Saturday morning I walked into the Barrett Honors College at ASU for the 15th annual Valley Publicity Summit presented by SPJ. I was greeted by Mark, the man who happened to be my professor at the very same school eight years prior.
Remember the whole introverted thing? It kicked in.
I grabbed some coffee, found a seat at a table, and began my preparation for the upcoming afternoon. I rehearsed the pitches in my head and went over the attendee list to make sure I had their packets in order.
I smiled as people came through the door and watched how many of them greeted each other as old friends.
“This is why I am here,” I told myself. “Soon I will make my own connections and relations.”
The thing is, despite my youthful appearance, I am not young. This field of work is not new to me-- I have just been out of the game a little while. I don’t have every editor saved as “favorites” in my contact list and I still have to look up the anchor of the local news.
(that’s because my TV is mostly tuned to Peppa Pig but that’s beside the point)
If there is one thing I really admire about HMA, it’s our reputation. A reputation Scott, Abbie and Alison have built over the years that extends far beyond an impressive client folder. Are they talented? Absolutely. Are they professional? Of course. Do they deliver quality work as promised? Every time. But they are also just good people and they have built relationships that make getting a last-minute placement in the Republic look like a breeze.
That’s why joining the team made me somewhat apprehensive at first. But yet, it is also what has inspired me to continue moving past the introversion and apprehension and establish my own connections.
The SPJ Publicity Summit was my chance to do just that.
After the panelists’ spoke on such topics such as the stories they are looking for, how to send the perfect pitch, their vision on social media, etc., it was time for the break out “speed pitching session”. Twenty-two members of the media sat at tables in three different rooms and each PR person got the chance to sit and talk with them for three whole minutes.
I wandered into the first class and scanned the room. I had my packets ready, complete with an updated source list and individual story ideas, and I awaited my first chance to sit down and recite the pitches I had rehearsed my head.
“Hi, I am Kelsey with HMA Public Relations!”
That’s it. That’s all I had to say.
Suddenly, the nerves were gone and those perfect pitches were nearly forgotten. Every conversation with members of the media felt more like I was just talking to a friend. It was both a relief and empowering and I was proud to represent the PR firm that most every attendee commended.
By the end of the summit I had landed segments for our clients, I shook hands with fellow PR pros and I made my own relationships with some of the top members of our media.
I may have been out of the game for a while, but I am on my way to making one heck of a comeback.