Chris Daley Crosses the State Border to Share Experiences with PRSSA-UD

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.

chris@maroonpr.com

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Living the PR Dream: A Day at Ketchum NYC

BY: ANASTASIA MATYOLA

Ketchum. One of the most well known, well respected PR agencies in the industry. Some argue even the best. Through networking with alumni, PRSSA-UD was lucky enough to have the opportunity to visit the New York office on Friday, and the experience was nothing less than amazing.  Located on the Avenue of the Americas, it is evident that the lively energy of one of New York City’s most famous streets is translated into the company’s office. Just by walking through Ketchum’s door, it was easy to feel the sense of community and the overwhelming creativity that floods the hallways of the vibrant office.

Our visit began with an overview of the company, given by one of the  HR representatives. Next, we were greeted by Mr. Ronnie Tolson, one of the company’s Creative Platforms Managers. Ronnie gave us a detailed description of the summer fellowship program at Ketchum and gave us even more insight into the close-knit company culture. After meeting with Ronnie, we were introduced to the lively, energetic Kelly Kenny, the company’s Strategic and Creative Planning Specialist. It was with Kelly that we had opportunity of taking part in a real-life brainstorm activity for one of the company’s clients. This activity gave us priceless insight into one of the most important aspects of consumer Public Relations, finding the “big idea”. We learned that inspiration for brand awareness can come from anywhere, but working with a team and bouncing ideas off of one another is not only fun, but extremely productive.

After meeting with these three employees, it is easy to see that Ketchum chooses to fill its positions with only the most unique, compassionate, and creative individuals. I think all of us who attended the event can say that this field trip was nothing less than an honor. To be able to see Ketchum in action, in real time, rather than reading about its practices in a textbook, was sincerely a one of a kind experience for PRSSA-UD.

Night with the Pros or a Night to Remember?

BY: SAM MURPHY

For the past few weeks, “Night With the Pros” was overflowing my social media and email inbox, stressing the magnitude of this exclusive networking opportunity. With this being my first year attending, my nerves were as high as my expectations as I entered the Career Services Center room displaying my best business casual and an open mind.

As the event began, four professionals whose expertise radiated intimidation sat before us: Jonna Ford (Director of PR and Social Media at Aloysius Butler & Clark), Katherine Bartell (Assistant Account Executive at MSLGroup), Katie Wilson (Press Secretary for Senator Tom Carper), and Jon Buzby (Director of Media Relations for Special Olympics Delaware). Myself along with other students were as hungry for their wisdom as we were for the delicious pasta and sandwiches that welcomed us inside. Our Program Director, Brittany O’Connell, kicked the panel off by asking each professional about their day-to-day duties (although we all know that in PR, there’s really no such thing). Each panel member conveyed their most glamorous job aspects including media relations, event planning, social media campaigns, and more. Whether connecting with people globally like Kat Bartell, or acting as a liaison between government officials and the media like Katie Wilson, each day achieves that appealing adrenaline rush we PR people live for. However, with this exhilarating uncertainty also comes daily challenges. In Jon Buzby’s field of nonprofit work, these challenges may revolve around “wearing an extensive amount of hats,” considering nonprofits are usually composed of less employees and more responsibilities. In Joanna Ford’s unpredictable agency life, an everyday hurdle encompasses developing and maintaining good relationships with the media.

Even though each professional covers a different job description and undergoes diverse struggles, it was refreshing to hear them reinforce one another’s advice to prove that each individual’s perspective could be applied to any career path. The following tips were reiterated time and time again, permanently ingraining themselves in your memory. Some may spark you as a valuable, new gem of knowledge to scribble into your notebook. Regardless of how you perceive them, each of these habits is deemed beneficial in building a successful career in public relations:

Network Within your Job: The networking doesn’t stop once you’ve secured a seat in the office! Introduce yourself to people outside of your department, and let them know you’re available to lend an extra hand if needed. This shows initiative and that you value learning new things, rather than just getting the task at hand finished.

Always be Thorough: Regardless of whether you’re an intern or full-time employee, it’s easy to make simple mistakes when rushing to meet a deadline. ALWAYS proofread and when you’re finished, have two others proofread as well. The consequences of not doing so could result in an unprofessional image of you projected towards either your boss, clients, or both.

