Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Public Relations in Business Schools?

As we have seen from recent examples in crisis communications, companies affected by these conflicts would have greatly benefited from some training in public relations or strategic communications.

For example, if Tony Hayward, formerly of BP, was knowledgeable on how to protect the reputation of his corporation, he would have replaced his complaints for wanting his life back with an effective plan on how to move on from the devastating effects of the oil spill.

PRSA did an analysis of highly ranked MBA programs and found that only 16 percent offer a single course in crisis and conflict management, strategic communications, public relations, or whatever you choose to describe protecting the reputation of their company.

While the inclusion of these classes would most likely be considered electives, business executives need to consider that especially in today's digital environment, they need to not only effectively run their company, but also know how to protect it in times of need.

To read the full PRSA article click here.

Monday, May 30, 2011

@LanceArmstrong vs. 60 Minutes

On Sunday the 22nd, 60 Minutes premiered its weekly episode in which Lance Armstrong was featured. Armstrong has been accused in the past of using performance enhancing drugs in order to accomplish his seven Tour de France wins. The 60 Minutes episode was no exception. In response to the expose, Armstrong tweeted the following:

“20+ year career. 500 drug controls worldwide, in and out of competition. Never a failed test. I rest my case.”

In support for the athlete, the tweet was reblogged thousands of times, sweeping across the web. In a practice he had adopted following his final Tour de France win, Armstrong offered no interviews, leaving just the tweet as the only direct quote from Armstrong himself for the media to base off of.

By doing so, the 60 Minutes segment featuring Armstrong was deemed unreliable by many viewers who had seen the tweet, causing ratings to drop significantly.

To read the rest of the PRdaily article, click here.

What do you think? Did Lance Armstrong do the right thing? Should he have appeared on the show and given a full interview instead of a vague tweet, to dispel rumors?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Rookie Mistakes

It didn’t take long for Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s 25-year-old press secretary to run into trouble with the media. Tarrah Cooper, a graduate from the University of Missouri’s journalism school, might be in a bit over her head, according to Chuck Goudie, the chief investigative reporter at ABC 7 News in Chicago.

Recently, Goudie posted a story about his first run-in with Cooper, who—in his opinion—failed to act professionally when he called to ask questions about a story he was investigating. Goudie said, “rather than simply answer the questions, Ms. Cooper stated that she wished to speak ‘off the record.’”

According to Goudie, Cooper also supplied him with misleading and false information. Deciding that he was going to comment on this unprofessional interaction, Goudie sent Cooper some basic questions about her background and position. Cooper again asked to speak off the record and has since ceased all communication. Here are some of the questions that Goudie asked:

• Is there a set of written guidelines or protocols that you are working from in dealing with reporters and news organizations?
• How involved is Mr. Emanuel in setting the tone for dealing with the press and in what manner? Does each story inquiry get run by him?
• What qualifies you to be press secretary for the mayor of the third-largest city?
• How much will you be paid?
• What are your career aspirations?

As a student in the public relations field it aggravates me to see this type of basic communication faux pas.

Cooper’s job as a public communications official is to communicate the actions and positions of the administration with the public. I think that Cooper should have been prepared to discuss the topic at hand with Goudie, or at the very least be prepared to find out the answers and then follow up with the correct position of the administration. Saying, “Let me get back to you” is always better than asking to speak about your opinion off the record.

As for failing to answer Goudie’s inquiry into Cooper herself: I think that she did more harm than good to herself by not answering the journalist’s questions. I believe that when acting as the face of a new administration, it is crucial to paint oneself as an honest, open and frank mouthpiece in order to be effective.

But I am left wondering: Does Tarrah Cooper, or for that matter any 25-year-old, posses the necessary communication skills that a press secretary position requires? What do you think, and how would you have handled Chuck Goudie in this situation?
To read the whole article by Chuck Goudie here at the Daily Herald, click here

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Jacob DeChant.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Interning at Earth Networks-Weatherbug

When I began interning with Earth Networks – WeatherBug on May 16, 2011, I was in for a pleasant surprise. From previous experience I figured the first day at my internship would be all about adjusting, getting introduced to the people that I would be working with for two months, etc. I figured wrong. My internship director put me to work from the moment I entered the big glass doors in the Earth Networks office. For those of you who do not know, the company that I am interning for is the owner and provider of WeatherBug products and services and has a network of various weather related monitoring systems.

Before starting my internship, the most I knew about weather was from either watching the news or quickly looking at the local weather on my phone (of course I did a ton of research on the company before I started my internship). Little did I know there is much more to know in order to be a great public relations professional at Earth Networks. During my first week on the job I did a lot of public relations activities that, as a student, I learn about but never had the opportunity to actually do. For instance, my intern director had me do a run through of Vocus, a public relations distribution and news monitoring service. This is a valuable tool for me, and I am lucky to that I learned how to use this service. I also wrote a press release, wrote and distributed a media advisory via BusinessWire, and created a “retweeting 101” document to be sent out to meteorologists and other key people in the organization.

