This week, Scripps PRSSA hosted 2011 Bobcat alum Annie Winegardner, the Director of Marketing and Business Development at Cincinnati Premium Outlets.
Annie’s Non-Traditional PR Career:
Annie graduated from the Scripps School in 2011 Scripps with a focus on Public Relations and minors in business and political science. She stayed in Athens to get her master’s degree at the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs in 2013. While here, she completed a portfolio defense, which is similar to a thesis, in which she covered how social media changed the 2008 election. Annie interned for a political campaign during her undergraduate years, and she accepted a full-time job with Capito for Senate in West Virginia from the same boss she had worked during her internship. Capito became the first female ever elected to the West Virginia Senate. Her next job was as the public relations coordinator for Delta Private Jets in Cincinnati, OH where she did PR and event planning. She began a lifestyle blog called Success on Stilettos during this time. Annie was recruited by Topgolf in Cincinnati and chose to leave Delta. As of March 2018, she is now the Director of Marketing and Business Development at Cincinnati Premium Outlets. She shared that she reached out to the previous holder of the position before pursuing it herself.
PR Ninja Skills:
- Event Planning
- Pay attention to detail.
- Constantly create ideas to disrupt the space you are marketing in. A “surprising delight” and “marketing tactic” are different.
- Make a run-of-show document that details the plan from start to finish
- Writing Skills
- Social Media
- Have a fundamental understanding of how each platform works and how to effectively use each. You would be surprised how many people think that simply having tools available is a good strategy.
- Understand Media
- Quantify Results
- What are your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)? Set them before you implement a marketing project. You can adjust them throughout, but these are important reference points for your level of success. These will help you justify your work with proof of success afterward.
- Have the ability to have a conversation with anyone!
How to Land Your First Job:
- Make a short-list of cities and focus on them, because you don’t want to cast too wide of a net.
- Stay in touch with your contacts regularly. These could be PRSSA speakers, internships or companies you have worked with. Never burn bridges.
- Want to work in a certain industry? Keep a pulse on it and start a conversation with professionals in that industry. Make sure you are genuine when you reach out.
- Engage with people on social media but continue building those relationships over time.
- Stalk people who are interviewing you on their social media platforms so you can go into the interview seeing from their perspective a little more. This also helps you develop interview questions. (Example: “What skills did you learn at X Company that you brought with you to your role here?”)
- Always follow-up on interviews and send thank-you notes.
When It’s Time to Move On:
- Your first job might not be your dream job.
- Everyone has bad days, but there’s a difference between having a bad day and being unhappy. Remember that money is great, but you have to be happy.
- Ask yourself these questions:
- Are you still learning?
- Do you feel challenged?
- Are you able to be creative?
- Do you like the culture and your coworkers?
- Is the possible new role a step up?
- Get a side hustle such as a blog or freelance job.
- Quantify your side hustle on your resume by including social media follower growth, SEO, writing samples or sponsored work.
- Network by attending industryevents.
- Hopping from job to job is not necessarily bad, because taking roles that are both a step up in responsibility and pay are justifiable life choices.
- Know your worth.
- You’ll realize your best fit when you find yourself feeling truly fulfilled.
Tips for Growing a Blog Following:
- Communicate with other bloggers
- Reach out to local businesses
- Post consistently
- Be genuine
- Understand SEO
Connect with Annie on Twitter @annelw and Instagram @annelw