Weekly Topic: Interviewing a PR Professional, Recap

My Public Relations Professional I chose is a good friend of mine and is always enthusiastic to share highlights of her day at work. Her name is Brandi Wigley and she is the  Community Initiatives Manager at the Atlanta History Center.  She graduated with a degree in Public Relations from GSU. Thank you Brandi for being kind enough to offer up your time for a one-on-one phone interview.

brandi1

Below are my favorite Q and A’s from the Interview. 🙂

Me: What’s a typical week like? (If no week is typical, then what was last week like?)
Brandi:  A typical week varies for me. 
I serve as the “face” for the Atlanta History Center.  I contact other cultural institutions and try and create partnerships between campuses.  I help to create press releases and media alerts and send them out to my contacts throughout the tourism industry on different events and promotions we are currently working on.    I also go out and speak to the community on the offerings of the AHC, whether that be educational events, group tours, lectures, or exhibitions.  I also attend industry tradeshows and events where I educate the public on our offerings.  Every week I contact group tour operators, sending them information on what we can offer them.  My goal is to get them to come and visit the AHC where I will lead them in a familiarization tour of the facility, our 33 acres of gardens, two historic houses as well as our midtown campus, The Margaret Mitchell House, thus prompting them to add the AHC to their itineraries.  On top of all of this, I work with the graphics devision of our Marketing Department to create collateral pieces that allows us to let the public know what we have going on in the next few weeks.  Grass roots marketing is a really important part of my job, so I develop discounts and get the collateral out to the public – thus pushing people through our gate.  There are many things that fall into my “bucket list.”  On any given week, something else gets added to my job description 🙂

Me: Tell me about a project you worked on that you are especially proud of.

Brandi: I am currently working on Atlanta’s largest Gone With The Wind tour.  This tour works with 10 different institutions and allows the visitor to experience Margaret Mitchell’s life and vision while writing the epic novel.  I have worked to develop collateral, press releases, media alerts, and have talked to several different media professionals about the pre-launch of the tour.  This has been my baby – and I look forward to it being a huge success!

Me: How important is writing in your career?
Brandi: Writing is extremely important.  I send out industry e-newsletters to over 5,000 people once a month.  This newsletter allows all the hotels, Destination Marketing Organizations, restaurants, and other cultural institutions, to know what the AHC has to offer their visitors.  I also have to work to help create press releases and media alerts.  Working as the “face” of the Southeast’s Premiere History Museum – it is very important that we craft the right message to get out to the public and to the media.

Me: What three tips would you offer someone just starting out in PR?
Brandi: NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK!!  You can never get too many business cards and you can never give out too many!  Start asking for them in college!  These people will serve as a network to help you find a job or even advance in the job you currently have.

Me: What do you do to keep current in the PR industry?
Brandi: Newsletters, working, and talking with other professionals

Me: Did your education prepare you for working in PR? How?

Brandi: Yes!  Georgia Southern has a wonderful program.  From Intro to PR to Campaigns – my education gave me a huge leg up among the rest of the new college graduates coming into the industry.  I know how to plan meetings, write press releases, media alerts…  All of things come into play with my current position…

Me: What has surprised you the most about working in PR?
Brandi: Every company has their own style… I remember coming out of college and thinking that everyone’s press releases would look the same – NOT TRUE!  Your company will help you to learn their style!

Me: What do you wish you would have known before starting your career in PR?
Brandi: I would have networked even more than I did.  I wish I had known how important an internship would be… I probably would have done more than one!!

Me: How has PR changed since you entered the field?
Brandi: PR has had more of a demand since marketing dollars and advertising dollars are few and far in this economy.  Writing a press release is a great deal cheaper than advertising in the AJC!

Me: How does technology affect your daily work?
Brandi: HA!  I live on Email!  And social media is huge for us right now!  It helps us to reach a market that we haven’t been able to in the past.

Me: When your company is hiring for an entry-level PR position, what makes a candidate stand out?
Brandi: Great communication skills, excellent writing skills, and the ability to think on your feet!

Me: What professional organizations are you involved in? (For example, PRSA, IABC, etc.)
Brandi: PRSA

Me: What is your favorite and least favorite part about your job?
Brandi: My job is very rewarding and has allowed me to meet some wonderful contacts.  I have gotten to work on some amazing exhibits!  Such a wonderful experience!  Least favorite:  The pay!  HA!

After interviewing Brandi, I can defintely see myself working in the Public Relations industry. I’m more likely to have more interest in the career, mostly because it seems like jobs like this keep you on your toes. I like new challenges and new events. The fact that there is always something new to be working on appeals to me.

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7 Comments

Filed under PR Practicum, Weekly Topics

7 responses to “Weekly Topic: Interviewing a PR Professional, Recap

  1. allykup123

    Kati Ann! I loved this post! You can definitely tell that you took the time to get some really great answers to all of your questions. I also noticed how you asked several different questions than just the ones that were required. I really got a lot out of these and thought that you did a good job of thinking of some questions that are actually going to benefit people that are reading your blog! I am doing an internship this fall with an art gallery in Marietta, GA so I really enjoyed reading this post because of where Brandi works! I love the art scene and would like to maybe work in it for awhile after college. Thanks again for the great post! Keep them coming!

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  3. Awesome post! I interviewed a semi-new-be too. I think it is way more informative to talk to someone who was in our shoes not that long ago. I didn’t know that all press releases weren’t all the same either, that surprised me too! Hearing about a GSU alumni getting a job always makes me feel better about the current job market and economy. This market has been terrible, but it looks like it is starting to get better. Always nice to hear someone compliment our department too. Yay for us, GSU PR people!!

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  5. After reading your interview with your friend Brandi Wigley it is funny because like my own interview the first question is what a typical week is. The response I received was just as yours and that is that a week varies. I guess from this advice people in Public Relations can take note that no week will be typical. It is really cool too how she is working on that tour for Gone with the Wind. This also demonstrates how many cool and different directions that a career in Public Relations can take a person. I really enjoyed interviewing a PR professional and from your interview it seems that you did too! 

  6. Great Job Kati Ann!!!!! Brandi Wigley seem a great person and practitioner. Working in the Altanta area has to be exciting to. And after reading just about everyone’s interview recap I’ve come to the conculsion that there is no “typical” week in just about any communication or marketing position. Brandi also stressed networking as a ket component to becoming successful in the industry which sounds just about the same as every other PR professional that has been interviewed. One thing I did see that was alittle different advice from what I haven’t seen from the others was the ability to think “on your feet” is important. PR is definitely an industry based on dealing with crisis and other unexpected events so I will definitely be looking at working on that.

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