WE'RE HIRING: PUBLIC RELATIONS ASSISTANT

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The Public Relations Assistant will be an integral part of our established public relations firm and will work closely with the account executives and managers in servicing multiple clients across both the traditional PR and digital PR realms. 

We are looking for an individual who is looking for more than just a job. The right hire is someone who gets their hands dirty, wants to learn all facets of a growing PR firm and enjoys the idea of a close work family. 

The successful candidate must demonstrate strong communication and organizational skills while displaying a positive, outgoing attitude. This position will actively support an assigned team to fulfill clients PR needs while simultaneously overseeing the daily internal tasks for the firm.

The ideal candidate is required to have strong writing, research and organization skills; a fine eye for detail; be willing to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to complete a project accurately and on time; and have the ability to manage multiple projects in a fast-paced environment. 

Responsibilities:

  • Manage and execute projects as designated by firm president

  • Support account executives and management to integrate goal-oriented PR campaigns

  • Research client products, services, brand, competition

  • Maintenance and creation of selected media lists and editorial calendars

  • Management of Cision database management

  • Assist with press distribution

  • Oversee intern program companywide, ensuring interns are scheduled and on track, as well as adhering to guidelines, deadline and client protocols

  • Monitor, track and manage secured client coverage

  • Assist with social media scheduling and posting

  • Assist with monitoring of client social media accounts

  • Posting and monitoring (as needed) on the weekend is required

  • Coordinate interactive/social content with client promotional and marketing materials

  • Assist in measurement and tracking of social media platforms effectiveness

  • On site participation and engagement for client events and community outreach

  • Manage office maintenance and general office needs

  • Maintain office environment, including keeping entire office ‘meeting ready’, maintain neat and clean appearanace of restrooms, kitchen, lounges, meeting room (in coordination with housekeeping staff)

  • Ordering office supplies and tracking inventory

Qualifications / Skills:

  • Bachelor’s degree preferably in communications, public relations, journalism, business administration or related required field 

  • Experience in social media platforms for business (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter) 

  • Ability to manage multiple projects in fast-paced, deadline-driven environment 

  • Self-motivated go-getter with positive attitude 

  • Should exhibit creativity and resourcefulness 

  • Self-confident and outgoing personality 

  • Must have strong communications skills (verbal and written) 

  • Active team player with commitment to excellence and ensuring client satisfaction 

  • Exhibits strong attention to detail and organization 

  • Entrepreneurial attitude and ability to think outside of the box 

  • Passion for knowledge of all things PR and understanding of social media execution 

  • Must be able to take personal accountability and perform well under pressure 

  • Eager to grow and succeed in public relations 

Think this is you? Send your resume to Krista@KCProjects.net and include “Public Relations Assistant” in the subject line. 

PUMP UP YOUR PRODUCTIVITY WITH THESE OFFICE PLAYLISTS

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By: Lindsey Mays, Social Media Manager, KC Projects PR

In today’s world we are surrounded by distractions – from HQ Trivia alerts to a never-ending stream of Slack notifications it can sometimes be difficult to turn down the noise to focus on work. Luckily for you, we have developed the ultimate office playlists to cut through the distractions and ramp up your productivity! 

Naturally nature: 

According to researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, adding tunes that incorporate natural sounds can enhance your mood and improve focus. Become one with nature and turn on these soothing sounds here

Keep it classical: 

Classical music is also a great go-to playlist choice! One of the most frequently cited studies related to music and productivity is the "Mozart Effect," which concluded that listening to Mozart for even a brief period each day can boost "abstract reasoning ability." Treat your ears to these classical hits and watch your productivity soar here

Turn it up: 

Sometimes, classical and nature sounds just won't do. That's when you pull out the big guns and crank up the jams! These types of songs put you in the mood to take on the day and be your absolute best. Next time you're looking to feel empowered before a big presentation, interview, or salary review, check out this playlist here

Good for the SOUL:

Feeling down? Buried under what seems like an unsurmountable email queue? Whatever is bringing you down, sometimes all it takes is a good song to put you right back on top. Music can stimulate the same part of the brain as delicious food and other pleasures. In 2013 the Journal of Positive Psychology cited a study finding that people who listened to upbeat music could improve their spirits and boost their happiness in just two weeks. Let the good vibes roll and listen to this mood-boosting playlist here

Tom Petty once said, “Music is probably the only real magic I have encountered in my life. There's not some trick involved with it. It's pure and it's real. It moves, it heals, it communicates and does all these incredible things.”  While not all people will respond the same to these playlists, one is sure to spark your imagination and increase your efficiency!

