Saturday, June 30, 2012

Questions That Will Help you Ace the End of the Interview

So you’ve made it over the first hurdle, you secured yourself an interview, did all of your research and aced all of the questions your interviewer had. Now, it’s your turn. At the end of the interview, there is always the dreaded “do you have any questions?” question that many applicants walk in unprepared for. This moment is just as important as the questions the interviewer asks because it is your chance to make sure they are a great fit for you, not just you for them. Here is a list of questions that give the interviewer the chance to really breakdown the organization to you: 

1.Can you give me some examples of what a typical day would look like in this position? 
Asking this question can get you truly prepared for what is to come. The worst feelings is arriving at a new job and realizing you are in over your head, or that you are walking into a position you won’t utilize all yours skills.

2.Where do you think the company is headed in the next 5 years?
This question not only shows that you are interested in the well-being of the company long-term, but also that you can compare your goals to where this job may progress to. 

3.What do you like best about working for this company?
This helps decipher the kind of atmosphere you are about to get into. For instance, if the interviewer were to respond that they love the laidback vibe all the managers give and you are someone who needs an authoritarian figure, this may not be the place for you.

4.What are the opportunities for growth and career advancement?
This question serves two purposes. One- It helps you to understand where the job may 
lead and the skills you might acquire. Two-it also signals that you are ambitious and thinking ahead.

5.Why did you come to work here? What keeps you here?
When you ask questions directly about the interviewer, they remember that you care about them as a person, not just the potential paycheck that could come from meeting them.

The saying goes that if you do something you love, you will never work a day in your life. These questions can give you insight into more than just a job description. They benefit both parties involved. You can see if this is somewhere you would want to work, as well as show the interviewer you are a strong candidate for the position they are trying to fill. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Is It Time To Pay Up?

Until I started searching for internships at the end of my freshman semester, I hadn’t put much thought into paid versus unpaid internships. As my search began however, I quickly discovered most internship opportunities, at least for PR, don’t offer compensation. Although there is an abundance that will gladly provide you with college credit, there is a huge absence of paid internships.

The debate over paid versus unpaid internships continues to rage in the United States and United Kingdom where hundreds of thousands of college students are not receiving fair compensation for they work they do. An incident that occurred just last month has further fuelled this debate. Arcadia, the company that owns popular fashion brands including TopShop, sent dozens of its former Public Relations interns backdated payments.

In the United States where the prevalence of internships has been growing rapidly, it is estimated that $600 million dollars is saved by the U.S. firms employing unpaid interns. Although there is no official count of how many unpaid interns there are throughout the country there is evidence that supports the idea that the number of unpaid internships are on the rise.

According to its set of
guidelines, recommendations and best practices, PRSA believes it’s “ethically improper to employ anyone who adds real value to a public relations agency or department without compensating them for their work – whether that compensation is monetary or in the form of educational credits. If billable work is being performed by an intern, he or she deserves some form of legal compensation.”

Does this mean that there will eventually be a movement to abolish the use of unpaid interns? Personally, I don’t think so. But it is nice to hear that this issue is gaining some attention.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Rebranding Gone Bad

JCPenny's CEO  Ron Johnson thought he was on to something when he mustered up their new branding campaign which focused on "No more games, no more gimmicks, just great prices".
Consumers who have visited the store since their campaign launch in February 2012 have reported that JCP's 'Best Prices' are comparatively higher than other department stores with prices higher now than before their new efforts.
JCP's Facebook comments are currently 80 percent negative according to Business Insider. With a 20 percent decline in the first quarter, analyst are saying that the department store won't last.
Beside this being a rebranding disaster, the popular department store did not full fill on their advertised promotion, "Fair and Square Pricing".
Along with not delivering on their promise to customers, JCP failed to do any market research according to PR News Wire. JCP specifically deleted the word "sale" from any promotional material which research has shown is the MOST effective way to drive sales.
The only good news is JCP senior management has recognize the steady decline and are working to improve.
What PR steps would you take to turn JCP sales and image around?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Perfect Pre-Vacation Check List

With summer in full swing, everyone is packing their bags, fleeing the office, and headed to the beach. Many PR professionals work long hours, including weekends and holidays. Depending on the setting you work in, your clients may be used to having you on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. While taking vacation time is necessary and more than anticipated, it’s important to make sure you leave your work in a state that you would be happy coming back to. Here is a checklist that you can reference before you trade your business suit for a bathing suit:

1. Let clients know you’re leaving: You don’t want clients to feel as though you are rejecting or ignoring them. Send each of your clients an email or give them a phone call letting them know when you’re leaving and for how long.

2. Clear your “To-Do” list: Don’t leave tasks with looming deadlines unattended while you are away. This will only make the first days after your vacation stressful and full of pressure. Make a list of everything you have to do and complete everything before you leave the office.

3. Make sure your co-workers know you’re leaving: When one person leaves the office, work often has to be redistributed among other employees. Be sure to let your co-workers know how long you will be gone so that they can make necessary adjustments.

4. Set up a contact plan: Even though this is your time to relax, there is always the chance that something will come up. Be sure to let people know the best way to reach you, just in case.

