Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Improve Your Headlines

We are now living in a short attention based world where the headline needs to speak for an entire article. As Twitter and other social media means are slowly ruling the news consuming world, the headline speaks volume in only a few short words. A recent article on, “9 Tips for Writing Magnetic Headlines Right Away,” provides some great tips for writing a catchy headline.

Use numbers- Studies show that using numbers in headlines increases consumer traffic. For example, this article, “Nine Tips for Writing Magnetic Headlines Right Away”, allows for the reader to get a sense of the length of the article, therefore the reader can allot a specific amount of time to the article.

Speak directly to the reader- Using words like “you” or “your” helps personalize the article for the reader. Compare these two headlines:

8 Tips for Writing

Your 8 Tips for Writing

The second headline, “Your 8 Tips for Writing” is more appealing because it suggesting that it was meant for you, the reader.

Make it bold- Making your reader go “huh?” is sometimes not a bad thing. A headline such as, “Improve How You Write Your headlines-Because Nobody Cares About Your Content,” can make your reader do a double-take and say “what?” which will inevitably lead to heavier traffic.

Appeal to the reader’s curiosity- By asking a question to the reader it evokes curiosity while the reader looks for a response in the article, for example:

“Do You Read Headlines?”

Stress the “urgency factor”- Key words like “now,” “today,” “immediately,” and phrases such as “right away” instills a sense of urgency and immediate result for example:

“How You Could Improve Your Klout Score Today!”

Be specific- Being specific can allows interested readers to value the content on a deeper level. The more specific your headline, the more specific your audience may become which may allow your reader to be more invested in your content. For example:

“Get More Readers by Improving Your Headlines”

Appeal to emotions- Playing to your readers emotions allows you to connect with your readers and possible establish a more constant following, for example:
“Get the Respect You Deserve: How to Improve Your Email Signature”

Don’t be too witty- Let’s be honest, sometimes headlines go over our heads. In this case, we miss vital readers, so let’s keep it simple people.

For more tips, visit the article.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Saving More with Social Media

After the Thanksgiving break, it almost seems as though Black Friday (or should I say Thursday, Friday, Saturday) shopping has taken consumers by storm this holiday season. With the use of social media sites, stores took their advertising to another level. Shoppers could be notified of the latest sales and even better deals on big-ticket items at their favorite stores through the following outlets...
  • Foursquare: Stores such as JCPenney, Sports Authority, Aeropostale and Toys "R" Us, allowed customers to check-in on the location-based site to get discounts from their mobile phones. JCPenney even donated $25 to The Salvation Army for each person that checked in between certain times on Black Friday.
  • Facebook: People that "Liked" the pages of major retailers, such as Macy's and Target, were able to see a preview of the deals that they might be interested in through their mini-feed.
  • Twitter: Aside from announcing Black Friday deals through their company's page, there were accounts solely dedicated to the day's deals, like @blackfriday.
  • Groupon: While not Black Friday-specific, Groupon offered different holiday deals under the name Grouponicus. They featured tickets to talk shows, cooking classes with famous chefs and even a round-the-world trip.
  • Black Friday app: If social media sites weren't good enough for you, this free app featured ads from different retails that could be searched through store or category.
How did you use social media for your holiday shopping?

To read more about Black Friday social media marketing, click here.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Define: Public Relations

There are many definitions of public relations floating around. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, public relations is "the business of inducing the public to have understanding for and goodwill toward a person, firm, or institution." However, the most widely practiced definition today was introduced by the PRSA 1982 National Assembly. It reads, "Public relations helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other.”

In recent years, PR professionals has felt that this definition is not all encompassing or sufficient enough to inform the public of what PR practitioners do. This is primarily because since 1982, PR has done a 360. In 1982, social media did not exist. Now, it plays a major role in PR strategies and tactics. In response, PRSA has decided to redefine public relations by starting the "Public Relations Defined" initiative. Public relations practitioners are welcome to send in their definition of public relations in an effort to put out a more standardized definition.

If you would like to submit your definition, PRSA has suggested that you phrase it in the form of they [DO WHAT] with/for [WHOM] to [DO WHAT] for [WHAT PURPOSE] and fill out The Definition of PR Submission Form. Good luck!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fashion PR 101

First things first, what is Fashion PR? Fashion PR helps establish and maintain mutual lines of communication, understanding, acceptance, and cooperation between an organization and its consumers in terms of fashion. Skills such as writing press releases, gathering research, and the ability to protect the interest of the company you work for are musts in fashion public relations. As a consultant in this realm you must focus on gaining exposure for the fashion line you work for, whether it is through communicating with editors and seeing what styles they need for upcoming shoots, talking to celebrity stylists and coordinating which looks would be great for their clients, or even setting up photo shoots and interviews.