DO'S & DON'TS OF PROFESSIONAL EMAILS

By Victoria Morris, KC Projects Summer 2018 Intern

Do you ever write and rewrite, read and reread, and simply overthink the email you’re trying to send? It is so important for professionals to learn how to email appropriately. Emails are how the business world communicates. These messages can make or break you. It’s typically your first impression to a future boss or company, potential employer and more. Here’s the chance to increase your response and success rate! 

The Must Do’s:

  •  Identify your audience. 

  • Usually six to ten words is an appropriate length for your subject line. 

  • Paragraphs should be written in short sentences (one to three). 

  • Open with what you’re emailing about. Introduce yourself later. Get reader’s attention! 

  • Make it easy for your audience to read: numbered or bulleted list. 

  • ·Common business endings: Best or Best Regards

  •  If formal: use full name; if unformal: first name is acceptable. 

  •  Encourage creating email signature.  

The Please Don’ts: 

  • Do not assume gender or relationship statue. *

  • Do not type one big paragraph. It makes it hard for the average reader to read and they might just give up half way through or even before they start. *

  • Avoid immediately introduce yourself. *

  • Do not start by disclosing that they don’t know you. “You don’t know me but….” 

  • NO SLANG: Sup fam, that’s lit, Gucci, salty or throw shade. 

  • NO TEXTING ABBREVIATIONS: Ngl I’ll be smh & tbh u will get nc back. 

Make It or Break It!

The first thing your reader sees is the subject line. This determines whether your emails get read or avoided. Think BUSINESS: Be Unique & Specific In Not Eleven but Six or Seven. 

One of the ‘must do’s’ is to keep it between six and ten words for an appropriate subject line. First things first: identify your audience. This will help you establish whether your email should be formal or informal. In my opinion, it’s better to be formal in an informal setting, then informal in a formal setting.  

Meet & Greet!

Salutations can be one of the trickiest elements. If the relationship status or gender is unknown, a big ‘please don’t’ is using titles like Mrs. or Ms. Instead, resort to using their full name. For example, “Dear John Hancock”, followed by a comma and an inserted space between the greeting and introduction. However, if you have no information on the reader, add a simple greeting with no name. Good greeting options that don’t include a name would be: Good Morning/Afternoon, Greetings, Hello all/everyone.  

PERSONAL BRANDING TIPS

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By: Brailyn Hardy, PR + Digital Brand Manager

Your online footprint is the first impression you'll give most employers.

So, what is personal branding? Personal branding is the process of developing a "mark" that is created around your name or your selected career path. You use this "mark" to express and communicate your skills, personality, and values. 

Have you ever Google’d yourself? 69% of employees are using online search engines like Google to research candidates and see if the job seeker is presented professionally.For example, when I Google myself my personal website, company I work for, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram all immediately populate the search results. Hiring managers wouldn’t have to look very hard to determine that I live in Birmingham and I’m the PR + Digital Brand Manager for KC Projects PR. 

Tips for Building your Personal Brand: 

1.     Manage Your Online Presence. 

Before submitting your application, making small changes like setting your social media accounts to private, switching out the Spring Break profile image for something a little more professional and updating your LinkedIn profile can go a long way. 

2.    Printed Resume vs. Online Resume

How did you find the job your applying for? More than likely online so why wouldn’t you have an online version of your resume? Even if you are not tech savvy enough to create your website, maximize the benefits of LinkedIn. Since LinkedIn does not have space limitations it’s a great source to go a bit deeper into your professional history than you do on your traditional resume. 

3.     Promote what you are passionate about. 

Spend your summer in Australia working with a penguin conservation group? Taking initiative and solving problems is a good quality to have. Employers want to hire people who are smart, can carry a conversation and have a point of view about life. 

4.     Have a high-quality headshot. 

You will use this headshot more than you think. I’ve used mine for my LinkedIn and Twitter profiles, website, award nominations and everything in-between. No, that poor quality photo you cropped of you in a dress from your cousins’ wedding is NOT a headshot. 

5.     Become involved in the community. 

Being an active member of your community is great content to add to a resume. Getting involved in your community serves the dual purpose of professional networking, while demonstrating your leadership and passion for serving others. 

 

HOW TO GET MEDIA COVERAGE (WHEN YOU CANNOT HIRE A PR FIRM)

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By: Krista Conlin Robinson, President / Founder

Announcing a new business, sharing the news of a big idea and gaining exposure for a brand are all tasks public relations firms handle every day. As publicists, we know the importance of getting featured by the media. Shoot, highlighting clients is what we ‘sell’ every day. The benefits of media coverage in a high-profile news article or local outlets - print or online - can be a massive benefit for a brand. 

