Thursday, July 31, 2014

The PR Skill You Didn't Think You Needed

“Math is not my thing, that’s why I’m in public relations.” Press releases, blog posts, email blasts, pitches- after a semester or two of writing, you start to consider that maybe you won’t need to remember what you learned in high school algebra after all. But just when you think you’re finished with math after that final gen ed course, think again. Numbers and calculations are actually vitally important in public relations (and life in general), so here are a few instances when you’ll need to utilize those math skills in PR…sorry.

(Source: Quickmeme)
  • Measurement. Advertising value equivalency is what news coverage would cost if it were advertising space. And although AVEs are by no means an accurate way to measure the success of public relations according to the Barcelona Principles (for more info on the these principles, check out a previous post here), they are still widely used. AVEs need to be calculated using ad rates, column inches, and other figures.
  • Evaluation. Effectively evaluating the results of a public relations campaign takes more than counting the number of media outlets that have picked up your story. You need to be able to calculate the percentage of increase in followers, page views, and other statistics that show your campaign is positively affecting client. It is one thing to tell your them that your work is making a difference but it’s quite another to show them the numbers to prove it.
  • Data analytics. In the last decade or so, there’s been an explosion of data available to, well, just about everyone. The challenge lies is knowing what to do with all this new information. Being able to analyze and apply the information effectively in a campaign or strategy is now a necessary skill to have in PR.
  • Research. The hardest part of doing primary research isn’t creating an effective survey or properly moderating a focus group. Like in data analytics, the real challenge is taking the information you’ve gathered and knowing what to do with it.

So learn to embrace math in public relations, because it’s a (very) necessary evil.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

4 Apps To Encourage Productivity

Public relations professionals are always on the move. Our desks usually end up traveling with us in the forms of smartphones and tablets, which allow us to always be tuned in and accessible. There are always emails to be sent, read and replied to; growing to-do lists to make our way through; and tons of other tasks that require our attention and time.

Because we are always on our phones, tablets and laptops, having apps handy that encourage you to be strategic with your time are incredibly useful. When you're constantly jumping from task to tasks, it's easy to get overwhelmed and distracted, which may impact the quality of work you're producing.

We've shared about some productivity apps before, but just like the PR industry, technology is always changing and improving. Here are four apps to help ignite that productive spark in your day-to-day:

1. Google Drive 
Collaborations have never been easier than opening your trusted Google account and starting a new project in seconds! Whether you're creating a social media calendar, blog posts or writing a press release, Google Drive allows you to make it, save it and share it all in one easy location. You can download the app on your iPhone/iPad or android devices to take your docs with you everywhere. Downloading the drive to your computer insures that you're work is always backed up to the online cloud and accessible wherever you are.

2. Todoist
If you find yourself making list after list of tasks that required your attention, this app is for you. Todoist allows you to manage all of your tasks in one convenient place. Download the app to your phone and computer to stay up to date with what you've completed and what still needs to be done. The well designed app even tracks your productivity by assigning points each day that you complete all of your tasks.

3. Boomerang
PR professionals spend so much time on email that it can often take us away from other important elements of our workday. Boomerang is an easy to install app that helps managing your inbox that a breeze. With Boomerang, you can schedule emails to be sent later, schedule follow-up emails (like the one you've been meaning to send about that client you pitched last week), and even allows you to track responses and set reminders.

4. Pomodrone
No matter how much we wish it were otherwise, we only get 24 hours every day. So, it's up to us to use them wisely! Pomodrone is a product of the time managing Pomodoro Technique, which encourages working in small blocks of time with breaks in between to encourage productivity and mental agility. Download this app to your iPhone to help focus on projects and avoid distractions during the day.

What apps do you turn to when you're looking for help in the productivity department? Share with us in the comments!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Skills: ????

You've mastered your resume. All of your internships, jobs, and volunteer-work are perfectly formatted and described. You even designed a brand new header for yourself! But there's still one little section at the bottom that you just can't seem to figure out: skills. You certainly have skills, but what is best to put down when looking for a job in PR/Marketing/Communications? Check out some of the skills we think are best to put you at an advantage during your next interview:

Social Media - As young adults in today's society, it seems so mundane to actually know your way around Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. But you cannot forget to mention that you do! As someone looking to work in the Communications field, it's very possible that social media will be a part of the job description. Outside of all of the social networks that you use personally, consider getting yourself familiar with a few more, like Wordpress, Pinterest, and Hootsuite.
( Source:Design Razzi )
Graphics - Though it may not be mandatory for PR Executive jobs, knowing how to use Photoshop, Adobe, or InDesign will help you stand out next to other candidates for the job. Chances are you will need to plan an initiative or promotional materials, and instead of outsourcing, you will be able to take the reigns on the project yourself. Having these graphics skills will make creating content for fliers, pamphlets, or invitations easier and just the way you imagine them for the client's needs.

