Monday, January 26, 2015

The Importance of Blogging

If you are like me, you have always wanted to be ahead of the game.

As a PR major, I always want to be informed of the newest social media tools, most innovative press release format, and more.

However, there is one thing that I have been hesitating to do: starting a blog.

Even though I realize it is important to be able to show potential employers that I have writing skills (particularly through writing short pieces for audiences on the internet), I feel as though keeping up with a blog and designing it will take more time and energy than I can afford.

Of course, I am wrong.

Creating a blog isn't only a necessity for a PR major, but it is as easy as taking a few minutes to create a username and password.

While at my new job, I discovered the simplicity of creating a blog through WordPress.
By selecting a theme and title, you are able to create your own blog, and if you are quick, it can be created in under 10 minutes!

Another concern that I have about creating a blog is the content. It can be hard to come up with endless content. However, blogging doesn't have to be rocket science!

Blogging what you know will lead to more content while ensuring that you are enjoying what you are writing about. If you are interested in books, you can write about your reactions to the novels you finish. If you are interested in professional development or have inspiring tales from your own experiences, you can share them on your blog!

In the end, I still haven’t created a blog, but I plan on doing so soon. As a student who is looking for the next big thing in PR, my next step is to build my blog from the ground up.

Are you putting something off that will enhance your PR skills? If so, let us know!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

"Do You Have Any Job Prospects Yet?"

It’s funny how you hear stories about how going to a family holiday party when you’re older is a horrific experience full of questions like, “Are you dating anyone?” or “How old are you now?”  But if you are a senior like me, then you can relate to hearing the most terrifying question of all…”So, do you have any job offers lined up after graduation, honey?”

*Insert hyperventilating, instant panic attack, hot flashes, slight crying, etc. here* 

(Source: Google)

If your answer to the previous questions was “yes” then great, you should be proud.  If your answer was “no,” you are not alone, I am right there with you and I’m going to tell you why it’s okay (through musical song titles because music is how I relax).

1. I’m Not The Only One by Sam Smith
While your significant other may not be cheating on you like Sam Smith says in the song, you are still not the only one.  As I just stated, every person our age is most likely feeling the pressure to find a job at this time, so confide in someone you trust to vent to.

2. Time of Our Lives by Pitbull & Ne-Yo
As Pitbull would say, “Have me a good time, before my time is up.”  College only happens once, so it’s important to remember to live in the moment!  Enjoy every experience the last semester has to offer and make sure you aren’t stressing so much about the job search that you are missing out on making memories. 

3. Elastic Heart by Sia
After three and a half years of college, you’ve built “thick skin and an elastic heart.”  So don’t get discouraged if you are applying to companies that aren’t answering you or respond saying you’re under-qualified; at least you’re putting yourself out there!

4. Shake It Off by Taylor Swift
“Don’t be getting down about all the liars and the dirty, dirty cheats of the world when you could’ve been getting down to this sick beat.”  There is no shame in taking a break from your everyday searches on LinkedIn, Monster, Indeed, etc.  Sometimes a dance party solves all problems.

5. The Heart Wants What It Wants by Selena Gomez
By now you probably have some idea of what kind of PR you want to take on as job whether that is fashion, corporate, tech, agency, etc.  Make sure to go after jobs in your niche, don’t settle for something that you are going to end up hating.  Follow your heart; the more passionate you are about what you do, the more you have to offer to the company.

6. Jealous by Nick Jonas
Do not be like Nick Jonas and get jealous.  One of my supervisors at my previous internship gave me advice that has stuck with me: “Don’t worry about what other people are doing!”  Nobody likes a green-eyed monster, so when your friends land awesome jobs, congratulate and celebrate with them!  Don’t let it stress you out or over-think your job-hunting situation.

7. Out of the Woods by Taylor Swift
Despite what Taylor may have to say, you are NOT out of the woods yet.  You still have classes to pass and internships to complete before you receive that diploma.  Dedicate as much time to your school work as you are your job search.

If all else fails, remember that just like Queen B, you are ***Flawless!  Things have a funny way of working themselves out.  You worked hard these past few years by getting involved, completing internships, making great connections and becoming a young #PRofessional ready to take on the real world!  Good luck and enjoy your last few months of college!  If you would like more advice on the senior year job search, click here.

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Kaylie Corallo.  You can follow her @kayliecorallo.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Explaining PR to Uncle Joe

For no reason in particular I woke up this morning with graduation on the mind. Oddly enough, my only concern was how I was going to explain my major, and what I plan to make a career out of, to my family. It was difficult enough during the holidays and I would rather not repeat that spiel again come May 8th. So, I did the only logical thing I could come up with: turned to Google. I knew I couldn't be the only one with this problem and I was right. For those of you who may face this same issue, I've complied a few of the best explanations to help your family and friends understand exactly what we do.

