How One PR Major Found Their PR Passion

How One PR Major Found Their PR Passion by Jessica Delgado

By Jessica Delgado

Before I switched my major, I had no idea what public relations was. I believe that is how it is for a lot of individuals when they first discover or hear the word “public relations.” It wasn’t until one Zoom call with Professor Susan Weisinger who informed me of all the job possibilities within this major. Everything I was describing to her that intrigued me or I was passionate about what I wanted to do for a career was all leading to working in PR. I loved the idea of being able to work in all types of PR. If you wanted to branch out after one type of PR you could. Fashion, entertainment, and crisis management were all the types of PR I’ve always been interested in but didn’t exactly know would lead me to major in Journalism and Public Relations. 

The following semester after I switched my major I was enrolled in JOUR 344: Public Relations Strategy, Jour 444: Job Hunting & Professional Skills for News & PR. Not only were the professors amazing but the knowledge and possibilities I learned from these classes made me realize public relations was perfect for me. It was also that semester that I was enrolled in Jour 344 a.k.a “TGC.” Where I was able to get real hands-on experience in PR working with clients. 

“It’s PR not ER” 

Now in my second semester in Tehama Group Communications at Chico State and four client accounts later. Being in TGC helped educate and strengthen my knowledge in public relations. From working with real-life clients, learning how to create strategy briefs, media lists, social media calendars, guide weekly meetings with my teams and clients, to site visits to visit real public relations agencies.  The guidance and skills I’ve learned while being in this internship really has set me up for post-grad. 

This semester (Spring 2023) I was an account executive for one of our clients, Krood and an assistant account executive for our Asian American Studies account. For Krood, one of our main goals was to grow our social media platforms by creating new content for our client. We posted 5x a week on our Instagram and Facebook and made a TikTok account. We also worked on influencer outreach, small boutique outreach, merchandise, and candle campaigns for new candle releases. The Asian American Studies account was started from the ground up. Our team designed their logo, created their Instagram account, tabling points for on-campus events, designed their future website copy, and we were also able to get our client into Chico State’s newspaper, The Orion, which highlighted the importance of Asian American Heritage Month.  

From taking journalism classes to being in TGC, my time has been filled with so much growth, knowledge and amazing education. I would not be where I am today without my peers and mentors. Being in TGC, I have made so many lasting connections that have allowed me to gain opportunities that I don’t think I would have gained elsewhere. 

Non-Profit PR: Gaining Visibility Through Storytelling

Image of a typewriter with an orange background, text that says “Non-profit PR: Gaining Visibility Through Storytelling”

By Stephen Taylor

The non-profit industry is full of selfless people. Some common attributes in non-profit workers are passion, kindness and activism. The goal of non-profit companies is for the benefit of society. As a public relations major, I can contribute to this goal through storytelling.

Storytelling humanizes a brand. By giving your company personality, you make it easier for people to connect with you emotionally.

A story is a combination of facts and emotions. Companies tend to focus on factual elements to be effective storytellers in the business sense, but you must also find a way to weave emotion into the narrative and bring your story to life. Any goal where the right message and content might make a difference is an opportunity for storytelling.

Storytelling is an extremely important basis for any company, but especially for non-profits. Non-profit organizations can evoke large amounts of empathy from their target audiences because of the nature of their work yet they may have very limited resources. 

According to a public relations website, Wild Apricot, “In the U.S., just over 2% of non-profits account for 90% of all revenue in the sector.” 

Not having the funds to run large marketing campaigns is largely due to poor storytelling. This leads to lower engagement and lower donor rates. An important way to combat this is to develop a storytelling strategy that aligns with the values of your brand. 

“Any goal where the right message and content might make a difference is an opportunity for storytelling.”

The first step to developing a storytelling strategy is creating guidelines to determine the story you want to tell. It is important to use language that describes what you want your company to be known for. 

For example:

Are you a loving and tender non-profit that helps save the bees?


Are you a stern and progressive non-profit that fights to save the bees?