The first step in “making it” in the business of fashion PR is to obtain a fashion-based internship. This can include working in a clothing store or working under a designer, the latter being more difficult to acquire. A great advantage you can have when entering the fashion PR industry is having attended a fashion school such as the Fashion Institute of Technology or the Laboratory Institute of Merchandising, both centered in Manhattan, NY. Although attending a fashion institute can give you a leg up in the fashion world, any school you choose to enroll in will not be overlooked just because it is a "regular" school. Because it is such a competitive job market the more hands-on experience in the fashion world you have, the better chance you have at obtaining a job in fashion PR.

Many in the PR industry say that it doesn’t matter where you work on account of the varied roles PR practitioners fill. However, for such a specified area like fashion PR, it is to your best interest that you land a job in one of the five major fashion capitals of the world; New York, Milan, Paris, London, or Japan. By doing so, not only will you be introduced to different cultures but you will also be able to understand how fashion revolves in different parts of the world. A lot of fashion is about the glitz and the glam, but as a multi-billion dollar industry it is also about business. Most importantly, remember why you are working so hard to do what you are doing; it is because of your love for fashion and communicating with others that you have decided to enter such a competitive, commanding, and innovative job market.

Best of luck to all of you choosing to enter this amazing field of work!

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Jummy Temidayo.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


If you are a public relations student, professional or if you simply keep current with the news, then you have heard a lot about the Occupy movement or #occupyeverything. A couple of weeks ago, sympathizers of the Occupy Philly movement held a rally on Temple University’s campus and encouraged students to skip their classes in order to attend. They stated in their flyer, “...don’t worry about your classes. They won’t get you a job”.

Of course, no one is recommending that you skip your classes. You are paying good money for a college education but it made me question, what exactly do you get out of college classes and what exactly will get you a job? Below are some benefits to seeking higher education:

1. A higher paying salary. On average, those who earn a college degree typically earn a higher salary. So while that ‘chemistry of wine’ course may seem completely inapplicable to your career aspirations, it will lead you to that degree, proving to be worthwhile in the long run. Also, try to make these ‘inapplicable’ courses applicable. Network with other students in your class and impress your professor for a recommendation in the future.

2. Job availability. Even in today’s gloomy job market, holding a college diploma augments your chances of finding a job over a high school graduate. As public relations and communication students we are even more likely to find a job because we are so diversified in what we learn in college and what our responsibilities can, and will, include.

3. Internships and career events. Your college’s career days and internship experiences will put you in touch with real-time markets and companies, giving you the hands-on kind of knowledge that will give you a push into the “real world” post-graduation. By taking advantage of these opportunities, you will be able to schedule classes and decide what organizations to join accordingly.

4. Networking opportunities. Your college will bring you into contact with a diverse number of professionals. They will include your professors, adjuncts, speakers, and advisors. You will not only be able to use them as references and ask for recommendations, but for most of your professors, this is their full-time job and they want to see you succeed.

5. The social aspect. While college is a place of academia it is also, in a sense, an institution of socialization. College helps you to ‘come out of your shell’ and learn how to develop into the social butterfly that we all can be. Socializing is a very important aspect, and requirement, for a public relations student and professional. This is your time to network with other students at your university or other young professionals outside of your current networks.

Again, don’t skip your classes. Instead, self-evaluate what you have been getting out of your classes and make sure that you always strive to get your money’s worth to best suit your career aspirations. Your classes should work for you and serve your education needs.

How beneficial have your classes been? What will you do to make sure that you are getting the most out of your college classes?

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Cori Shearer.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Social Media Sparks #SmallBizSaturday Buzz

While millions of shoppers are still running from store to store, sixth Red Bull in hand, taking advantage of the Black Friday sales, Twitter is buzzing with talk of tomorrow's Small Business Saturday sponsored by American Express.

Launched last year by AmEx in the hopes of developing a stronger connection between consumers and their local mom and pop shops, the new shopping holiday has generated a large deal of support from the online community through sites such as Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

The Small Business Saturday Facebook page has over 2.5 million likes and although #BlackFriday is still the top trending topic on Twitter, the hashtag #SmallBizSaturday has only continued to grow in momentum.

Thanks to American Express' efforts, it has been reported that small business merchants saw a 28% sales increase from the previous year and according to The Small Business Saturday Consumer Spend Survey 2011, it was shown that 61% of consumers plan to shop at a locally-owned store on November 26, equating to roughly 89 million people.

American Express has urged small business owners to take part in the social media push by encouraging them to:

  • Create Facebook Ads — American Express gave away $100 in free Facebook advertising to the first 10,000 business owners to sign up. For small businesses that don’t yet have Facebook pages, American Express provided a tool that to walk them through the Facebook page creation process.
  • Video Tools — Google teamed up with American Express to help create personalized business stories on YouTube.
  • Twitter Follow Button — Small business owners were shown how to make sure that their business website included a Twitter button to allow people to easily follow then.
  • Check YourBuzz — YourBuzz is a service that helps small businesses reach more customers by enabling them to view and respond to customer reviews and online mentions all from one place.

