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Question
Hello, I am pursuing a career in public relations in Los Angeles and I am going to be starting an internship shortly. I would like to build up my resume and was thinking of stating a side business promoting my clients that range in entertainment. I know interning is a great start. What are some ways of making connections with the media to cover my clients on the side? Instead of just a random pitch to a blogger or journalist do you know of any savvy techniques to build a relationship with them. Thanks

Answer
Hello -

Congratulations to you on starting on an internship. You didn't mention where the internship is or what you would be doing, but any opportunity to build your experience should be beneficial.
It sounds as if part of your internship will involve working with the media?  

You mention clients on the side. I would like to know more details about who these clients are. A side business can be a nice bonus, both personally and professional, but you should be aware of ethical issues related to working as a public relations professional. Are you planning to be up-front with the company you are interning with about your side business? About using media contacts you establish during your internship for your clients? Take time to learn as much as you can from your internship experience. Work diligently to take time to connect with as many professionals in the public relations field as you can - at your company and outside. Absorb as much as you can about how it all works - and take the long view in your career. If you keep track of your contacts as you go - you never know how those relationships can benefit you, your career and your clients into the future.

The best techniques for pitching bloggers or journalists is to know who and what they cover and what they are interested in. If your clients are a good match for the media, then your pitch should be interesting, new, timely and offer them a story you know their audience will connect with. Can you make the pitch to story as seamless a process as possible? If your pitch is successful, can you deliver, or pull together the resources to deliver? Can you write the story to match the media's style, take the photos needed, and make your client/source available for interviews/photos?

There are many good resources out there - read and learn as much as you can.
Feel free to follow up with more info on your side business, if you'd like more suggestions relative to building media relationships.

Best of luck to you.  

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Susan Suggs, APR

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I can help answer most questions related to engaging public relations in any endeavor. People often overlook PR opportunities or do not understand the nuance of generating free promotional buzz for their cause. I can help in any step of the process: situation analysis, strategy, planning, tactics, audience targeting, writing and evaluation.

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I have earned my APR (accredited in public relations) through the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). I have over 20 years of experience in public relations, marketing and writing for small and large businesses and non-profit organizations.

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Bachelor of Journalism, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Public Affairs Officer, United States Naval Reserve

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