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By Christophe Goudy, Hotwire PR, Senior Vice President Client Development
In late February, the entire San Francisco team attended the annual 3-Day #LaunchFestival. The event was started seven years ago by Jason Calacanis and has grown into a huge celebration of technology and startups. Its startup competition showcases all walks of entrepreneurial life: tech founders seeking funding, angel investors and seasoned entrepreneurs there to check out the goods, new ideas and keep an eye on emerging trends.
This year, there were over 9,000 attendees watching as 40 companies unveiled their latest tech innovations and competed for awards and up to $250,000 investment. One of LAUNCH’s partners Ice House, a global design and development agency, also offered $50,000 investment for the winning app idea in its ‘You Dream It, We Build it’ competition.
We have our PR graduate recruitment scheme New York and San Francisco offices underway, but what things should new graduates keep in mind when pursuing a new career in PR? Sarah Longstreet (@sarlongst), who joined Hotwire in 2013 through the graduate program, blogs on the top 4 tips for budding PR professionals.
It seems like so long ago that I joined the Hotwire team after graduating from university! While it may sound like a short period of time (has it really only been eight months?), I have learned an incredible amount. While the amount of expertise and lessons learned could not be summed up in one post, I’ve detailed below some important bits of advice for any budding PR professional:
1. Attention to detail is key
While this certainly applies to all career professionals, PR professionals must have a keen sense of attention to detail. At its very core, PR requires messaging that is on-point and demonstrates to the client that you understand their company, and in turn are educating influencers and potential customers about what they have to offer, and what differentiates them in the market.
2. Find the creative angle: sometimes it takes looking beyond the surface
Some of the best and most successful ideas and campaigns that we have created here at Hotwire for our clients have stemmed out of unique angles to stories that were otherwise stale. For me, one of the greatest parts of my job is finding a creative angle to a story in order to insert a client’s messaging. Oftentimes, a product or service that a vendor (i.e. your client), offers may not be something that media are talking about at that point in time. How can you creatively insert their messaging or expertise into existing conversations to increase brand awareness? How else can your client engage with key influencers? By being creative, you can successfully insert a client’s messaging into relevant, timely issues and offer an interesting angle to reporters.
3. Your outreach should be smart and concise
Journalists in the current media climate do not have time to sort through a million pitches, and it is our jobs at PR professionals to understand that, and tailor the content of our pitches to journalists who are relevant to the content when pitching them. At Hotwire, we always try to identify for our clients what we call their “Golden Circle” of journalists, those who are hyper-relevant to both the clients’ content and audience, and nurture those relationships. As a result, we are able to create
4. Keep up with the news
The expression: ‘if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen’ applies to PR – if you can’t keep up with the news, PR is not the career for you. Earning clients notable news coverage, and guiding them on successful messaging requires you knowing their space inside and out: what is going on in their market, and keeping up with real-time issues that matter to their customers is essential to a PR professionals’ everyday survival.
The beginning of your career in PR is an exciting time, and one that lays the foundation for success in the future. Take the time to learn the basics like the back of your hand so that you can succeed on your career path
We’ve got our PR graduate program well under way for our New York and San Francisco offices, but what is like to actually work here? What would your career look like one, or two years in? Hazel Watts (@hizzlehazzle),who joined Hotwire in 2012 through the graduate program, blogs on what a typical day for her is like.
My day officially starts before I even leave my apartment. I check my social networks (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.) for breaking news and to get an idea of what the media and influencers will be focused on that day or what events they are attending. Many of my clients are in the enterprise technology and mobile verticals, so for example, if Microsoft or Apple appoints a new executive or announces a new product, this could potentially affect the day’s activities.
Once at the office (usually with a breakfast sandwich or kale smoothie in hand), I first begin to respond to any emails that may have come through from San Francisco the evening before or from Europe overnight. I also leaf through my to-do lists and monthly planners to make sure all deliverables are on track and budgets are in order.
The morning is when members of the team send around any breaking news that would be relevant to clients. If a CEO can comment on the breaking news topic we would quickly put together a pitch or offer commentary to journalists who might be covering the story. We do this in hopes of seeing our clients’ names in the media alongside the stories of the day: these days, wearable devices, AI and automation’s growing prevalence in enterprise IT and the evolution of cloud computing. PR is an incredibly fast-paced industry, so it’s important that we are on top of emerging trends and regulations so we can advise our clients on PR strategy. These expectations coupled with international clients in different time zones and multiple technology verticals, often requires us at Hotwire to be quite agile and resourceful on a day-to-day basis. This also means that there is no “typical” day.
The afternoon is filled with calls and client meetings and catching up on work which can include pitching, writing press releases or working on new business pitches. At any time, clients may ping me on Skype or on my mobile to discuss next steps on a media opportunity or plan for future conferences.
Before I finish for the day I check in with other members of my team to get an update on where they are with tasks I have set for them before I finally I log off. Sometimes I’ll have a networking event to attend or a happy hour meeting with a journalist – getting informal face-to-face time with people in the industry is crucial for a PR professional. It’s a great way to cement existing relationships and build new ones!
Hotwire PR US managing director Leslie Campisi weighs in on Facebook’s latest innovation: Paper. The app blends news and social media with lovely design and an innovative interface.
But what does it mean for public relations pros?
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