BY: KARA NORTH
Monday night, PRSSA was host to Chris Daley, the Director of Business Development for Maroon PR in Columbia, Maryland. While this was Chris’s first time experiencing Delaware’s main campus, he had no shortage of experiences to share with the students. The room was quiet and the students engaged, enjoying the stories Chris told and the
advice he gave over the next hour.
Chris received his undergraduate degree in communication from Towson University, where he played lacrosse. He is currently pursuing his master’s degree at Stevenson University and serves as an adjunct professor. In between these degrees, Chris secured an internship at Warschawski, a boutique marketing communications agency, and a position at Maroon where he has been for the past 11 years.
Having always had an interest in sports public relations, Chris sought out Warschawski and its array of sports clients following college. There he pitched newspapers and magazines through cold calling, a practice of which has become a thing of the past in the evolutionized field – which Chris touched upon later. He noted how crucial it was to save all of the media placements he had secured, suggesting that students create an online portfolio in order to showcase their work.
It was at his first internship that Chris demonstrated the key to public relations: networking. He met John Maroon, who began his public relations career in Major League Baseball. Maroon went on to found Maroon PR in 2006. This is where Chris comes in – he maintained a relationship with Maroon throughout the agency’s beginning and not only accepted but offered to do an unpaid internship. The small agency setting allowed Chris to have a hand in everything from working with clients directly to continuing pitching to media. This, Chris said, was one of the things that helped his career most as it allowed him to learn all areas of the industry. Chris was soon hired full-time and recently accepted his current position as Director of Brand and Business Development.
This new role is relevant for Chris, who stressed the importance of feeling passionate about the clients you are representing. His life-long love of sports has paid off as he has represented clients like USA Football, the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation, Under Armour and many more. He has also expanded his client experience to non-profit, consumer and hospitality to name a few. It is important to gain new experiences in the constantly advancing industry that is PR, Chris says.
One of the biggest changes that Chris has experienced is the expansion of social media space and a shift towards content creation. He has witnessed this firsthand through the expansion of Maroon, which now employs social media and content creators. One thing that has remained the same, though, is the core skills required of any PR professional. Those include strong writing and story telling abilities. Although the method of doing say may have changed from cold calls to communicating mainly online, pitching stories to the media will always be a part of the job.
Additionally, research has and always will play a large role in the industry. Chris advises aspiring professionals to “keep a pulse on what the media is covering”. Know what outlets are covering which stories, review reporter’s past coverage and, perhaps most importantly, build relationships with those reporters. Once you’ve secured media placement, analyze and understand the return that that outlet brings in order to benefit future pitches.
Chris closed his talk with a suggestion that every student needs to hear as they look towards their future career: be passionate about your work. Public relations is often and “unglamorous and thankless” profession. As Chris clearly demonstrated, loving
the work you do and committing fully to it will pay off for years to come.
Thank you Chris!
You can connect with Chris on LinkedIn or at the email below. Also check out his
personal website, chrisdaley43.com.