Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Flyers Carnival Crisis Communications

I have the distinct pleasure of interning for the Philadelphia Flyers working with Comcast-Spectacor Charities.  We most recently held our 35th Annual Wives For Lives Carnival, which in the past has raised over $1 million for local charities. We have learned a lot from past carnivals and are always looking to make the experience better for our guests. In the past, the lines have been too long and some participants were unable to receive autographs or photographs. This year, we decided to pre-sell popular players, including Flyer’s captain Chris Pronger, in order to insure that every participant will receive an autograph or photograph. While this was a good idea in theory, the unexpected happened, as it usually does. The Flyer’s Captain Chris Pronger suffered a major concussion and announced that he would not be participating in the annual carnival, leaving 650 paid customers out of an autograph and photograph. There were a number of things done to inform the public about Pronger’s absence both internally and externally.

Internally, we made every department in the building aware of Pronger’s absence. We created a FAQ sheet and interns, such as myself, were trained to take calls from angry participants. We were told to explain how their ticket could still be used at the carnival and assure customers that other players were still available for autographs and photographs.
To inform the public, the department reached out to all of those who had pre-purchased tickets via email. We explained the unfortunate circumstances and instructed guests that they could still receive photographs and autographs for any available player with their Pronger ticket, at the carnival. We also updated the Flyer’s CharitiesFacebook page with the same information.  Additionally, we mailed a signed autograph picture to every pre-purchased Pronger order.
The unfortunate circumstances of Chris Pronger’s absence enabled me to get a better a look into crisis management and communications. I learned that the two key factors in handling the crisis were: informing the public that they still had options prior to the carnival, and still giving the public what they paid for, which was the autographed picture.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

And the Oscar goes to...Twitter?

For the unlucky ones (like myself) that were stuck doing homework instead of watching the Oscars, little did we miss considering all one had to do was glance at a Twitter feed to know what was going on every minute of the special event.

From Angelina's right leg, Jennifer Lopez's revealing outfit and Ryan Seacrest's ash shower, many noteworthy happenings during the awards were being discussed on social media. Here is a recap about what the world was commenting on during the show:
  • Probably the most popular thing on Twitter was the new handle, @AngiesRightLeg. Referring to the strong stance she took throughout the night where her right leg was very much pushed forward to accentuate the slit in her dress. The fake Twitter account apparently sent out mock posts to poke fun at the actress.
  • Many comments were directed towards Jennifer Lopez and her apparent wardrobe malfunction when she was presenting an award, supposedly exposing a little too much cleavage.
  • 62-year-old actress, Meryl Streep, won the third Oscar of her career for her work in The Iron Lady. She portrayed former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the film.
  • While The Artist earned Best Picture, Martin Scorsese's Hugo was one of the most mentioned films according to Bluefin Labs. Since Hugo received it's Oscar nomination, the film's trailer has generated 2.2 million views of online trailers and clips.
According to Bluefin Labs, social media comments for the Oscars have tripled since last year with 3.4 million Oscar-related comments on Facebook and Twitter, up from 966,000 from the 2011 Academy Awards telecast. With that being said, Oscar producers will be able to generate a lot of advertising revenue in the years to come based on social media's growing popularity.

Did you post on social media during the Oscars? What was your favorite trending topic?

To read more about the most-talked about topics on the big night, click here.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Newsworthiness: Lessons from First Year PR Writing

Right now I'm in the middle of my first PR writing class, ever. So far its proven to be challenging, but in a good way. My professor is Dale Wilcox, who actually doubles as a PR pro when he is not molding minds in AP Style. Lately, he's been assigning us to write short news stories in 5 paragraph pyramid style. That is; lede, quote, transition, quote, followed by the last important details. But along with trying to make us cut down the information we're given to what is most important, Prof. Wilcox also urged us to keep in mind: is it newsworthy?

So what is newsworthy, exactly? Below is what I've learned from News Writing & Media Relations:

Timeliness: Did this happen recently? Is it still relevant? Pitching a story to a reporter from 2 weeks ago doesn't exactly make a lot of sense, so make sure you're keeping the timeline of your story in mind when pitching to media.

