All posts by lpowell1

On your own

Andrea Walker, media entrepreneur of W. Social Marketing, started college aspiring to be a journalist. One year later, NBC13 had an internship opening. Rather than sticking with print, Walker adapted to a new field—broadcast. Soon after, Walker landed a full time position with the local network. At 19-years-old, she balanced this workload. Learning how to edit and produce, Walker became an expert at her position, which led her to CBS42.

Running the 5’oclock show at CBS42 was an opportunity Walker could not pass up. Now, she had the final say on just about everything. One important piece of advice Walker shares is to never give up. The first time around, Walker did not receive a position for CBS42; however, she persisted and became the main producer months later.

Be innovative—an adjective that challenges Walker to stay fresh and creative. Because Walker stayed on top of her game, she continued to land new positions. FOX6 needed direction, and Walker was their solution. For three years, she worked as a team player. “Don’t alienate your co-workers or colleagues,” Walker says. “Work together, asking them how you can make their job easier.”

In 2008, Walker was introduced to new media, helping FOX6 with their website. She quickly fell in love with learning about technology and web development, which motivated her to start her own business. In 2009, Walker created W. Social Marketing, which helps companies implement an innovative approach that creates connections with customers.

Walker’s definition of being an entrepreneur is taking risks and being willing to be innovative. “You’re on your own,” Walker says.

Here are some final tips Walker gives to future PR professionals:

1. Always say thank you.

2. There is no shame is asking people for help.

3. Go to people who know more than you do.

4. Collaborate.

5. “What will people pay for?”

For more information on Andrea Walker, check out her website or follow her on Twitter–@andreafwalker

Stay above 30,000 feet

Within the field of PR, there are agencies, corporate companies and small boutiques. However, the non-profit organizations should not be overlooked. Kara Kennedy, the director of external affairs at Samford University’s Brock School of Business, advises future PR professionals to go back to the basics. With years of experience in the non-profit world, here’s Kennedy’s advice.

Be upfront.

  • In order to have an effective communication plan, PR professionals must be straightforward. There’s no room for beating around the bush. When a crisis occurs, it is important to remain professional. In other words, be ready. Stay in constant communication with your boss and fellow employees, staying up to date on the team’s crisis communication plan.

Be honest.

  • Very similar to being upfront, being honest adds to one’s integrity. PR campaigns should be sincere and respectable. For example, the Tylenol crisis in 1982. At the time, Tylenol was the leading painkiller medicine in the United States. However, seven people living in Chicago were reported dead after taking this medication. Rather than lying or blaming another source, Johnson & Johnson took the responsibility by recalling the product from the entire country. Today, Tylenol still remains reliable. The company’s honesty saved the brand’s reputation.

Be smart.

  • In the words of Kennedy, “Hunt ducks where ducks are.” Know your audience and potential customers. Coming from a non-profit professional, “Be choosy about where to spend even little amounts of money.”

Be Innovative.

  • I used to associate “change” with negativity. Change is NOT a bad  thing. Try replacing the word “change” with “revolutionize” or  “transform.” Doesn’t that sound refreshing? In order to stand out, PR  professionals must think outside the box.

Be social.

  • Building your brand goes hand in hand with building relationships. Engage with customers, the community and opinion leaders. Growing relationships with the media can also benefit PR companies. As we’ve heard, social media helps build relationships, but you cannot rely on these tools. Go above and beyond sending a few tweets.

For more on Kennedy, check out her Linkedin profile or follow her on twitter–@KaraKennedy.

Be engaging.

Stacey Hood, the unofficial director of marketing for Stewart Perry, calls himself sarcastic. Hood has 2,152 followers on Twitter. Who knew sarcasm and popularity went hand in hand? In other words, Hood has great advice on how to use social media tools, such as Twitter, for networking.

Stacey Hood (left) and Chris Brogan, president of Human Business Works.
  • First and foremost, GET ON TWITTER. Create a username and use it to your advantage. Where else can you meet and greet with PR professionals at the touch of your fingertips? . . . literally.
  • Look for opportunities, even on Twitter. For example, InternQueen, also known as Lauren Berger, tweets available internships daily, as well as great tips to nail the job of your dreams.
  • Stay updated. Hood recommends blogs. By choosing a few blogs to follow, you are learning from another perspective. Sometimes, this can even keep you informed on current events.
  • Additionally, practice. Coming from a soccer coach, Hood says if you don’t use it, you will lose it. When it comes to writing, you can’t do it enough.
  • “There is never a stupid question. You’re stupid for not asking it.”

Follow Hood on Twitter—@StaceyHood or check out his blog. Also, more information can be found on Stewart Perry here.

Men Buy. Women Shop.

Ninety-seven percent of creative directors in PR are men. However, Stephanie Holland of Holland + Holland Advertising is a creative director. This one detail brought a new angle to Holland’s PR agency.

