Name: Kaitlin Goins Position Title: Public Relations Director Position Duties: Write and edit press releases; provide the PRSSA National Committee with chapter updates; design and disperse marketing materials for upcoming events and meetings, such as posters and push cards; lead the public relations committee.
What did you do in your position this semester? In my position this year, I led the public relations efforts for The University of Alabama PRSSA 2016 Regional Conference, titled “Innovating Tradition: Diving Deeper into PR.” I provided press releases to the PRSSA National Committee, The University of Alabama A+PR Department and local media about the Regional Conference and the awards our chapter or members won throughout the year. I also designed the posters and marketing materials for our events and meetings.
What qualities or characteristics does it take to do your position well? This position requires organization and planning. All press releases and posters must go through a series of editing, plus you must factor in the time it takes to get them posted before the meetings or sent to the media. The public relations director needs a keen eye for editing, a design background for creating posters and forward thinking to make our news newsworthy outside of the public relations sphere.
How much time did you dedicate to your position? This position requires differing amounts of time. The beginning of the fall semester is very busy with the annual headshot fundraiser, the first meeting and other events, such as Get on Board Day. During the first month or so, I probably spent a few hours each week preparing materials. Things slowed down after October but picked right back up when we received awards at the PRSSA 2015 National Conference in November and received the bid for our Regional Conference. January was much like September where I spent several hours per week preparing press releases, pitching media and providing other public relations support for Regional Conference and post-conference releases. During February things slowed, and the only time this position required was designing posters and providing support to the rest of the executive board when needed.
What would you like to go back and tell yourself before taking on this position? Be specific when addressing needs to your committee and give strict deadlines several days before materials need to be approved and distributed. Many of the committee members expected the committee to write press releases constantly, when really we spent the majority of our time designing posters. Give yourself extra time so that, if needed, you can design the poster with plenty of time before it should be sent for approval. Lastly, expect last-minute deadlines. Many times we needed a last-minute press release or a poster for a fundraiser. It wasn't a lack of planning on anyone's part; it was simply a last-minute event or award that popped up, and we really needed something to go out via social media or to the A+PR website ASAP. It's a lot of planning, but also a lot of flexibility.
How does your position fit in with or engage with the rest of the executive board? The public relations director provides support for the rest of the board. He or she also works closely with the vice president and fundraising committee leader gathering information and headshots for the posters for meetings and fundraisers, as well as with the president and adviser who approves the materials before they are distributed. The poster designs are then distributed via social media, so the social media director and public relations director work closely together to ensure that those are distributed when needed. This year, the public relations director also worked closely with the secretary, particularly with our larger events such as the Regional Conference.