Proximity: Will this affect your readers? Say you are pitching to a local newspaper in Philadelphia, will a car crash in Phoenix, Arizona make much of a difference to your readers' life? Probably not, so consider this when pitching your story.

Prominence: People love a tragedy. Chances are, people are going to pay more attention to the death of famous person than a farmer. But just like before, while the death of a farmer might now be international news, it will likely affect the farmer's local newspaper, maybe even make the front page.

Novelty: Is there anything unique or quirky about your story? Anything that deviates from normal, i.e. 3 headed cat, will prove to be newsworthy because its something that will surprise readers and encourage them to pick up the paper.

Weather: Weather trumps everything. Natural disasters will always affect a large portion of people. Therefore, a storm will be more newsworthy to a larger population than the majority of local news.

Always keep in mind who you're pitching to, and consider, as Prof. Wilcox likes to say: "We're here, you're not, so here's what's happening."

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Here Come the Summer...Internships!

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been looking forward to the summer. Long sunny days, time with the family, no classes, and most important…. summer internships! Why do an internship when you can lie on the beach all day? Well, internships have invaluable experience and connections that cannot be learned in a classroom. You’ll most likely have the weekends off, so that can make your beach trip that much more enjoyable! Getting an internship will be the best way to keep your mind active and give you new material to juice up your resume. I’ve been on the summer internship hunt for about a month now, and the applying process has begun for many. But for those who are not sure where to start, here is some tips that I have picked up along the way:

-Start by researching various positions already posted, and look up your dream firms/companies now! Make a list in a Word document or write it down. Whatever way you choose, keep it organized and keep your links.
-Find at least 10 companies or positions. Summer is THE time for internships and thousands of students are going for your spot.
-Make note of any deadlines posted within the descriptions.
-Get your materials together and update them i.e. resume, cover letter, letters of recommendation (if needed).

Early March
-If you haven’t by now…start applying! Keep track of all the internships you have applied to, doing so will make sure you have not applied twice.

Late March
-Unless they have specified to NOT call, do follow-up by calling. If anything, send an e-mail. All you have to say is “Hi my name is ____ , I e-mailed my resume to ______ a few weeks ago and wanted to follow-up to make sure they’ve received it”.

Last Minutes:
-Companies, firms, and organizations still post internship positions right before and even during the summer season. These positions might not be the cream of the crop, or at the top of your list but…the early bird gets the juiciest worm, correct?

-Big companies usually have early deadlines; they might have even passed by now, but make sure to look!
-Always, always, always get another pair of eyes to look at your resume and cover letter!
-You will most likely be notified by mid-April if not before.
-Don’t limit yourself to paid internships (though they are nice) a good experience is the most important.

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Katherine Carpenter.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The "How To's" of Gaining Media Attention for Your Event

If you’re in PR you know how important media attention is in promoting an event. But you may think to yourself, “How am I supposed to get them interested in my event?” Though this question may seem daunting, it’s really not!

Here are some quick tips on how to make your event stand out from all the rest and get the media attention it deserves:

Make it relevant and timely. Media circuits are not going to cover your event if they don’t feel there is any connection to the audience. Do your research and know who the primary audience is. Research what the audience finds most interesting and plan the event around that.

What is the potential for word-of-mouth. Get people talking about your event. It cannot just be about relying on the media, you have to get people interested. Tell people the perks of attending this event and guarantee the use of social media and electronics i.e.- photographs, video cameras, tweeting, posting Facebook status, etc.

Cover all the bases. Be sure to have a set plan with your event. Do not allow for the media to find a hole in your stunt. Because if they find a hole, your event will become about the failure rather than the success.

Anticipate the response from the media. Make sure there is a clear message for your stunt. What do you want this to be remembered for? Laughter, anger, warmth or charitable work- that’s up to you to decide.

Prepare…Prepare…Prepare! Be sure to have all materials needed before the start of the event. This will help ensure the event running smoothly with no mistakes.

Media attention helps events gain credibility. With these “how to” tips on how to gain and sustain media attention, there is no reason why your event can’t be as successful as you hope!

