TrizCom

Cultivating the Relationship

By Jeff Cheatham, Senior Account Executive, TrizCom Public Relations

By Jeff Cheatham, Senior Account Executive, TrizCom Public Relations

Managing expectations is a critical component of the agency-client relationship at TrizCom PR. We often begin a new business development meeting by simply asking why they are interested in a public relations campaign. Some have replied that they just want to see their name in the paper, but most are using it as a marketing tool to secure incremental business for their businesses. They believe—and are often proven correct—that earned media equals credibility in the marketplace.

Another caveat we explain in exploratory meetings is that PR is a marathon, not a sprint. It can take months of careful planning, pitching and execution before a client begins to see worthwhile results. We also never guarantee anything. PR firms that promise instant stardom for a client shouldn’t be considered true partners. That being said, we will work our tails off to ensure success, we just don’t promise it from the outset. Our proof points are the client newsrooms we maintain on our website, showcasing earned media wins for each of our existing and former clients.

If the image in their head doesn’t materialize into their version of reality, we encourage an extremely open and honest dialogue with clients. All PR plans are signed off on by clients before we begin campaigns. Each includes objectives, strategies, tactics and most important—how will success be judged by the client? If we can prove we’ve met that standard of success and they’re still not happy, then something changed. We find out what it is, adjust our plan accordingly and continue working.

Not Your Average Internship

By Rebecca Ellis, Guest Contributer and TrizCom PR Intern, Summer 2017

internship blog december.jpg

The word “internship” is one that college students know well. Internships are just as, if not more, important as what you learn inside a classroom. If you’re like me, you’ve spent hours researching companies online and calling everyone you know asking if they know anyone looking for interns. Finding a company that you like and that likes you can be incredibly difficult. Luckily for me – and hopefully lucky for you if you’re reading this, I found TrizCom.

There aren’t many companies that value their interns the way TrizCom does. In fact, value isn’t even the correct word to use. TrizCom invests in their interns. TrizCom selects young professionals who are eager to begin their career and takes them under their wing. They not only teach them, but they shape them and mentor them until they are ready to go out on their own.

TrizCom taught me so many things that helped me succeed throughout my college career. The most important skill I learned from TrizCom is how to write. I’ve taken that with me through all of my classes. Whether it’s a press release, media alert, fact sheet, resume, cover letter, blog post or just a professional email, I learned how to write from TrizCom. From my PR writing class to my business communication class to my women’s studies class, my writing has improved in every aspect.

If there is one word I would use to describe how I felt during my time as an intern at TrizCom, it would be “supported.” TrizCom supports their interns. There was not a day that went by that I didn’t feel like I was a part of the team. There was not a day that went by that I felt like the work I was doing wasn’t important. There was not a day that went by that I wasn’t excited to go to work. Where you have strengths, they let you shine. Where you have weaknesses, they show you how to improve.

When you are a TrizCom intern, you are not a coffee-fetcher. You are not a copy-maker or a phone-answerer. You are a part of the team. You are an employee. You are a creative mind that has valuable input. You are just as important to them as they are to you.

A Meaningful Experience

By Jeff Cheatham, Senior Account Supervisor at TrizCom PR

Excuse me while I take a moment to brag on the Intern Program at TrizCom PR. Headed up by my colleague, Katie Mudd, it’s a culture-driven credit to our organization as a whole. For several years, TrizCom has instituted a semester-oriented program for current university students and recent graduates. We run a five-month program in the spring, a three-month program in the summer and a five-month program in the fall.

I think we’re coming off one of our best classes ever. This summer, we’ve had the pleasure of hosting Rebecca Ellis and Amanda Brown, both of Texas Tech. These two remarkable young ladies have made significant contributions to the earned media wins of our clients, and we’ll be sad to see them go.

So what exactly makes a good intern program?

Many moons ago (I won’t say how many moons), I was in my final semester of college when it dawned on me that I might want to seek an internship to have something to put on my resume other than University of Texas Student Union Marketing Committee. I think I went to one meeting, sat in the back, and then later claimed I ran the whole show. I doubted it would fly when the real job interview process began.

I found a suitable intern program at an Austin-based ad agency (name redacted). I was one of 12 picked to participate, and I can still remember my dad on the phone asking incredulously, “What do you mean it’s unpaid? Can they do that?” I thought I was lucky enough to have landed somewhere. It didn’t take long for me to get a sense of what an internship was like.

