If you don’t already know, public relations is a fast-paced, detail-oriented field. From writing press releases to pitching media to planning client events– it’s important to make sure you're prepared to jump into the realm of PR head-first. And, if you’re not, you can be. As an upcoming college senior, there are several things I have learned to do religiously that will prepare me for a future in the industry.
Go to bed early (and wake up early).
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “The early bird gets the worm.” Well, that’s true in all aspects of life, but certainly in public relations. Waking up early gives you more time to, well, get sh*t done. But it also eliminates grogginess and lack of motivation as you begin your workday. Give yourself ample time to get out of bed, enjoy your morning brew and do something you love before heading into the office. Getting into the habit of a steady sleep routine is crucial for your overall well-being, but also as you prepare for your future full-time gig (being punctual is a requirement!)
Watch the news.
Not many twenty-somethings watch the news anymore – but if you don’t watch, at least read. Staying up-to-date on current events is crucial in the PR industry. There could be news that your brand or client could benefit from commenting on, or (and I hope this isn’t the case) there could be a crisis occurring that will negatively impact your brand or client. Other 21-year-olds might think it’s weird to get breaking CNN updates and The Daily Skimm (my favorite news source), but I enjoy staying on top of what’s happening in the world (and you just might, too).
Seriously – whenever you get the chance, just write. The more you write, the more you will polish your skills, broaden your internal dictionary and prepare yourself for all those emails you’ll have to pen on a daily basis. Plus, strong writing always looks good in your portfolio. If you’re a college student reading this, I highly recommend The Odyssey, which is a social news platform reaching millions of college-aged students across the country. It’s a great resource for getting your work shared. If you’re interning, offer to write blog posts for the company website.
Get used to proofreading everything. 100 times.
Like I said, PR is heavily detail-oriented. Get in the habit of proofreading things now. Then, proofread again. And, proofread some more. Mark Twain said, “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter.” Grammatical errors in your writing will turn off both employers and editors you’re pitching. It’s not uncommon for even the best writers to find errors after multiple scans. That’s why you should always have someone else proofread your work as well. A second set of eyes can do wonders.
Do something you love.
It’s easy to get sucked into the duties that work entails, and then go home to make dinner, finish your homework and somehow try to squeeze in the gym. Find a hobby that you love and one that will grow with you. Whether it’s yoga, reading or photography, commit yourself every day to something other than work for at least an hour. Your mentality will change, and you’ll notice a decrease in your stress level.
LinkedIn, PRSA, on-campus clubs, guest speakers – enough said. Any opportunity you have to network, take it. I’m thankful for all the connections I have made with my colleagues at Hollywood. You might be tempted to stay reserved – don’t. Break out of your shell, talk to your colleagues and peers. The knowledge that a more experienced professional can give you is invaluable. My advice to you is to engage in a conversation whenever you can, whether you’re grabbing coffee with someone or just passing them by on the way to the copier.
Entering the real world can be scary, but in an industry as exciting as this one, you can (and should) get ready for it by staying committed and enthusiastic. Upcoming grads, what tips do you have for preparing for a career in PR?
- Jaimee Geoffrey-White
Someone wise once said, “Work hard, play hard.” There’s no doubt working hard is in our veins at Hollywood. But in February, I had the opportunity to unplug (literally – I only had one hour of internet access for seven days) and explore the beautiful country of Cuba. Though it was more of a personal vacation, the new rules for Americans visiting Cuba are still a little hazy. To that end, “journalistic purposes” is the perfect excuse for a much-needed adventure, so I’m here to report on my first experience in the Latin American country.
Of my seven days in Cuba, I spent four in Havana, two in Varadero and one in Vinales. Havana is just like you imagine it from movies and TV shows. Run-down buildings, brightly colored cars from the 50s and 60s, and rich culture everywhere. I was amazed at how many families line the Malecon, the main road through Havana, at night to socialize. Cuban dancing is also a staple of the culture, and men, women and children can be found dancing in the streets at any hour (kind of like the agency team here at our new standing desks).
For a more relaxing Cuban experience, I headed to Varadero, a beach town about two hours west of Havana. Two days in Varadero, on one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen, was just enough relaxation in between busy touring days. There isn’t much to do besides sit in the sand, but the view made it more than worthwhile.
On one of my final days there, I took a day trip to Vinales, a valley two hours east of Havana. Recently named one of the most beautiful places in the Caribbean, Vinales was by far my favorite spot in Cuba. I would highly recommend horseback riding through the valley. My guide even brought us to a private tobacco hut, where the owners rolled cigars and fixed coffee from their own beans. The scenery was spectacular, but so was simply being immersed in the local lifestyle.
For those considering a trip to Cuba (because we can do that now!), here are a few of my tips and recommendations:
Everyone needs to get away once in a while. If you’re looking for a trip that promises uniqueness and vintage charm, I’d recommend Cuba. But, hurry! Rumor has it that Old Havana has already started to Americanize, and those old-fashioned cars aren’t going to last forever.
- Beth Gibbons
This is a big year for our agency. We’ll be rolling out some exciting announcements soon, but it’s time to spill one of our latest developments. In January, I packed my bags and relocated to San Francisco to build out our agency’s presence on the west coast. My professional goals? Pursue new business and eventually hire a team. Personal goals? Enjoy a welcomed change of scenery and experience all this beautiful city has to offer.
Despite San Francisco’s obvious allure – California! Warm weather! Beaches! Hiking! Napa! Food! Yoga! – it’s a strategic move for our company. Not only is Silicon Valley an innovation hotbed, ripe for new business opportunity, but it’s also home to the exact kind of potential clientele we’re after – brilliant entrepreneurs disrupting their markets and changing the way we live, work and play. We’re searching for change-makers, passionate innovators who are on a mission to create businesses that make our lives better in some way. It’s no surprise that pursuing technology clients will be a big focus.