As an avid supporter of small, locally-owned businesses, I am incredibly excited to see the increasing momentum of the newly-created shopping holiday, especially with the help of a well-organized and implemented social media campaign. What are your thoughts on #SmallBizSaturday and its use of social media? Let us know!

To read the rest of the article, go here.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving from PRowl Public Relations!

Today is a day to give thanks. On behalf of PRowl Public Relations, I would like to thank everyone who has helped this firm out along the way:

  • Staff Members: PRowl would not exist without the hard work and perseverance of its wonderful staff members. Thank you all for your commitment to the firm!
  • Executive Board: PRowl’s executive board has been instrumental in our firm’s success. Members of the executive board edit work, manage the blog and lead the firm forward every day. Thank you!
  • Clients: PRowl’s current and past clients provide opportunities for our firm to grow, learn and thrive. Thank you for your patronage and support!
  • Past Members: Your dedication to the firm has not been forgotten. Thank you for helping to build an amazing firm!
  • You: PRowl would be nothing if it wasn’t for you, our supporters! Thank you for visiting our blog and be sure to keep an eye out for some exciting news coming soon!

Thank you and have a great Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Right, Wrong, and Risky Words with SEO

We all know that Google takes the cake for being the top search engine, but did you know that websites get about 90 percent of their search engine traffic from Google searches?  Statistics like these should play a major factor in how you might go about writing your next press release.  

My professor for my New Writing and Media Relations class spoke about a great starting point for utilizing Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. First you must evaluate your good words, risky words, and just plain old bad words to use in a press release. He started by having us write a statement for a client. He then directed us to a site called Wordle, which allows you to plug in a group of words to create a visual representation of how often a word or group of words is used.  The key was to see which words were prominent, if your bad or risky world were small in comparison to the good words you should be highlighting. By seeing which words appear most often, you can tweek and change your press release as it relates to which words you want to appear most.  

By having a visual representation you can understand how Google views your content. When you use your good words more often, they become key words which will be associated with your Google results in searches. Essentially when your content has a correlation with a word or set of words it is factored into Google’s algorithms which helps users search best find their results. 

If you want to think about how you want your client to be viewed or associated, this should help you evaluate your good, bad, and risky words.  By recognizing these words using Wordle, you can then emphasize key words to highlight the most important content in your press release resulting in successful SEO.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Your Job Search Strategy

As my graduation date rapidly approaches, I can only think of ways that I can make my resume stand out, and really make an impression on employers I interview with. While an individual may be very qualified, they might miss out on a great opportunity because they didn't know how to set themselves apart from the other applicants. Below I have outlined some tips to keep in mind before interviewing for your dream job.
  • Do your homework. If you are really interested in a company, how would you know without research? Learn about their clients, look through recent news articles they have been featured in, even research their employees on LinkedIn to see what projects and daily tasks are involved with the position.
  • Measure your success. If you did something great, let them know! It could be anything from increasing a website's traffic by a certain percentage, or one of your blog post's getting the most views for the day. If you have tangible evidence of success it really makes a difference as opposed to just stating things that you did on a resume.
  • Utilize your network. Even if they are family friends, let everyone know what kind of job you are looking for. You never know which one of your connections will come through.
  • Show off your work! Make sure that you have a portfolio of your best work on hand, or consider making a personal website with these documents that employers can easily view.
  • Be active in your interviews. Don't look at them as an interrogation, you are trying to create a professional relationship with this person, so be prepared to ask questions to them as well that can help you learn more about the position.
  • Practice. Try to anticipate the tough questions that they will ask you. Some examples could include having to explain a tough situation that you were able to work through, what is your biggest weakness, etc.
What is your secret weapon when it comes to the job search?

Monday, November 21, 2011

My First Press Release

This past week I experienced writing my first press release. We've all been there, that first time when you have absolutely NO idea what a press release entails, with the sure chance that your teacher or employer will flat out turn it down. Well, maybe you're not that dramatic, but I was! Fortunately, PRowl's Firm Director Niki Ianni helped me through every step of the process and gave me a solid foundation on how to write and pitch a press release. Below are some pointers I've learned so far:
  • Provide enough information so that the person you're pitching to won't have to go out of their way to research your event, but at the same time won't yawn at the sight of your 3 page long release.

  • Language matters, every word can carry a different meeting so tread carefully to ensure that you sound excited while at the same time professional.

  • Pitching, now this one had me kind of confused. What is pitching? Am I supposed to just reiterate what I said in the press release, because that's what the purpose of it is, right? To get someone to cover your story? Well, no, not exactly. A pitch is what you will include before your release, and basically entails why your story should be picked up and how it will be beneficial to whoever is receiving the release.
Hopefully, for you who have yet to write a press release, you will take these tips into account and rest assured that you're not alone! Do you have any additional tips for first-time press release writers? Let us know!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

How PRowl Helped Me Step My Game Up

As a newbie to PRowl Public Relations, I felt as though I was ages behind my other colleagues in the realm of social media. The only social networking site in which I was involved with was the uber popular Facebook. I would obsessively check my page, make irrelevant status updates, post pictures people could care less about, and read my news feed twice over out of pure boredom. Once I became a staff member at PRowl, however, I found that almost everyone’s social media footprint was much larger than just the typical Facebook page. They had Twitters, LinkedIns, as well as personal blogs.

