Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Aldo Gives Free Shoes to Curious Pedestrians

Feet gross me out but if it meant free shoes, why not? In Israel, major shoe retail Aldo, tested pedestrians’ curiosity by placing a welcome mat in the middle of a street that read these instructions:
  1. Stand here on our welcome mat
  2. Take a picture of your shoes on Instagram
  3. Tag your pic #aldo
  4. Write your shoes size
  5. Ring my bell

…and a surprise of a new pair of shoes from arrives rolling up to you. The bell rang 457 times and over 500 pictures were loaded to Instagram. An alarming number of 798,385 total interactions were recoded that day.
The implementation of social media with guerilla marketing makes for an effective tactic. The first guerilla marketing viral tactic incorporated with social media was QR codes. Comparatively this is more interactive which is where brands have an opportunity to distinguish themselves. Not only does guerilla marketing paired with social media measure awareness but also engagement, request and a return. 
Coca-Cola was at the forefront of this interaction with their “Open Hapiness” campaign which set up vending machines at the National University of Singapore that traded fee hugs for Coca-Cola drinks.
Would you take a picture of your feet for free schoes? How about hug a vending  for a free Coke?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Brainstorming Made Easy

One of my favorite aspects of PR is the creative side, where you get to really map out fresh innovative ideas for new and exciting projects. Whenever taking on a new client, it is likely that you will have to brainstorm ideas and tactics to help the clients meet its goals. This may seem like a piece of cake, but in reality, brainstorming can get a bit tricky. Especially when you are trying to collaborate thoughts within a team.

Clients are looking for you to come up with ideas that are even more outrageous and creative than the ones they could come with on their own - that's why they hired you! When brainstorming new ideas for a client, keep these tips in mind to stay focused on task and yield great results:

Start General - When thinking up fresh ideas, start with general phrases and thoughts and then narrow things down. Something may be too broad to attempt to execute, but it may spark an idea for something else. You also never know when a client will be more drawn to a bigger, more outrageous idea.

Write Everything Down - The power of word association is not one to be doubted. Write down any word or phrase that comes to mind. Seeing the words on paper makes it easier to trigger new thoughts which may prove useful.

Fill in Missing Links - What is your client lacking or asking you to bring to the table? Write that down, and use that to spark new thoughts. It's your job to help the client make up for the areas it lacks in.

Forget the Budget - This may sound like PR suicide, but while you're brainstorming the one thing that will prevent your creative juices from flowing is constantly considering numbers. Since you are starting with general ideas anyway, as you narrow your list down you will be able to more realistically consider the client's budget. You never know, one of your more extravagant ideas may inspire the client to reconsider their funding options!

What tips do you have to brainstorm effectively? Let us know!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Seeing the World Through Sandy Colored Glasses

If you have ever taken a public relations class, you know that weather trumps any aspect of newsworthiness. If you are sending out a pitch to the local paper about your company's new website this week, think again. Sandy has officially taken over.

Rumors have taken over the news, when is Sandy coming? Where? For how long? Grocery stores have been rampaged and raided and people are preparing to hibernate, potentially without electricity, until mid-week.

However, for companies that sometimes depend on the weather (e.g. power companies, hospitals, schools, etc.), bad weather can provide an opportunity to spread awareness. Con Edison, for example, was recently awarded with PR Daily's Best Use of Social Media in a Crisis distinction. Last summer, during Hurricane Irene, Con Edison was in a bind. The company, which provides service to over 9.2 million people, had to restore power to its customers in a timely manner which required interacting with its many customers. To do so, Con Edison took to Twitter. By providing consistent updates, responding to rumors and issues and remaining engaged, Con Edison set a great example for similar organizations worldwide.

Have you seen a company that has set the bar for disaster/crisis response? Let us know below!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Pros and Cons of Live Tweeting

Today in a world run by social media, especially in PR, live tweeting seems to be taking over events of all sorts. Many PR industry pros are taking advantage of this new phenomenon to promote their events and even provide a hashtag for tweeters to use at their event. 

Live tweeting is great way to engage audience members as well as endorse an event and their company. Tweeters are able to share quotes, photos and event details to all their followers. Also, live tweeting allows one to connect with followers, realize similar hobbies and opinions as well as stimulate conversation. Although this new conversation can be beneficial, there is also a problem with live tweeting.

With PR pros constantly connected to social media and their cell phones, live tweeting can easily become another distraction. When one is using their phone to tweet, they are more likely to check text messages, emails and other tweets, taking away from the speaker and event. In addition, when one is furiously tweeting and typing away, you miss much of what is being said. One could miss an important fact, message or quote because you are looking at your phone. When everyone is looking at their phone, there is no focus on the speaker and it comes off rude, even if people are tweeting quotes.

Since it is presidential debate season, we see millions of tweets surrounding the debates, but it begs the question, how much of the debate are you actually watching? Are you watching just to tweet, to show your followers you are “engaged” and to tweet at others, or are you watching to become informed on the issues. Live tweeting takes away one’s engagement to an event or TV segment.

