Thursday, February 28, 2013

The End of an Era

Never in Catholic history has there been a pope resign from their position, but that time has now come to an end. Just weeks ago, Pope Benedict XVI issued a statement announcing his resignation. This took not just those in the Catholic religion by storm, but everyone worldwide.
 Pope Benedict has made the tough decision to leave his role and focus on his ailing health. But what will happen now that he has left this role? Even though he will no longer be representing the Catholic community as the pope, he will still be addressed by people as his “holiness” and carry out the name, Benedict XVI.

After leaving the Vatican, Benedict will reside in the Mater Ecclesiae, which is located within the Vatican gardens. Even though he will no longer reside in the Vatican, this location will still provide views the former pope once used to see when living in the Vatican.

On Thursday at 8pm in Rome, the pope will make his final departure and begin his life of prayer and live in solitude for some time. The council has already begun to nominate names that they believe will make an excellent pope. The council, however, is being extra cautious as to whom they nominate because they don’t want the next pope to resign.  

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Get a Job with LinkedIn

As nervous May grads scramble to secure a job after graduation, students may be overlooking an easily customizable option for job searching, LinkedIn.  After hearing from PRSSA’s young alumni panel and the vast consensus over the many job advantages LinkedIn offers, I began to explore the various ways to network on LinkedIn and most importantly, find a job.  To effectively use your LinkedIn account to find a job, follow these tips to give you an edge.

Simple Words-  When creating your profile try using simple words that also describe what you want to do for a future career. For example PR Practitioner is better than Spin Doctor (obviously).

Join groups- Like many social media sites, LinkedIn allows you to join groups. Through groups such as PRSSA and other national recognized organizations, you are able to network and easily connect with successful professionals.

Customize your invites- The automatic message LinkedIn created is lazy. When you invite someone to join your network customize how you know the individual and why it would be a privilege to have them join your connections.
Pay attention to your connections- Follow your connections and their activity. Congratulate the user if he/she has been promoted or has a publicized accomplishment and even a simple comment on article posted can go a long way.  

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

5 Tips for Virtual Interviews

In the digital world we live it, it is no surprised that even interviews have gone virtual. Virtual interviews allow for more of a personal feel than the common phone interview. Instead of just feeling out vocals, virtual interviews give the interviewer and the interviewee a chance to read each other's body language. Although convenient, virtual interviews can easily seem awkward and nerve wracking. Here are 5 tips that are sure to make your next virtual interview a piece of cake:

1. Look the part: Just because you aren't meeting someone in person doesn't mean you should dress down! Put on something that makes you feel confident and convinced. Doing so will help keep you focused on the task at hand.

2. Test your technology: Be sure to do a test run before you are supposed to connect. Make sure your camera and lighting settings are all correct, and that you have sound. Before the interview, be sure to confirm with your interviewer which program you will be connecting with (Skype, Oovoo, ect.). Also, be sure you have a secure and stable internet connection.

3. Clear the set: Be sure to tell your roommates or housemates that they should keep noise levels down and stay out of the room. You don't want any unnecessary motion in the background while you try to tell the interviewer about yourself. Make sure the room the neat and well lit.

4. Be natural: During the interview, focus on the camera and speak in a natural tone and pace. Try to make the interview as conversational as possible. Try not to move around too much to avoid motion freezing on the screen, and be aware of any delay in technology while you're interviewing.

5. Be prepared: One of the greatest advantages of virtual interviews is that you have all of your resources at your fingertips. Have any notes or points you want to bring up open in a separate window on the screen. This will avoid you having to shuffle around lose papers and cause unwanted background noise.

Have you ever conducted or had a virtual interview? Let us know how it went for you!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Blogging for Childhood Cancer

The majority of blogs that I seem to follow, along with my peers, revolve around fashion, art, celebrities, music and humor. Blogs are great for that reason, there are so many of them that it's impossible to not find one to obsess over. But blogs are great for a lot of other reasons too. They can serve as an outlet for people who find themselves to be an outcast amongst their peers, or a way for people from all over the world to connect over a common interest.