Production - Just as design allows you to handle the creative side of your initiative, knowing minor production techniques will allow you work on additional types of projects. Learning about video and audio recording and editing is beneficial so that you can use these outlets to promote your client or organization. Job postings in certain industries, like entertainment, may even specify that these skills are preferred in the applicant.

Presentation - As an intern, you may be given the opportunity to sit in on business calls and client meetings, so presentation skills are always a plus. If you had to pass a public speaking course to receive your degree, make note & put down public speaking as a skill. Additionally, PowerPoint and Prezi are both presentation tools that you should be sure to mention your experience with to a future employer.
( Source: Location 180 )

Monday, July 28, 2014

Why Going Abroad is Important for Aspiring Public Relations Professionals

Today is my last day abroad of the summer, and I'm writing this post from Berlin, Germany! I've spent this summer interning abroad in Barcelona, Spain, and also had the chance to visit the south of France, the Netherlands, and Germany. This summer, along with the summer I spent 2 years ago in London, Paris, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg, has shown me how important it is for aspiring PR professionals, like myself, to experience the world beyond the United States. This summer has gone by far too fast for me, but before I (gratefully) return home, I wanted to share why going abroad is so important.

1. Living, studying, or interning abroad will undoubtedly teach you things about a culture you could never understand just by looking at it. Learning about the rest of the world through class and study is well and good, but cultural immersion is the only real way to experience it.

2. Our world is becoming ever more connected, which means that at some point, you'll probably be dealing with a foreign company or public. When you do deal with this foreign entity, knowing the culture can be vital to accurately forging a connection with them. For example, spend a week in Spain and you'll realize that between 2-4 pm is never a good time to do business, because everyone is on siesta, either getting lunch or napping. But, if you'd never been to Spain, you wouldn't know this, and your business efforts could go to waste.

3. An often-overlooked component of inter-cultural relations is food; and who doesn't love food? Well, if your're from Spain, you probably before some sort of Iberian ham, or some seafood. If you're German, on the other hand, you're likely to go for some sort of curry sausage dish, or some delicious brattwurst. And if you're from France, then a crepe or some crackers and cheese might be your preference. When interacting with people from a different country, serving the wrong food or going to the wrong restaurant can ruin the relationship from the start.

If you ever get a chance, even a glimmer of a chance to go somewhere abroad, then take it! Even if you're just going on vacation, go somewhere different, and take the time to feel out the culture. My professor once said that as soon as you arrive in a new city or country, take a minute to think about what your smelling. What you smell when you arrive will be the unique smell to that place, and if you don't acknowledge it immediately, you'll stop noticing it after a little while. So, all I'm saying is to get out of your bubble, your comfort zone, and go somewhere new. First time I stayed in a cheap European hostel, I hated it, but give it a chance, and it'll grow on you, just like whatever foreign destination you choose will grow on you.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Mid-Summer Check-In: Starting Those Fall PReparations Now

While fully entrenched in the “dog days of summer,” it can be alarming to realize to that the fall semester is rapidly approaching. Temple University’s first day is Monday, August 26 and that puts us about a month away from returning to North Philadelphia for another school year. Though it can seem tempting to put off all back-to-school preparations to the last couple weeks in August, now is actually the best time to start! The following are tips on ways to begin doing so.

Class schedules: As seasoned college students, we all know how crazy the first few weeks of a new semester can be. Between adjusting to new classes and professors and getting back in the swing of things, it’s wise to take another look at your class schedule well before August 26. Questions to ask yourself may include:

Am I taking classes to fulfill the mandatory gen-ed requirements?
How am I on taking core classes for my major? Am I taking the right classes to satisfy a potential minor? Do I need to meet with my advisor?
Am I okay with the times of my classes? Have I scheduled breaks in the day?
Am I looking to receive credit for an internship and what are the deadlines for that?

