Category: CAP220GVSU


Career Aspirations

At my age, you would think I would have figured out my career aspirations long ago.  I’ve had my share of job titles over the years as a Court Reporter, Judicial Secretary, Paralegal, Support Staff Supervisor, Singer, Public Relations Director.  I’ve gained alot of insight, both good and bad, in each position I have held.  I’ve learned alot about the world and alot about different types of people.  But none of the above jobs have made me feel like “this is it, this is my career!”

Though I’m not quick to put a label on myself, I’ve narrowed my career aspirations down to two things, both of which I plan to pursue; 1. Singing, 2. Social Work.  I tend to think better outside of the box, and I’ve always felt like whatever I do I will end up being self employed.

As a singer, public relations will continue to come in handy as I build relationships and network with my fans and with other musicians who come through town on music tours.  I will use PR skills both in face to face contact and through social media networking to brand myself and my original music in hopes that some day it will be known on some level in the music world.  Even though the research part of PR is my least favorite aspect, the importance of knowing everything I can possibly know about the music industry and promoting my product will be a valuable asset in my future endeavours.

Because I am smart enough to know that success in the music business is about as realistic as winning the lottery, I will continue studying to become an MSW Social Worker.  As a social worker, my success in building and maintaining a client base will be contingent on both possessing great social work skills and implementing excellent public relations skills in the community on a regular basis.  This will be especially important because I plan to open a private practice or start up some sort of assistance program that will be of value to the community and its people.  Everything I’ve learned about planning, researching, communing, reaching diverse audiences, ethics, working for non-profits, personal branding, firm life versus corporate life, and yes, even putting together the PR plan book will be relevant materials and useful tools I will carry with me on my quest for a  successful future.

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When I first started this PR class I felt like I had a good grasp on what it meant to be  a public relations professional.  As a singer having worked with many musicians I knew that developing relationships and networking is the number one way to connect and achieve success in the business.  Connecting with people both on and off stage has taught me a lot about the importance of public relations.  In a cut throat scene full of drama and gossip, developing and maintaining your image is important, but possessing good damage control skills is even more important and can make or break your band/music career.

So I brought my prior experiences into the classroom with me.  What I hadn’t realized was the many differences between being a good at personal PR, versus being a PR professional.  It’s no joke that a good PR professional possesses additional skills and stressors I hadn’t even considered.

Going through the process of putting together a PR Plan Book has been a very eye opening experience.  The first thing I learned is that research is a big part of the PR profession.  Researching is very important to putting together a successful plan for a client.  This is not my forte.  For whatever reason, I found that the ideas in my head did not translate easily into the research process.  This is probably due to the fact that I haven’t had to perform academic research in more years than I care to share, but the PR research process really put me in a negative state of mind toward the plan book and brought new light to the PR profession.

Another thing I learned was how time consuming and nerve wracking the networking process is.   This is a very essential part of being a PR pro, and although I have no problem getting up in front of hundreds of people to perform musically, I find myself very nervous going through the  one on one networking experience.  In addition, as a mother of 3 children who are all involved in after school activities it became clear to me that working long days and networking after hours would not be conducive to family life which is currently my biggest priority.

I’ve learned that the PR profession involves a lot of writing and I do love to write.  However my preference for songwriting and journal writing are much different than that of writing for public relations.

So the opinions that I walked into this class with 3 months ago have definitely been modified.  I will walk away from this class with a different understanding and a new found respect for the PR profession knowing it is not quite as simple as I once thought it to be.

Public Relations is important to all companies and organizations who seek to be successful. Unlike large corporations, non-profit organizations typically operate with a minimal budget at best which leaves little money available for public relations staffing and campaigns. Most non-profit organizations are staffed by volunteers and are funded by donors.

Before the Internet, corporations had an advantage over non-profits, because most had large enough budgets to hire PR staff and could more easily fund PR campaigns unlike non-profits.  With the development of the Internet, non-profits have been able to step up to the plate, and reach a worldwide audience on little or no budget at all.

By using social media, blogs, online journals, discussion boards, and other interactive sites, non-profits have been able to create and maintain  a presence among the Fortune 500’s.   A non-profit organization can easily set up a Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, LinkedIn, and website for free.  For a minimal amount, they can upgrade these services to better promote their ideas and meet their goals. These Internet pages allow organizations to manage and spread lots of important information to their audiences. They can be very persuasive about their causes, and they can even take donations for funding and other purposes online.   There are minimal limitations to what an organization can do online.  Spreading messages by going “viral” is one of the many successful ways PR can advocate for non-profits with a low budget.

Relationship management, essential to public relations, can be managed and maintained more quickly than old methods of phone calls and postal mail.  Many non-profits work together by sharing resources.  This allows for smaller non-profits to have an impact on media sources with minimal economic impact.  When used correctly, this can create a very powerful position for non-profit organizations and increase visibility world wide.

These public relations tools have become so powerful that even media journalists are turning to blogs and other Internet sources as credible sources used in their reporting, which can also result in low cost PR for an organization.

Sako, J. (2013). Public Relations for Small Business, Non-Profits and Start Ups (Non-Profits). Retrieved from http://smallbusiness-pr.com/non-profits/

Fitzpatrick, C. (2006). (Chapter 5.) Responsible Advocacy for Nonprofit Organizations. Retrieved from http://www.corwin.com/upm-data/10997_Chapter_5.pdf

Pre PR Reflections/Impressions

So, Public Relations.  What exactly is it?

I imagine long, busy, possibly even chaotic days filled with multi-tasking and great organizational skills.  Constant emails, phone calls, meetings, damage control, fixing issues, providing creative input, attention to social media, lots of writing, and decisions, decisions, decisions.

Could this be public relations?

When I think of public relations, I think of glamour mixed with clamor.  I think big city, big clients, big names, big deals, big messes to clean up, and big successes from ones ability to clean up those messes and maintain good relationships.

I think being a public relations professional will lend itself to different social circles, upscale dinners, VIP standing, parties, and insider view of places you would not normally have access to.  I think the income potential is above average, and the potential perks are endless.

I consider myself a people person.  In my world, relationships matter.  I imagine public relations is all about relating to people, and helping them maintain a good understanding of things that may otherwise drive them apart.  Creating, facilitating, and nurturing relationships is a very important part of public relations.

I currently work both as a local musician and for a company that makes music cleaning and polishing products for musicians and their techs.  The single most important thing I have learned as a musician is that you do not have to be a top notch musician to be the best in the business.  On the local level, building solid and positive relationships with your fans and with bar managers and wait staff will take you much farther than your musical skills can hope to do. I’ve seen some of the best players fail miserably in the scene because they are so caught up in their talent that they forget how important relationship building is in keeping them employed and keeping a crowd interested in coming back for more.

On the product side of things, it is the same.  You want to sell something?  Come to the table with a quality product, and start building quality relationships with your potential fan base/customer base.  Most importantly, make sure you maintain those relationships, and take care of your client’s, especially when problems arise.

Public Relationships means introducing yourself, making a lasting impression by finding out what peoples needs are, working to meet those needs, learning how to work together, and growing together.  Stay organized and in control, learn how to problem solve, know your audience/clients and interact with them accordingly, listen, and prepare to be successful as a public relations professional.