If there is one thing that public relations, government relations, and advocacy have in common, it’s relationships. At Bravo, I am lucky enough to see all three of those campaign techniques in action. I’ve learned that the success of a campaign directly correlates to how well you have built a relationship – whether with stakeholders, journalists, or legislators.
I sat down with Megan Dapp and Jeanette Krebs, and asked them how relationships have helped them build their reputations as communicators.
Dapp is a senior director at the Bravo Group. She is responsible for the development and execution of integrated advocacy campaigns.
Krebs is the managing editor at the Bravo Group, and heads the newly created content creation group. In her career, Krebs has experience as a public relations professional and as a journalist. She was the statehouse bureau chief and opinion page editor for the Harrisburg Patriot-News.
Both Dapp and Krebs recognize the impact that successful relationship building has had on their careers.
Dapp’s motto in forming connections is that it’s “a relationship, and not a transaction.” She said that the most successful relationships she has fostered in her professional career are ones that are long term, where there is a vested interest in each other’s goals.
“You have to keep your connections with people, even when you don’t need something,” Dapp said.
Krebs also stressed that relationships need to be a two way street. Her background as a reporter gives her a unique perspective on forming successful media relationships.
“You have to understand what reporters need to do their job,” Krebs said. “That’s what is going to foster good relationships with the press.”
Of course, as a student just starting out on my career, I had to wonder: how did they form these relationships in the first place?
Dapp explained that you have to put your best face forward at all times, because you never know who you will meet. She shared an anecdote with me about how her personal and professional lives once converged- on the basketball court. While coaching, she made professional connections with parents of her players that benefitted her career.
And Krebs explained that her media relationships began in college as a student reporter at Penn State’s Daily Collegian. These friendships developed into working relationships as everyone advanced in their careers.
“I have friends from PSU that are working all over now- some at places like Reuters and the New York Times- and we can contact each other for information,” Krebs said. “You never know when a friend will turn into news source, contact, or client.”
Reflecting on these stories, I realized that I’ve started to form these relationships myself. Last semester, I had an internship with a start-up company Penn State. My good friend was interning at WPSU, the local PBS station, and we got to sharing internship stories. Before I knew it, she asked for my intern coordinator’s email address to learn more about the company, which lead to a feature story.
Looking back, I can see that this personal connection allowed me to casually pitch a news story- just as I will do throughout my career. And as I’ve learned from working at Bravo, keeping these relationships strong will only help me.
Allie Galoozis || Harrisburg Office