Once you’ve checked off all of these items, you can go on to enjoy a great, stress free vacation.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Tried & True PR Rules for the Age of Social Media

It's easy to get caught up on a social media whirlwind, when working in the PR industry. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc., all of these sites are taking more and more of an important stance in the world. We're taught to utilize social media, and it's no surprise when we find ourselves relying on technology. But the truth is, new is not always better. Below are tips to avoid social media blunders by falling back on the tried and true:

  1. Build personal relationships: It's important to connect with journalists and bloggers via social media. But how many times do you remember pitches you received via the computer over personal ones? You are more likely to retain information you have heard in person, not to mention make more of an impression on the journalist you are trying to gain coverage from. While you shouldn't nix social media, try to reach out during events by asking the host for their media list and personally connecting with journalists and bloggers. 
  2. Make every contact worthwhile: Press releases pitched over Twitter are equivalently received as spam. Reach out to contacts individually, and offer and "exclusive". Journalists are far more likely to pick up a story when they're the first and when the topic is the most newsworthy.
  3. Never make social media your crisis response bureau: Social media is a great tool during a crisis. It can help you to get the message out quickly and to a wide audience. But don't make Twitter your only crisis response. Gather up a crisis response team who will be able to create the most effective response plan possible, and who will be able to minimize mixed signals and negative press.
What are some old school PR tactics that you find yourself using in today's day and age? Do you have anything to add? Let us know!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Common Misconceptions of Public Relations

Being home for summer vacation means running into old family, friends, and acquaintances who love to ask me what I am studying at school. When I say public relations, I get a few different responses. Sometimes, it is a simply a vague, “oh, how nice,” and other times I get, “Oh, you are a spin doctor, all press is good press!” and more often I get, “Oh, so you are studying communications.” When I go on to explain what PR really is, the stigma and common misconceptions do not change.

The view of PR professionals as “spin doctors” is a hard common misconception to correct, especially with the TV show The Spin Crowd and other PR focused shows such as Kell on Earth and PR. The Spin Crowd follows Jonathan Cheban who is the head of Command PR as they open new offices in LA. This show portrays PR professionals as part of the “spindustry” who focus solely on large-scale parties, celebrities and their images. It even gets personal when Cheban pressures an employee to get plastic surgery to fit the Hollywood image. Kell on Earth focuses on powerhouse Kelly Cutrone, and further adds to the stereotypes of PR.  The employees at People’s Revolution wear only black, work high-end fashion shows, and have a jet set life, complete with celebrity connections and “A” list parties. Finally, the short-lived TV series PR needs no other explanation other than their tagline was, “You know they’re lying when their lips move”. This tagline alone reinforces the misconceptions that are often associated with PR, making it harder to explain with every TV show focused on the topic. 

When I say I am studying public relations, it is difficult to explain how I do not want to do fashion PR, I wear colors other than black and I do, in fact, tell the truth. I make sure to specify that it is not generic communications and truly identify what I want to do and the work it will entail - not planning celebrities’ parties and lying to get to the top.

How do you explain public relations to your family and friends? 

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Brianna Rooney

Saturday, June 23, 2012

PR Job Search Tactics

Finding the perfect job is no easy feat. It can be challenging finding ways to stand out, especially in an economy that has left thousands of qualified individuals jobless. However, the PR job outlook is strong. According to an infographic by Peak Communications Inc., there will be a 24 percent growth in PR jobs within the next six years. Even though more jobs are being created, there are many job-hunting tactics to help you land that new position in PR.
  1. Be Social Media Savvy. According to PR agency CEO, Jeff Domansky, 52 percent of new graduates found their first job through social media. Building a positive online presence through Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook will show employers how effective you are at using social media, a skill that is essential to any PR professional. It is important to be strategic while maintaining your social media accounts. Be mindful of foul language, TMI and posting inappropriate pictures that would poorly depict you to a possible employer.
  2. Be Proactive. As a job-hunter, it is important to stay on the daily grind of Google searching and job board scanning. The PR industry has targeted job boards such as the PRSA job center to help you with your job search. In addition to using job boards and Google, it is also helpful to look at individual company websites as well as search engines such as, and
  3. Network. Joining professional organizations such as PRSSA and PRSA will expose you to professionals in the PR world that can help grow your network. Acquiring mentors, industry contacts, allies and leaders in the public relations world is essential to propel you to success as a PR mogul.
  4. Do Your Research. If you have successfully landed an interview, it is imperative that you research the company and the person you will be interviewing with. The more you know about the company and job, the easier you will be able to show why you are the perfect candidate. Come prepared with specific questions to prove your interest in the position.
  5. Follow-Up. According to Peak Communications Inc.’s inforgraphic, 100 percent of interviewers expect a thank you note after a formal interview. A little handwritten thank you card goes a long way. It adds a personal touch and usually elicits a favorable response. 
Do you have any additional tips? Let us know!