On top of all this, I am learning a great deal about the inner workings of a technology company. One of my favorite parts of working here is how nice and supportive everyone is. I am able to tell my boss what I want to learn more about and how she can help me further my skills. My experience so far here has taught me that perception is everything. Here are some tips from my first week:

1. Word choice is everything: Avoid using negative words like “ruin,” or words that assume the reader of the press release is uninformed.
2. Always have someone else read your work: When I was writing a press release I created about four drafts. I sent each of those drafts to my boss for critique and approval. Though it may take longer to send than you want it to, nothing is worse than sending out wrong information.
3. Ask questions: If you do not know what you are doing, do not try to pretend you do. For instance, I had to ask several questions about Vocus in order to understand how to use it.
4. Put your best foot forward: If you are selective and choose the internship that is best for you and what you want to learn, this tip should be no problem! Come to work with a smile on your face and be ready to be the best intern you can be.

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Kurie Fitzgerald.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Heineken Quenches Thirst for New Media

The Dutch brewing company Heineken's new advertising campaign has embraced the newer, nontraditional methods of reaching younger audiences through digital and social media. The campaign, "Open your world," initially began running on Web sites in December, before ever hitting the television waves three months later.

In an article from the New York Times, reporter Stuart Elliot claims that as of Wednesday, the ad, called "The Entrance," had over 3.6 million views on the Heineken channel on YouTube while also available for viewing on the Heineken Facebook page. There are an additional 11 video clips that are run online only which have received an additional million plus views. A new commercial for the "Open your world" campaign was released on Thursday via Facebook and YouTube and is not set to hit television screens until September, making an online presence first.

The idea is “to think digital at the inception, not as an afterthought,” said Alexis Nasard, chief commercial officer at Heineken International in Amsterdam, who spoke during a recent interview at the Heineken USA office in Midtown Manhattan.

With the overwhelming increase of consumers substituting or replacing traditional media with digital and social media, advertisers are more drawn to the concept of online advertisement campaigns that will attract a more diverse audience. Online advertising has become a more cost effective means of establishing a brand identity while engaging with the publics, an element that traditional television advertisement is missing. Through online campaigns, companies can track and respond to comments, gauging the public's opinion on the commercials before they hit television, modifying the content as needed.

As we move further into the digital age, I believe we will begin to see more companies following in Heineken's advertising footsteps.

Do you think this method of advertising is more effective than traditional methods? Let us know!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Trump 2012: Publicity Stunt or Serious Contender?

One month ago Donald Trump, a real estate giant and reality television show host, seemed poised to throw his hat into the ring as a contender for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. On May 16, 2011, much to the surprise of some political insiders, Trump publically announced that he would not seek election to executive office of the United States of America. He cited his passion for business as the reason for his refusal to run, opting to stick to his reality television show Celebrity Apprentice instead. This led some, including U.S. News & World Report’s Peter Roff, to jump to the conclusion that Trump’s consideration to run was just one huge publicity stunt to promote his television show. This argument does have some validity; Celebrity Apprentice’s season finale did conveniently land less than a week away from Trump’s announcement and many doubted if he had enough executive experience and popularity to win the party nomination, much less the general election.

Fast forward exactly one week later to May 23. Trump appeared on the Fox News morning show Fox and Friends to announce that he had no longer ruled out running for president. Trump said he felt that the current 2012 Republican presidential candidates could not beat President Barack Obama and that there was still a possibility that he would run.

Trump’s latest announcement could still be part of an even larger publicity campaign for personal gain. Realistically, it would be hard for him to beat current Republican forerunners Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney, who each have a wealth of executive experience as former state governors. His chances against Obama in the general election are even slimmer.

Furthermore, the 2012 primary elections do start around the same time as the next season of Celebrity Apprentice and Trump does love to see his name everywhere. Postponing his decision to run keeps his name in the mouths of political pundits and in the pages of daily newspapers everywhere.

What do you think? Is all this talk about running for president an extenuation of a dubious publicity campaign or does Trump really think he can win?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Oprah Needs a New Brand?

Why would Oprah ever want to change her brand, a woman who has her own network, magazine, and worth over three billion dollars? There is no doubt Oprah has made an empire for herself. She promotes books and they instantly become best sellers, she supports a man and he becomes president. Oprah even makes regular guests such as Dr. OZ and Nate Berkus, celebrities who now have their own show. A recent article in Bloomsburg Business, Brand Oprah Has Some Marketing Lessons, discusses how even though Oprah is an icon she is attempting to reach a new audience.

