Behind the Headlines With Eileen Coyne
Eileen Coyne, public relations manager at Kimball Communications, says sending too many messages too often can be a detriment. She recommends brands focus on the quality of their content, not the quantity.
In this interview, Eileen shares her thoughts on the challenges of creating meaningful content, the importance of listening well to build relationships and the need for strong writing skills in public relations.
What are you most excited for in your new role as public relations manager at Kimball Communications?
I am thrilled to be part of a team of such talented people and part of a thriving agency that is in growth mode. Kimball Communications is investing in itself and its clients by investing in its people.
My position is new to the agency and not only bolsters the strength of our team – it is evidence of Kimball’s commitment to excellent service to our existing clients and our desire to grow. I am anxious to bring my PR experience in financial services, insurance and associations to the agency and expand into new areas as well.
What do see as the biggest PR challenges brands face today? How can they overcome them?
One of the biggest PR challenges brands face today is the fact that there are many different messages coming at audiences through a variety of mediums.
All these messages and messaging platforms can do a disservice to brands that choose to say too much, too often, in too many places. This over-messaging can push trust away from a brand rather than instill it.
Brands can overcome this challenge and establish trust by developing meaningful content that consumers will share and share again. By clearly defining and limiting messaging, companies can influence consumer views and enhance their brands.
What is the most important lesson about PR you’ve learned throughout your career?
Always read it one more time before hitting send!
How has your background in journalism helped you in public relations?
As a journalist, you are trained to be a communicator. You learn how to build relationships, how to ask questions, how to listen well and how to convey relevant information to a specific audience.
In my mind, these skills are also fundamental to a career in public relations. It’s about relationship-building and conveying a message. Listening is key as a reporter and as a communication professional. Listen, establish a relationship, build trust and get results.
You’ve written and published news stories, blogs and more. How important do you think having good writing skills is for communication professionals today?
Good writing skills are invaluable to communication professionals and in many cases today, sadly lacking. My years as a journalist taught me to proofread everything and cringe over typos, obvious cuts and pastes and missing words.
In today’s world of tweets, emoticons and shorthand social media posts, we’ve gotten sloppy. While it may be acceptable in many of these rushed mediums to let a typo or two slip, I believe it’s more important than ever to appreciate and encourage good writing.
The written – or digital – word will always be an integral component to conveying a client’s message and implementing any successful PR campaign.
What advice do you have for those looking to begin a career in PR?
Again, I can’t stress enough how important writing is – or should be – to a career in PR. While social media may be taking up the time of many of today’s students and graduates, they should remember that traditional writing is still key to promoting a brand.
They will need to use correct grammar and spelling, know more than how to put a sentence together, and be creative. Students should focus on building a solid collection of clips from press releases to news articles. A good portfolio will travel and grow with you your entire career.
Rapid Fire Round
1. I always thought I’d be…at the beach more often.
2. My guiltiest pleasure is…Netflix.
3. The thing that gets me up in the morning is…the birds.
4. My hobbies outside of work include…attending my boys’ sports games with my husband.
5. If I could have lunch with anyone, it would be…Jon Hamm, a.k.a. Don Draper.
6. My hidden talent is…finding lost things.
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