The Swing of Things brings a fresh insight from professionals and experts around the world within the Public Relations industry.
For the March edition, we had a chat with Hanah Van Borek from Murray Paterson Marketing Group in Vancouver.
A graduate of Simon Fraser University’s Communication and Media Arts degree program, Hanah honed her agency chops at FleishmanHillard and Magnolia Communications, developing skills in technology and finance, and pitching to global outlets such as The New York Times.
Her current role as an MPMG Media Relations Specialist allows Hanah’s brand of alchemy to conjure up narrative hooks and media angles that highlight the stories of her clients. Her current focus on arts + culture emphasises her belief in giving a voice to society’s creators and art makers, who help grow and develop healthy communities.
Hanah Van Borek
Murray Paterson Marketing Group
1. What skill(s) do you think are crucial to working in PR/communications?
Improvisation: We can anticipate as many scenarios in a campaign as possible, but it’s how you think on your feet and turn the unexpected in your favour that makes or breaks its success.
Becoming a chameleon: Every media outlet has its own style and voice requiring us to adapt our pitch to each in a custom and unique way.
A strong ability to anticipate needs: Whether this be of the client, the journalist, or the audience. Knowing what they want before they want it helps you rise above the rest.
A gift for gab that exceeds mere conversation-making, but exudes eloquence and cuts to the core. Such a talent usually transfers into writing as well.
2. What do you see as the future direction of the industry?
As we know with viral content, sometimes all it takes is catching the attention of one outlet like Buzzfeed to “break the internet”. Publicists are benefitting from a targeted approach in pitching, and putting more resources in the creation of content that journalists can’t resist sharing. Rather than depending on a reporter to create a piece of content, which most don’t have time for, the future is all about feeding the content. Often the most compelling content is digital, including video, graphics, photos, GIFs, etc.
What goes viral? Content people can relate to, laugh at, cry to, get thinking about or get up in arms about!
The future is also bright for PR pros tapping into the world of Online Influencers. Much like with traditional media, building these relationships can take time, but it demands a wholly different approach. Once harnessed, the potential to reach millions via an Influencer is very real and exciting.
3. Tell us about your initial introduction to Public Relations.
I got my feet wet as an intern with a major international agency. For my first campaign, I was given a five page media list covering all of Canada. I was provided some fun survey data, and told to get on the phones. It was daunting and a bit awkward at first, but after I got through the first 50 or so calls, I started to get the feel for it and enjoyed some fun banter with the media. Once I began hearing those wonderful yes’s, I was hooked.
Thank you for chatting with us, Hanah!
Have a story you would like to share? Let us know on Twitter at @PRTheAgency or in the comment section below!