While promoting her new network OWN Oprah appeared on The Daily Show with John Stewart in effort to reach a younger demographic. Also during The Daily Show, Oprah gave everyone in the audience a trip to Washington for John Stewart’s and Stephen Colbert’s rally. The article quotes Robert Thompson, a professor of popular culture at Syracuse University stating, “It was the first time we saw Oprah trying to suck the cultural mojo from someone else."

So will appearing on shows like The Daily Show help her in reaching this new demographic and maybe even a rebrand? In my opinion in attempts to target a new demographic Oprah should become more involved in social media, especially Twitter. Oprah currently has numerous Facebook pages and her own Twitter. However Oprah has only 882 tweets and not much interacting with her audience members, only following 33 people. Her Facebook page OWN does a better job with interacting with asking fans what they thought about the recent guest or new syndicated shows appearing on OWN. The key is reaching out like she did appearing on The Daily Show, however no follow up with that targeted demographic has left the mission in captivating a new demographic in limbo.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Adding a Human Touch to Social Media

Most of us today have used some sort of social media. Whether it was Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or one of the numerous others, everyone communicates differently when using these sites. A recent study by the University of Missouri found that websites that use a conversational human voice have more positive reactions than websites with a strictly organizational presence.

When people are using social media, they want to know who they’re talking to, even when the dialogue is with a company or a brand. The goal of social media should ultimately be to strengthen relationships and reach out to others, through the interaction on these sites. Using a human touch is very important when trying to create a personal and sociable image for your client. With some sites, they include the name and picture of the organizational representative, along with a few words about what they stand for, while others do not. According to the study, sites using a personal human voice received much higher ratings than those relying on impersonal communication.

Using a human voice during social media outreach will form a level of trust, commitment and satisfaction for your users. This information can better prepare PR practitioners when trying to understand relationship management.

Read the rest of the PRSA article here.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Fashion PR in Reality

There are a lot of different genres in the world of public relations; corporate, entertainment, publishing, and many other different categories that can be subcategories of PR. Fashion PR, on the other hand, is often overlooked. When most people think of fashion PR, the image of Lauren Conrad in The Hills no doubt materializes. As an intern for Teen Vogue it seemed like her only responsibilities were to cart around couture dresses and travel to fabulous places.

In reality, fashion PR involves more than glamour and fame. In an article on thegloss.com, Brooke Moreland interviewed Lindsey Green, the Director of Communications for fashion house Jill Stuart. When asked what fashion PR entails, Green responded that she is in charge of “basically all operations regarding name, the brand, press, image, magazine credits, you name it- all goes through me. It’s my job to make sure our company’s image is presented in the best way possible.” In doing so, it is important for someone new to fashion PR to gain experience; through internships and job training, to supplement an education. Absorb as much of your surroundings as possible, because things will get hectic, especially during Fashion Week. However, it is important to recognize where you would like to be in fashion PR.

There are two main types of fashion PR:

· “In House”-Working for only one individual fashion house.

· “Agency”-When a firm works for several different designers and must maintain a clientele while making sure that each client feels catered to.

The glamour of fashion PR is still there; the parties, networking, clothes, etc. But with that comes a business savvy that is often overlooked. Make sure that when you are getting into fashion PR, you are willing to learn and handle aspects of a fashion house that you may not have expected.

If you are interested in fashion PR, you can read the rest of the article as well as other articles relating to fashion PR, click here.

To get more of a hands on perspective on the fashion PR industry, check out Kelly Cutrone’s book “If You Have To Cry, Go Outside.” In which Cutrone, a reknown fashion publicist, details the reality of fashion PR as well as provides tips to young people on how to get into fashion PR.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Making Your Degree Count

Graduation season is upon us again, and many future PR professionals are celebrating earning a degree in public relations or a communications-related subject. After spending four or more years working toward their degree they hope they’ve gotten their monies worth.

Recently The Daily Beast released a list of the 20 most useless college degrees.

The ranking was based on the average starting and mid-career annual salaries typically associated with the degree, and the expected growth in jobs for the industry between 2008-2018.

Although the ranking listed journalism, English and literature on its list, coursework in these areas provides a strong foundation for public relations work.

Journalism, ranked as the most useless college degree, is likely the most useful for anyone looking to work in PR. Coursework in journalism provides a great foundation to work in media relations. You learn firsthand what makes a good story. Plus, many of today’s journalism schools include technical training in video editing and web design, valuable skills for any future PR pro.

Like journalism, a degree in English (ranked 19th) or literature (ranked 15th) provides you with the writing skills vital for anyone wanting to work in PR. Studying English and literature also provides students with strong analytical skills, useful in crisis communications and developing PR plans.

