By: Elena Sayers, Summer 2019 Intern
Before moving to Birmingham, I made sure to visit Railroad Park every time I came to town. It’s the perfect place to have a picnic in the grass, go for a run or toss the frisbee around with friends. Railroad Park also hosts some super fun events such as Symphony in the Summer, a free concert series presented by the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, and weekly workout classes. Bonus: the park is located in the middle of downtown Birmingham, so you have a view of the city while enjoying your day – or night - in the park!
By: Sarah Lacey, Manager, Public Relations & Digital Strategy
I still reference things I learned in my internships, almost a decade later. Since graduating from college, I’ve had jobs I’ve loved and worked with amazing people, I also put in the time and effort to earn my Master’s Degree. Above all though, my experiences as an intern (while certainly trying and tedious at times), have really been some of the most beneficial to my career.
Before I graduated from college, I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do for a career. I majored in Art History and minored in Political Science – so I was a little all over the place! One summer, I split my time between two unpaid internships; one at an art gallery and another at the District Attorney’s office. These internships helped me to hone in on what I really enjoyed doing. For instance, at the art gallery, I was able to start some public relations and social media efforts on their behalf and really enjoyed it.
After college I moved to Washington, DC for my first Communications (PR & Social Media) Internship at The Peace Corps. While it was unpaid, I had valuable experiences and was exposed to so much. Meanwhile, I was also job searching. Going on interviews made me realize how valuable my experience as an intern really was (even if it was “just an internship” and unpaid).
I still keep in touch with the friends and colleagues that I was fortunate to intern with at the art gallery, the District Attorney’s office, The Peace Corps, Vanguard Communications, and Edelman Public Relations. While I know I was helping them get a lot done, I am so grateful that they all gave me the opportunity to work with and learn from them. There really is nothing like hands-on experience and just being thrown in to a working environment.
Here are my tips for making the most out of your internship for years to come:
1) Listen. Learn. Ask Questions. Listen and absorb as much as you can. If you’re particularly interested in a project or an account, ask if the team would mind you shadowing them in a meeting. If you want to learn more about something – ask! There really is no such thing as a silly question and you should try to gather as much knowledge as you can! Ask the team what tools they use, how they organize themselves, etc.
2) Keep a running list of everything you’re doing. Most interns have tasks and projects thrown at them from multiple directions. Chances are you’ll be doing so much and getting to help out on so many different things, you might forget some of it. At the end of each day, make a little list of everything you’ve worked on. The list will make for a great talking point for a job interview!
3) Prove You Want to Be There. Asking questions and networking (Tip #4) definitely helps! Really try to get to know the company / accounts as much as possible. Create a short list of ideas that you have that the company could possibly implement. Get your work done well and in a timely manner and try to go the extra mile on projects – this will go a long way when it comes to asking for letters of recommendation / references.
4) Network. Get to know as many people as you can if the office. Maybe there won’t be an open job opportunity for you after your internship, but check out the LinkedIn pages of people you’re interning with (even others at the company) and if you’re interested in their path, other places they’ve worked or just getting some career advice from them, ask them to coffee! So many people are willing to help those up and coming in their industry!
5) Ask for a Letter of Recommendation & Keep in Touch. Having a great letter of recommendation or being able to list a professional in your field of interest as a reference on your resume is huge! I would recommend listing your references with their title and place of work on your resume with their contact information. Don’t be afraid to ask for a short letter of recommendation (just an email!) – if you’ve done a good job at your internship, people are more than happy to help you out!
The SUMMER season has arrived which means sun, fun, and, excitingly, three new stellar KC Prōjects interns! These three gals are so excited to spend their summer amongst the KCP team, soaking in the ‘agency life’, exploring and enjoying Birmingham; and we couldn’t be more excited to have each of their glowing personalities with us.
Allow us to introduce the summer 2019 interns for KC Prōjects:
Elena is a rising senior at the University of North Carolina Wilmington where she is studying Communication Studies.
Coffee or Tea? Coffee
If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life what would it be? Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles
Favorite TV show? Brooklyn Nine-Nine because it’s hilarious and I love Andy Samberg.
What are you looking forward to at KC Projects? Learning skills that will be valuable for my career and experiencing life in a new city (designing graphics, managing social media, writing press releases, etc.)
When Elena isn’t hanging out at KCP, she enjoys trying new restaurants in Birmingham and exploring the city!
Originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Katie is a rising Junior at Birmingham-Southern College majoring in Mass Media Communications.
Coffee or Tea? Coffee 100%, I can’t really go a day without it anymore!
If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life what would it be? Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen
Favorite TV show? Girls because of how funny it is and I love the #girlpower vibes.
What are you looking forward to at KC Projects? Learning even more about PR and expanding my skills! And forming great relationships with the other KCP ladies!
When Katie isn’t at KC, you can either find her working right down the road at Fab’rik or watching movies with her roommate.
Anna Kathryn Downs
Anna Kathryn Downs is a recent graduate of Auburn University where she majored in Public Relations and minored in Marketing. Originally from Birmingham and excited to be back in her old stomping ground for the summer.
Coffee or Tea? Coffee is my life.
If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life what would it be? Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen.
Favorite TV show? Norwegian show called SKAM because it deals with issues that many people go through and has a unique set up. The show has 7 remakes now since the original ended two years ago and I keep up with all of them because the show is THAT GOOD. I highly recommend.
What are you looking forward to at KC Projects? I’m excited for this opportunity and getting to work with such great people. On top of that, I am looking forward to getting the hands on experience that is crucial to have in the field of PR.
AK’s favorite thing to do while she’s not at KC is either work on her photography and spend time with her loved ones.
Here’s to Summer 2019!
By: Nikki McCool, Spring 2019 Intern
CLICK – EDIT – POST – REPEAT!
Are you tired of the same old, same old, cliché, boring Instagram shots? Well, we are too! The good news is we have found the best way to spice up your Instagram feed. By finding that perfect “Instagram-able” spot to take your photos, you can take your posts from “blasé” to “beautiful in no time!
You may think you have to travel to bigger cities like New York, Nashville or Atlanta to get that perfect, aesthetically-pleasing picture, but that is not the case. There are several of these hidden artistic gems throughout this “magic” city we call home.
Birmingham has an abundance of beautiful murals that will add a perfect touch of art to your Instagram feed. Listed below are just a few of these great spots:
“Rotary Trail” Murals – Rotary Trail
The Rotary Trail, located along First Avenue South, is the perfect place to grab a shot for Instagram while you are exploring downtown Birmingham. With several murals lining the trail, utilizing the “swipe right” on your Instagram post is a must!
“Alabama Ballet” Mural- 2nd Ave S
This mural is new to Birmingham’s mural scene. Adorning the wall of the Alabama Ballet, this “art-forward, romantic” mural features a cyclist pedaling its way through the streets of Birmingham, leaving a few sunflowers in cycle’s wake.
“Colorful Vulcans” Mural – Vulcan Mural Project
This colorful masterpiece at 1818 Third Ave. N. features one of Birmingham’s most memorable icons, The Vulcan Statue. This mural is a part of the Vulcan Mural Project.
“Angel Wings” Mural - Melt Birmingham
Avondale is a neighborhood with a vibe that inspires the soul. This artistic masterpiece, by local artist Marcus Fetch, features angel wings for both the big and small of Birmingham.
“Woodlawn Business District” Mural - 6-55th Place South
Giving back in a beautifying way, volunteers of the Birmingham community made this colorful art mural possible. Inspired by the poem by John Langston Hughes titled, “The First Book of Jazz”, this mural is a show-stopper with musical notes…Literally.
“It’s Nice to Have You in Birmingham” Mural - John’s City Diner
This classic Birmingham staple is located on the south side of John’s City Diner. “It’s nice to have you in Birmingham” has been used as the official slogan of the city and this mural pays a testament to the city’s Southern hospitality that encompasses the Magic City. So, whether you’re a Birmingham native or just passing through, this wall is a must-have on your Instagram feed.
By: Taylor Lewis, Senior Public Relations Coordinator
You’ve done it! A stellar press release, that captivating pitch, those awesome photos!
Hmmm, but you’ve heard zip from the journalists that you’ve reached out to?! Why does it seem like you’ve done everything ‘PR-perfect’, but your efforts occasionally seem to fall on deaf ears?
Well, this perceived snub is likely because journalists get hundreds and hundreds of pitches each day; most of which they ignore. According to Chris Harihar of PR Daily, “They’re [pitches] like banner ads; the sheer volume makes tune-out inevitable.” – Basically what Haihar means is that no matter how great your pitch may be, it may never be read by a journalist.
