Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Blacklist of PR Phrases

Every public relations student knows mastering the art of writing press releases is crucial. From early on in our college careers, the rules of writing a press release are drilled into our heads. The piece should not be more than a page long. A quote should be given. A boilerplate should be attached. The ### symbol must be included to signify the end of the release. Breaking any of these rules may cause a journalist to do what a PR professional dreads: hit the delete button. Every PR class drills what to do when writing a press release, but what they do not teach you is what not to do. Here are a few phrases to never use when writing a press release:

 “Pleased/proud/thrilled to announce”- The journalist already knows you are pleased to announce your news, otherwise you would not be writing the press release! Do not try to over sell your news or sound overly enthusiastic. When you have limited space, do not waste it on this phrase. Instead, jump right into your content.

“Wealth of experience”- This phrase is overused when sharing news about a specific person. Sure, this person may have a lot of experience, but it doesn’t explain to the audience anything about that experience. Anyone can have a “wealth of experience.” My eight-year-old cousin has a “wealth of experience” in beating me at video games. It isn’t the experience that is important, but rather what that experience is exactly. Giving specifics builds the person’s credibility.

 “Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity”- Okay, let’s be real. Is your event REALLY the only time somebody is going to be able to do this? Are you sending people to the moon? Do you have a genie granting wishes? This phrase is very overused. Unless you actually are doing these things, avoid using this cliché.

With so many style and grammatical rules, writing press releases can be intimidating. Remembering to avoid these phrases though will help making mastering the press release a little easier. For more phrases to avoid check out  

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Lauren Bentley.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

4 Ways To Stay PRoductive When School's Out

As the semester finally dwindles down and you find yourself not knowing what to do when there aren’t any assignments to turn in or classes and meetings to run to, you may sit back and ask yourself: “what’s next?
Sure, we all can stay in bed and sleep, stuff ourselves with junk food and binge watch Gilmore Girls on Netflix but shouldn’t we use the month that we have off to do something more productive? Yes, we should!
Here are some ideas to make the most of winter break and to be more productive:
Social Media Cleaning
Think of this as your major spring cleaning. During spring cleaning you get rid of all of the old, irrelevant and unwanted belongings that have accumulated over the year. The same goes for your social media. Since a new year is approaching, why not clean up who your following and connect with those whose content can be useful and inspiring to you.
Start a blog!
If you have a million ideas floating around in your head, can't keep track of the post-its that you’ve scribbled on or you’ve been meaning to launch (or relaunch) your blog but haven't had the time, now is the time!
There are many reasons why you should blog. By blogging, you enhance your writing and thinking, develop creative content and connect with others
Not only will having a blog benefit your personal development, but also your professional development. The content that you create, can be used to build your portfolio.
Apply for internships
If your friends have went through the entire internship application process and have secured an internship for the spring but you missed the memo, it’s not too late. Companies are still looking for positions to fill and one of them could be yours!
With that being said, gather up your writing samples, spruce up your cover letters, resume and social media platforms and apply for those internships.
If you want to give back and make a difference, then you should volunteer. Volunteering is a great way to get involved within a community and it helps promote personal and professional growth.
How are you planning to make the most of winter break? We'd love to hear from you! 
This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Jade Taylor.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Winter Break: No Time For A Break In PR

As finals are just around the corner and winter break is nearing, students find themselves rushing to finish the classes and head home for much needed relaxation. This includes every other type of student besides a Public Relations student. Trained to keep going and to take charge, PR students begin to make winter break plans that will help them get ahead in the upcoming semester and year.

Below are some of my plans for winter break that I believe would help my fellow PR students prepare for another hectic semester and continue to add to their resumes.

Blog: Think about creating your own blog or find outlets to contribute your own blogs to over break. With the extra free time you will have, it is a great time to unwind, distress and write. As PR majors, we are always writing but it is nice to be able to relax and focus all your thoughts in some new pieces. All of these can be added to a portfolio later on, too!

Networking: With all of your free time, it is a good time to reach out to your professional contacts and keep in touch. Also, this would be a great time to collect all the data from the business cards you’ve collected over the semester and put them in a neat and tidy Excel document. This way, you will have all the contact information of every person you’ve ever met in one convenient location! You never know when you will need to reach someone in your professional network and this ensures you will always have his/her contact information on hand.

Apply to Spring/Summer Internships: Towards the end of the semester, it gets hard to keep track of all the internship advertisements sent over listservs while juggling final projects and papers. Take this free time to carefully plan your next semester and summer. Reread all the emails you’ve received over the semester and begin your research. This break provides ample time to make strategic plans that ensure you are going after all the internships that interest you! This is also a great time to figure out firms and companies that offer summer internships and prepare your paperwork necessary to apply.