Although these degrees may seem useless to some, they’re perhaps some of the most useful degrees (aside from public relations) for anyone looking to enter the rapidly changing PR industry.

To see if your major made the list, click here.

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Shari DaCosta

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Value of a Mentor

As I watched the class of 2011 graduate last week, I realized how instrumental this group of young leaders has been in raising the bar for the underclassmen that will soon follow in their footsteps. These graduates have served as mentors for all of us, which is extremely important as young PR professionals.

In her recent post on PRSay, Barbara Whitman discusses the importance of having a mentor in a digital age. While much of the PR world relies on technology and social media, Whitman talks about the value of face-to-face communication and the younger generation benefits from this type of interaction. As a former mentor, she has seen how this program benefits both the mentee and the mentor. Mentees have someone to both celebrate their successes with and help guide them through difficult challenges, while mentors improve their listening skills. Whitman emphasized that mentoring is more than just mentioning someone in a tweet, but that it is a lifelong investment in that person. In the end, a mentoring program fosters professional growth for everyone involved.

Many companies also see the value in promoting a mentoring program internally. The PRSA Job Center offers members the option to have a career coach, which is essentially the same thing as a mentor. They provide several different professionals who are available to mentor members and provide advice when necessary. Similarly, many corporate organizations like Bank of America offer their employees the option of having a mentor within the company.

During my first semester with PRowl, I looked to all of the senior members for guidance and advice. Specifically, Trish Wyatt, an Account Executive at PRowl did become my unofficial mentor. The experience for me was invaluable, to have someone there to listen, read over press releases, or even to de-stress with at the gym. After such a positive experience this past semester, I hope I can do the same for another PRowl member in the future.
Do you think it is important to have a mentor? What can individuals gain from this experience?

To read the PRsay article on the value of mentoring, click here

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Alex Crispino

Friday, May 20, 2011

NBC'S Time-Honored Page Program

Looking for a break into the media industry? There are many ways, some more successful than others, although none of them compare to the prestigious NBCUniversal Page Program.

Established in 1933, the program gives young men and women more than just their first taste of the entertainment biz –- it gives them a chance to gain incredible access and unique experiences early on in their career.

The list of those who have worn “the uniform” is long and storied, including Dave Garroway, Regis Philbin, Ted Koppel, Michael Eisner, Kate Jackson, Sara Haines, Aubrey Plaza, and even our favorite fictional Page, Kenneth Ellen Parcell. But the common thread weaving through both the famous and the humble is a drive to learn and grow that leads them to success during, and after, the tour route.

After being contacted by Julia Nietch, former Temple PRSSA President who currently works in Corporate Communications at NBC Universal, I wanted to share the information with the bright and talented members of the Temple Communications community in addition to the surrounding universities and colleges. Look no further for your big break in the media biz, because the NBC Page Program offers you the necessary experience and guidance to thrive and grow in order to be successful.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Twitter’s Advertising Dilemma

Social media websites are a great idea. They attract millions of users every day, yield incredible amounts of user-generated content, and are hyped up by organizations and media outlets alike. They can be accessed via phone, computer, or tablet from almost anywhere in the world at any moment in time. However, until recently many of these websites have not developed a business model to generate profit or even keep themselves financially stable.

Twitter has been searching for a viable revenue model for some time now. Twitter is a pretty unique social media channel; it does not feature visual ads along the sides or bottom of its webpage like Facebook or Myspace do. It does, however, feature sponsored tweets, trends and accounts. Companies can now pay Twitter to feature their content as a popular tweet or to promote a specific hashtag as a trending topic. Twitter has also begun to promote company accounts under its “Who To Follow” section. Users buy into this advertising method, regularly using the promoted hashtags and following the sponsored accounts. While these are good methods for Twitter to begin generating revenue, the social media website will have to think of more innovative ways to make money if it wants to stay in business for a long time.

Advertisements on Twitter no longer solely come from Twitter’s business end; individual accounts are beginning to take a slice of advertisement money as well. Accounts have always indulged in shameless self-promotion (think Charlie Sheen), but now some high-visibility accounts are beginning to sell ad space in their timelines. Take @Lord_Voldemort7 for instance, an account with over 1 million followers that tweets in the voice of the Dark Lord from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. On May 18, 2011, the account tweeted, “If you fail this 'kissing quiz' then you are probably not cut out to be a dementor... http://lx.im/1bUyN - ad.” This tweet is not alone; the Dark Lord is apparently a fan of everything from Samsung cameras to other social media websites and tweets about them a few times a week.

