PRSA Chicago recently invited young professionals to the “Taking a Closer Look at Food” workshop to help attendees gain perspective into the evolving PR world. The workshop included a panel led by Ketchum Midwest Director Bill Zucker that offered tips on how to become a more successful PR professional.
The following are tips recorded by young pro Derek Wimmer during the workshop:
Think of yourself as an embedded journalist for the brand – This fascinatingly fresh perspective from Christina M. Tyler, Brand Reputation Manager for McDonald’s U.S.A., offers a new way of thinking for PR professionals. Find unexpected and unique opportunities to learn more about your brand and what matters to them. Get detailed and become a sponge.
Use your internal resources – Learn from them and ask questions. Julia Pappas, Account Supervisor for FoodMinds, encourages spending as much time with other team members as possible; you never know when it could be useful down the road.
Discover unconventional partnerships – Third party advocates are key within the food space. They not only act as megaphones for key messaging, but are also often seen as a credible and authentic sources of information. Liz Elegant, Vice President for Ketchum, has had success in unconventional partnerships and says you can stand to gain more from the risk.
Get brand advocates involved – Don’t waste time and resources communicating with those who will never hear your message. Instead, reach out to those brand advocates and influencers who are open to your messages. They will further your reach and influence.
- For example, McDonald’s does this is by segmenting its audience and addressing fans that are passionate about specific menu items – “Shamrock Shake,” “McRib,” etc.
Learn how to deliver difficult messages – PR covers a wide array of topic areas, and that’s part of what makes it so interesting. However, some messages are harder to deliver than others. Jennifer Sutherland, Senior Director of Communications Strategy for Levy Restaurants, recommends PR professionals remember to provide council as best as possible and advise brands on how to effectively communicate their messages.
The panelists concluded their discussion by giving tips on how to help emerging PR professionals start career and how to get the job you’re after:
When you are interviewing…
- Know what you are good at and sell it – Taylor your messages around your core strengths.
- Be hungry and open – Ask questions, tell your opinion, and be open for anything.
- Invest in knowing the business – Do your research and be prepared.
- Ask about culture and ask tough questions.
- “Why do you want this job?” – know how to answer it.
When you get the job…
- Have a plan and be bold.
- Take advantage of any resources at your disposal.
- Remember to build relationships with professionals in the media.