  • "Public relations (PR) is the use of communications to manage public perception of an individual or an organization." What Is
  • "Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics." PRSA
  • "A public relations specialist is an image shaper. Their job is to generate positive publicity for their client and enhance their reputation. The client can be a company, an individual or a government. " The Princeton Review
  • "PR agencies and advertising agencies share the same goals:  promoting clients and making them seem as successful, honest, important, exciting or relevant as possible.  But the paths to creating awareness are vastly different. PR agencies, as opposed to advertising agencies, promote companies or individuals via editorial coverage." Forbes
  • "It’s my job to talk to the public about my clients, and to help my clients listen to what the public is saying about them. My ultimate goal is to get positive attention for my clients, which may mean securing news stories, getting people to talk us up on social media, planning cool events, or anything else creative I can come up with." Talent Zoo
  • “I help companies communicate with people – customers, employees, legislators. And with you! If you’ve read a story in a newspaper or on on a new product, a PR pro shared that with the reporter and lined up the interviews. If you see a business leader delivering a speech, a PR pro probably wrote it. If you happen across a really cool event in Bryant Park, a PR pro likely played a major part in the idea behind it. We work with executives to figure out the smartest, most effective ways to engage with people, let them know what’s going on with the company, and get their thoughts and feedback.” Communications Catalyst
  • "You make your clients look good by coordinating interviews and providing information about them to the media." Business Insider
Sure, most of these definitions are blunt or don't cover the full breadth of what we do, but for the purpose of having your relatives get a grasp of our industry, these should do just fine. We are taught to be concise after all!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

#SOTU: State of the Union Goes Social

President Obama gave the annual State of the Union address Tuesday evening, a topic that wasn't just trending in traditional media but on social media as well. I myself viewed the address on one screen and had my Twitter feed on another to keep up with public responses. I was surprised to find that my newsfeed consisted of almost exclusively State of the Union posts (along with a number of Flyers vs. Penguins tweets as the game between the rivals headed into overtime).

According to the White House’s Twitter account, it was the most interactive State of the Union address ever with 1.2 million views and Twitter reported that over 2.6 million tweets were posted using the hashtag #SOTU. Facebook also had similar results, announcing that “5.7 million people on Facebook made 13.8 million interactions (posts, likes, comments, shares) related to the President’s State of the Union address” that day.

In an effort to create a broader audience for the traditionally “old-media” event, the White House communications team  decided to revamp the way they promote the address. This year, they focused not just on traditional media like newspapers and television, but creating videos, digital op-eds and even six-second GIFs. The White House twitter account also live tweeted infographics, images and quotes in real time as Obama discussed various topics like sustainable energy and education costs. The same images appeared on television in a split screen with the live speech itself.

“To not have an aggressive social media strategy in 2015 would be the equivalent of not having an aggressive TV strategy in the 1950s.” –Dan Pfeiffer, White House Director of Communications

This year was the first time ever that the White House released the SOTU speech to the public prior to the address. In keeping with efforts to bring politics to the digital generation, it was released via Medium, a blogging platform created by the founders of Twitter.

But out of all the points President Obama made in his address to the American people, the most talked about moment on social media was by far:


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

5 Ways to Network without Leaving Home

Public relations is, go figure, all about relationships. Between clients, co-workers, potential employers and other PR professionals. Putting yourself out there and creating valuable connections is a critical part of any public relations career journey. These relationships not only assist in sustaining you professionally, but personally as well. No one will understand your long hours, obsession with your inbox or need to edit every piece of writing you see more than your fellow practitioners.

Still, these relationships take time to cultivate and even more time to sustain. There are plenty of ways, especially as a college student, to put yourself out there, such as joining your campus's PRSSA chapter. But if you're balancing a full course load, work, internships and other activities, getting out into the world to meet people may not make it onto your to-do list, though you wish you had the time.

Thanks to the digital age and the ever-advancing social media industry, connections can be created and sustained within your bedroom walls. Here are 5 ways to network without leaving home.

1. Create a Twitter list of professionals you'd like to connect with and @reply to them with a personal message.
Placing these professionals into a Twitter list allows you to easily keep track of who you've reached out to, and makes it easy to go back to contact them again. Be sure to make your messages to them personal and relative to the reason you want to connect with them in the first place. Go back to this list often to check-in with your new connections and grow those relationships.

2. Send personal messages when connecting on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a community of professionals looking to connect with other professionals --a networkers dream! When making new connections, be sure to delete the generic message LinkedIn provides and send something original. Use that message as the opportunity to introduce yourself properly and point out what you have in common with your new connection. And, of course, make sure your profile is up to date so that it speaks positively on your behalf.

