How Being a Student Athlete Makes Me a Quick Hitter in the PR World

Anna Baytosh hitting a volleyball over the net

The ball drops.

 

In a single moment, the curtain falls on my career as a collegiate athlete. As my teammates saunter onto the court to wish the opposing team a good game, a feeling of accomplishment and pride overwhelms me, despite my team’s loss in the conference championship.

 

In this moment, I suddenly realize that I have spent the last nine years of my life playing a sport that is essentially a glorified version of “don’t let the balloon touch the floor.”

 

Fear not!

 

I have avoided dwelling over this life-changing event by focusing my efforts on the exciting path ahead.

 

I proudly accepted a job as an account executive and editor for Tehama Group Communications. At first, I’m sure the staff was hesitant to let a Wildcat loose in the office, but I’m pretty confident that I’ve gained everyone’s trust by now.

 

So, in the burgeoning days of this new life direction, I have consolidated my learned experiences as a collegiate athlete into four main skills that have guided me as a public relations professional:

 

 

  • Time management

 

I invite anyone who claims it is impossible to balance a social life, sleep schedule and heavy course load to consider the extra stress of an athletic commitment. Picture juggling these essentials while also enduring a weekly 12 hours of practice, three hours of weightlifting, two hours of analyzing game film and extensive travel on the weekends. Knowing how to manage your time and prioritize your tasks is vital when tackling the fast-paced world of PR.

 

 

  • Communication

 

Whether it is telling a teammate to focus on the game or asking a writer to reword a sentence, effective communication is key. In order to communicate clearly and effectively, you must keep in mind the current situation, everyone involved and all potential outcomes. Understanding how patience, tone and empathy are required to be a good communicator helps me collaborate with clients and team members of various personality types and backgrounds.

 

 

  • Leadership

 

Take this gaggle of girls and help them transition into a dependable, organized and motivated team. Molding the future faces of any program is an unspoken task bestowed upon every senior in his or her final season. In order to be a good leader, you must vocalize group strengths and weaknesses in a direct and respectful way while simultaneously leading by example. This is crucial now that I lead my own team of writers and creatives toward multiple project goals.

 

 

  • Adaptability

 

It’s no secret that coaches appreciate adaptable players who are comfortable performing within a constantly changing landscape. If they tell you to run the darn play again, you do it with no hesitation. Quickly analyze the last play, figure out how to fix it, then execute immediately because another ball is coming your way now. Being adaptable in the world of PR is absolutely essential in an environment that moves furiously fast, where new problems arise by the minute. A happy client is synonymous to a happy coach, and both are integral to a successful and gratifying outcome.

By: Anna Baytosh

Photo provided by Chico State Sports Information Department

How my love of storytelling evolved into a passion for PR

Writing on notebook and books spread on the table

The frost is melting, the flowers are blooming and birds are singing. This can only mean one thing, spring is just around the corner. For many people this means it’s time for picnicking, kite flying and the annual closet cleaning. But for many graduating seniors, like myself, it is time to start thinking about your future and take some time to reflect on the past.

 

Four years ago when I was desperately trying to figure which major was the right one for me. I had already decided that Chico State was the perfect fit for my school but I struggled with committing to one field of study. I did what any stressed and confused seventeen year old would do, I made a list.

 

On this list I wrote down things I was good at, things I liked doing and useful skills I thought could be applied to a career.

 

My most prominent strength has always been writing. I started telling fictional stories before I could even write the alphabet. As a toddler I employed my mom as my own personal scribe to write these stories for me. As I grew older I realized how incredible the power of storytelling truly is. It can create worlds, birth characters and shape the intellectual minds of society.

 

I knew that storytelling needed to be a major part of my future. I was also good at organizing, juggling multiple commitments and rallying groups of people together. But what else was I good at? I could talk to people with ease and loved to help those in need. Could these attributes really be applied to a major? Apparently, yes.

 

To my surprise and delight, I found public relations, a field of study that perfectly combined all of my strengths.

