Spreading the Virus, Prepsta Style

Sometimes, you just have to remember that this PR gig is just plain fun. You get a chance to be extraordinarily creative, work with some of the best and brightest minds on some of the coolest campaigns (yo!).

The Smirnoff Raw Tea campaign makes me laugh. Download the video and check out the “prepsta guide.” I think I’ll buy some just to reward the ad/marketing agency that came up with this campaign.

viral marketing: Any marketing technique that induces Web sites or users to pass on a marketing message to other sites or users, creating a potentially exponential growth in the message’s visibility and effect.

PR Firms that Blog

The Bivings Report provides a list of PR Firms that blog. If you’re considering a PR Agency career, I’d recommend you check these out. If you’re not considering an agency career, but would like a career in public relations in some capacity, I suggest you check these out. If you plan on coming into contact with PRos sometime in your career, I suggest you check these out. In short… check these out.

I really enjoy Richard Edelman’s Blog: 6 A.M.

And I gotta say that the MWW Groups “Straight Talk” is pretty interesting. Timely and topical with a strong dose of the author’s opinion. Love it! I hadn’t come across it before, but it’s now on my Bloglines subscription list.

What do you think is more valuable to you as a PRo in training? A blog that’s primarily commentary on current events, or one (like The Horn Group), that’s more focused on the agency’s work and capabilities?

Reflections of an AAE

In the first of what I hope will be many contributed posts, Nathan Strauss, a former student and the past GM of Allen Hall Public Relations talks about his first couple of months as an Assistant Account Executive at Edelman in New York.

Reflections of an AAE

Today is the last day of work for Edelman interns. As they begin to pack up their cubicles and eagerly chatter about returning to college, it sets in that I’m not leaving with them. At this time last summer, I too was an ambitious intern. Now, a full-time employee, I reflect on my transition and the career I’ve begun in public relations at Edelman in New York.


Fortunately, my transition from intern to AAE has been seamless. I credit this to my always attempting to work at least one level above my title – a golden rule in agency PR. As an intern I was always persistent in trying to get work that’s usually reserved for an AAE. Now, as an AAE, I’m managing vendor relationships for our satellite media tour as well as for an event at our client’s headquarters – AE or SAE stuff.

At times, it may seem there is little differentiation between interns and AAEs other than a nameplate; however, entry-level professionals must always remember that expectations are higher for them – in terms of the quality of their work as well as in the length of their working day.


While I’ve been able to excel at Edelman, there have also been challenges. Foremost, re-adjusting to the working world – 9+ hour days in an office is a difficult contrast to college life. Even more difficult are the slow days – where account work is few and far between. While in college nothing to do was a rare blessing; sitting idle in a cubicle is a different story.

When things are busy, it’s invigorating. The fast pace and short deadlines agencies are known for isn’t a myth. While this type of working environment is my preference, in my excitement I’ve made careless mistakes that reflect poorly on me – mistakes I won’t make twice. Quality is just as important, if not more so, on a short deadline.


  • Be excited about what you do, for your own sake. Although mundane tasks like media monitoring may seem dull, keep the bigger picture in mind. Take pride in finding that breaking news story and being the first to send it out to your team. If you lose interest, not only will you be miserable, your team will lose interest in you.
  • Listen, listen, listen. Take advantage of who sits around you. At Edelman, where even SVPs sit in cubicles, eavesdropping is not only valuable, it’s unavoidable. Listening to interactions with clients and other execs is always insightful.
  • Image, while not everything, counts for something. This is PR, after all. Come to work looking professional and put-together, every day. Matthew Harrington, one of the most senior executives at Edelman, wears a suit to work every day – even on casual Fridays.
  • Don’t go into debt. You’re not in college anymore; you should be paying off your loans, not incurring more debt. If you’ve chosen to move to cosmopolitan city (like New York) this can be difficult. While it may seem like spending 70% of your income on rent is reasonable, think twice. Stay in the black, even if it means you have to make sacrifices to your lifestyle.

You can reach Nathan at: nathan.strauss@edelman.com or (212) 704-4573

Bookmark This: Web Resources for PRos in Training

Cruising the ‘net and the ‘sphere (as in blog-o-sphere), I found some great links that you should take a look at:

Writing Tools
This blog by Roy Peter Clark at the Poynter Institute has some great tips for keeping your writing fresh and interesting.

The Bad Pitch Blog
A great blog about what makes a good pitch… and what doesn’t from two journalists.

Media Guerilla: The Best of

Some great tips on blogger relations and the tools of doing PR now.

Oregon Blue Book Media
For my students who don’t have access to a database, and you’re building an Oregon media list – start here.

Green Media Toolshed
This site is specifically for grassroots environmental organizations, but has some really great tips that you can use for any campaign.

Kind of a mixed bag of joy for you. Have fun! If you have links you’d like to see on PRos in Training, let me know!

Thanks, Rosina @ Flickr, for a great photo.

Not an Intern this summer? What to do… what to do…

Summer’s in Oregon are the best! Gorgeous days, lots of nearby recreation and a perfect time to beef up your resume with a PR internship.

What? You don’t have an internship this summer? That’s ok. You can still get some experience and make some connections.

I asked some of the PRos I know and here are the best tips:

Lisa Pulliam, Public Relations Manager, Western Oregon University: “Set up a job shadow. Especially if you’re a sophomore or junior and still trying to figure out if PR is for you. Most professionals are more than willing to spend a day or half-a-day with you to give you a taste of the industry. Think you might be interested in political work? Contact a local candidate’s communication director. Non-profit might be your thing? Lots of nonprofits have a PR/Marketing director and nearly all have a Development Director (fundraising). Even if you are interested in an entertainment PR or agency career, there’s someone in your area that does that work. It’s a great way to build relationship with professionals.”

Erica Harbison, Account Executive, Waggener Edstrom (Portland): “Go to the local city hall or your favorite charity organization and see what projects are in the works – maybe an event or volunteer recruitment effort – see if you can help them with PR/marketing. Even if you’re not doing a formal internship, you can get involved with projects on a short term basis – maybe write an article for a newsletter, create flyers to hand out or help them update their Web site. The organization will be appreciative – and you’ve got a portfolio piece to show for it.”

Laura Bishow, Account Executive, Maxwell PR (Portland): “Volunteer!” (pretty basic, huh?)

Other tips:

Set up informational interviews: Contact PRos (maybe even start with alumni) in your field of interest and ask for 30 minutes of their time. A conversation over lunch can give you insight into how to better prepare yourself for a career in that field and again, will help you make connections. After all, PR is all about the relationships you can build.

Keep up on industry news: Read trade publications and blogs about public relations and get the PRos perspective on public relations.

Talk to your profs: Yes, we have connections. And yes, we can help you. I promise.


New diggs for a new idea.

Much, much more to come for my students at the University of Oregon, students of PR across the world and students of life.

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