For others, it could be a way for a parent of a child with cancer to express their feelings, fears and advice. For a long time, I've been thinking about a career in the health care field, especially after readings these blogs. One particular blog I follow, Rockstar Ronan, is written by Maya Thompson, the mother of a 4 year old little boy who died of a form of cancer called Neuroblastoma. Through her blog, she has built a large following. Taylor Swift wrote a song named after Ronan and performed it at a Stand Up 2 Cancer event. Maya has even created a charitable foundation called the Ronan Thompson foundation which donates money towards Neuroblastoma research, successfully completed a petition to turn The White House gold (color for childhood cancer), is in the process of writing a book, and is slowly building the foundation for a Neuroblastoma center. All through the power of her blog and her words.

A blog isn't just for posting pictures of cats or the latest trends. Blogs can go so far as to change lives.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Wrestling Takes the Ultimate “Smackdown”

Recent news of wrestling being dropped from the 2020 Olympic games has been ill received by many fans. In an attempt to make the games more mainstream and viewer-friendly, the International Olympic Committee decided wrestling no longer fit into the 26 core sports. With only 25 sports currently left, a replacement will be made and a few of the sports vying for this single spot are baseball and softball, karate, and squash. According to the IOC's records, wrestling had a lower than aimed for viewership- scoring a 5 on a scale of 10. They also had low-ranking Internet coverage and social media following. What the IOC may not have anticipated is their decision causing the opposite ratings for wrestling's presence in the news, most impressively, online.

Thanks to the IOC's decision, wrestling started to trend on Twitter averaging 20 new tweets every 30 seconds discussing the wrestling in the games. A Facebook "community called Keep Wrestling in the Olympics has attracted more than 60,000 fans” all within the first day it was shared. News organizations and publications such as USA Wrestling, and Olympic medalists are sparking conversation on social media. Most are protesting and encouraging fans to speak up in order to prove the popularity of wrestling, and that replacing this sport takes away from the creation of the modern Olympics in the first place. Past Olympic champion Khasan Baroev of Russia described the decision as "mind boggling" and the 2008 Olympic Wrestling team captain Daniel Cormier explained the Olympics as the only professional level wrestling ever had- so what's left for those currently training?

Not only is the IOC being targeted at fault, but the International Wrestling Federation, referred to as FILA. They were responsible for convincing the IOC to keep wrestling in the Olympic games, and they have yet to prove how they attempted to do so. USA and international wrestling programs are demanding an explanation of how FILA supported wrestling and why they still lost the fight to the IOC. Despite the rare chance of this decision being reversed, participants and fans are holding on to any hope left, and Baroev promised, "This is far from over."

This guest blog post was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Nicole Leo.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Fabulous PR Skills that Will Never Go Out of Style

With New York Fashion Week coming to an end, we are reminded about our personal styles and what pieces in our closet are classic and timeless. As PR professionals, we also have to evaluate what skills we have under our belts that are also classic and timeless. With these five skills, you can be sure you will never go out of style!
  1. Writing – We are always writing. Whether it be press releases, news articles, or media advisories we will never be done writing. An important skill to learn about writing is getting to the point. You have to know what is important and learn to communicate that first. 
  2. Interpersonal Skills – In the PR world, it is all about who you know, not what you know. With this industry, it is all about interacting with others. Being able to successfully network with other professionals will open many doors as well as make your work so much easier. 
  3. Media Awareness – This could quite possibly be the key to any successful PR career.  We must be always one step ahead of the media and know what the next big thing is. Keeping up with social media, news, TV and radio is a big part of success.
  4. Attention to Detail – while there is the saying “don’t sweat the small things”, in PR you have to be ready for anything that may be thrown your way. Some of the smallest things can unravel into a bigger problem so you must always be prepared.
  5. Business Sense – While we are not the math pros, we will need to have a good sense of what will be best for our client’s business. You have to have a bit of knowledge about business, statistics and measurement in order to be taken seriously in the PR world. 

If you can tailor these skills to best fit you, much like your favorite pair of jeans or little black dress you will have the perfect wardrobe and skill set for success! Let us know if you have any other skills to add to the list!

This guest blog post was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Virginia Laskowski 

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Importance of Professionalism

Professionalism is a must for most professions, however it is especially essential in public relations. A PR professional deals with a multitude of people on a day-to-day basis whether it be something as formal as a client meeting or as informal as a greeting someone on an elevator. You never know when you may meet someone who can become an important connection therefore being polite and professional to everyone you come in contact with is key.