Keep up with Current Events: Staying tuned into what everyone’s talking about on social networks platforms can prevent your company from sounding tone deaf in the media atmosphere. Remaining up to date can also sometimes open a door of opportunity by finding a commonality between the public conversation and the company.

 

Be Proactive: This one may seem redundant, but each professional emphasized the importance of being eager to take on responsibility. Whether this be staying that extra hour after work, asking your team what else you can do to contribute, or doing a little more than was asked of you, this ambition resonates with employers.

Structure Surpasses Subject Matter: When exploring the PR field, our ears perk up at words like writing, creativity and storytelling. However, even if you don’t consider yourself a master of words, you can partially redeem that quality by being grammatically correct. Knowing how to accurately write a press release or establishing proficiency in AP style are favorable skills in the industry.

 

Many other lifelines of advice were thrown at us students at this informative Q&A session. Through this panel and the personal conversations initiated afterwards, the nerves I initially felt entering through the doors of the Career Services Center room dissolved, along with my preceding fears of being unprepared for the workplace.

Thanks to all of our four professionals who came out and offered their experiences!

15 Firsts for the PR Student

BY: JENNA NEWMAN

On Monday, October 19th, Meredith Z. Avakian, Director of Communications and Marketing at the Philadelphia Bar Association, came in to talk to PRSSA-UD about how she went from a PRSSA student to where she is today. She told us about how for the last 20 months she has been doing a “first” everyday. In honor of this, I have compiled a list of 25 “firsts” for any aspiring PR professional.

(1) Create a LinkedIn profile and make connections.

(2) Apply for that dream internship– even if you think you won’t get it.

(3) Talk to someone who is different than you.

(4) Ask the professor you admire if they would be willing to get coffee with you.

(5) Start your own blog.

(6) Re-vamp your Instagram to reflect your passions.

(7) Tweet to your dream company.

(8) Take the interview you’re not sure about.

(9) Talk to the person next to you in your Communications class.

(10) Take a class on a topic you’re passionate about.

(11) Get professional-looking headshots for your LinkedIn profile.

(12) Upload your resume to a job/internship database site.

(13) Visit Career Services.

(14) Participate in your first Twitter Chat!

(15) Talk to someone who looks interesting at your favorite coffee shop.

Growth comes from firsts! Don’t be afraid to go out and do something new! That one tweet could end up landing you the dream job you’ve wanted since you were five-years-old. The only way to ensure failure is by not even going out and trying. Each day provides a fresh start to do something new!

 

 

Career Skills: Tips to Building Your LinkedIn Profile

BY: JENNA NEWMAN

Whatis.com defines LinkedIn as, “a social networking website, designed specifically for the business community, whose goal is to allow registered members to establish and document networks of people they know and trust professionally.”

As the fall season begins and school is back in session, it is time to put the bikinis and beach towels away and start building your professional profile. LinkedIn is an easy-to-use, yet powerful tool to gain an advantage in the professional world and work towards your dream career!

Below our three tips from our first PRSSA General Meeting on how to get started:

(1)  Creating a Strong Professional Headline When an employer looks up your LinkedIn the first thing they see is your professional headline. This will also help people find you when searching terms. For example, if you are a Communications Major at the University of Delaware hoping to pursue a career in Public Relations, your headline may read, “Communications Major at University of Delaware. Public Relations Enthusiast!” This headline tells who you are, where you are, and what you are interested in.

(2) Gaining Skill Endorsements Skills on LinkedIn are the traits that “make you uniquely you.” On the LinkedIn website it says, “Members with more than 5 skills are 27X more likely to be discovered in searches by recruiters.” So what does this mean and how do we make people believe we are skilled in categories such as social media or graphic design? Endorsements are when your colleagues, mentors, bosses, or anyone else on LinkedIn confirms or “endorses” the skill you claim to have. This will show up on your profile and make you more credible to potential employers.

(3) Do not hesitate to REACH OUT TO PEOPLE AND GROUPS People expect you to link with them on LinkedIn and the more links you get, the more visibility you will get. Say you have a guest lecturer come into one of your classes who also works for your dream PR Agency– link with them. It’s not “weird” and who knows the opportunities it will open for you now and down the road.

Ultimately, perfecting your LinkedIn profile consists of taking a chance, creating a profile, and then refining it and editing it again… and again… and again. The internet and LinkedIn’s help section of their website gives you all the resources you need to land your dream job, now it’s just up to you!

