Visiting PR Professional Shares Strategies for Success
By Samatha Morsink
It has been 16 years since Paul Roetzer was a college student in Athens, but the alumnus recently revisited the bricks to share his knowledge with students.
Paul Roetzer being interviewed for a WOUB program.
A 2000 graduate of the E. W. Scripps School of Journalism, Roetzer founded PR 20/20, a Cleveland-based inbound marketing agency, in 2005. This fall, he served as a Jerry L. Sloan Visiting Professional, and during his week on campus, spoke to classes and student organizations about his public relations career.
Roetzer’s experience in public relations led him to write two books, The Marketing Agency Blueprint (2012) and The Marketing Performance Blueprint (2014). Roetzer attributes much of his success as an author and founder of the agency to his time in the Scripps College.
While on campus, Roetzer gave students the opportunity to talk about anything they chose, such as career opportunities or classes they should be taking. He emphasized to students that they have the skills to succeed.
Roetzer says it’s important to him as an employer to look at a resume and know the value of their classes and curriculum, and the Scripps classes are particularly valuable, he says.
Roetzer often comes back to Ohio University for recruiting purposes. He suggests students looking for a job in PR tap into the OU alumni network, reaching out to OU grads on LinkedIn and looking for opportunities to connect with them offline. He hopes he can offer perspective on the different paths students can go into once they graduate and instill the belief that “there are tremendous opportunities out there.”
While the technology has changed since Roetzer has been in school, he says the students have not. He sees them as the same inquisitive and motivated Ohio University students worrying about tests and jobs.
He realized during this campus visit how much he misses everything about OU. Roetzer encourages Bobcats to make the most of the four years they have at Ohio University.
“There’s plenty of time to deal with the real world,” Roetzer said. “Yes, study. Yes, learn. Yes, find a job. But more, just appreciate the time on campus you have because you don’t get it back.”
Roetzer as CEO of PR 20/20
Roetzer says his job as CEO consists primarily of three things: people, process and performance. Having a team of talented and intrinsically motivated employees to build partnerships with like-minded clients who value your professionals and services will make an enduring brand, according to Roetzer.
“Performance is the achievement of business goals such as lead volume, customer conversions, client loyalty, employee advancement and retention, efficiency, productivity, revenue and profits,” Roetzer said. “People and process drive performance.”
Tracy Lewis, an E.W. Scripps School of Journalism 2009 alumna, works for PR 20/20 as a talent director. She is responsible for recruitment, hiring and training at the agency. “I always tell people that I work with really smart, fun people,” she said. “Our team works hard to meet client goals, but we also know when it’s okay to relax and enjoy one another.”
PR 20/20 tries to build an environment where ideas flow freely, healthy debate is encouraged and the status quo is continuously challenged, Lewis said. The culture is heavily centered on continuous learning and general curiosity for marketing, business and human behavior, according to Lewis.
For graduates interested in a job at the firm, PR 20/20 looks for strong writers who are able to pick up new ideas and technologies quickly, synthesize information and see the big picture, Lewis explained.
Today, Roetzer offers students this piece of advice: “Never doubt what you’re capable of achieving and be willing to work hard for it. Also, you have to embrace failure. It builds character, teaches us humility, shows us how to cope with adversity, and challenges us to continually test, revise and improve.”