Here are some tips on how to boost your professionalism:

1. Keep your personal life separate from your professional life
This is a very hard thing to do, especially when you have personal relationships with people within your profession. Try to always keep it professional when there is work to get done.

2. Try to keep gossiping or ranting about others to a minimum.
This pertains to gossiping or expressing your opinions about others through social media platforms. People always find out when you are talking about them whether good or bad. 

3. Always mind your manners.
Remember your please and thank-yous in every situation you are in. 

How do you maintain your professionalism? Let us know!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Pulling the Plug

What would we do without the Internet? Most of our daily activities revolve around Internet usage. It is hard to imagine how we would get things done if the Internet was ripped from our disposal. How would we communicate? How would we do research? How would we check our social media? Even though we heavily rely on the Internet, are we addicted? Use the following tips to get out from behind the computer

          1.  Don’t bring your computer to class. Sure, you may start off taking notes, but after a while       you attention starts to wonder and you start to check email, social media, anything but taking notes.
          2. Take a break from the Internet. After a long period of time spent looking at a computer, get up and do something active- go for a walk, go to the gym, get out and about.
          3. Admitting how much you use social media. Evaluate your use of social media. Don’t be afraid to admit how much time you spend online. If you are spending a large amount of time online, try and do something different.

          4. Deactivating your accounts. If worse comes to worse and you still find yourself unable to detach from social media try deactivating your accounts. Chances are you will find that you are getting more work done and will not be spending as much time online as before.

Daily tasks would probably get done faster if we didn’t have the Internet to distract us. It is best to always take breaks from the Internet. We do not want our life to pass us by while we sit on social media sites. Get out and be active. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Social Media Yields Results

For brands that use social media, does it work? Does one brands engagement on Faceboook or Twitter make you want to buy one product over another. Short answer, yes. J.D. Power and Associates reported in a new study with over 20,000 online consumers, 87 percent indicate that the online social interaction with the company positively impacted their likelihood to purchase from that company. In retrospect, the study also revealed that if a brand had negative engagement with users their likelihood to purchase the product decreased.

"This is a unique, comprehensive consumer study that defines consumer expectations in the ever-changing social space and measures companies' performances against those benchmarks," said Jacqueline Anderson, director of social media and text analytics at J.D. Power and Associates. "This study provides companies with the framework they need to begin effectively integrating social media into their business strategies. It also illustrates the relationship between a positive social media experience and consumer purchase intent."

The inaugural study also revealed that some industries are more successful than others at effectively engaging users on two platforms: marketing and servicing.  Marketing was measured by J.D. Power and Associates in brand awareness as well as affinity. While servicing was calculated by evaluating the answers the brand provided to consumers as well as resolving problems. Across the board the auto industry excelled in both interactions. Meanwhile other industries were reported to excel in mobile social services.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

An Intern of all Trades

At my first internship, I remember feeling as if I had to be a little bit of everything to everyone in the office. I would sit through weekly staff meetings, and it seemed that I would be assigned to help out on projects that often were completely separate of one another. One of my favorite things about interning at such a diverse agency was getting to see and help with projects for so many different clients. As exciting as it was, it was easy to feel overwhelmed. Staff meetings were only held once weekly, meaning on Monday I could be assigned something to do for Friday, which could be easily forgotten by Wednesday. In situations like these, I found that I had to become a Jane, or Intern, of all trades. I had to learn to do a few things very well, including managing myself. Here are a few tips to help you become an intern of all trades:

Always keep a notebook, and write down everything- There is no such thing as an unimportant detail. When assignments are being given out or projects are being discussed, it is better to have too much written down than to be missing crucial pieces of information.

Be on time- Being on time can often mean being a little early in the intern world and it definitely means never being late. Show up with enough time to get yourself settled and prepared so that you aren’t scrambling when it’s time to get started. If you have to commute, be sure to map out enough time to get there, and plan to be delayed along the way.

Ask questions – Don’t wait until the hour an assignment is due to ask for clarity. Review what work needs to be done ahead of time, and ask for help as you go along.

Be invested – Take the time to do a little research on the clients you are working with. The more you know about what you’re doing, the more likely you are to be passionate about it.

