Public Relations…Baton Rouge Style

This past spring break I had the opportunity to travel to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to attend the regional PRSSA conference, “Hollywood Under the Oaks.” Now of course my love of travel also kicked in, so I made sure to travel a few days before the conference began to fully enjoy everything the city had to offer. I took in the historical downtown sites, visited LSU and of course, did some shopping.

But even though the sightseeing was amazing, the PRSSA conference really stole the show. The PRSSA group at LSU put together a simply amazing event, with an exceptional keynote speaker and several other knowledgeable pr professionals for each breakout session. I left the 3-day conference having learned so much more than any pr class could have ever taught me. I learned what it really takes to make it in the entertainment industry.

Here are the top 5 tips I took away from “Hollywood Under the Oaks.”

1. “Stay in your lane and control what you can.”

Alex Restrepo, New Orleans Saints social media manager, shared his public relations story, giving us tips for how to get our feet in the door and become successful in the industry of our choosing. As a young pr professional, proving why you are an irreplaceable part of the team is a must. Finishing your projects to the best of your ability and before the deadline is a plus, but standing out is key. Share your ideas with your upper-level management. They will see you as a creative and hardworking employee that they cannot afford to lose. So “stay in your lane and control what you can.” Don’t worry about what John Smith is doing around the corner. Focus on yourself and how you can make it in the industry.

2. Blog and read blogs

Blogs are becoming an important element in the public relations industry, especially entertainment pr. Bloggers cover everything under the sun and can make or break your pr campaign, depending on what they write. When working with bloggers, you need to quantify and qualify their work to ensure that they are serious about their work and making your campaign a success. Also read as many blogs as you can. The right ones will provide benefits for both your professional and personal lives.

3. Personalization is key

Whether you’re writing news releases, compiling press/media kits, or just simply sending a tweet, make sure to personalize your message to its intended audience. The audience will appreciate that you took the time to target your message specifically to them and will be more willing to run your story, provide you with media coverage or provide you with positive feedback on social media.

4. Become an industry disruptor

Stand out. Create unique ideas that will help put your organization in the foreground. Don’t blend in…that will give your boss a reason to replace you. Take your client campaigns to new levels and try something that has never been done before. It will automatically get you media coverage and you may even be nationally recognized if your work receives positive feedback.

5. Take every opportunity presented to you

To me, every opportunity is a good opportunity. Internships, volunteer opportunities, student organizations, conferences, etc. can all provide you will knowledge and experience that you will not get in class. Internships and volunteer work gives you real world experience that all employers will look for on your resume when applying for jobs. We no longer live in an era where a high GPA will get you a job. Get out there and participate! Get an internship, become a member of PRSSA and attend regional and national conference and meetings. You’ll be glad you did. I know I am!

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