Using an account in this way does not currently violate Twitter’s Terms of Service agreement, but it is taking advertisement dollars away from Twitter.com and may cause ethical problems. Advertising this way is ethical as long as the account indicates that the tweet is an advertisement, but what if an account fails to do so? Will Twitter update its Terms of Service agreement to ban for-profit tweeting? Furthermore, will frequently tweeting advertisements reduce followers and credibility? These are all things to consider before leasing space on your account to companies looking to gain an edge on their competition.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

How Terms of Service Could Jeopardize Your Clients Favorite Social Media Site

We rarely ever look at the terms of service associated with our favorites sites such as Facebook or Twitter however NOT taking a closer look could result in your client’s favorite social media site getting taken down. The terms of service provides users with guidelines regarding the sites capabilities as well as the do’s and don’ts of the site. When looking at the terms of service in managing your clients social media, its important to note five major things: identity, content, infringement, takedown, and changes to terms of service.

Identity refers to if you can use a pseudonym for your username or display name. If your clients shop’s name is already taken can you legally use another name? When looking at content, you want to ask the question, “can I sell or promote on this site?”. Its also is important to know who exactly owns the content that you post or infringement, do you have copyright on the things your post?

Another important aspect to keep in mind is takedown, what do they do to those who violate the terms of service? Is it worth losing your clients social media forever? Finally, maybe the most important thing to consider is, will they tell you when the terms of service change? This is important for the primary reason of you need to know if you are in violation of the terms of service in order to avoid having your clients page taken down.

A good company with letting you know the changes of terms of service is iTunes. Every update has new terms of service contract that you must read. However, some of our favorite sites, Twitter and Facebook, rarely ever inform you of changes to their terms of service. So, to avoid a potentially devastating conversation with your client about why their most effective social media site got taken down, simply check the terms of service.

Monday, May 16, 2011

What Happens Now for Burson-Marsteller?

It can be said for sure that Google did not “Like” Facebook’s attempt to create bad press for them recently with the help of major PR firm, Burson-Marsteller. Not only has this hurt Facebook’s reputation, but will it also hinder the firm in its efforts to recover from this very public dispute?

Burson-Marsteller was caught launching a secret campaign against Google on behalf of Facebook when they reached out to a U.S. blogger to plant negative stories concerning Google’s privacy practices. The blogger promptly denied the offer and published the email between him and the executive, even though the firm had refused to name their client.

In response to their serious faux pas, Burson states that they will not be firing the employees involved, but will be re-training them in ethics. While this situation is bad for Facebook and Burson-Marsteller, there are a few things PR professionals can take away from this…

· When pitching a reporter, (or in this case, a blogger) it may be best to pick up the phone instead of send an email when trying to pitch a story.

· Be clear in the message you are trying to send. Facebook is now claiming that they never intended to run a smear campaign against Google, and stated that they should have made their identity clear when investigating Google.

· Media outlets can run whatever they want. Burson-Marsteller also pitched the same story to USA Today and they ran it as “PR firm’s attack of Gmail privacy”.

· Most importantly, planting negative stories will only make the conflict worse. Larry L. Smith, president of the Institute for Crisis Management said it best with, “When they get in a shoving match, whoever is perceived by the public to be the bully, loses in the public eye.”

Blogs in Crisis Management

Blogs often get a bad rep for being unreliable. However, in the past couple years, blogs have effectively been used as a tool in crisis management. Jeff Domansky of Ragan.com offered 10 ways blogs can be and have been used to communicate during a crisis. Some key points he addressed were:

  • Quick Response-Using a blog to get the word out as fast as possible will give you the advantage of setting the record straight before critics can even get a word in.
  • Voice of Record-If you are unable to utilize social media outlets, whether you or your coworkers do not have one, or if there has been an emergency, using your blog may be the optimal choice. When GE recently attempted to manage a crisis through Twitter, they were limited to 140 characters because of the social media website’s restrictions, and were unable to get their point across effectively. Utilizing a company blog would have been much more economical to explain the issue.
  • Updates-Blogs can be great to let the public know that you are working on the issue and can allow you to post pictures and frequent updates as proof.
  • Corrections-Since mistakes and misunderstandings are a routine problem with media in general, using a blog to correct these mistakes is recommended. While it may take over a week to correct a mistake in a magazine or newspaper, it will take moments to rectify it on a blog.
  • Post-Crisis Wrap-Up-It is vital to assure the public that they can still depend on your organization in the future. By keeping the lines of communication open through your blog, you can instill confidence in the public and assure them that you did everything to maintain a strong and managed front during a crisis.

Do you agree that blogs are an effective tool in crisis management? Where do you go first to get updates on current crises?

