Interview of a PR Professional

8 04 2009

I contacted Brian Carter through Twitter for this assignment.  briancarter_firesidechat

First I asked him, “What is a typical week like for you?”

  • “I work at an agency (Fuel Interactive; www.FuelInteractive.com), so I do a combination of internal meetings, client meetings, management, blogging, and twittering. All my PR work is in social media, so I do a lot to network, maintain relationships, do favors for people, get involved in causes, and so on.”

What is one project you have worked on throughout your career that you are especially proud of?

  • “I’m not the typical PR pro- the PR I do is for my own company and for tourist destinations- I think my best work in that is ahead. But I am also starting a project doing PR for www.TweetROI.com, a unique new tool we created for getting more marketing and PR reach via Twitter- and that’s something I’m really proud of already, and will be a PR and marketing effort that doesn’t really have an established roadmap. It’s a startup, tech-based, but it requires the buy-in of social media rock stars and companies that are just barely starting to grasp how to do social media.”
 How important is writing for you in your career?
  • “Critical. Essential. PR and marketing ARE the written word.  I think it’s important to know how to write in many styles for many audiences, and not be personally hand-cuffed to any one of them so that you can use the style that best fits the project.”
 What 3 tips would you give someone just starting out in PR?
  • “Network on twitter with journalists and PR pros. Blog so you understand the blogosphere and bloggers, or you’ll never be able to approach them effectively. Learn some SEO basics so that your press releases get better search position.”
 What do you do to keep current in the PR industry?
  • “LOL not much- I do read a lot of online columns and posts, and I do my work. We are always pushing our clients, and some of our clients push us, to be on the cutting edge of PR, social media, and marketing. Also, we work with a sister agency (The Brandon Agency; www.thebrandonagency.com) and I talk with their head of PR, Erin Barrett as often as I can. She has more grounding in traditional PR, and I’m more on the social media side.”
 Did your education prepare you for your job in PR?
  • “Most of what I do is self-taught, because there still aren’t schools or programs at traditional schools for it. And staying current by reading blogs is mandatory.  By the time it’s codified enough to be taught in school, it will be basics that don’t give you a huge advantage. The winners are on the cutting edge, both reading about and creating the newest techniques.”
 briface41When your industry is hiring for an entry-level PR position, what makes a candidate stand out?
  • “We don’t hire that specifically. We hire people who can learn SEO, PPC, and social media.  That requires communication, language, writing, math, marketing, diligence, energy, and discipline.  We don’t get perfect people.  There aren’t any graduates trained in this.  We hire on potential and talent and character.  And then we shape those people into rock stars.”

What has surprised you the most about working in PR?

  • “That I am working in PR. LOL. The industry, as far as I can see from my outsider’s perspective, is changing a lot, and I’m not sure any of us have a real authoritative roadmap yet of the new way things work.”
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4 responses

23 04 2009
laurens918

Your interview with Mr. Carter was interesting. It was good to actually hear a professional say that newtworking is important. Staying up-to-date is key!

28 04 2009
sfarmer2

I know, I really didn’t know that online networking was that important until this intro to PR class and it really set it in stone when he mentioned it.

27 04 2009
Cinnamon Cameron

This is an interesting interview, Sarah! I think it’s great that you utilized Twitter to locate a PR professional as well!

28 04 2009
sfarmer2

I know, he is a really interesting person, you should follow him on twitter @briancarter. He always has interesting tweets.

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