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Alison Curran.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Making Your Resume Go Viral

If you're anything like me, you've put out a few job applications, haven't really heard anything and realize this whole job-search thing is going to be a steep up-hill battle. I know I have an impressive resume, but so do the other hundreds of job applicants up against me, and I'm becoming more and more aware that maybe a simple black and white word document isn't going to do the trick anymore. I've seen people with amazing personal websites, crazy cool infographic resumes, and now people are even "pinning" their work on their Pinterest boards! After researching all of the new, innovative ways people are making their resumes more tech-friendly and eye-catching, there are endless possibilities for creating the "wow" factor. An article from U.S. News outlines five ways many job seekers are showcasing their resumes online:

1. Create an infographic. If you'll be working with data or visuals on the job, an infographic resume might be the way to go. These are naturally packed full of information, which means you'll have ample opportunity to strut your stuff. Below is an example of social media strategist, Hagan Blount's infographic resume:2. Produce a video. A video resume allows the hiring manager to get a feel for your personality before meeting you in person. And since likeability and cultural fit are often high priorities when considering a candidate, introducing yourself via video can put you ahead of your competition. You'll need multimedia skills and a friendly, upbeatLink-yet-professional personality to make this work, so if cameras and editing tools aren't your strong point, it might be smarter to skip this option. Alternatively, consider a tool like Hello There that does some of the legwork for you.

3. Use a QR code. For techies, QR codes—or barcodes that direct you to a website when read by a smart phone—present the possibility of opportunity. The code itself isn't difficult to generate. What's more time-consuming is figuring out where that code will take your potential employer; whatever is at the other end has to be impressive. Make sure the hiring manager will understand and appreciate this technology before using it as part of your pitch.

4. Just go digital. LinkedIn works for getting your experience and skills online, but what if you displayed your resume on your own website? Even without interactive bells and whistles, offering a good-looking resume at a URL rather than on a piece of paper shows you're ahead of the curve.

5. Pitch yourself with a PowerPoint. If you're looking to work at a presentation-oriented company and can convince the hiring manager to click through more than one page, a PowerPoint might be the right choice for you. Pitching your skills isn't the only way to approach this; you could also offer ideas on how the company could become more effective and the role you'd play in that transformation. Prezi has become a large attraction for soon-to-be grads as well as an alternative to standard PowerPoints.

What are some other creative ways to get your resume online and noticed? Let us know!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Compromise Ahead of Elections? What's the catch?

The United States House of Representatives and Senate passed a year-long extension of the payroll tax cut last Friday, Feb. 17, marking another legislative victory for President Obama ahead of the 2012 elections. Want to know the best part? The bill was passed through with bipartisan support and a hefty helping of compromise. Crazy, huh?

The payroll tax cut, which was temporarily extended last fall, was packaged with an extension of federal unemployment benefits. The $143 billion economic package will reach over 160 million workers. A big reason the bill garnered bipartisan support in both houses was because of two conservative-leaning provisions: one reducing the time that individuals can stay on unemployment and another helping to support doctors who treat patients on Medicare. Both Democrats and Republicans hope that it will help sustain the country’s economic recovery.

But if Obama supported the bill, why did it pass? It turns out, voting yes (or in some cases, voting no) to a bill before an election can give candidates great PR ammunition.

Obama is likely to tout this bill as his latest effort to boost the economy, a subject that will dominate the upcoming presidential election. He will use this bill, along with the American Recovery and Investment Act and the recent drop in the unemployment rate, to take credit for moving the economy forward post-recession. If this is properly communicated to target audiences (think American’s unemployed, underemployed and the middle class) it could result in a big boost in public opinion for Obama.

Democrats are likely to piggyback on Obama’s economic messages, a strategy that worked well for them in 2008. They can add this to the list of legislation that they voted for to help the economic recovery. This makes them look like strong advocates for the middle class, a powerful position in the wake of the Occupy movement.

Finally, Republicans who voted for the bill might choose to promote their bipartisanship in the promotion of economic growth. This could work well if Obama has a high approval rating in their states. Republicans who voted against the bill can position themselves as strong advocates of the conservative, top-down approach to macroeconomic policy. However, the corresponding messaging might appear insensitive to unemployed or underemployed individuals.

