By: Sammy Chmara
Even though we couldn’t meet in person for this weeks meeting, we did have the opportunity to have a live zoom session with an experienced Public Relations and Media Relations specialist!
Kerry Cheney; a University of Delaware alumni, currently serves as Vice President of OGILVY in NYC. She began her Public Relations journey at Motion PR in Chicago where she got to work with a lot of food and beverage companies like Panera Bread. She then spent time at GOLIN, and then became PR director of Park Hyatt. At OGILVY, Kerry has done work with companies like Brand USA, Citizen’s Bank, and MSC Cruises. Her journey has included a lot of freelance where she’s done other work for McDonald’s, LG, and Country Crock.
She specified what exactly Media Relations entails, which her entire career has consisted of. Media Relations focuses on trends, including consumer, corporate, industry, and media trends. It is all about quality, personalization, cultural relevance, and awareness. She emphasized that the field is always changing and can be very time consuming to work in, but always worth it at the end.
She explained how it is important to customize pitches specifically for a certain brand or company, and that it can often take multiple pitches to get the right one. She also said she prefers pitching on the phone rather than email, if possible. Additionally, she differentiated what she considers “Good PR” and “Bad PR”. Good PR is connecting people to useful or interesting information while bad PR is being too showy or dishonest.
The last topic she was able to touch on was how the current COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the media industry as a whole. She explained that the media is heavily producing articles covering COVID-19 related symptoms, proper sanitation, and testing facility information. Other topics such as the election, the economy, and small businesses are also being covered by the news. Even articles about virtual travel and at home beauty and entertainment tips are being supplied. The media is really interested in taking extra steps to help during this time, but there is certainly a fine line between appropriate and non-appropriate pitches to be made during this very difficult time.