Tuesday, August 23, 2011

How writing can lead to the right career choice

How can your writing skills lead to a rewarding career? Click here to find out, courtesy of writinghood.com.

Contact the Communication Careers Corner

Feel free to comment on any and all posts at http://communication-careers-corner.blogspot.com/.

Send e-mail to communicationcareers@gmail.com

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Friday, August 12, 2011

How to start your freelance writing career

Are you looking to start, or jumpstart, your freelance writing career?  Click the link below for five easy steps.

Click here for the full story, courtesy of writinghood.com.

Contact the Communication Careers Corner

Feel free to comment on any and all posts at http://communication-careers-corner.blogspot.com/.

Send e-mail to communicationcareers@gmail.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/commcareer

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Using PR Skills To Find Work

If you've been having a hard time finding a job, you're not alone.  Media Bistro's PR Newser has four tips to help you land that gig.

Click here for the full story, courtesy of PR Newser

Contact the Communication Careers Corner

Feel free to comment on any and all posts at http://communication-careers-corner.blogspot.com/.

Send e-mail to communicationcareers@gmail.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/commcareer

Monday, August 1, 2011

The 3C's Interview: Kelle Campbell, Public Relations Writer

Kelle Campbell

Editor's Note: Our "3C's Interview" series continues with an interview with Baltimore-based public relations Kelle Campbell.  For more information, visit http://www.kcwriter.com.

3C’s: What led to your interest in public relations writing?

Kelle Campbell: I had been an avid fiction and nonfiction writer in high school, but I also was pretty good at art, so at first I was thinking of becoming an animator. I started on the road to public relations writing when I participated in a foreign exchange student program called the American Field Service (AFS). After I returned from a visit to Mexico, I wrote an article for the local chapter newsletter, and they got it reprinted in the local newspaper. Next, the chapter asked me to give a speech at a high school about my experiences in Mexico and also participate in a workshop for students who would be visiting foreign countries. I really enjoyed all those activities. When I started looking at potential careers, it turned out that all my AFS volunteer work constituted public relations work.

However, I was still on the animation track, and I spent a little over a year at a vocational art school where I did artwork for a local children's TV show and served as one of the show's producers. It did not escape my notice that TV production also fell under the auspices of public relations.

Finally, during my first semester at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, I found I really missed writing and so I decided to leave animation behind and combine all the activities I'd loved to communications. The university did not have a communications major but I designed my own through the interdisciplinary studies department with an emphasis on writing (though I still did some TV work). When I graduated, I worked at temp jobs while I started up my own freelance writing services.

3C’s: What kind of services do you offer, besides just writing press releases?
KC: I also write and/or edit newsletters, sales letters, press kits, grant proposals feature articles, community relations materials, marketing plans and e-mail marketing copy. In addition, I research media outlets as well industry and social trends for my clients.

3C’s: Talk about being a writer in a large city such as Baltimore.  What is it like?

KC: Actually, I live in a town called Ellicott City, located in Howard County, Maryland. It's a short drive away from Baltimore City, but it definitely does not have the feel of the big city. Actually, I think the atmosphere here is much better for a job that requires as much concentration as writing. I think the noise and bustle of a big city would make focusing more of a challenge.

Actually, I think this is the best of both worlds since Ellicott City has all of the conveniences you'd want in the city (except for night clubs, I guess) but one also gets to enjoy open spaces and see quite a bit of wildlife. I love catching sight of groundhogs or blue jays, etc., so I'm very happy.

3C’s: What is a typical day of work for you?

KC: The first thing I do in the mornings is check my e-mail to see if clients have sent over an assignment or instructions about a current project. Next, I look at my project folder to review what's in the pipeline and see if I need to re-evaluate what should be a priority for the day. I typically spend 1.5-2 hours on each project, and I track the time in an Excel sheet.

Ideally, I integrate administrative and self-promotional tasks into work hours, which should be 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., but that does not always happen, especially when I have a lot of client work. Extending work hours is a really bad habit of mine; I'm a horrible boss!

3C’s: What do you like most about working about working in the communications and/or media industry?

KC: I consistently find myself working on something different, whether it's the type of writing needed or a client in a new industry. I love the challenge.

3C’s: Where do you see yourself in five years? 10 years?

KC: I'm thinking of expanding the services I offer and I'm currently researching and thinking about what would be the best way to expand. Within the next five years, I expect to have completed any required training and have successfully incorporated those expanded services within my business. Within 10 years, I expect to have resolved my control issues so I can hire employees or outsource some tasks to other freelancers/businesses instead of insisting on doing every last little thing myself. It will probably take 10 years to get to that stage.

3C’s: What advice, if any, do you have for people that want to work in the communications and/or media industry?

KC: I'd say that while a "tried and true" path is the definitely easier to break into the industry, you can also be creative if you can't find an internship, for example. Volunteer your services at a nonprofit that you believe in or try to grab opportunities at your current job (if you have one) and see if you can get your foot in the door that way. And while you're trying to find those opportunities, don't forget to network and help out at a local PR association/group. If you stay visible and do well in the volunteer position, chances are someone at the organization will be willing to give you a chance.

Also, pretty much every project is going to involve some writing, so don't stop honing your craft. It does not always have to be strictly PR-related. You can try out creative writing prompts; a lot of marketing/PR involves storytelling, so it just might pay off.

Finally, be an avid reader. You never know what can help you. I once read a biography of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and was struck by the PR savvy and tactics of the civil rights movement. A few months later, I got a GLBT civil rights-related press release assignment. I used some of the tactics I'd read about to create the release, and that client was pleased, they became a repeat customer.

3C’s: Would like to share any closing comments?

KC: It is a good idea to spend some time and training on things that are not particularly fun or glamorous such as statistics, measurements, demographics, accounting or economics. Several business people have a view of PR as nebulous or a money pit, and that often keeps PR people from having a seat at the table when vital business decisions are being made. Since those business people are another audience/stakeholder segment, we should do what we're always advising: tailor our message to gain their attention, respect and confidence. If we speak their language, we have a better chance of convincing them that we're all pulling in the same direction.