Tag Archives: dear flack

Dear Flack – Stay Seasoned during a PR Dry Spell

Alone on Sand Dune Crest[We received this question on a recent blog post about short job stints]

Dear Flack,

How does one stay active in the PR/marketing world and keep up their skills when they’re unemployed?

This may be a bit off topic, but I was late to the other unemployment posting, so I thought I’d ask here since it’s somewhat relevant.

I’m currently unemployed, and I really want to keep my PR and writing skills active while I continue to search for work. I would appreciate any tips that others have tried during periods of unemployment to keep their skills current and continue doing what they love (and it would also be great to be able to share what I did to keep on top of things while unemployed with potential employers). Continue reading

Dear Flack: How to be a great assistant

Everyday People 2For the most part, everybody starts their illustrious PR career at the bottom. Whether it’s mailings, coffee runs, or dreaded clip reports, it’s more than likely that at one time or another you’ll have to participate in the art of assisting and/or interning.

Believe it or not, being a great assistant is an art form. Some assistants are masterpieces, while others are head-scratching experiments gone awry.

Look, we all know starting from the ground up can be both frustrating and challenging. You are working hard for hardly any money.  However, if you want to climb up the corporate ladder, you have to put in the time and effort to be successful. Continue reading

Dear Flack: Battling the PR Funk

Boy (10-11) sitting on window sill, looking away, side viewAs I mentioned before, I have received a lot of job-related questions lately: Should I get a new job? I hate PR, what else can I do? I’m miserable at work, what are my options? And the list goes on.

It appears that a group of you are very unhappy. Well, before you start sending out massive amounts of resumes or slip the middle finger to a career in PR, it might be comforting to know that you might just be suffering from the PR funk.

Needless to say a typical day in the public relations biz can be an emotional rollercoaster, and we have all had “those” days. You know the ones where you look at the window and contemplate jumping out of said window? As fellow #PRBC-er TJ so eloquently puts it “some days really really suck like a sucktastic suckfest with a PhD in suck from Suck U.” Continue reading

Dear Flack….Leadership Skills

Dear Flack –

I’m currently at a very small agency with no departments or divisions. The boss handles all new business pitches and project management and has for years (decades). It works for her so I don’t really blame her. Even when something is “delegated” it’s still micromanaged.

The problem is that with the number of years I’ve been here all the openings at other agencies seek demonstrable PR (or related) leadership skills and/or business pitching skills. That, of course, makes sense.

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