With the end of spring semester quickly approaching and only about three weeks to go until graduation, I and many other seniors are anxiously awaiting and anticipating our entrances into the “real world.” Given the opportunity to interview Ike Richman, who spoke at “Public Relations Careers 101” and currently serves as Vice President of Public Relations at Comcast-Spectacor, I decided to seek out his advice to students who will soon be setting foot in the industry. Here is what I learned from Mr. Richman.
Public relations is all about relationships. Everything comes back to the relationships you’ve established. It’s important to build strong relationships with the media you will be working with the most and to know who to approach with what story. This will also help build your personal network, which is critical in the field. Take advantage of projects, speaking opportunities, informational interviews, social media, friends, professors, learning opportunities and events – any venture where you can make new connections and expand your network. Work hard to cultivate and develop these relationships and you will reap the rewards down the line.
While forming positive lasting relationships, make sure you take the time to understand and know each person in your network. Mr. Richman keeps a book where he jots down the names of people in his network and details about them. This is even more important for your relationships with the media. Make sure you know what kinds of stories each of your contacts cover and that your pitches are well thought out and targeted. In addition to knowing who to pitch, make sure you know the product you are pitching! Mr. Richman advises getting excited about what you are pitching because once you’re excited about it, it’s more likely others will become excited about it too.
It’s our job, as PR practitioners to get people excited and on board. Mr. Richman explains how public relations can be the convincing factor that helps a consumer make the right decision when making a purchase. He feels this is also the most rewarding part of the job – when his efforts can convince someone to do something, such as attend an event. He adds it is the ultimate compliment when someone says, “I saw this on the news. Or I heard about this on the radio. Or I read this in the paper.”
To better understand all the effort that goes into successfully getting people on board and excited about what you are advocating, Mr. Richman recommends getting an internship. He stresses to make sure you’re actually writing pitches, contacting media and doing the follow-up work. This is also another opportunity to build your network and garner relationships.
This blog post was written by Temple University senior, Trish Wyatt. Trish Wyatt is a graduating senior Strategic Communication - PR concentration major and Sociology minor at Temple University. She serves as Account Executive for PRowl Public Relations, Temple University's first and only student-run PR and is a member of PRSSA and NSCS. For fun, Trish enjoys being active outdoors, volunteering and following Philly sports. Connect with her @trishwyatt.