Public Relations Agency ABCs

alphabet soup
Public Relations Agency ABCs

They say “It takes a whole village to raise a child.” Well,  it takes an entire bowl of alphabet soup to implement our role as public relations practitioners. Here’s a guide to your public relations agency ABCs:

A= Advertise, Advise, Agency, Amplify, Analytics
B= B2B, Blogger, Branding, Brochures, Bottom Line, Budget, Business Development
C= Cause-Related Marketing, Collateral Materials, Communications, Conferences, Consumer, Content, Core Values, Corporate Communications, Corporations, Curate, Counsel, Crises Management, Crowdfunding
D=Deliverables, Digital
E= Engagement, Earned Media, Education, Efficiency, Evidence-based, Events
F= Facebook, Feature Articles
G= Global, Gorilla Marketing, Granular
H= Hacker, Hands-on, Hazard Analysis, Head Hunter, Honesty, Humility
I= Integrated, Integrity
J=Job Description, Job Enrichment, Job Performance, Job Security, Joint Venture, Just in Time, Justification
K=Knowledge-based
L=Leverage, Literature
M= Market Entry, Marketing Plans, Marketing Research, Media, Media Tours, Media Training, Metrics, Messaging, Monetize, Multiplatform
N= Narrative, Negotiate, New Business, New Media, Newsletters, News Syndicates
O= Organic, Outbound, Outcomes
P= Performance, Pinterest, Platform, Positioning, Presentations, Press Releases, Product Launches, Program, Public Relations, Publicity
Q= Qualify, Qualitative, Quantitative, Question
R= Reddit, Reputation Management, Research, Resonate
S= Sell, Seminars, Services, Situation Analysis, Social Media, Solutions, Speaker’s Bureau, Spokespersons, Strategy, Surveys
T= Tactics, Traction, Trade Relations, Traditional Media, Transparency, Twitter
U= Uncontrollable Costs, Uncontrollable Factors, Underutilization, Unintended Consequences, Unique Opportunities, User Friendly, User ID
V=Value Proposition, Viral Marketing
W= Website, Wire Services, Workforce, Workplace, World Wide Web, Worst Case Scenario
X= XmR Chart
Y= Yahoo!, YTD (Year to Date)
Z= ZBB (Zero Based Budgeting), Zero Growth

Tips for the Replacement PR Intern

Hand holding a piece of paper with printed Internship on it.
Tips for the Replacement PR Intern

By: Dayna Sorrento

One of the hardest parts of leaving a current internship is making sure all of your ducks are in a row,  including the replacement intern. Picking out the “new you” is not easy,  especially when they have so much to learn.

Here are some tips you should leave for the replacement intern:

Make a good first impression. First impressions mean everything. Most people can get a good read on a person within minutes of meeting them. That is why starting off strong and on a high note is important. So, arrive to your internship early, show a strong work ethic, and just be yourself.

Soak it all up. Internships are a one-of-a-kind experience, so value each and every internship that comes in your path. Each one shapes you into the kind of worker you will become and adds another layer onto your resume. The purpose of internships is to learn, so try to do all the learning you can!

Learn from your superior. Your internship mentor or supervisor is there to help guide you throughout your internship experience. Use that person as a tool and a resource! They are established in the industry for quite some time, so they know what they are talking about. Learn from their mistakes, understand their successes, and even pick their brains on ideas and industry topics. Anything you can gain from your internship experience will be useful to you at some point.

Asking questions is valuable. Asking questions is a good thing, and is something your employer wants to be hearing from you. It shows you are interested and engaged in the tasks you are working on, and it displays your crave for learning.

Go the extra mile. Putting in extra time or effort really does go a long way, especially for your employer. If you are willing to stay an extra half hour, or do some extra research on a project, your employer will notice and appreciate it. What you give is what you will get in return.