Live tweeting has its pros and cons, but when does live tweeting go too far?

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

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Celebrity Political Endorsements: A Hindrance or Help to Presidential Candidates?

Celebrity endorsements have become increasingly more influential in our celebrity-fixated culture. Everywhere you look it seems that celebrities are rallying behind some product or brand. In light of the upcoming Presidential Election, those celebrity endorsements have turned political, as famous individuals are vocally supporting the Presidential candidates. Beyonce, Jay-Z and George Clooney are well-known Obama campaign supporters while Romney has received political endorsements from Clint Eastwood, Donald Trump and Cindy Crawford. Celebrity endorsements have proven to be successful when it comes to product marketing, but when these celebrities and politics mix- are these endorsements helping or hurting the candidates?

The audience a celebrity appeals to can potentially have a great impact on how those individuals vote. If a particular celebrity appeals to young individuals, these potential new voters may actively seek more information about the candidate and be more motivated to head to the polls. How the youth of America votes has been regarded as of crucial importance in this upcoming election. Candidates are employing several tactics in order to secure those young votes and celebrity endorsements can be a way to do just that.

On the other hand, the public’s perception of an endorser can adversely affect the candidate. It is no coincidence that brands often pick celebrities who are relatively scandal-free to be a spokesperson for their product. For example, Lindsay Lohan, a recent Romney supporter, has been a controversial endorser as her public image is marred by a party-girl reputation and numerous stints in rehab. The credibility of a celebrity can be reflective upon the candidate.
Celebrities have been more vocal about their political affiliation in recent years than ever before. Among the many factors that motivate us to vote for a certain candidate, should celebrity endorsements be one or is it already? Let us know what you think!

This guest blog post was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Cara Graeff.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Live Tweeting: The "Active Audience" Has Taken On A Whole New Meaning

I'll admit it; I have become competely obssessed with Twitter, and I am not the only one. Recently, Twitter has been blowing up the social media scene. More social media users are turning away from other popular forms, notably Facebook, and dedicating themselves to Twitter. Ever since Twitter blew up the social media scene in 2006, tweeting has become more socially acceptable in formal settings.

"Live tweeting" has become a new term in recent years. Maybe it is because the new generation has an addiction to knowing what is happening at every second of every day or perhaps it is the thrill of updating the world on the latest gossip. I see this "live tweeting" trend in its full form every week at our PRSSA meetings. It started becoming a trend at our meetings sometime last school year and has gotten even bigger now that more of our members are Twitter fiends (a.k.a. me).

 Our Temple University chapter meetings usually last about an hour. After a full day of classes, it seems like a long time to dedicate your full attention to. To keep members interested, engaged and active, encourage live tweeting!

Here are three tips on how you can incorporate live tweeting into your any type of programming or presentation:

1. Choose a hashtag that relates to your event specifically. For Temple University PRSSA meetings, we use #TemplePRSSA. If attendees consistently use the hastag, it will make it easier for others to recognize your organization or event.

2. If you have a speaker or presenter who is on Twitter, encourage your members or attendees to tag them in their live tweets.

4. Track the hashtag. See what your members or attendees are saying, and retweet them as encouragement, too.

With live tweeting, you never know the conversations that could be started. It is a great tool for getting an audience involved and egaged.

How do you use live tweetting? Let us know!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Americans Would Rather Fire Their Bosses Than Recieve a Raise

A survey conducted by psychologist Michelle McQuaid author of “Five Reasons to Tell Your Boss To Go F**k Themselves”, revealed that 65% of Americans would rather get rid of their bosses than receive a raise (and in this economy!?).

McQuid comments that the results reveal that Americans are unhappy in the workplace and 55% say they would be more successful if they got along better with their supervisor.

Although an unhappy workplace is comprised of more than just a horrible boss such as  co-works and job tasks, the survey also reveals that employees who dislike their bosses take an average of 15 more sick days per year than other workers which results in $360 billion dollars a year in lost productivity.
To be a good boss it takes time, effort and experience. Understanding your employees and efficiently utilizing their strengths is the best way to start a good relationship. As the Firm Director of PRowl, I am always looking for better ways to connect with my staff and gain their trust. After reading this article, I asked my staff to take an anonymous survey to help gain a better underatnding of how I can provide a safe work enviornmnet and be a better leader. The results will help me the determine the changes I need to make and provide an opportunity to listen to my staff.
Other statistics from the survey include:
  • When asked about the impact a bad supervisor could have on their health. 73% of those in their 20s and 30s said their health is at stake, while only 40% of those 50 and older felt that way
  • 31% of employees polled feel uninspired and unappreciated by their boss, and close to 15% feel downright miserable, bored and lonely.
  • Only 36% of survey respondents say they are happy at their job.
How can your work environment be changed for the better? We want to know!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Blogging 102: Advertisements and Sponsorships

So you've done it, you've started your own blog and thus far it has been a great success - congratulations. Now the big question is: what's next? Blogging, like any other social platform, is not just meant to be a means of pushing out information at readers. Blogging is a great way to grow and strengthen your network. An awesome way to do this is through the implementation of sponsorships and advertisements.