Therefore, the ‘who you know’ factor is imperative when it comes to the relationship between public relations professionals and journalists. There needs to be a strong, cultivated respect for the journalist’s time so, in turn, the journalist will be more apt to listen to the PR professional’s ideas.
However, like most relationships, the synergy between journalist and PR pros isn’t built overnight. Enriching, credible relationships with the media is harder than ever as the competition is fierce and “journalists are skeptical about thirsty PR and communications people.”
So, how can you build a bond that stands out among a sea of competitors? Here are a few tips on building a strong relationship with journalists today:
1. Less is always MORE!
When working with journalists, it is important to remember that time is of the essence. You will want to keep your pitches short, simple and to the point. Worried that approach won’t make your pitch stand out? Utilize the subject line to grab their attention! This is a great place to add that bit of sparkle instead of in the body of your pitch where the journalist may or may not read it.
2. Take the time to research.
Get to know the reporter ahead of time. Whether this means looking into their previous work, looking them up on social media or asking them to meet for coffee; by taking the time to show them you care, you can increase the likelihood that they will care about what you pitch. Maybe try promoting some of their work on your social media feed or direct messaging them about an article that you loved. These little personal touches are stepping stones to building a stronger relationship.
3. Follow-up or fold?
Reporters get hundreds and hundreds of pitches each day, which means they likely get hundreds of people trying to build a relationship with them as well. Know when to follow-up or fold. If the journalist never responds to any of your efforts, then take the hint and spend time cultivating a relationship with someone else. You can’t force anyone to have a relationship with you, including a journalist.
4. Selling can sell you out!
Journalists and PR professionals both have one thing in common: they want to tell stories. Journalists are supposed to supply their audience with unbiased stories, not sales pitches. A relationship should never feel transactional, even if you feel like you are trying to sell them on your story. Save your sales pitch for your client’s customers.
5. Say no to FAKE news.
The most important thing to remember is to be authentic when building a relationship with a journalist. You don’t want to make them feel like you are using them for your personal gain, but instead, trying to build a mutually beneficial relationship. Stay true to yourself and, especially, avoid coming off as ‘fake’.
There’s no right or wrong way to build a relationship with the media and the relationship you do build won’t be overnight. However, by following these five simple tips you can work towards building a strong relationship that will put your pitch on the forefront!
For more information on best media relations practices, check out this article by PR Daily: https://www.prdaily.com/5-tactics-for-cultivating-media-relationships/
By: Samantha Jarman, PR Executive
Being in the office from 9-5 with your coworkers, your cluttered desk and daily gallon of coffee is the norm “work day”. Recently, many studies have proven that taking a Work from Home Day serves many benefits for not only the employee but also the employer and company. Check out a few of these benefits below:
When you work from home you save money by eating your meals at home instead of picking up that $5 Starbucks latte on the way to work then the $12 salad for lunch. There is also no need to pay for babysitters, dog walkers or daycare when you are staying home for the day. Even the gas money saved to get to and from the office can add up. Meanwhile, your employer and company is able to save money when you are working from home instead of eating all of the company snacks and using up the company office supplies!
A Stanford University study found that employees who take “work from home days” are 13 percent more productive compared with their in-office counter parts. Without office distractions and gossipy coworkers, employees have the freedom to get more done. A nationwide survey stated that 86 percent of workers said working alone allows them to hit maximum productivity. Whether you are working from your bed or at home office, you are more likely to be more focused and in turn, more productive.
Provides Balance in Life and Schedule
Taking a “work from home” day adds to something every hard-working professional strives for: A work/life balance. When you are able to take a day away from the office to do your laundry while you work or spend quality time with your pet in between conference calls, you are able to feel a sense of balance in your home life and work life. Being able to make your own schedule on work from home days to go to doctor appointments or run way overdo errands benefits your employer and company by not having to work around your personal responsibilities on in-office days. A Stanford study showed workers who took work from home days reported shorter breaks and fewer sick days.
As mentioned in the previous benefit, work/life balance is something everyone is taking about these days and there is no better way to improve this than taking a day to work from home. A Stanford professor reported that employees who achieved this work/life balance by taking work from home days reported higher job satisfaction. Employees who take work from home days are able to cut through the noise and focus on what really matters: meaningful work and being happy doing it.
