Wise Words from a PR Pro
On Tuesday Sept. 27, Agnes Estes, a public relations professional, visited the Illinois State University chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA).
Estes has 15 years of experience in the public relations (PR) business, with an emphasis working in agency PR. When she visited our PRSSA Chapter she informed everyone about the ins and outs of the business. The one area that seemed to catch the most interest was “advocating for yourself”, a phrase Estes was fond of saying.
The question that prompted the use of this phrase was, “How do you manage the work and life balance?” Estes told everyone the honest truth: PR was hard and time-consuming, resulting in long hours and weekends spent in the office. However, she stated that this was a formula that will quickly lead to burnout and eventually turnover. In order to prevent this, she stated that a worker must eventually say enough is enough.
A common misconception about the PR workplace is that the bosses are domineering, uncompromising and apathetic toward employees’ needs. Estes could not stress enough that this was not the case. She stated that it is a good idea to work a little extra, but not if that work causes you to come to work every day with an “I hate my job” attitude. If an employer asks you to work this weekend, it is okay to say no. Estes reassured the crowd further by stating that oftentimes people who work strictly a nine-to-five job can be more productive than those who are working 60 or 80 hours a week.
Estes had a great impression on us PR younglings. A common phrase heard afterwards was “I’m not so scared of going into PR anymore.” Estes not only informed us about what our jobs will be, but also about how we can enjoy them, which is a topic scantly covered in PR classes nowadays. The lessons she gave us are not offered only to us students but also to current workers in the PR industry. We no longer have such a harsh view of our desired positions and approach our graduations with a little less anxiety.
Written by Kyle Bartolini
How to: Pitching
To the PR newbie, one of the most difficult aspects of public relations is pitching. An elevator pitch gives a complete rundown of who you are as a person and why someone should be interested in you. You must explain all this while being memorable in the process. Scary right?
Here are a few ways to make it a little less scary.
Written by Sydney Velez
Fall is arguably the trendiest season. Whether through the warm colors adorning every outfit or the variety of cozy sweaters to cuddle up in, brands know how to bring fall fashion to the forefront of a consumer’s mind. Even though designers are the true talent behind these trends, the fashion industry relies on PR professionals to showcase their designs to the public. What better way to promote a clothing line than through visually simulating graphics? To identify what makes some brands more successful than others, here is a look at four brands who are using Instagram to their advantage this fall:
The first retail brand that has been on its social media “A” game is Old Navy. Its Instagram (IG) account has racked up nearly 900 thousand followers. Old Navy’s high volume of followers stems from its consistent posting. The brand posts daily, sometimes even multiple times. Along with its consistency, Old Navy keeps its captions short and sweet. It understands that IG is for viewing pictures and that users will give most of their attention to an image rather than a description. Because its fall collection is both trendy and inexpensive, Old Navy easily promotes its clothes through IG.
Coming up close behind Old Navy is Gap Inc., which has reached a little over one million followers. Just in time for fall, Gap Inc. has launched a campaign using the hashtag #DoYou. This campaign takes a deeper look at the models and the clothes they are posing in. Instead of keeping the models’ names out of the pictures, Gap Inc. includes their IG handles and offers a quote on how they “Do Gap.” This gives the models a chance to say why they dress the way they do and what makes their fall style unique to them. Not only does this give Gap a unique way to advertise its clothes, but it has also most likely brought more traffic to its page.
The next fashion brand on the list is Forever 21. Besides the fact that it has perfectly priced clothes for a broke college student, Forever 21 is “falling” into more IG followers by the second. With a whopping number of 11.6 million followers, this brand is definitely doing something right. Besides posting on IG daily and keeping its captions simple, Forever 21 also uploads a variety of photos. Its photos not only consist of models wearing the brand’s clothes, but also fun graphics, exclusive deals and much more. The company’s collection of different photos reflects its fashion designs, which all have their own unique style. Forever 21 is loved for its variety of clothing and reflecting this aspect through its IG account seems to be a bullet proof plan for the brand.
Similar to Forever 21, H&M offers millennials a place to shop that is affordable yet stylish and of course, their IG does not fall short of those same expectations. H&M offers its 17 million IG followers a way to view what it has in stores without having to actually leave their homes. Although the brand does not excessively post, it gives users a look at common fall hues and other popular trends. H&M’s IG gives both its followers and all IG users a more personal look into its line by adding short videos of behind the scenes footage. Even better, the brand currently has celebrities wearing its clothes for its new fashion line campaign. Through this campaign, called #KENZOxHM, celebrities pose for a photo or two and then H&M records them talking about why they love fashion or how they model. Since it has one of the top followings among fashion brands, there is no doubt that H&M’s celebrity tactic is working.
To wrap it all up, Old Navy, Gap Inc., Forever 21 and H&M all have noteworthy IG accounts. If you hope to have a career in social media or aspire to have skills in this area, keep in mind the different tactics that these fashion brands have utilized. By posting once or twice a day, keeping the captions simple, or executing a campaign, your brand can have the opportunity to reach millions of followers like these impressive fashion accounts.