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

Friday, June 22, 2012

Summer; Your Time To Get Ahead

Classes are out and you are just starting to get comfortable at your new internship or job. Between work, the beach and other travels you probably haven’t set much time aside to think about your plans for next fall. Although the fall semester seems far down the road in your summertime mindset, it is actually rapidly approaching. There is no better time than now to do a few simple things in your spare time to help advance your professional career during the summer season and to prepare you for the upcoming school year.
Here are some things to put on your summer to-do list that the PRSSA blog, Progressions, suggested:
-          Update your résumé: Being able to make changes and updates when you aren’t on a deadline to apply for an internship or job allows you to think clearly and spend more time than usual on perfecting it. You also may want to take this free time to gather portfolio materials and compile a list of your accomplishments.

-          Catch up on the news: Staying updated on industry news will help to keep you on top of current events and trends. This will be useful in your classes and when applying to jobs and internships.

-          Build your professional network: Be sure to meet up with individual co-workers for activities, such as lunch or coffee, outside of work if you are interning. If you didn’t get the chance to intern, make sure you stay up to date on PRSA/PRSSA events throughout the summer months to reach out to other PR professionals who may be end up being great connections for the future.

-          Fine tune your personal brand: Set up a blog, use online tools to easily showcase your résumé to future employers, create or update your LinkedIn account. Create a professional Twitter or Facebook page, seperate from your personal ones. 

How else are you preparing for the new school year this summer? Let us know!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

What To Do During Downtime At Your Internship.

While interning, you may find that there will be days which are slower than others. Sometimes your supervisor may be swamped with work, or there are just simply no assignments to be given to you. The question remains, what do you do when there is nothing to do? First, there is always something to do. Whenever you find yourself in a similar situation, here are some things to do:

 1. First, send a blast email out to your department asking if anyone needs help with any projects or assistance in any other way. Even if you don’t get any bites, it will still help establish a rapport amongst you and your fellow staff members. 

2. Next, peruse your organization’s or company’s website and social media sites. Become familiar with navigating the website and maybe even learn something new. Become more familiar with your fellow staff members and search for them on sites such as Linkedin to find out a little more about them. Additionally, see what‘s going on socially with your organization or company. Who or what are they following on Twitter and who is following them? Begin following any relevant organizations or people who they fellow. Does your organization or company have a Pinterest? If so, what are they pinning? Additionally, look at how they interact with their followers on these sites and how frequently they post. By doing this, you will not only improve personally as an aspiring public relations professional, but you will also be able to knowledgeably make recommendations for improvements to the sites. 

3. Finally, get organized. If your day revolves around a cubicle, like me, it can quickly get cramped and disorganized. Utilize the downtime to throw out irrelevant and out-of-date materials and to stock up on low supplies for your desk such as writing utensils, sticky notes and staples. If you are allowed to decorate your space, print off some pictures and make your space a little more personable.

 In all, there is always something to do even when it may not seem like there is. Following the suggestions above will help you continue to assimilate into your environment and will impress your supervisor by showing them your dedication to the company and your ability to work independently. 

Do you ever find yourself having downtime at your internship? If so, what do you do to keep busy?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Perfect Tweet

Although there is no magic formula for the perfect tweet, there are components that make a tweet the most effective. Research highlighted in PR Daily’s article, “The Anatomy of the Perfect Tweet,” suggests eight tips to the perfect tweet.

Contributors of the eight tips are researchers from UCLA and Hewlett-Packard’s HP Labs who released a nine-page essay on how to predict the popularity of a tweet with an 84 percent accuracy rate.
The eight tips are also comprised of social media guru, Dan Zarrella author of “The Social Media Marketing Book,” who spent nine months analyzing 45 million tweets.
1. Include link- Including a link in a tweet is proven three times more likely to get a hit. A link tells the audience that you are sharing more than a personal opinion but another piece of information.

2. Timely news- Tweets relating to current events are shown to be more popular among an audience.

3. Share niche news- Researchers at UCLA and HP Labs found that specific industries such as health news and celebrities were amongst the most popular topics on Twitter.

4. There’s no I in team- Using “You” instead of “I” can help your tweets get shared.

5. Caps lock off- USING CAPITALS in your Tweets are only a deterrent for an audience researchers discovered.

6. Leave a little wiggle room- By having your tweets less than 140 characters, it allows for other to retweet you and include a comment.

7. Punctuation points- Punctuation isn’t lost on the Twitter world. Colons and periods are used most often. However avoid using exclamation points as researchers found your audience can be misinterpreted.

8. It’s ok to name drop- Brands matter on Twitter. Researchers found that mentioning brands in a tweet such as Apple, allows for you and your audience to connect to trending stories and each other.
Next time you tweet think of these 8 tips to help build your feed.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Avoiding PRofessional Fashion Faux Pas

With the summer months upon us, staying fashionable in the office while maintaining a professional look becomes an even tougher act to balance. In public relations, it is important that the professional present his or herself in a way that makes the client and boss feel comfortable. No one wants to sacrifice personal style for work, and if you keep these simple tips in mind, you won't have to!