By: Molly Dance, Public Relations Coordinator
The best thing a company can do to create synergy, is for its staff to bond. Nothing is better than coming to work at a place where you know your colleagues on, not only a professional level, but on a personal level as well. Our team at KC Projects PR has made it our New Year’s resolution to spend quality time together outside of the office. When planning any team activity, the important thing to remember is to get people out of their comfort zones, to have everyone be in the moment and, of course, to have FUN!
Below are five activities to do with your coworkers to create a bond outside of office small talk that are 100% KCP-approved!
1. Happy Hour- This is the best place to start. Pick one night a month to leave the office and head to happy hour! Happy hour is a nice break in your weekly routine and can even help you avoid driving home during rush hour. With everyone in a relaxed setting, it makes it easier for people to open up and get to know one another.
KCP Tip: Try to go to a happy hour that is hosting trivia or karaoke. Double the activities, double the fun, double the team bonding .
2. Exercise- After a stressful day at work, it feels good to blow off some steam at the gym. Grab your coworkers and check out a new workout class! Most gyms and workout studios have a guest pass and they are perfect to try out with your colleagues. 55 minutes of hard work and fun can lead to bonding that will carry over to the work place.
KCP Tip: Try out each-other’s favorite fitness activity. They can be your witness!
3. Take a Class- Learning is good for the brain and fun when you’re learning alongside others! Try a cooking or Take a Pint & Paint class with your colleagues one day after work. This is a fun way to learn a new skill while challenging yourself with your coworkers. We took a wine blending class this week as a team and it was not only fun, but very educational. 6 new Birmingham sommeliers coming your way!
KCP Tip: Become the ultimate renaissance woman by learning the new and popular skill of cookie decorating. Schedule a class with our personal favorite cookie artist @janicedcookies!
4. Dinner- One dinner a month can be very beneficial to employees. Leaving the office to spend time together can change the dynamic of a group and allow people to open up to each other. Everyone bonds over food, am I right?
KCP Tip: Try the newest restaurant in town that no one has been to yet!
5. TV Night- Grab a bottle of wine and the remote for a chill but fun night with your fellow employees. Start on the latest Netflix series or indulge in some reality TV. Here at KC Projects, we bond over anything and everything BACHELOR!
KCP Tip: Have each staff member host a ‘TV Night’ at their house! It’s a good way to see what your colleagues are like in their natural habitat.
By: Sydney Sims, Spring 2019 Intern
Have you ever wondered how all of your Instagram friends seem to be traveling around the world while you’re sitting on your couch wondering when you should get out of your pajamas?
It’s ok if that’s you, because it’s been me too! Towards the end of 2017, I decided that 2018 was going to be my year of adventure. My year of growth, knowledge and travel. And it was. In 2018, I traveled to 10 different countries and made so many memories that even Instagram pictures can’t capture. “But traveling is not cheap,” you say. Correct - but it doesn’t have to be overly expensive either!
I wanted to share some things I learned this past year about traveling on a budget, so maybe your trendy travel photos will be the next ones I see when I’m scrolling through my Instagram feed!
1. Plan in advance
You may be thinking: “Duh, Sydney, of course you have to plan in advance!” And you’d be right, but it’s a good reminder. Do you want 2019 to be your year to travel? Start planning now! It’s so easy to let the weeks and months slip away from us, getting caught up in work and other commitments, without making plans to take some time to travel. Do you want to travel by yourself? In a group? With new people? You can even work in a hostel overseas to make money and have somewhere to stay. The world is full of opportunities and experiences; you just have to take the next step.
2. Travel during off-peak season
Traveling during an off-peak season opens so many doors. Tickets are cheaper, accommodations are cheaper, tourists aren’t crowding the streets and you have more of an opportunity to see what you want to see!
3. Cook your own meals
Cooking and preparing your own meals saves so much money. And it doesn’t have to just be PB&Js! Depending on where you go while you’re traveling, there may be local markets and street vendors that sell food you can buy for cheap and take back to your hostel or Airbnb for lunch and dinner. Packing protein bars is a great idea for meal replacement or snacks too. You’re going to need lots of energy to make the most out of your trip!
Don’t pay hundreds of dollars a night to stay in a hotel. Hostels and Airbnbs are much more reasonably priced! Just keep in mind that if you stay in a hostel, you’ll be staying with people you don’t know. (But hey, staying in hostels can mean new friends and travel buddies!) If you stay in an Airbnb, you have the option of staying by yourself or with friends. Staying in an Airbnb can also offer the opportunity to see how people live where you’re traveling!
