How a background in journalism can give you an edge in PR and Marketing

Ever since I was a little girl, you could say I’ve loved writing and photography — it started out with my first disposable camera, ramped up with joining a scrapbooking club and culminated in creating “The Powell Times,” my version of our family’s very own newspaper with details about birthdays, field trips and visits to our grandparents’ house. It was the start of being in touch with media, and although I can cite slightly more impressive bylines now, I’ll never forget the smaller-scale creative projects I came up with.

It only made sense to attend Kent State University to get a journalism degree, so in the fall of 2014, I moved from Pennsylvania to Ohio to pursue a career in magazine journalism. Momentarily I considered switching majors, but in my heart, I always knew that reporting, editing and content-creating were the things I was best at. Having one year in post-grad under my belt, it’s wild to see how my eyes have been opened to even more possibilities as a result of this diploma.

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As my relatives would say, journalism is evolving — and I would have to agree. Structurally, media people have to think on their feet to present the news in new ways. Our society, specifically my generation, might respond to online content with more enthusiasm than they would a print publication. Although a sweeping generalization, we have to recognize that information can take on many different forms: an email newsletter, a longform article, a tweet, an Instagram caption, a press release, a broadcast story, a piece of citizen journalism captured on an iPhone. The media landscape is becoming wider and longer and deeper. And so it goes with the job market for those in communications-related fields.

When I graduated college, I never imagined sitting in FACTEUR PR, a PR and marketing studio in Ohio City nine months later, whose founder also has a journalism background. I didn’t think journalism and public relations were polar opposites, but I also wasn’t sure what aligning the two looked like. Today, I can say with confidence I do now! Studying and working with the art of fact for so long (since the days of the high school news magazine) has given me a deeper understanding and appreciation for the public relations “side” of this line of work. Here’s how:

Story ideation:

In almost every writing-intensive class I took, story ideas were the first step to a healthy semester. Some would use whiteboard brainstorming sessions, others would use prompts and others would assign beats to each student. It was always our responsibility to establish the “why,” narrow the “what” and find the “who” willing to help us craft an authentic, fair piece. This was a challenging process! A grade would depend on someone in authority getting back to you with a phone call, email or text, approving your request to meet with them and setting up a time within their oftentimes busy schedule.

I believe in the integrity of this system — it has produced some of the most wonderful stories I have had the pleasure of reporting. But as a trained journalist and an emerging public relations person, I see there’s no harm in letting public relations help guide your pitches. If you’re a journalist who receives an email from a communications person, it’s easy to be wary of their motives: are they selling me something? Are they persuading me to do something? Is this ethical?

If the public relations person is doing their job in a truthful way, they will present you with only the facts, operating as a messenger to inform the journalist about something engaging going on. They will act as an ambassador for a brand, event or organization to not only inform you, but to assist with art, logistics and communication. They act as a liaison from one busy person to another busy person, syncing up calendars, details and email addresses.

I used to get nervous when a public relations person would set up a conference call with me and my subject — now I welcome it! They are there to help things run smoothly, especially in something as complex as a phone conversation, where timing and intonation are key in asking questions and expressing the right message.

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Social Media:

In my photojournalism minor, I was taught photography primarily from the perspective that it would later be joined with an in-print or online news article. While this type of straight-out-of-the-camera photography is essential to the market, there’s something to be said about planned shoots. They serve different purposes, but their heart is the same: to notify you!

Social media, particularly Instagram and all of its mechanisms, has become a great short form way to tell people what’s going on — whether from your publication’s headquarters or on-the-go. There should be no shame in using this platform as a way to get your message across.

What’s phenomenal about social accounts is the adaptability they offer. If the demographic for your product, event or message is the baby boomer generation, it may be more wise to utilize a Facebook post to get the word out. If you’re looking to engage with millennials, Twitter or Instagram might be the preferable route to take. One realization I’ve had since working with trained public relations people is that this practice is not manipulation — it’s communication, and it’s a two-way street. The correct distribution of information is simply important in reaching the greatest number of people with your message you’ve worked hard to put together.

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Messaging:

Timing is everything! Whether you’re a journalist or a public relations professional, it’s important to set and meet deadlines. And when you’re a public relations professional, those deadlines should be created with the journalist in mind.

