Shaping The Message

BY: PAUL NAIDAS

On November 28, PRSSA featured Ike Richman, an experienced PR professional boasting 26 years of experience with Comcast Spectacor. Through his work, he oversees Public Relations and Communication for the Philadelphia Flyers and countless events in the Wells Fargo center. After providing free T-Shirts (a college student staple,) Richman delivered an engaging, informative speech that touched upon his beginnings in PR, tips on getting people’s attention, and experience with crisis communication.

Richman began his journey at the University of Maryland, dreaming to pursue a career in radio to become the the next, hottest DJ. Later to his dismay, he would find that landing a career in radio was no easy task. But to Richman’s benefit, radio would be the gateway into the world of PR. Through an opportunity with sports radio, Richman attained a press pass to a Flyers game where he would interview players for the show. With his luck, he met the PR manager of the Flyers and after some conversation, made a connection that would lead him closer to the PR career he has today. Richman’s take-away from his background story is simple: take advantage of opportunities that exist. Had he never stuck his neck out to attend the Flyers game, he never would have met the crucial people who helped him along the way.

 

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With having little knowledge to start, Richman quickly learned another important lesson about PR. It’s centered around the question: How can you publicize something you know nothing about?” In Richman’s beginnings as a PR professional, he learned it’s very hard to share a story with little knowledge of its setting, characters, and plot. He recommends knowing the in’s and out’s of a story, reading everything, and finding something people will care about. It’s what gets people’s attention. Richman recommends when titling a press release to follow the What, Where, When technique. It describes the story simply, and effectively. Keeping the information new and exciting is better than focusing on returns, encores, and past events. Richman then recalled a time where he wrote a press release about a Russian figure skater videotaping his way to a career in the United States. He had titled it, “Russian Man Shoots Himself to Get a Job in the US” proving that a little humor and creativity can go quite far.

 

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Finally, Richman reviewed his experience with crisis communication. In 1996, Richman found himself bombarded by the press inquiring about a flood that occurred on site at the construction of the Wells Fargo center. Through his experience he states, “…when answering the press, it’s important to focus on these steps: stay calm, find out what they want to know, contain them from the crisis, deliver the message.” He directed the press away from the flooded areas, and kept the situation under control by answering questions swiftly and honestly. “PR people shape the message.” – Ike Richman

 

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Paul Naidas is a junior Mass Communications major with a double minor in Spanish and Interactive Media from New Jersey. He is an active member and Public Relations & Social Media manager for Deltones A Cappella and Vice President of Public Relations and Marketing for the Resident Student Association. Find him on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

 

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