To read the rest of Jeff Domansky’s article, click here.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Strategy is Key in Social Media

A recent article, “Why it’s worth developing a social media strategy, evaluating it along the way” highlights some key lessons that might come in handy for promoting events on social media. The author of the article, Martha Bebinger, used social media to recruit stories to help build a new segment for her radio show but she quickly realized how more time and a better plan could have improved her chances for more stories.

Day one: Martha began promoting the opportunity for viewers to post their stories on Facebook or Twitter on her radio show. Day two: Martha asked five friends who had the highest re-tweet records to re-tweet her invitation. Day three: Martha pitched her invitation to related blogs with eye-catching pictures attached. She calls this tactic “eye candy.” Day four: Martha used those who had already sent in stories as a stepping stone to potentially reach others interested in sharing their story by asking those who have already committed to re-tweet and repost the submission link. Day five, the day to share the stories on the air: Martha realized she did not have any stories that warranted airtime. This unsuccessful social media campaign allows for lessons to be learned when asking people to participate.

Although the tactics Martha executed, such as asking those who had high re-tweet records and those who were already committed to re-tweet or repost the submission link, were beneficial, she simply did not give the project enough time to flourish or catch on. Additionally, she only utilized the readily available medium of radio at the initial launch and did not continue to remind listeners of the opportunity to post their stories. Also, Martha did not mention anything about thanking people for their submissions. Perhaps if she connected with people by personally thanking them for their submission and/or commenting on their story, more people would have been inclined to tell their stories.

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Samantha Wanner.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Facebook for Non-Profits

Facebook started off as a social networking site for college students but today it seems almost everyone has a personal account and many businesses and organizations have their own pages. Even non-profit agencies and organizations are creating pages to get their messages out, which can be very beneficial in the long-run.

While interning for two non-profit organizations, it was often up to me to manage these pages. This led me to wonder if there were any methods to get the most out of Facebook for a non-profit. After managing these pages for a few months, I stumbled upon some very useful tactics for using a non-profit’s Facebook page to its full potential.

Many people wonder if a non-profit should title their Facebook page with the organization's name. Many non-profits choose to do so, but if you decide to title the page something else, keep in mind that the name of your page influences how it will be found. Also, the name of a Facebook page can only be changed if there are fewer than 100 connections made. When deciding what category to choose when establishing your page (Local Business or Place of Interest, Company, Organization or Institution, Brand or Product, Artist, Band or Public Figure, Entertainment, Cause or Topic) think about how the public views the organization, not how you think about it. Once your category is chosen, you cannot change it.

When the logistics are worked out and your page is set up, you can begin to promote your Facebook page. One way to do this is to add a ‘likebox’ to your website. When twenty-five people ‘like’ your non-profit, your page will officially launch. You should think about emailing those who already support your organization announcing the launch of your Facebook page and asking them to spread the message. You can also embed your Facebook page link in all of your emails. If you are serious about creating a large fan base, Facebook Ads can be a useful tool for promoting your page.

Once your page has a strong fan base and everything is running smoothly, you should add multiple admins to your page. This way, the time spent managing the page can be divided amongst a few people. This does not mean, however, that everyone should post something to the page every day. You should only update when you have something compelling to share. Think quality over quantity.

Lastly, be sure to be interactive with your fans. If someone posts something on your page, comments on a photo or ‘likes’ something, take the time to respond to let them know you appreciate their involvement with your non-profit. Try to maintain conversations and be sure to post things that will spark conversation.

Facebook pages are a great (FREE!) tool, so if you’re working for a non-profit, take these tips into consideration!

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Kaitlin Tully.

The importance of media training clients

The following blog post was written by '97 Temple Alum, Jason Mollica.

In public relations, we are taught that preparation is key for any crisis or situation that may need our attention. But, it is equally important on how we train our clients. One of the integral parts to keeping a client prepared is media training.

How your client looks and sounds on television or comes across in a newspaper story can go a long way to showing they are credible. I entered public relations after a long career in television and radio. Taking that experience, I've been able to assist clients in making sure they are well prepared for the media.

Television can make or break you and your client if they are not prepared. Here are five examples of what you can teach your clients.

Rehearse: Just like you would practice the piano before a concert, it's important to think over answers to possible questions from a reporter. Teach your client to review his talking points prior to any interviews.

Don't Fear the Camera/Microphone: That light on top of the camera isn't from an interrogator. It's there to help make you look better. Remember, most reporters don't want to make your clients look bad. They want the facts. There's nothing to be afraid of.

Be Concise: Don't give rambling answers. In television, soundbites run approximately 10-20 seconds. You need to get your message across in that amount of time. If you go longer, you risk having your message cut up.

