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Keeping FAITH turns it into FATE

September 8, 2009

The one thing that I learned these past few months during my job search was to keep FAITH!

Three weeks ago, I landed a job as the Development Manager for the American Lung Association of Central Florida.  I could not have a more perfect-fitting role.  My job at the ALA entails fundraising to save lives through the prevention of lung disease and the promotion of lung health by obtaining corporate sponsorships, corporate underwriting, and a decal campaign.

My drive for this job comes from my grandmother who past away from lung cancer a few years ago.  In spite of never smoking, she was inflicted with this disease which goes against assumptions that only smokers get lung cancer. Every day I will be telling my grandmother’s story and reminding myself that I landed this job because it was…meant to be.

If you have been following my blog, you will know that I have been networking with prominent professionals all over Central Florida.  I began even before I actually moved to Florida this past May.  I had applied for a position at the American Lung Association back when I will still in San Diego finishing my law degree.  Within a month of finally moving to Florida, I met with the Area Executive Director of the ALA, Eric Gray, just to network.

I remember leaving the ALA’s office thoroughly impressed and yearning to work for such a prestigious organization who’s mission perfectly aligned with my experiences with my grandmother. But the big E word (economy) reminded me that it simply wasn’t going to happen…at least not so soon.  However, within one week of meeting with Eric, the position of Development Manager became available.

So what were the chances that:

A. I work for an organization that keeps my grandmother’s memory alive every single day.

B. A job position became available a week after I met with the Director.

C. I live 1 mile away from the office. (Yes, literally a mile)

I believe that it was a bit of determination, but a lot of FATE.  So for those who are still in the midst of looking for a job, my advice is to keep on going and have faith because when it does happen (and it will), you will look back and see that keeping FAITH turns things into FATE.

images(Photo Credit: Seblester)

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Young Hollywood: A PR lesson to learn

July 25, 2009

Growing up in Southern California sometimes meant that I would see people  get swept away by the superficial and materialistic side of Hollywood.  The desire of fame, fortune, and spotlight is quite glamourous and intoxicating.  Even I couldn’t help but get excited over a celebrity spotting or a peak at US Weekly’s newest Young Hollywood gossip while in the grocery store line.

However, an old high school friend, in which I had the wonderful opportunity to re-connect with, reminded me that the media impact our clients’ lives and shape them in certain ways.  Unfortunately, it has not been in the most positive light for Young Hollywood in recent years.  Thus, we as PR professionals, have the ethical responsibility to represent our clients (Young Hollywood or not) in an honest manner by understanding, knowing, and listening to our clients.  We have the responsibility to portray them accurately and to make sure stories are not spun (as Roger Pynn would say, “Spin is for your tennis game.”)

Justin Chon, who plays Eric Yorkie in Twilight and the upcoming New Moon, is far from the negative connotation of Young Hollywood.  He seemed to still find the time to have a phone conversation with me while driving down to San Diego’s Comic Con after just getting back from Europe.  More importantly, he was heading straight to Dumpling Inn, a small yet delicious Chinese restaurant in Kearney Mesa.

“They all want to go to these fancy restaurants, but I just tell them that I’ll meet up with them later… then I sneak off to K-town because it’s good food,” he said, explaining to me that stardom hasn’t changed him.

Despite the 12,000 twitter followers, countless fans, and multiple videos swarming the net, he “still hangs out with the same people from our high school. ”

Justin’s situation is an example of what the perception of Young Hollywood should be.  He is also the type of client  that reminds us that we should never “spin” stories.  He is an actor who does not need an elaborate story or juicy gossip to be special.

The gossip and rumors that Young Hollywood has received in recent years should remind us that PR professionals have the responsibility to not buy into the hype.  Rather, we need to be represent our clients as who they truly are… everyday people that just happen to have extraordinary stories.

paparazzi-cameras-montage_~ICN1031Photo Credit: FotoSearch

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Public Relations for Law Firms

July 10, 2009

Many people believe that public relations are only for large law firms because they are the only ones who deal with wealthy or famous clients that may put the firm’s reputation at risk.  However, I disagree.  More and more firms are utilizing public relations methods because they have realized that PR can be implemented without having to pay big bucks.  In addition, it helps foster a positive image of lawyers; something much needed after the creation of hundreds of lawyer jokes.