Fall Internships/Jobs: While us Strategic Communications students have been lucky to receive emails throughout the summer from our Internship Director Amanda Bednar, now is the time to begin actually solidifying those fall plans. In regards to internships:

What are you interested in? What sector of public relations are you looking to gain experience in?
What office environment do I thrive in? Is there somebody I can ask for a recommendation?
When finding a job, many students main concern is finding the time to fit work into an already busy schedule. Questions to consider include:
What range of flexibility does this job offer? Will I be able to fit this into my schedule?
What is the commute like and what would the typical hours be?

Resume/LinkedIn: While updating one’s resume and LinkedIn can seem like a daunting feat, now is the best time to do so before the hectic school year begins again! Make sure to include:

What you did over the summer: Did you intern, work, volunteer, start a blog or learn a new skill? Make sure to update accordingly! As you grow and learn as a student, your resume should reflect that.
If you don’t already have a LinkedIn, make one! LinkedIn allows for one to expand upon their resume and provide more information in regards to interests, career goals, etc.

Set goals: I’ve always looked at the upcoming school year as a great time to set goals. The start of a new school year always holds new opportunities and setting/reaching goals is an incredibly satisfying feeling. Seek to differentiate between short term and long term ones and set a reasonable timeline! Some potential goals may include:

Taking on a new internship or two.
Seeking out new volunteer opportunities – both professional and personal.
Working towards a leadership position in a current organization or joining a new one.
Working towards a higher GPA.

Do you have any tips for getting prepared for the fall semester now? Let us know; we could all benefit from them! 

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Rachel Draghi.  

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Is A Pitch The New Pick-Up Line?

As public relations students we have all become familiar with a “pitch,” also known as OPEN MY E-MAIL AND GIVE MY CLIENT SOME PRESS! I’ve recently realized the pitch is present not only in the PR world, but in the dating world as well. 

Going into my senior year as a PR student, I have learned and practiced my “elevator pitch,” (name, major, internship(s), future goals, etc. all in 30 seconds), similar to a speed date. This type of pitch has been learned in the classroom and utilized in networking and business events. Unfortunately it seems as though people cannot get out of this “pitch” mindset, even in social settings.

So the question is, is a pitch the new pick- up line? According to Web definitions, a pick-up line is a conversation opener with the intent of engaging an unfamiliar person for romance or dating. This definition is ultimately the same as what a pitch is (minus the romance and dating part).

This post can be taken two ways:

1.     When brainstorming a pitch to the media, think of it as “engaging an unfamiliar person.” You have done enough research on this person to know what his/her niche is, so be confident and personalize your pitch, just as your personalize your pick- up lines. 

2.      Stop with the “elevator pitches” when out. Whether it is a happy hour, night out, or randomly bumping into someone of interest. Not every setting needs to be so professional you need to share your life goals within the first five minutes. Save the pitch for another time, and live in the moment.

What are your thoughts? Do you think a pitch and pick-up line can have the same meaning? Have you ever experienced it? We’d love to know!  

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Amanda White. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

XOXO PR Girl: Avoiding Gossip in the Office

(Source: Tumblr)

With a small office, open cubicles and chatty co-workers, inner-office gossip is bound to happen. It can be a fun distraction during a stressful work day to exchange stories churning in the rumor mill. But this bad habit could end you in hot water. When gossip comes up in conversation at the office, be mindful of these few points to avoid getting caught up in workplace gossip.

Be aware. Gossip is defined as “casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true.” But gossip isn’t always that obvious. To help you determine if you’re participating in harmful rumor spreading, consider how you would feel if the person you were discussing heard your conversation.
Have a strategy. Create and commit to a strategy for steering the conversation away from rumors. Try to subtly change the direction of the discussion by asking your co-worker how their weekend was or what big project they’re working on.
Stay positive. Gossip is almost always negative which creates a toxic work environment. When comments come up, it’s important to stay positive. By countering the gossip with something productive, you diffuse the negativity and stay out of the drama.
Stay focused. It can be disruptive to your workday and even affect your performance. Try not to get sidetracked by gossip; it won’t serve your overall path to success. It may seem like a harmless rumor but by participating in hurtful gossip, you could be risking your job and even career.
Don’t perpetuate rumors. Spreading the gossip that you’ve heard is just as bad as starting it in the first place. Rumors can only end when those they are shared with refrain from repeating them.

At the end of the day, gossiping at work just appears unprofessional and immature. Staying out of inner-office chatter will benefit you by increasing your credibility and trustworthiness while helping you avoid harmful drama.