Tag Archives: advice

Job Performance Review

Desk of the bossI feel like an adult. I recently had my first job performance review in my PR career. The only other job performance review I’ve had was as a resident assistant in college. Those were intense and formal. Surprising right? I was required to evaluate my strengths, weaknesses, what areas I’d like to improve on and goals I’d like to achieve. I did very well in past reviews and as a PR pro, it’s not like I’m a stranger to evaluations so why was I dreading this review? Continue reading

It’s all about the “relationship”

Two businessmen shaking hands, close-upRaise your hand if you are sick of hearing “it’s all about the relationship.” When it comes to producers, reporters and bloggers, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that it all comes down to relationships. Yet, as many times as it’s been said, it seems no one talks about how to create those relationships.

Whether you are just starting out in PR, or you’ve switched focuses, media relationships can prove to be a tricky thing. How do you establish a relationship? How do you maintain the relationship? Furthermore, how do you prove you are an actual person rather than just a flack robot?

With such hefty questions to tackle, I thought I would poll our PRBC family to get their advice and perspectives on everything having to do with relationships. Continue reading

Christina’s Coffee Talk with Jay Keith

Coffee Talk is back and I couldn’t be more excited to kick off the year with my guest, Jay Keith, senior public relations manager of Vistaprint. A prominent member of the #prbc community, Jay is always sharing his knowledge and making us laugh daily. Jay is a jack of all trades, smart, and funny to boot. Who knew that a former donut maker for Dunkin’ Donuts would become a successful PR professional? Like the rest of PRBC Jay’s an avid coffee drinker, loyal to his Dunkin Donuts brand but says it’s nothing compared to the coffee in France. He’s an amateur golfer, sports nut, die-hard Boston fan and a passionate Candlepin bowler. Continue reading

Learning The Ropes

Businesspeople conversing at the water cooler

For those who know me, many would say I trust too easily, and I’d agree. It has its benefits and faults but at the end of the day I trust until proven otherwise. However after being in the “working” world for a couple of years it’s come to my attention that PR developed a well deserved reputation for being a “dog-eat-dog” world . Inspired by Kristen’s post about departing and starting anew, I remembered what it was like to start my 2nd job and learn the ropes of a new corporate culture. Here are a few things I believe helped me: Continue reading

Mentoring in the Social Media Age

Businessmen using computer

In the past month or so, I have been constantly utilizing the amazing insight and invaluable advice of my many PR “mentors” (the reason why will hopefully be revealed soon). This morning I was thinking about how lucky I am to have all of them, and it got me wondering about the nature of a mentor/mentee relationship. Mentor is a word that I toss around quite a bit, which is interesting because technically a person is only supposed to have one. So am I just using the wrong word to describe the people I go to for PR advice, or has the definition of a mentor shifted? Continue reading

Dear Flack (Volume 1)

Dear Flack,
I am just starting out in PR and need a few tips for phone pitching. Can you help out?
Phone Home
Dear Phone Home,
There are a lot of differing opinions on telephone pitching these days. Some PR pros are for it, and some treat the device like a disgusting carton of sour milk. Whatever side of fence you’re on, chances are you will need to pick up that phone and pitch every now and again.
With that being said, here are a few pointers to get you started:
·         Relax, get to it.  As a rookie phone pitcher, it’s perfectly acceptable to feel a bit nervous on your first calls out. In addition to the phone call itself, you might also hesitate because you think a co-worker or boss is listening in on your conversations. This is nothing to be ashamed about—most of us have been in your shoes at one time or another.  Try asking your boss if there’s an empty office that you might be able to use. If that doesn’t work, just try to focus on the task at hand and tune out your surroundings. Also remember that if your boss is eavesdropping, that he/she may just be trying to help you out.
·         Think before you pitch.  It is imperative that you know your pitch inside and out. You do not want to get caught on the phone with a media outlet without your facts straight. If you lack the confidence in your spiel, the journalist or producer will sense it right away. I suggest writing out key points and facts ahead of time and keeping them by your side. Just beware of sounding like you are reading from a script—keep a natural and conversational tone.
·         Pitch to the right person. You are now relaxed, confident in your pitch—but do you know who you are calling? Make sure you are contacting the right person that would cover your story. If you are publicizing a new digital camera, don’t call food editor. Cover your bases and search for the latest stories the reporter has written. This will at least ensure that your pitch has a chance of scoring some interest.  Additionally, sometimes there are multiple people covering a beat or no one specifically at an outlet.  It’s simple enough to ask – “I’m not one hundred percent that this should be on your desk so I’m hoping you can point me in the right direction.”  Works great – seeking advice makes people feel knowledgeable and most people want to be helpful, acknowledging that you may be wrong makes them realize you’re human, and it’s often more time effective to pick the close person (not banking–>food but at least in the right ballpark) and ask than to spend hours researching only to discover the right person is on maternity leave and the beat is being handled by a general assignment writer for the next few months anyway.
·         Ask permission.  It’s no secret that time is precious commodity in the newsroom. If you get someone on the phone, introduce yourself, and then ask if it’s a good time to talk. This person could be on deadline or in a meeting.
·         Ready, set, pitch. So you have their attention, maybe for a minute. You need to make your case fast. Be succinct, clear, and conversational if time permits. Anticipate questions the press might ask you in advance, and have your answers ready to go. If you get a question that you absolutely do not know, be honest and say that you’ll get back to him/her.
·         Phone pitching is like dating. Sometimes they say yes and want to keep seeing you; other times they don’t want anything you got. Don’t get upset if the journalist is rude or uninterested in your pitch. It happens to the best of us. Brush it off, pick up the phone and keep plugging away. It’s the unfortunate truth that rejection is part of the public relations field, so don’t get discouraged. If you are getting nowhere with your pitch, take a step back, and see if anything needs tweaking.
However if you did score a “date” and the reporter is interested in your pitch, follow up. Don’t wait five days to circle back around with him/her. Get the individual the information, interviews, hi-res images—all the materials requested—in a timely and reliable fashion.
Do you have a question for Dear Flack? If there’s something you’ve always wondered about, or wanted to ask about public relations and social media world, e-mail dearflack@gmail.com . We take privacy very seriously and all names, companies and locations will remain confidential.
Dear Flack is written by Marie V-B, a seasoned public relations professional. Advice is based on both personal experience and input from members of PR Breakfast Club and outside expert sources.

[Editor’s Note: Got a PR question you’ve been dying to ask, but don’t have the right person in your rolodex?  Keep reading…]

Dear Flack,

I am just starting out in PR and need a few tips for phone pitching. Can you help out?


Phone Home

Continue reading