Account Services Supervisor Brittiny Bookout of Holland + Holland Advertising shed light on the benefits of marketing to women. Her boss, Holland, stands out as a female creative director, which makes their agency unique. Because of this factor, the company was able to design a guy’s guide to marketing to women—“She-conomy.”

What exactly is She-conomy? Why is this a good pitch?

  • Women make 85 percent of all brand purchases. Women are the market, and they are often ignored.
  • Who talks? Who gossips? Women. Through word-of-mouth, PR companies can gain clients and support, and we have women to thank for that.
  • Women notice details, and place heavy importance on relationships. 80 percent of women will not do business with a company if their values are different.
  • Social media has transformed the advertising industry. Men use the Internet to transact, and women use it to connect. Therefore, women are using these new social medias, which makes them more likely to stumble upon PR campaigns. Women rule the Internet.
  • Traditional demographics are dead. She-conomy looks at life stages, not ages. Knowing the target audience of women is crucial.

She-conomy gives Holland + Holland advertising an edge. As you can see, women are the market, and 91 percent of women feel that advertisers don’t understand them. Yes, men are the buyers, but women shop. Men “swipe” the credit card, but women tell them what to purchase. Maybe the PR world should follow in Holland + Holland’s footsteps.

For more information on Holland’s She-conomy, check out her website.

“Increase your volume”


Whenever style comes to mind, I think fashion, Vogue or even Michael Kors. However, style is not only found within clothing and shoes. Digital and Interactive Director John Richardson introduces a new realm of style—the PR world. Having the ability to express one’s style within writing or speaking is vital for a successful PR campaign. Along with creativity, Richardson gave additional tactics on how to succeed after college. Lets dive in.

First and foremost—Network.

By strengthening relationships, you are also opening various doors for future jobs or internship opportunities. It’s common sense, really. Often times in life, it comes down to who knows who. One trusted relationship could benefit you far more than you know.


Blogging has become the new phenomenon.

Ironically, “blogging” is not even considered a word on Microsoft Word. Nonetheless, blogs continue to grow, along with Facebook and Twitter. When referring to blogs, Richardson said, “Read them, they will benefit you.” So there you have it—blogs can be used as a creative outlet, a work place, or even a source for learning.


Consider your options.

Richardson works for The Forte Marketing Group, a “boutique” agency located in Homewood, Alabama. The company is made up of five people, just five. Richardson finds himself doing countless responsibilities. From video editing to creating websites, Richardson has no typical day. A smaller work atmosphere allows for more variety within your day; however, can you handle the extreme flexibility? Consider your options, there are many.


Finally, the 3 B’s—be human, be humane, be honest (Ike Pigott).

John Richardson, thanks for the advice. I’ll be using it from here on out. –LP

The game plan.

Facts—(n.) a truth known by actual experience or observation; something known to be true.

  • Samford’s Journalism and Mass Communication department offers tracks in print, broadcast, PR and advertising. A film production minor is also available. However, at Samford, you are trained in every area to an extent, which allows the students to be well rounded and more hirable.
  • There are small class sizes, with generally eight to 15 students per class. This small classroom feel allows students to engage more with their professors and classmates, creating a better learning atmosphere.
  • Twenty-eight department partial scholarships are available.
  • Samford houses award-winning teachers who put students first. Samford students learn from the best.
  • MAC labs are available for students on a daily basis. Classes are held in the lab, but can be used for projects outside of class as well.
  • Samford’s JMC department has a partnership with The Washington Post.

It is important that both perspective students and current faculty understand and know the facts of Samford University’s JMC department.

Goals—(n.) the result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim.

  • Limitless career options
  • Learn how to write and produce print media
  • Understand aspects of PR and advertising, as well as broadcast
  • Hands-on, practical experience

These are some goals a perspective JMC student at Samford might have. However, it is crucial that faculty members have an objective as well.

  • Samford’s objective is obviously to recruit potential JMC students.
  • The time frame is generally a year or two. Recruiting any earlier than one’s junior year of high school is unnecessary.
  • Public Relations fits into this marketing mix because the face of Samford must be a good one. In other words, the JMC department must look appealing to perspective students.

Audience—(n.) the group of spectators at a public event; listeners or viewers. The persons reached by a book, radio broadcast, or PR campaign.

  • Potential JMC students
  • High school students interested in journalism and mass communication

As a PR representative of Samford, I must decide how my target audience feels about Samford, and as a result, change that attitude. My job is to modify the way he or she feels. I want potential JMC students to feel good about Samford’s journalism program, encouraging them to attend Samford University.

Key Message—(n.) The main point

Why study at Samford?

  • A unique combination of a liberal studies education and professional training in journalism and mass communication provides you with an unlimited amount of career options.
  • The Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at Samford helps students not only understand media culture but also learn to become ethical communicators.

By using Ketchum’s strategic planning model, I was able to come up with a PR plan to recruit potential JMC students at Samford University. Ketchum’s four important steps (facts, goals, audience, and key message) encourage professionals to ask and determine answers to key questions, which allow one to succeed at program planning.