 

Why PR Interns Should be Paid

Internship.OR
Why PR Interns Should be Paid

As owner of a New York-based public relations agency who has been working with college-age interns forever,  I wanted to go on record saying that it is time that the rest of you realize that they are not slaves,  nor indentured servitude.   If they are providing a valuable service, well, then they should be compensated for it, and not just with college credit.

My favorite adage is this: If you pay them then they will come.

When I first went out on my own 15 years ago, and had no paid staff, I quickly discovered the benefits of intern laborers—they work hard, they can accept a lot of responsibility and they should be paid for their work efforts.  And from the beginning I decided to pay them an honest hourly wage—even if they were receiving college credit for the internship.  I even threw in free lunch just to grab and keep their attention.

So, here’s why I strongly believe that you get what you pay for:

  1. If you pay them they will come. At the beginning I knew I needed cheap labor, though not free. I asked a number of colleagues who like me had tiny start-ups, and to a man/woman they all agreed that I would have better attendance, participation and happier interns if there were paid. They were right.
  2. Mentoring is the key. Since the starting hourly wage and free lunch were still not enough in my opinion, I knew that from the beginning I had to make their internship worthwhile.  Therefore I always made sure to provide them with the following:
    1. Responsibility
    2. Accountability
    3. Credit for having a brain
    4. Dedication/loyalty
  3. Valuable opinions. It is important to understand that although these are young people working for you, that they offer valuable insight into the mindset of Generation Z, those born after the millennials—and this can sometimes add an additional dimension that you might not have thought about. Don’t be afraid to ask them for insight.
  4. Internships can lead to jobs. I have often provided invaluable leads and job referrals to my interns and also have served as a valuable reference to them—more valuable in some ways then payment, one does not replace the other.
  5. Foot in the door. Companies that offer unpaid internships often barter that it’s a way for the college student to get a foot in the door.  Excuse me, but how is the intern going to pay for the shoe on that foot without a decent hourly wage?
  6. Death knell for college internships. This is what the “other side” is providing as a reason not to pay interns for time worked.    Washington is trying to regulate it so that companies that currently take advantage of college kids are penalized for it.  Although I myself am not a big believer in Big Brother interfering with my business, this should certainly cause those companies who are abusing college kids to start rethinking their policies.

 

What is PR?: 7 Public Relations Definitions

What is PR
What is public relations?

For an industry that does so much to help define its clients and their industries, it is an unfortunate turn of events that our own industry has such a vague understanding among many audiences. When I first told my parents I had entered into the field of public relations they went about telling all of their friends and family that their daughter had made it big in the Madison Avenue world of advertising—yup, advertising. Like so many others, they had no idea what public relations was. And who could blame them? Especially when our industry has continued to evolve over the decades and has never settled on just one basic definition. See for yourself.

  1.  Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics. PRSA
  2. The activity or job of providing information about a particular person or organization to the public so that people will regard that person or organization in a favorable way. Merriam-Webster
  3. The profession or practice of creating and maintaining goodwill of an organization’s various publics (customers, employees, investors, suppliers, etc.), usually through publicity and other nonpaid forms of communication. These efforts may also include support of arts, charitable causes, education, sporting events, and other civic engagements. BusinessDictionary.com
  4. Public relations is the opposite of advertising. In advertising, you pay to have your message placed in a newspaper, TV or radio spot. In public relations, the article that features your company is not paid for. The reporter, whether broadcast or print, writes about or films your company as a result of information he or she received and researched.
    Publicity is more effective than advertising, for several reasons. First, publicity is far more cost-effective than advertising. Even if it is not free, your only expenses are generally phone calls and mailings to the media. Second, publicity has greater longevity than advertising. An article about your business will be remembered far longer than an ad. Entrepreneur
  5. Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing the spread of information between an individual or an organization (such as a business, government agency, or a nonprofit organization) and the public. Public relations may include an organization or individual gaining exposure to their audiences using topics of public interest and news items that do not require direct payment. This differentiates it from advertising as a form of marketing communications. Public relations is the idea of creating coverage for clients for free, rather than marketing or advertising. Wikipedia
  6. Public relations is the art of managing the spread of information about an individual or company is disseminated to the public, and attempting to frame that information in a positive light. Investopedia.com
  7. A basic definition of public relations is to shape and maintain the image of a company, organization or individual in the eyes of the client’s various “publics.” What is a “public” exactly? A public, in PR terms, is anyone who ever has or ever will form an opinion about the client. Money

