The Public Relations Student Society of America and Priority One at SHSU cohosted PR Squared on Oct. 16.
It featured special guest Carol Wirth, the president of a leading strategic communications agency in Houston, TWC Prose. Wirth is able to provide innovative solutions to address global needs pertaining to public relations, government relations, sales and marketing, community outreach and crisis management for corporations and not-for-profits.
Before the actual event started, Priority One members had the chance to visit with Wirth, and ask questions regarding advice for their future careers.
“The age of technology has been a renaissance. Information is at our fingertips,” Wirth said. “Everyone has got the info, you just need the experience to go out and do it.”
Wirth suggested that one way to do this that has been popularized recently is through freelance work.
This allows freshly graduated individuals to gain experience while still searching for a full time career. Those seeking out freelance jobs also have the ability to be flexible with their hours, and yet still make a sufficient amount of money.
Wirth discussed our generation has a competitive edge in the technology arena.
“You all have grown up always being ‘on’ with digital media,” Wirth stressed. “That has definitely benefited your capability to service customers.”
Wirth further emphasized that the world itself and the PR world have transformed into a technology dominated field. “Cubicles have been torn down, everyone collaborates, and the business is mobile and changing,” Wirth stated. “It’s all changing, but you are equipped and have the tools to do it.”
Wirth began the event by addressing TWC’s main mantras. The first is respecting people. “We respect people because we truly enjoy the people we work with,” Wirth claimed. “but also because this makes them come back to us.”
The second mantra is thinking as the client would.
“As PR communications professionals, we are the voice for others,” Wirth said.
The third mantra is connected to the second, in that it is working as the client would. This requires the PR professional to have a flexible work environment, as well as working as a team.
Their fourth mantra is “we listen, therefore we understand.”
“Active listening is a key part of client relations in creating strategy,” according to Wirth. “No one is going to know their business better than they do.”
Finally, the fifth manta is “if you don’t look good, we don’t look good.” This requires PR professionals to always be doing their best work and presenting their clients in the best way possible.
She stresses that PR professionals can be beneficial to even the most well trained business partner, engineer, or any other professional, because we are trained to be communicators and communicate and strategize in ways they don’t know how.
Wirth told the audience that sometimes this requires just figuring out what resources they have and figuring out how to get them out there and how to enhance their name.
PR professionals also get to create. It requires them to be innovative and try something new, finding different ways to get clients noticed.
Wirth addressed the extreme growth the technology field has experienced. “It has changed so significantly in the terms that the public digests information and that we deliver it to the public,” according to Wirth.
Wirth ended the event with opening it up for questions, allowing those interested in the PR firm to get more answers to their more specific interests. These tips included how to manage a client’s budget, incorporating video into marketing, how to make your portfolio stand out and the key aspects of networking. She stressed the importance of knowing your self-worth, which means that PR professionals shouldn’t price themselves too low just to get an account.
Her final words of wisdom were suggesting that students keep their resumes updating and creative, including a picture and a format that shows your personality, as well as the fact that the main thing she looks for in future employees is initiative. She finished the event with words of encouragement.
“You’re gonna get beat down some days. Public relations is a tough industry. Everybody wants to prove themselves,” she said. “Don’t let this change the way you operate. Stay true to yourself.”