  • If you have to question it, don't wear it: If you're having doubts about how short that shirt really is or if a shirt is too bright for the office, don't wear it. Chances are that your concerns will quickly become someone else's concerns.
  • Less is more: Don't overdo it with large jewelry or huge statement pieces. Try smaller accessories that still allow you to add a personal flare without being overwhelming.
  • Say no to shear: Shear blouses are a very popular trend with the ladies this summer, but keep it covered in the office. PR professionals tend to deal with many different clients on a daily basis. Your shirt blouse may be find with one client, but may offend another who has a more conservative style.
  • Keep a 911 kit: Accidents happen every day. Make sure you have a backup blouse and pair of shoes nearby incase of spills, rips, or tears. You should also have a sewing kit and sample sized hygiene products store in our desk to avoid embarrassing situations.
  • Check with the boss: If you really aren't sure about what is and isn't appropriate office attire, follow your bosses lead. It doesn't get any more appropriate than the person in charge! Imitating the outfits of your boss or other superiors will keep you well within office dress code.
What fashion faux pas do you avoid in the office?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Crafting the Perfect Social Media Post

Social media is currently at the Mecca of public relations. It's almost impossible to avoid using social media, nor would it be a good idea to. But sometimes, crafting the perfect social media post can be challenging. When do I shorten? Link or no link? Abbreviations? Below are some times on crafting the perfect social media post:
  • Include links: The answer to the link or no link question should always be link. Oftentimes, social media posts that include links are most shared. Links also allow you to point to research or stats without explicitly having to say, research shows...just show them!
  • Opt for timely news: If you can't give breaking news, give news to your audience that is informational or interesting. Fun and interesting facts leads to more shares which means more notoriety for your client.
  • Calm down: Don't be the one who TWEETS IN ALL CAPS TO GET YOUR POINT ACROSS. Whether you capitalize or not, your point will still come across. I actually find myself skipping really obnoxious tweets, finding them to be less credible or professional.
  • Embrace verbosity, to an extent: When a tweet starts to get close to the word limit, people tend not to share it as much because they want to add their own two cents, and either are too lazy or unaware of how to shorten words to allow a personal comment. Either way, make it easier for your audience and try to keep it short and sweet.
Are you keeping these tips in mind when posting on your client's social media channels? Do you have any additional tips? Let us know!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Why Start a Blog?

In this digital-age, everyone has a blog. Blogs come in different styles, types and formats. As a hopeful PR professional, a blog can help jump start your career. While they take time and dedication, the end result is well worth it. Here are a few benefits to launching your own blog. 
  • Writing Examples: As long as your blog showcases a professional writing style, your personal blog can be used when applying to jobs and internships as writing samples. Choose the posts that have the most views or comments and it will be sure to impress your employer. 
  • Showing Knowledge: Your blog should discuss a topic or multiple topics that you are knowledgeable of and have experienced. If you aren’t familiar with the topic, be sure to include research to prove your points. 
  • Building Relationships: Blogs help bring like people together. If you’ve met someone who blogs, build a relationship with them and learn from each other. Blogger friends can help increase website traffic and connect you to other opportunities in the business. 
  • Resume Enhancer:  Blogging looks great on a resume. Most employers are attracted to candidates who blog and are digital-savvy. Make sure you discuss your blog when talking to other professionals in the industry. 
This guest blog post was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Andrea Jordan

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Only One-Third of Americans Follow a Brand on Social Media?

As a PR student, I am exposed to social media all the time and was shocked to see the findings of a recent study on PR Daily indicating that social media use is not as popular among the masses as one may think. The findings also showed that the American population may not be in tune with newer social media platforms. 
Some of the most shocking figures from the study included: 
  • Only 3 percent of Americans have ever “checked in” to a place
  • Just 33 percent of Americans have ever followed a brand on social media
  • 47 percent of Americans believe Facebook has the greatest influence of all social networks on buying decisions 
Seeing these statistics reinforces that social media is still just one outlet we should be using to get our messages out.  Social media seems to not have reached its maturity yet. The statistic showing that 47 percent of Americans think Facebook has the greatest influence over buying decisions also indicates that Americans may not be very in tune with newer social media platforms.  For now, while doing PR for any organization, we should identify members of our target audiences who may not use social media and use more traditional ways to get our messages out to them- maybe in years to come we will be able to reach all the stakeholders in our organizations solely through social media, but for now social media alone is definitely not enough.

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Kyra Mazurek

Friday, June 15, 2012

Do I Really Need An Internship?

Needing an internship and wanting an internship are two very different things. Most students shy away from even thinking about the dreaded word until late in their college years. For PR students, however, I have learned that internships are essential in starting a career in the field, however you should want the job – not just apply because you think you need it.
For one, internships allow for you to gain valuable experience. You are given the opportunity to apply what you are learning in the classroom to a real world situation. Not all internships are based around running errands, making copies and fetching the coffee.
Internships are also great resume builders. This is the biggest perk I have found in completing an internship. And it goes beyond merely putting the name of the company you worked for on a piece of paper! Internships become great talking points in future interviews and it is always impressive when you can talk about what you have learned.
Some people have asked me if I think internships are still worthwhile. My answer is always yes. According to an infographic based off a 2012 survey from, now more than ever, internships are likely to lead you to a full-time job offer.
Here are some important findings about interning that Online Colleges uncovered:
·         College credit for internships are provided at most colleges – make sure you fill out all of the required paperwork
·         Internships allow students to decide if the industry is right for them – but don’t base your decision off of one experience; every internship is different
·         In 2011, more than half of internships were paid (about 52%) – unfortunately most PR interns are unpaid but things are looking up!
·         Social networking sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) were pointed out as the least effective method of recruitment – this means get off the computer and look to your school’s career center for upcoming job fairs

The time to apply for fall internships is fast approaching! Start looking for your opportunity now so you are ahead of the game.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Interning, the Beginning.

