“Everything I owe to PRSSA. I would not be here without it.” – Grace Leong, University of Delaware Communication alumna and owner of Hunter Public Relations.
Two weeks ago, fifteen members of PRSSA-UD traveled to New York City for the semester’s agency field trip. The weather threatened to downpour, but never once did we have to run for cover. After arriving bright and early in Manhattan, all fifteen of us eagerly anticipated the many adventures the day would bring. As a lover of all things social, meeting The College Prepster, visiting Hunter Public Relations, and touring Buzzfeed HQ reinforced exactly why I adore public relations.
First stop: brunch with Carly, AKA The College Prepster, at Le Pain café. Carly’s career in the blogosphere boomed unexpectedly, but Carly has learned a lot about public relations through the process. While chatting with her, she explained that knowing your audience and what they’re into are critical for both blogging and public relations. “Learn social media etiquette as quickly as possible,” Carly urged. “Anything on social media can and will be traced back to you so always represent yourself (and your company) professionally.”
Next stop: a visit to Hunter Public Relations. Grace Leong, Hunter PR owner and University of Delaware graduate, majored in Communication and founded the PRSSA-UD chapter. Her passion for what she does is evident in both her words and actions. Speaking with her was encouraging, refreshing, and motivating. Grace promised that although working in a fast-paced agency can be exhausting, it is extremely rewarding. “When you get burned out,” Leong encouraged, “do more of it [what you do], but change the scenery. It helps reignite your passion and creativity.”
After our discussion with Grace, I walked away with three tips for success:
- Be transparent. Always admit you’re sorry.
- In a job interview, state the impact and relate it back to the company and how you would fit in.
- While job searching, look at the entire package of the company. Salary isn’t everything and it won’t motivate you through the hard days—go with your gut and do what you love.
The final stop: a tour to Buzzfeed Headquarters. The HQ reminded me of Google’s office in the movie, The Internship. Not only did the office include a life-sized cutout of Ryan Gosling, but there were ping pong tables, foose-ball tables, an Xbox, and a few giant TVs. One of the employees, Ashley, gave us insight about what it’s like to work at a social media-focused company. Her #1 tip for success: “Marketing is paid media, but public relations is earned media. Knowing this, the distribution strategy is as important as the idea itself.”
Although we heard advice from three different perspectives, the overall message stayed consistent. Public relations is relationship building. Whether you build that relationship through blogging, working directly with a client at an agency, or focusing strictly on the social media aspect, implementing public relations skills is critical for long-term success. As a field trip attendee, the experience further sparked my passion for PRSSAA, motivated me to keep pursuing my dream, and reinforced the true value and importance of public relations. Bill Gates summarized it best: “If I was down to my last dollar, I would spend it on PR.”
To read the tweet-by-tweet summary of the day’s events, click here for the Storify!
By: Keri Betters
Keri is a junior Interpersonal Communication major with a double minor in advertising and interactive media and a concentration in public relations. She currently serves as PRSSA-UD’s Program Director and will be the PR Director for the 2014-2015 academic year. In addition to serving on PRSSA-UD’s executive board, she is a UD Social Media Ambassador, a social media marketing intern for UD Career Services Center, a youth group leader, and a member of Lambda Pi Eta. Connect with her on Twitter, @LilMissKeri93.