General / Reflections

DePaul Regional Conference: Entertainment PR

By Colleen Kennedy, Inspire PR Co-Director, PRSSA member

On Feb. 2-3, three Iowa PRSSA members, including myself, attended DePaul University’s Regional Conference, “The Entertainment Industry: It’s Not Just an LA Thing.”

Throughout the two-day event, I learned how the Chicago entertainment industry is thriving, and full of opportunities for young PR professionals. On Feb. 2, the conference kicked off with an agency visit. I traveled to Burson-Marsteller, where I gained valuable insight into the company.

We also learned internship and job search strategies from three interns who were hired after their internship. Their tips included:

  • Focus your efforts—Spend two to three hours researching each company and tailoring your resume and cover letter to their culture.
  • Make your resume a series of results—Use your resume to show measurable achievements and prove that you did something in your internship.
  • Ask smart questions—During an interview, avoid asking stereotypical questions, such as “What’s a typical day?” Instead, try asking questions like “What’s the best part of your day?”
  • Look for a culture you like—It’s important to find a company culture that matches your professional goals and values.

Later, we participated in a Young Professionals Panel. Students had the opportunity to ask questions and hear about the young PR pros experiences in entertainment PR. All three young professionals stressed the importance of working hard and making yourself stand out from the crowd.

On Feb. 3, the day began with keynote speaker Tricia Murphy, Senior Vice President of Matter, Edelman Sports and Entertainment Marketing. Murphy shared her career path and several case studies. One case study, Brita and the Biggest Loser, shows how Edelman utilizes the 360º model. The 360º model helps companies reach their audience through various channels, such as traditional, online and social media, consumer production, on-air content, brand ambassador, sweepstakes and many other options.

Murphy also shared tips for a successful career in PR:

  • Read 360º, don’t focus solely on PR.
  • Wake up to a blog.
  • Think cross-platform.
  • Experiment with video.
  • Network.

The rest of the day was split into three seminar sessions, covering various topics in entertainment PR, such as “PR and Comedy,” “The Art of Entertainment,” “Tourism Entertainment,” “Celebrities and Non-Profits,” and “Luxury Brands and Events.”

The conference concluded with a career fair and the opportunity to network with professionals from Chicago agencies.

One of the great parts of the conference was meeting other PRSSA students. We were able to share our internship experiences, and learn about how other chapters work.

Attending the DePaul PRSSA Regional Conference made me extremely excited to host our Regional Conference event, “PR= People Relations: are you in the conversation?” in April. I’m looking forward to learning more about the trends in the field and connecting with other PRSSA students!

Follow Colleen on Twitter @colleenrkennedy


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