#ImportanceofPR in Sports: Unpredictable is an Understatement

BY: KARA NORTH

This summer I had the privilege of interning in our very own University of Delaware Athletics Department, with Development and Alumni Relations. Although my position was not strictly public relations, I utilized many of the skills I’ve learned over the past three years in an area I was newly introduced to. Most importantly, I was able to experience what it is like to work in athletics and learned to appreciate the necessity of PR in the industry as I worked alongside professionals in all departments.

Choosing to begin a career in public relations is handing yourself over to a realm of unpredictability. A PR professional’s main task is to uphold the positive image of whatever or whomever it is that they are representing, no matter what situation arises. Working in sports amplifies the likeliness of the unknown in the very nature of the industry: you can never accurately predict the outcome of any one game, match, race, etc. This makes sports public relations a challenge indeed.

Despite the challenge, the amount of sports PR professionals is growing due to the ever-increasing amount of media outlets as well as the public’s rising interest in athlete’s lives. PR professionals provide this behind-the-scenes glimpse while fulfilling the public’s need for up-to-date sports data. Their main responsibility is to create and preserve positive images for the athletes or sports clubs they represent.

It is imperative that those involved in sports PR maintain the flow of favorable information to the media. This is where unpredictability surfaces – one fielding error too many could lead to a sequence of negative press for an athlete. Similarly, like any individual in the spotlight, the actions of athletes are carefully monitored and it is up to PR professionals to shed a positive light on those who act unfavorably (think Tom Brady and the thousands of “deflategate” memes CExHoeCWEAAlYgHor the media’s constant questioning of Colin Kaepernick). It is up to PR professionals to shape public perception of an athlete or franchise. If the perception is positive, it helps on all ends – athletes, teams and fans included. Another responsibility of sports PR professionals is promoting a team’s profitability. Individuals are more inclined to purchase tickets and buy into a franchise of there is public interest.

There are of course many advantages to working in the industry, like working alongside a loyal fan base and developing an appreciation for the inability to predict outcomes – it’s all a part of the excitement of sports. Public relations in sports is imperative at any level, whether it is professional or in higher education like I was able to experience. Think of the team you love or the athlete you idolize – somewhere along the way a PR professional brought them to the public’s eye!

#ImportanceofPR Music Public Relations

BY: BRITTANY O’CONNELL

One avenue of public relations that I find we rarely discuss in PRSSA is music. However, a huge chunk of all the music you love is due to a public relations and publicity team.

So what is music public relations and why is it useful?

Music public relations involves promoting new releases, tour dates, and/or other music-related news. Agencies strategically get information to the public via the media and work between musicians (sometimes labels) and the media to try and secure album reviews, band profiles, concert reviews, and more. For instance, online promotions and social media can be used to work with popular blogs and online influencers. So that Pitchfork article on your Facebook feed talking about the next artists you should have on your radar? A public relations professional was most likely behind that.

Most music PR is done on a campaign basis. For instance, a PR company may be hired for a set window of time for an album release where they will try to generate as much press as possible. This is also done often with tours. pexels-photo-167491Agencies will do a round of press for the tour and individual dates. Then, at the end of the campaigns, PR companies issue a report with press clippings of all the coverage that the album, single, or tour received.

In some cases, agencies also work with college and club radio promotion. This is used to get an on-air play and mentions with radio stations geared at specific markets.

So why is music public relations beneficial? If artists are sure of their mission, goals, and budget, PR can help them increase their audience and make money. Realistically, a first release will most likely not get reviewed in every major publication and lead to world-wide fame and fortune. But, when an artist has built their brand and is ready to share their project with a good promotional angle, PR can be a game-changer.

Musicians gain someone to send our their music, tour dates, and news to the media. And while PR cannot guarantee exposure and good reviews, artists have someone to follow-up with multitudes of media who want to try to convince them they deserve coverage. Musicians gain a partner who saves them time, has a variety of well-established contacts, and allows them to accomplish goals they wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. When done right, music PR ultimately allows for growth in all areas and a professional, supportive relationship with someone who is there for them.

So three cheers for music public relations that is done right! The might who are dedicated to bringing you good music, helping deserving artists achieve visibility, and making the world and overall rocking place.