Both of these address the issue of saving the bees, but the language used is entirely different. This is an opportunity to separate yourself from other companies. 

Brand Guidelines

The next step is building your brand identity statement. This is a company’s agreed upon way of how they present itself across all platforms. At its core, a brand guideline will outline what colors and fonts to use, as well as when to use assets such as logos or other art. An example is Asana, who fit their entire brand guide on one webpage.

A great brand guideline will outline how the company talks about itself. Think of it as the key message that will be woven into your storytelling piece. An example here is Urban Outfitters, who crafted a brand book detailing their mission and exemplifying their brand.

Gaining Visibility

After you have your key messages and brand cemented, getting your mission out to your target audiences is the next step. It is important to utilize the press. For newsworthy events or releases, having a good relationship with your local news stations can only benefit you. 

Prepare a pitch of what your company stands for so journalists get clear facts and information. Demonstrate a vision of how your organization benefits the public, and why it is important enough to be covered. Passion begets passion. If you are able to convince the journalist you are contacting to care about your cause, then you can develop a lasting relationship.

There are many opportunities to bolster your relationship with the media. Small actions such as sending a calendar of events or meeting for a meal can be mutually beneficial for all parties involved. Once you establish a strong relationship, it becomes much easier to generate visibility for your organization.

The non-profit industry needs more public relations assistance. Helping to connect passionate people to great stories is a public service. I hope to use storytelling and the public relations skills I have developed at Chico State to help heal the earth.

Sports in PR

Colorful design with a football, baseball, bowling ball, and tennis ball. Heading "Sports in PR News Blog" By Josh Mannix

By Josh Mannix

Public Relations within the sports industry has become an essential aspect of a team’s or athlete’s popularity amongst fans. 

By getting athletes PR representation, they gain immeasurable benefits in their own personal brand. PR gives athletes the inside track with reporters as well as brand deals and other opportunities.

PR is essential for teams as it attracts loyal fans for generations through commercials, icons, mascots and more. Even when a team is rebuilding its roster, good PR will keep the fan base patient and reassure their trust in the organization. However, bad PR can have the opposite effect on both players and teams.

Here are four examples of sports PR that helped players, teams and brands successfully market themselves to the public in unique,effective ways:

  1. Nike and Serena Williams

Nike and Serena Williams are one of the best examples of a mutually beneficial PR partnership that has been wildly successful for decades. Serena Williams is a world-class athlete and Nike is an internationally recognizable brand – together they are a force to be reckoned with.  

Nike has used Serena’s likeness in countless ads since she first signed with them at age 21. In turn, she has become not only an icon on the court but a fashion icon off of it thanks to her popular line of clothing with the brand. 

Serena Williams Nike Ad

  1. Lebron James “The Decision”

In 2010 Lebron James was a free agent for the first time in his career. Rather than make his decision in private like every other player has done he decided to make his decision into a hour long TV special on ESPN. While this was already a questionable decision he would also be announcing that he would be leaving his hometown team for Miami.

The reaction to this from fans all over the country was not good to say the least. It was particularly bad in his home state of Ohio as not only were they losing the best athlete to ever play in Ohio but they were also forced to watch an hour long special about it. James’ decision would turn him into a villain throughout the league for the next few years until ultimately returning back to Ohio and restoring his reputation.

LeBron James Makes His Decision: Miami

“PR is essential for teams as it attracts loyal fans for generations through commercials, icons, mascots and more.”

  1. Savannah Bananas

While the Savannah Banana baseball team has no affiliation with any professional baseball organization, they have made waves with their social media use. Before their exhibition games, the team will dance, do stunts and entertain before pitches or in the middle of a play. This has never been seen before in the league. 

Their energy has made them a force on social media with over 1 million followers on Instagram. Meanwhile, professional teams like the San Francisco Giants only have around 400,000 more followers! Even more impressive, minor league baseball teams like the Sacramento River Cats can’t even break 60,000 followers. 

