I Heard It From The PR Girl

Advice from the PR Field

Posted in PR Connections by laurynwilliams on March 3, 2010

I have always heard what it is to be a public relations professional. I have heard speakers from the field come and talk to classes I was in, learned from those classes from teachers and textbooks what it means, and even written press releases and organized campaigns and events as experience. What  I have never done is actually interview someone in the public relations field to get their view of what it means to them to be a communications professional.

My sister was a public relations major at Georgia Southern University just like me. She has had many jobs and had much experience, but instead of running to her I just used her connections to find another great source! This is how I met Melissa Leitzsey, Director of Communications and Marketing at Newberry County Chamber of Commerce.

What is a “typical day” for you?

“Well, the ‘typical day’ is a very hard question to answer and one thing I love about this position and the PR field—there is no day that is really typical!”

How would you describe what you do?

“Right now, I’ve been working on the Membership Directory, which is actually a huge undertaking since it is basically having to check each member’s information to make sure it is correct. Other things I do on a regular basis is I have a weekly e-mail newsletter that is sent out on Fridays. I also take care of the events and create an event calendar for the year. I update our website and do many other things as well. I guess you could call me a ‘jack of all trades’ really.”

 What do you believe could be improved your business or in the public relations field  in general?

“What to be improved…well, the problem we face sometimes is how to effectively reach all our populations. There are now so many different methods of communication that it can make it difficult to figure out the best way to communicate. You have to keep yourself up to date with what is going on in current technology, for instance Facebook. Two years ago, I would have laughed if you would have told me that I would use Facebook for work! So, it creates more work since we have to keep up with other avenues as well.”

What advice can you give PR majors like me in preparing for the “real world” of PR?

“Some days are very hectic and others are not as much. I was in your shoes only three years ago, so I understand exactly what you are going through! For me, when I started college, I had every intention of going into journalism and I changed my mind as I started working on the newspaper staff and realized I wanted something that would present me different challenges on a daily basis. I, like you, took a PR writing course and realized I loved doing newsletters, press releases, and decided to do an internship in the Marketing office at the school to get a better feel for the PR world. I loved it! Now, the best advice I can give you right now before I say anything else is to develop and maintain relationships. In the PR world, it is all about who you know and how they can help you. Get your name out there now and make sure that you leave a good first impression since you never know who might be able to help you in the future.”

One of Leitzsey’s projects at her previous position at the Anderson Area Chamber of Commerce was to create (from scratch!) a website for business tools. This is how she met my sister! If anyone would like to check this out feel free to visit the link, or if anyone has any questions for Leitzsey let me know and I will ask or provide you with her contact information.

Have fun publicly relating! =D ha


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