A few of the benefits in gaining media exposure include:

Brand visibility and reputation– Increasing range of visibility and positioning as a “thought leader” within one’s industry

Partner Interest– Attracting likeminded interested parties, vendors and investors for future collaboration potential

User Acquisition– Attracting more followers, customers and people to your services, website and social media accounts

Recruitment – Businesses depend on successful teams, and positive media exposure may help you attract talent to your business

If you don’t have the budget to hire a public relations firm, then use the following tactics to exposure for your business:

1.    Submit a press release. 

Press releases are still the fastest (and sometimes easiest) way to get the media’s attention. First, you must identify a newsworthy event or message pertaining to your brand. What makes what you are doing interesting? If you are a startup then talk about the launch; otherwise, address major milestones or a big event coming up for your company. In addition to gaining exposure, press releases can have a positive impact on your brand search results, thus helping with online reputation management.

2.    Reach out to specific journalists.

Target individual journalist that write on topics similar to your business. This relationship can be good for more in-depth pieces, features, and developing relationships for ongoing company announcements.

3.    Get involved locally.

Keep an eye out for local events that will attract the media and get your company involved. For example, volunteer in charity events, sponsor community events or sign up to speak at an industry event or convention. You could even host your own local events to generate even more focus for your brand.

4.    News-jack existing hot topics.

So what is “newsjacking”? This is when you take advantage of the popularity of a previously existing story for your own benefit. This type of move allows you to provide expert opinion pieces and to jump on the bandwagon of interesting and highly engaged topics.

5.    Stand out with a strong social media campaign

It is no surprise that many media publications and journalists look to social media as a source of inspiration, so if you can stand out online you’ll have a far higher likelihood of being featured in print. To make this happen, publish (strong and engaging) content regularly. Build a loyal following, position your brand as a leader and don’t ever forget the value of good images when posting. 

These five strategies are a good start to getting featured by the media. Remember to keep your brand visible and involved, and push interesting, engaging, newsworthy content. The time you put into building your exposure now is well worth the investment later. 

IHOP --> IHOB --> IHOP?

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Lessons communications professionals should take away from IHOP’s name change campaign.

By: Bethany Pappas, Summer 2018 Intern 

At the beginning of June, IHOP made a huge and surprising announcement: it was changing it’s name to ‘IHOb.’ The announcement resulted in an outpour of media attention and left thousands across social media and news outlets guessing what the “b” stood for. After nine long days of speculation, IHOb released a statement that the “b” stood for burgers, which are now part of the regular menu.

Opinions on a pancake house selling burgers aside, ‘IHOb’ certainly raised the awareness it needed to with this campaign. Let’s take a look at the important lessons all communications professionals should take away from the ‘IHOb’ campaign. 

1.     It’s import to promote your campaign across multiple media channels

IHOP first announced the name change campaign with some mysterious posts to it’s Facebook and Twitter profiles. In addition to the original announcements across it’s social media platforms, the company renamed it’s verified Twitter account @IHOb and purchased the domain name ihob.com. The company also released a commercial to encourage social media users to make their guesses before the new name was revealed.  Shortly after these media changes and announcements, multiple restaurant locations changed their signs from a “p” to a “b.” Although these were physical changes, customers were quick to snap photos and post them online which only fueled the social media uproar. 

2.     Engage your audience—give them a powerful voice

As part of it’s campaign strategy, IHOP’s social media team immediately started interacting with the thousands of confused individuals online. The team actually turned the campaign into a guessing game by posting multiple prompts asking social media users what they thought the “b” stood for. By letting it’s audience do most of the talking, IHOP transformed an announcement into a space of user creativity and therefore active engagement. With at least 30,000 replies in the first 24 hours of the announcement, you could say the interactive campaign strategy was a success. 

3.     Always have a backup plan

 Unknown to the average social media user, the name change is only temporary. The heading of IHOP’s initial press release reads, “IHOP® CHANGES NAME TO IHOb℠.” As you can see, the company uses “SM,” which is a service mark. The use of a service mark instead of a brand name itself ensures the change is not permanent. In addition, although the company did purchase the domain name ihob.com, IHOP.com remains the companies official website. These relatively unknown aspects of the campaign are incredibly smart on the company’s part because they ensure an escape route. 

Big risks can equal big rewards.

To celebrate the brand’s 60thbirthday, IHOP officially confirmed the name change is not permanent after all. In another genius marketing technique, IHOP uncoincidentally dropped this admission while simultaneously promoting it’s 60 cent short stack birthday promotion. In the tweet confirming the name change as a marketing stunt, the brand actually said “That’s right, IHOP! We’d never turn our back on pancakes (except for that time we faked it to promote our new burgers),” meaning all the fuss was over a marketing stunt, and a powerful one at that.

In addition to IHOP’s admission across twitter and other social media channels, Darren Rebelez, president of IHOP, confirmed the change was only temporary. The point of the campaign was to get people talking and draw attention to the company, and IHOP knew exactly how to do that. Rebelez also added, “But we want to convey that we are taking our burgers as seriously as our pancakes” and with a campaign as shocking as this one, I think we can all agree there is no doubt about that. 

 

 

 

WHAT DOES NEWSWORTHY MEAN?

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By: Samantha Jarman, PR Executive

How do you know if your pitch or story idea is actually newsworthy? You may think it’s newsworthy but is it going to be newsworthy to your target journalists or reporters?

You need to think about one main question when pitching your story: is your story interesting and relevant to the journalist’s audience? If so, then it’s probably newsworthy. There are a few criteria topics journalists usually follow when deciding to cover a news story that can help you determine whether or not your pitch is newsworthy, before sending to your target media contacts.

Timing

The first criteria topic is timing. Timely story topics are ones that are new or current. While the story topic doesn’t have to be “breaking news,” it should refer to a current event or offer something new to the audience to be considered timely.

Significance

Significance is how and whether the story affects its audience. How is the story relevant or interesting? Does the story relay events or information that will impact its audience? Are there a large number of people who are affected by the story?

Proximity

Proximity generally refers to geographical proximity but can also apply to social or cultural proximity. Events that occur in the area of the audience will always have more significance. Similarly, stories that involve events that relate closely to us or are otherwise close to our hearts can also be newsworthy.

Human Interest

Human interest is the comprehensive criteria for all other stories that will be interesting to an audience. Stories that are unique, enthralling, inspirational, amusing, entertaining or otherwise have an emotional impact or appeal will all meet the standard for human interest.

Prominence

The last criteria topic, prominence goes along with the human interest criteria topic. People are more interested in famous people than in non-famous people. When the President of the United States has an affair, it's front-page news. This is why realty television shows featuring famous people are often more famous than fiction television shows with non-famous actors.

Not every pitch or story idea you have is going to meet all five of these criteria topics but if your story meets at least a few of these, you should feel confident sending out a newsworthy pitch. 

 

NEW CLIENT FEATURE: NEQUETTE ARCHITECTURE & DESIGN

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ABOUT NEQUETTE ARCHITECTURE & DESIGN

Nequette Architecture & Design is authentic placemaking. The Birmingham-based team of award-winning architects and designers creates solutions that last from materials that endure.

By integrating planners and clients at every stage of a process that falls in line with the disciplines of Traditional Neighborhood Development and New Urbanism, Nequette’s work inspires others to live great lives, builds essential relationships, and exposes people to beauty.

Nequette’s company culture is rooted in a passion for design excellence, the pursuit of smart business practices, the process of giving each project a distinct identity and the desire to serve clients beyond their expectations.

“We are placemakers—creating environments where people can be wholly present and completely themselves” – Nequette Architecture & Design.

For more information on Nequette Architecture & Design, please visit Nequette.com

ABOUT LOUIS NEQUETTE

Louis Nequette leads the firm at Nequette Architecture & Design with over 20 years of experience. Nequette has a strong passion for community and designs to inspire others to live great lives. 

As president, he encourages a culture of collaborative attitudes with his team and the nourishment of all relationships from clients, coworkers, family and partners.

A graduate of Auburn University with a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture with a minor in Business, Louis has always had a strong interest in the mechanical and technical fields blended with artistic details.

Nequette has been honored with numerous national awards including but not limited to the AIA Awards, the Misner Design Awards and the Palladio Awards. 

Louis is a proud supporter of many local and industry organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Magic City Harvest, New Urban Guild and Vistage.

WHY YOUR COMPANY NEEDS PR.

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By: Krista Conlin Robinson, President / Founder

As a business owner, you have a lot on your plate. Keeping clients and employees happy, quality control and basic day-to-activities keep you on the go!

While you focus on your core business duties, it is also important to have a public relations professional readily available to you. Whether that is internal or you hire an external PR firm, getting your company’s message out there is crucial to ongoing success. 

The right PR professional or team of publicists is an important , yet often overlooked, aspect of business. A good PR professional will work diligently and stealthily to achieve the purpose and goals of your practice. 

The landscape of PR is diverse and the disciplines are wide-ranging. What was yesterday’s PR has a new and improved strategic skillset. Gone are the days of solely writing and distributing news releases followed up by a media pitch. While this process is very important and still relevant, adding in the creative elements to support the message increases success rates of placements. 

Today’s PR includes content creation, corporate communications, events, executive coaching, internal communications, media relations, social media, reputation management, and so much more. Job descriptions include an array of talents such as strategic communications, writing and creativity, research, social media integration, presentations, and project development. 

At KC Projects PR, we specialize in leveraging the benefits of public relations for the success of our clients. There are plenty of reasons why a company should work with a PR firm but a few of the leading reasons for our practice include: 

  • Targeted Messaging – You get to take the offense of telling your story to your targeted and priority markets through the preferred platforms.

  • Increase Exposure – You will be placed directly in the spotlight. PR teams utilize connections with influencers and media to reach your intended audience. 

  • Compete with your Competitors – There has never been a more ‘noisy’ marketplace than there is today. Your competitors are promoting, posting, sharing, publishing. If you are not being quoted in the press you are losing market share by losing the limelight. 

  • Build Brand Recognition – This is a marathon not a sprint but the overall long term effects of media visibility grow over time. 

  • Stay Relevant – If you stop talking then you are no longer talked about and thus no longer relevant. 

  • Increase Engagement – The right public relations strategy can improve your business or products outcome by increasing exposure that results in sales or leads. 

  • Recruit Talent – Many companies hire a public relations firm with the objective to not only attract new clients but also prospective employees. With the right messaging a PR firm will establish your business as a thought leader which is attractive to the best and the brightest. With PR, you can cultivate a reputation of THE best place to work. 

  • Retention of Current Team – A strong, positive public relations plan can end up boosting employee morale. Social media campaigns create a sense of pride and camaraderie. 

  • Manage Reputation – A carefully crafted PR strategy brings clarity to your vision and brand identity which will in turn help carry your message across your PR and digital efforts. Hiring a PR firm provides you with a constant guide for situations and a trustworthy third-person, objective point of view. 

At the end of the day the question lies in WHO not IF your company has a need for Public Relations. Whether you bring someone in house or decide to outsource the job to a PR agency, your firm will greatly benefit by selecting the right person or team for the job. 

4 STEPS TO SECURING YOURSELF A NETWORK

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By Brailyn Hardy

In a world where we are constantly connecting via social media, face-to-face networking can sometimes fall to the wayside. It’s easy to put off and even easier to do when hiding behind a computer screen but there are so many benefits to breaking out of your shell and attending that networking opportunity you have been dreading. Face-to-face networking showcases that sparkling personality you have, builds more meaningful relationships and allows you to cover more ground in a shorter period of time without a chain of email threads. 

Step 1. Have a go-to: Before you enter any potential networking environment take a few minutes and come up with a conversation starter or question. I try to read up on current events before heading into the danger zone so I am prepared to participate in a conversation if someone brings up a trending topic. 

A few of my other favorite questions depending on the situation are: 

  • How long have you been in Birmingham and what brought you here?
  • What do you do?
  • What brought you to this event tonight?

Step 2. Break out of your comfort zone: Regardless if  you know 1 or 100 people in the room, I try to treat every networking situation the same. Always greet previous connections first to maintain that relationship you worked so hard to establish then try to build on it by having them introduce you to people they know. In a situation where you don’t know a soul? Take a deep breath and smile. This friendly expression says your approachable and interested in meeting new people then approach a group and use the skills you learned in step one. 

Step 3. Actually listen: Sometimes I get so caught up in focusing on what to talk about next I forget to ACTUALLY listen to what someone is saying about themselves. Asking questions and nodding here and there helps you stay alert and shows you are actively interested in what they are saying. Try to avoid those repetitive nervous gestures like fixing your hair, jewelry or clothing and a huge no to my worst habit - picking at my nails. It makes me (or you) seem uninterested in the current conversation.

Step 4. Following up: Because I know you asked your new connection for a business card, follow up with them relatively quickly. I tend to make the first move simply by following them on social media or connecting with them on LinkedIn. If you do go as far as emailing them, make sure you mention where you met and mention the topic of your conversation. Remember it’s not an either-or when choosing networking online or face-to-face. It is both.