Savannah Bananas Instagram 

  1. Under Armor Micheal Phelps “Rule Yourself”

The Michael Phelps “Rule Yourself” campaign is a great example of how you can strike an emotional chord with sports PR. Phelps, widely considered the best swimmer in history and the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time, was gearing up for his last Olympics in 2016.he melancholy music mixed with the realistic training they showed in his ad helped his image feel authentic. 

The ad was effective with tests showing that it did strike an emotional chord with young men ages 18-35, a difficult demographic to connect with . This also began a successful series for Under Armor as appearances from other athletes like Steph Curry and Tom Brady were represented.

Michael Phelps Rule Yourself Ad

  1. Cincinnati Reds Owner Opening Day Comments

This story is a perfect example of what not to do when the team you own is going through a painstaking rebuilding process. The Reds are one of major league baseball’s oldest and most successful franchises however in the past few years they have been struggling greatly. When the owner was interviewed last April about what fans should do during this difficult time he replied with “Are you going to abandon being a Reds fan? Are you going to abandon following this team?”

This was one of the worst ways he could have answered this question as for many fans their reaction was to do just what he challenged them to do. PR in sports is unique due to the emotional connection many fans have with their team and when someone is obviously taking advantage of that fans notice.

Article on Reds owner after statements

  1. Buffalo Bills Instagram 

While past brands tried to keep a strong, stoic and serious identity, the Buffalo Bills decided to embrace what many people would describe as ‘meme culture’ on their social media accounts. 

The team would follow wins with  videos of merged game moments and interviews to refresh the attention to their work.. While the videos didn’t always make sense, they were often received to the public’s delight. They were reposted over similar social media platforms and eventually led to other teams copying their format.

Buffalo Bills Instagram

We Are PR, We Are TGC


By Eve Miller

Tehama Group Communications is a community of PR professionals that was created in the late 1980s. Since it first opened in 1990, TGC has allowed thousands of students to come together in a team environment where they work directly with real clients to create PR strategies and take on responsibilities for client projects from start to finish.

With new clients each semester, TGC staffers are able to have hands-on experience that only select university students get. Of the 23 CSU campuses, only ten have student-run PR firms, with TGC being one of the first. 

Tehama Group Communications has started many students’ careers. It teaches them hard skills, such as email marketing or running a campaign, and soft skills, like working with different types of people or pushing through when things go wrong. 

TGC alums work in positions that range from vice presidents to entry-level workers. As the community of staffers continues to grow, alumni of all ages, all over the world, are willing to help others with tips and tricks, even finding open positions within their prospective field. 

Now more than ever, Tehama Group Communications is highlighting the significant number of past, present and future students and how we can all come together as one. Each student who has walked through the door to Tehama 310 is unique and has their own skills. 

No matter who they are, one thing is for sure. We are PR. The slogan ‘#WeArePR’ was created last semester by the TGC public relations team as a way to bring staffers together through our shared career paths.

As an agency, we are creative, we are professional, and most importantly, we are family.

This Giving Day on March 1, TGC aims to raise $6,000 to help keep the program running. All donations will go towards a multitude of things such as:

  • Funding the TGC student scholarship
  • Sponsoring monetary awards for student leaders
  • Maintaining TGC site visit opportunities
  • Serving pro bono clients
  • Providing gifts to our alumni guest speakers

All donations, no matter how small, make a difference in helping the agency thrive. It helps set up generations of staffers for a better future. 

Whether you were a part of the agency in 1990, a recent graduate or a future staff member, you are a part of something bigger than yourself. Mattie Orloff, a spring 2022 graduate of Chico State and the PR Director for her last semester in TGC, says she still feels connected to the program.

“I grew a lot. When I joined TGC, that’s when I started to really take my education and career seriously…I still follow my old TGC coworkers on social media and keep up with the TGC Instagram,” says Orloff. 

Orloff received a job offer from The Hatch Agency in San Francisco a week before graduating and was recently promoted from her six-month internship to a full-time position. With at least three TGC alumni, The Hatch and other firms like it are becoming familiar with the TGC community, showing how connected we are. 