Their Twitter pages were full of creative hash tags and retweets of PR-related accounts. Their LinkedIn accounts were full of useful information and appeared to be completely professional for being mere college students. Their personal blogs were also a great asset in which they wrote creative posts that could potentially get them noticed in the world of PR.

So I decided I needed to step my social media game up. First, I made a Twitter. I tried my best to follow every PR-related Twitter account and to stay up to date on recent events. In an effort to broaden my social media horizon, I most recently signed up for a LinkedIn account. After I signed up however, I was completely lost! The first part of making a LinkedIn is to make a headline. I asked myself, what is a headline? How do I make mine stand out above the rest of PR students’ headlines that a potential employer could search? So I decided to trust my handy dandy search engine Google to help me learn more about LinkedIn.

The article, 4 Easy Tips for Writing a LinkedIn Headline that Sizzles, from Wilkes Business Solutions focuses on the following four pieces of advice about LinkedIn headlines:

Tip #1: Make your headline keyword rich.
LinkedIn is searchable, so you have to utilize keywords in order to be found. Decide what your personal brand statement is, choose some appropriate keywords, and make sure they end up in your headline.

Tip #2: Let visitors know who you are and how you can help them.
You want to include three components to convey this information to visitors. You want to let them know what you do, who you help, and how you help them. If you are struggling with this, you can use the formula provided here and tweak it from there as inspiration hits you. I am a (what you do) and I help (who you help) by (how you help them).

Tip #3: Capitalize the first letter of your important words to draw attention to them.
Using formatting conventions can help make your work catch a reader’s attention and, in turn, remember you. Because you can’t bold or underline the things you want to stand out in your LinkedIn Headline, you can use capitalization to help you achieve this same result.

Tip #4: Log into LinkedIn, click on edit profile, click on edit name, scroll down to headline, and rewrite your headline.
Take five minutes to log into your LinkedIn profile and change your headline. First impressions are always the most important, and you could be making a great first impression on LinkedIn visitors in a matter of minutes.

Are you new to LinkedIn? Or maybe just looking to add some “sizzle” to your established account? Let us know!

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Kaitlyn Sutton.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Effective Use of Social Media: What it Means to Build a Brand

As PR and marketing companies continue to increasingly utilize social media, questions concerning the affect social media has on the industry seem to come up quite often. How are companies capitalizing on the use of branding through social media? What are the benefits of using Facebook and Twitter? How important is blogging to PR and marketing firms? Social media has changed the industry for good, and knowing how to use it effectively has become a main concern for companies and agencies everywhere.

Using social media is a simple way to build a brand without having to invest significant time and resources. PR and marketing agencies can reap many benefits from establishing a brand through social media, including connecting with consumers and interacting with other professionals in the field. When PR and marketing companies begin to brand themselves through social media and establish a following, it is easy to find ways to capitalize on it. The fact that a company has the potential to reach millions without spending any money is a huge advantage, especially to non-profits. The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation is a great example of a company that has branded themselves extremely well through social media. They maintain a constant interaction with their over 21,000 followers on Twitter and the 97,130 people who “like” their Facebook page. They’re With Love, Philadelphia XOXO image has become instantly recognizable with the help of their effective use of social media.

It has become increasingly more crucial for agencies to have an interactive, successful blog. Blogs are one of the best ways for companies to build a solid reputation and market themselves efficiently. Blogs have affected the PR industry tremendously, giving PR professionals an outlet to promote not only themselves, but their clients, products or ideas as well. It has been proven that those organizations that are actively blogging communicate with their audience much more effectively than those that do not. GPTMC has won numerous awards for their blog, and is a great example of how PR and marketing companies can utilize blogging to their advantage. Check it out at

So what does all of this mean to prospective PR professionals? The use of social media has undoubtedly shaped the way future employers go through the hiring process. Building a personal brand is just as important as building an agency brand. Companies will be looking at prospective employees’ use of social media, their following, and the content that they display. Blogging, tweeting and personal branding are now just as important as flawless writing and verbal skills. Social media has shaped the PR and marketing industries forever, and effective use of it is certainly a step in the right direction for students going into the field.

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

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Perry and Cain Take Big PR Hits for Political Blunders

Temperatures across the northeast may be unseasonably warm, but a few Republican presidential candidates seem to be experiencing a bit of brain freeze. Both Rick Perry and Herman Cain publically dropped the ball in the last week; resulting in another big drop, this time in the form of poll numbers.

It all started last Wednesday, November 9, when Texas Governor Rick Perry blanked on the name of the third government agency he would give the ax to once in office.

