Baylor alumna shares her experience in public relations with students
By Ben Brown, pre-business student
Baylor graduate Rachel J. Lott addressed Baylor students yesterday on the key aspects of working in public relations and what it takes to be successful in this field. Lott gave her speech, "What It's Like to Work in Public Relations", as a guest speaker for Dr. Marlene Neill's writing for media markets class of 12 students in Castlellaw Communications Center, Room 210.
Lott recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and public relations, and she is currently earning her Master of Science in integrated marketing communication from West Virginia University. She works as a communications and graphic design officer for the Education Service Center for Region 12 of the Texas public school system.
When commenting on her work in public education, Lott said public relations plays a larger role than most think.
"[It's] very important that there's PR for education," Lott said. "Everyone in the community is a stakeholder™it's the only institution with a daily influence on your life for 18 years."
Lott asserted that there are three key things one must do in public relations: communicate, create and coordinate. When it came to communicating, Lott explained that much of public relations involves writing press releases, and stressed that being able to write professionally is essential in this field. Lott also emphasized relationship building, particularly within one's own company.
"If you can't convince people in your organization to trust you, how can you get outsiders to?" she asked. "If you're PR, everyone should like you."
Lott said to coordinate in her job meant coordinating quality control measures, interns and social media, and that the create aspect of public relations refers to the creation of promotional materials such as fliers and brochures. She also mentioned that designing publications for use within her organization, such as directories, was another important part of her job.
Lott then debunked prominent misconceptions of public relations, such as the idea that the job, by definition, involves twisting the truth. She said that her job was to "tell the truth the best way possible," although she added that her job also required her to "only include what's absolutely relevant."
Another myth Lott cited was the notion that public relations workers don't need public speaking skills. Lott expressed that public relations demands excellent communications skills even if a certain job doesn't involve giving speeches to large crowds, because it will involve addressing small crowds within one's own organization.
Baylor student Hillary Fitch, an entrepreneurship major, was excited to hear advice from someone with experience in the field.
"It's interesting to see how this type of class can be used in the real world," she said.
Jake Brown, a film and digital media major, was also grateful for Lott's insight.
"I was surprised with the things that she gets paid to do," he said. "It was interesting to hear the perspective of someone who does PR for a job.