Intern Emma Brock, right, with Sarah Kinsler and Mary Ellen Miller at a recent client campaign event.

Intern Emma Brock, right, with Sarah Kinsler and Mary Ellen Miller at a recent client campaign event.

The following is a guest blog post by MarketingMel’s intern, Emma Brock. My interns work with me for at least one full academic year (two semesters.)

I hardly know where to begin when people ask me what I do as MarketingMel’s intern. My mind flurries with all the research, the events and the campaigns I have gotten to work on since Mel brought me on as her intern in August. With each new day there is a new goal to conquer.

In the world of PR, the only thing you can expect is not knowing what to expect! While much of PR is a learning curve, there are certain tools that every intern should keep in mind to find success.

1. Be a complement to your employer. Every person has a different skill set. Clearly your boss has valuable skills that got them to the position they work in. However, you also should be aware of your skills that will complement those of your employer. The end goal is to be a valuable member of your team.

2. Talking is good. Listening is better. Have you ever heard that you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? Well it is true! There will be opportunities where your opinion is asked for, and doing so will open you up for creative thinking. On the flip side, there is great value in listening. You will gain insight as to the needs of your clients, and people will always regard you highly for good listening skills.

3. Discretion, Discretion, Discretion. Need I say more? No one wants a reputation as a gossip. Not to mention, gabbing about your clients can land you in hot water.

4. Time is Money. In any career, timeliness is important. But as an intern, it is vital to always be timely to events and with events. Take advantage of every spare minute. It makes more of an impression than you realize.

5. Sleep is a thing of the past. There will be days where you will be utterly sleep-deprived. But when you walk out of the office knowing you accomplished a major feat, made new connections, helped clients and improved yourself, it will all be worth it.

EmmaBrockEmma Brock is currently a senior PR major at ETSU and MarketingMel’s intern. Aside from doing research and assisting with client events for the company, she can be found at the park with her beloved dog Cooper or with her nose buried in a book. Follow Brock on Instagram: @brockaleigh 

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Sarah Kinsler and Emma Brock accepting MarketingMel's Faith in the Future award.

Sarah Kinsler and Emma Brock accepting MarketingMel’s Faith in the Future award.

For the second year in a row the MarketingMel team took home the CenturyLink Faith in the Future Award. This year we won in the woman owned business category. My two young rock stars: associate Sarah Kinsler and intern Emma Brock were on hand to accept the award. (I was previously committed to a speaking engagement with the Tri-Cities Women’s Council of Realtors that day.)  It is truly a privilege and an honor to serve MarketingMel’s fantastic clients with their marketing, public relations and social media strategies for nearly five years.  Also, serving, teaching, working and learning from the next generation of rising young professional women is indeed a pillar of my company. One of the platforms of MarketingMel is to mentor rising young women studying in the field of public relations and marketing. According to all reports Sarah and Emma knocked it out of the ball park when they were called to the podium to accept our award. It’s great to have such confidence in the abilities of the next generation. If Sarah and Emma are any indication of the future of the public relations profession, we are in good hands!

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Remember playing the game of telephone as a child?

Remember playing the game of telephone as a child?

Steve Hawkins, a veteran news man and host of The Steve Hawkins Show on WFHG radio, recently posed these two questions to me: How are people now using social media to get their news? How has social media become a news source?  Steve said he was prompted to ask me these questions after the recent (local) Greene County school stabbing. Do you know where I heard about that incident? Twitter. I was checking my local tweets list on my phone and saw WJHL’s post about it. I told my husband about the incident as we were walking out the door to a First Priority fund raising dinner. That evening the Christian youth group used the tragic incident to discuss the need for the work that they do with youths in our schools.

I posed Steve’s questions on today’s “airwaves” and was overwhelmed by the quick response on both twitter and Facebook. Here are a few of the stories people shared with me.

Last summer (2013) Johnson City videographer Kyle Long of Digital-fridge, was shooting a tourism video for the town of Damascus, VA. Suddenly, an elderly man suffered a medical issue and plowed into a crowd with his car. No one was killed but there were several serious injuries. Kyle took and posted the photo of the car crash to twitter and Facebook. Within ten minutes of his tweet, ABC/New York called to ask permission to use the photo. He told them “sure” and his photo was blasted out to ABC news watchers around the globe. This actually poses an interesting ethical question that Kyle and I discussed. Who becomes the gatekeeper?  What if Kyle had taken a photo of “just any car” and said it was the one to plow into the crowd? In today’s rush of citizen journalists does the “first to post” win?