Whichever way you want to look at it, the payroll tax extension was a strategic vote. Only time will tell if it pays off, and for whom.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

iPad PR Stunt

Recently G-Form, an engineering company specializing in technological accessories, dropped an iPad from 100,000 feet from space.  The aim was to market their new unstoppable G-FormExtreme Edge Sleeve for the iPad. Watch the result:

Not only does the iPad survive the Nevada rocky landing, but it was also fully functional.

Apple has a unique advantage in the market. Their loyal customers speak for Apple, and like G-Force, create entire companies around Apple products. Apple has come a long way from their “1984” commercial advertising. Now, they have their consumers doing the talking.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Getting the Most out of your LinkedIn Profile

Counting down the days until I graduate, my job search is well underway. While college seniors should be taking advantage of this, the website is relevant even if you aren't looking for a job after graduation. Use these tips to make the site the best professional networking tool for you.
  • Writing. LinkedIn profiles are full of text if filled out with your complete work experience, which means there is always room for editing. Make your summary like an objective of a resume, short and to the point. Also, when writing the descriptions for your positions, use the same language you would in your resume and reach out to past supervisors that are on the site to write you a recommendation.
  • Groups. There are more than enough groups for you to use as resources on LinkedIn. Once you join these groups, you can manage the amount of emails they send you with discussion updates and job postings. Groups such as InternQueen, PR Daily, #PRintern and YoungPRPros are useful to start out with, as well as any companies you would be interested in following.
  • Apps. On your page you are allowed to choose from several applications such as Polls, Google Presentations and My Travel, but the one I have found most useful is Blog Link. Blog Link lets you have your personal blog posts streaming on your profile, which lets potential employers view your writing samples the second they scroll down on your page.
  • Keywords. Under your job descriptions there is a small section called "Skills & Expertise". Fill this section with words that are relevant to what you are studying, or hope to have a job in. For example, my profile's keywords are social media, public relations, writing and blogging.
  • Interaction. LinkedIn allows you to post status updates that can be connected to your Twitter, if you so choose. Utilize this space to inquire about job openings or interesting articles you have come across to get the attention of your connections and remain relevant in the newsfeed.
  • Focus. With all of these features, it is important to keep a clear focus with your professional objectives. Don't join irrelevant groups and connect with everyone you went to high school with, it will only crowd your profile with information that won't benefit you.

How do you use LinkedIn professionally?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Whitney Houston's Death: Did the Media Cross a Line?

We all witnessed the tragic end of a legend on Friday, February 11th. Songstress Whitney Houston was found dead in her bathroom at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, cause of death still unknown. Media outlets took to every social media website imaginable to project the news. Media followed every member of Houston's family; watching Houston's teenage daughter break down over her mother's death, stalking ex-husband Bobby Brown for news of his reaction, etc. But was this too much?

In an age where social media gives us the privilege to keep up with news at lightning speed, do we always have the right in the private lives of those in the public eye?

Yesterday, Whitney Houston's family held her funeral at their local Baptist church in Newark, New Jersey. Unlike Michael Jackson, Houston's family wanted to keep the ceremony at the family church to ensure privacy. However, camera's were allowed into the church and the entire homegoing was live streamed across the internet. Celebrity news shows like E! News created a hashtag for fans to chime in their thoughts on Houston's death, and even put together a special tribute program, "Whitney Houston: The Funeral."

CNN took to the streets to break the news of the musician's death. A correspondent wandered around the street, breaking the news to random strangers and filming their reactions to be broadcast on the news. Jon Stewart, host of the popular satirical show "The Daily Show" quipped, "you don't have to go with the news town crier style, door-to-door...because that's the point of Candid Camera."

Do you feel like the media covered Whitney Houston's death appropriately? What would you have done differently? Let us know!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The New Era

With the ability to share information to their readers at the speed of light, fashion bloggers are now viewed as a commodity in the fashion world. In this day and age major fashion brands and magazines view fashion blogging as a necessity because it is now the bloggers that are cognizant of the latest trends. But it takes a lot of work to become a great fashion blogger.