“Three agencies of government when I get there that are gone: commerce, education and the um, uh… what’s the third one there? Let’s see…” Perry stumbled and turned to Ron Paul, who helpfully offered to send the Environmental Protection Agency to death row. When pressed by the moderator, Perry stumbled again, “I can’t, the third one, I can’t... Oops.”

Perry took a big PR hit from his “oops” moment. A recent Washington Post/ABC poll shows that 42 percent of Republicans view Perry in a favorable light while 38 percent now view him unfavorably. Only four percent of perspective Republican voters say they would vote for Perry in the primary.

Herman Cain faired equally poorly in the past week. Cain stumbled his way into a foreign policy gaffe just as he distanced himself from the litany of sexual harassment allegations against him. When a journalist asked him if he agreed with President Obama’s response to the rebel uprising in Libya, Cain responded: “Okay… Libya…” He then paused for a full ten seconds, tried to get his bearings and ended up failing miserably. He offered lukewarm response well two minutes after the question was asked and came out of the interview looking very rusty on foreign policy. A recent CNN/ORC poll puts Cain’s support down to 14 percent, well below that of Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.

Josh Gordesky wrote a piece for offering some helpful advice to prevent these Rick Perry/Herman Cain brain freeze moments. His three preventative measures to combat temporary amnesia are to take good notes, practice at least three times and to take some time to visualize yourself speaking in front of an audience before you go live. These are wise words of advice for anyone speaking in public, when presentation and memory is crucial.

Only time will tell if these two candidates can make up for the ground they lost this week. Rick Perry and Herman Cain need to take some time to really learn their positions, policy proposals and current events to have any chance becoming a frontrunner again.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Let's Play Nice

The relationship between journalist and PR professionals have always been a rocky game, especially with social media , but one thing still remains the same, we still depend on each other. Recently my PR professor, once journalist, explained the intrinsic relationship between the two professions and harped on two words that neither of our professions here too often, good job.

Starting a relationship with a journalist starts with knowing your niche media and local outlets. Once you begin to target a niche media that compliments your client and those journalists who write for them, it’s important to start building a relationship. One of the first things you can do is research their past work. Look for content that have written in the past and make note of any special recognition they may have received. Once you become familiar with the content they produce, reach out and introduce yourself, include your job, your client and contact information. Then, mention and comment on an article they have written in the past. This shows that not only did you do your homework, but you are genuinely interested in their career as a journalist.  

As you continue to follow their work, keep an out eye for any special attention they may receive, this is a great opportunity to reach out and say, “Good job!” You can do this in a handwritten note (recommended) or mention them in a tweet or on Facebook, adding their article and recognition to the post.

Our job as PR professional is to build and maintain relationships so why not start with the basics?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

WE need of Crisis Management.

With the current scandal surrounding the sexual abuse allegations by Penn State's former defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky, it is crucial to observe how the University handled the situation from a PR standpoint. Some events stand out specifically in the beginning stages of the case that have continually failed for the University.

  • Before the news of the grand jury investigation was made public, no official statement was made by Penn State until Sandusky was officially charged on November 5th with 40 accounts of sexual abuse against minors.
  • As tensions began to increase surrounding the case, (former) President Graham Spanier canceled the school's weekly football press conference without informing Joe Paterno, or giving a reason behind his actions. Both this lack of communication and lack of honesty are not a good way to maintain credibility.
  • Joe Paterno made a personal statement explaining his intentions to retire. Unfortunately, he should not have made any comments to the media without legal counsel first, which ultimately led to him becoming the face of the scandal.
  • Not even a day after this statement, the Board of Trustees announced that Paterno and Spanier would be relieved of their duties, effective immediately. As if they needed more negative attention, students responded by rioting on campus, with a news van turned on it's side among other vandalism.
  • Sandusky's ironically named autobiography, "Touched" is still in the bookstore, and he and athletic director, Tim Curley are still receiving state-funded pensions.
While this entire situation is not even close to winding down, a consistent, honest message needs to be enforced before they dig an even deeper hole for their once sterling image to climb out of.

What would you have done if you were representing Penn State?

To read more details about the scandal, refer to Roy Burton's article.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hitting the Bullseye on your Target Audience

When writing a strategic plan for your client, a large portion of the process goes to establishing your target audience. It's important to target the correct audience, as they are the ones you are trying to sell your brand or idea to. These individuals will (hopefully!) buy into what you're pushing, and influence others to jump on the bandwagon. Below, PR strategist Catriona Pollard highlights tips on "How to determine your target audience":

  • Who needs to hear your message? Suppose the client you're representing deals with housewares. You probably wouldn't be pitching to sports or business journalists, right? Think about who uses your client's product and frame your plan accordingly in order to reach the highest volume of potential outlets.

  • Who are the influencers? Going along with the housewares example, if your target audience is comprised of stay-at-home moms, who will they look to for advice on what products to buy? Think logically; stay-at-home moms spend most of the day at home with the kids, so they have the computer and the TV at their fingertips. Mommy bloggers, for instance, are huge on the web. Mommy bloggers primarily write reviews on products they've tried and trusted, so pitching to them will hit the nail on the head, so to speak. Put yourself in the footsteps of your target audience, who influences you the most, family, friends, teachers, celebrities, talk show hosts, etc.?

