intro to series…Higher Education PR, by Brian Camen

Prior to joining Weber Shandwick this month, I worked in higher education PR for two years. I would often get questions from outsiders about what I did. Since some people don’t understand, I thought I would provide an overview of what a higher Ed PR practitioner does. Please remember, this is a general overview and everyone’s position is different. So here’s a run down:

  • Media Relations: Higher education institutions often provide faculty expert sources for the media. Students have newsworthy initiatives going on. How does your institution compare with the latest enrollment trends? Whether it’s fulfilling a request or pitching, Media relations can be a large part of a pros job. Developing relationships with higher Ed reporters is key.
  • Monitoring: Monitor articles that were published and monitor breaking news. Monitoring breaking news falls under media relations, one thing leads to another. As a PR pro, you need to be in front of the news so you can leverage your professor or school’s expertise and provide sources for the media. Have multiple experts available that can talk about different angles on the same topic, why not create a media tip sheet?
  • Crisis CommunicationSwine FluDeath on campusShooting? The PR pro should play a large part in your institutions emergency response management team. You hope none of the above ever happens, but you must be prepared.
  • Media Training: Sure your professor can speak academic, but can they (or you) translate their work and apply it to current events?
  • Internal and external writing: Writing is a part of a PR pros job. Press releases, internal newsletters, magazines, editorials, HR communications, web articles, rankings communications and byline articles are samples of the type of writing. You may also have to write fundraising letters and grants depending on your position.
  • Social Media: You may be asked to create and maintain a strategic social media plan for your institution.

Depending on the institution and budget, you may have marketing or event responsibilities as well. Every day brings on a new task. Higher Ed PR is rewarding. Higher Ed pros don’t put out fluff or spam (most don’t). They help promote thought leadership. And that is one of my favorite things about higher Ed PR.

The Changing of the Guard – New Professionals Section Relaunches Blog…

We’re Back! It’s that time of year again folks, where the old Board is ushered out and we say hello to the newly appointed 2010 New Professionals Section leadership. But before we introduce ourselves, we would like to thank last year’s Board for their time and hard work in making this blog and the New Pros section such a success!

As your newly appointed Communication Co-Chairs (the people who manage this great blog), we would like to express how excited we are to serve you! The New Pro’s blog was created to be a resource for young professionals and communications-focused students and we can’t wait to bring you posts on the latest industry trends and technologies, PR best practices, and other topics to help jump-start and navigate your New Pro career.

Along with providing the best-in-class reading in which you have become accustomed, we will be launching some great new features this year:

“Intro to…” Series – We have all wondered what it would be like to work in our dream industries (for Andi it was always the fashion industry!), but many of us don’t know the first thing about how to break-in. For the “Intro to…” series, we will profile a new industry each month (i.e. corporate, agency, non-profit, entertainment, travel, fashion and more) and report on industry-specific PR challenges, the glamorous and not so glamorous aspects of the industry, important skills to possess and tips on how new professionals can break-in and find a job.

Summer Book Club – May through August, we will be reading and reviewing the top books every New Pro should crack open. If you’re looking for a great book to read when sunbathing this summer, stop back in for our recommendations!

Now a little about us!

Andi Wilmes directs the PR and marketing activities of Beringea, Michigan’s largest venture capital firm located in Detroit.

Brian Camen is a brand new Illinois resident. He left higher education PR and the sunny skies of Arizona behind to work in digital media at Weber Shandwick in downtown Chicago.

We really hope you get a lot out of this blog. If there is a topic you want us to cover or if you’re interested in writing a guest blog post, don’t hesitate to contact us! We are always looking for new and experienced pros to share their experiences, lessons and expertise.

If reading this blog doesn’t provide you with your fill of New Pro info, feel free to visit the New Professionals on Facebook and LinkedIn.

career advice… The mistake I stopped making by Brian Camen

When I graduated college, my resume  touted all I accomplished during my four years at Arizona State University. Three internships. Two relevant part-time jobs. President of my fraternity, and a good gpa. Sounds impressive, right? These kinds of accomplishments impressed a hiring manager and got me a job, but they meant very little once I started work.

We all make mistakes as first time full-time employees, but mine was a big mistake. I acted as if I knew everything.

Just because you had four or five internships, doesn’t mean you know everything about Public Relations. I’m happy to report that I stopped making that mistake quickly. My attitude quickly changed once I realized that pretending to know everything was the worst thing one can do.

Entry-level employees often are afraid to seem inexperienced so they pretend to know all the answers. The point of an entry-level position is to learn about the industry you work in, develop yourself as a full-time employee, and grow your skill set. Your boss isn’t expecting you to be perfect nor is your boss expecting you to manage yourself. If your boss wanted those traits in an employee, they would not have been seeking an entry-level employee.

As a new professional you will undoubtedly make mistakes (whether accidentally or on purpose). The key is to learn from those mistakes. Study what you did wrong and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Another key to your entry-level position is to master your entry-level tasks. Once those are accomplished, your boss will feel more comfortable giving you higher level tasks. Developing your skills takes time. You can always be a better writer, listener, and practitioner.

Your skill set isn’t going to develop overnight and no matter how many internships you have, you never stop learning in this industry because Public Relations is continually evolving.


BRIAN CAMEN is a Public Relations Specialist at a top-ranked international b-school in Glendale, AZ. Read his blog The PR Practitioner ( He can be reached at or @BrianCamen

pr stratgey… Tip Sheets as a Successful PR Tactic by Brian Camen

The media calls my team because of the relationships we have built, the reputation of my employer, and the sources we can offer. I work for a top-ranked graduate school. Our “clients” are faculty members (around fifty Ph.D.’s), each experts in their field.

Last summer, my team created a media tip sheet for the Olympics. With the help of my director, I took the lead on it, and this tip sheet set off three months during which our team was trying to fulfill multiple inquires per day.

Media tip sheets are under utilized, but really simple to create. If there is a major local, national, or international event occurring and you have multiple experts that can take different angles on the event, why not let the media know that you’re there for them?

Here’s what I recommend if you’d like to create a source-based media tip sheet:

1. Introduction–What news story/event & why is your company qualified to discuss.
2. Multiple Experts-–Be sure to include multiple experts that can comment on different perspectives of the news story/event.
3. Credibility–What makes each expert credible to discuss the topic? No credibility means no media attention.
4. What your expert is prepared to say–-A brief description about what your expert is prepared to say.
5. Contact information–Do you like it when things are made easy for you? Well so does the media. Don’t forget to put direct contact information for your experts.

The tip sheets I prepared featured nine different professors and senior officials who were experts on different business angles of the Olympics. We had representatives who could talk about topics such as China’s government, their environment, the branding of the Olympics, disaster and emergency planning, and more. The tip sheet also featured recent stories in school publications about students who played a role in the Olympics.

As you can guess, the tip sheet paid off. Our expert sources were featured in many local, national, and international print and broadcast outlets. The inquiries came pouring in but didn’t end when the Olympics completed. The media tip sheet created a domino effect. Journalists knew our sources were efficient, reliable, and could be trusted.

All you need to do is create a one-sheet featuring a paragraph about each expert stating why they’re qualified to comment, what they’re prepared to say, and direct contact info. This campaign was so successful because we made it easy for the media.

BRIAN CAMEN is a Public Relations Coordinator at a top-ranked international b-school in Glendale, AZ. Read his blog The PR Practitioner ( He can be reached at or @BrianCamen