Orloff, many other alums, and even current students of Tehama Group Communications, have been given the opportunity to learn and grow in various ways. Each position within the agency is crucial to making TGC run smoothly. Ranging from graphic designers and videographers to account executives and general managers, students’ different skills play a huge part in creating PR strategies and plans for clients each semester. 

Butte College IDEAA team meeting.
Photo by Eve Miller

One of our recurring clients, The Butte College Office of Inclusivity, Diversity, Equality, Accessibility and Anti-Racism, asks the team to work on creating stories for their newsletter. By reaching out for interviews and producing their own images, the team creates quality writing to add to their resumes while staying on top of their client’s social media platforms.

Taking on anywhere from four to six clients a semester, TGC aims for excellence in each team. This semester, the agency has six clients, with each staffer assigned to two clients. 

Whether the teams are helping Krōōd with their upcoming campaigns and outreach or assisting Chico State’s Asian American Studies department in creating a logo and gaining enrollment, each team is constantly improving their skills. No matter their starting skill level, all staffers grow and become part of the family at Tehama Group Communications. 

Current General Manager, Skylar Trostinksy looks back on her time in TGC.

“Not only has TGC given me the tools to better my future as a PR professional, but it’s provided me with a community of life-long friends and connections,” she says, while noting how corny it sounds. “I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be general manager this semester and grow my leadership skills one day at a time.” 

Having been a part of TGC for two semesters now, Trostinsky has been able to watch herself and others grow into the PR professionals that the agency strives for. 

Tehama Group Communications has brought a sense of belonging to many. It’s a safe place for anyone willing to work hard and grow their skills. 

Not only do you learn who you are as a professional during your time here in TGC, but also as a person and worker. You create long-lasting friendships you didn’t know you needed. Once you step into Tehama Room 310, it doesn’t matter your background or your aspirations, you work together as a team in the present without worrying about the past or future. 

As an agency, we are creative, we are professional and most importantly, we are family.

A Moment Of Self Reflection

Sketch by Marc Mercado

By Marc Mercado

I remember when I switched my studies from concrete industry management (CIM) to interior architecture my freshman year. Even the architecture advisor questioned why I wanted to switch programs considering how successful CIM is.

That was the reason why I chose CIM for my academic career at Chico State. At that point in my life, I was driven by the expectations others set for me, with hopes of leaping over the poverty line. It only took the introductory course to push myself to look into other avenues– if this was going to be my full-time career I needed something more;

I was on a line: “to be a concrete man, or to know that I can [succeed without sacrificing]”.

With a minor in theatre arts, I looked forward to pursuing a program that included media arts. I came across the Media, Art, Design and Technology department, researched the major advisors, and I got in touch with Jennifer Meadows.

I hoped that she would be able to tell that I was lost and this was where I belonged, but my path continued to change and after that meeting, I kept looking. I was honestly intimidated by something new.

I thought, “if I’m worried about learning new skills/software in this academic path, then why not look for something that already encompasses my own skills and knowledge?”

Then I found interior architecture, so I figured, I know how to draw, I love design, and this will also satisfy two important areas of my life: family expectations and financial goals. There was much to love about this major, and to this day, I look back and wonder what life would have been like.

  Int. Architecture sketches by Marc

Fall was turning into winter. I was burning up and freezing at the same time; during this time my mental health was declining so during break, I flew to Mexico. Being outside of the country where I studied and worked felt incredibly liberating, I was surrounded by the beautiful Michoacán coast, the most blue skies and the greenest plants. This place is a sanctuary to me, it’s where I spent most of my childhood.

Playa Chuquiapan by Marc Mercado

A month turned into one more night and then I was in the sky, flying back “home”. There was still a lot of healing to be done, I hadn’t spent time thinking about the things I was still dealing with, but at least had a new academic plan.

It’s Junior Year, the first semester is a breeze, I joined AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) and felt comfort knowing I was part of a design community. I forgot to mention that every time I went to academic advising for my major changes, I had to do all the “figuring it out” and show up with a plan. The absolute best advice I got was from a friend, Luciana, who encouraged me to pursue this graphic design path.