 

PR uses unique methods to produce a story worthy of attention. It helps companies who have something important to say find their voice. After graduating in May, I hope to work for an organization that is dedicated to changing the world for the better. This is the ideal way I wish to exercise my love of helping others and use the skill set I have developed through Tehama Group Communications.

 

It can be difficult to focus on writing when life gets busy. Whether it be school assignments, shifts at work or your pesky Calico kitty using your notebook as a bed, make time to indulge your creative side.

By choosing a major in Journalism with a focus in public relations and a minor in creative writing I have been fortunate enough to be able to combine my education with my passion.

 

I feel lucky to have found a career path that has allowed me to interact with people daily, organize events, brainstorm ideas and of course, tell stories.

By: Alisa Thorsen

Both images provided by Alisa Thorsen

Why are Photographers so Expensive?

Camera in hand with golden light at the beginning of a walkway

I am writing this as a photographer and a public relations executive. I have seen how photographers can make a huge impact in PR campaigns, but I also know that good quality photos don’t come at a low cost.

 

Public relations firms use photographers in order to enhance company image. Unfortunately, this is not always affordable. Hiring a photographer can be a huge investment. Many people think, “What?! But they’re just taking photos with a nice camera! I could do that.”

 

Photographers are expensive for many reasons. They are business owners and owning a business does not come at a low price. As business owners, photographers must obtain the necessary licenses that are purchased and renewed once a year.

 

The most important thing that a photographer could do is to get their name out there and doing so can be costly. This can be done using a variety of mediums: Google Ads, business cards, a website, etc.,and all of which cost money at one time or another.

 

Photographers must also have many official documents, for they are essential in order to communicate clear messages to clients in a professional way. Creating these documents is very time consuming, yet important because photographers need both customized and personalized contracts, receipts, timelines, etc., which represent how they want to do business. Creating these documents allows photographers to use and send them to their clients, depending on the need of the client.

 

In order for photographers to be successful, they must stay sharp and up to date on their knowledge of the business. It is important to take classes in order to learn about both photography and being a business owner. This is very time consuming, but it is important to be prepared for all situations.

 

Photographers have to obtain quality camera equipment such as camera bodies, lenses, storage for the equipment, storage for all memory and props for indoor and outdoor sessions.

All good things must come to an end. Technology does fail, so costly replacements or repairs may be necessary.

 

Photographers must know how to make their clients feel comfortable while also remembering every pose to give them. Good photographers tend to give constant compliments and affirmations that their clients are doing great. They must do this while also making sure their camera settings create the best amount of background blur while making sure the subject is still sharp. The settings must be tweaked every time the photographer moves in order to match the light that is entering the camera. The photographer must also make sure that the photo does not look too warm or too cold. Then, the photographer must make sure that they are getting a variety of shots. This entails wide, medium and close shots of subject(s).

 

Many people think that photographers are paid for the amount of hours that they are on-site taking photos. They do not see the outside hours that go into the beautiful photos selected. Editing entails four main steps:

 

  1. Backing up photos. This involves putting photos on different storage devices to ensure that they can not disappear.
  2. Culling. Culling is the process of picking the best photos. This can take some time comparing and contrasting different parts of the photo that make it good versus great.
  3. Editing collectively. This means that the photographer adds as edit style to place on all of the photos to make sure they have the same look.
  4. Editing individually. This entails going through each photo and adjusting settings specifically to flatter that photo. (cropping, straightening, brightening, etc)

Christa Boynton holding camera to her eye in orchard

Although, photographers spend a lot of time taking photos and editing, they spend a large chunk of their time:

  • Learning about technique
  • Updating their online portfolio
  • Updating their social media presence
  • Conducting client meetings
  • Replying to inquiries
  • Creating documents
  • Developing their brand
  • Creating packages

In reality, photographers earn a lot less than the dollar sign that they charge due to the amount of investments and hours they put in.

By: Christa Boynton

Featured image provided by Maider Izeta on The Adventure Junkies

Second image provided by Christa Boynton, taken by Tiffany Rivas

Study Abroad and Public Relations

A picture of a beautiful European building with words edited onto the picture that reads "Study Abroad and Public Relations"

The passport to public relations and communications is global. In a career that involves understanding everyone’s point of view and background, it is crucial to immerse ourselves well outside of our comfort zones.

