The Must Read Bible: Be Your Own Best Publicist

“Without promotion something terrible happens…Nothing!” – P.T. Barnum

Indeed, what a terrible thing that would be for us PR majors- and hopefully one day great PR professionals- if there was no promotion. Companies, organizations, places, products and even people need promotion like a fish needs water. PR professionals use techniques and strategies to help improve the images of these companies and have become an essential part of their business. Everyone needs a publicist, even you. Yes, I said you. It is a reality that at this moment- with the way things are going in this economy- standing out is critical in this competitive job market. You must be wondering, how can I afford to have a publicist? Well, you can be your own publicist; in fact you can be your own best publicist.

Jessica Kleiman and Meryl Weinsaft Cooper are both PR pros who have been in the industry for a combined 30-plus years. Both women realized that even though there were books out that talked about ‘selling yourself’ or even ‘branding yourself’ there really weren’t any books out there talking about building your own personal image from a public relations perspective. Together they have written Be Your Own Best Publicist which is full of tips on how to make yourself stand out using public relations techniques.

The setup of this book is to clearly show you how to do three major things when being your own  best publicist and that is to prepare, project and protect. Here is a small recap about the book:

Prepare “A goal without a plan is a wish.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

  • In order to reach that professional image you want you must build a plan to guide you to your goal. Try building that plan backwards because without knowing where you want to be you won’t know how to get there.
  •  Once you have set those goals it is a good idea to set deadlines. It will help you push yourself to accomplish them and even if you miss the date you can move it to a new one.
  •   There is nothing more important when developing a plan than having a back-up plan, or several.
  • You should strive to be a know-it-all, but the good kind. Doing your research before meeting a potential employer is critical to feeling comfortable when talking to them. “There’s a reason why Google is a verb.”
  • Also, do a little soul searching. You must be able to know yourself- skills, attributes, qualities- and know what makes you, you. Without knowing yourself how will others know you?

Project “Your network is truly your net worth.”

  •  Building a strong network and cultivating those personal connections is a key element of success in any industry.
  •  “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” -JFK   This is especially true when you’re making contacts. Always try to do something for them, hopefully in the future they will reciprocate.
  •  Additionally, you need to be aware of what you wear, how you look and how you present yourself aesthetically. You don’t need to be the best-looking or best-dressed just make a statement- a good one- because how you present yourself speaks volumes of who you are.
  • Break though the clutter! Try to stay at the top of someones mind whether it be by staying in contact or showing your achievements – in a non bothersome way- you don’t want to get lost in the crowd.

Protect “You shouldn’t put anything down in writing that you wouldn’t want published on the front page of the New York Times.” – Unknown

  • Self-promotion is a very important part and you want to be remembered for the right reasons. Being consistently late, wearing inappropriate attire or even acting improper is not the image you want to send out to people. Be aware of how you put yourself out there.
  • Never underestimate the power of a thank you note, especially a handwritten one.
  •  Be aware of your social media reputation and what you put out there whether it be a comment about work or where you check in on Fours Square. One thing is for sure, HR people are going to google everything they can about you.
  • “Anything you say and do can and may be used against you in the court of public opinion.” With phones that take great pictures and have great film quality anything you do can be up on flicker or youtube in a heartbeat.
  •  Problem-solving should be your middle name. When a problem arises don’t see the negative side but view the opportunities that could arise from the situation.

And there you have it, a small recap of the book which contains hundreds of more tips and advice on bettering yourself for the professional world. “Be Your Own Best Publicist” is not your father’s dusty old business book. It is a relatable, inspiring and great insight into the public relations world while helping you discover how to put your best foot forward into the professional world. The book is quite amusing and contains great personal stories from the co-authors themselves- one of my favorites involves an Irish stew and Conan O’Brien incident- and various other stories from different professionals. I highly recommend this book to people who wish to obtain great insight into the public relations world and what it takes to make yourself stand out in the crowd.

Shirley Huyhua
Agency Staff Member

Can Netflix Save Itself?

After the Netflix PR crisis that occurred the past few months after the service’s price raise in July, CEO Reed Hastings recently tried to make things right. He scrapped Qwikster and announced that Netflix would return to the service that everyone has grown to love. While the price raise will stay because “the price change was necessary,” Hastings promises that “we are now done with price changes.”

It is now almost two weeks after Hastings made this last announcement. What can we learn from this crisis? Where does the company go from here?

Carolyn Kepcher provides a checklist in her article, “Netflix provides good example of what NOT TO DO in big business strategic changes.”


• Assume that success is forever: Don’t let your success get to your head because you never know when an obstacle can arise.