The first day of an internship can be both exciting and quite nerve provoking. If read my last blog post, "Closing Night, Interning at a Theater", then you are aware that I recently ended an internship and have begun the transition into my next internship. Before I have begun each my internships, I have followed a mental checklist. In order to prepare for the first day of your next internship, here are a few suggestions:

1. Become familiar with the company. Understand the chain of command in which you will be working and specifically who you will be reporting to. Also, explore and become familiar with your company or organizations website. The look and feel of a company's website says a lot about who they are and the atmosphere of the company. Finally, set up a Google Alert using the company's name as the keyword. Anytime new stories, breaking news, or articles come out about the company, Google will automatically send them to you in an email.

2. Rehearse your commute. Arriving late on your first day sets a negative tone and gives a bad first impression. Whether you are walking, biking, driving or utilizing public transportation, be sure to look up directions that are easy to follow and understand and times of trains and buses if you are utilizing public transportation. If you are taking public transportation, practice walking from your stop to your office and time yourself. Also, consider wearing the shoes you intend on wearing your first day during your practice run of your commute. While those cute new pumps might go nicely with your first day outfit, realizing you have to walk fifteen blocks both ways might make them less appealing.

3. Prepare your outfit ahead of time. Make sure you understand your dress code and follow it. If you are unsure, feel free to email your supervisor before your first day. In general though, it is always best to dress more conservatively on your first couple of days until you can get a feel for what is deemed appropriate in your specific work environment. Once you have selected an appropriate outfit, make sure it is free of any wrinkles and stains. Also, note if your outfit is dry clean only and leave an appropriate amount of time to take it to the dry cleaners if deemed necessary. Finally, less is more when it comes to accessories. Whatever you have on, take one thing off. Let your personality shine through and not your bling.

4. Be prepared to do paperwork. Contact your human resource department or supervisor and inquire as to what kind of documentation you will be required to submit. In general, you usually will need your social security card, two forms of identification, your checking account and routing number if you will be compensated and any additional paperwork you are required to fill-out for your university or college if applicable.

5. Finally, come prepared with questions and reach out. Draft up questions prior to your first day which can help you fill-in the gaps to answers you could not conclude from perusing the company website or supplemental materials. Contact your supervisor prior to your first day and ask if there was a previous intern. If so, see if you can get into contact with them and use them as a resource. Finally, draft an introduction email and either send it out prior to your start date or on your first day introducing yourself and offering your assistance to anyone in your department or to anyone in the company who may need it. Although the gesture may be small, it will set you apart and may even open up opportunities for you later.

So when starting your next internship, consider following these easy steps and set yourself up for a successful internship experience from start to finish.

Have you ever prepared for an internship in advance? If so, what preparations did you make?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

LA vs NY

Have big dreams of the big city? Los Angeles and New York are frequent vision cities for future PR professionals. If you’re thinking of making the big move, get the facts. One of the foremost things you can do is read, read, read.
Take a look at local and national news; see how your dream city stacks against other major metropolitan areas such as Chicago or Atlanta.
A major thing to consider before moving is the cost of living. Go on a pre-house hunt on Craigslist and see hypothetically what a room would cost.
Another great thing you can do as a student is intern or study abroad in the city of your choice. Temple offers the most premier cities that host internship and study abroad opportunities.

More information on both Temple’s LA and New York programs.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

PRotecting Your Morals

Public relations professionals seek to represent their clients in the best way possible. Most PR pros work long hours and make many sacrifices just to see their client's vision come to fruition. But when working with clients, does everyone really deserve representation? While not every client is ideal to work with, are there some that should be denied representation completely?

Public relations firms, like any other business, have to make a profit in order to function. Sometimes, these profits will come from less than picture perfect clients. However, that firm will also have to protect its own image and reputation. By representing an unethical or immoral client (such as a leader who brutalizes his or her people), the firm representing them can easily become associated with their clients image. All professionals and businesses are only as good as their reputations, and maintaining that reputation must always be at the top of their agendas.

Here are 4 tips to maintain your morals while practicing PR:

1. Know your values- Decided beforehand what you will and will not stand for. If you don't know what your own beliefs are, you may find yourself in a situation you can't get out of.

2. Know your workplace- Does the firm you practice in have a history of working with clients that go against your values? Make sure you do research on where you work and who you work with to avoid finding yourself in a conflicting situation.

3. Know your client- Before taking on a new client, be sure to have done some background research. Remember, who you represent can be a direct representation of who you are.