  • Who has the greatest impact on the business's outcome? Who will dictate whether your campaign or strategy succeeds or fails? Is it the media, consumers, or the influencers? Keep these in mind when you are laying down the foundation of your plan, and target the best way to cater to each game changer.
How are you targeting your audience? Have you included these tactics when writing your strategic plan? Let us know!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Dream Big and GO FOR IT!

Landing your dream internship is something everyone strives for, but actually obtaining it takes more work then you probably could imagine. Everyone in the back of his or her mind has a dream job, whether it is with the government, a non-profit, etc. For me, it’s the fashion industry. Lets face it, these days the competition in the job market is more intense then usual, and in order to get your perfect internship you have to be prepared.

Ever since I could remember I wanted to work in the fashion industry. I’m not too sure if it is because of the fast-paced environment, the different roles you could play, or just my undying love for the art that is fashion, but I knew I wanted all of it, and when the opportunity of a marketing internship at Urban Outfitters arose I knew it was my big break, and I couldn’t mess it up.
So how did I do it? Well, I remember taking a marketing course at Saint Joseph’s University before transferring to Temple University and there was a book which went along with the course called, Brand You, which was written by a professor at Saint Joseph’s University, Kim Richmond. I turned to this book for guidance through out the entire process. It helped me with every aspect, from branding myself to mastering my cover letter and resume, to even preparing for the interview.

First, when I found out about the internship I did as much research as possible about what it entailed, even before I wrote my cover letter! I printed out the job description and picked it apart piece by piece. Understanding the company’s history, researching the job requirements, and getting to know their website inside and out. This wont just help you be prepared for what you’re going to be asked in the interview but it will also help you personalize a cover letter specifically for the internship, which brings me to my next step.

Crafting the perfect cover letter and resume is the next action that should be taken to get that interview. Your cover letter is your opening of who you are and why you deserve the internship which you’re applying for. Let whoever is reading your letter know you have done your research about the company and role while telling them about yourself. Same thing with your resume, make it your own and brand yourself for the job you want, this is the first thing your interviewers are going to know about you.

Okay, so now you landed a face-to-face interview, which is the scary part. A thousand questions running through your mind, “What are they going to ask me?” “What should I ask them?” “What should I wear?” This is normal, don’t worry, you never know what is going to happen, but you could prepare, trust me. When you researched the company and analyzed the job description, a majority of the questions they are going to ask you is going to be regarding the internship. Along with the questions that they ask you, you should also be ready to ask them questions as well, but these questions are ones that usually will come up during the interview, so pay attention! Knowing what to wear to the interview is also crucial, believe me. Not every internship you’re applying for is going to be business professional or casual, I’ve had those internships but my internship now, with Urban Outfitters, isn’t and I figured that out by simply asking the HR college recruiter what the dress was.

Now you’re in the homestretch, you had your interview and you left the building, but its not over yet. A thank you note is one of the most important parts of an interview, and most people forget this part. Everyone you met with during your interview, and your HR recruiter, had to take time out of their busy schedules to talk to you, and that isn’t easy. A simple email saying thanks for the opportunity and letting them know you are here if they have anymore questions will remind them who you are, if they met with multiple candidates, and give you a better chance of landing the job.

The final advice I have is to be confident! There is nothing more assuring than believing in yourself and knowing that you could do it. So go out there, find your dream internship, and go for it!

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Meghan Ceselsky.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Best Way for Bad News

We do our best as PR pros to highlight our clients in a positive light and place them in a bubble of great news. However, it is unlikely that the road ahead is only full of butterflies, daisies, and smiles. When a crisis arises and bad news is foreseeable, the way you handle and transmit the information is crucial. Jessica Sharp, of Maven Communications, tackles bearing bad news with the following five steps:

1. Be sure the client hears the news from you first. Having them learn about it through a Google alert sent to their inbox, or an email from an old friend should not happen.

2. Deliver the news promptly. Let them know what happened right away. If you landed them on The Today Show you would call right away. The same is true when their interview is cut from the front page New York Times article, and in its place is a quote from their largest competitor.

3. Pick up the phone. Don’t send an email or worse, a text. They need to hear from you what happened. If all attempts to contact them via phone or in person fail, then, only then, is it okay to send an email (first explaining that you tried to reach them before sending the email).

4. Give it to them straight. Don’t try to make the situation sound better than it is. You’re not going to fool them anyway. Be direct and don’t beat around the bush.

5. Propose your plan of action for dealing with the issue at hand. It’s important that you have this formulated before you call your client. Determine what your next steps are, how you’re going to move forward and if possible, fix the problem. Although it’s likely that your client is going to be pretty upset, presenting a possible solution can reassure them that you’re a professional who has been through this before. This is not the end of the world.