If you’re pitching to a newspaper journalist, it might be easier to notify them in a more last-minute fashion. Employees of newsrooms are well aware that our communities are constantly telling stories, and their job is to be on high alert for emerging details that will better serve their readers.

However, if you’re interested in pitching to a magazine journalist, a message well in advance will be appreciated. I never knew how real this was until I began working for Ohio Magazine. The Cleveland-based publication, which covers all things Buckeye State, operates on a month-ahead deadline schedule, often researching and writing stories for about two weeks, then fact-checking and finishing stories for the next two. I remember being assigned a piece about holiday lights shows across the state — I was calling people near the beginning of November for information. I felt like it was Christmas time for about two months.

Larger scale publications work even further in advance to create their lookbooks, articles, Q&As and round-ups. If you take a look at the editorial calendars for Better Homes & Gardens, Woman’s Day and Town & Country, you’ll find deadlines for June occur in mid-March. It’s helpful to take a look at these pages, typically available on brands’ websites, to get a better understanding of their pace.

For every single journalist, there are six PR professionals who are at the ready to help guide a story. Having experience now on both sides has definitely offers an edge: insight into how to best collaborate together. We’re excited we get to do that each day at FACTEUR PR.

FACTEUR PR welcomes Kelly Powell to its team

Kelly Powell FACTEUR

We are so excited to welcome our new Communications Assistant, Kelly Powell, to the FACTEUR PR team! Kelly Powell is a journalist and photographer located in Kent, Ohio. Alongside her position at FACTEUR PR, she works part-time as the editorial assistant for Ohio Magazine and is a freelance wedding, engagement and portrait photographer. She is a lover of all things media- and graphic-related and is probably signed up for more email newsletters than most.

A graduate of Kent State University’s Magazine Journalism and Photojournalism programs, she loves spending time between Kent and Cleveland for their access to coffee shops, restaurants, art museums and the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Kelly is excited to work at FACTEUR in the heart of Ohio City and looks forward to supporting its clients both at home and from afar.

Kelly will join Reena and Hannah on all day-to-day client relations and efforts with a focus on public relations, social media, and content creation. Please join us in welcoming her to the team! Leave a comment below, and feel free to send her an email. Plus, stay tuned for some blogs and other great content from Kelly throughout the coming months here on the FACTEUR blog! 

Reena S. Goodwin of FACTEUR PR recognized by Modern CLE

It’s not every day that those of us whose jobs are mostly executed behind-the-scenes are recognized in the media. And we’re super excited to be noticed and featured in Modern CLE this week! Jillian Kramer, editor of the digital publication shining a light on and for Northeast Ohio women, spent some time with us recently at the FACTEUR office. We talked about everything from landing to losing my dream job right after college, to how I started FACTEUR, to my pregnancy that I thought would derail my career but in fact, helped to advance it. You can read all about it here.

As part of Modern CLE’s new editorial initiatives, we’re partnering on a Behind the Story event on Sunday, January 20! You’re invited to enjoys bottomless bubbly and sweets catered by @sweetcostocle, plus an intimate and informative discussion with me, in which I’ll share tips for how to stand out on social media. Plus, you get your headshot taken and freshen up those Instagram profiles, as well!

At the time of this blog post publishing, tickets are already half-way sold out, so snag them fast before they’re gone!


Currently: Favorites with Emily Kopchak

Emily Kopchak

Welcome back to Currentlya series from FACTEUR PR where we share the latest favorites of our staff and clients here on our blog! In this edition, get to know Emily Kopchak, FACTEUR PR Intern. Emily is a senior at Kent State University, majoring in Fashion Merchandising with a minor in Fashion Media and Visual Communication Design. Cheers!

Currently, my favorite...

Book I recently read or am reading:
I haven’t had much time to set aside for reading recently, but I am excited get around to reading Michelle Obama’s new memoir, Becoming. I love reading the stories of inspiring women!

Part of my job:
This internship has been the best opportunity to add to my portfolio! It is such a great space to learn as well.

PICTURE VIA AMAZON

PICTURE VIA AMAZON

Album or song:
Mumford & Sons released a new album in November! Delta has a number of great jams and is overall a good road trip choice, as I usually find the folk rock band to be.

Place I visited:
Though I could talk all day about the places I went during my study abroad semester last year, I thought it would be better to mention somewhere I travelled to within the last month or two. My family trips are often oriented around visiting a National Park. This fall break, we went to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor, Maine. It was cold but absolutely beautiful, with a number of great hikes!  