The second semester was unexpected. My confidence level in this new program was low, but I knew I was still learning. I felt like I wasn’t doing enough “graphic design” and was still figuring out how I could find passion in this form of art and design. During this semester there were many new professors in the department and talks about how some would say “ you should’ve learned X in Jane Doe’s class”. The unveiling of Chico State’s rebrand happened during the same time students in our program were being told they wouldn’t be able to graduate on time due to class shortages and the entirety of at least two classes emailed the department with concerns about a discourteous professor.

With all this going on, I wasn’t sure of my place here at Chico State. The more I fell in love with graphic design, and learned about how to use it to communicate, to express and to create art, the more I saw how unimportant I was to my university. I turned my cheek and saw the Academy of Arts in San Francisco. Immediately, I began planning; I reached out and began the application process.

I was on the phone with Chico State but they kept me on hold. The Academy was ringing but the minutes were too expensive. I felt like I needed better guidance, I needed professors that cared, a campus that recognized my passion. I was going to end up paying more out of pocket than I ever did at Chico and could tell that my ambition was too much for my family, for our bank accounts. It was only going to be an online program anyway.

A letter was sent to my address, from the Academy. I got in, it all came down to the story I wanted to tell:

Work with what I’m given and persevere? Or succumb to a for-profit school and find myself in a worse financial situation?

Clearly, I chose the former option. It’s like this mantra I heard some years back about how a good artist can work under any circumstance.

Projects done by Marc Mercado
Projects done by Marc Mercado
Projects done by Marc Mercado
Projects done by Marc Mercado

Creativity in Five Stages

By Brooke Larsen

Every piece of art, whether it is a portrait drawing or a billboard, goes through a series of phases called the creative process. This structured process can be followed for any type of project that you work on. Every person has their own take on how they express their creativity, so the structure may vary and some steps may look different from individual to individual. The main steps in creating a finished project are preparation, incubation, illumination, evaluation, and verification (How to Improve Creativity).

1. Preparing

Preparing your work of art is defined as coming up with the ideas and researching the given subject (How to Improve Creativity). This can be simply drawing out  sketches, looking at Pinterest pictures, or putting together a mood board to get yourself going in the right direction. This stage of the creative process may take some trial and error, but that is normal. Maybe the first mood board you create does not fit the route your organization wants to take. You can go back to the drawing board and tweak your research. When Graphic Designers are coming up with ideas for a logo or a symbol in the preparation stage, hundreds of sketches are made. You may have fifty variations of the same concept to show to your client.

2. Incubation

The second stage of the creative process is incubation. Incubation is known as the breaks you take from your project and the creative process all together (How to Improve Creativity). This step is actually very important to take because artists tend to work better with a clear look on their work. When I am on hour three of creating a portrait for a client, my vision towards the given image seems to distort and I find myself hating the drawing. That is when incubation is the most important. After taking a break from the work, I am able to come back and see clearly what the piece needs and where I need to go with it.

3. Illumination

The next stage is illumination, also known as the “Eureka” stage (How to Improve Creativity). After taking a break from your work, coming back to it with a fresh mind allows the ideas to flow naturally. I see this stage coming into play when I start to make erase marks on charcoal drawings of animals. Before, the drawing is flat with simple shadows, but once the fur on the animal starts to pop, illumination begins. I find myself obsessed with the piece and I start to get into a rhythm of sorts. Creating the fine lines and textures of the portraits makes the image come to life and all of a sudden, I am in love with the drawing again.

4. Evaluation

The fourth step when creating a work of art is the evaluation stage. This is when your art is nearly finished or your idea is just about solidified (How to Improve Creativity). You take your piece or that idea and weigh it against others (How to Improve Creativity). You may show your work to peers and they can give you a different outlook on the project. When I am nearly done with a portrait, I like to show it to my friends and family and get feedback on what they see. I am then able to take their ideas to make my piece better than it was before.

“You have worked so hard preparing your ideas and getting feedback from your peers, and now you get to show it to the world.”

5. Verification

Last but not least, the verification stage. This is when your work comes to life. You have worked so hard preparing your ideas and getting feedback from your peers, and now you get to show it to the world. Your client is able to see the final product. This process may become tedious, but it all pays off when you receive that check.

The Application of Education After Graduation

By Gabby French

In the height of the Coronavirus pandemic, Prin Mayowa who had a job canceled on her due to the pandemic, instead of moping decided to be proactive in building her portfolio. Along this journey, she wrote and published a book to add to her success.

Prin, a 2016 graduate of Journalism and Public Relations at Chico State talks to us about her journey since leaving Tehama Group Communications. When the time finally came after graduation, Prin found her first job just by connections, she reached out to a fellow Tehama Group Communications alum from the previous semester and got a job working in an agency in Santa Monica.

She did not stay at the agency long but still had a great experience and got her first taste of working in the entertainment industry. The environment at the agency was great but there was not a wide range of diversity, which ended up being a huge part of Prin’s career. Entertainment and music was not what she had always envisioned for herself, she wanted to start in fashion when she was still in college.

She had interned at a small boutique firm called Reach the Masses, and from there, grew and realized that is not exactly where she wanted to land. In 2017 she worked as a publicist’s assistant for Jim Gaffigan and Judd Apatow. After working that job she said that she saw the very dark sides of the entertainment industry. 

After only working there for a short period of time, Prin decided to create her own PR firm. She partnered up with a past colleague from Reach the Masses who had a background in marketing, and together they formed Broken Clock Public Relations.

“School only gives you the tools, it is up to you to use them and adapt, what you learn in the classroom is just the foundation.”

– Prin Mayowa

It took them a little while to gain traction, but after reaching out to different establishments, they finally landed their first client! A winery in Burbank, it started out amazing but they ran into a very big problem. After working with this winery for about two months, they were fired and all their intellectual property was stolen by this winery.

They kept all reports and newsletters that Prin and her partner created for them and used them all after they were fired. Getting fired was a big hit for them and they had to pause and take a look at their company. They did a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis on themselves and decided to get back in the field after. 

From there, they landed one more client, Plunge, an ocean front restaurant in Long Beach, California. At this time, Prin’s partner decided that this was no longer a good fit for her and decided to leave the firm.

With her partner choosing to walk away, it now became Prin’s responsibility to work with their clients and focus on both PR and marketing. It was at this time in her career path where the music industry came into her view.

Prin was introduced to the industry while working with the winery in Burbank, when an artist who had performed at the location had reached out to her. The artist was impressed with the way Prin wrote, and was hoping that Prin would work with her for even a small rate. This was her first taste of the music industry. Prin decided that she wanted to just work with the artist Tamika, so she finished and closed out all her accounts.

“The way you exit any situation says more about your character,” Prin said.

Prin worked with Tamika for a while, and ended up becoming her head manager. Tamika was asked to audition on The Voice two times, and after some time Prin decided it was her time to move on to strictly PR or marketing jobs.

She found herself working for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, which was a shock to her because she was not very familiar with that type of musical background. Prin worked closely in promotional efforts for them, including activism and social justice. This was important to her, so when the Los Angeles Philharmonic wanted to create a musical center in Inglewood, Prin spoke up and voiced her concerns with that. She thought that they first had to establish themselves in that community before just taking over a space. They created community outreach events so that people could get familiar with them before creating that space. 

You can now find Prin working with Hip Hop DX as a social media coordinator,  who is in line to be a social media manager. Her advice to upcoming graduates: 

“School only gives you the tools, it is up to you to use them and adapt, what you learn in the classroom is just the foundation,” Prin concludes.

Pitching Media In Unsettling Times

By Marlyn Angeles

With a large majority of students and employees working remotely, people have much more time on their hands to read subscription magazines and catch up on their favorite blogs. However, many businesses are struggling to keep their brand and product in the eyes of potential clients. Pitching brands is a very necessary but risky tactic during the pandemic. An example of how one can come off tone deaf during sensitive times is David Geffen’s salutation Instagram post from his escape to the Grenadines on his reported $590 million yacht to avoid the coronavirus. He received backlash from users through both Instagram and Twitter that found the post insensitive to the fact that many are facing unemployment and businesses are suffering while he was able to escape the virus. 

Lauren Reed, the founder of Reed Public Relations, a firm in Nashville with dining, tourism and fitness clients, asserts that “How brands appear to the world during this pandemic could impact how people see them for years to come, good and bad.”

Media pitching is crucial for companies to keep business afloat and in turn helps the economy when it is being hit hard. Before diving into how to pitch media during the pandemic, I want to define what pitching is. Simply put, a media pitch is a short, personalized message that outlines the value of a story and explains why it should be published. It is an attempt to get a journalist, editor or media outlet interested in your news so they decide to cover it. It is usually 150 words long but can reach up to 400 words. There is a thin line between being relevant and insensitive, so it is important that you keep the following tips in mind to create a good pitch during this time. Spin Sucks highlights these tips in a blog by Michael Smart: Five Ways to Successfully (and Sensitively) Pitch Media Right Now.

Who are you pitching to?

In a struggle to keep brand relevance, it is important that you focus on who or which media outlet will publish a story that promotes your brand while addressing the public’s needs. Aim to target the right journalist that will help maintain your brand or company in the public’s eye in a setting that is relevant to your brand. Pitching a new line of makeup cosmetics may be more relevant to the editor of a fashion publication than a New York Times reporter. . It is important to note that your pitch and topic don’t have to be specifically COVID-19 focused, such as Dove’s Courage is Beautiful campaign. Staying within a relevant media organization helps your brand blend in.

Location of where you’re pitching

Many cities around the country are following guidelines regarding COVID-19 activities. Confirmed cases are the biggest indicator of whether restaurants or other establishments can open their doors. Targeting publications in states that have loosened restrictions could help reach your target audience whereas promoting in a more restricted area may limit opportunities. Pitching your travel company’s list of best places to visit in a city where people are barely leaving their homes may not be the smartest. Where the media outlet you are trying to reach is located is just as important as which  type of media organization you choose. 

Strengthening core pitching skills 

While it is important to strategize, empathize and plan out how your company will come off as relevant and sensitive during a pandemic, sharpening your pitching skills will help you navigate this challenge. Muckrack states the importance of how you contact journalists and at what time during the day. In a survey conducted by Muckrack, 93% of journalists just want to receive a 1:1 email pitch from a PR agency or company. About 65% of journalists prefer to be pitched before 11 am. Results also demonstrated the top three reasons journalists reject otherwise relevant pitches; lack of personalization, bad timing and being too lengthy. PR professionals should keep it short at about 2-3 paragraphs but also personalize why your story fits that specific writer and the publication itself.  Use these tips when you organize your next media pitch and dissolve the chances of an insensitive post backfiring on you and your company.

A Starting Point for Company Culture

By Clare Brady

One of the keys to a healthy company is its culture. If employees feel valued, included and engaged, it’s likely it will be reflected in the quality of their work. Looking at today’s workforce, employment and company relationships are changing. Taking the time to create a solid, consistent workplace culture not only makes your employees feel valued, but can also save the company money.

According to a recent study done by The Engagement Institute, disengaged employees can cost companies up to $550 billion a year and 95% of the study’s 1,500 respondents reported feeling disengaged with their company. 

What can a company do to create a healthy company culture? 

Create a Clear Mission Statement 

This will be the foundation for all employees. It defines the purpose and intended path the company is taking to reach their goals. Being united behind a strong mission statement is the first step in assuring everyone is connected and motivated.

Define Core Values 

Similar to a mission statement, the core values of a company will be the building blocks of a strong company culture. Values such as honesty, innovation, respect and many more are all great examples. These have a unique function in defining the company’s brand. With the right set of core values, companies can attract and keep talented employees. lists thirty-six core values here.