Choose your style of blog! There are two types of fashion blogs: personalized and informational.

  • Informational discusses upcoming trends from designers and on the runway.

  • Personalized fashion blogs display the personal style of the blogger. Personal blogs tend to be a crowd favorite; because it shows people that you’re a regular human being, not just an internet cyborg.

Building your brand:

  • Collect as many contacts as possible! At first this will not be easy but as your blog progresses and your number of viewers increase you will find that people will go out of their way to contact you.

  • Make it your priority to bring as much attention to your blog as possible! Update your blog with the newest trends or reoccurring ones; your readers want to know what’s hot and what’s not.

  • Get help! As your brand grows you will find yourself needing help to maintain it so find an assistant and a professional photographer to help you capture quality pictures.

  • Consistently update the look of your blog so your readers will not get bored! Your content must be engaging and innovative; no one wants to hear about last years trends when new ones are popping up left and right.

  • Establish your credibility: Always make sure to cite your sources! If you use images from fashion sites be sure to give credit. Responding to comments will keep conversations going, increase viewership, as well as exhibit yourself as passionate about what you do.

As is with most things, creating the perfect balance can be challenging, but it will pay off in the long run.

Check out these great fashion blogs! Style Scrapbook, Fashion Squad, The Blonde Salad

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

Saturday, February 18, 2012

6 Steps to a Successful #TwitterChat

Thanks to social media, we can now connect with our audiences without venues, catering services, or formal invites.

A Twitter chat is similar to any online chat where users log on at the same time to discuss a common topic. These chats are a great way to bring together a large audience without the hassles of a face-to-face meet up. Here are six ways to insure the success of your Twitter chat.

1. Choose a topic: Before you can start or invite anyone to your Twitter chat, you have to decide what you will talk about. Take into consideration what you want to learn from the chat. Is it just a chance to interact with your audience, or are you looking for more? These questions will help you formulate the perfect topic.

2. Promotion: If no one knows about your chat, no one can participate! Tweeting about the chat a week or so prior will draw in attention and notify your followers. Make sure you include the time the chat will start and that you are conscious of different time zones.

3. Create the perfect hashtag: A hashtag is simply a phrase preceded by the pound sign (#) that brands a tweet or, in this case, your chat. The hashtag is what will connect everyone participating in the chat, and allow you to track what is being said. When creating the hashtag, remember to keep it short, as a tweet can only be 140 characters long, spaces included! The hashtag should only take up a small portion of a tweet. The hashtag should also be relevant to the topic of your chat. For example, if your chat topic is about the book The Hunger Games, #HungerGames would be an ideal hashtag.

4. Create time limits: As much as you might love to interact with your audience non-stop, it is important that you place time limits on your chat. Because many people will be tweeting from their personal accounts, they will not want to clog their timelines with Tweets from your chat alone.

5. Be consistent: Decide on the style of your Twitter chat and then stick to it! You can either throw your topic out there and let your audience chime in, or you can ask questions throughout, which tends to be a more interactive style.

6. Track your chat: It’s important that you keep up with what’s being said in your chat. TweetChat is a great online application that enables you to easily track the hashtag you’ve generated.

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Amber Burns.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The "How to Land a Job" 2012 Checklist

For those of us graduating this May, the panic attacks have set in and the job search has begun. While I spent the first few days aimlessly clicking around job posting sites, applying for a few interesting positions here and there, I felt hopeless knowing my resume was one of hundreds, possibly even thousands. While the economy is slowly recovering, the job market is still pretty tough, which is why I found this post from Corn On the Job incredibly useful with its list of "Ten Things Job Seekers Must Do in 2012." Here are a few of my personal favorites:

2. Stop Applying to Every Job: Applying to every single thing you see is the wrong approach. It’s easy for recruiters to tell that you are just taking a stab in the dark. When you’re passionate about a job and/0r determined to gain a position in a specific field/industry, it shines through like you wouldn’t believe. Focus in on a few specific job types to apply to. --- I already know the type of job I'm hoping to find and therefore, when I conduct job searches, I know the keywords I need to use. My passions are animals, events, nonprofits and travel. I know there are things I don't like as well, and therefore I know I'm not going to apply to a giant corporation or take a job in the mid-west.