An internship is your chance to gain real professional experience. The more you put into your internship, the more you will get out of it!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Debate: Earned vs. Paid Media

By definition, the biggest difference between advertising and public relations is that company's pay for media advertisements in advertising, while public relations professionals must earn media coverage.

Recently, certain reporters and bloggers have tried to charge for coverage. Essentially, if the PR person for ABC company wants a certain reporter to cover their story, then they will charge a certain fee. Traditionally, this has been seen as unethical, as I'm inclined to believe. How can a reporter charge for relaying the news? If this is allowed in the future, who's to say that the news won't be completely controlled by the media and consumer culture? (True, it is partially, but where do we draw the line?)

What do you think? Is paying for media coverage unethical? Let us know in the comments below!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Child of PR and Marketing

This weekend, members of PRSSA and myself attended a PRSSA regional conference at Penn State, where we learned and discussed many different interesting PR topics.  One of the topics that really interested me was when Adam Kmiee, Global Director of Digital and Social Media at Campbell Soup Company, discussed PR and marketing becoming one.  

I personally avoided marketing because of the business and math side of it, as I’m sure many others in the PR world have. After attending the conference, I started to compare and take a closer look at the two.  If you take away the math, PR and marketing do not have many differences.  The idea of both is to promote a person or business and reach a target audience.  Marketing has a bit more of a business spin on that, while PR is more light and friendly.  Both marketing and PR are constantly doing research to figure out how to reach their target audiences and what their audiences are looking for.  The major difference between the two is money.  Marketing deals a lot more with money.  Marketing professionals deal with where to place ads, how much can be spent on PR campaigns and figure out how to manage every dollar spent.  Public relations on the other hand deals with the public and media more.  Public relations professionals talk to the newspapers and journalists and monitor public approval (or disapproval).  

After thinking about all the similarities, it really occurred to me that one could not exist without the other. Marketing needs public relations to deal with the public and make sure the right message is reaching the right audience.  Public relations needs marketing to help them reach that audience, without breaking the bank.  While speaking, Kmiee said, “I want marketers who know digital who love social.”  
I started looking into what other PR professionals thought of the combination of PR and marketing together and I found this great diagram on PRNewswire by Yin Wu, which really opened my eyes to even more benefits of the two together. 

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

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Useful Tips on Writing for the Ear

In the public relations industry, being able to write a speech is essential for any PR professional. As a PR student, I realized writing press releases and pitches are constantly presented in our daily duties and classroom curriculum and seldom speeches. Indeed, writing a speech is an important skill we should all hold as public relations/communications students; and it’s important we know the difference between writing for the eye and writing for the ear. 

Writing for the ear should be concise, catchy and consistent. To further enhance and improve your knowledge of writing speeches, below are some helpful tips.
  1. Remember a speech is intended to be heard, not read- A speech has listeners, not readers therefore you should write as you would speak. 
  2. It should have unambiguous objectives- As any writing, it’s important to have clear and consistent objectives. Having a thesis will surely engage your audience and permit them to follow on. 
  3. Be sure to use concrete language- It is important you paint a picture to your audience while delivering your speech to help them visualize what you are presenting. Unlike written work, the reader does not have the advantage of rereading if they had any difficulty understanding a sentence or two. 
  4. Know your audience- Tailoring your speech to cohere with your audience is nothing but a smart move.  Nowadays in any industry it is essential to know your audience. 
Whether you are writing a speech for President Obama, a product launch or even for a school event, the aforementioned tips can be used as a head start to writing speeches. 

Do you have any experience with speech writing? Let us know what did and didn’t work for you!

This guest blog post was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Kadesha Holder

Friday, February 15, 2013

Public Relations & Paraphrasing

Paraphrasing. If you have mastered this skill then you are on your well on your way to becoming a stellar public relations professional.

If you truly think about it, something as simple as being able to reiterate what your client wants takes skill. I remember first learning about paraphrasing in the fifth grade when I was apart of the Peer Mediators program at my elementary school. In our training, we were always told to immediately reiterate someone's side of the story so you make it clear to that person that you understand them. This skill that I learned at a very young age are key in any type of communication.

