Tales of an Entrepreneur

On April 29th, my public relations class was fortunate to have guest speaker, Andrea Walker come and talk to us about being an entrepreneur. Andrea started off by telling the class about how she got started in the social media world.

A bit of history.

She graduated from UAB in 2006, she majored in communications and minored in english. When she was 19, Andrea got her first break working in broadcasting at NBC 13, her job was to bring in new ideas that could help bring up the ratings on the networks shows.After awhile she moved over to Fox 6 where she worked for 3 years in management working the evening news. After working in the broadcasting field for a couple of years, Andrea started getting interested in new media. She saw the directions new media was taking and how much technology was changing and saw it as a chance for change. she wanted to learn how to integrate traditional marketing with new technology.

Starting her own company.

The first thing Andrea told my public relations class was that there is nothing wrong with saying “I don’t know what I’m doing” and asking for help when creating your own business. Andrea was successful at starting her own company, W. Social Marketing. She is the CEO, and has been running W. Social Marketing for 2 years.

               A typical day for Andrea:

She wakes up at 5 A.M. and starts doing research on her computer. Then she heads off to the office around 9 A.M., sometimes she’ll have an office meeting or meeting with potential clients, but if not you can find her in her office working with her team. 

One thing for young potential entrepreneurs to remember is that our generation has the benefit of being technology savvy and knowing how to work in social media. Also it is important to be adaptable to the changes made in social media and to remember in this field of social media you’ll never stop learing new things.

You can follow Andrea Walker on Twitter: @andreafwalker

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Non-Profit Communication in a For-Profit World

Recently Kara Kennedy, the Director of External Affairs for Samford University’s Brock School of Business, came and spoke to our class about the processes and challenges of non-profit communication.  She has extensive experience in Public Relations and media, especially with non-profits from her time with the American Red Cross and the American Cancer Society.  Here are just a few of the lessons I learned from what she shared with our class:

1. Non-Profit PR comes with its own challenges: I gathered this mostly from when she spoke about working for the Red Cross when September 11th happened.  She explained how they raised over a billion dollars in the weeks after the attacks, and how that money was being used was under intense public scrutiny, so much so that a top official in the Red Cross lost her job.  They had to be very clear in their communication of how much money was raised and how it was being spent, since they are such a high profile organization.  Since the Red Cross is a non-profit, the American public was wary of the idea of where all that money was going, wanting to guarantee that it was going to victims, not the organization.  In a non-profit, it is important to avoid these issues by being extremely upfront and honest in all your dealings. 

2. Remember the 4 Bs: Be Honest, Be Upfront, Be Smart, Be Innovative.  If you can remember those things, you will be on the way to a good relationship with the public. 

3. Relationships: going along with point 2, it is especially important to build quality relationships in non-profit PR.  Since most non-profit organizations don’t have PR budgets big enough to plan lots of events, or even to really make a lot of printed materials or advertising to get attention, relationships are key.  You must not only build bonds with clients, but also other, related groups or causes that could help get the word out about your organization. 

4. Essential Elements of a Communication Plan: Mission, vision, Public Relations, campaign opportunities, crisis management, event marketing, social media and advertising. 

5. Flexibility: especially with non-profit PR, since money is much more tight, you have to be flexible.  Things won’t always go as planned, and since there isn’t as much money to go around, there isn’t much room for stress to take control of this job.  Rolling with the punches is the best way to make sure that little hitches do not completely ruin your chances for effectively communicating with the public. 

You can check out Kara’s full Biography here:http://www4.samford.edu/business/about/faculty-and-staff/kennedy.php