By: Heather Tidwell
Transferring to a new college or into a new major can be an exciting and scary moment in your life. There are many new experiences and opportunities to come your way. The process of transferring schools or your major within your school may leave you feeling lost. Coming into the School of Communication as a public relations major can be intimidating. As a transfer student myself, I had many questions. I came to Illinois State University not knowing much about my major or even the campus. I’m living proof that you shouldn’t get discouraged! There are many ways to feel at home in public relations at ISU.
Public relations specialists are the business of people. Talking to professors and classmates is a great way to learn about your major and feel more comfortable. Take advantage of asking more questions your first year into the major. The people in the PR major at ISU are friendly and willing to help. From this discussion you will be able to create relationships which will lead to friendships along with networking opportunities.
Another thing that I cannot stress enough is to become involved with the PR industry. I regret waiting until my last year at ISU to get involved. There are many Registered Student Organizations for communication students to get involved with like minded individuals. The Public Relations Student Society of America is a great choice for PR majors to increase their knowledge, acquire skills, and build relationships. There are many influential speakers and workshops hosted on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. in Schroeder Hall room 138. Through these meetings, I have learned more about PR. I also have had the chance to take tours of workplaces that I could work for after graduation.
The key factor for me was to think positively and become motivated. I believe taking action and applying yourself is important to bettering yourself. My words of wisdom would be: Do not make the excuse that you do not know what to do because you are new to the major or school. Take time to research, ask questions and most importantly get involved. Motivation is what made me realize that I love PR and that I had to pursue it as a career. This led me to join PRSSA. I finally feel that I am where I should be. PRSSA is my second family.
As a transfer student from another college or major the best thing to do is become involved. All of my confusion and doubts about PR were erased when I put myself out there and joined PRSSA.
Do not wait to get involved! We’re a PR family and always here to help you find your passion.
Written by Kelsey Koziel
On the surface, the Illinois State University Homecoming Week seems pretty standard. A red and black decorated campus with streamers and balloons, tailgating and of course—the football game. However, if you’re willing to dig a little deeper you can discover the real magic behind this year’s homecoming theme: A Normal Tradition.
Starting out in 1857, the school was known as Illinois State Normal University. The word ‘normal’ meant that ISU started off as a school solely dedicated to teaching education. It wasn’t until the 1960s that ISU got its abbreviated name and began offering other majors. Prior to homecoming week, I never knew the process ISU went through to become the not so normal school it is today.
Since the school’s formative years, ISU traditions have become a staple in our homecoming events. Fast-forwarding to this week, students have an abundance of activities to look forward to. It’s a privilege to be a part of ISU history in the making!
To start off the week, on Monday, ISU is hosting the Homecoming Kickoff cookout starting at 6 p.m. on the quad. The cookout will be a prime opportunity for some delicious barbecue, games, and a chance to meet ISU President Dietz. The marching band and cheerleaders will host an energizing rally and the homecoming court will be announced.
Then on Tuesday, expect some wild activity as the Redbird Rumble will take place at Hancock Stadium. Teams will show off their athletic skills by competing in outrageous fitness competitions. The best part? Faculty participates too. You might see your serious professor out there sprinting around and having a blast like a little kid!
Wednesday’s activity is one I’m most looking forward to which is the Homecoming Carnival! Gamma Phi Circus will perform a daring show featuring all kinds of tricks and acrobatic routines that I only wish I could do. Other activities include henna tattoos, a magician, and more free food (which means everyone’s definitely having a cheat week!).
Friday will mark the close of homecoming week before the big game. There will be a Homecoming Finale event including a DJ, sign decorating, and MORE free food (so I’m obviously going).
Just as you think the week can’t get any more exhilarating, the actual game day will finally arrive! Saturday will kick off with the Town and Gown 5K at 8 a.m. The starting line will be near the Student Fitness Center. Hundreds are anticipated to run, sporting anything from running gear to bright red and black tutus.
The Homecoming Parade will start at 10 a.m. on College and University. Even college-aged kids can appreciate all the school-spirited floats put together by fellow students. And I mean, the free candy doesn’t hurt either.
Right after the parade, everyone’s favorite tailgating event begins outside of Turner Hall. Look out for the School of Communication’s spot for some delicious smoked turkey legs and music from our very own WZND.
Finally, the event that started it all: The Homecoming Game! ISU is playing against Youngstown State this year at 2 p.m. and it is expected to be a thrilling game. Everyone from little siblings to returning alumni will be there to watch the Redbirds battle the Penguins.
With the transition from September to October comes the building excitement for homecoming week. It’s hard to deny that buzzing energy building up to the game. Whether it’s your first or last school year, homecoming will always cultivate that magical school-spirit feeling that comes from the traditions passed down year after year.
Written by Elizabeth Lynch
PRecisely PR is the blog of the Illinois State University Chapter of the PRSSA. We write about Chapter events, the public relations industry, member profiles, and more.