A blog sponsorship usually takes place between two independent blogger. The two bloggers will often exchange links or "link buttons" to display on one another's blog for an agreed upon period of time. Sponsorship usually does not indicate any form of monetary incentive. Through a sponsorship program, you not only get to share credible and useful websites with your readers, you are also having readers from other blogs pushed to your site. This is a great way to expand on viewership while interacting and networking with other bloggers.

Advertisements can come from a variety of sources. Many independent bloggers will establish relationships with outside companies to create a monetary gain from their blog. This can happen in various forms: placing advertisements in a viewable spot on the blogger's site, drafting sponsored posts that promote a brand or product, or even placing links to other blogs on your site for an agreed upon period of time in exchange for money. Advertisements are a great way to turn a hobby into a new means of income, as long as the addition of ads does not interrupt the integrity of your blog. Your goal is to gain money, not lose readers.

Only you as a blogger will know when you are ready to take this next leap even deeper into the blogosphere. Keep in mind that these things take time to come. You should already have a steady blog following, regular updates, and some interaction with other bloggers before you reach out to gain sponsors or advertisers. No matter what, alway remember that you are there to serve the readers. If you drive them away from your blog with constant sponsored posts or website plugs, you may lose the following you worked so hard to gain.

Have you ever considered adding these contributions to your blog? Let us know how it worked for you!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Follow Up Phone Call Basics

This past week, my internship was gearing up for the opening of American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition. In preparation, we held a press preview luncheon, inviting the press to learn more about the exhibit and check it out before it opened to the public. One of the tasks I was given for the day was to call a few stations to see if they were going to be able to make it to the luncheon. Internally, I froze a little bit. I've always felt awkward talking on the phone for some reason. I sweat, stutter and stammer when I talk to anyone besides my friends and family. Embarrassing. But after  I finished with the follow-up calls, I was able to come away with increased confidence using the tips below:

Write down what you want to say: It sounds juvenile, but if it helps, go for it! I know that when I get on the phone I talk too fast, so I make sure to write down what exactly I want to say. This way I don't leave out anything important.
Be quick: When you call the news desk, they won't have time to chit chat for hours. Just give the basics of your event i.e. the who, what, where and when.
Be prepared: Almost every time they will ask you to resend your press release or media alert. Even if you know they received it, be prepared to press send so its fresh in their inbox and easily accessible.
Maintain your composure: It can be intimidating when someone answers your call with a no-nonsense, "News Desk," as a greeting. Try to keep your cool and speak in an even manner. Don't worry! The press are people too and they need you just as much as you need them.

Do you have any additional tips for follow up calls? Let us know?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Impress Employers by Asking All the Right Questions

“Do you have any questions for me?” is something that nearly every employer asks at the end of an interview.  My response is usually something along the lines of “nope, I think you pretty much covered everything,” and then there is a rather uncomfortable silence where I know I should have asked something, anything.  I have always been told that asking questions impresses employers and shows that you are very interested in the position and eager to get to know the company.  However when the time comes, my mind just draws a blank.  I recently read an article ( that has officially alleviated that problem and has given me great questions to ask during an interview.  These questions are:
  1. What do you expect me to accomplish in the first 60 to 90 days?
  2. What are the common attributes of your top performers?
  3. What are a few things that really drive results for the company?
  4. What do employees do in their spare time?
  5. How do you plan to deal with major challenges?
These questions show the employer that you are eager to get to know the company.  They also show that you want to meet the company’s expectations right from the start.  By asking what employees do in their free time you get a sense of what kind of relationship people within the company have with each other.  All of these questions give the interviewee a sense of what the company is like and how they will fit in.  Asking questions also show the potential employer that you are really invested in the job and you want to know as much as possible to have a high potential for success.  Employers will appreciate that you are curious about their company and they will be impressed that you actually have questions to ask them.

What questions do you ask potential employers after an interview? Let us know!

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

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Science of Guerrilla Marketing

Guerrilla marketing, also known as low cost publicity strategies, is a popular technique that is used by many industry professionals in todays society. There are many different strategies that are used by guerrilla marketers in order to raise awareness of their issue, brand, or group. Below are a few of the popular techniques that are commonly used by today’s top publicists: 

Street Teams:
Street teams are a common marketing technique often used by music industry professionals and other entertainment professionals. The goal of a street team is to get people interested in a product, person, or group using their current fans. Most street teams establish connections with fans in all major cities. They then ask the fans to perform simple publicity stunts  to create exposure. These acts consist of social media blasts, putting up posters, passing out stickers, and attending events and shows. 

Graffiti is used as a tool to gain publicity for organizations and companies. Companies hire graffiti artists to create graffiti that promotes their brand, organization, or product. Many companies often choose locations of high traffic so that their graffiti gains as much exposure possible. 

Sticker Bombing: 
Sticker bombing is a popular technique that is often used in political campaigns. This technique involves creating a sticker and placing it all over areas in mass quantity. A somewhat popular example of this technique was the KONY 2012 campaign. Hundreds of thousands of activists for this organization placed stickers and posters all over major cities to make citizens aware of this issue. 