Growing up with a Latin heritage in California gave me a general idea of a few cultural differences between two neighboring countries. However, it wasn’t until I visited Europe for the first time in the summer of 2017 that I received some of the biggest culture shock of my life. I found that the things that helped me most on my first solo journey were my willingness to adapt and ability to understand the environment.

Whether I was sitting on the sidewalk with my favorite tapas in Barcelona or watching well-dressed people bustle up and down the Underground in London, I couldn’t help but appreciate the different ways of life I would see in each city. Their unique lifestyles taught me the importance of understanding your audience in public relations. This reflects on how to choose your social media content, and understand your target audience, but most importantly, in my discovery for a passion in learning all about how the citizens of the world function, I found my calling. Travel public relations. I want to help people break down their own borders and come away with a life changing experience that is all their own.

My father got me a passport when I was five years old, and made the effort to take us somewhere new every year. I was lucky enough to travel across Mexico and Canada, but now I’m ready to be global citizen and public relations professional.

By:Roxanna Necoechea

Break the Block

A blonde woman with her hair in a bun looking down in distress with an open laptop, notebooks and other supplies on a desk with her hand on her forehead

Writer’s block… more like a writer’s nightmare. Try these tricks to break the block.

Staring at a blank page for hours, days or even weeks can be terrible. Your brain hurts and your vision becomes blurry. Every writer’s’ worst nightmare is having writer’s block.  Try these tricks to get past your block.  

  1. Free write  

Write about anything on your mind, even write about how you don’t know what to write.  Write about your day or a dream you had. The goal of a free write is to get your mind thinking about anything and hopefully it will spark an idea.

     1. Take a break

Stop staring at the blank page. It will only make you go crazy and fall deeper into your writer’s block. Go for a walk or watch your favorite show on Netflix. Take a few hours or days off from writing. When you get back to it try to forget how difficult it was before and have an open mind.

     2. Brainstorm

Make a list of ideas. Start with broad topics and narrow it down to more specific ideas. The list should be from your stream of consciousness, so just bullet point what comes to your mind.

     3. Say “see you later” to all the distractions

That means turning off that cell phone and hiding it in a different room. Try to limit all technology unless it’s the laptop or computer you are using to write. Don’t have your favorite television show on in the background while you work. Stay focused on writing all your ideas.

     4. Get your body moving

The worst feeling is being frustrated with yourself for not having any idea on what to write. Go outside and get some fresh air or do your favorite activity to get your body moving. Exercise is a great escape for a lot of people, give it a try and clear your mind.

Lastly, when you finally get back to writing, forget about all the frustrations you had before because it will only hold you back. Best of luck!

By: Angelina Castillo

 

 

Time Management: It’s Not Just a Skill… It’s a Lifestyle

An organized, color coded planner with granola and coffee beside it with a note pad

BEEP BEEP BEEP…It’s 7 a.m. when your alarm goes off and the first thought is, “How am I going to do today.” As the day progresses, you begin to realize your list of to-do’s is growing and you are losing daylight to complete everything. By the end of the day, you struggle to finally find a peaceful night’s rest. The ever growing list of very important things you need to complete by a looming deadline never seems to go away.

As a student working to pay my way through college and completing an internship with Tehama Group Communications, my day to day life makes time management a must. Time management can have different meanings for each individual. For me, it feels as though I am achieving my highest level productivity. Below are the five ways that I make time management part of my life style.

How to beat your busy PR schedule:

  1. Write it down:

Write down everything that needs to be done for the day. This helps by making sure that you aren’t forgetting anything important by trying to memorize it all in your head.

  1. Prioritize:

Put the things that need to be completed first at the top. By doing this, you will be able to make sure that even if you don’t complete everything on your list you at least finished the most pressing and important!

  1. Schedule in breaks:

It is easy to try to push through the day without taking time for yourself; give your body and brain a rest. When you come back from your breaks, you will feel more refreshed and ready to get down to business.

