Q&A: Jennifer Powell
- Name: Jennifer Powell
- Age: 22
- Hometown: Plano, Texas
- Position: Public Relations Coordinator
- Company: M/C/C
During her undergraduate years, she served as vice president of finance for Tech PR, Pi Delta Alpha president, Association of Women in Mass Communications member, Golden Key Honour Society, and Women’s Service Organization.
Jennifer also won several awards including Banner Bearer and Who’s Who in 2012. After graduating with four internships under her belt, Jennifer interned for Weber Shandwick and Firehouse before landing her current job as PR Coordinator for M/C/C public relations agency in Dallas.
Describe how you used social media as an intern with Weber Shandwick.
When I was interning at Weber Shandwick, I primarily monitored conversations on social media for different clients. We needed to capture the content and volume of conversation that was being said, and I had a few trackers that I updated regularly.
How do you use social media in your current position as PR coordinator at M/C/C?
At Weber Shandwick, I was primarily listening. Now at M/C/C, my team and I actually run the social media channels for our different clients. So now not only do I listen, but I also post, respond and engage with our different fan bases.
What type of tools does M/C/C use to track media coverage for its clients?
We use Meltwater to track our media coverage, both traditional and bloggers. Also, we use GroupHigh to see how far the blog’s posts reach on social media and what kind of impressions they gain. As far as other social media tracking, TweetDeck is usually always up on our computers!
What is the most important thing students need to know about social media before they graduate?
Learning how to diversify your voice on social media is very important. Every client I work with has a distinct tone of voice and I have to be able to write posts that convey that style. Social media is not just about liking or retweeting fans, it’s about engaging with them in the way that the brand would naturally respond. It takes time to learn how to tailor your writing to match the brand, so start practicing now!
What does your daily work schedule consist of?
It’s so cliché to say that every day is different, but it’s so true! Some days are heavier on the social media monitoring side, while others I’m pitching bloggers and reporters all day long. However, I can say I have at least one or two meetings and I probably write or edit something for my team every day.
What is your favorite part of job?
I love media relations, whether it’s pitching a new story idea to a reporter or working with bloggers to do sponsored posts. I love the satisfaction you get when the reply email pops up saying they are interesting in working with you and promoting your client!
How did the College of Media and Communications prepare you for the professional world?
I absolutely loved my time at Tech and being in the college. I think what helped me prepare most was sharpening my writing skills in News Writing and PR Writing to the point where I knew the AP style like the back of my hand. Also, PR strategies and PR Campaigns really taught me the nuts and bolts of what PR is and how to run a campaign. I get to help run campaigns for our clients, all the way from brainstorming concepts to implementing and evaluating the success of the campaign. I got firsthand experience on how to do that in those classes that helped prepare me for doing it in real life.
What skills would you recommend students have in order to obtain a job or internship in public relations?
If you put social media experience on your resume, it shouldn’t be just because you have your own personal accounts. If you want real experience that is very similar to what I do on a daily basis, get involved in TTU Outpost social media lab. Also, really fine tune your writing skills. I know it’s a pretty common thing to say, but you don’t realize how much writing you do in PR until you are in the job world. Anything from an email pitch to a press release or blog post, everything needs to be spot on. That only comes with experience, and lots of it!
What advice would you share with current students about finding their first job out of college?
The biggest advice I can share is that it’s okay to intern after graduation. I’ve heard so many recent graduates say they didn’t want to intern because they already had a couple of internships on their resume and were ready for the real world. Trust me, I was there and saying the same thing during my last semester at Tech. I had four internships on my resume when I graduated but I went on to intern at Weber Shandwick. I can guarantee you that my post-graduate internship was the one that opened up so many doors for me and led me to my current job. A post-graduate internship is so much different than an in-school one. You learn a lot more because they aren’t trying to teach you as much, they expect you to know how to do a lot already and follow through with your projects. So don’t think of it as a bad thing that you have to go intern after you graduate, think of it as a stepping stone and your first move in the real world. And hey, you never know where it might lead you to!