Have you ever heard of or used guerrilla marketing techniques? If so, let us know which one and how it worked for you!

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Lexi Drexler

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Nitty Gritty Numbers of a News Release

In recent years, news releases, also known as press releases, have been said to be on the downfall. The more and more the digital age takes over, the less and less people are writing. Although the need for the traditional news releases may be coming to and end, aspiring PR pros still need to learn the basics. 

Formatting a news release, to me, is the most difficult part of the process for writing a news release. There are many different ways to format a news release. To get a a better understanding of the traditional news release format, keep these numbers in mind:

1. A news release should only focus on one topic.

2. Headlines should be a maximum 8 to 10 words. 

3. Use 25 words  or less in the first line of a lead paragraph.

4. A lead paragraph should be no more than three to five lines.

5. The boiler plate should be 100 words or less.

6. The maximum length of a standard press release should be 400 words or less. 

Can you think of any numbers to keep in mind when writing a standard news releases? Let us know!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Disconnected at Conference

No tweeting, no posting, and no checking email; that's how my weekend at conference began after my phone was stolen. As an aspiring public relations professional and National PRSSA conference attendee, you would think this was an earth shattering experience - wrong! I found I was a lot more focused and engaged and was able to make more meaningful connections.

For example, have you ever noticed how we are generally so busy Instagramming a photo, checking in, posting and tweeting that we become mentally absent? Put down the phone, and engage in the moment. As public relations majors and professionals, communication is our craft. Half of the art involves active listening. If we are so busy 'connecting' with others via social channels and nose deep into our phones, how can we be fully listening?

From now on, I vow to make a more conscientious effort to 'disconnect' and to engage with those around me, I dare you to try to as well! I found a blog that highlighted a few fun ways to 'disconnect', find them here:

Have you noticed that you have trouble 'disconnecting'? If so, what steps are taking in order to be more present in the moment?


What You’re Not Taught in the Classroom: Media Lists

Most public relations students who have been lucky enough to have an internship would say that they learned more outside of the classroom than inside of the classroom. Experiences and lessons taught within an organization is priceless for a student as it provides a real look into the work world. Students enter an internship hoping that the constant tests and papers drilled into them by professors can provide them with some kind of guidance as to what they can expect. 

In my personal experience so far as a PR student, we have not gone over a handful of tasks asked of me in the professional world. I’m currently at an internship and was given the task of creating three media lists in one day. While working on the first one, I began to think about how to be strategic and productive in my creation, I wanted to do this with perfection. 

I can’t speak for all PR students but I personally never learned how to create a strong and effective media list. The media list is all-important; it is the basis for the coverage of your story. You need to reach the right people in the right positions. After combing through countless media outlets in CisionPoint I came up with a few solid tips for creating a media list. 

  • Keep your news topic in mind – while working at an agency, you can have an array of clients that influence news reports. Don’t go sending your health article to the sports reporter or the environment press release to the entertainment editor. Keep it relevant or it will go right into the trash. 
  • Identify the top three contacts at large outlets – in Philadelphia we have the Philadelphia Inquirer where there can be a number of contacts that are relevant to your story. Having a #2 and #3 at your fingertips if contact #1 doesn’t work out is helpful. 
  • Determine the geographic outreach – decide if your outreach should go to a particular city, state, region or national level. For example this will save the reporter on a national level the frustration of going through local town news. 
  • Check the titles of your contacts – Are you sending the news to an assistant? Your best bet is sending the news to a higher standing editor or manager who can distribute the news accordingly. 

These are just some tips, there are so many more out there! Let me know what you think works best when creating a media list. 

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

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Be a Source

Temple’s PRSSA chapter allows Public Relations students to gain a better understanding of the industry by hosting Public Relations professionals to speak. Most recently, Ashley Berke, Director of Public Relations for the National Constitution Center, spoke on the importance of being a source for the news.

The industry of media relations is vastly changing. With the social media revolution, sources are becoming Twitter feeds and credibility is few and far between. Being a credible source is a powerful tool in today’s industry. It allows you to be the source of content and content is king.

The National Constitution Center’s new website is a great example of how organizations should present their information.  Along with press kits, press releases, and polls and publications, the organization also provides partner sources of experts that speak of the National Constitution Center’s behalf.  In addition to providing publicized sources, the National Constitution Center has their own non-biased blog.

Being a source means your organization can be the validation of content.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

If You Build It, They Will Come

Most public relations students go out into the professional world armed with an polished resume, a strong sense of self confidence, and knowledge of their field. They walk into interviews prepared to ask questions and share stories of their PR experiences. After the interview, sadly, many people walk away leaving the interviewer with nothing but the memory of the interview.

As important as your resume and ability to speak about your experiences will be when you go out into the professional world, there is something else you can do to give yourself to an added edge. What's that you ask? Create a portfolio.

