Posts Tagged ‘skills’


Career Building Tips for Sports PR and General Public Relations from Rich Dalrymple

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012
Katie Levy, Southeast Missouri State University

Katie Levy, from Southeast Missouri State University PRSSA Chapter, tried on Rich Dalrymple's Super Bowl Championship ring exclaiming, "It's prettier than an engagement ring!"

Rich Dalrymple, Dallas Cowboys spokesperson and vice president of public relations and communications, recently spoke to eager PR students at the PRSSA Regional Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. In an earlier post, I shared a typical week in the life of Dallas Cowboys public relations.

Below are some of the tips Dalrymple offered during his presentation. While some suggestions are relative to PR students seeking a career in sports communications, others are timeless and can be applied to anyone working in PR.

1. Study the careers of other public relations professionals. Knowing where other people have been can help you figure out where you want to go with your career.

2. Hone your writing skills. “If you can write, you can do any job,” explained Dalrymple. He believes this is true as writing teaches you how to organize your thoughts, organize your ideas, and structure them in a way that others can understand. This is especially true in public relations. You can write speeches for the CEO, communicate messages to stockholders, explain policies to employees, etc.  If you can write and communicate well, you are able to organize other aspects of your life and business, too.

3. Work at your university’s communications office, university sports department, official events, etc. If you can’t do that, then find an off-campus job as an undergrad. You need real-world experience BEFORE your senior year. I was glad to hear him reinforce this as I’ve been advising PR students that if they’ve waited until their senior year to begin job searching and networking, then they’re already behind the eight ball!

4. Find a mentor. There is no substitute for shadowing pros and riding their coattails, so to speak. If you’re lucky enough to “find Superman,” Dalrymple said, hold onto his cape and you may find yourself taken to heights you’ve never been and maybe never could have on your own.  He uses himself as an example, saying that he hung onto one of his early bosses and mentor, making him in 1990 the youngest NFL PR guy at the age of 30! He did admit that luck also helps.

5. Find what you do well. Put yourself in a position to showcase those skills and attributes and a positive impression.  Dalrymple also stressed that you shouldn’t be afraid to start small—it’s okay if your first job(s) are not “sexy.” Find the decision-makers and get to know them and what they like. Dalrymple went on to say that so much of what you learn in public relations crosses over to advertising, marketing, sales, and other communications disciplines.  Yes, he said PR is sales – you’re selling ideas, strategies, views, concepts.

6. Read a newspaper every day. Online or in print doesn’t really matter, but read ALL the sections – not just sports, or just local, or wherever your interest lies. Read every section, even international. You need to see big picture of the news and world to know how and where you fit. 

7.  Figure out your dream job. Start mapping a path to get you there. He said “fantasize, and then strategize.”

What PR career building tips would you add to the list? Please share your thoughts with the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas by leaving a comment below.

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Storytelling for the Digital Age: 2011 PRSA International Conference

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

This post first appeared on PRSA ComPRehension 10.27.11 and is reposted with permission.

Even though the PRSA International Conference was my 12th in the past 13 years, I was excited about this year’s theme of Envisioning the Future of Public Relations. As I’m a PRSSA mentor and adviser, and vice president of BurrellesLuce Media Contacts, the future of the profession is close to my heart.

One of the sessions I attended was led by my colleague Johna Burke, on the topic of storytelling and its importance in this digital age. I came away with two pages of typewritten notes, but here are what I believe to be the key takeaways.

Burke began by stressing that storytelling is the core competency in the public relations profession, next to great writing. She talked about this being the “Web 2.0” of storytelling. No more is it just local library readings, storytelling festivals and other analog channels. We now have multimedia, hypertext, social media, user-generated broadcast, etc. Public relations professionals must leverage the art form — make your story compelling, make it stand out.

Blasting your message out to the masses is not the way to reach everyone. The most important considerations:

  • Where is your audience? Target your story through the proper channels.
  • What matters? Understand who your community is and what they want. 
  • What is sustainable? Understand how your organization makes and spends money. Channel your resources in the proper way so that you aren’t wasting time and money talking where no one is listening.

In the spirit of being in Orlando, Burke referenced Walt Disney as one of the best storytellers of all time; he knew who his audience was. He knew that kids were his primary market, yet he recognized his secondary market was the parents (using allusions above the kids’ heads to amuse the adults). He also didn’t forget there’s always a tertiary market — audiences we may not have originally anticipated but who still matter and who take an interest in our stories. These audiences should be identified as they emerge. 

The key is to understand what your brand means. Being generic dilutes the message.

Public relations professionals must empower their audience by digging deeper, driving the story. She warns to beware of the desire to be the newest, coolest — using the “all sizzle, no steak” analogy. People see through this, and will not support long-time relationships, which is what you need. You do want to be relevant — visuals, videos, info-graphics are powerful, but don’t miss the opportunity to tell your story.

Tressa Robbins is vice president of Media Contacts for BurrellesLuce. Tressa is a regular contributor to BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas blog, a member of the St. Louis PRSA chapter, Champions for PRSSA section member, PRSSA mentor and Professional Adviser. She recently served as a panelist for the PRSSA National Conference and speaks at the local and regional level. Connect with Tressa on LinkedIn and follow Tressa on Twitter @tressalynne.

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PRSA 2010 Counselors Academy: JR Hipple, Hipple & Co., Interviewed by Johna Burke, BurrellesLuce

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Transcript -

JOHNA BURKE: Hello, everyone, this is Johna Burke with BurrellesLuce, and I’m here at the PRSA Counselors Academy with J.R..

J.R., will you please introduce yourself?

J.R. HIPPLE: Hi, I’m J.R. Hipple with Hipple and Company Reputation Management in Atlanta, Georgia. 