• Make a big change without communicating: Kepcher explains that people everywhere need an explanation, a chance to give their own opinions, and some advance notice.

• Follow a mistake with a bigger mistake: When involved in a crisis, make sure you handle it promptly but efficiently to avoid digging an even deeper hole for yourself.

• Do too little, too late: Don’t wait too long to respond to your crisis, or you’ll never recover from it.

I believe Netflix is on the right track to recovery, even if it took one or two tries to please consumers. Hastings hopefully learned his lesson after the heavy public backlash on the Internet and will not act so quickly next time to fix something that does not need fixing. As for the price increase, I do not know if this will continue to hurt the company, but I think everyone appreciates Qwikster’s elimination. Some say the company does not want to be in the DVD business much longer because Hasting wants to move towards online streaming, but hopefully Netflix will survive this rough time to even move in this future direction. With the recent addition of the CW Network to its streaming service though, I see Netflix getting out of this rut and surviving this hardship.

What do you think? Did Netflix dig itself too deep or will people forget about this in a year or two?

Nick Schweers

Chilean Miners Wear Oakley Sunglasses

Trapped in a mine for 69 days, on October 14, 2010 the Chilean miners emerged each sporting their own pair of Oakley brand sunglasses. For some, the large amount of trademark Oakley O’s at the scene shifted the attention away from the miraculous event. The rescue attracted an estimated 41 million television viewers alone, leading to one question: should this be considered a prime example of good product placement or is it simply poor taste on behalf of Oakley?

Let it be known that, as PR people, we understand that our task is to maintain, create or protect an image. With that said, was the task of Oakley’s PR people successfully completed?  Sure, there would be a great deal of publicity if Lady Gaga was photographed wearing the latest pair of Oakley sunglasses, however would it be positive publicity? It would most likely garner the attention of celeb-loving teens everywhere but would it add to Oakley’s image?

In defense of the CNBC article about the controversial link between the miners’ story and the Oakley brand, the company stated that they were approached by a Chilean journalist who recommended the idea. Agreeing, Oakley chose to donate 35 pairs of Radar Black Iridium shades to help protect the miners’ eyes from the sun after spending two months underground.

Photo from FOX NY

Oakley’s PR move brought an enormous amount of media attention to the company and in an incredibly positive way. Both the condition of the miners and the rescue itself was highly anticipated. Oakley recognized this as an opportunity to do good while receiving positive media coverage.

For those who feel that Oakley just took advantage of the rescue situation, take a look at Oakley’s statement in response to the CNBC article, “Our hearts are with the rescue team and miners as we hope for a joyous end to the crisis.”  Perhaps the initial PR move could be labeled as a questionable one, but the fact is that they were quick to reassert their image by explaining the reason for the generous donation. It was based simply on Oakley’s desire to contribute to the rescue efforts.

And you have to admit, this is an example of  PR done right.


Melissa Louis-Jacques
Junior Music Merchandising Major and Public Relations Minor

Connecting New PR Professionals and Students: The Sevans Network

Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are a few of the major social networking sites that we, as public relations students need to be involved.  On October 4, 2010, saw the launch of a brand new site that should be added to that list: The Sevans Network.

Sarah Evans, the owner of Sevans Strategy, a PR and new media consulting agency came up with the Sevans Network after asking her followers how she could give them better resources.

Offering everything from career advice to internship opportunities and support from other members, the network aims to help public relations students evolve into well informed professionals.

The website offers groups that include everything from a discussion forum to a comment wall with topics ranging from nonprofit PR,  resume, and interview help.

A main forum, blog posts section, chat room, tools and resources, upcoming events, PR hash tags and member of the week are just a few of the other sections on the Sevans Network.

The unique part of the website is the “what projects are you working on?” section, which allows members to share projects and ask for help or advice.

Members have pages that include a comment wall, profile picture, basic information, friends, and a status that are linked to the member’s twitter and/or Facebook. Members page are personalized with different themes and privacy settings.

Becoming a member of the network is easy! Just visit this website, enter your information, and confirm the request.

As PR students, we are always told to network and blog. The Sevans Network offers both of those things, plus more, on one webpage!

More about the Sevans Network creator:

A true PR All Star, Sarah Evans is one of Forbes’ 14 Power Women to Follow on Twitter, created a weekly live chat for PR professionals, journalists and bloggers called #Journchat. She runs a  blog and works as the social media correspondent for SWAGG, a mobile app that allows consumers to buy, personalize and exchange gift cards from a mobile device.

Sarah Evans is the creator of Sevans Network

Kimberly Caro

Co-VP of Fundraising and Philanthropy (PRSSA)