Tips for When You Interview at a PR Firm

Interview.PR
Tips for When You Interview at a PR Firm

OK, story so you got yourself that interview with a public relations agency. Now what do you do?
1. Review their website. I can’t stress enough the importance of becoming familiar with the agency, its philosophy, client categories, client list and work samples. From this you’ll be able to discern whether this is the shop for you. Also, if the agency is savvy, it routinely makes blog posts—read them—what is their point of view on industry issues?
2. Prepare 3 questions. At the end of an interview I always ask a potential employee if s/he has any questions—and to my surprise, the majority say “No thanks. You’ve covered everything.” Well, that’s not good enough. I don’t care what you ask as long as you ask something; this shows me that you can communicate, think on your feet and that you’re capable
3. Due diligence. It is important for you to implement due diligence. This means becoming a detective and finding out everything you can about the firm’s reputation, working environment and staff members. Do they have a good industry reputation? Have they won awards? How happy or unhappy is the staff—ask your friends, someone is bound to know someone who has worked there—but don’t ask current staffers, you never know. And what kind of work reputation does the president and top executives have?
4. Google search. Atta girl. You know have valuable an Internet search can be whether ferreting out a potential new guy or restaurant. Well, now’s the time to implement a search on the company itself—how does it hold up and compare to competitors? What is its reputation and how have they managed it?
5. Decide on the appropriate attire. If you are interviewing for that fashion boutique you had better look the part because in addition to everything else, you will be judged on your style and presentation. Not that other public relations agency specialties don’t demand a good appearance; like a business suit for the financial agencies and leggings or jeans and heels for the funky digital firm.
6. Arrive early. It’s always wise to get to the destination earlier than needed. In this way you’ll never be late for an interview—which can be a real turn-off. Go for coffee, take a walk around the block. Then get yourself together and go gettum!!

Blame It on El Niño: When Good PR Goes Bad

el nino
Blame It on El Niño

After El Niño conditions were declared in March and the Climate Prediction Center’s forecast predicted El Niño’s continued strengthening during the summer and fall, I think it is safe to say we are well within the time period where everything will be blamed on El Niño.
It rained on your wedding day? El Niño. Had an outdoor picnic ruined by a late afternoon thunderstorm? El Niño. Was it hot …during the summer? El Niño.
Blame It on El Niño has even developed into a board game.
A weather pattern partly linked with El Nino had turned winter upside-down across the U.S. during a week of heavy holiday travel,bringing spring-like warmth to the Northeast,risk of tornadoes in the South and so much snow across the West that even skiing slopes have been overwhelmed.
In a reversal of a typical Christmas, New York reached a toasty 70 degrees the day before Christmas with some New Yorkers actually sporting shorts and t-shirts.
But the sad truth of the matter is that the real culprit of this topsy-turvy nightmarish weather is not El Niño, but climate change. Although some people continue to deny its existence, climate change is wreaking havoc on the planet and because of ignorance, or just the need to create a scapegoat, many are blaming it on El Niño.
In an idealized world I would gladly implement a joint press conference for El Niño and Climate Change to present their difference to the world at large. But sometimes you can take a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.

Free Book Offer From Amazon Kindle: November 23—24th

Free.PR

THEY SAY YOU ALWAYS REMEMBER YOUR FIRST.

TJ Sacks, award-winning writer and owner of a New York-based public relations/marketing communications agency that bears her name, has published her first non-fiction entitled “Slick the Cat: The Adventures of a New York City Kitty,” available free as an ebook on Amazon Kindle November 23—24th. After that, the book will be on traditional sale through Amazon.