  1. Cross it off:

As the day goes on and you are able to complete a task, cross it off. The act of crossing off an item can help alleviate stress of looming deadlines.

  1. Find a routine:

Staying with a consistent routine will help you make sure that you are taking care of yourself and the little things that become after thoughts on the busiest of days.

How you spend your day and the amount of work that you feel like you are completing can be a huge factor in the amount of stress that you feel every day. So the next time you hear BEEP BEEP BEEP, you will know that with a little time management the day is yours!

By: Taylor Pickle

Moving Media

A strip of camera film against a blue background, gives the illusion that the film is moving, on the film there are three pictures of sunsets are are orange

With the ever rising popularity of social media, more advertisers and designers are embracing the capabilities and testing the limitations of digital media. These include features like sound, sequencing and interactivity, which can all be used to engage the audience on a different level. In the past, advertisers were dependent on static print pieces that their audience may encounter while flipping through a magazine or walking past a bus stop. Now, while scrolling through one’s Facebook feed, it’s nearly impossible to ignore the busy squares of color and music that make up advertising on social media.

There are many benefits from digital media such as the ability to convey concepts through time with things like animated posters or slideshows. This medium allows the creator to express an idea rather than simply imply it. Designers Josh Schaub and Eric Brechbuhl created an animated poster (below) showing the tourism aspect of traveling to Lucerne, Switzerland. While they could have created a static poster which implies the busy street, they instead animated the buses, creating a scene of choreographed chaos.

While eye catching and conceptually complex, moving media does have some drawbacks. If the content is on a moving object like a bus, then the animated media won’t have an opportunity to convey the complete message in the time available and would be less functional than a static message. Another drawback could be that the file size of moving media tends to be larger than that of static, which can cause complications when trying to be used on a mobile platform. This is because mobile platforms have more limited internet download capabilities than a desktop computer.

As the number of media environments continues to grow to include spaces like virtual and mixed reality, so will the demand for motion graphics and other forms of moving media. As we move forward, designers will develop and test new styles and techniques and begin to form the foundation for the future of media interactions.

By Giovanni Lopez-Quezada

5 Ways My Blended Family Helped Prepare Me for the PR World

Taylor Pickle's family photo outside by a pool

PR agencies can easily become the people you spend the most time with and, in many ways, become your pseudo family. For me coming from an unconventional family background, I have been able to take those experiences and use them in a PR setting. PR life can be fast paced, hectic and unpredictable and so can families. I didn’t realize how well my family prepared me for the ups and downs of being a part of an agency until midway through the semester when there were deadlines looming and various projects needing to be completed.

  1.              Always expect the unexpected

Just when you think you have a plan you can always count on, the truth is that someone or something will come in and change everything. Being prepared for the unpredictable can save you from many late nights and your bank account from suffering those caffeine cravings.

  1.              Adaptability is your best friend

There comes a time when you have everything completed and put all your time and effort into completing a task. And, at a moment’s notice, things change. Being able to adapt to last minute or major changes will have a huge impact on how successful and smooth your life in PR will go.

  1.              Communication is key

We spend a majority of the day communicating with all different kinds of people and in order to get quality work done efficiently, having a solid foundation of communication will change your life.

  1.              There’s always a positive

In many cases taking away a positive can be hard to do, especially knee deep in edits and last minute client changes. But taking away at least one positive thing from the situation you find yourself in will help alleviate negative attitudes and unwanted stress.

  1.              Keep calm in a crisis

There are times when you can’t avoid a crisis. But, how you handle the crisis initially can set the tone for how you and your team will overcome it. Having the ability to stay calm when faced with a dilemma will help you in producing the best content possible for your client.