4. Learn a new skill: Find a class or certification that’s relatively inexpensive. While learning something new, you’ll end up boosting your resume and meeting new people that could potentially help you find a job. --- Personally, I have always been interested in learning more about web and graphic design. Through personal instruction and a free seminar, I plan to familiarize myself with a few programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Quark Express.

8. Blog: Social Media usage has seen tremendous increases across all demographics over the last few years. More than ever, company recruiters are utilizing social networks to connect with and also learn about job seekers. "Hire Me" campaigns were huge in 2011. Starting a blog for your industry will help you make tons of connections, while also furthering yourself as a thought leader. --- I know from personal experience this has worked for a few of my friends in the past. I still find it impressive that one of my friends landed her first job out of college as a result of Twitter. Social media is a great tool for building your network of professionals, so use it to its full potential.

To read the other seven job-searching tips, visit the Corn On the Job post here.
What other suggestions do you have to offer for upcoming graduates in search of a job? Let us know!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Santorum to Receive the Thrash Metal Vote?

“You take a mortal man

And put him in control

Watch him become a god

Watch peoples’ heads a ‘roll”

Those are the lyrics of Megadeth’s front man Dave Mustaine, who also happens to be Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s latest fan.

Mustaine wants to put Santorum in control.

The Megadeth front man endorsed Santorum to a little over a week ago. Social and traditional media has finally picked up on Mustaine’s endorsement and has been having a field day, another case study of the PR ramifications of a questionable endorsement.

@TheTweetOfGod, a popular spoof account, tweeted yesterday, “Dave Mustaine Endorses Rick Santorum. Pro-life, meet Megadeath.”

@HuffPostHill tweeted, “The Gwar endorsement is really going to tip the scales

Campaigns are no stranger to these negative endorsements. Opponents of the Obama campaign tried to associate him with some of the more radical teachings of his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, in 2008. Obama’s campaign was forced to go on the defensive and deny contemporary connections between him and Wright.

Mustaine’s endorsement of Santorum shouldn’t rise to the level of the Wright endorsement. If it does, Santorum’s staff should release a statement thanking Mustaine for his endorsement but making it very clear that Santorum does not share the same values as the Megadeth front man.

Whatever Santorum does, he probably shouldn’t publicly lay claim to the thrash metal vote. I’m not sure if that would go over well with his religious conservative base.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tweeting Live From...

On Friday, I started to follow the Huguely trial on Twitter, @NBC29Huguely, after hearing from a co-worker about the horrific story of college student George Huguely, who killed his on-again, off-again girlfriend Yeardley Love, a student at the University of Virginia.

The account, @NBC29Huguely, did a continuously great job tweeting live. The account strategically carried the story of the trial by using the correct tone, creating an effective hashtag, limiting who they followed, and associating themselves with a news station.
The account live-tweeted everything that happened in the court room, in the compelling tone of a novel. @NBC29Huguely created a hashtag, #Huguely, and used it effectively when referring to the defendant, or the case in general, encouraging the story to trend. They also asked their followers if they had any questions about the case, recognizing that there might be some discrepancies and conversations to be had.

Another beneficial thing that the account did was only follow six users, other outlets that were exclusively following the case. By only following six users, it limits the disturbances in the timeline when a user, or rather follower, is reading the case. The users that they are following add more detail and contributing to the case and the account’s pre-existing tweets, giving the follower a better picture of the courtroom environment.

Finally, by associating itself with a news outlet, @NBC29Huguely, it highlighted its ethical obligation to report the case objectively.
If you’re thinking about tweeting live, follow @NBC29Huguely for a great example.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Breaking Up with Facebook Just in Time for Valentine's Day

If you know even a little bit about social media, you have probably heard about the popular social media site, Facebook and their ever-changing design. It seems like just when you get used to the older version, the site is changing your settings once again.