Plain and simple, paraphrasing if when you put someone else's idea into your own worlds. In the public relations field, paraphrasing is key. You are always putting your client's ideas into your own words. This is especially important when first meeting with a client. You always want to make sure you fully understand your client's vision.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Save Our Ship

Just a couple of days ago, one of the most popular cruise lines experienced a fire aboard one of its ships. Roughly 4,000 people were on the ship when the fire occurred, thankfully, no one was injured. Just a couple of days ago, the CEO of Carnival, Gerry Cahill released his statement apologizing for the recent events.

Carnival cruise line took action right away trying to rectify the events that took place. Issuing an apology is one of the first steps when a disaster such as this happens. People appreciate it when others take the time to write a statement and express their efforts to fix the situation. Right away the cruise line started to get in contact with tugboats that could go out and pull the ship safely to shore.

When a crisis like this happens no time can be wasted. Immediate action needs to happen to ensure the safe return of the passengers aboard the ship. Special accommodations were also made for the families of those aboard the ship who have flown in to await the return of their family members.

People will of course remember the time this cruse ship experienced a fire aboard their full passenger ship, but more importantly people will also remember the efforts made to bring the passengers home safely. Accidents like this happen, but how companies deal with these situations will make them more memorable for their actions than the accident itself.  

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Digital Assessment with Adam Kmiec: #GoneGlobalRC13

Seven of us were up bright and early (coffee in hand) Saturday morning excited for our three hour journey to  Penn State’s Regional Conference. With no troubles we made it up the mountain(s) just in time for the conference’s key note speaker, Adam Kmiec, Global Director of Digital & Social Media at Campbell Soup Company. Kmiec professional career includes positions in agency and corporate Public Relations specializing in marketing, advertising and social media.  Adam’s presentation included great advice and a futuristic view on the importance of our generation in the digital revolution.

As PR professionals we are always looking for the next big thing. Adam reveals during his presentation that ‘the next big thing’ is likely to come from China, which was a shock to me. Adam explained that China had a form of FaceTime 10 years before we did! The newest marketing and social media campaigns out of China include consumer participation from contests to unique guerilla marketing tactics on the street of Beijing.

Adam also informed the young crowed about the importance of keeping an open mind to the future work environment. He explained that many companies, such as Campbell, are setting up intranet cloud spaces so employers can work from virtually anywhere. Adam attributes the work environment to help working globally. Adam even mentioned that Campbell hired a Digital Fitness Coach to help employers convert to the digital revolution.

To stand out in a stack of resumes, Adam enlightened the audience of the importance of being a “digital unicorn”. Facebook, Twitter, blogging and LinkedIn is the standard; we need to go above and beyond! Which filters of Instagram make food look the best or how many things can you do with a Pinterest board? Knowing the slight nuances of not-so-popular platforms is extremely important and will set you apart from other applicants.

Do you agree with Adam’s digital assessment? We want to know!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Inspire to Share

No matter what new technologies surface, word of mouth has been and always will be one of the greatest forms of endorsements. While that does not mean you shouldn't take pride in your 1,000+ Twitter or Instagram followers, you must consider how engaged your followers, friends, and connections really are. Your brand must not only be likeable in today's world, it must also be shareable. Yes, you know you are producing the content your audience wants when they feel it is so good, they have to tell their friends about it! If you're finding that more of your content is being passed up than passed on, here are a few tips to inspire sharing:
  • Make it easy: If you think for one second someone is going to take the time to copy and paste a link to an online post, think again. These days, users like when the road map is placed right in front of them. Be sure that your posts contain easy viewed share buttons that let users post your content to any of their various social media platforms.
  • Utilize your resources: There are a lot of great websites that allow you to add share links in very creative ways. Click to Tweet is a service that allows you to generate a Tweet ahead of time, so all the user has to do is click to share your content with all of their followers. This allows you to share very specific content, without the hassle of incorporating extra share buttons.
  • Require it: Have you ever entered an online giveaway or contest to win freebies? Not only are giveaways a great way to engage your audience, they can help you tap into the people influenced by your audience. Next time you host a giveaway on your blog, be sure that sharing some of your content is a requirement for entry.
  • Inspire to share: The saying holds true, content is KING! If you feel your users are missing something, as them the types of content they would like to see. Ask them what will cause them to share your content. Let your analytics come straight from the horses mouth. Users will always want to pass along quality content.
Have you found any tips or tricks that helped make your content more shareable? Let us know!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Body Language Basics