These first two months have been a blur (in the best way). I’ve coordinated approximately 35 networking meetings, met some amazing PR superstars in the Bay Area, attended a kickass PR party at Voce Communications, enjoyed a theme party hosted by Google execs, have become friends with stellar VCs, eaten delectable food, and met some all-around amazing, inspiring, friendly people.
Over the last two years, I’ve enjoyed giving back to my local PR community via PRSA Boston, so I wanted to find a cause in my new city as well. While attending the Startup Grind conference for our client, Harvard Business School’s HBX, I met the inspiring women of SheWorx. SheWorx is a global collective of ambitious female entrepreneurs redefining leadership. They’re on a mission that I very much support – to create a world driven by gender parity in entrepreneurial leadership. I’ll be lending pro-bono PR support to them and have already jumped right in. In fact, check out this Wall Street Journal feature story I helped them land (humble brag). Tune into my Twitter feed (@brooksbwallace) for more of our progress.
The entrepreneurial energy in this city is palpable. It can be overwhelming at times (it seems that everyone and their mother has started a business or is solving world hunger), but it’s a contagious environment to be part of, and I’m thankful to be here.
Speaking of thankful, I owe a big thanks to our femmeboss, Darlene, for trusting me to embark on this journey. It’s just another example of how fearless we are as an agency, and as a team. I’m always impressed by the amount of big ideas we have circulating on any given day. This bi-coastal agency pipe dream was one of them, and in 2017, we made it reality. It certainly fosters an exciting work environment that makes every member of the team feel like we’re part of something special. Who knows, maybe ‘Hollywood Goes Global’ will be our next blog post…stay tuned.
Cheers to fearlessly following our dreams and goals, and wish us luck! You can follow our #HollywoodWest chronicles on all our social handles.
- Brooks Wallace
We wear our title of female-led business proudly every day, but especially during Women’s History Month. Our own fearless female leader, Darlene, founded Hollywood Public Relations in 2011 when she put a sign on a door in Scituate Harbor, Mass. And today, we’ve grown to a team of 12 kickass PR pros (a majority of us are women, go figure), who fiercely believe in the power of women.
Over the last month, we’ve been dishing on our choices for female leaders who inspire us most, here and here. And we’re rounding those all up today. Without further ado, here are some of the most inspiring boss babes the world has seen.
The definition of a role model, Malala Yousafzai was able to not only find her voice, but use it to fulfill her calling as education activist at only 17-years-old. After facing ultimate adversity for her cause in the form of an assassination attempt, she went on to be recognized globally for her work as an advocate for the right to educate women. Malala proves that there is no minimum age or experience when it comes to changing the world. All it takes is courage.
Darlene chose Madeleine Albright as her most inspiring female leader, and we’re totally on board. Madeleine blazed the trail as our country's first female Secretary of State and the highest-ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government at the time of her appointment. And the phrase she coined still rings true today: "There is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women." PREACH.
Has there ever been a list of influential women that didn’t include Oprah Winfrey? Courtney nominated Oprah because she has overcome many obstacles and adversity to become an amazing woman – not only on-screen but as a philanthropist for children (and animals too).
“I’m going with Ellen DeGeneres. My mom and I used to say, ‘WWED’ – what would Ellen do – because she is always positive and looking to make light of a situation, but never at someone else’s expense.” We couldn’t agree more. Ellen straddles the line between humor and humility with grace. She is an excellent role model for women and advocate for the LGBTQ community. Besides, what would Finding Nemo be without Dory?!
As a black woman, fitness guru and business owner, Hannah Bronfman defines “cool girl.” She is the founder of her own website, HBFIT, which features fitness tips, healthy eats and other changes you can make to lead a more positive lifestyle. She’s also an Adidas ambassador and a DJ at fashion parties by night (how cool is that?!). This girl boss does it all, proving to be a major source of inspo (if not #fitspo) for HPR’s resident millennials.
Not that we’re biased toward the woman who created the most-loved book series in the universe (any PotterHeads here?), but J.K. Rowling made this list with ease. Aside from her relentless determination to get her work published and crazy success since, she is also a philanthropist, starting her own charity and supporting many others in anti-poverty, children’s welfare and multiple sclerosis. Not to mention, she loves roasting trolls on Twitter.
Going against the grain, Brooks’ pick is her mother, Jane. A two-time entrepreneur who taught Brooks and her sister that women can have career and family, Jane led by example. A born feminist, she hosted bonfire parties where she manned the chainsaw, threw back whiskey with the boys and wasn’t afraid of getting her hands dirty. She created and sold two successful businesses, all while raising two daughters. Every day she reminded them that strong women can do anything they put their minds to and rise through any ranks, regardless of gender. Still to this day, she’s their biggest cheerleader.
And, of course, no round-up of strong women would be complete without one of our very own. Our boss babe, Darlene, is a true trailblazer for female small business owners everywhere, who allows her employees to make mistakes, to learn and grow. She’s a rock-star mom to two girls and several animals, both furry and scaly, inspiring all of us to lead with the same poise – and to never shy away from a cocktail.
But, we’d be remiss to leave out our male colleagues, Jeff, Palmer and Jon, who gracefully handle 40 hour workweeks with a pack of alpha females. For safety’s sake, let’s just say they think all of us are equally inspirational.
Here’s to the women who’ve raised us, known us and inspired us. Happy Women’s History Month.
- Brooks Wallace and Deanna Haas
A behind-the-scenes look at life in PR from the team at Hollywood
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