On the second day, one of the girls in the program quit because they asked her to sit up front and answer the phones. I was busy working on real-world advertising business such as making copies for a meeting that my bosses had no intention of inviting me to attend. I stayed at it, however, and after the internship ended, they asked me to stay on full time. For minimum wage. Six months later they laid me off, so I got an early taste of what downsizing meant.

Looking back, the internship program at that agency was terrible. And I can say from my experience at TrizCom over the last three years, internships have come a long way. Let me tell you why ours is both different and meaningful. We’re committed to making sure that our interns are valued. If you intern with us, you’ll be in our weekly staff meeting. You’ll be in client meetings. You’ll go to media interviews. You’ll pitch stories. You’ll write talking points. You’ll be an integral part of account planning and PR campaigns. And it’s paid work.

Most of all—you’ll get the credit you earn. We pride ourselves on creating a real-world atmosphere at TrizCom so that you’ll be prepared for real public relations down the road. And that’s if we don’t offer you a job. Our program is specifically designed to promote from within. You show us what you can do, and we have the business to support you as a full-time employee, and you’re in.

Our fall internship program is currently underway, and we’re looking for the next Rebecca Ellis and Amanda Brown. If you desire a place where your opinion and hard work are valued, reach out to Katie Mudd and let her know you want to experience the TrizCom Difference™.

A Bittersweet Goodbye to TrizCom

By Maelyn Schramm, TrizCom PR Intern

Maelyn in a completely casual, totally candid, hard at work shot.

Maelyn in a completely casual, totally candid, hard at work shot.

My time at TrizCom PR is about to come to an end. As the sun sets on the month of May, I will bid adieu to my nook in the little office that I made my workspace. It truly is a bittersweet moment.

Firstly, it’s bitter. I love working alongside such creative, like-minded individuals who have a passion for storytelling and a dedication to produce excellent work. I will miss playing – and ultimately losing – Yahtzee during lunch, and I will miss popping my head into Katie and Dana’s office to ask them about their weekends. I will miss hearing all of Jeff’s crazy stories and catching up with Jen about what her adorable family is up to. I will miss how Jo surprises us with sweet treats to reward us for our work. In many places, it’s hard to find a boss who acknowledges 1) interns and 2) your sacrificial efforts to complete tasks and meet deadlines. She says “thank you” at the end of every day, and as someone who cherishes words of affirmation, it means the world to me.

Secondly, it’s sweet. Over the past four(ish) months, I’ve experienced such exponential growth as a creative storyteller and human being. TrizCom pushes me to exert 100 percent of my energy and passion into every project I produce – this includes reports, releases, social media outlines and blogs. TrizCom equipped me to write stories about any and everything, with assignments ranging from Heroes for Children – a nonprofit that benefits families who have children battling cancer – to Healthway Education Systems, a medical marijuana continuing education program. TrizCom gave me an idea of what I’m looking for in future employers – to find companionship, to test my limits, to receive respect from my peers and superiors alike.

I’m about to leave, but this is not a permanent goodbye. I plan to stay in touch with every person I’ve connected with, to hear about TrizCom’s incoming intern class, and to shriek with excitement on the word of new clients. To leave behind an era of so much growth and refinement is bittersweet, but my time at TrizCom was nothing but sweet.

Why Heroes For Children Is My Passion - In Honor Of National Childhood Cancer Month

By Jo Trizila, President & CEO of TrizCom Public Relations

Every person, every business has a reason for choosing their nonprofit partner. Let’s face it: one has to be choosy when picking a volunteer activity (whether it’s a board of director’s seat, charity gala volunteer or organization volunteer). We have only so many hours in the week that we can spare outside our family and work commitments.

I met the founders of Heroes for Children when I was a young 30-something-year-old with little financial resources but I did have connections and nonprofit experience. I took a meeting with Larissa and Jenny, Heroes co-founders, to see how I could help them. The timing wasn’t good, and I was already over committed to other projects – but I never forgot about them. Years would pass, jobs would change, situations altered and now I find myself on the board of directors for the second year and Heroes for Children has become TrizCom’s one and only pro bono account.

Heroes for Children provides financial and social assistance to families who have a child with cancer. Sometimes we help pay mortgage payments, give gas cards, pay for a prom dress, give a 6-year-old a birthday, supply a teenager a laptop so they can keep up with friends and schoolwork while undergoing treatment, or it might even be to pay the expense of banking a teenager’s sperm cells so one day he might be able to have biological children of his own. Unfortunately, we are also the organization that families come to when they have lost a child and need help laying them to rest.