When you first meet someone, whether they are a colleague, acquaintance, or potential friend, body language plays a huge role. When you first shake someone's hand or observe their stance, you instantly judge them. Limp handshake? Shy. No eye contact? Not confident. In under a second, you can earn yourself an assumption without even saying "hi." Below are some common body language mistakes to avoid and how to fix them:

No eye contact: Many people make this mistake when speaking to someone. Not being able to maintain steady eye contact signifies uneasiness and projects a feeling of untrustworthiness to others. Good eye contact means that you are interested, engaged and reliable.

Arm crossing: Crossing your arms can come across as defensive or not open to new ideas. Uncrossing your arms will make you seem more open and inviting to acquaintances.

Dressing messy: In the professional arena in general, dressing untidily isn't recommended by any means. Dressing messily comes across as careless and can be an indicator of how you are as a professional.

Looking at your smartphone: This is a hard one, but glaringly challenging as we as a society become more and more dependent on technology. Checking out your phone while you're talking to someone is rude and can make someone feel like their conversation is uninteresting.

Clock watching: This is a bad habit of mine. Glancing at the clock every two seconds is distracting and can make people feel as though you are itching to leave and that you have more important places to be.

Are you guilty of any of these? Do you have any more to add? Let us know!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Neigh! How Would You Handle Black Beauty in a Whopper?

This past week the web was buzzing with a Burger King scandal. Horsemeat was found in the UK franchise’s beef products. As if having pieces of Black Beauty in your Whopper wasn’t bad enough, let’s reflect on Taco Bell’s beef not being “100% beef”…and what was that pink sludge McDonalds uses for their chicken products?! 

Lucky for Burger King, Taco Bell and McDonalds bounced back even after accusations and images went viral showcasing their questionable products. BK took the offense, attacking and accusing the meat distributors while playing the victim and claiming they had no idea horsemeat was being used. Most of these fast food companies have a scapegoat when situations arise. But I personally can’t take that explanation to heart and trust BK. The focus of your company is to serve food and you don’t know what meat you are serving customers? 

Even with these facts, people will believe the cookie-cutter “victim” responses publicized by the company’s representatives. In my opinion, representatives can handle these findings and accusations in a different manner. Here are a few ideas:

Tip #1: Credibility: When your company decides to change a recipe they want their publics trust back. How can you tell them that the food is OK to eat again? One way of doing this is providing a comment or separate statement from an expert in the food industry field. This is providing the public with an outside professional who gained credibility by working in the field of food.

Tip #2: Numbers: Words can mean so little, but when numbers back up statements validity skyrockets. Providing proof and detail in numbers for consumers would strengthen an argument. For example, showing results of a scientific study on how much beef is now really in the Taco Bell products. 

Tip #3: Use your support group: get your consumers to put their personal word in. Having an opinion from someone who doesn’t have ties to the company makes a positive statement believable. Hold a focus group and have consumers test out the new and improved products, then report their findings.

Regardless of how companies respond Doritos Locos Tacos will still be consumed and McDonalds chicken nuggets will be in children’s Happy Meals. Someone get me the job of being a PR representative to these fast food chains. What do you think will finally wake people up and care about what they are consuming? Do you think the reps for these companies need to improve their responses? 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Credit Well Deserved for Interns

An interesting article written this past week in the New York Times caught my interest, as it greatly correlated with Temple, The article “Giving Credit, but Is It Due?” by Kevin Carey highlights the prominent issues that colleges are having with granting academic credit to students fortunate enough to be offered internships. However, the deans of colleges should be aware that this could make or break some students’ careers. Carey writes “the best way to learn history involves reading books and attending history classes led by historians. The best way to learn business often involves working in a business.”

As we all know, the PR field requires a heavy amount of hands-on experience in order to progress and gain credibility. Applying for jobs is not the same as when our parents applied, and internship experience is now a requirement in order to be considered for a quality job. Since the majority of internships are unpaid, more and more companies are insisting that their interns receive educational credit for legal liability purposes. That way the companies are providing some sort of compensation for their hard work. However, many colleges, including Ivy League schools, don’t even offer internship credit to their undergraduate students. This deprives students the opportunity to gain useful experience in their field and sets them below the standards to gain quality jobs post grad. 