5. Travel light
This year was the first time I traveled with a backpack. Not gonna lie - I was terrified I wouldn’t have enough or that I would forget something. But I loved it! I traveled a lot on the weekends, so traveling with a backpack was perfect for me. If you’re scared of the idea of not being able to fit everything in a backpack, that’s so OK! Just pack a light suitcase so you don’t have to lug around your whole wardrobe. And remember: bring layers you can wear everyday over whatever shirts you pack! Who ever said comfy was a crime?
6. Do free stuff
Take advantage of free classes and events you may see on posters tacked on telephone poles around the city. In most places there are free museums or galleries, so take a look! You can spend weeks in some of the museums around the world! Having fun doesn’t have to mean spending money when it comes to traveling somewhere new.
7. Experience nature (for free)
News flash (if you didn’t already know): nature is free!!!! And it’s all around you! My favorite trips I’ve taken this year have to do with the landscape around me. We get so caught up in ‘doing’ things and ‘going, going, going’ that we forget the natural beauty of the region we’re in. Rent a car, split the cost with friends and get out of the city to experience the hills and valleys around you. You may discover a new appreciation for the simple and naturally beautiful.
8. Walk everywhere you can
Walking is the best way to see everything and take it all in - not to mention a great way to exercise while you’re vacationing! Walk in the touristy places for sure, but also in the places tourists skip over. You may just meet some interesting people who teach you more about the world around you!
9. Ditch the souvenirs
… Especially if you’re traveling light. I can’t tell you the amount of times I bought a souvenir from a place I visited and then just placed it in a box, never to use it again. Instead of spending your time (and money) picking out a souvenir, take pictures of who and what is around you! Trust me: your memories and pictures will be worth more than the crystalline rock you bought in the cave gift shop you visited. Like my mom always taught me, “If it starts with a j and ends with k, it’s junk!”
10. The best places to visit on a budget in 2019:
And finally, number 10! After researching several websites, here’s a list of the best places (internationally and nationally) to travel to on a budget in 2019!
● Merida, Mexico
● Xi’an, China
● Tbilisi, Georgia
● Atlanta, GA
● New Orleans, LA
● Chicago, Illinois
● Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
I hope that after reading this you realize that traveling on a budget is, firstly, possible, and secondly, FUN! Don’t let money stop you from living your dreams and seeing places you’ve never seen before!
See below for a list of my favorite places I traveled to in 2018!
Sydney’s Top Picks: 2018
● Marrakech, Morocco
● Scottish Highlands
● London, England
By: Krista Conlin Robinson, KCP President & CEO
It is a new year and with a new year it is the time to get motivated, invigorated, organized, fit and focused! As an ongoing practice, we should all continuously and consciously work to improve our own career crafts by changing and advancing with the respective industries.
You know the obvious must-do’s: better time management, improved conversions, increased sales, increase focus and engagement, etc. Since we all already know (and hopefully aim) to do those ‘obvious’ goals, I’d like to take this article in a different direction.
Here are few ways to sharpen your skills and get down to business in 2019:
· Become Self-Aware – If seeing what others see of you is difficult, then ask people that you trust and who are sincerely interested in your success how they perceive you and what you see as your skills. Self-awareness and vulnerability have become assets, not weaknesses.
· Embrace Change – There is no constant in business and if there is a constant, then something is wrong. One of the most important soft skills you can develop is your ability to adapt. Employers look for people who are nimble, flexible and open to trying new things. Be curious and embrace the unexpected.
· Emotional Intelligence – This skill is the ability to recognize, understand and manage your own emotions (and others) when under pressure. Communicate with empathy and confidence when a crisis occurs. Build relationships with clients, customers and colleagues. Work to understanding one’s own reactions and triggers and managing others.
· Nonverbal communication – Your IQ may be top of the class but it is your nonverbal communications skills that project self-confidence and help deliver your expertise effectively. You need an executive presence to become a trusted advisor, publicist, manager, leader. This includes body language, hand gestures, eye contact, facial expressions, focus, and overall attire.
Your career today is an investment in your future. Incorporate these suggested skills into your professional goals for 2019 and your will be better prepared long term.
By: Nikki McCool, Fall 2018 Intern