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Interviews

More Career Advice for Upcoming PR Professionals

PR block

As hot as PR may be right now (check out the growing gap between communicators and journalists), young professionals still face considerable challenges in navigating their way around the industry.

Last week we spoke to Courtney Lukitsch, principal and founder at Gotham Public Relations, to learn more about how she evaluates junior-level candidates. This week she shared more insights on what applicants need to know and the ways in which the industry will change in coming years.

PR is a rapidly changing business. What is your advice to those just coming on to the scene?

Do your research upfront. If you walk in cold and unprepared to an interview, a PR pro will smell it on you and disqualify you almost immediately.

It’s a confidence and intelligence game. Plus, at most firms, a candidate will be interviewed by different members no less than three times. This is true even at the junior level given team dynamics, but it’s even more crucial when interviewing for mid-level and higher jobs.

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Ed Zitron Wants to Help You Learn How to Pitch

thisishowyoupitch-book

Ed Zitron is several things: author; PR veteran; founder of EZPR; extremely prolific tweeter; British person.

His book, This Is How You Pitch, promises to dispel the unfortunately common idea that a career in PR is an endless series of parties and mutual back scratches between journalists and the people who do what we do. According to its own site, the book can “tell you how to avoid becoming a buzzword-spitting automaton that the media will hate.”

Curious? We spoke to Zitron to learn more about his (very blunt) take on the art of pitching…and the just-as-important art of clearing up misconceptions.

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Q&A: How Can Brands Best Utilize User Generated Content?

Green screen much

But who’s she wearing in front of that green screen?

User generated content is more than just a catchphrase: for some major brands, it’s a key to reaching consumers on their level rather than with traditional ads and “SALE NOW” marketing emails. As a prime example, a recent Marc Jacobs campaign starred “real people” plucked straight from Instagram who’d never seen a modeling contract.

Marc certainly isn’t the only brand looking to others to help expand and improve its own promotional efforts.

So what’s the key to making fans’ content work for you instead of using stock photos like the one above?

We spoke to Ranvir Gujral, CEO of visual marketing startup Chute, for more information.

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OKCupid Co-Founder on Emotional Experiments: In 20 Years, No One Will Care

OKCUPIDWe’ve all heard about Facebook‘s ill-conceived “emotional experiment” and OKCupid‘s even better follow-up. While Facebook’s research only concerned slight tweaks in the algorithm that determines which stories show up in users’ news feeds, OKCupid experimented on total strangers who would later meet each other and go on what we call “dates.”

We’re interested in the story primarily because Facebook’s response was simply a blog post that didn’t serve as a very effective piece of self-defense. OKCupid co-founder Christian Rudder, on the other hand, has gone all out to defend his company’s practices as the kind of thing we deal with every day as connected individuals — whether we know it or not.

Last week, to follow up on his “yes, we experimented on people, now get over it” blog post, he gave an interview to TLDR, a podcast associated with the excellent NPR show On the Media (which we encountered via the also-excellent Press Think blog).

The fourteen-minute segment is well worth a listen–especially for anyone with clients in social media.

Some key quotes and takeaways after the jump in case you can’t listen or don’t have time.

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Moving Up in PR: Career Advice for Junior-Level Candidates

PR on paper

What’s the current status of jobs in the PR field?

We’ve already established the fact that the industry has a high turnover rate; on Friday, Laurent Lawrence of the PRSA gave us some very solid theories regarding the why behind that fact.

Yet we’ve also heard from both younger readers who find it difficult to break into the field and from college grads who can’t seem to find the right position due to a perceived lack of experience.

We spoke to Courtney Lukitsch, principal and founder at Gotham Public Relations, to learn more about how she approaches the hiring process and what she thinks young, ambitious professionals need to do to advance.

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5 Digital Metrics/Tools That PR Pros Need to Know

vintage computer

Measurement: it is, as our own Shawn Paul Wood put it in yesterday’s “Top 5 PR Industry Debate Topics” post, the “pachyderm in the room.”

So what’s the skinny on new measurement tools, and which numbers should we focus on? For starters, Cision has some new offerings it would like to share with you.

We spoke to Heidi Sullivan, SVP of digital content at Cision, to learn more about the general state of data in PR and the tools and metrics that you need to use.

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PR Veterans to Launch ‘The NRA for Cannabis’

Weed 420 bro

Marijuana: it’s been all over the news recently, in case you somehow missed it.

Not only have two states officially decriminalized recreational use of the stuff–a majority of the American public now supports legalization for the first time, and the New York Times officially threw its hat into the ring this week, forcing the Obama administration to respond with a lame version of “our hands are tied; we have to enforce the law as it stands.”

What does this have to do with PR? A good bit.

When last we spoke to friend of the site Andrew Graham, he and his partners were introducing us to their new agency Clear and telling readers why “Do startups need PR?” is the wrong question to ask.

Today, however, Graham and his partners are working on an entirely different initiative–the world’s first advocacy group created to focus not on the rights of Americans to use marijuana for medical or recreational purposes but, rather, the American businesses community’s right to share in its economic benefits.

Meet Grow America. Our interview with Graham after the jump.

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Q&A: Separating Business from Personal Politics

In case you missed it, venture capitalist/Silicon Valley money guru and Y Combinator founder Paul Graham–who helped startups like Dropbox and Airbnb achieve their impressive valuations–received a bit of negative attention from others in the tech scene over the past week for tweeting news stories about the Gaza conflict currently dominating headlines around the world. Here’s an example:

The tweets didn’t go over well with some Israeli members of the tech world. VC and sometime TechCrunch writer Roi Carthy wrote a blog post protesting Graham’s tweets and announcing his decision to stop working with Y Combinator in Israel. He spoke to Kevin Roose of New York magazine and compared Graham’s actions to those of Brendan Eich, who resigned as CEO of Mozilla after reports revealed his donations to the anti-gay marriage Prop 8 campaign:

“Due to mandatory army service, the tech industry and the army in Israel are intertwined…If you don’t recognize that, you shouldn’t be doing business with Israelis.”

The question: how can executives and other public figures avoid this potentially toxic meeting of politics and industry thought leadership?

We spoke to Stan Steinreich, CEO of Steinreich Communications, for his take.

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New SHIFT Communications EVP Scott Monty on the Future of PR

ScottMontyWe’ll make a wild guess and assume that, if you work anywhere in communications, you heard the big news this morning: Scott Monty, former head of social for Ford Motor Company, joined Boston-based SHIFT Communications as EVP of strategy (he even has his own URL).

The announcement received mentions in trade pubs from Adweek to Automotive News and even inspired a bit of good-humored hashtaggery:

Scott elaborated on the #MontyDecision on his personal blog this morning, but he and SHIFT CEO Todd Defren also talked to us about the logic behind the move and their shared vision for the future of the comms industry.

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Can a Brand Win a Pulitzer? Former WSJ Tech Reporter on Content Strategy

CONTENT!

Every agency worth its salt has begun moving into content creation. That much is no longer up for debate.

Almost everything else involving the word “content”, however, is less certain–especially when we’re discussing what makes related projects effective and how we can measure their value for clients.

On that point, ReadyState is not quite your traditional agency: the one-year-old San Francisco shop focuses on “strategy, design and content” to serve a primarily tech-focused clientele.

ReadyState recently won attention for hiring former Wall Street Journal tech reporter Ben Worthen (now Editor in Chief), and we spoke to Worthen about the new ways of creating value for clients and the many keys to winning the content game.

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