Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Art of Storytelling: Why It Isn't Just for Authors

“You need to be able to write.” “As a PR pro, you’ll still need math!” “Networking is essential in public relations.” These are phrases we continually hear as communications students. But one sentence I have heard much less frequently is, “you need to be able to tell a story.” When you strip away all the elements of PR like the press releases, the analytics and the networking, it is essentially about communicating someone’s story to the world. So why is it that the ability to storytell is such an essential skill to have?

“PR is all about looking for the story that will bring a brand’s message to life.” –Luke Mackay, Edelman
  • Stories make people feel. Creating a positive emotion that the public links to your client or brand is key when building a reputation. Generating a story consumers identify with can also create strong brand loyalty. This is something no amount of advertising or research will gain for you.
  • It enhances facts. Facts alone can be uninteresting and boring but when they’re worked into a story, your audience becomes more attentive. They are also more likely to retain information when it is woven into a plot.
  • They inspire conversation.  A compelling story with a strong message gets people talking about your client or brand. Audiences can tell when it’s authentic and will respond accordingly- either with positive or negative feedback.

Storytelling requires a few elements to be truly effective in the same way as classic storytelling. There needs to be a plot with development, conflict and resolution. They also require a hero or heroine the audience can identify with on some level. And finally, great storytelling requires a compelling tale to draw audiences in.

There is one important point to keep in mind when using storytelling to communicate about your client- don’t let the story become bigger than the message itself. Use the story as a vehicle to clearly convey your message to your target audience.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

3 Things to Consider Before Quitting Your Internship

Internships are essential for growing your resume and gaining experience throughout your professional journey. Yet and still, not every internship leaves you feeling prepared and established; some leave much to be desired. And in the most extreme cases, there may be cause to check out early and spare yourself some time wasted.

Quitting your internship can be a hard decision to make, and shouldn't be done without careful consideration. Even when it's best to leave, you want to be sure you've covered all of your bases and exit without burning any bridges.

If your internship isn't going as well as you expected, and you think you may be reaching the tipping point, here are some steps you can take before handing in your notice:

Seek out a mentor
Mentors are great personal and professional resources to have, especially when making difficult decisions. If your aren't having the greatest internship experience, try seeking out an older or more experienced mentor who you can confide in about your concerns. Ask for advice, or what they would do in your shoes. They may be able to provide an alternative or means to turn your situation around.

Talk with your supervisor
Your internship supervisor is there to assist and guide you through your internship. If your experience isn't executing as you planned it would, try setting up a meeting and talking about your role with your supervisor. If you thought you'd be writing more or handling media relations, express that to your supervisor. There may be more of what you expect down the road. It's also a good time for your supervisor to recognize your drive and see how willing you are to do and learn more during your time with the organization.

Provide some solutions
If you know exactly which aspects of your internship are causing you to consider leaving, come up with some possible solutions to the issue. Present these to your boss and see if they'd be willing to let you steer the rest of your time in that direction. Some internship programs don't give interns certain responsibilities simply because they haven't thought of it yet. This is another chance to show your drive and commitment to your position.

If you feel that you've covered all of your basis and ultimately want to leave, be sure to do so as professionally as possible. Provide at least two weeks notice, and thank everyone for providing you the opportunity. Always maintain a healthy professional relationship, because you never know when you'll need them again.

Have you ever quit an internship? What steps did you take before deciding to quit? Share with us in the comments!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Three Things No One Tells You About PR

Coming into college as a PR major, I had no idea what to expect. Of course, I knew that having strong writing skills was a necessity and that my life wouldn’t be anything like that of Samantha Jones, but there were many unknowns I faced.

Now a second-semester sophomore, I have faced the beginning trials and tribulations that come with the PR major territory, and there are many things that I came to learn very quickly that I wasn’t prepared for:

1. Responding to Emails Becomes a Second Job: When you start your college experience in PR, the first emails you will be in charge of responding to are from your professors and teaching assistants. However, once you begin joining student organizations, taking on internships, and attending networking events, your inbox will come close to imploding on many occasions. Be sure to keep track of emails as they are received, and try to respond in a timely matter.

2. PR is everywhere: Like me, you may have entered college not knowing how to describe your major to your family. Also, your idea of what careers you can go into after college may be limited to agency or entertainment PR. However, after hearing from guest speakers and having PR classes, you will learn that every career field has a PR element affiliated with it. If you are interested in health, there is a PR field for that. If you want to work for a college communication department, you could try your hand at education PR. PR is everywhere, and once you realize that, you can truly start your journey towards your dream career.

3. Interning is Key: This may seem obvious, but if it isn’t a graduation requirement, a student may overlook the importance of having an internship! College is busy enough with classes and part time jobs, however, having an internship is an essential step in preparing for the real world after college. By taking at least one (if not more than one) internship in your collegiate career will put you at a higher level of security for when you graduate from your school.

Are there other things you wish you had known before you started college as a PR major? Let us know in the comments!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Making The Most Of Senior Year

This past week, I registered for my last semester at Temple University.  In less than seven months, this chapter of my life will end and I will be immersed into the real world, filled with exciting opportunities, fresh experiences and the imminent dread of student loan debt. A whirlwind of emotions envelops college seniors as they begin to approach the finish line, from being scared of post-grad life to becoming incredibly excited to see what the future has in store for us.

There are a few things as seniors I believe we should all remember.

Figure out who you really are.
What do you really see yourself doing in 5 years? 10 years? Will you be happy? In order to assure that you will be happy, try to do a little bit of soul searching. What truly makes you happy? Think about what you want and need most for yourself before doing things just because you feel obligated or because others want you to.