4. Know what's happening- If you don't know what's going on in the world, staying wary of unrepresentable clients may be hard. Stay up to date and make sure the people you work with are informed as well. A lack of information is never helpful.

What do you think about working with clients who go against a professional's ethics?

Monday, June 11, 2012

LinkedIn, Locked Out

On Wednesday LinkedIn users everywhere got the news that over 6.5 million user passwords leaked online. A russian forum user announced that he had hacked LinkedIn, and subsequently uploaded the millions of passwords online. The encryption LinkedIn used to safeguard its passwords was thought to be pretty secure, but it was the manner in which they stored it that caused the infiltration. LinkedIn stored the passwords as unsalted hashes, basically meaning that it made it easier and faster for hackers to crack the passwords.

Following confirmation of the hack, LinkedIn advised users to change their passwords as an extra security measure. If you have not yet changed yours, you can get instructions on how to do so here. Users who were affected by the security breach, however, have already been notified via email.

In the wake of the security breach, LinkedIn has been making changes to its security system, now transition into one with both hashed and salted passwords. During the ordeal, LinkedIn was wise to keep its users informed, in proper crisis communications fashion. The professional social media outlet utilized Twitter with up-to-date news and was quick to respond following reports of the hacking.

Does the password hack affect your feelings toward LinkedIn? Why or why not? Let us know!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Social Media During AIDS Education Month

This summer, I am interning at The Wilma Theater.  The show that the Wilma is currently putting on is Angels in America.  For those who have not seen the HBO miniseries, Angels tackles the serious subject of HIV-AIDS from a theatrical stand-point.  In quite the coincidence, Angels at the Wilma is being performed during Philadelphia’s Aids Education month, which is lead by Philadelphia Fight.  Philadelphia Fight is an AIDS service organization that provides care, education, advocacy and research on potential treatments and vaccines to Philadelphia.  

Philadelphia Fight has taken to social media during AIDS Education month to promote the events they will be holding during June.  Through their Facebook page, Fight has consistently been promoting events that have been coming up and encouraging discussion of events.  They have also been promoting an event called, Update Your Status Recently?  When someone gets tested for HIV, many people call it finding their status on HIV.  By using a play on words, Fight has created a campaign, targeted to a younger audience, that uses the idea of  updating a Facebook status to updating an individual’s HIV status.  This campaign is being used to urge individuals to get tested on National HIV Testing Day, by encouraging those who get tested to ‘check-in’ at a participating testing location on June 27th.  Those who participate will receive a free slice of pizza from 13th Street Pizza and a free drink ticket to a local bar.  They will also be entered in a raffle to win bigger prizes such as a flat screen TV. The ad being used for National HIV Testing Day looks like the homepage of Facebook.

Fight has also recently joined YouTube.  The first video they posted highlights the 2011 AIDS Education Month by showing speakers who are HIV positive share stories and speak about Fight.  By posting this in March of 2012, they raised awareness and interest for the upcoming month of June, when AIDS Education month would occur again.  Their most recent video was the “Update Your Status Recently?” campaign.  It promoted the event and encouraged individuals to participate in National HIV Testing Day.  Fight also has a Twitter handle, @PhillyFight, where they have been promoting AIDS Education month and continually promoting Fight research and HIV facts.  To see more social media that Philadelphia Fight is doing to promote AIDS Education month, visit their website at

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Jackie Grillo

Friday, June 8, 2012

Mickey Mouse Marketing

Walt Disney Co. Chairman and CEO Robert Iger announced this past Tuesday that starting in 2015, Disney will ban all junk-food advertising on its children’s television and radio programs that do not meet certain nutritional guidelines.

Disney will be the first major media company to set a food and beverage advertising standard on kid-focused programming. Food and beverage products will need to meet pre-determined nutrition criteria for limiting calories and reducing saturated fat, sodium and sugar when the new regulations are put into effect.

Another aspect of the campaign that hasn’t gotten much media attention is how the Walt Disney Company is working to brand health.

Disney introduced the “Mickey Check” on Tuesday as well. It is described as a an icon in the shape of Mickey Mouse that will “call out nutritious food and menu items sold in stores, online and at restaurant food venues at its U.S. Parks and Resorts.” This so-called “tool” will eventually be featured on Disney licensed food products in your local grocery store.

Although this is an extremely smart business move, I can't help but think the program may be going a little too far. Kids are already bombarded with advertising messages in so many aspects of their everyday life. Now healthy eating, which is a serious public health issue looking at childhood obesity rates, is going to be directly connected to Disney consumer products. It makes me question whether the root of the campaign stems from a true concern over children’s health or is it just another way for Disney to make a profit?

How do you feel about this Mickey Mouse marketing? Is this a case of smart marketing going too far? Let us know!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Closing Night, Interning at a Theater.

As my internship comes to an end, I have reflected on how I have grown and what I have learned during my time at The Wilma Theater. My internship experience at the Wilma has varied greatly from all of the other professional experience I have aquired. From photo shoots, to working with actors, to press kits, to hanging up reviews, interning at a non-profit theater is an experience in and of itself.

