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.
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.)
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.