As of now, Temple allows its students to gain three credits for completing a semester long internship. But is that enough? The hunt for internships can begin as early as sophomore year, and some students may accumulate up to three or four internships prior to graduation. It seems more sensible to allocate six to twelve credits towards the hours of hard work. This is a recurring issue now, and as more companies require credit, the issue will only continue to escalate until a more suitable alternative is provided. Any internship that helps us channel what we’ve learned in class into a professional environment is valuable, and no one should ever be deprived of that kind of experience. It’s important for students to have the chance to take advantage of every opportunity that may set them apart from the competition. Colleges and universities can contribute to making job searches less stressful by encouraging their students to be known and heard through as many internships as possible!

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

Friday, February 8, 2013

Good Grammar Gets Love

Is bad grammar one of your deal breakers on a date?

With Valentine's Day, also known as Single's Awareness Day, right around the corner I can't help but think about dating, love and relationships.

Grammar is one of my biggest pet peeves. If a date texts me and says, "Your so beautiful" I can't help but cringe a little. Apparently I am not alone.

According to a recent online survey of 1,700 adult online daters, 43 percent said they consider bad grammar a major turn off. Good grammar is "sexy" according to 35 percent and 22 percent say they couldn't care less. No surprise here, but they survey also said that women feel more strongly about grammar habits than men do.

I found an interesting infographic, compiled by Kibin, about these survey findings.

Maybe stepping up your grammar game with help you win you a date!

Is bad grammar one of your major turn offs? Let us know!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Getting to the Point

We are taught as Public Relations students to get to the point as quickly as possible. But for most of us, getting to the point appears harder than it should be. 

A common misconception in writing is that longer is better, but this is far from the case. Professionals don’t want to read an email that is 8 sentences long when it only needs to be 3. Professionals don’t want people to waste their time with useless information. Don’t drag your message out; get to the message and get to it as quickly as possible.  

The following are the most commonly used phrases professionals recommend we cut from our writing.

    1. All things considered  
            2. As a matter of fact
            3. As already stated
            4. As far as I’m concerned
            5. At the present time
            6. By means of
            7. Due to the fact that
            8. For all intents and purposes
            9. For the purpose of
           10. The fact that
           11. In a manner of speaking
           12. In the event that
           13. Needless to say

By cutting these phrases, ones writing will not only be respected but also valued by professionals. If you don’t waste professionals’ time, then they won’t waste yours. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Oreo Steals the Spotlight in a Power Outage

Taking advantage of an unfortunate power outage that delayed the most watched event for 34 minutes, Oreo’s impeccable timing shows you don’t have to pay millions of dollar to be noticed during the Super Bowl.

Twitter was overwhelmed with followers asking questions about the ill-timed power outage at Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday. While PR pro’s were playing crisis management what-if’s, Oreo stole the spotlight with their, “Power out? No problem,” tweet.

In less than 10 minutes the tweet had been shared over 12,000 times and is still at an all-time high of being shared over 15,000 times and tagged by 6,000 users as a favorite tweet.

Oreo’s hired agency, 360i, spoke to the tweet in a BuzzFeed’s article stating, “We had a mission control set up at our office with the brand and 360i, and when the blackout happened, the team looked at it as an opportunity,” explained 360i president Sarah Hofstetter, “Because the brand team was there, it was easy to get approvals and get it up in minutes.”

Oreo’s success can be attributed to the opportunistic agency, 360i, and their effective communication. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tips for Effective Client Monitoring

There is no greater feeling than finally landing the perfect placement for a client. After working hard, pitching, and drafting releases, seeing your clients name in print or on camera feels like the ultimate success. When working with lower profile clients, such as a startup company or a small business, you may find that you pitch to smaller publications. This can often make it harder to monitor your client's notable mentions. Here are a few tips to help you master client monitoring:

