(From left to right: Alison, Nicole, Lana and Lindsey)
Last term we invited four inspiring UO graduates, pictured above, to speak at our meeting. They shared their experiences with working a 9 to 5 job, offered advice for graduating seniors, and gave us tips for entering the public relations industry. The panelists included Lindsey Kate McCarthy of CAWOOD, Nicole Kramer of Levi’s Strauss & Co., and Lana O’Brien and Alison McClaran of Funk/Levis & Associates.
Each panelist gave us several memorable takeaways:
• Prepare yourself to fail – at least once.
• Tailor your strengths and communication styles when working with a team.
• Interview the company, too, during your job search.
• Keep yourself relevant in the industry, even if it means taking an unpaid internship.
• Foster creative energy even after you graduate.
• Realize that most students don’t come out with portfolios like the “J-school” prepares you for.
One of the panelists, Lindsey Kate McCarthy, offered some advice on succeeding in media relations. Although challenging at times, Lindsey of CAWOOD says that media relations is a favorite part of her job. One benefit of working in a smaller community, such as Eugene, Ore., is getting to know journalists on a first-name basis. The satisfaction of getting a story told is one of the reasons Lindsey enjoys her work as much as she does.
She shared some valuable tips with us on how to successfully reach out to the media:
• Develop relationships with reporters. If you get to know a specific reporter or editor and cultivate a friendly rapport with them, you will be much more likely to get their attention when pitching them a story.
• Curate interesting content. Before writing the pitch, think about what the value is and if it’s community based. Also, is it authentic and innovative?
• Get to the point. Lindsey notes that as publications are cutting back on staff, reporters have stories overflowing their desks and clogging their voicemail. So, make the pitch quick. Tell the reporter why the story is valuable and give them the who, what, where and why.
• Follow up with a phone call. Stating your name isn’t important; tell them what the story is and why it’s valuable for their readers.
Thank you to Lindsey, Nicole, Lana and Alison for sharing their experiences and insights with our agency.