Entertainment PR– Lessons from Hollywood

By: Alyssa Schaefer

I know a lot of young professionals attempting to break into public relations are eager to get their foot into the entertainment industry door.

Who can blame them? We live in a modern society that is fiercely driven by pop culture. The entertainment industry seems to possess a mysterious power to become disturbingly addicting. Consumers can’t get enough, and producers seem to be finding endless dynamics to formulate the next break-out sensation.

However, it is important not to be fooled by the shimmering streets of Hollywood. Behind this industry is a whole army of people working against impossible standards in order to ensure the success of their childhood dreams.

You may find it helpful to get some background knowledge of the industry, and what sort of world you would be dealing with if you choose to pursue a career in entertainment PR, or just the field of entertainment in general.

This article is based on knowledge I’ve gained from my internship this summer at a talent agency – and also knowledge that I’ve picked up through the clients at the agency (since we all know that listening to the customer is the #1 rule these days).

  • It is important to have a good background or understanding of the talent you choose to represent. This could be closely identified with “product knowledge.” Knowledge of the product you’re selling is vital in any business scenario; the same is true in the entertainment industry. One should be able to recognize “good” talent when he or she sees it. The clients you represent want to know that you know what you’re talking about. Experience is key; build trust with your client by showing consideration for the product you both will be selling.
  • A talent agent will spend a good amount of time networking with directors, photographers, choreographers, and other clients. It is absolutely essential that a talent agent possess great communication skills. Both the client and the talent agent will benefit from being extremely organized. The entertainment industry waits for no one. At times, auditions come up with little to no prior indication. It is of utmost importance that the talent agent stays on top of his or her “game” 100 percent of the time.
  • Branding. Classifying one’s projected market is of course imperative in the success of the agency, and therefore the client. “How does this particular client want to be branded in the market he or she is aiming for?” Breakdowns – a list of requirements that casting is looking for – usually specify characteristics they desire in a talent. Knowing which characteristics are associated with each client allows you to pull the most equipped clientele for each specific audition. Every single client is unique, we must remember that we are dealing with the “public”; no one client will ever be the same. By branding your clientele, it not only shows great transparency and personal attention, it ensures a clear and projective path to success.

There are obviously many more qualities vital to success in the industry. These are simply the core values and ideas that I’ve taken away from my summer in the land of the rich and famous. I personally enjoy this fast-paced, “what-you-see-is-what-you-get” environment. However, those who are looking for a nurturing, routine-based work life should perhaps be advised to explore some different options!

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10 PR Tips and Tricks from Company Tour 2012

By: Regina Volk

Title Image10) Document Everything
The first thing you should do is add that you went on PRSSA’s company tour to your resume.  It shows that you are taking an initiative in your career and that you care enough about your future to research what you want to do with it!

9) Use the PRSA and PRSSA websites
PRSSA and PRSA have a ton of tips, articles, and job opportunities online. It’s a great resource and it’s at your fingertips. They give you access to this website for a reason, take advantage of it!

8) Stay connected!
You may not always have the answer, but being able to find someone who does will get you far. Staying connected to your contacts will pay off in the real world.  You never know where networking can take you.

7) Prepare for Interviews
When contacting the media, always prepare what you are going to say and know exactly who you need to talk to. Don’t waste time by calling and having them connect you to who you should be talking to – that is your job.

6) Keep it Personal
When you have to interview people for media exposure and you’re forced to do so over the phone, make sure to talk to them as if you truly KNOW them. They need to feel comfortable when you talk to them. Don’t let it get awkward.

5) Have a Goal
Set measureable objectives, it’s the best way to see your results. You’ll never be able to see what you’ve accomplished if you aren’t working towards a specific goal.  You’re company will want to see the return on what they pay you to do.

4) Research, Research, Research!
Research is the foundation of public relations. Every good PR agency uses research-based strategies for their clients. Get familiar with the logistics of surveys and focus groups. It will never be a waste of time.

3) Social Media is not always Key
Don’t use social media for a client if it doesn’t make sense. If your clients’ audience is not a tech savvy audience, then it wouldn’t make sense to use Facebook and Twitter. Always keep the audience in mind.

2) Follow the Swiss Army Knife Rule
In the past, it was enough to find one skill and be the best at it. This isn’t true anymore. Be like a Swiss Army Knife, have multiple skills that can be implemented in all forms of public relations.

1) Content is King
What you put out there matters. This applies to everything from blog writing, website content, to social media. The key to successful social media is strong content. Fine tune your writing skills. Make sure you have writing samples available when you start applying for jobs!

4 Steps You Can Take in College To Become a PR Professional

By Megan Yoder
megankyoder@gmail.com

College—the days of sleeping-in, pulling “all-nighters” for exams, and cheering on your school teams. While the college years can be some of the best years of your life, they also are the most vital. Before you know it, graduation is around the corner and your career is your main focus. After completing a public relations internship with the Iowa City Community School District, I found that PR is a fast-paced industry with an ever-changing landscape. If you are choosing to do it, here are four steps that you can take to become a PR professional while in college.