  • Subscribe: If you know that you frequently pitch clients to certain small papers or magazines, it's a good idea to buy a subscription to those services. This will insure that you get the news first, delivered right to your doorstep. If you find your clients fall into certain niches such as culinary arts or music, having those subscriptions will also help you stay up-to-date on industry headlines.
  • Search often: Make it a part of your morning routine to Google search your clients name or the name of a client's products. Look closely at what the top 10 or so results are, and of course make notes of any mentions you see so that you can present them to the client.
  • Google Alerts: Google Alerts allows you to get the lastest on any term or topic delivered right to your inbox. Make an alert for your clients name, any products they have, or anything you've recently pitched the press about.
  • Watch TV: If you've been pushing to get a client mentioned on a certain TV program, be sure to watch the show to see if your client gets a mention. Even if the show doesn't bring up your client, it's go to know what they are talking about so that you can pitch them more effectively later!
  • Surf the hashtag: Hop onto Twitter and search your clients name or product as a hashtag. If people are talking about it in detail, take a screen shoot of the buzz! You may even find links to articles online that didn't show up in your google search, like the link to a small blog's post.
Monitoring for clients is just as important as pitching. Even if you aren't seeing the results you want, keeping a close eye on the progress you're making allows you to refocus on time, instead of just disappointing the client.

Have you had to do client monitoring at a job or internship? Did you use other methods to monitor clients? Let us know!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Customer's Fire Off at Applebees

There have been quite a few viral photos featuring receipts with famous signatures or funny messages. Applebees' most recent mishap is neither. This past Thursday, a church pastor brought her congregation to the popular chain Applebee's. At the end of their visit, the waiter gave Pastor Bell the receipt, with an additional 18% automatic tip, Applebee's policy for parties of 8 or more.

Pastor Bell was not pleased with the automatic tip. In response, she wrote the message below on the receipt:
Needless to say, Bell did not feel that the waiter deserved much of a tip. One of the servers' coworkers took a picture of the entire receipt and posted it on Reddit where people went off. Separately, Applebee's found out and fired not only the photographer, but also Bell's server. This ticked people off even more. Many found Applebee's and Bell in the wrong. Bell for treating a server so poorly and Applebee's for failing to stand behind its employees. Bell has since apologized, calling the incident a "lapse in character." Reddit users have vowed to never visit the franchise ever again and are calling for Applebee's to rehire the affronted server.

What do you think? Was Applebee's right to fire the server, even though he/she didn't take the photo? Or should Applebee's have defended its employees? Let us know!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Employers and Personal Social Media Use Reexamined

With social media accepted as such a normal practice in the lives of not only us PR people, but also throughout the general population,  many employers have now implemented legal contracts that forbid you from posting certain thoughts on social media. Many of the guidelines center on ideas of not portraying the company in a negative light or posting about work-related issues.  Seems fair right? Not anymore. 

According to a National Relations Labor Board ruling last week, current guidelines in place are just too broad. These recent rulings have declared workers have the right to free speech on the internet without any fear of retribution for their opinions. This news changes how many of us have viewed what is the proper etiquette when you work for a company, and while this etiquette still stands as best practice, those who choose to use social media to vent now can do so freely. This ruling shows how many of our older rights will translate into this ever-evolving world. 

Even with this ruling, it is probably not the best practice to start venting about your boss through social media, which may cause an undesirable work atmosphere, but it is important to know what is legal expected of you within your duties as an employee. It may be best to look over your current employer’s guidelines (if they have them) to make sure you aren’t being taken advantage of or wrongly informed in regards to your personal social media use. 

What do you think about the relationship between personal social media use and your work life? Do you agree your employer cannot dictate what you post about them?

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

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Super Bowl and Social Media

If you haven't realized that Superbowl XLVII is just a few days away than I am not sure you are a true American! This year's game is a face off between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens.

Like most people, I still have a few more things to do in preparation for game day. As I was searching the social media world for new information regarding Sunday's showdown, I stumbled upon this lovely infographic posted on Mashable a few days ago.

If you are an aspiring PR pro and as social media obsessed as I am, be sure to use this information to know which reporters and players to follow, which hastags to use and how to find each team's website. You never know when it'll come in handy!

Even if 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh thinks "Facebooking and the Tweeter" are a waste of time, if you want to become a future public relations professional, it is best to brand yourself and get your social media imprint out there now!

Take a look and let us know what you think: