Archive | May, 2010

Thoughts of a public relations pro “newbie”

28 May

[Once again expanding our pool of contributors to PR Musings – this post comes courtesy of our newest employee, account coordinator Gloria Miller, who began life at Red Sky as an intern. – Jess]

It’s interesting studying public relations while simultaneously interning at a public relations agency. You notice similarities between the two but also start to find yourself saying “that’s not what I learned in class.” Here are a few things that I wish I had learned in school, with a little help from my friend Sean Winnett –also a student studying public relations.

1. The importance (and difficulty) of pitching and doing it well. Pitching was briefly covered in our classes but an entire class solely based on pitching would have been helpful – successful pitching is imperative. Pitching wasn’t covered until our upper division PR classes. It is intimidating to most students (okay, all students) and I’m learning now, pitching is about all practice, practice, practice–practice we should have received in class. PR students need to learn not only how to pitch, but the importance of WHO to pitch to.

2. Writing  – It needs to be stressed to students thinking about entering the public relations field how much writing is involved in public relations! I don’t think students are prepared with the proper writing skills when they venture out into the real world of PR.

3. The services that are used by PR pros – such as PRNewswire, PitchEngine, Vocus, Cision, etc. PR students should be familiar with the tools of the trade as they enter the professional PR world. As important as these resources are, I don’t recall even hearing about them during my PR classes. These services have saved my life while working at Red Sky.

These are just a few things that stood out. As my time at Red Sky grows, I’m sure, so will my list.

– Gloria Miller

Lights, Camera, Enter Product Placement

27 May

For those of you who know the world of public relations, you know that our work centers largely around relationship building, crafting important messaging and sometimes naming our first-born child after a reporter (yes, this is a joke), just to secure important editorial coverage. The value of unpaid placements is not often questioned and that is why the new trend in television and film product placement has thrown us all for a bit of a loop.

Television and film viewership numbers often rank in the multi-millions and it is no surprise that clients are jumping at the opportunity to have the newest, hottest A-list celebrity hold and promote their product on camera. The challenge that we as publicists are facing is the blurred line between which of these opportunities are paid, and which are not, and arguing the value for each. For example, the sparkling bling featured on the cast in the movie The Devil Wears Prada is unpaid product placement, the promotion of Ancestry.com in the new celeb series Who Do You Think You Are? is a paid sponsorship, and the episode-long iPad promo on Modern Family a couple of weeks ago, still remains a mystery.

Don’t be fooled by the categories of paid and unpaid product placement. Whether paid or unpaid, the clever weaving of products into a TV or movie script is not just luck. With a lot of proactive effort on the part of a skilled publicist and in some cases the use of pay-for-play as well, these items were carefully selected from a list as long as the Nile River. Brand integration is very competitive and some of us in the public relations business spend years and years developing valuable stylist and set director contacts for a chance to have our client’s newest gadget get its 10-second, famed moment in the spotlight.

So by all means, embrace the value of product placement on camera. Just be prepared to recognize the time and resources involved, and the value of having a qualified publicist to take on this monumental task.

– Samantha O’Lea

We Love… people who help us juggle

13 May

I’m sure we’ve all been witness to the delicate juggle of work and life, with not much time left to dedicate towards healthy habits and personal wellbeing. My husband and I are guilty of ordering takeout on more than one occasion, when we probably should have invested the time in a healthy, balanced meal. I know I have a hard time finding motivation to stare at a gym wall for an hour or so, on the treadmill, after a full work day. And getting up before work, to exercise while the stars are still out? Well, it just isn’t in the cards for me.

I’ve recently been lucky enough to start working with this amazing author and female entrepreneur, Melinda Hinson Neely. She is somewhat of an Everyday Wellness Expert and has miraculously found the perfect balance between good food, fitness and fun. Without sounding too much like a sales ad, as a personal fan I just have to show her a little love with a link to her first book – Finding Life’s Secret Sauce (a light read, definitely worth picking up) and her newly vamped website / blog where dedicated members like me are thrilled to get tips on how to maintain a little bit of our sanity when life spreads us thin!

Melinda also runs marathons throughout the country, so if you’re thinking of taking on the 26-plus mile-long race (I admire your courage) and want a little advice, definitely shoot her a line.

– Samantha O’Lea

(Welcome Red Skyer Samantha to the blog! You’ll start to see a lot more of our agency crew chiming in about things we love, clients, campaigns, musings, etc.)