Articles

Member Spotlight: Colleen Knopeck, Break The Ice Media

Colleen Knopeck’s gift for writing articles and short stories translates into her ability at Break The Ice Media to find the essential story in each client's industry, and develop targeted messages. Because clients are often so close to their technical side or information, they can have a hard time sorting it all out. With great listening skills, Colleen helps each client save time by doing that required distilling. She's able to get that information to the consumer, or the media, that works best for a particular audience. Her innate ease with and understanding of social media allows her to see opportunities for effective advertising. We chatted with Colleen about why she loves working in PR, her advice for young professionals pursuing a career in the industry, and details around her involvement with PRSA Rochester’s membership committee. 

What’s your role at Break The Ice Media, and what do you like most about working in public relations?
I am an associate consultant at Break The Ice Media, where we focus on marketing and PR for mainly travel and tourism clients.  

At a very early age, I fell in love with writing. So my favorite part about working in public relations is being able to tell stories in different capacities and styles – press releases, pitches to the media, social media posts, blogs, and email newsletters. It’s always exciting to find the right story to tell for a client, and to do so in an informative yet interesting way.

What advice do you have for young professionals entering the field of public relations?
Working in public relations takes 3 things: passion, persuasion and persistence.

  • Passion is contagious. When others see how enthusiastic you are about a client or product, it’s easier for them to get excited too. By being passionate about your work, you’ll find a way to easily weave it into your conversations, especially with the media.
  • PR professionals also need to be persuasive. We have to tell a story in a way that is interesting and influential enough to get others to take a specific action. For example, pitches to the media have to be both passionate and persuasive to convince them to cover our client. In the world of tourism marketing, we need to persuade travelers to visit our destination over the millions of other destinations out there.
  • Lastly, it’s important to be persistent. When you’re pitching on behalf of a client, it can sting when you hear “no” – or get no response at all. Don’t get discouraged. It may not have been the right time or angle, but there may be other opportunities in the future. Use it as a learning opportunity and keep trying.
     

You’re involved with the PRSA Rochester membership committee. Can you tell us more about the new initiatives this committee is working on?
Six months after I joined PRSA, I was asked to join the membership committee. Very eager to get more involved with the organization, I jumped at the opportunity! At my first membership meeting, we discussed the idea of creating a new member retention program to help new members transition into the organization and ultimately, renew their membership year after year. As a relatively new member who didn’t know the inner-workings of the organization, I myself felt a little lost – so I gladly took on the task of outlining what is now the “PRSA Buddy Program.” 

The program starts by matching new members with current members, or buddies. The membership committee then equips these buddies with instructions and templates to help guide conversations over the course of a year. These communications are meant to show new members the ropes – explaining our chapter’s committees, upcoming events, resources available to members, and other PRSA perks. If you’re interested in being a buddy to a new member, feel free to email me at colleen@breaktheicemedia.com or Ellen Rosen at ellen.rosen@rit.edu

When you’re not busy working, what do you like doing in your spare time?
I love to eat at local restaurants, sample new breweries and travel to places I’ve never been. But currently, most of my spare time is devoted to planning my May wedding. ????