A portfolio will allow you to not only leave the interviewer with a memory of the interview, but also provides something tangible to go back to beyond the bullet points on your resume. Once you build your portfolio, you can update it as often as you update your resume, just keep it consistent. Whether you're a senior or an ambitious freshman, it's never too late to create an outstanding portfolio. Here are some things to remember when creating your portfolio:
  • Review and Revise - Do not put unedited or unrevised work in your portfolio. Have someone else read over your writing and check for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. Nothing is a bigger turn of than writing samples that are full or errors.
  • Create What You Lack - If you don't have as much writing experience as you'd like to include in your portfolio, generate some! Create mock media alerts, press releases, and other PR documents. Doing this shows that you don't wait for experience to come to you, and that you are willing to create opportunity for yourself.
  • Keep It Simple - Don't overdo it with the look of your portfolio. Less if often more when it comes to professional presentation. Use a solid colored portfolio cover, preferably dark brown or black, and print your writing samples on white paper in black ink.
  • Offer it digitally - It's one thing to be able to give someone a tangible version, but another to be able to follow up with a digital copy. Have a digital version available via online hosting site or flash drive. This makes the portfolio easy to email and gives you a back up way of saving a hard copy!
Have you created your portfolio yet? What tips do you have for creating a solid, professional portfolio? Let us know!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Online Review Sites Got Your Tongue?

Imagine that you're the PR for a certain restaurant. Your job entails bringing customers in, getting the word out that your restaurant is the place to be and manage the social media, at the very least. But when people are looking to eat somewhere nice, like this past restaurant week, where do they look? Many don't want to waste time trying this and that restaurant, they want to go somewhere that is a tried and true great restaurant, so they look at reviews. Websites like Urbanspoon, Yelp! and Google make it very easy to rate restaurants. But sometimes, people are biased. Some are paid to write fake reviews, or dislike a certain someone at that restaurant or sometimes they honestly didn't enjoy their experience at your restaurant. So what do you do to manage these messages? Below are some tips:
  • Join the conversation: While it may be daunting to subject your restaurant to reviews that you won't have any control over, ultimately it will give your restaurant more credibility. When people are looking for a restaurant to go to, they're looking for places with a good amount of reviews that are (of course) mostly positive. 
  • Face the negative: If your restaurant is getting negative reviews, avoid getting defensive. I personally love it when the company moderators respond to negative reviews by attempting to solve the problem. Customers will be much more likely to return after seeing that you made an effort to fix a negative experience. The best case scenario is that after returning, the customer will amend their review.
  • Don't be so fake: While review sites are a great way to get the buzz going about your restaurant, it can also attract fakes and trolls who will post ridiculous claims just for kicks. Review sites are all about public perception, and although you are making your best efforts to be transparent, sometimes you have to protect your online protection and report the fakes. 
Have you ever had to deal with online review sites? How did you and your company manage your online rep? Let us know!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Mysterious Temple Made Campaign Launched into Success

As Temple students and families journeyed back to North Philadelphia this past August for another school year, they most likely noticed Temple’s new look. Not only on the campus itself, but signs, posters and highway billboards displaying the now infamous cherry and white “game face” seemed to have taken over the greater Philadelphia region, and showed that Temple had something different up its sleeve. Although very exciting and empowering, many were not exactly sure what this big fuss was about, including me. 

With football kicking off its first season in the Big East, the University decided it was time for a school spirit refresher. And they did just that! The new Temple Made campaign has taken off to greater heights than could have ever been imagined. “Self-Made, Philly Made, Temple Made” has not only become a successful advertising slogan, but it has given Temple students, faculty and alumni the chance to feel a part of something bigger. 

But what exactly has sparked so much interest and has fueled the success of this new movement? The creators of the Temple Made officially launched the campaign on September 27, 2012, but the days leading up to the big event held student interest because of the mysteriousness of it all, with social media playing a vital role in spreading the word about the launch. 

Temple University’s official Twitter account and Facebook page sent out teaser messages every day that increased visibility for the event, but never gave the secret away as to what was actually going to happen. Pictures of sidewalk decals from around campus that read “Temple Made: 9.27.12” were also being tweeted and posted on Instagram from Temple University and student accounts. This was the key to capturing student attention, and holding on to it up until the actual day of the launch. 

The end result: a fun-filled evening of food, DJ’s, and friends, with more than 2,500 people in attendance! The answer to the big surprise: a 90- minute slide show of pictures and moving video clips set to music, projected on the side of Temple’s Paley Library. Produced by the Philadelphia based company Klip-Collective, the footage included the football team in action, candid’s of students around campus, and most importantly the infamous game faces, ending this high energy and successful night with a bang.

How did you hear about the Temple Made launch? Let us know what you thought about this event!

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Tessa Cohn

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Wait…What’s MySpace again?

Hearing that Justin Timberlake is going to revamp the social networking site MySpace will either excite you or confuse you. I was one of those people who never had a MySpace, so hearing that it was bought and going to be rebranded did not interest me in the least, at least I didn’t think so. 

As PR students, when we read these stories it is important to look at them from many different angles and try to dissect all the little details in the story. Although I had no connection to MySpace, I had a connection to the word “brand” or in this case “rebrand”. 