BURKE: And, J.R., you’re also the chair of the programming in the event here this year. Think it’s very safe to say you’ve done a fantastic job based on the response and feedback that I’ve heard at all of my sessions and end tables.

But, you know, what goes into planning a session, especially when you’re looking for your peers to be able to plan something that’s going to be meaningful and effective for them? How did you determine what the agenda would be and how you were going to drive that agenda?

HIPPLE: Well, there’s three things that we really try to focus on at the Counselors Academy conference, and that is profit, performance and people. And it’s basically around the management of the business of public relations, particularly public relations, independent public relations consulting firms. It’s the professional development and the skills that we need as practitioners, and then it’s the interaction that we have with our–with our members and the networking that’s really one of the things that distinguishes Counselors Academy from, I think, any public relations group in the country.

BURKE: I would absolutely agree with you, and you choose fantastic locations. J.R., where can people find you online and in social media?

HIPPLE: Social media is @jrhipple, and online is hippleco.com.

BURKE: Great. Thank you so much, J.R..

HIPPLE: Thanks, Johna.

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2010 Bulldog Reporter Media Relations Summit: Martin Murtland, Dow Jones Solutions for Communicators, Interviewed Johna Burke, BurrellesLuce

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

Transcript –

JOHNA BURKE: Hello, this is Johna Burke with BurrellesLuce, and I’m here at the 2010 Bulldog Media Relations Summit. I’m joined by Martin.

Martin, will you please introduce yourself?

MARTIN MURTLAND: Good afternoon. My name’s Martin Murtland. I’m vice president at Dow Jones Solutions for Communicators. I’m here at Bulldog Reporter News Summit.

BURKE: Martin, can you talk about the qualities that PR practitioners need to have?

MURTLAND: That’s an interesting one. I think there’s probably two key qualities that I see communicators needing in the future, first one being their alignment to the business media, both to truly align themselves with what the business is trying to achieve. And secondly, I would say regards to analytical skills, the ability to question things. I’ve sort of looked at the future and sort of tried to create a–I’m interested in scenario planning, sort of four scenarios what the future may, may not hold. You sort of imagine a two-by-two grid where you have, at one end, people who are very much aligned to the business, and the other end people that have sort of, “vanity publishing.” You’re just going to get a publication where the coverage of the story with their CEO is actually a hometown newspaper. And the other axis we imagine something like highly analytical skills and that augment, you know, very uncomfortable with analytical skills. So what I would say, somebody who’s got high analytical skills and a–and strong alignment in business are going to be the winners in the future. And those are the things we should strive to try to become as communicators.

But some of the other scenarios, what I would say, they’re what I would term the bluffers. They’re people with good–can talk the talk. They’ve got political alignment to the business, but they don’t have the strong analytical skills to back it up. And they’re typically people who’ll move on after shorter period of time, perhaps before they get found out. And the other end of this expert spectrum I would sort of look at people who I call ostriches. They’re people that are very much into vanity publishing, or a world future that’s sort of run by ostriches. They’re very much into vanity publishing, and their idea of measurement would be how large–how loud the clip book makes whenever it hits the desk.

And then there’s the–sort of the final scenario for what the future may hold, is a world that’s sort of controlled by the gamblers. They’re people who do have strong analytical skills, but then they’re basing on flawed content or data. And so they’re doing the sophisticated analysis on not complete information. That’s why I call them gamblers. But what I–what I think, and certainly what I’m getting across in this conference is there’s a lot of winners out there, and how there’s a very good future in store for communicators as we look forward.

BURKE: Martin, thanks so much. And where can people find you in social media?

MURTLAND: I’ll try and do the–without doing the funny dot-com bit. You can find us at the conversationofcorporation.com.

BURKE: Great. Thank you so much.

MURTLAND: Thank you very much.

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2010 Bulldog Reporter Media Relations Summit: Matt Harrington, Edelman, Interviewed by Johna Burke, BurrellesLuce

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

Transcript -

JOHNA BURKE: Hello, this is Johna Burke with BurrellesLuce, and we’re here at the media relations summit for Bulldog. We’re joined by Matt.

Matt, will you please introduce yourself?

MATT HARRINGTON: Certainly. I’m Matt Harrington. I’m the U.S. CEO for Edelman.

BURKE: Now, Matt, you just did a panel on the future of public relations, and you were talking about skills and attributes that you’re looking for. What are you looking for in your future PR practitioners to separate your business from others?

HARRINGTON: Well, for me it’s still very much the fundamentals: the inquiring mind, the ability to write well, and to have an understanding of the broad aspects of a client’s business, as well as the particulars of their business. But it’s now–there are added layers of complexity, if you will. There are more opportunities, more channels, more stakeholders that we all have the opportunity to engage with and build relationship on behalf of our companies, and so you need to just have a very wide view on the world. And the best access point is to be digitally savvy and understanding the channels online, whether it be the blogosphere or the world of Twitter, but also, more importantly probably, is the emerging technologies that are enabling us to help get our stories told. I think this is easier, actually, for the folks just entering our industry now because they actually are digital natives. So they don’t know another world. So the fact that they’re living in a three or four-screen world, that’s the way it’s always been. So their ability to manage that sort of attention deficit world is easier, perhaps. But at the core, it’s still about communicating. And more now than about telling the story or pushing a message, it’s about engaging an end audience and building a relationship with them. And that, I think, is the really exciting opportunity for our industry.

BURKE: Great tips for all of the public relations professionals. And where can people find you in social media?

HARRINGTON: On Twitter @mharring, as well as by edelman.com and on Facebook at Matthew Harrington.

BURKE: Great. Thank you so much.

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