Next time you find yourself in a tough spot, quickly refocus and create a proactive plan to counteract the damage. Make sure your client hears the bad news from you and tell them immediately. Call your client directly, informing them of the bad news or better yet, tell them in person. Do not fabricate the situation, give them the straight facts. Respond to their frustration with your plan, ideally offsetting the negative with a positive.

What do you do when you have to tell a client something they do not want to hear, what tools help you bring forth the bad news?

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Emily Storz.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Resume Tips Off the Beaten Path

With a job search looming ahead in the next few months, soon-to-be college graduates are reading every article and piece of advice on how to create the perfect resume that will land their first entry-level position. With so many tips and tricks floating around the internet, this article caught my attention because it provides three tips that aren't often covered or discussed that I think are incredibly important to crafting the perfect resume. And although they may not be "off-beat" as the article describes them to be, they are based in common sense and the need for good resume content.

The article, 3 Off-Beat Resume Tips That You Should Know from MBA Highway focuses on the following three pieces of advice:

Choose your keywords carefully
Here’s a fun fact: your resume is read by a computer long before human eyes see it. HR reps can only handle so many applications at a time. If that number gets too high, they turn to ATS (Applicant Tracking System) to sort out the bad resumes in a batch of good ones.

The problem with ATS is that it only combs though hundreds of resumes flagging those that use the very best keywords.

Keywords can be found in the job posting itself, as well as industry-specific social networks. Additionally, using “present” language like “currently” and “recently” tell the software you’re up-to-date and relevant.

Think like an employer
The job search process is very self-involved. After all, as a job seeker, you’re thinking about you, what you want to do, where you want to work, and why someone should hire you. This is totally fine, except for the fact that employers think it’s all about them for the same reasons.

When you submit a resume that’s all about you, the employer has to work harder to figure out how it can be all about them. Think of yourself as the employer convincing themselves that a candidate is a good fit as you write your cover letter and resume. You’d be surprised how different your resume looks afterward.

Format strategically
Chances are, your resume will get about 30 seconds to a minute of an employer’s attention, if it makes it through the ATS. That’s not very long at all. If you want your resume to leave a good impression, it’s up to you to guide their attention to the most important parts.

Format your resume so that the most important points are most visible. Bold key words, change the font size… Whatever makes valuable information prominent.

What do you think about the tips shared in this article? Are there others that you would recommend? Let us know!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Quick Refresher on Social Media Etiquette

Recently I was asked, along with the rest of the executive board of Temple University’s Public Relations Student Society of America, to host a social media workshop for PRSSA members. Most of my colleagues selected a specific social media channel to present on but I wanted to focus on something larger, more encompassing. I chose to create a basic list of what to do and what to avoid on social media. A thought struck me while writing my section of the presentation: this information is crucial for anyone living in the digital age, not just PRSSA members. So, without further adieu, I present to you a very condensed refresher on social media etiquette.

So, what exactly is social media? Social media refers to web and mobile technologies that foster instant, interactive dialogue between peers, organizations, companies, and public figures. Social media creates networks of people who share common interests, backgrounds, beliefs, attitudes, and values. Recently, social media has been an integral part in organizing everything from Saturday night parties to democratic movements.

Here are three key tenants of proper social media use:

  • Play nice. Treat your fellow digital citizens how you would like to be treated. Respect the opinions and privacy of others, limit cursing and be as helpful as possible.
  • Be interactive. The “social” in social media is there for a reason. Social media is perfect for exchanging ideas and networking, don’t waste the opportunity by setting up excessive privacy filters.
  • Personal, not private. Everything you say online is public and permanent. Social media is a great personal tool; just don’t post anything that you wouldn’t want a future employer or your parents to see.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

#ThingslastinglongerthanKimsmarriage: PR stunt?

The notorious Kardashian family has recently been all over the news as Kim Kardashian announced that her 72-day marriage to basketball player Kris Humphries has ended. Kim filed for irreconcilable differences on Monday October 31, 2011 in Los Angeles. The most recent series of Keeping up with the Kardashians has been focused on the relationship between Kris and Kim including a family vaca to Bora Bora, all leading up to the televised I do’s. The New York Post reported that Kim and Kris actually made $17.9 million by making their wedding a media extravaganza.

The breakdown from The New York Post is as follows:

Payments they received

$15 million plus profit for four-hour, two-part wedding special on E!
$2.5 million for exclusive photos with People magazine
$300,000 for exclusive engagement announcement with People
$100,000 for exclusive rights to bridal shower with Britain’s OK! mag
$50,000 to have bachelorette party at Tao in Las Vegas

Free stuff

$15,000 to $20,000 Hansen’s Bakery wedding cake
$20,000 Vera Wang wedding dress and fittings
$40,000 for two more Vera Wang evening dresses
$400,000 in Perrier Jouet Champagne
$150,000 in hair and makeup for photo shoots and TV “home video”
$10,000 in Lehr & Black wedding invitations

And the ring…?!