The last thing that I was thinking about was adopting a cat. On the fast-track executive path at a New York public relations agency, I had no idea that a business trip to the West Coast, which included a visit to my sister’s home, would serve to introduce me to the wonders of a cat.

THE CAT THAT STOLE CHRISTMAS

The one constancy in my life, Slick was there throughout my acclimation to New York, my marriage and to its eventual dissolution. Slick was a true adventurer whose antics included learning to walk on the wild side via a leash, scaling the mountains of Vermont, killing Hamlet, being diagnosed with asthma, seeing a cat therapist, and quite literally stealing Christmas.

But it was his unswerving loyalty, his enormous capacity for love, his hilarious sense of mischief and adventure that helped transform my life. He taught me that it was alright to let go, to reach for new adventures and to not allow things that I couldn’t control get the better of me.

Today I share her life with Jonny, the fourth cat to have owned me. Yet, years later it is Slick, my first, who had the strongest impact on my life. He was there during my transformative years, and he helped me to make it through them with a smile, a laugh and sometimes, a few tears.

I hope that you have the opportunity to read and enjoy my book—although it would be helpful if you were a cat-lover to begin with.

The book is available on Amazon. It can be read on any device (IOS or Android) or PC or Mac with the free Kindle app available on Amazon website. You don’t need to own an ereader—you can read it directly on your computer/laptop. And don’t forget to leave a comment/review.

New York PR Exec Launches Debut Non-Fiction Book

slick the cat 2
The cat who stole Christmas

THEY SAY YOU ALWAYS REMEMBER YOUR FIRST.

TJ Sacks,  award-winning writer and owner of a New York-based public relations/marketing communications agency that bears her name,  has self-published her first non-fiction entitled “Slick the Cat: The Adventures of a New York City Kitty, available as an ebook on Amazon Kindle.

The last thing that I was thinking about was adopting a cat. On the fast-track executive path at a New York public relations agency, I had no idea that a business trip to the West Coast, which included a visit to my sister’s home, would serve to introduce me to the wonders of a cat.

THE CAT THAT STOLE CHRISTMAS

The one constancy in my life, Slick was there throughout my acclimation to New York, my marriage and to its eventual dissolution. Slick was a true adventurer whose antics included learning to walk on the wild side via a leash, scaling the mountains of Vermont, killing Hamlet, being diagnosed with asthma, seeing a cat therapist, and quite literally stealing Christmas.

But it was his unswerving loyalty, his enormous capacity for love, his hilarious sense of mischief and adventure that helped transform my life. He taught me that it was alright to let go, to reach for new adventures and to not allow things that I couldn’t control get the better of me.

Today I share her life with Jonny, the fourth cat to have owned me. Yet, years later it is Slick, my first, who had the strongest impact on my life. He was there during my transformative years, and he helped me to make it through them with a smile, a laugh and sometimes, a few tears.
I hope that you have the opportunity to read and enjoy my book—although it would be helpful if you were a cat-lover to begin with.

Available for 99 cents for a limited time only on Amazon Kindle at http://amzn.to/1KWFBzD

Note: For Kindle and Android readers it is available directly from the Kindle app. For IPad and IPhone readers, download and purchase the book on the Amazon website (http://amzn.to/1KWFBzD ) and then export it to your e-reader.