By Taylor Pickle

Four Necessary Elements of a Great Website

Someone's hands typing on a silver laptop with a black keyboard on a wooden table with a cell phone, camera and wallet surrounding the laptop

With technology growing increasingly important in our society, websites have become a big part of marketing. This causes many businesses to just slap something up on the web and hope it works, but there are some techniques to helping your website be more effective. Here are four necessary elements to any great website:

  1.     Aesthetically appealing

Websites need to have a tone that matches the feel of the website. The look of a website is very important; it tells your audience what you are about. For example, at Tender Loving Coffee, a client I have worked with, we spent a lot of time understanding what their company is about before developing their website. They are an inclusive, positive, fresh environment and we wanted their website to reflect those feelings.

  1.     User friendly

A website should be easy to navigate. If your audience cannot figure out how to find the information they need, then it is not a well-designed site. Websites need a simple design for anyone to know how it should work.

  1.     Call to action

If you do not have a purpose for your website, then what is the point? A call to action button or slogan is a vital element to any website. The audience should be directed to complete a task such as: donate to your cause, buy your product or learn information about you. There needs to be a reason for your website to exist or people will just look elsewhere for what they need.

  1.     Mobile-friendly

According to Smart Insights, 71 percent of Americans use the internet on a mobile phone. If your site is unable to be viewed on a phone or other mobile device, then you are missing out on a big demographic. It is very simple to add a media query into your coding when creating a website, and I suggest that you consider that when creating a website.

With so many websites popping up every day, you want your business to stand out. Try out these necessary elements when starting up a great website for you and your business.

 

By: Emily Rench

 

Three Steps Employers Can Take to Shrink the Gender Wage Gap in PR

A zoomed in picture of hundreds of coins

Even though 70.9 percent of public relations professionals are women, women are still getting cheated in the workplace. On average, male PR executives earn $125,000 a year while women make $80,000. The average yearly salary for gender nonconforming individuals and minority women is even lower.
Why are women making less?

Some believe that women choose to work less hours, prefer working jobs that turn out to have lower pay or have docile personalities that make it tough to succeed in higher paying jobs. These beliefs imply that women could shrink the pay gap if they worked harder. While working harder might help some women, it’s unlikely to help others.  Not all women have the time and resources to work harder, longer hours.

What can employers do to shrink the gap?

  1. Offer both parents paid family leave

The US is the only industrialized country in the world that does not provide paid family leave to new parents. Currently, women who cannot afford to take unpaid time off, have to choose between their children and their careers. It’s no surprise that women’s wages decrease by about 4 percent with every child they have. Providing paid parental leave to both parents makes it possible for both parents to share caregiver responsibilities. Mothers who share parental responsibilities equally with their partners have a much easier time balancing their careers with their home life.

  1. Flexible work schedules

Another workplace policy that holds women back is inflexible work schedules. Studies show that fields that offer the most flexibility with work schedules have the smallest gender wage gaps. This is likely because women typically take on more parental responsibilities. Mothers who struggle to balance their caregiver roles with their work schedules typically need more flexible hours. Unfortunately, those flexible positions tend to pay less.

 

For example, a mother might not be able to stay late at the office in attempts to balance her full-time job with her parenting responsibilities. This could require her to take a job that allows her to work from home, even if it pays less. A father with less parental responsibilities might have more time to spare, giving him the freedom to work overtime to make more money and possibly get promoted. Both partners work in PR, but the man has more opportunities to make a higher salary and gain a higher position.

 

PR firms have the opportunity to allow for greater job flexibility by giving employees the opportunity to work from home. This could prevent working mothers from having to quit higher paying jobs to take lower paying positions for more flexible hours. If companies want to help close the gender wage gap, allowing more flexible schedules to accommodate employees with busy home lives could be a solution.

  1. Hold diversity trainings

Employers can organize agency-wide, mandatory diversity trainings to show employees that the organization is committed to an inclusive work atmosphere. Studies show that organizational climates for diversity and sexual harassment are linked to whether or not organizations hold diversity trainings.

 

Diversity trainings can help by increasing individual’s awareness of their biases. This ultimately creates a more inclusive work environment by helping employees be more understanding and supportive of each other’s different backgrounds and home lives.

 

How long will this take?

These three steps won’t solve the problem of unequal pay overnight, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.

Written By: Hannah Stevens