$2 million 20.5-carat engagement ring and $1 million wedding bands by jeweler Lorraine Schwartz. The amount they paid for these items hasn’t been revealed, but it’s much less than their worth.

As shown above, it pays to be a reality TV star that has an enormous following and an established brand, but with all knowing anticipation, was Kim K’s wedding just a fish for fame and a way to gain a little extra cash? Or is this just a failed marriage over-analyzed? What are your thoughts on celebrity PR stunts?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Customizing your Social Media Approach

When you think social media, most individuals or companies will assume if they have a Facebook fan page, Twitter account and maybe even a blog, they'll be A OK when reaching their audience. Wrong! In order to effectively use social media, you need to first identify your goals rather than creating these pages that could end up with little to no interaction.

Focus on your objectives when engaging in conversation with your audience and always keep in mind the brand you want to promote with every post. Whether you are an individual, or posting for a company, it will be beneficial to create a social media policy. This way everyone will be on the same page, and messages will remain clear throughout posts. Create boundaries with your social media interaction, and only participate in conversation if it is appropriate with the objectives you have established.

When you are initiating conversation, don't just push information on your audience. Make your content interesting and engaging to encourage their participation. For companies it is smart to drive traffic back to the main website so that their audience knows where they can get an abundance of information at one place. For individuals that have their own website or blog, they would take the same approach.

After you have started to establish your presence on social media sites, monitor your viewers, who is engaging in conversation, and how often. When you first start out don't bombard your audience with tons of posts, keep it simple and frequent to gradually build up legitimate, credible sources for your followers.

Do you effectively use social media? Which outlets generate the most conversation?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Tips on Overcoming your Underwhelming Speech

Admittedly, I'm not the best public speaker. In fact, I just finished writing my speech for class, to be presented tomorrow. I always thought that it was the delivery that mattered the most, as long as you have a lot to say, you're in the clear. But what if you don't have anything to say on your topic? How will you gain the attention of your audience? Check out these tips on how to "deliver an exciting speech on a dull topic":
  • Put a face on your topic: Connect the subject of your speech to your audience; give them a reason to listen to you or empathize with your call to action. In my case, I told a story of someone who was affected by my topic. Not only does this serve as an effective attention-getter, it also helps your audience to remember your speech over a run-of-the mill informational presentation.

  • Take your time: You want to respect your audience's time and get your speech over with. However, if you rush through your speech so fast that you garble your words and neglect to emphasize key points, you will have defeated your purpose. Slow and steady wins the race; pace yourself and make it easy for your listeners to understand the important areas of your speech by both physically and vocally stressing your words.

  • Don't rely on your PowerPoint: My teacher stresses this, use your visual aid, but don't depend on it. You should definitely interact with it, show pictures, videos, main points, etc. but try not to read straight off your notes. By declining in your extemporaneous mode, you will lose your connection with your listeners and fail to communicate your points.
Do you have trouble 'reviving' your underwhelming speech topic? How do you 'bring it to life'? Let us know!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Missing: Important Leadership Traits

Leadership is a concept that everyone has discussed over and over again. Discussions about what makes a “good” leader frequent every classroom and workshop across the country. The older I get, the more I wonder about leadership and a person’s ability to lead effectively. My personal curiosity caused an exploration of those forgotten leadership traits that all leaders should possess.

What comes to mind when you think of an effective and successful leader? Most answers would include organized, strong public speaking skills, ability to motivate, and approachable. Each of those is important, but what about other skills like humility, listening, and face-to-face communication?

Humility is often a skill that many successful people do not possess. It is especially difficult to lose that “rockstar” attitude and be brought back down to earth. For leaders, humility is about admitting your shortcomings as a leader (and person sometimes too) and seeing how those weaknesses effect the group. A Forbes article states “Great leaders, like great parents, will grit their teeth and accept the painful reality that they are almost always the reason something is awry in their organizations. They’ll accept the pain of being humbled and set themselves on a course of correction.” The organization as a whole will improve because a leader is willing to sacrifice his or her ego.

As a young leader, I am often talking about plans, strategies, and assignments for my account. While it is important to be an articulate speaker, listening is also extremely important. Our society has become proficient in relaying messages and persuading audiences. But, the art of listening negates all of that. Instead, it is simple, focused attention on the speaker to find out their intentions, goals, or even fears. Listeners should actively ask questions in order to fully understand what the speaker is saying. Listening skills and face-to-face communication are complimentary, lost leadership traits.

Face-to-face interaction is near obsolete in today’s technology-driven world, where people Tweet job offers and blog about their breakups. Again, technology and social media are helpful but nothing can replace face-to-face communication. Duke University’s men’s basketball coach, Mike Krzyzewski believes the only way to motivate a team is through constant, face-to-face communication, where a level of trust can be established. Additionally, talking and meeting with people in person allows messages to be expressed clearly with more fluid dialogue.

What are other lost leadership traits? How should leaders better develop these skills? Let us know!

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