Build a Brand
Use your insights or classroom experience in PR to build a brand. Branding helps you to stand out from the competition. Brand yourself so that employers can understand who you are and what type of public relations work you want to pursue. In branding yourself, consistency is key. Make sure that your LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and blog profile photos are all the same. This way, it is easier for an employer to recognize and remember you when it comes to hiring for a position.

Another way to build your brand is to create a professional website or blog. Your page should include your writing samples or other class projects, your resume, and contact information. This helps employers to have direct access to your work and will show them that you want to be taken seriously in the pursuit of this industry

Dress Professionally, Even to Class
While college students love sweatpants, and they are comfortable, they don’t look professional. Unless you are sleeping, lounging around your apartment or working-out at the gym, sweatpants should be tucked away in your closet.

Choose items such as a blazer and skinny jeans (for women) and a nice button down shirt and khakis (for men).


I know this may sound a bit extreme, but it’s important. Research by Forbes.com, states that people make a first impression within seven seconds! Knowing this, it is vital to dress professionally as you never know what connections you might make with professors, students or university staff. Connections are vital and looking your best will help you to be taken seriously in your pursuit of a job in any industry.

Use Social Media
If you don’t have a Twitter or LinkedIn account, get one ASAP. These social networks may seem like another thing to add to the list along with Facebook, but they can be vital in staying up-to-date on the PR industry and creating professional connections.  Additionally, make sure that you keep these accounts set to “open” instead of “private,” as it can show employers that you know how to use these tools and are up-to-date on topics in your industry.

Have a Professional Email
This may seem like a no brainer, but you would be surprised at how many students’ email addresses are unprofessional. While funlovinggirl123@hotmail.com, was a great account for you back in the junior high days, as a young college professional it’s unacceptable. Whether you use your university email address or one of your own, make sure it clearly states some version of your first and last name (john.smith@gmail.com, is a great example).  Your email address not only makes an impression, but also shows potential PR employers that you want to be taken seriously in the industry. For more email tips, check out the Burns & McDonnell Careers Blog.

For additional resources, check out the article in PR Daily here.

Follow Megan Yoder on Twitter @MeganKYoder

Sculpt and de Novo Marketing Agencies Provide Career Insight

At a recent UI PRSSA meeting on September 12, 2012, the organization welcomed speakers from two companies in the Iowa City area.  The first two guest speakers of the night, Micah Kulish and Josh Krakauer, were representatives from Sculpt Social Media Marketing Agency (wearesculpt.com), based in Iowa City.

The company focuses on managing social media accounts for clients across popular platforms in an attempt to build and enhance local branding. Sculpt gave some great information to chapter members, and also advertised internships within their agency. Members interested in the opportunity were encouraged to express their desire in a tweet using the hashtag ‘#workforsculpt’.

As a final note, the speakers conveyed the importance of responding to customers who interact with businesses online – for instance, if a consumer posts about a particular business on sites like Facebook, Twitter, or Yelp, there must be a representative available to adequately address these questions and concerns.

Following Sculpt was Heather Smith Friedman, owner of de Novo Alternative Marketing Agency (thinkdenovo.com), a guerrilla marketing firm out of Cedar Rapids. Friedman touched on countless topics, beginning with job search techniques for students. Friedman explained how she almost never posts jobs online, because often times many of her respondents are either unqualified or are not genuinely interested in the opportunity.

Friedman expressed that the most appealing job applicants first thoroughly research a company, and then directly contact it, often times referring to a specific role of aspect of the company to which they believe they can contribute to.

Friedman also stressed the importance of having specific career goals as well as defining the exact expertise of one’s skills. To sum up her advice, Friedman explained to the group that they should brand themselves as possible assets to a company. In doing so, they must always be able to sufficiently fill this sentence when talking to possible future employers: “I am the                for Type of Company.” Using this formula when networking or applying for jobs will help applicants effectively tailor their approach for each company.

Since an interview usually follows a job application, Friedman also shared her best advice with the chapter for presenting themselves well in such a setting. She stated that, “It is as much of an interview for you as it is for the company.” In saying this, Friedman illustrated the importance of finding a company that suits an applicant’s desires and expectations.

Friedman also recommended always sending thank-you notes to any company that members interview with, as it leaves potential employers with a great last impression.

Students know that education is valuable, but after hearing what each of the night’s presenters had to say, one thing is clear – internships are undoubtedly the best way to enhance a student’s knowledge and experience in the field of public relations.


Mark Hollander
Mark-Hollander@uiowa.edu
UI PRSSA Newsletter Writer

Be Careful What You Tweet For…

Twitter is a great tool for connecting with friends and others about topics of interest. Needless to say, Twitter is becoming more and more  integrated  into our lives and the media.

While Twitter is terrific, it is important to remember that what you post is public– don’t tweet inappropriate things, especially about your employers

Check out this article from MSNBC.com- http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29796962/

While it is awesome living a more digital lifestyle than our parents, don’t let it come back to haunt you.