The ability to convince and change perspectives is something that lawyers already do.  Lawyers are constantly finding ways to convince an opposing party, jury, or judge of their stance and application of the law.  Implementing public relations in a lawyer’s career should be an easy task for lawyers because their work already entails convincing and influencing people.

Reputations start from day one.  As Israel Schoble states, “Credibility is very much like virginity.  Once you lose it, it is impossible to regain.”

The lack of considering communications goals will put a firm at risk of disseminating messages that are inconsistent and potentially harmful.  But how do we apply public relations strategies and tactics to small firms who cannot necessarily afford ellaborate tactics or expensive PR professionals?

Here is a list of what I recommend (which I have begun to implement for www.hogan-hogan.com)

1.  Build a simple website that has an over-arching goal.  Address: What do I want my readers to know? Is it informative?  Did I include necessary information?  What will my reader take away from this website? Did I include key messages?  And of course, don’t forget to check whether nothing is too out of norm that is potentially non-ABA approved.

2.  Develop profile pages for different platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, LawLink, or Facebook.  This will allow you to promote your firm and connect to potential and current clients in a personal way.

3.  Stay abreast of what’s being said about you and other law-related matters using Twitter posts, Facebook status updates, and other profiles pages.  This will allow you to anticipate and spot problems before they arise.

4.  Write articles.  Among the main reasons why a person would read a law firm’s website besides getting basic information is to learn about the law.  Readers will come back to your website if you include useful information.  Meanwhile, you can talk about the law to make yourself more credible.

Lawyers just simply need to be more aware of their community and make an effort to understand and address their key audiences.  Concentrating on public relations will further a lawyer’s career and expand their repertoire.

Finally, if lawyers focus on public relations, it will create a trickle effect that will eventually impact the entire legal community.  Changing perspectives of a lawyer’s own community will eventually influence society, media, and the entire nation.  Lawyers will finally again be “members of a noble profession who rise above self-interest to promote the rule of law and pursue the common good.”

law1Photo Credit: Naija Gurus

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Determining Priorities Before Relocation

June 26, 2009

Some of us may have considered or will consider relocation during these tough economic times whether it may be cross-country or just to the bordering county.  Last month, I moved from the West Coast to the East Coast.  It was still a daunting decision even though I had anticipated and planned it for two years.  For me, it was a relatively easy decision, but for others it may not be.

My recommendation for anyone who is considering relocation regardless of the circumstances is to first figure out your priorities.

Although this may seem obvious, I think the best thing about determining priorities is that once you have them, you will never regret the relocation regardless of what happens.

Finishing school was crossed off my priority list after graduating.  I knew then that I had to immediately consider the others.  For me, there are two: career and family.

Career: I found out that Public Relations is among the top ten fastest growing careers in Florida.  I definitely found this to be true within a few months of networking and learning about the profession in Florida.  I soon discovered the caliber of professionals and the growth of the profession just by doing a little bit of research.  I also discovered the growth of social media particularly in Florida since I left my master’s program at USC three years ago.  I soon learned that Florida would be an excellent place for me to contribute to a flourishing trade while flourishing my own.

Family: I missed my immediate family members who had moved to Central Florida four years ago.  As law students and lawyers would understand, “but for” my family being in Florida, I would not move.  Family will always be my #1 priority.  Thus, no matter what happens with my career here, being with family is a reminder that I made the right decision.  No matter what I do or where I go, my relationship, connection, and memories with my family are irreplaceable.

Relocation always require a leap of faith. I recommend determining your priorities so you won’t have to leap so far to find comfort in your decision.

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Build Skills

June 13, 2009

After graduating from law school, I realized how much the PR scene has changed after three years.  Particularly, I have observed that public relations is among Florida’s fastest growing careers.  PR has changed, improved, and grown.  I knew that if I plan to be a “virtuoso PR strategist,” I better start changing, improving, and growing as well.