PICTURE VIA THE BUBBLIST

PICTURE VIA THE BUBBLIST

Magazine I read:
The Gentlewoman is a nice step away from Vogue and has recently featured some good artist stories. I also quite like their minimal layout designs.

Blog I read:
I honestly don’t keep up with many blogs. The main one I do enjoy is Pretty Little Fawn. She has a lovely warm and natural aesthetic. Consistency and honesty accompany her beautiful photos, which is always a plus.

Clothing/accessories/shoes I bought:
I had some good luck recently finding an excellent navy wool blazer on the consignment site The Real Real.

Event I attended:
Also something for the future, I look forward to visiting the new Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern exhibit at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Back in July in New York, I saw a small exhibition with pieces from her trip to Hawai’i in 1939. I am quite interested in seeing a different perspective on her life, particularly one that analyzes how both her clothes and her art changed over time. 

PICTURE VIA KATIE RODGERS

PICTURE VIA KATIE RODGERS

Instagram account:
 I enjoy seeing what projects artist Katie Rodgers is working on. On her Instagram account @paperfashion, she is known for “shadow dancer” figures but also does beautiful florals and scenic pieces. She is also great at sharing her materials of choice and filming process videos.

Drink I tried:
In Kent, there is a quality coffee shop I frequent called Tree City Coffee. Their seasonal menus are always good, with one of my favorite autumn items being an Apple Harvest Tea. Ginger tea and a cinnamon stick are steeped in steamed apple juice. How genius!

PICTURE VIA RADIO TIMES

PICTURE VIA RADIO TIMES

TV show or movie I watched:
This year, I gave the show The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel a try, and I am obsessed! I love a good period piece appreciate the smart comedy woven in. The characters are dynamic and perfectly casted. The attention to detail in making the 1950’s setting is amazing too!

Thing overall I'm obsessed with:
Lastly, I am sure I am not the only one that falls down the rabbit hole of YouTube every once in awhile. One of my favorite series is Actors on Actors that Variety puts out. Every awards season or so, pairs of actors and actresses discuss their current film project and often fangirl over each other’s work. I will always have a spot in my heart for Hollywood, so I am all ears for a little behind-the-scenes!

FACTEUR PR welcomes Emily Kopchak to its team

Emily Kopchak FACTEUR Intern

We are so excited to welcome our fall intern, Emily Kopchak to the FACTEUR PR team! Emily is a senior Fashion Merchandising major at Kent State University with minors in Fashion Media and Visual Communication Design. Through her education, she has had the opportunity to complete a summer semester in NYC and a fall semester abroad in Florence, Italy. At Kent State, she is also an honors student and the Chief Administrative Officer of the National Retail Federation Student Association chapter on campus. Emily is interested in the creative processes fashion and non-fashion brands utilize to connect with their consumers. Her other passions include exploring in nature and finding the best doughnuts in the world.

Emily will join Hannah Krisinski through December - please join us in welcoming her to the team! Leave a comment below, and feel free to send her an email. Plus, stay tuned for some blogs and other great content from Emily and Hannah throughout the coming months here on the FACTEUR blog! 

Currently: Favorites with Hannah Krisinski

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Welcome to Currentlya new series from FACTEUR PR where we share the latest favorites of our staff and clients here on our blog! In this edition, get to know Hannah Krisinski, FACTEUR PR Intern. Read on!

Name: Hannah Krisinski

Job: FACTEUR PR Intern

Location: Cleveland, Ohio

College you attend: Cleveland State University, studying Promotional Communications with a minor in Digital Design 

Currently, my favorite...

Book I recently read or reading: I’m usually super busy so I don’t have a ton of time to read, but I have been slowly working my way through Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip and Dan Heath. It was a suggestion from my design professor for some inspiration to be applied in both my life and work, and it has some really great points. I never thought I would be the kind of person who reads the “self-help” type of book, but this one is so good! 

Part of my job: Getting to know potential/current clients! I absolutely love the process of getting to know a new brand or business. Seeing the client’s passion for what they’re doing, and the challenge of personalizing everything you do for them based on that, is always such a good learning experience. 

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Album or song: Drake’s new song, “Nice for What,” has been on repeat on my phone for days!