For those of you who haven't heard of The Wilma Theater, the Wilma is a non-profit theater located in the heart of Center City, Philadelphia. The Wilma is known for bringing innovative plays to the community that one wouldn't find at a 'traditional' theater. This is one of the many reasons why I love the Wilma.

At the Wilma I served as the Public Relations intern and worked directly under the Public Relations Manager, Johnny Van Heest. Since my department consisted of only my manager and myself, I had the rare opportunity to help create original content such as press releases and fact sheets.  One advantage I have found working in small theaters and organizations is that you will have many opportunities to work on projects in various departments and areas throughout the organization. The work was fastpaced, and challenging but I worked hard because I loved who and what I was working for. The payoff for all of my hardwork came when my manager, while on vaccation, allowed me to manage and create original content for the Wilma's social media sites. This opportunity is one that I would not have been afforded had I interned at a large corporation or even at a  for-profit theater.

My time at the Wilma was immensely rewarding and I gained a vast amount of invaluable experience. It was truely a pleasure to intern at an organization with such talented and dedicated staff and artistic talent. Although my time as an intern has come to an end, I will remain an avid advocator, Facebook friend, and patron. Thank you. Additionally, if you haven't seen the Wilma's current production of Angels in America, I highly recommend attending!

So, when looking for your next internship, think outside the box! Have you ever interned at a theater before? If so, what was your experience?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Think You’re A Good Fit For PR?

Most people don’t know they want to go into the PR industry till they’re actually in it. If you’re like me you thought planning extravagant events and being the next Samantha Jones was all that the PR industry consisted of. Reality set in my freshman year when my predecessor and mentor, Niki Ianni, explained that PR has more aspects than one might think.

PR is a multi-faceted industry that is rapidly changing; even the definition of Public Relations has been up for debate due to its vastness. So do you think PR is right for you?  An original quiz titled, “You Know You’re in PR When…” by PR Daily can give you a really good idea if the PR industry is right for you.
  1. You dream about headlines articles in your sleep
  2. You want to work 10 days a week
  3. You secretly hate it when emails aren't in AP Style
  4. You get scolded for constantly collecting phone numbers, emails and random snippets of information when you're out and about with friends
  5. You talk, a lot, about the communication teams for various politicians, and cite everything they are doing wrong.
  6. You start analyzing people who are being interviewed by the media.
  7. The word "spin" makes you cringe

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

How To Keep Up With PR Over The Summer

Summer is now in full swing, and it’s a time for old friends, vacation, and relaxation, but also a time for work. While many of my fellow public relations friends have taken on internships in the city or are studying abroad, I have returned to my hometown where I am working at a local restaurant. Despite my unfortunate summer circumstances, I have brainstormed a few different ways for me, and others in a similar situation, to stay up to date with the public relations world over summer break!
  • Network Network Network- We all know that networking is one of the most important aspects of public relations. Don’t underestimate your ability to network in your hometown. Talk to everyone you know: your old teachers, family friends, and your bosses. You never know who will be able to help you out with something in the future. 
  • Stay informed: Over the summer, make sure you are staying informed on what is going on in the public relations industry. Subscribe to big PR websites like to stay in the loop of the latest public relations news. Staying connected will allow you to be well informed on public relations issues as well as give you topics to discuss in your classes when you return to school in the fall.
  • Expand your Social Media: Getting involved with social media is a great way to keep up with public relations. Over the summer do what you can to expand your personal social media platform. Follow major public relations firms and professionals on twitter. Try experimenting with new social media outlets like Pintrest.  Create a blog on Tumblr and write about your public relations experiences. Develop a Linkedin profile to connect with other professionals that you may know. 
This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Lexi Drexler

Why PR Will Never Die

From the outside looking in, public relations doesn’t seem like a very necessary field. Most of my family and friends already have certain perceptions about what a PR practitioner does, and most of those perceptions include posting to Twitter and Facebook. While these may very well be in the job descriptions of many PR practitioners, the buck most certainly does not end there. PR may seem like something anyone can do, but like any other field, it is a craft that must be mastered, perfected, and is crucial to brands and businesses everywhere. Here are five reasons the field of public relations will never die:
  1. PR is about relationships: All PR campaigns have one thing in common: they seek to build or strengthen a relationship between a product and a producer. If the public does not feel connected to what a company puts out, they will not have a reason to engage with it.
  2. PR helps brands show who they really are: It can often be hard for consumers to separate the true intentions of a brand from the CEOs and executives who head them. PR campaigns help remind the consumers why the brand is there in the first place - to provide a service for them.
  3. PR professionals understand communication: The best brand, product, or idea is nothing if it cannot be pitched properly to the public. PR pros know how to take facts and make them relevant and accessible from everyone to media personal to toddlers and parents.
  4. PR helps brands improve products: A lot of PR involves putting a message out and seeing how the public responds to it. PR pros can take the time to find out the likes and dislikes of an audience, and then use those attitudes to adjust the brand’s products.
  5. PR is subtle: A public relations campaign does not have to be up-close and personal. PR pros are looking to build life-long relationships with the public, not just wow them once. Finding out what the public wants and getting it to them over a long period of time is a skill that will pass the tests of time.