New Media Awareness: Platforms like YouTube and blogs are very prevalent now. Newspapers use blogs to supplement their normal coverage. Some papers even turn their print reporters into new media journalists. Make certain your client is aware of any additional avenues a reporter may be using to tell a story.

Don't Want to Read It? DON'T SAY IT: This seems simple enough, but there are people who feel the need to tell a reporter more than necessary. If it's not something that needed to be revealed, damage control is necessary. Stick to the talking points!

Using these tips will not only assist your clients, they will also prove you are looking out for their well-being.

Jason Mollica is a 1997 graduate of Temple University's School of Communications and Theater. Since then, he has worked in television and radio in Philadelphia and New York City. Upon leaving the industry in 2005, he began a career in public relations and marketing. He is currently the public relations manager for Carr Marketing Communications in Amherst, N.Y. You can follow him on Twitter, @JasMollica and read his blog at http://oneguysjourney.wordpress.com

Friday, May 13, 2011

My Goodbye

Wow, what an amazing three and a half years this has been! In January 2008, PRowl Public Relations opened its doors for business under the helm of then-Firm Director Natalie Prazenica (now Mrs. Natalie Herr!) and a dedicated board of directors. After an invigorating semester with superstar PR students and enthusiastic clients, Natalie graduated, took over the baking and blogging world, got married and had a handsome son Elliott.

It has now been three years since I have taken over as firm director of PRowl and I have been fortunate enough to build relationships with a variety of talented students who I am confident will move on to take over the PR world in Philadelphia and beyond. The most wonderful thing about PRowl is that we don’t only learn from our clients and professors, we learn from each other. It has been an absolute pleasure to have worked with more than 40 students over the years who are the top of their class and the most driven out of Temple’s Public Relations curriculum in the Department of Strategic Communication. PRowl members not only dedicate dozens of hours a week to ensuring successful campaigns for all of our clients, they hold internships throughout the city, are vocal and open-minded students in the classroom, serve the community, have a passion for staying current on all technology and communication trends, and are committed to ethics and professionalism at all times.

Although I am looking forward to starting my career in corporate communications with a respected national financial services company, I will assuredly miss my peers in PRowl and the professors who have imparted their knowledge on us all. Specifically, I would like to thank Gregg Feistman who was instrumental in developing the foundation for PRowl, helped get the firm up and running, and has since been my mentor and an amazing adviser (and editor) for all things PRowl. Gregg is a strong advocate for PRowl in the Temple and Philadelphia community, and the firm is extremely lucky to have his support and amazing library of knowledge.

Finally, I am SO proud to hand over my title and responsibilities to the most deserving girl in the room, Niki Ianni. Niki has been a force for her clients since her very first meeting and is a collaborative leader who empowers all members of her accounts to be creative, take ownership of their work, and learn from every opportunity and challenge presented. I know that Niki is going to lead PRowl to do amazing things and is going to capture every opportunity available to benefit her members and clients. I am so excited to watch PRowl continue to expand under Niki’s leadership!

Thank you to all who have read the blog over the years, and the amazing board of directors and staff members who have contributed to it. Thanks to you, our readership continually grows every month (now to more than 2,000 readers a month!) and our blog has gotten exposure on a national level. I hope you have enjoyed the posts from our student members, and continue to return back to read their insights daily!

Congratulations to all 2011 graduates, and I look forward to joining you in our lifelong mission of learning and growing as ethical professionals in any career we choose!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Paying Homage and Moving Forward

While everyone on PRowl's executive board will be posting their goodbye blogs this week, I have the even more difficult task of saying goodbye...no, see you later, to all of them. Some of them I have only known for a year, others have helped me grow from the very beginning. I wanted to take the opportunity to thank each of them for the knowledge, the experience and most importantly, the friendship they have provided me.

To Evan, thank you for leading our account this year and making the campaign a great success. You have been a great mentor to our younger members and your willingness to always share your advice with them has allowed each of them to grow throughout the past year into up-and-coming young professionals.

To Emily, your positive outlook and cheerful demeanor always made sticky situations seem bearable. You are a tremendous leader and did an incredible job at guiding your account throughout the year, despite all of the hurdles you faced. You are an incredibly intelligent and talented young woman, and even more importantly, a great friend.

To Michelle, it has been an absolute pleasure having the opportunity to watch you grow from a staff member into the incredible account executive and director of PR that you were this past year. It is a true testament to what a dedicated and hard-working individual you are and I have no doubt that you will find great success after graduation.

And lastly, to Jaime, thank you for trusting me to carry on the incredible organization that you have built. It is an honor to have the opportunity to lead the firm and I can only hope to do as half as good a job as you have done. Because of your hard work, sacrifice and endless passion, we now have an organization that provides 20+ students the priceless opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the industry. Thank you for being a mentor to me throughout the past three years. You are a wonderful leader and I promise you that I will continue to grow and strengthen the firm after you are gone.