In this time of economic hardship, I know I am not the only one taking advantage of free time to build skills.  But how do we go about finding resources to build skills and what are ways to build skills?

Here is my suggestion- turn on that computer and start with these three methods.

Computeruser

1. Start a blog. I know that after learning how to think and write like a lawyer, I need to brush up on how to think and write like a PR strategist.  The beauty of creating a blog is that you can kill two skills with one mouse: internet skills and writing skills.  Using easy-to-use blogging websites such as Blogger.com, WordPress, Xanga, etc., you can create, write, design, post, link, insert, follow, add, manage…anything you want.  Don’t forget to pick up The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White and The Stylebook by The Associated Press to help you edit and re-write.

2. Social network. My last post talked more about traditional methods of networking.  Although, face-to-face networking is still essential and valuable, social networking is the new frontier yearning for use.  Social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tagged, or Classmates.com enable you to brand yourself.  As PR professionals, we are always looking for clients to brand so why not brand yourself by using your communication skills.  The nice thing is, once you master one site, it is relatively easy to transfer your skill-set to master another site.

3. Help others. I think besides the obvious like getting a paycheck or promotion, the most gratifying thing about a job is being able to help others.  If you’re not getting paid then why not still help others with your abilities?  It can be something simple like offering to write a letter for a neighbor.  It can be something more complex like creating a website or PR plan for a local business.  Helping others will allow you to brush up old skills and learn more.  And of course, the wonderful feeling of hearing, “Thank you so much for your help” is all worth it in the end.

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Network to be a PR Professional

June 8, 2009

NetworkingFour years ago, some of my family members moved from California to Florida taking advantage of less traffic, lower cost of living, warmer weather, and a family-friendly lifestyle.  After meeting my boyfriend and finishing law school together, we decided that this lifestyle and being closer to our families would be a good fit for us too. So here I am, in Florida, 20 days into being a Floridian.

My first endeavor is finding a job.  This has been a daunting task as a newcomer from across the nation and in this economy.  I had started my search back in February in California.  I had the opportunity to speak to the brilliant Jerry Swerling, director and guru of USC’s Strategic Public Relations program in which I attended and obtained a master’s degree.  He told me one thing in which I have rigorously implemented and recommend for anyone looking for a job: network.

I began by searching for prominent PR specialists in Florida through various organizations such as the FPRA and PRSA.  Besides making cold calls, I also utilized social network websites like LinkedIn and Facebook to send cold e-mails requesting an opportunity to network and get some advice about the PR community of Florida.  After reaching out to over thirty people, I fortunately received several responses.

My first successful networking attempt came from getting an invite from Mandy Taylor to attend an FPRA event.  My second was Roy Reid from Consensus Communications.  My third, fourth, and fifth were Roger Pynn, Dan Ward, and Ashley Pinder at Curly & Pynn.  My sixth, Beth Eggen from the American Heart Association.  My seventh, Jay Galbraith from Seaworld. Thanks to a luncheon and a few “informational meetings,” I have had the pleasure to obtain over 30 more contacts and an innumerable amount  of good advice.

But aside from being able to learn about the PR community and that maybe one of these contacts may eventually guide me to a job opportunity, I have particularly learned one thing: the public relations profession isn’t just about clients and who we work for.  It is truly managing the flow of information among one another including ourselves.  One should be aware that we can build a rapport with people and establish recognition by networking and creating relationships.  How we treat others, speak to one another, and relate to each other is all part of being a public relations professional.

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Welcome

June 8, 2009

I am a recent graduate who has spent the last five years learning, analyzing, and assimilating the study of law and public relations.  I am now geared up to apply the countless lessons learned after recently moving to Florida from Southern California to begin my career.  I will share with you my dreams, endeavors, discoveries, and experiences to become a virtuosic public relations strategist.

This is my journey as a young professional establishing recognition in a new industry and defining a home.  Welcome to the journey to find an artistic and highly-skilled public relations strategist.  Welcome to the blog of Virtuoso PR.