With the recent conversion to the Timeline format, my mini feed has been filled with peeved statuses about the new change along with a lot of resistance to the new layout. Being a Facebook user since I was about 16, I've listed below the newest changes that are making me want to say "it's not me, it's you" to the social media giant.
  • Timeline: As if Facebook isn't a hazard enough for digital dirt, the Timeline feature allows anyone to snoop around in anything that has been posted on your wall in the lifetime of your account. It is an option to go through and delete these posts and pictures, but that process would be a time-consuming journey I'd rather avoid. Can't say that I appreciate seeing all my corny high school statuses and embarrassing pictures, Mr. Zuckerberg.
  • The cover picture: While this can be a cool addition to your Facebook page, I already waste enough time scrolling through mostly useless information, but now I have to find TWO interesting profile pictures?!
  • Lists: On almost the entire left side of your mini-feed has your friends categorized into places you've worked, groups, close friends, etc. I have never really looked through my mini feed by selecting certain lists, but it stresses me out to see 20+ notifications next to each one.
  • Subscriptions: To make sure you can update yourself on your friends' personal lives even more than usual, subscribe to them. Especially for someone that accesses Facebook through a phone application, getting constant notifications about activity on someone else's wall is particularly annoying.

Are you happy with your relationship with Facebook?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Writing an Effective Strategic Communications Plan: The Grammy Awards

It's no secret that every campaign requires a good, effective, and all-encompassing strategic plan. For instructional purposes, we'll look to last night's Grammy Awards as an example. In "7 Strategic Communication Lessons by Way of the Super Bowl", Larry Parnell outlines what elements should be included in every communications plan:

  • Situation Analysis: What are you pulling off? You are in charge of a live, nationally syndicated awards show that has been on the air for 54 years. You are also competing against another awards show, the BAFTA Awards, on the same day. Evaluate your competition and research the background of previous Grammy Awards to see where you stand and what you can improve upon.
  • Goals and Objectives: What do you want to accomplish? What objectives do you need to hit in order to execute a successful show? Yes, you want to increase viewership, but how will you do that? Better commercials, more celebrities, a better host, etc.
  • Key Message(s): What message are you trying to get across to your audience? You want to show the public that the Grammy Awards is a respectable, entertaining, and diverse awards show that showcases the talent of musicians in various genres.
  • Tactics: How will you pull all of this off? Increased social media engagement, more funding from investors, what performers will you choose to most engage your audience, etc.
  • Measurement: During the event, how will you know that all is going according to plan? Or now that the event is over, how will you know if you did better, worse? Track statistics like viewers, live tweets, Facebook tags, online polls, anything that proves as solid evidence that you can use to directly compare to past shows.
  • Contingency Plans: Prepare yourself for the worst. What if one of the performer's decides to ditch the Grammy's? Have a Plan B and make sure that your staff is aware of it and ready to mobilize.

How do you think the Grammy's accomplish their goals? Do you have any points to add? Let us know!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Election Media Coverage Goes Digital

Any student in public relations knows, or should know, how important it is to keep up with news. So in the face of a current election year, it is that much more important to be in the know. Some students, maybe even professionals, may have found it hard to keep up with every single aspect of past political campaigns; however, in this “age of technology,” it is easier than ever.

Using the power of new media during a political campaign is not a new tactic; you may recall when CNN and YouTube held a joint debate in which the public sent in videotaped questions. Politicians have since caught up on the trend, using outlets like Twitter and Facebook to be engaged with the public 24/7. This election season, not only have politicians been deploying digital tools in new and innovative ways, the media outlets and journalists covering them have been doing the same.

Besides individual journalists and news outlets tweeting and uploading photos, the 2012 battle for the White House is the first time that web apps dedicated to political coverage have been introduced. These new and innovative apps are allowing readers to have unprecedented access to all things related to the election. Online features such as these are changing the name of the game in political journalism.

Here are a few other ways in which media coverage of the election is going digital:

1. Election Centers: Major news sites like CNN, MSNBC and Fox are featuring online election portals in which visitors can learn about the candidates and their stances on the issues that matter, access links to candidates’ social media profiles or find out more about their financial backers.

2. Interactive Maps: NBC has actually teamed up with Foursquare to map the campaign trail. Other news sites like CNN are offering calendar like maps to show visitors where and when upcoming primaries and caucuses are being held. Politico actually takes this map concept a step further by telling visitors not only where, but why candidates are doing particular events.

3. Social Debates: This idea isn’t new for 2012, but it has become more mainstream. Fox News used to Twitter to get instant opinions from the public on each candidate’s performance in a debate. Facebook and NBC teamed up to co-host a Republican debate in which viewers asked questions via the social networking site.

Have you seen other unique digital tools used in this year’s political campaign? Or, do you find one of these tools extremely beneficial? If so, let us know!

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

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Pitching Basics

As a public relations professional, one of the most basic things you write is a pitch to the media. A media pitch is helpful to accompany a press release, to convince a journalist why your story should be covered or in a time crunch, a pitch can even replace a press release. But how do you ensure a successful pitch?

It’s all about relationships: No matter how many times you’re told this, you always need to hear it one more time. Reporters have jobs too. They aren’t going to listen to every PR person that calls or emails them. Finding key people to help your clients and maintaining good relationships with them, such as getting them information on time, remembering personal information and only pitching stories to them that you know they would have interest in covering, can really help show that you aren’t just trying to use them for their coverage, but do in fact value their time.

Timing is everything: Reporters are just as busy as you are: They don’t want to hear about stories that aren’t newsworthy. Try to keep in mind the relevance of your topic to each reporter and keep your pitches to around 15-30 seconds. Also, try to avoid calling the office at the busiest times of the day. For TV, the busiest times are around the morning, noon, and evening newscast. Newspapers have deadlines in the evening, so call them well before, when they aren’t working against the clock. Lastly, keep magazine calls between 11 a.m.- 3 p.m., which gives them time to settle in for the day before becoming bombarded with pitches.

Follow-ups and persistence are musts: Many times, stories are never covered because they get lost or forgotten about. There is a fine line between persistence and annoyance, but if you truly know your story is beneficial to that report, there is no shame in making sure they received enough information on it. Even if they don’t end up using your story, follow-ups, including a thank you, can help maintain that relationship that is so important in this industry.

Learning key concepts in pitching the media is an invaluable resource in the PR field. Pitches are one of the simplest forms of reaching out to the media, and once you begin to become more comfortable with media pitches, all these concepts will become second nature to you.

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Jessica Ross.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Jean Madeline Hosts Heart 2 Heart TODAY!

Stressing about this year’s Valentine’s Day look for tonight's date? Looking to freshen up your look to score a last-minute Valentine? No need to worry! Jean Madeline Aveda Institute has you covered.

Today only, now until 4 p.m., all Jean Madeline Institute campuses will be hosting the first Heart 2 Heart fundraiser. Jean Madeline Institute students will be offering a Valentine’s Makeover special, which includes red and pink makeup and a hairstyle of the customer’s choice for the entire day.

Guests can also enjoy complimentary heart-shaped donuts, donated by a local Philadelphia Dunkin' Donuts franchisee.

All proceeds will be donated to the American Heart Association. Students will be dressed in festive attire and show off trendy looks clients can use as inspiration for their own. Don’t wait until the last minute! Stop into your closest Jean Madeline location to look great and feel even greater after supporting such a worthy cause.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Santorum Attracts Media Spotlight, For Now

Rick Santorum received a huge PR boost this week after winning three state primaries out west. While Santorum is still unlikely to win the Republican Presidential Nomination, the hype generated from his recent victories will be enough to bring in some large donations and attract much-needed media coverage for his campaign.

Santorum, a former Pennsylvania Senator and avid sweater vest enthusiast, won the primaries of Missouri, Colorado and Minnesota on Tuesday. He’s already raised almost $1 million in donations since the three-way victory and has even begun to edge out Newt Gingrich as the Mitt Romney alternative.

Santorum’s recent victories have caught the media’s spotlight for the moment but his recent victories and the fast cash won’t be enough to win his party’s nomination. Romney and Restore Our Future, his extremely well-off Super PAC, have loads of cash and the majority of the delegates so far. Gingrich and Ron Paul would have to drop out immediately and endorse Santorum for him to even have chance.