Rebranding is great way to introduce and reintroduce yourself to the public. Newer audiences are attracted to products every day, but they don’t want something old and dated, they want the latest and greatest. This is just what Justin Timberlake is doing with MySpace. MySpace instead of having vertical scrolling will have horizontal scrolling. Music will also become a highlight as well. Playlists and featured music will be apart of the standard page. This new site will be a complete combination of Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Pintrest all in one. 

It has been years since people have been on MySpace and it seems many have forgotten about the social site. This rebranding will help add a new edge to the once very popular social media source. All products should take notes from Justin Timberlake’s handbook. He took a risk by buying this product but he knows what people are interested in. Adding a more youthful feel to the site will be sure to increase its number of members. 

There are certain products where it is acceptable to leave things as they are, but social media is not one of them. Social media outlets are forever changing and people need to keep up with the times and change the product to fit the people. 

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

Friday, October 12, 2012

The NFL & Social Media: For the Fans, By the Fans

I absolutely love football. Everything about it. The jerseys, the stadium, the weather and the game itself – everything. You can catch me every Sunday with a game on and a plate of hot wings in front of me.
I also really love how the NFL taps into its audience through the use of social media. I follow the NFL and multiple football players on Twitter. I am a fan of the NFL Facebook page. But I was most delighted to hear about another way the league is reaching out to its audience and integrating them into the game itself.
If you’re a big NFL fan like me, you have probably noticed on Thursday night games there is a lot of fan footage. Being the PR investigator I am, I turned to the internet to find out if this was a new marketing campaign. Turns out I was right! The videos of fans used during the games are actually crowdsourced.
The NFL is now encouraging fans to record their favorite team’s “fight song” for a chance to be featured during the opening video montage during a Thursday Night Football game. Through the NFL’s Fanchise site, viewers can upload their fan video from their house, a bar, the stadium or even at the tailgate! All you have to do is pick your team, record your video, upload it and voila – you’re on your way to 15 minutes of fame.
From a public relations perspective, this is a really smart move. Not only is this marketing the NFL in new and different ways on the web, it is also increasing the league’s social media presence.
So, if you have a favorite team and are ready to sing loud and proud, upload your video today! I know I will be for my favorite team (The Eagles if you haven’t already guessed it, I’m a Philly girl!).

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Traveling PR Student

Tomorrow I will be saying goodbye to the "city that loves me back" and will be heading to the, hopefully, sunny San Francisco for the PRSSA National Conference. As I prepare for the trip, I thought of a few unusual items that will  I will be packing and I thought I would share. Below, find my list of five things I recommend to pack when traveling as an aspiring public relations professional.

1. EmergenC 

Sickness always seems to know when it's the worst time to make an appearance. No one wants shake hands or be around 'that' germ invested person in the room. Don't be 'that' person and and prepare for a potential onset of vacation sickness by stocking up on Emergen-C before departure. 

2. Clear nail polish 

Clear nail polish will not only make dull nails shine, but it will also save the day by stopping snagged pantyhose in their tracks. Pack a bottle in your purse, you'll thank yourself later!

3. Straws                          

Not what you expected, right? However, fastening necklaces through a straw can eliminate tangling. Picking out your outfit should be the hard part not set untangling the finishing touch. Additionally, hit up target or the dollar store for jewelry cleansing wipes to avoid dull accessories. 

4. Dollar bills

Dollar bills always come in handy when it comes to tipping and paying for transportation. Make sure to store the cash in separate places for security purposes. Additionally, download your banks phone app to find banks closest to you in order avoid withdrawal fees

5. Athletic shoes

Most hotels give you free gym access with your reservation, why not take advantage of it and destress? You never know when you might get some free time to explore and you'll want to give your feet some rest from those professinal pumps.

Need more tips? Follow this link to a blog I pinned about how to pack more efficiently for a longer trip with a limited amount of space,

Oh, and there's an app for all of this too,

How are you preparing for your next trip, and what will you be packing?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Let a Picture Say What Your Non-profit Cannot

You have heard the saying, “A picture can say 1,000 words.” In an age were brevity is 140 characters, Instagram and Pinterest are some of the best tools for telling a compelling story.

For non-profits this is essential, especially when it is difficult to promote action. The non-profit market is heavily saturated with words, and not a lot of words at that, your message will get lost. With Instagram and Pinterest, photos are easier to remember and easier to share on an audience’s personal network. 

An audience has an easier time understanding something they can see over something they have to interpret. Instagram has the ability combine multiple photos to create a story board with both Apple and Droid.

For Pinterest you can create boards for specific purposes. For example the Human Society of New York’s, Adopt A Dog board. Pintrest can also help you sell merchandise to support your non-profit. You can make a catalog by including the price in the pin description.

Tell a story for your non-profit, let a picture say 1,000 words.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Follow The Leader

During my summer internship one phrase was sure to be said in the office everyday by one of my superiors: teamwork makes the dream work. A simple phrase that means just what it says. It takes more than a leader to run an effective team, it takes a group of people willing to follow that leader. In college courses and even in the real world, it is common for leadership skills to be stressed. Students are always encouraged to take on leadership positions in the classroom and within student organizations. While learning to be an affective leader is extremely important, it is equally as important to learn how to be a good follower.