Monday, June 4, 2012

PR Writing: Revamping Your Quotes

A big part of writing the most effective press release you possibly can, is including quotes. Quotes are your chance to back up your words with a credible source and to even give a more personal touch, something that is not normally encouraged in news writing. Check out the following tips to improve your quotes:

Trash those lazy verbs: There is a kind of science behind including quotes; word them too corporate and it sounds contrived. But use buzzwords like revolutionary, virtually and etc. will annoy journalists. “We expect our new, revolutionary technology to not only leverage, but virtually sweep out competitors.” This quote serves no purpose in a press release, besides to take up useless space. Instead, try rewording your quote as: “We have heard our customer’s needs for a more reliable update to our mobile app. In response, we have fixed any bugs in our system and are confident in our title as the leading competitor in the mobile app market.” This way, you have both met your customer’s needs, as well as delivered it in a straightforward, understandable manner.

Keep it conversational: No one likes a phony. One of the biggest problems with quotes coming from the head honchos of major companies is that the audience knows that execs have “people” do write things for them. After all, who says “We expect our new, revolutionary technology to not only leverage, but virtually sweep out competitors?” Keeping your language conversational will foster a more trustworthy connection between your client and their audience.

Step up your interviewing skills: It’s hard to grab great quotes when you’re not interviewing your subject thoroughly enough. Make sure to hit the following points:

  • Anecdotes: a real-life example will bring a personal touch to your release and often catches the attention of readers. 
  •  Metaphors: how does your client’s product compare to something that is familiar to your audience? 
  • Listen for crossroads and epiphanies: does your client have a rags to riches story? A journey to reach where they are now? 
Do you ever have trouble finding good quotes to include in your release? Do you have any tips to add? Let us know!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Communication: The Generation Gap

These days it’s hard to get by without using technology in your everyday life. Email has become a staple in the business world, and it’s hard to imagine how people ever got along without it.  Text messaging seems to be following suit. Many people prefer to send a text rather than make a phone call.  Text messaging might be affecting more than just a person’s social skills and their ability to speak on the phone.  Text message lingo has been creeping its way into the professional world for some time now, and it’s something that needs to be addressed before emails between business partners are littered with OMG’s and LOL’s.

It has gotten to the point where teachers are now having to tell their students to specifically avoid “text-speak” in their papers.  This doesn’t reflect highly on the kids who are growing up to be the future of our country.  Another issue that has arisen is the lack of public speaking skills in young adults.  Every other word is “uh,” “um,” or “like”.  I believe this can be traced back to technology hampering our social skills by taking away the need for verbal conversation.

The business world is still run by people who grew up in a time where technology wasn’t popular. They had three TV channels and playing outside was more important than playing a video game.  They had to use the telephone, write letters with good grammar, and speak to adults in a professional and respectful manner.  Nowadays, people are starting professional emails with “hey!” and ending them with emoticons.  I’m all for the betterment of mankind through the use of technology, but there is a time and place for LOL’s and JK’s, and it certainly isn’t in the business world.  Young adults need to learn to keep their text speak between them and their friends because the adults who are reading their resumes and their emails are not going to find them as amusing as their peers do.

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member London Faust

Friday, June 1, 2012

Typos, Do They Really Matter?

In the era of tiny keyboards and social media, flying thumbs and emoticons, typos are inevitable, but do they really matter?

For any type of public relations professionals that answer is yes. For example, take a look at the recent Mitt Romney campaign misspell disaster. The campaign team unveiled a new iPhone app that led off with the phrase, “A Better Amercia.” To no one's surprise, the Twitterverse had a field day.

If you are trying to make it in the PR and business world you need to learn how to communicate efficiently and most importantly, make yourself clear. Sloppy mistakes made when communicating can dilute your message or worse, seriously diminish your credibility.

Social media and texting have procured bad grammar habits and a serious reliance on auto-correct. Hastily written typos occur all the time in this realm. Unless you are conversing with your friends this type of communication is not necessarily bad; however, you never know who may be reading that misspelled Tweet and forming a negative opinion about your writing ability. The most important tip to keep in mind is to try and keep messages succinct and spelled correctly.

Here are some tips to minimize typos in your personal communication:

Read it out loud. When my fingers are flying typing an e-mail, there are times when my fingers don’t catch up to my keyboard. Words like “from” turn into “form” and won’t be caught by spell-checkers. They leave a sloppy impression with the reader. Take a minute to read your draft out loud, which will help catch any words that shouldn’t be there or any that should.

Borrow another pair of eyes. If it’s important, if you’re tired or in a rush, ask someone else to read what you wrote. If I’m sending a critical e-mail or if I’m dealing with a sticky situation, I want to make sure I’m typo-free so that my authentic message comes through.

Separate social media from the rest of your writing. Remember there’s a time and place for LOLs, #hashtags and abbreviations. Birthday wishes and comments about weekend adventures don’t fall into the same category as business communications.
How you communicate speaks just as loudly as the actual content of your message. Regardless of technology trends and busy schedules, a few extra seconds can reinforce a great personal brand.