Magazine I read: This probably makes me sound like an old lady, but when I go to get my hair done, I always read through the entirety (every page, front to back!) of either Harper’s Bazaar or Vogue while I’m sitting in the salon. It’s like my ultimate relaxing me-time and also a great way to catch up on all the goings-on of popular culture.

Blog I read: This might not exactly be a blog, but my absolute favorite e-reading comes from the W Magazine In & Out email subscription. Every few days, they send out a page of current trends, news from the fashion/entertainment industry, and culture, among other things. It’s written in a fun sort of “what’s hot and what’s not” format and has lots of dry humor, which I love. 

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Place I visited: I studied abroad in London, England this past summer, and it absolutely felt like home to me for the two months I was there. London is such a beautiful city and has incredible culture, people, food, and scenery that you can’t help but fall in love with. I also absolutely have to mention Edinburgh, Scotland (pictured above). It’s not a city on most people’s radar, but oh goodness, it should be! I was only there for a few days, but it stole my heart. 

Clothing/accessories/shoes I bought: This is honestly the hardest question! I’ll confess I am a bit of a shopaholic… I’ll shout out my favorite thing that I’m wearing a lot right now. It has to be a scarf I bought in Edinburgh, made from Scottish sheep’s wool, and colored like those classic Burberry scarves. I love to throw this on with a trench, or tie it around my purse handle if it’s a bit warmer. I also feel like I have to mention a pair of earrings from the Balmain collaboration with H&M. They are the funkiest and largest earrings I own. I feel like they are timeless, and they are my favorite thing I have ever splurged on. I have never worn them out because they are that intense and extremely heavy but I love to open the box every now and again just to look at those stunners! 

Event I attended: This is more of an exhibition. (But I’m gonna say it, anyway!)  Eyewitness Views at the Cleveland Museum of Art. I have a membership to the museum through my school, so if I’ve got nothing to do on a Sunday, that’s where I go. I saw this exhibition a few days ago and the whole collection really blew me away. 

Instagram account: I get a lot of style inspiration from Gabriel Gzimailaite. She likes to be frank with her audience, letting them know that her life is not always as glamorous as it seems on instagram, which is a nice contrast to most fashion influencers out there. Oh, and my own, hannikayz, of course!

Food I ate/restaurant I tried: My ultimate go-to is falafel at Tommy’s, which is a Cleveland institution, but you can find me trying out any and all restaurants with vegan options. A more recent favorite has to be Townhall. It’s located so close to me, in Ohio City, and they have a super unique and delicious veggie burger. Beet ketchup anyone?

Drink: I always say a glass of Prosecco a day keeps the doctor away! But, in all seriousness, I have an almond milk vanilla latte every morning to get my day started off right.  

TV show or movie I watched: I just binged the newest season of How to Get Away with Murder on Netflix. That show always makes me want to become a badass woman lawyer, or at least dress like one!

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Thing overall I'm obsessed with: Chanel runway shows. I can binge watch them just like a TV show. The extreme effort that goes in to every single one to make them totally unique gets me every time. My personal fave is the SS14 Haute Couture show, which is really what got me into fashion, and I constantly go back to it even as new shows come out.  

Apply for the FACTEUR PR Fall Internship!

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Attention college students! FACTEUR PR is currently seeking organized and enthusiastic candidates with a passion for PR, social media, and marketing to join our team this fall season (September-December)! Interns will receive mentoring and experience in public relations, social media, and content marketing with an emphasis on client relations, project management, relationship building, visual communications, and strategy,

Interns will be required to be in our Ohio City office up to 15 hours a week, as well as work special events as needed.

While there is no typical day, interns can expect to work on:

  • Media relations: research (outlets, reporters), outreach, editorial calendars
  • Social media: research, management, news, trends, advertising, content, influencer outreach
  • Content: researching, writing, blogging, designing, e-mail marketing, optimizing
  • Writing: pitches, press releases, biographies

Does this sound like an opportunity you might be interested in? Learn more and apply here

Want to know what it's like to intern with FACTEUR PR? Check out our former intern Julie Hong's blog post! 

Office Jams: Summer 2018 Playlist

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Music has always been an enormous part of my life. In fact, if it wasn’t for music, I don’t think I’d be working in the field of marketing and public relations. 

