Michelle Van Jura: Public Relations Tips

July 18, 2017 – Michelle Van Jura joined us this past Tuesday to provide tips on public relations.

Michelle, founder and owner of Intersect Communications, has over 20 years of experience ranging from business-to-business hardware, software, media and Internet clients to consumer-focused products. She has handled a full-range of corporate communications efforts, crisis management, media relations and analyst relations. She founded Intersect Communications in 2008, where she has worked with start-ups and industry giants alike, past and current clients, include IBM, Beamly, USA Network, NBCUniversal, Kodak, Cisco, Media Storm, DataStax and more. Prior to founding Intersect Communications, Michelle was a vice president within Ketchum’s prestigious brand practice team and worked as a consultant for the company’s growing technology practice. Previously, she was the General Manager of West Coast operations at Fusion Public Relations, Account Director at Bohle Company and Director of Corporate Communications at Inteliant. She splits her time between New York City and Charleston, SC.

In the digital age, Public Relations (PR) has changed and there are many platforms and channels for PR to take advantage of. Michelle is passionate about helping brands find, not only their voice, but also to help define the thought or strategy which is the core of what their mission stands for.  She used examples such as Oreo’s taking advantage of a Super Bowl Blackout to run “You can still dunk in the dark” ads that went viral and took advantage of an adverse situation. By comparison, United Airlines, blamed the customer in a recent incident that was captured on camera by onlookers and their stock dropped $1.4B due to that PR mishap.

She outlined some things to remember for good PR.

What PR isn’t: PR is not just a press release, or sending an Instagram and waiting to have lunch with someone. While you want credit for what you are doing, it is no longer self serving and since media is always watching, you need to be tight on your message. It all starts with strategy, both short and long term. First research, know your market and what your competitors are doing. Plan, what is your overall objective and what are you trying to achieve. Find your “nugget of interest”. It is not that you sell insurance, you help people plan for the future, for example. Know your audience and share knowledge. PR is about giving back and being willing to put your thoughts out there. Tell a story and take risks.

In closing Michelle provided this advice for those with a budget and those without.

If you have a budget you should:
Use social media, speak at local organizations, participate in local events, submit content to publications, get to know your key media and publish on linkedin.

If you do not have a budget you should:
Use social media, speak at local organizations, participate in local events, submit content to publications, get to know your key media and publish on linkedin.

Don Baus, Keyway Committee Chair