask yourself what type of things you like. Are you someone who is willing to build relations? Are you ready to write a lot? Most importantly when it comes to creativity, do you find yourself being artistically creative or prefer to focus your creativity in problem solving?

From what I’ve experienced in PR, you need to be open and constantly think outside of the box for different solutions. In ADV 344k, you’ll be tested on forming abstract ideas that fit a product and that require you to really think of themes, not just categories. You need to be open to changing and evolving the way you write.

During PR317, now J317, you will learn that the way you’ve been writing your whole life will change and that there’s a big difference between capitalizing titles. Even if words are spelled in different ways, there is a specific way you are expected to write it in PR.

While all of this is going on there is something not many people will warn you about but you need to know, which is how to build relations. If you want to be successful with this degree you need to understand that building relations with people, especially journalists, will be a very important tool that can start now. Lastly, listen to your teachers, go to office hours and go to Moody Writing Center, these three will reinforce your skills and experience as a PR student.


3/20 Meeting Recap: FleishmanHillard

Meeting Recap FleishmanHillard

By: Hena Lee

Who actually likes being in the bullseye?

Stephanie Childs specializes in crisis and issues management and has been currently working for FleishmanHillard in Austin, TX for 6 years. She shared with us what she does, which is very relatable to public relations. Crisis and issues management is how one can quickly and clearly tell the facts to the public without speculations; they must clearly communicate what broke within the company and how they can fix it.

Series of events that led to where she is now clearly illustrates what it looks like to be constantly on one’s toes and adapting to the changing world field. After graduating with a major in International Relations, Childs worked in Washington, D.C. managing senators’ schedules. However, that quickly ended after she found her real passion in BSMG Worldwide. This job required her to build websites for clients, but also helper her land her next job by answering questions at the heat of the moment no one else could. Her next job was in the Food Industry within Trade Associations which required her to be on standby at all times. Because she loves being in the bullseye, the pressure and in the heat of the moment, companies paid her to talk to the public about crucial issues. She became a role and influencer by listening to her co-workers, being knowledgeable, and understanding her team.

Learning from all these experiences, she then gave us real situations she had to go through and walked us through how to resolve huge crisis within a company. First, one must ask, what’s the facility? Where’s the source coming from? One must know where this crisis arose from. Then, you had to get more answers. Always communicate with seats above you all the way to the CEO. One important advice she gave us was to never speculate because speculation causes confusion and distrust. Lastly, one must be prepared, and remember that doing the right thing matters. One never knows who can be of help in the future and the connections you build by doing the right thing.

Through all this information and from all her experiences, she clearly lists out lessons she has learned. You will fail and you will survive. Your actions may affect the company’s stock. Compassion makes a difference, try to maintain composure. Listen and learn by  absorbing information and representing it well. Importantly, acknowledge your own limits.

In conclusion, she really informed our students of helpful advice on how to move from an intern to actually getting recognized and getting a job. One must pay attention to the details, then roll up your sleeves and do what needs to be done. They must discover a problem and try to find a solution. One must also learn how to continuously build lists, project authority, be confident, and build relationships- you never know who you’ll need.

3/6 Meeting Recap: Giant Noise

Giant Noise

By: Hailey Herzik

Madeline Brooks, an HR specialist, spoke with Texas PRSSA about Giant Noise, a PR firm born and raised right here in Austin. Giant Noise offers a wide range of services from Public Relations (obviously) to crisis management to even photography. The firm also has an impressive list of clients, such as Plucker’s Wing Bar and Home Slice Pizza.

Brooks told the story of how Giant Noise came to be. It all began when Elaine Garza, University of Texas alumni and founder of Giant Noise, decided to leave New York City to move back to Austin to raise her family. Before she left, one of her clients said to her, “If you open up your own agency, I’ll be your first client.” This was the moment Giant Noise was born.

Garza’s talent and hard work can be seen in the work Giant Noise does, especially in their case studies, which Brooks presented at the meeting. One case study was about Kemuri Tatsu-Ya. Kemuri Tatsu-Ya is an Austin-based restaurant that fuses Japanese inspired dishes with Texas BBQ.

The goal was to establish Kemuri as an essential “culinary destination” in Austin. The team at Giant Noise accomplished this by pitching the restaurant’s unique food and beverage combinations and the Tatsu-Ya team. Giant Noise’s work helped Kemuri be one of the most anticipated new restaurant openings in 2017.

Kemuri was featured in several magazines, some of which were Eater, Food & Wine and Vice. The restaurant was also featured in GQ, who wrote that, “If you’re not having a little fun here [Kemuri Tatsu-Ya] then you’re on the wrong Tinder date.”

The case study Brooks presented about Kemuri Tatsu-Ya highlighted just how effective good PR can be to a brand. Along with this, she highlighted the various services that can be offered and how clients sometimes need multiple services, and others may only need one. One client she mentioned only used Giant Noise to create a guest list to invite important influencers and media to their SXSW event.

To close off the meeting, Brooks presented some exciting internship opportunities with Giant Noise. There are three different types of internships: Public Relations, Social Media, and Business Development.

