This visit was arranged with the help of GVSU alumnus Leah Burns. Cision of course is the company that provides media contact lists and many other tools for PR professions. The most exciting aspect of this visit for me was learning more about the university program that will allow students access to CisionPoint to do assignments in our media relations class. The company has an impressive outreach with resources for professionals and students alike. They go well beyond databases to provide everything from analytics to industry knowledge on the latest trends. Among the things their staff discussed with students is the need to look not just at media outlets but the social capital of individual journalists--in other words, in addition to the column they write for a newspaper, they have a Twitter following, a blog, and likely are influential in Facebook, Quora and other forums as well. As an example of that, check out JournalistTweets.com to see Cision's aggregated list of journalists on twitter. We also had a good conversation about the right way to approach journalists. Just having their contact info is not enough. You want to make sure you don't get placed on a PR blacklist.
After a short visit to a colleague at DePaul University's College of Communications, I caught up with the students for an obligatory lunch of Chicago pizza. Then our busy day continued...
|Students at Leo Burnett hear from |
alumna Lynseey Roumell and colleagues
The Chicago office of this PR firm is smaller, and senior account executive Joseph Tateoka said he likes the family feeling of the office. They do a lot of consumer, tech and B2B work in Chicago, but often work with people in other RF offices on various types of PR. Tateoka (@jtat) on Twitter, is passionate about reaching out to young professionals. He is a professional advisor for the DePaul PRSSA chapter, and welcomes questions from any PR students. Among his gems of good advice: do multiple internships. This was a recurring theme all day.
We ended the day with a visit to this boutique firm. Cindy Kurman started working for the auto industry more than 25 years ago and now specializes in the restaurant industry, although she and her husband and two staffers work with other clients as well. The informal chat enlightened students on the need to think versus just waiting for instructions (something I stress in classes). They shared one fun example of using an events calendar to tag several restaurant clients in a feature style round-up pitch letter about national margarita day. You can see it yourself, along with all their media work, on the agency's "got buzz" blog.