To the remaining graduating seniors, it has been a pleasure knowing you and working with you. I have looked up to each and every one of you and appreciate all of the guidance you have shared with me. I know that all of you will find great success in whatever you do because I know that I have been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to work with some of the most talented young professionals in the field.

So, as the saying goes, it's not goodbye... it's see you later. Best of luck with everything.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Three Semesters of Knowledge for the Future

When I was hired as a staff member at PRowl Public Relations for the spring 2010 semester, I was a little nervous and unsure about what to expect. I had only taken an Intro to PR course and had no PR experience. I didn't know the elements of a press release or etiquette for pitching and following up. Looking back, I can see how much I have learned and how far I have come since then- beyond PR skills. I will take all that I have learned during my past three semesters at PRowl Public Relations with me as I begin my professional life. Before I go, I would like to share a few of those things:

  • Be courteous to everyone you meet. You never know who could end up being your co-worker, boss, or client down the road.
  • Murphy's Law exists, but you can't let it stop you. No matter how thoroughly you plan ahead, things will still find a way to go wrong at some point. The key is being able to react quickly, calmly, and effectively to prevent obstacles from becoming catastrophes.
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions. It's always better to ask than to assume. I always appreciated when staff members asked me questions. Asking questions doesn't make you look silly, it shows that you care about meeting expectations and doing the job right.

I wish the best of luck to my fellow 2011 graduates and to the continuing members of PRowl Public Relations!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Goodbye (for now)!

I can't believe this is my last blog post, and essentially my last day at PRowl Public Relations. I have been part of PRowl for the last three years, and have blogged every Monday for the last two. What is life without PRowl!? What are Mondays without blogging?

While it is sad to leave, I am deeply grateful to PRowl for all the experiences and opportunities it has given me these last three years. Thanks in great part to PRowl, I feel ready and excited to enter the world of public relations full time.

I would like to thank Gregg, our faculty adviser, and Jaime, who has been our firm director these last three years. Thank you for all the opportunities you have opened to our members! To those graduating with me, congratulations and good luck! I know you will go out into the world and do great things. To the continuing members who are the future of PRowl, I appreciate you all and will miss you. I look forward to watching the firm continue to grow and succeed through your hard work and dedication.

A few words of wisdom before I sign off:
  • Take the time to do the job right; it will pay off in the end
  • Take every opportunity you can to learn
  • Seek out new experiences
  • Plan, plan and make a back-up plan
  • Learn to manage your time and your priorities
  • Your calendar is your friend
  • Network as much as you can
  • Have fun!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Philadelphia PR Agency Blogs

In Philadelphia, there are many Public Relations agencies that try to reach out to the world through blogging. Below are some examples of agencies that use this tactic and an overview of each of their blogs.

Buchanan PR Blog

Buchanan PR uses their blog to help advise the public on proper networking etiquette and even how to land at job at their agency. Instead of boasting about their own accomplishments, they help inquiring minds learn more about the business and offer tips on self-promotion. Certain blogs such as, “Why You Will Never Get Hired at Our PR Firm” and “Meet, Greet, and Tweet” help the readers’ personal growth in the world of PR. Networking is crucial to landing a job and Buchanan PR offers a lot of good advice on their blog.

Vault Communications Blog

If you want to know what people are writing about in the surrounding area, Vault Communications will let you know. Communicating on the Internet has become such an important resource for people that it is imperative to know about the latest topics and trends when doing so. Vault has recent posts about how mothers are starting to share their parenting experiences with others. If you are a fan of cooking and recipes, Vault has a great article entitled “Get Cookin’ with Food Bloggers.” Here anyone can post their own recipe to share with others. Vault asks the public to comment on media topics such as the Super Bowl XLV commercials and discuss which ones were the best. Vault lets the public know about their own achievements, but they also open a forum for public debate on current hot topics.

PR Lawyer

One of the most interesting blogs I have found is by the agency Furia Rubel. Their Blog is titled The PR Lawyer and it extremely active. The top of their homepage reads, “The PR Lawyer helps professional service providers, attorneys, legal marketers, public relations specialists and others find tons of useful PR information to assist with strategic marketing and public relations campaigns.” This blog has posts that inform professionals about resources such as new social media outlets and current trends around the world. Some recent blog posts include “How Do I Respond To That? - Tips For Community Management” and “Shut Up and Say Something: Conversing with the Media When the Stakes are High.” These help readers figure out what to do in sticky situations and provide steps that professionals can take to solve problems.

What other Philadelphia PR blogs do you read?

This guest blog was written by PRSSA External Communications Committee member Kaitlin Brooks