Inside OPR

What’s new with Carlee?

Maybe we should thank the Fates, but our team has remained fairly consistent for the last three years. We’ve been fortunate to strategically expand our team while retaining nearly all of our team members. This retention allows us to share amazing life updates from PR practitioners you know and love at Obsidian. 

If you’ve followed OPR for a while, then you know Carlee Smith is a twice intern turned full-time team member. In her time at OPR, she’s honed her craft and blossomed into one of our stellar account partners. And 2020 has been a big year for Carlee! From adopting a dog to moving to the heart of Downtown, there is a lot to learn in this month’s staff spotlight.

It’s all paws on deck at your house! How is life as a new pet parent?

Life as a new pet parent is challenging but totally worth it! My 5-month-old toy poodle, June (named after June Carter Cash, not the month – a big misconception lately), is full of energy, tons of snuggles and even more naps. I never thought we’d make it through potty and crate training, but here we are! June’s favorite activities are stealing my socks, standing beside my feet while I cook to try and catch scraps, and following me any and everywhere because she’s such a momma’s girl. Admittedly, 6 a.m. wake-up calls are a huge adjustment, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. 

In your opinion, what’s something that most people misunderstand about PR?

One thing most people misunderstand about PR is that it’s more than managing social media. It’s our job to tell our clients’ stories in creative ways that spread their message – which can include, but isn’t limited to, social media strategy. Our job takes many forms, whether that’s managing online reviews, crafting internal communications pieces, authoring blog posts, submitting story pitches to the media or updating website content. Every day is different, and that’s the beauty of public relations.

Give us the Downtown carryout scoop. What’s been your go-to to-go order?

My go-to to-go order depends on my mood, but some of my favorites lately are chicken tenders from Gus’ or Bardog, a Hurricane Roll from South Main Sushi, a burger from SOB and a gyro from Grecian Gourmet. I love eating outside now that the weather is cooling off, so Slider Inn Downtown and The Green Beetle are my go-tos for outdoor dining.

What’s the biggest writing lesson you’ve learned in 2020?

The biggest writing lesson I’ve learned in 2020 is to steer clear of overused phrases. How many times have you seen “the new normal” in the past week? A lot, I’m sure. Avoiding these phrases ensures your writing is fresh and will keep the reader’s attention compared to an article that’s using worn-out or overused language. Basically, be original!

If you could give one tip to aspiring PR professionals, what would it be?

The biggest tip I would give to aspiring PR professionals is pay attention to detail. Write everything down if you have to, and absorb as much as you can. I feel like being a PR professional requires you to know a little about a lot, so read or listen to stories in your clients’ industries for potential story ideas or blog posts; take notes in meetings about upcoming events so that you can plan ahead; ask questions if you’re confused; and double check dates, spelling and AP Stylebook rules to ensure your writing is accurate. While it may seem tedious, paying attention is all but required for you to succeed in public relations.

Fill in the blank and tell us why: The PR course from college I use the LEAST in my everyday job is_________.

Since you gave me a very difficult question, I want to preface this by saying I had wonderful professors in college who taught me much more than I imagined. Now that that’s out of the way, I have to say that the class I use least in my everyday job is Communications Law and Ethics, even though it was the class I enjoyed the MOST. We discussed the legal and ethical aspects of communications, including piracy, freedom of speech online and other highly debated topics in the world of media. Fingers crossed that FCC violations won’t come across my desk at the office so I won’t have to use anything I learned from this course in practice.