A Public Relations intern is what it sounds like: this intern assists the team with writing pitches and press release drafts and pretty much any task related to PR. Along with this, the intern would attend client events.

The Social Media intern helps draft copies for social media posts on the top platforms. They also do research to compile list of top social media influencers. Brooks mentioned that while the Social Media and Public Relations teams are still separate entities, the two cross paths often, allowing these interns to dabble in both of these fields.

The final internship position is the Business Development intern. While this program seems to deviate away from the Public Relations field, Brooks said it was an exciting and rewarding program. Business Development interns get the chance to become close with their clients by creating fact sheets, client case studies and participating in meeting with clients.

Ethics in PR

Ethics in PR blog

By: Beatriz Calderon

Imagine the following scenario: You’ve finally come up with an angle for a news release that will basically guarantee news coverage for an important client. However, to use this angle you’re going to have to distort some information. By not being honest you’re jeopardizing the media’s trust. So what do you prioritize, your short-term exposure or your long-term relationship with the media?

This example is just one of the countless ethical dilemmas that we will face in our industry. Understanding that ethics and public relations are linked together is pretty important to say the least. As PR agents our job among several is to have effective communication between the client and public. For this communication to be effective we must have the public’s trust. Following certain ethical guidelines is what helps us maintain that trust. However, ethics isn’t just something we must follow but something we may give. In a crisis situation, CEOs at times may not have the best level of judgment on decision making. It is our job to assist them by providing ethical counsel.

Now let’s go back to the situation I described before. The correct thing to do here would be to prioritize your long-term relationship with the media. Now, you may be wondering what if someone else were to take the “wrong” route and get a promotion – why follow the rules? As stated before, even if the person does gain that short term victory, in the long-run it could be disastrous. Furthermore, if this person were a PRSA member then the PRSA Board of Directors may bar them from their membership or expel them from the society.

Unfortunately, a recent article released some unsettling facts. Less than half of new professionals and members with little experience in PRSA only felt familiar with the PRSA ethic guidelines. This result raises concerns on millennials’ ability to become successful PR agents.

Regardless if you are going to be part of the PRSA in a few months, years or whenever, I urge you to become familiar with ethical guidelines. A good starting place to familiarize yourself with ethical guidance is by visiting the PRSA ethics website page. Here you can view the code itself, access the resources PRSA offers for ethical guidance and more. Another great resource to take advantage of is our mentors. As professionals, they have gone through countless experiences that have provided them with invaluable knowledge that we can learn a lot from. In fact, the study proved that talking to them about our concerns makes a difference.

Humor in PR

Public Relations

By: Hailey Herzik

Humor can be risky business when it comes to professional PR writing. It can be inappropriate, unasked for, and distracting, but it can also be a great way to make a press release stand out. Inserting a humorous headline or introductory sentence, when executed correctly, can make a press release dazzle in a journalist’s inbox.

There are thoughts to keep in mind when deciding whether or not to use humor in a press release. Ken Scudder, co-author of World Class Communications writes that humor must be used, “…appropriately, safely and in moderation, and it shouldn’t interfere with the workflow…” Before sending out a press release, or speaking publicly, it is important to understand the audience and the subject matter. Knowing your audience is crucial when deciding if humor should be used and what kind of humor; different age groups find different things funny. If the topic is serious or pressing, humor is highly inappropriate, and using it in these types of situations is buying a one-way ticket out of a job.

There are several benefits and risks to using humor in PR writing. Humor can liven up an otherwise dull press release and help journalists or audiences remember it more. It is vital that the humor is appropriate and relevant.

11/28 Meeting Recap: SXSW Agency Tour


By: Dariya Kizieieva

Do you have to start your career at a PR agency? SXSW professionals think you do not.

“Do you know what is Austin DNA? It is South by Southwest,” a current senior publicist of SXSW Brett Cannon states. On an agency tour, PRSSA members got to talk to him and learn about his experience of working for a large PR firm such as Edelman and his transition to South by Southwest.

Almost every PR student is told or believes that once you leave a college, you have to start your career at a PR agency, which according to Brett’s opinion, is not necessarily true.

If you think you have creative ideas worth sharing with others, a PR agency may not be the best place for you. You, as a PR professional, will learn a client very closely and will understand his needs, but whenever you come up with a creative idea, you do not bring it straight to the client. First, you take it to your agency table. Then you have to pass many red tapes, and most of the time it will not reach your client, because your idea was not approved by people within your agency.

PR agencies are not for everyone. They give you a range of experiences, but you do not have to limit yourself to them.

Allison Johnson, advertising coordinator at SXSW, recommends to apply for volunteering or internships at the SXSW festival. There are many positions related to PR to choose from, and they cover a variety of fields such as music, film and technology.

You will have to give up your spring break, but you will have a chance to be behind the scenes of one of the most famous festivals in the world.

Being an attendee and being an intern provides you a very difficult sight of South by Southwest, Allison said. You will grow your network, learn what you are especially good at and where you need to grow.

You have to realize that PR is all about who you know. You may not necessarily stay at the place where you have interned, but the people you meet there will help you to reach your top career choice.

As a PR student, there are many paths you can take in your career, and it can be very intimating. However, getting an internship is the best way to figure out which path is actually yours.