I have stayed awake late at night trying to figure out how to do more for Heroes. I have wept because of our kiddos with Heroes. And I have never smiled more than with the work we do with Heroes. In short, my passion lies with Heroes for Children, and it is deeply personal.

When I was 13 years old, in the middle of my 7th grade year, I developed a brain abscess that was considered inoperable. My parents had just changed insurance and the company denied coverage, stating the abscess was a preexisting condition. Following emergency brain surgery and months in the hospital to treat the abscess, I contracted hepatitis. After the hepatitis, I developed aplastic anemia from a drug given to me to treat the brain abscess. The only cure for this disease was a bone marrow transplant. At the time, 1985, there were only two hospitals in the United States doing this “experimental” transplant, and we were lucky enough that Baylor Hospital was one of the two. Once again, insurance denied coverage – this time because the transplant was “experimental.”

As a 13-year-old, I had no idea what stress my parents were absorbing. As a mother today, I simply don’t know how they faced each day. The brain abscess was inoperable, and I was told that my odds of coming out of surgery were very, very slim due to the location. My odds of surviving an experimental bone marrow transplant were just as low. Bills upon bills upon bills piled up. I was critical most nights, and either my mom or my dad would stay with me while still trying to run their travel agency business and care for my younger brother. To help, they flew my grandmother in to stay with me during the day. My poor brother was left with friends for most of 1985.

During the darkest days come some of the brightest memories. Our church at the time, First Presbyterian Church of Richardson, unbeknownst to us, took up a special collection one Sunday. They came to the hospital and gave my parents a check for a couple thousand dollars with no strings attached. My parents, to this day, say that it was like someone handed them a million dollars. I have experienced firsthand how the generosity of others impacts a family’s life.

So fast forward 30 years. I feel like I am able to give back to the hundreds of strangers who helped me and my family back in 1985. No one ever wishes a child to be sick. No one ever plans for a child to be sick. But thank God there are organizations like Heroes that families can turn to in their darkest days.

I think what hurts me the most is that we are not able to help every family that needs us. There is so much more we can do. Our average gift to a Heroes’ family is a mere $750. There have been times when we lose one of the kiddos we’ve helped and it literally takes a little piece of your soul each time. These are the days when I crawl into my sleeping daughter’s bed and hold her tight.

Cancer SUCKS. It SUCKS even more when it happens to an innocent child. Cancer doesn’t care if you are black, brown or white. It doesn’t care if you are a millionaire or if you are living below the poverty line. It doesn’t care if you have insurance or you don’t. When a child has cancer, it is a crisis for the entire family. Your normal life is now turned upside down, and you have a new normal to learn. A life of treatments, short-term and long-term side effects, tests, procedures, transplants, trials, caregivers for your other children, and the list goes on and on and on.

You hear this all the time: you really don’t understand a parent’s love until you become a parent, and boy, no truer statement has ever been made. A parent’s love is unlike any other love I have known. You are your child’s protector, you are her fighter, you are his voice, you are her nursemaid, and when you can’t be…. well, that’s the definition of true, honest, gut-wrenching, hopeless pain. At Heroes, we frequently hear stories that a mom or dad lost their job because their boss made them choose between spending the night with their scared, terminally ill child vs. coming into work. Or the mom who had to move to a major city so her baby could get treated and still had to figure out how to pay her mortgage/rent back home.

So this is why I support Heroes for Children. No family should EVER have to fight this alone!

When you go home tonight and are in the middle of evening chaos (trying to cook dinner, answering the cell phone, telling someone to get off the iPad and do their homework, letting the dog out…), stop for one minute and imagine if today, you were one of 43 families who were told that your baby has cancer. What would you do? Would you be financially prepared for such a diagnosis? Would you have a network of supporters? Would you be stable enough to fight this battle? Honestly, I don’t think I would be – but you do what you have to do for your children. What I do know, my first call would be to Heroes for Children. 

For the families we help and for the thousands we simply don’t have enough money to help, please consider a recurring $25 gift a month with our Heroes for Children from The Heart Monthly Giving Circle. Think about it – that’s less than six Starbucks coffees a month. Your donation will help fund a computer, a mother’s groceries, a dad paying to keep the electricity turned on. It makes a real difference. We see it every single day. Please go here: http://www.heroesforchildren.org/get-involved/from-the-heart-monthly-giving-circle/.

TrizCom PR is proud to donate Heroes for Children public relations. Here are a few of our favorite Heroes’ stories:

You may be thinking, why is this blog on a public relations site? Well, part of our job as PR folks is to tell our client’s stories to targeted publications. You read this entire blog post, yes? Your awareness and consideration is higher for Heroes for Children than it was before reading the story, yes? This is true because you read a story. Storytelling is a great tactic in any public relations strategy.

