Meet our members!  We will periodically feature veteran and new PRSA San Francisco members, and tell the story of their public relations career.  If you would like to suggest a PRSA San Francisco member for a profile, please send an email to info@prsasf.org.

Cherise Adkins
Senior Account Executive
Lyons Public Relations

 

Why did you join PRSA and what is one of your favorite benefits that the organization provides?

I was born and raised in the Bay Area. I spent the past 11 years on the East Coast – in Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Philadelphia – where I transitioned from television news to public relations just a few years ago. I joined the San Francisco chapter of PRSA as a way to reconnect with people from my hometown, a group that includes some of the best movers and shakers in this industry! I work for Lyons Public Relations, an award-winning broadcast PR firm that does satellite media tours, radio media tours, PSA campaigns and more. PRSA-SF members will be excited to know that we just opened an office in San Francisco, which is a great opportunity to provide more personalized services here in the Bay Area. Being a member of this chapter is great because it exposes you to other talented PR professionals, helps you sharpen your skills through workshops and online programs and also helps you keep up with the latest trends, including those in my area of expertise, which is broadcast PR.

You have been in PR for over 7 years. Share a few ways it has changed over the years and where you see it go.

My PR focus is media relations. About 80% of my time is spent securing spokesperson interviews with national and local television and radio producers across the country. One trend that I have noticed with broadcast media is that newsroom decision makers have developed a growing appreciation for cross-platform content. For example, a satellite media tour involves a series of back-to-back interviews with TV, radio and online outlets conducted from a studio or remote location. You can use that down time between interviews to record a short, self-contained segment that media outlets can post to their own websites or social media pages. This is one of the many ways your story or message can reach beyond the airwaves. Producers appreciate content that is timely, informative and interesting, especially if it can be used across multiple channels. Just as your boss or client will appreciate broader exposure.

Tell us about one of your most memorable experiences during your career.

Lyons Public Relations works with large corporations, trade associations, non-profits, tech companies and the like. For several years, we have served as the preferred broadcast PR partner for the National Education Association (NEA), which is the nation’s largest professional organization with more than 3 million members.  NEA recently celebrated a major victory: the passing of a prominent education law that subsequently changed the way students learn in classrooms across the U.S. In anticipation of the Capitol Hill vote, we planned a satellite media tour out of the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. with the president of NEA. (We have similar capabilities with studio space here in San Francisco.) After the interviews wrapped up, we watched alongside the president as Congress passed the bill live on TV. I felt a sense of pride, not only witnessing history in the making, but being able to celebrate and directly impact a client’s success.

What’s your best advice to the new generation of PR professionals?

I have three helpful tips for anyone new to the public relations field. Whether you’re fresh out of college, seeking a new position, or transitioning to PR from a different career as I did, here is my advice: 1) learn the elements of news, 2) perfect your writing and 3) be a jack-of-all-trades. First and foremost, knowing what makes things newsworthy will give you an advantage when trying to get the attention of journalists. The ability to think like a reporter will not only streamline your efforts to get some publicity, but it will also improve your chances of earning the right kind of media coverage for your organization or cause. Secondly, be a strong writer. Proper grammar is a must. But just as important is your ability to write simply and persuasively. Attention spans are short, so say more with fewer words. Sounds easy, but it really is a lost art. Finally, be ready to expand your skillset. Acquire as many skills as possible – from Microsoft Office to budgeting to perhaps even a different language. Be well-rounded and ready to learn. That way, when a new challenge or job opportunity comes along, you can’t be denied.