How Setting Up Events Taught Me to Keep Asking

Although my interest in communications at large began back in high school when I took a summer course for high school students at Ithaca College, it wasn’t until this semester when I began working with Hillary Homzie through Primitivo - that I actually began understanding the complexity and work that goes into Public Relations.

Hillary is an established author and good public speaker, one of the many strengths she brings to the table. However, with this Ellie May book series, we identified Hillary’s distant relationship from her target audience as one of our weaknesses. As a result we felt that the best, and most obvious, way to attack this opportunity was to set up book readings with Hillary at local elementary schools. That way, she could get in the same room with the audience she hoped to reach.

Apart from sending out blog posts and pitches to several outlets, my personal role working with Hillary has revolved around scheduling these school visits, to make her a more recognizable face among the local school districts. With a goal of increasing overall awareness about Ellie May books among our targeted publics, this role holds a lot of weight.

Perhaps the most important lesson I have learned while scheduling these school visits is the importance of persistence. While contacting local schools this semester, I have found that following up with contacts is just as crucial as constructing that initial email or phone call. For example, I was able to speak with a direct contact at eight different local public schools, including two in Petaluma. Of those eight, none responded to me the first time around, despite that they told me they would love to work with me. After I emailed and called every school a second time, only three schools responded. At this time I began contacting the librarians of those schools directly. It wasn’t until the third time I reached out that we actually began discussing dates.

After three rounds of calling and emailing eight different schools, I was able to discuss dates with one librarian. This one school in Rohnert Park would have never reached out to me if I hadn’t kept emailing them. This taught me to remember that these contacts are real people who have schedules and lives like ours, if not busier than ours. So when you want to get someone’s attention, simply keep asking!

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