At TrizCom PR we tell our clients that an effective story has transparency, is authentic, has a human interest angle, provokes emotion and contains visuals.

As the king of marketing, Seth Godin, says, “Marketing is storytelling.”

Everyone has a story. Let us help you tell your story.

#TrizComPR #StoryTellingandPR #MarketingIsStorytelling

The Art of the Brag

By Dana Cobb, Director, Business Development & Senior Account Executive

From the TrizCom  Instagram  page, celebrating our 3rd year on the Dallas Business Journal's "Largest PR Firms" list.

From the TrizCom Instagram page, celebrating our 3rd year on the Dallas Business Journal's "Largest PR Firms" list.

I have said it more times than I can count: bragging rights are one of the most valuable tools in your marketing and communication toolbox. We refer to it as the “JD Powers” effect. If I stand in front of you and tell you how awesome I am, you would call me a braggart. If I’m included on a JD Powers list of people who are awesome, it’s proof.

That implied third-party endorsement is what we all seek, some maybe personally, but all should be professionally. With the advent of websites like Yelp and the mind-numbing expanse and influence presented by social media, the environment of information keeps getting more and more crowded.

How does one achieve the JD Power-type of attention without looking like or feeling like a tacky self-promoter? First, ask for it. If you’re a business that has satisfied customers, feel free to simply ask for feedback. Many are happy to share their positive experience, and it is by far the cheapest form of advertising.

If you are so inclined, put you and your business “out there” as industry leaders. Follow the Facebook pages and twitter feeds of influencers in your industry and join the conversation. Sometimes this can establish a credibility that helps in brand positioning when you seek it! Watch and listen for media opportunities where your voice can weigh in. There is nothing like being quoted in a news story to solidly establish that “JD Powers“ reaction.

There are also award opportunities for organizations, ranging from corporations to nonprofits – you just need to go in search of them, because they won’t always find you.

Second, amplify it. Put your good news on blast! Activate the social media arsenal you already have in a few keystrokes. The reach you will have when someone, something or some outlet gives you that implied third-party endorsement is wildly powerful. Now that is something to brag about!

At TrizCom PR, our clients are all afforded the benefit of a team of savvy PR professionals who think creatively for ways to achieve and deploy bragging rights on a regular basis. We’ve done it so well, we’ve received awards for it – like the prestigious 2015 PRSA Pegasus Award, the 2015 Clutch Research & Review Top PR Firm award and a consistent top 25 place on the 2014, 2015 and 2016 Dallas Business Journal’s Largest PR Firms list.

See what I just did there? Proof. That’s what I’m talking about.

The 4 C’s of College Internships

By Katie Mudd, TrizCom PR

The best way for college students to get a taste of their major in the working world is through internships. However, not all internships are created equal. When selecting an internship program to apply to, it’s important to keep the 4 C’s in mind: culture, career development, coaching and connections.

1. Culture – When seeking internship opportunities, you should have an understanding of what kind of corporate culture and work environment will best suite your ability to learn. Some work environments are full of energy and fast paced, while others may be more predictable and provide a conservative work atmosphere. Whatever your preference is, determine what type of culture and workplace environment will be most conducive to your internship experience.

2. Career Development – It’s important to seek an internship that is relevant to your area of study to enhance your learning experience. The end goal is to gain experience and knowledge of your field as a full-time career before you enter the working world. To ensure you are selecting an internship that is appropriate to your field of study, use your interview opportunity as a way to gather information about the specific duties that are required for the position. This is a great way to discover whether or not the internship program aligns with your career path.

3. Coaching – A good internship should provide interns with strong leadership and mentors who will help guide young professionals as they start their career. Most established internship programs provide interns with a supervisor they should feel comfortable talking to. Interns should feel free to ask their supervisor or team members for advice to help make the internship experience productive and fun.

4. Connections – In the working world, it’s all about who you know that determines where you will go with your career. Internships allow students to gain professional experience while building their network. Interns should take advantage of every opportunity available to them to meet people during their internship, whether it’s an after-hours event or grabbing lunch with the team. Most organizations hire within their intern pool or recommend their interns to other members of their industry – but usually this only happens with interns who have taken the time to get to know their team.

TrizCom hires interns throughout the year to help develop successful public relations campaigns for local, national and international clients. The ideal candidate should be detail-oriented, creative and passionate about crafting the perfect media pitch, while having tons of fun!