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A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications

 A. Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications

Kansas State University
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Manhattan, KS 66506-1501

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Six takeaways from a day with Kansas City PR pros

Guest post by Ali Ragan, PRSSA member and senior studying strategic communicationsCareer Tours 2019

A quality education is about more than earning a degree. Employers seek college graduates with professional experience and knowledge of industry trends. That’s why K-State PRSSA members have an advantage: PRSSA offers countless career-launching opportunities that give members the knowledge and experience employers are looking for.

We recently traveled to downtown Kansas City for our annual career tours to network with industry professionals and tour area organizations.

A snapshot of our tour

Stop 1: Crossroads, a PR agency and Barkley parent company

Stop 2: Lunch with K-State PR alumnus, Andy DiOrio, APR

Stop 3: BNIM architecture’s internal communications agency, “Spark”

I caught up with PRSSA and asked about their takeaways from the trip. Here’s our round-up:

1.   Be flexible and solution-oriented.

The Crossroads PR team shared a case study about Vanity Fair’s “Women Who Do” campaign and discussed how a campaign evolves from brainstorming to execution to evaluation. They emphasized the importance of flexibility and being solution-oriented, which plays a major role when managing client events. This was a valuable opportunity to hear from experts about what’s involved when taking a project from start to finish.

 2.   You aren’t expected to know everything.

Being a newcomer at an organization can be intimidating, but it’s not necessarily how much you know that matters, it’s your willingness to learn. It’s important to be prepared for anything that may come your way, particularly in the agency setting. How you react to unforeseen circumstances, and how you keep moving forward, speaks volumes about your work ethic.

 3.   Influencers: Not an option, but a requirement.

Influencers are becoming more and more vital today as organizations use strategic communication initiatives to impact business objectives. Successful influencer engagement requires sound strategy; it’s not simply a tactic. It’s essential to cultivate relationships with them on a personal level: know when their birthdays are and send gift cards in recognition of their major life events. Companies often have promotional ideas and input for their influencer campaigns. However, applying too much creative control can negatively impact a relationship with an influencer, or even an influencer’s relationship with their followers.

 4.   Tracking and adjusting is key to success.

By frequently tracking progress and adjusting for improvements, the effectiveness of content and strategy efforts can drastically increase. This is what makes a career in strategic communications rewarding— your strategic efforts have a direct influence on the success of a business.

 5.   Don’t be intimidated by negotiation.

Negotiating with prospective employers doesn’t have to be as scary as it sounds. Consider negotiating the first salary offer. If a higher salary isn’t an option, maybe the employer can offer more vacation time, flexible hours, or other benefits.

 6.   The job hunt: Be open but particular.

Finding a job right out of college is a daunting task and can be one of the most important decisions for launching a career. During a discussion panel with the marketing and communications team at BNIM, job hunting was a heavy topic. They recommended being open but particular when on the job market. It is a process that takes a bit of trial and error, so try not to get discouraged.