Some of us love peace and quiet while we’re working. That is largely true for me, especially when I’m doing a lot of writing. But much of the time I do love some music in the background that keeps me energized and inspired to conquer the tasks and projects ahead of me. I shared a productivity playlist here last spring, and we’ll plan on sharing these more regularly each season. We hope this puts a little pep in your step - enjoy!

FACTEUR PR: Summer 2018 Playlist:

Currently: Favorites with Chloe Taylor

Chloe-Taylor-FACTEUR-PR-Internship

Welcome to Currentlya new series from FACTEUR PR where we share the latest favorites of our staff and clients here on our blog! In this edition, get to know Chloe Taylor, FACTEUR PR Spring Intern. Read on!

Name: Chloe Taylor

Job: FACTEUR PR Intern

Location: Valdosta, GA

College you go to: Valdosta State University, studying Communication and Public Relations

Currently, my favorite...

The Idiot Book

Book I recently read or reading: I’m currently reading The Idiot by Elif Batuman. Being a cross-cultural communication major at heart, two of my favorite things to study are language and culture (+ the way they interact). This novel examines both of those things in a very beautiful way and shares a cute love story at the same time!

Part of my job: All of the new things I’ve been learning! I’ve been able to take things I enjoy in my everyday life and put them into my work which is a really cool thing to be able to do.

Album or song: It’s not a new album, but every summer I come back to Evil Friends by Portugal. The Man. It’s been my go-to summer album every since it dropped in 2013.

Magazine I read: I have an entire collection of Nylon issues I adored in high school and was super bummed when I heard they wouldn’t be printing anymore.

Blog I read: the blue eyed gal. Every blog post is written in both English and Spanish, so it’s been a great tool to use as I’ve been trying to improve my Spanish lately! (+ Augustina Torti one of the coolest girls I can think of!!)

BEACHVIEW BOOKS IN ST. SIMONS ISLAND, GA

BEACHVIEW BOOKS IN ST. SIMONS ISLAND, GA

Place I visited: I’d like to do a lot more traveling, but I love going to St. Simons Island in Georgia. It’s a quiet little beach town with a lot of greenery and biking trails. Plus, it features one of my favorite little bookshops that’s filled with used classics!

Clothing/accessories/shoes I bought: A few weeks ago, I bought this hand-dyed Pisces koi fish shirt from Urban Outfitters and it’s super soft/cute/very flowy. I can’t get enough of it!

Event I attended: This isn’t a professional event, but we have little culture nights at my college where people share stories, art, dances, and writings they’ve done in their own languages or with references to cultures they’re a part of/studying/appreciate. Those are really cool, and we had an Arabic-French night I went to with some friends recently.

Instagram account: I feel like I should use this opportunity to plug myself, but I’ll refrain haha! The only non-celebrity/company I have notifications on for is @laiapcy! She’s always posting the cutest outfits and pictures of her little dog Jack!

Food I ate/restaurant I tried: I don’t have any particular restaurant in mind, but I love little local sandwich shops! Anytime I go to a new place, that’s something I look for.

Drink: Iced green tea. Didn’t even have to think about that one!

TV show or movie I watched: I actually don’t watch a lot of TV! I usually only keep things like reality shows on for background noise.

Thing overall I'm obsessed with: My Wacom tablet! It was gifted to me for Christmas and using it to make digital art has been a really relaxing hobby for me lately.

Apply for the FACTEUR PR Summer Internship!

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Attention college students and recent grads! FACTEUR PR is currently seeking organized and enthusiastic candidates with a passion for PR, social media, and marketing to join our team this summer season (June-August)! Interns will receive mentoring and experience in public relations, social media, and content marketing with an emphasis on client relations, project management, relationship building, visual communications, and strategy

Interns will be required to be in our Ohio City office eight hours per week and two hours per week working from home, as well as work special events as needed.

While there is no typical day, interns can expect to complete approximately 8-10 hours of work per week with the following: 

  • Media relations: research (outlets, reporters), outreach, editorial calendars
  • Social media: research, management, news, trends, advertising, content, influencer outreach
  • Content: researching, writing, blogging, designing, e-mail marketing, optimizing
  • Writing: pitches, press releases, biographies

Does this sound like an opportunity you might be interested in? Learn more and apply here

Want to know what it's like to intern with FACTEUR PR? Check out our former intern Julie Hong's blog post!