Apparently lots of news hounds like me monitor twitter. My intern Emma Brock said that when Soledad O’Brien visited ETSU she said she usually saw her news on twitter first- and then she would check her sources for the facts.Ted Bradford of Shop Local says that The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore retweeted his photo of downtown Johnson City flooding within 15-20 minutes of posting.

Of course there can be a downside if you don’t check the facts. My associate Sarah Kinsler says, “The way social media is used for news often reminds me of the game “telephone” … “what happened” changes as it’s being passed around person by person.” And former MSHA Vice President Ed Herbert adds, “Locally, there was the situation where MSHA was closing Indian Path Pavilion, the psych hospital, but one TV station tweeted “MSHA closing Indian Path Medical Center” and suddenly 700 team members at the hospital were fearful for their jobs, the tweet was then used as a source on other media outlets and MSHA communications and marketing spent the rest of the day correcting the erroneous tweet.”

Local WJHL-TV newsman Chris McIntosh says, “Some of the best stories I’ve covered have come from Facebook sources. I have fans and friends on Facebook that keep me up to date on what is going on in their neighborhoods and communities.”

Finally, my former intern Kristen Pierce, who is now with St. Jude’s says, “I usually get breaking news first on Twitter. I follow the Associated Press so I’m always staying up to date!”

Clearly, social media has found its place as a key influencer in our news consumption and creation.

Do you have a social media making/breaking news story to share? I would love to hear from you and publish some of those here. 

photo credit: Helga Weber via photopin cc

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The MarketingMel team at ColorMeRad

The MarketingMel team at ColorMeRad

What could be more fun for team-building with MarkeitngMel’s group of rising young public relations pro’s than “running” one of the most cleverly marketed 5K events in the world? I’m talking about ColorMeRad 5K, billed as “the best way to brighten your life.” A run/walk event that’s geared toward women, ColorMeRad offers all the fun of a run without a clock. I knew this wasn’t a usual 5K was when I stepped out of my car only to see a rotund group of co-workers wearing matching shirts and smoking cigarettes. I knew we were not in Kansas anymore but little did I know we were definitely heading for a rainbow! Who needs a watch when you can go for a stroll through five paint stations and then soak in (literally!) the Color Throw! My “team” included intern Emma Brock and Associate Sarah Kinsler along with their boyfriends, Derrek Pugh and Taylor Alexander. It was just me and all of my 20-something friends heading out to get colored corn starch splattered all over us (along with 5,000 other people!)

Here are some tips we learned from the race:

  1. Plan to have FUN: It’s a very different atmosphere from competitive races.
  2. Arrive early to get in the party mood:  We arrived over an hour before our start time and we were glad we did! We danced, did plenty of warm up exercises led by a local exercise studio and, thanks to the great party host who hosted contests and gave away free t-shirts, we generally got in the mood to have fun!
  3. Wear the sunglasses they give you! It was worth digging my contacts out of the closet to be able to wear the Rad glasses. Then I didn’t ruin any of my good glasses.
  4. If you put on the tattoo it’s on for awhile: Yup! I was RAD yesterday and still today. But hey, my tat was a great conversation starter with the bagger at the grocery store.
  5. If you bring a phone, cover it up in a plastic bag. Frankly, I didn’t take mine on the run because the girls brought and hid theirs. You will want to take photos!
  6. Realize you are not going to have a personal record time: Heck, you’re dodging small children and large adults who started walking in the wave ahead of you. But you can run, sort of.  (I did).
  7. Wear a bandana (I’m still sneezing!) Not mentioned in any of the web site, Facebook or other literature is that your nose *will* clog up from inhaling colored corn starch and you *will* get a headache.  Saline nasal solution is your friend. Some participants said their ears were also full of color (and so were their Q-tips.)
  8. When you’re a team it’s best to travel together. This race attracted 5,000 runners/walkers. Although we initially planned to ride together we ended up driving in two cars. The car that got the later start got stuck in traffic and we didn’t catch up with our teamates till after the race. My recommendation: Pile into one car and start early!
  9. Be sure to wear white to maximize your color. Then bring a change of clothes and a trash bag or at least a towel to sit on after. We were all covered in color and you don’t want to get that on your car seat.
  10. Take a shower as soon as you can. I showered right away and everything came right off (except the Rad tat, but hey, I’m still Rad!)

May all your dreams be colorful and your runs be happy!

Did I mention….have fun with it?!

Have you ever participated in a ColorMeRad or Color Run? If so, what’s been your experience? If you haven’t please tell us why you haven’t or if you’re secretly jealous of our Rad shirts?

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