Write a Company Culture Statement

If the mission statement and the core values are the foundation, then the company culture statement is the framework of the house. This is a simple statement that encompaces how employees live out the mission statement and core values of the company. Examples of this include, “people first” or “learn more.”

Hold everyone accountable

Creating and maintaining a set of expectations for employees takes some time. There will be a learning curve for new employees, but once they understand what is expected of them, they will eventually lead by example as the company grows. It’s inevitable that people will make mistakes and an appropriate, constructive response to those mistakes is something else employees will learn. 

Be Consistent

It’s important for leadership and management to stand by the company’s mission statement, core values and culture statement, so that employees can continue to have an example to follow. This will ensure employees feel valued and encouraged to do their best work. 

When done well, the work to create a good company culture has great benefits. Maryville University shares that a strong culture improves the reputation of a company, promotes employee retention and increases productivity. We all work together, why not make it a positive experience?

Four PR Lessons I Learned Studying Abroad

By Chase McDaniel

When I embarked on my journey overseas, I did not know that my experience would not only make me a more well-rounded person, but also a better public relations student! 

Studying overseas has many fantastic benefits. From experiencing new cultures, trying new things, and making friends from around the world, it’s no wonder why students are so eager to set foot abroad. When I embarked on my journey to The Hague, the Netherlands, I did not know that my experience would not only make me a more well-rounded person, but also a better public relations student. 

Teamwork makes the dream work

Teamwork is a significant part of university culture in the Netherlands. Professors have their students complete a ton of group projects throughout the semester, so team involvement is crucial. At the university I attended, they require all 120 plus exchange students to take a Dutch Culture and Society course. In this class, the university pairs you with seven other exchange students, all from different countries. The course forces you to leave the comfort of your home country friends and work with new faces from across the globe. I worked with students from Russia, the Netherlands, France, Portugal, and Malaysia and can now call many of them friends. As a team, we worked on multiple group projects throughout the semester, experienced field trips, and presented our work for a final project. This trip showed me what excellent teamwork looks like. When a group works together as a team and plays to each member’s strengths, it allows for a more manageable and enjoyable time. It also set the standard for my future groups in PR classes and has ultimately made me a better leader across campus and in those groups.

Plan, Plan, Plan!

Planning is one of the most vital steps in the public relations process and is just as important to your travels abroad. Planning a trip abroad requires a lot of time and patience, where you have to spend hours on research, ticket buying and itinerary building. For my Dutch Culture and Society course, I had to plan a group field trip. For this field trip, I had to research relevant places to go, the best modes of transport, the cost of tickets and any other key factors necessary for a successful trip. I had to ensure that we stayed within budget and allotted a time where everyone could attend. Overall, the field trip was a success, and my group members commended me for the great time we had! Planning this field trip and other trips gave me real-world experience in planning, and I think it deserves credit for my success later on in the workplace.

Adapt, or else!

Nothing screams getting out of your comfort zone more than being in a foreign place with strangers, a new language and a totally different way of life. So all of a sudden, simply getting through the day becomes the ultimate boot camp of accommodation. From lost luggage on my first day, a pickpocket encounter, to the language barrier, missed trains, exam troubles, and multiple banking setbacks, I had to do more than just hope that everything would turn out okay. I had to adapt. There is always an underlying sense of uncertainty present when studying in a place foreign to you. Learning to adapt is almost a requirement and shaped me as a student, traveler and global citizen. Not only that but learning this adaptability factor has allowed me to grow in my personal and professional endeavors.

Confidence is key

Agility PR argues that confidence is the top soft skill needed to succeed in PR regardless of title or how many years you have under your belt. After studying abroad, I found myself much more confident in my abilities. I was able to not only communicate better in meeting situations, but I was also more confident in myself. Being abroad makes you uncomfortable; you don’t know the language, the people, or your way around. You are forced to make connections with people you normally wouldn’t and realize that you have all these abilities you never even knew you had. Not only this but studying abroad in college is a huge selling point to distinguish you from other candidates in the hunt for a career. Having this experience is not only a confidence booster, but it’s a resume booster too!