In public relations, there is no room for big egos and power struggles. Projects in PR usually require the cooperation of many people with different personalities. You may find yourself answering to a superior who you do not agree or get along with. Personal feelings and biases aside, it is important to know how to respond to, work with, and respect those put in leadership positions. When you find yourself taking the follower role, be sure to remember these points:

  • Patience is a virtue: Even in public relations, not everything is going to happen when you want it to happen. If someone leading you, your team, or your group maps out a plan that takes more time that you think necessary, bare with it. Everything will pan out in due time.
  • Listen before you speak: Do not automatically put down the ideas of others. Listen intently, take notes when others speak, and ask questions about points you are unclear of. Interrupting and interjecting your own thoughts and opinions while others are speaking will deem you rude and unable to cooperate. It is okay to disagree, but make sure you have a reason to first.
  • Keep the leader in the loop: Especially in larger groups or teams, it is virtually impossible for the leader to be everywhere at once. If something or someone isn't upholding the vision of the leader, which should also be the vision of the team, be sure to let the leader know in a respectful and courteous way.
  • Respect, Respect, Respect: Always remember that the leader is just that: a leader. You should treat your leader with high levels of respect at all times. Even if you have a casual relationship with someone in a leadership role, you should always remain professional and remember to respect boundaries.
Most importantly, remember that it takes a good follower to become a good leader. If you keep these pointers in mind, you will be leading the pack in no time!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Stand Out from the Crowd

During my time at my internship with the National Constitution Center, I've had the opportunity to sit in on several meetings about the launching of our newest exhibit American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition. While sitting at these meetings, I can't help but be entertained by all of the goings-on. I feel like I'm at a tennis matching, my head bobbing back and forth to follow the fast-paced comments of everyone in the room. It's easy to see who gets the most floor time, but why is that? In "How to Be a Superstar in Meetings," Bruna Martinuzzi makes the following observations:

Be a front-seater: Be involved; speak up when you have an opinion on a particular topic. Avoid behing a wall flower. The more present you are, the more of a chance you will have to be heard. 
Build on the ideas of others: Pay close attention to what your colleagues are saying. Feel free to take something your colleague just said and add your own perspective. What can you add? What would you change? Do so in a constructive manner and your coworkers will appreciate your willingness to offer your own insight.
Criticize ideas, not people: It's an important professional lesson to never step on the toes of your coworkers. You can offer criticism in a constructive way, without embarrassing anyone. Voice your concerns by asking for clarification and building from there. 
Make positivity your hallmark: Obviously you can't be positive all the time, but strive to be a team player by highlighting what has been working rather than focusing on all of the things that need to be kicked to the curb.
Be brief to be heard: Some of these meetings are only 45 minutes long with a 2 hour agenda. Be brief but concise in what you say so that everyone can get a handle of what you're saying and tackle it while still keeping the meeting moving.

Do you have any other ideas on building rapport during meetings? Let us know!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

PR Tools That Contributed to Restaurant Week

TD Bank hosted its biannual restaurant week in Philadelphia. For a limited time, participating restaurants in the Center City District of Philadelphia offered delectable, three-course dinners for just $35 per person. Some additionally offered three-course lunches for just $20 per person. With over 100 restaurants to choose from, everyone was bound to consume a tasty spread.

Many restaurants took advantage of the public relations aspect of restaurant week to promote their unique restaurant and bring in more customers. In this day and age in the business world, certain public relations tools are required to keep businesses successful. Restaurant Week primarily relied on the following PR tools:
  • Social Media Outreach
    • Websites such as Open Table as well as online news reports on restaurant week are what prospective customers look to when choosing a place to dine at. It’s crucial for restaurants to keep their website and social media networks up to date and appealing to the eye, specifically with pictures.
  • Special Events
    • Events like restaurant week help restaurants gain credibility. Credibility is essential for restaurants- especially in a city, since their competition could be right next door. As this event attracts more customers, it can lead to more positive reviews and references for that restaurant. 
  • Sponsorships
    • When successful establishments sponsor other businesses, it increases the awareness of that business immensely. In this case, TD banks sponsors restaurant week, thus making this event so much more popular and credible over the past few years.
Hosting special events like this helps businesses remain relevant and successful. Without PR, these restaurants would have struggled to promote themselves and make their establishments stand out. Luckily, there are endless aspiring PR workers, just like us, who can keep businesses on track and hopefully help them earn more revenue. 