Focus on your future in the long run.
Chances are, you will not be landing your dream job fresh out of college. And most likely, your first job will not be your last. Forget about how much you want to make and how high up on the hierarchical chain you want to be. Every experience you have after college is an opportunity to network, make connections, build experience, and gain more skills. Take advantage of the opportunities you earn post-graduation, and use them to efficiently mold the future you want to have.

Keep an open mind.
This is an extension of my first point. There are opportunities that will be presented to you throughout your last semester and into the beginning of your new chapter. Don’t be too quick to dismiss them. Many roads lead to the same destination, and you never know what you could miss out on by being too narrow-minded.

Enjoy it!
Relish every moment you have during the last few months of your college career. This is a time in your life that is so unique that you will never be able to relive it. Now, I’m not saying go out every single night and neglect your priorities, but have fun in everything you do. Keep your friends close; it’s common knowledge that the friends you have in college will be your lifelong companions. Make an effort to ensure you will never regret not doing something and make the greatest memories that you’ll keep for the rest of your life. 

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Tyler Cameron.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Fall Break: The Perfect Time To Catch Up

Temple University has finally joined the Fall Break bandwagon and added five extra days to the Thanksgiving holiday students look forward to every year. For most, those extra days mean lazy days in bed, scouring the refrigerator for as many home cooked meals as we can eat and Netflix. A lot of Netflix. However, without any classes, internships or other commitments to attend to, everyone should take a few hours to do a little bit of housekeeping on the professional aspect of your life.

Update your LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the social media site that often gets overlooked after we have exhausted through our five other websites. Update your LinkedIn profile, add your most recent internships and work experience, and connect with people you met during the semester.  Staying on top of your LinkedIn can help you create new connections and networks.

 Research Internship or Job Opportunities
Fall Break is a great time to begin looking for spring internships, or, for seniors, jobs for post graduation. Applying for work can be time consuming, so leave the Netflix on in the background and start researching potential opportunities. Making a list and applying to a few per day is a great way to space out the applications without overwhelming yourself.

 Update your Resume
Take the time to revise your resume. Add new experiences, take out old ones that don’t relate to your goals, and proofread for mistakes. Taking a fresh look at your resume after some time can help make it sound and look better.

Reach out to professionals in the field who interest you and set up a coffee date. Sitting down with someone for even a half hour can give a lot of insight about the PR world. Many times, a meeting can lead to internships and other job opportunities.

All these helpful tips will only take a few hours to do and can be beneficial a long way from now. So grab some warm apple cider and start catching up!  

This guest blog was written by PRowl staff member Hiya Ray.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Why Mentorship Matters

Just last week, I announced the mentorship matches for fall 2014, a semester in which we saw an increase in both mentor and mentee applications. Each year, the program seems to expand as more members become aware of the program and the benefits of participating in mentorship. Even at PRSSA National Conference a few weeks ago, PR pros continually mentioned the importance of mentorship and how that played a part in their professional success. So as the PRSSA mentorship matches begin to meet and develop their relationships, I wanted to highlight the top reasons why mentorship matters.

  • Mentee benefits. Mentees receive valuable knowledge from those who have first-hand experience. They also find a source of guidance and support in their mentor. Mentees can rely on their mentors to cheer them on when they succeed and help them up when they fail.
  • Mentor benefits. The relationship is mutually beneficial, giving mentors the opportunity to enhance their leadership skills. They are also able to develop a professional and/or personal relationship with their mentees, expanding their networking and hopefully creating a friendship in the process. And of course, there’s that feeling of gratification mentors knowing they were instrumental in helping another succeed.
  • Success. A 2006 study done by market research firm Gartner showed that in a company, mentees were promoted five times more frequently than those who did not have a mentor. This is a perfect example of the great success that comes from participating in a mentorship program.

Mentorship is a clear win-win for everyone involved. It benefits both the mentors and the mentees but also strengthens the organization. PRSSA has many members who, thanks to the mentorship program, have passed along advice, encouraged involvement and worked to make the chapter the best it can be.

Do you have a mentor who has helped you succeed? We want to hear your story! 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

#Coffeegraphy: When Coffee Calls Your Name

PR professionals have been listed as the largest group of coffee consumers, taking the #2 spot in a ranking of 15 professions. So, there may be a bit of bias behind the appreciation for Nescafe Dolce Gusto and their newest brand campaign!

To launch two new coffee machines, Oblo and Jovia, Nescafe Dolce Gusto developed an interactive and engaging campaign to help consumer's find themselves in the product, literally. The social media campaign ran on the brand' Facebook page for a week, and asked fans of the page to participate by describing themselves using only three words. Those three words were then taking to match the fan to the new machine, Oblo or Jovia, which best suited their personality. Once the fan was matched, they were given the opportunity to have their name written out in coffee by a professional calligrapher. Nescafe Dolce Gusto Expresso Intenso served as ink to bring this modern coffee art to work.

This campaign works well for a few reasons, one being that it allows the consumer to connect closely and intimately with the brand. Public relations professionals take time and careful consideration when trying to position brands and products and establish a connection with their audience. Nescafe has managed to force the consumer to see themselves in their brand in the most literal sense.

Most importantly, #coffeegraphy gives consumers something to take away, and help them remember the brand. Coffee shops and coffee makers are ubiquitous, with a Starbucks on almost every corner of every major city. The coffee industry is not at loss for competition between brands. What sets those brands apart? Experience. #Coffeegraphy provides a consumer experience that other brands haven't touched yet.

What do you think of the #coffeegraphy campaign? Does it peak your interest in the brand and products? Share with us in the comments!