3. Share, share, share.
If you have a platform, use it! You'd be surprised at how many connections you can make simply by sharing things that you are likely to have in common with others. If you read an interesting article online, share it and mention the writer or website that published it. Make your areas of interest public knowledge so that when people encounter your profiles they get an accurate glimpse of who you are.

4. Make a phone call.
The dreaded cold call. The up point about calling rather than emailing or messaging someone is that their phone is likely less active (and crowded) than their inbox. It's easy to stand out when there are less people standing around you. Call an old boss, co-worker or contact and just catch up with them. Ask if they're working on any new or exciting projects and let them know what's going on with you as well.

5. Join or launch online communities.
You aren't the only one seeking networking opportunities from the comforts of home. There are tons of blogs, websites and online forums which foster community for young professionals. Research sites in your industry and start leaving comments on the articles you read. Reply to the comments of others when you can and get to know the regulars. The answers to your hardest questions or greatest struggles could be waiting for you within these communities. And if all else fails, start your own! Launch a Facebook group where professionals from all over can come together and network virtually.

How do you network?

Sunday, January 18, 2015

PR: The New Orleans Style

Chaos, colors, and craziness is exactly what you expect to find on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, Louisiana. Walking down the street you are bound to find every tourist wearing colorful beads with the famous Grenade drink in their hand, and psychics promising you the details to your future.

New Orleans is known for being one of America’s cities that never sleeps, so how do they keep up that reputation? Well, every public relations professional could take a tip or two from the small city in Louisiana.

Recently I spent a week in New Orleans before the annual Mardi Gras celebrations began. I jumped off the plane and immediately had purple, green and gold beads- I was ready to take on the chaos of the city. However what most people don’t realize is that New Orleans can be a pretty average city, especially during the day. The small town manages to maintain a calm and quiet atmosphere when the sun is out, but as soon as it goes down, the city comes to life at night. New Orleans runs exactly how a PR professional runs. Think about it, during the day PR professionals manage to not look stressed and they appear like everything is under control, but just like New Orleans, a PR professional has to have the crazy come out! However, this is not a bad thing because PRofessionals accomplish amazing things through our efforts and help to make our client's brands/products/services come to life, just like New Orleans does at night! 

Here are a few tips about how to keep your PR style the New Orleans style:

1. Always hold your composure! Even when there is craziness going on always keep your cool!
2. Stay colorful! Make yourself bold and stand out with colorful clothing, business cards, and lingo. Don’t get caught up in boring and bland colors.
3. Make your voice heard! When talking with a client don’t shy behind their words but make sure that your suggestions and opinions are heard.
4. Like a street performer performing for money, a little sense of humor is always good to have in this business!
5. Get creative! You may not be able to read someone’s tarot cards, but always work on coming up with new ideas for campaigns, events, slogans, logos, etc.

Just like the city of New Orleans, you want to give yourself a reputation that lets people know you are here for business but you have a colorful, electric and exciting side as well!

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Alissa Steele. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Fake It Til You Make It

One of the newest trends when it comes to job hunting has been to create your own job. I don't necessarily mean become an entrepreneur and work for yourself, although that is also a viable option these days. It's come to my realization that most of the people I've spoken to about their own job search experience didn't find it on Indeed. Instead, they started with what they knew they wanted to do and found someone who was willing to let them do it. Sound a bit confusing? Well I promise it's much simpler than it sounds.

Typically, one would go on a site like Indeed, Monster, or even Craigslist to check out job openings in their field of work. However, the new trend (albeit a bit more risky and ambitious) allows young professionals to create their own positions. As opposed to simply applying to an open listing, people are doing the process "backwards" and starting with looking into companies or careers they love, whether they have announced a job opening or not.

Attempting to create a position for yourself doesn't go unnoticed; it shows real courage and confidence in yourself and what you have to bring to the company. Whether that leap of faith results in a job or not, you've just created a new network. Someone else in the industry now knows who you are and although they may not have a position to offer you at the time, it's always possible that they know someone who does. This generation is betting on themselves and selling their skills to their dream companies...and it seems to be working pretty well.

This new approach is actually pretty similar to what it was like applying to colleges. We were taught there were safe, match, and reach schools. Safe meant that you are over-qualified and guaranteed to get in, match schools are universities where your skills correspond to their qualifications, and reach schools are where your credentials fall just below their qualifications but you try your best regardless. Why can't applying to jobs be treated the same way? Reach for your dream job. The very worst that could happen is that they say no, but the very best could open up doors to a career that's tailor made for you.