This guest blog post was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Madeline Barry.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Keep Calm and Keep Your Cool

As my extremely busy week is coming to an end, I have had time to sit back and reflect on it. This time of the year is especially stressful because the mid-term mark is fast approaching and everyone is getting sick of going to class every day, or at least I am. Being a PR student, with an internship and a part time job on top of it all, can get very stressful. A day you thought you had planned out to the tee can turn out to be filled with obstacles that make you want to pull your hair out!
No matter what obstacles you may face throughout your day, it is vital to remain calm, cool and collected. This is especially true when you are in an office setting. It is extremely important to remain professional at all times. Stressing yourself out not only affects your performance, but other’s as well. I always look to this quote when I am having a bad day, “Nothing helps a bad mood like spreading it around.” So when you’re stressed out, consider the following tips from an article posted on NYC PR Girls:
§  Rearrange your to-do list – figure out what the priorities are. If you have an urgent task you need to get done, move it to the top of your list but don’t forget about the other things you need to do! Get back on track as quickly as possible so all of your assignments are completed.
§  Walk away from your desk for 5 minutes – grab another coffee, a snack, anything to calm your mind. Sometimes you need to take your eyes off the computer screen for a few minutes. This way, you can jump back into the work with a clear head.
§  Make sure you NEVER give attitude – this is a huge no-no. No one wants to work with or approach someone that may snap at them.
§  Ask for help – although this seem like a daunting task it is very useful. As strong, independent PR kids we sometimes view asking for help as a weakness but when it starts affecting your work, you need to suck it up and ask for help.
§  Breathe – sometimes something so simple is easily forgotten!

How do you keep your cool? Let us know!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Romney vs. Obama: A Social Media Knockout

Thirty-four days and counting till the 2012 Presidential Election and the heat is on. Voters are more connected than ever with Facebook and Twitter but who is winning the social media race so far?

Let’s start with Romney and his team. The social media campaign, headed by Zac Moffatt, has led a team of 14 in the primaries to now managing 120 social media maintenance employees with the progression of the campaign.
"There is a higher level of expectation for speed than in past elections for getting information out, and the campaigns have to be that much faster, whether it’s through mobile or social media sites such as Google+,Facebook and Twitter,” Moffatt said in a Mashable article. “The Internet is a powerful thing, and not everyone is watching TV spots anymore, so we’re trying to use the web to our advantage the best way we can.”
Moffatt and his team are actively engaging the already 6 million followers with an expected millions more come closer to the election date.
Meanwhile, Presidents Obama’s team is keeping busy with its 20 million Twitter followers and 29 million Facebook fans, providing content such as registration information as well as articles, tweets, and stances on Romney’s various positions, responding quickly to the objections.
Additionally, Obama has been praised for his “Ask Me Anything” Q&A session on, setting a record with 200,000 viewers.

If you’re keeping score, it looks like Obama’s team has a major lead over Romney but anything can happen, it’s the election.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Protecting Your Online Reputation

You may think just having an online presence is the first step to internet acceptance, but that is far from the truth. Your online reputation can be defined as how people generally judge your online character or the quality of your online presence. Online reputations don't only apply to large companies and big name brands, each individual has an online reputation as well. As public relations professionals, it is important that we know all of the factors that impact an online reputation to protect our clients as well as our personal brands. Below are 4 factors that impact your online reputation:

1. Company Website/Personal Blog: A blog or website is usually the public's first encounter with a brand. If a blog or website is unorganized, hard to read, and not aesthetically pleasing, visitors are not likely to continue to visit.

2. Social Media Profiles: It's great to use social media, but it's even better to use it the right way. Make sure all of your profiles are professional, relevant, and appropriate. All profiles, personal, professional, or for clients, should always have up-to-date contact information. A large part of the profile is your user name, which should be easy to remember and for others to search and find.

3. Social Media Updates: Even if your profile is perfect, if the content is lacking little progress will be made. Be sure to post updates consistently. Keep them relevant and make sure the content is aimed at your target audience. Use proper grammar and spelling before posting - proofreading counts everywhere!

4. Comments and Responses: If you have a website or blog a great way to interact with followers and readers is through comments. If you receive a comment, positive or negative, it is important to respond back politely. Always answer a readers questions, and if you can't answer the question direct them to where they can find the information. Always keep the line of communication open.

Do you think you have a good online reputation?

Monday, October 1, 2012

What Corporate Can Teach Agencies

When we talk about PR, we throw around the terms "in-house" and "agency", as if they are mutually exclusive. While they both do have their differences, corporate in-house PR can give valuable insight to traditional PR agencies. 
  1. Understand the corporate structure: Remember that when you are working for a company, you may have to report to an executive board. You will have to give them hard numbers of what you are accomplishing: how many people are you reaching? How many press releases did you send? How many news outlets picked up the story? etc. Realize that the board may not have a solid handle on PR and doesn't realize what goes on behind measurable results and the intricacies behind it. Discuss how you can translate the board's need for numbers into actual PR success.
  2. Learn the language: At my internship, I am required to file every single mention of the National Constitution Center into a document, with specific impression numbers, so that we can physically show where, to whom, and how much we are reaching. Having one big document to easily compile this information allows for minimal effort with maximum results.
  3. Proactively maintain communication: Your clients will not always have something newsworthy going on. Don't wait for them to come to you, make something happen. Keep in the loop about projects and identify potential media opportunities. Silence isn't golden in PR.
Have you ever worked in both "in-house" and "agency"? What did you  learn from it? Let us know!