8 Skills They Don’t Teach You as a PR Major

life skills pr
8 Skills They Don’t Teach You as a PR Major

You’ve learned a lot in college, including algebra, U.S. history and how to text under your desk. But once you leave your beloved alma mater behind, you may realize there are some very important life lessons that you never learned.
If you want to avoid that terrifying task of entering the real world without many of the skills you need to succeed, take the time to learn these things, before graduation day rolls around.
1. How to manage your money. So you land a job in a New York public relations agency right out of college and the company provides you with the option to join its 401K. Without a basic understanding of the stock market, which is almost never taught in school, you will be dead in the water.
2. How to cook. Overprotective parents are not doing their children any favors. Upon graduation they not only don’t know how to slice a tomato, but have no understanding of how to buy groceries or prepare them.
3. Home repairs. Another area where parents should take responsibility for initially putting that hammer and screwdriver in their kids’ hands and explaining the basics of how to hang a nail on the wall for a painting or remove a screw.
4. Social skills. The best jobs require social skills, according to recent findings published in the New York Times. As a kid in kindergarten you learned to play well with others. Then, as you moved along in school these skills were replaced by impersonal lecture-style teaching of hard skills, with less peer interaction. In such fields as public relations, the softer skills like client interaction and counseling, motivating colleagues and being a team player are emphasized.
5. Leadership skills. A good leader’s job is to get work done through people. Skills like how to hire the best people, how to provide mentoring, and then how to get out of the way and let them do their job are skills that unfortunately are often left for on-the-job learning.
6. How to sew. So, what do you do when you have to sew on a hanging button? Either befriend your local tailor or learn this valuable skill.
7. How credit works. Just because you were able to secure a credit card doesn’t mean you should use it foolishly and mindlessly. With some credit rates as right as 28%, it could take you years to pay off a $1,000 balance. So, don’t party hardy unless you can pay with cash.
8. How to find a job. The very basics of how to go about researching and landing a job are skills that unfortunately are often self-taught. Seek out professors and counselors as well as taking advantage of career centers for assistance in this vital area.

Know When to Go—Exiting a PR Firm

Exit PR
Know When to Go–Exiting a PR Firm

There comes a time in every public relations staffer when all of the stars line up and it’s very obvious that its time to start the job search—while you are currently employed. There are lots of reasons for taking that next step; these are just a few.
1. Stay for a year. Unless the job is excruciating, the rule of thumb is to remain at a position for a full year. Why? It gives your time there validity. It shows that you decided to leave on your own terms instead of being asked to leave after a few months.
2. Exception to the one year rule. If the position absolutely is intolerable, or worse yet, you just made the wrong public relations agency decision, get out of there sooner than later. Why? Because a mistake of a few weeks/months can easily be erased from your resume—which means, not included at all.
3. Your boss is a terror. The interesting thing that I have witnessed about newly minted bosses is that in most cases the company has put little, if any, effort into creating an environment whereby junior people are shown how to be a manager/boss. In most cases, employees learn from example—they see how other managers manage and hopefully they extract the most outstanding leadership qualities. But, that’s assuming that their bosses have great qualities that can be emulated. I’m all for leadership and managerial training. If your company doesn’t provide training, look into courses at such institutions as Dale Carnegie.
4. You’re not learning anything new. Yup, there may come a time when you feel like you are just running around in a hamster cage—doing the same tasks every day with seemingly no opportunities to learn new skills. That may be a time to first talk to your supervisor and explain your situation. If your request for growth opportunities is ignored, well, then that is definitely a sign to start updating your resume and posting it on LinkedIn.
5. You weren’t promoted. So you think the time has come for you to get a promotion—and it didn’t happen. And even worse, someone who you think is your equal got the promotion. What to do?
a. Make a plan with your boss. A former employee of mine did just this. She desperately wanted to be promoted to Account Supervisor. So, she made an appointment to meet with me to get me engaged in a plan to help her gain that promotion. We laid out a six-month plan and low and behold, she kind of had me between a rock and a hard place because at the end of the six months she had accomplished all that we laid out—and she received the promotion.
b. You can just look elsewhere. But this is often a hard one because other public relations agencies usually require new hires to already be doing the work of that position. There’s the conundrum.
6. You made a big mistake. Now, how do I sensitively approach this one? OK, first is that I need to explain what may be defined as a big mistake.
a. An office affair. In most instances and in most agencies, this is a big no no, especially if your affair is with your boss. There’s been a lot already written about this one so if you need it to be spelled out for you, go to Google.
b. You’ve been dishonest. This is another big no no. This can include anything from taking money from the company by turning in falsified expense reports to searching for a new job on company time. For greater insight here’s an article from Small Business Chron.