On Wednesday, March 24, 2010, I had the privilege of interviewing Shannon Walker, the Media Relations Director for Integrity Music. I must say, that this was one of the most informative interviews I’ve been a part of. I was able to set up the interview through my brother-in-law, Stephen Brewster, who is the Senior Marketing director for Integrity Music.
- To place the interview into context it is first vital to share a little bit of a background on Shannon Walker.
As a small child, Shannon never imagined that she would enter the field of Public Relations. She always imagined herself becoming a “newspaper girl,” writing and editing for the local newspaper. Shannon joked about the irony of this dream, considering one of the top declining trends in media within Public Relations, is the “newspaper industry.” Nevertheless through some random meetings and the right internship, Shannon found herself in a fast paced and exciting career, her love for writing and all of her hard work in studying grammar had paid off. Shannon holds a Bachelors degree in Journalism from Troy University.
I asked Shannon several questions all pertaining to Public Relations. Her answers were eloquent and very informative.
What is a typical week like?
- “A lot of writing and a lot of pitching.” Shannon explained, that some of the projects that come out of this process of “writing and pitching,” will make it to the next phase while others will be dropped. Shannon explained that she handles the editorial side of projects and not the advertising side. The reason for this is that Integrity is large enough, and “project driven” enough, to be able to spread out the responsibilities. This creates an environment where creativity can flow freely.
Tell me about a project that you worked on that you are particularly proud of.
- Shannon explained that she is extremely proud of a “bio” that she is working on for a certain artist. The “bio” makes a great article, because it can stand-alone as a feature and it’s unique because the artist is coming at the industry from a different perspective. A lot of Shannon’s projects will result in many people being touched by the artist’s music; seeing lives changed and touched is the greatest feeling for her (and seeing your work published is, in her words, “awesome!”).
What do you do to keep current in the PR Industry?
- “Read a lot!!!! Watch/read news, and a lot different publications. You need to adapt, find new audiences and new media to communicate with.” Shannon shared that her companies biggest focus right now is on bloggers. She ended with, “keep eyes open for what’s happening, support network of other publicist and network with people, because peers are going be one of your biggest sources.”
What do you wish you would have known before starting your career in PR?
- “You need to like people.” Shannon shared that she, “wished she had fully understood that you have to (like people).” She shared that she would have taken more psychology classes, now knowing how big a role “relating to people,” plays in her field. Lastly, she said,” you must have patience and grace or be able to fake it.”
How important is writing in your career?
- “Cannot even explain how important writing is.”
What three tips would you offer someone just starting out in PR?
- “Network with and make friends with people in other professions.”
- “Keep writing and grammar skills fresh!”
- “Always make time to make something creative just for you, because you may not always get to write what you want or like, so don’t stifle that outlet. If you don’t (make time for your own creative ventures) you can come across writers block.”
- “Chase the things you love.”
This interview taught me a lot about the Public Relations profession that I was previously unaware of. I feel that I would be more likely to pursue a career within Public Relations because of the exciting and interesting approach that Shannon took to answering these questions.
- I would like to thank Shannon Walker for taking time out her busy schedule to participate in this interview and my teacher Barbara Nixon for providing the questions to ask.