From Nervous to Media Relations Expert- Madeline Smith

Madeline Smith is a PR Assistant at Robert Communications Inc. in Rochester, New York. She found her way into the public relations field by accident but has never wanted to turn back since she found it. As someone who was once an extremely timid and nervous young woman she’s proud to see herself move from that to someone who’s able to work out of her comfort zone every day at work. We met each other through a friend on Facebook and we conducted this interview through a phone call.

First I asked her what a typical week at work was like for her. She told me no week was really ever the same as another. For the most part she needs to make sure she prioritize her clients, make status calls to check in on some clients, and then try to meet some new clients. “In the world of public relations everything can change so it’s hard to have a week similar to ones prior.”

Secondly, I wanted to know her proudest achievement at work. Like I stated in the introduction Madeline is can be a nervous person when it comes to talking to other people so she was very proud of this achievement. She was tasked with doing media relations for the Super Bowl in the Rochester area. She had to call local media and managed to secure every single deal except for one. She said was very proud of herself because she really does not like making cold calls like she did.

Next, I asked her what she does to keep current her field and what she wished she would have known prior to starting her job. She told me she makes sure she follows sites on social media like PR News, PR Daily, and Daily News. These help her keep current with everything going on. She also said it’s smart to get newsletter emailed to you daily so you never miss out on something important. For what she wish she would have known prior was that she needed to research more. She warned me about how bad it can be to go into something just blind so staying on your toes and researching is very important.

We finished the interview by talking about how important writing was in the public relations field and three tips she would give someone just starting in the field. She told me writing was a top priority. She spends all day writing emails, ads for people, and more. If she couldn’t write well she probably wouldn’t have a job. The three tips she gave me were to join your local PRSSA, get out of your comfort zone, and build your network.

I would say after this interview I’m no more or less on getting a career in the public relations field. She seemed to really enjoy her job and everything she got to do on a daily basis. I was already looking into a career in the field so nothing she did truly stood out for me but I am for sure not on the negative side of how I see PR after this interview.


Iowa Politician Sues Opponent Over False Ad

In 2010 a race for senator broke out in Iowa which led to a defamation case by the Republican candidate being filed. Rick Mullin, the Democrat candidate, aired an ad claiming Rick Bertrand, the Republican candidate, knew of medicine being sold that was harmful to children in the state. This claim was based off of a job the senator had before he was elected in which he worked as a regional manager and had nothing to with the product or ever how it was sold. The two teams did handle the situation a little differently.

I thought the way Rick Bertrand’s team handled the situation was very solid. Instead of talking about the case more or less they spent a lot of time talking about how the verdict was good for everyone. He is an active member of the United States government so using the verdict to make it look like it was for the people was a solid move.  “This is not a Republican or Democratic issue. It is a both party issue. It is about establishing truth and setting up precedent,” was a line Berntand used when discussing the situation.

Mullin’s team took a different course that I was not a fan of to be fair. From the articles I was able to find it seemed as if they did not really say anything. In the case not only did they lose but the Democratic Party of Iowa did too, but the only statements made were about how they would try to appeal the case. If I would have been on the team I would have more than likely issued a statement along the lines of,” We are appealing the decision and apologize that not more time was taken into consideration about the video.” Showing that you made a mistake could help you in this situation but also showing you were willing to improve would be a solid move.

Iowa senate

Courtesy of Iowa Republicans 

PRSSA and Its Benefits

PRSSA is the Public Relations Student Society of America. If you are a student looking to get into the field of public relations then this is the top group you should be looking to be a member of today.  PRSSA is a national recognized group with strict but reasonable academic standards. The group is a student group who has a parent group named PRSA, Public Relations Society of America. There are benefits to joining PRSSA if you meet the standards.

  1. Education – PRSSA offers multiple ways to benefit in an educational way. They have events like case study competitions that works with multiple high name organizations like the U.S. Census Bureau. They also provide multiple internships and encourage students to start their own public relations group on their campuses.
  2. Broaden your network – There’s nothing more important than getting to know people in the field you want to work. It’s possible to get a job without knowing anyone in the field if you are qualified but it makes it much easier to find a career you want. Being involved in PRSSA gives you insight to top notch communication experts and let you meet professionals you may not have had the chance to meet before.
  3.  Launch career – PRSSA can help you start that career you want faster than ever. Being a member gives you access to the PRSSA internship program which could help lead to a job faster. You can also join PRSA as a graduate for only $60 a year.

There are many benefits to joining PRSSA. It’s the leading student organization within the public relations field and can only help you in advancing your career if you take advantage of it. Providing many different ways to master your public relations skills while also getting to know professionals in the field faster than you could on your own.


Emily Vontom via Flickr


The Best Way to Run a Public Relations Campaign

Having an effective public relations campaign is key to any business in today’s world and to any public relations professional. Being able to communicate with not only the people you work with, but also the public can be a make or break concept for you. There is no exact set of steps to follow to create a perfect public relations campaign but here’s a good start for anyone.

  1. Be clear about your goals– There is no need to withhold information about your goals. Being clear and outright with your mission lets your customers and the media know exactly what the mission is for you. This is also helps with how the media will cover you because they will know exactly what your plan is and there will be no need for spinning stories or needing to fill in left our information. Reach out to the media so you can get a head start on the whole entire process.
  2. Focus everything around your audience – Your audience is key. If you do not know who you are trying to get the message across to then you will. You need to decide first who your audience is and then figure out what they want to hear and how they should hear it. Whenever you know who your target audience is you should be in direct contact with the media outlets they will likely interact with. This can help you save money but also get direct contact with the audience you are targeting.
  3. Identify free placement opportunities – There’s not many things better than something that’s free. Some radio stations will provide free 30 to 60 second PSAs for you so taking advantage of this could be key. Doing this though is to the discretion of the radio station so you will need to work around their schedule because they are benefiting you.
  4. Test your message –  A public relations campaign can be pricey. So falling back to step three you need to make sure your message is going to work. Test it on small groups because you would rather spend a little extra on a small group and know your message will work instead of pushing your message out at large and failing miserably.
  5. Find what makes you different – You need to stick out so look at your own product and understand what makes you different. People do not want to look at the same things over and over so having a different edge can be the difference maker.

It’s important to know how to run a good public relations campaign. There are many different many ways to run one so always keep an eye out for changing details but this list is a solid core and start. You will need to add your own ideas and concepts due to a changing world but having a core concept to start is a good idea.