With these tips, you will feel prepared and ready to tackle the next semester easily with all necessary tools for success! 

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Rene Cosides.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Burnout Season

If you're anything like me, finals season can be quickly followed up by burnout season. After the end of a long and taxing semester it's easy to still feel wound up, stressed out, and overall exhausted. After all, if you're interning, freelancing, or on an executive board for an organization at your school you know those responsibilities don't take a break just because classes do. However, it is possible to get a little R&R while still getting your work done. Here are a few tips on how to truly make the most of your time off from school.

  • Have one email free day a week. I know some of you readers who are also in public relations probably just cringed, but one day of being logged out won't kill you. Email is probably one of the most anxiety-inducing tasks we have to face so stepping away from it one day out of the week could prove to be a huge stress reliever. If something comes up that requires your immediate attention, I'm sure there are alternative methods to get in contact with you.
  • Reward yourself. Just finish a huge project you've been putting off until winter break or had a super long day at work? Instead of running home to crash in your bed, take a moment to treat yourself to something you really enjoy. Whether that comes in the form of ice cream, going to the movies with friends, or people watching at a cafe, do something you love. After all, you just spent the past few hours on something you're not too fond of; it's only right that you balance it out. Your bed will still be around once you get home.  
  • Plan for the future. Okay, I understand this sounds like an odd tip compared to the first two, but if you love what you do this should be exciting for you. We've discussed on this blog before how important winter break can be in finding a job. Take the extra time you have to dig a little deeper and uncover what your dream job looks like. Just because you haven't seen it on a job posting doesn't mean it's not out there. Hone in on your passions, find out who doing something similar, and ask them how they got there. If you're in the right field, this shouldn't feel like work, rather a learning opportunity.
There are so many ways to balance responsibilities and relaxation; these are just a few. What things work for you? Share your own experiences in the comments below!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

How to Follow Up with Busy People

We've all experienced the feeling of wanting to follow up with a professional, whether it is about that internship position you've been gunning for or to schedule an informational interview. We even experience it when working with the media, trying to contact a journalist regarding a pitch we emailed earlier that day. It can get disappointing when we don’t hear back from a contact, but don’t get discouraged too quickly! As we all know, PR pros are busy so here are a few easy ways to effectively follow up with people who have little time to spare:

  • Effective Subject Line. First things first, you need to gain their attention with a subject line that will stand out. They likely get tons of emails each day, so you don’t want yours to get lost in the crowd.
  • Introduce yourself. Be sure to give an introduction (or reintroduce yourself) so they know who their reading an email from. It’s also a great place to mention a mutual contact or referral.
  • Keep it Short. Industry professionals don’t have time to read a long and detailed email. Effectively getting your point across quickly with the least amount of work is essential. Cover your bases of why, what and why. 
  • Do Your Homework. Do a quick Google search before sending your email. Mentioning an award they received recently or a new client they landed shows that you put in the effort. Chances are they’ll be more likely to get back to you.  
  • Know Your Boundary. Of course it’s encouraged to send a follow up email when trying to contact a busy professional. But there comes a point when you need to realize that, unfortunately, they likely will not get back to you.

Lastly, if you plan in sending a follow up email, be sure to give them enough time respond. That being said, you also want to contact them again in a timely manner. Remember, don’t take it personally when your emails aren't immediately responded to, PR pros have a lot on their plate.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Finals, the New “F-Word”

As finals creep up on students, so does widespread panic and feelings of dread. However, in many cases, this panic doesn't need to exist at all.

As soon as students hear the word “final”, it’s as if they were just stepping foot into their class for the first time. However, most students have spent the entire semester carefully taking notes and learning the material covered by the professor.

But why does the new “f-word” put everyone into a frenzy?

Maybe it’s something about the cumulative nature of them, or perhaps the final percentage they hold towards a student’s final grade.

Regardless of why, it is important that students push past this fear and see finals for what they really are.

When first looking at a study guide or surveying the amount of notes that one has to review, it is common for an individual to feel overwhelmed.

However, it is important to remember that you have covered the material before throughout the semester, so you may just need to jog your memory on certain concepts or materials.

Perhaps going through the list of items covered on the test before jumping right in will help you remember some of the materials, which in turn, will make you feel more confident about your ability to ace the dreaded exam.

Also, students need to realize that they are prepared for the exam in the sense that they know their professor’s style of teaching and questions.

Going through a semester’s worth of classes, students get to know the layout and style of questions on their tests.

Although a final may be longer and cumulative, if a student has been paying attention throughout the semester, they can be put at ease by the fact that they will have an understanding of questions and the wording on the exam.

Going forward, remember that finals are not life or death. In most cases, students are more prepared for them than they think. In most cases, a student’s worst nemesis during finals is their own fears!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

5 Tips To Becoming A Successful Transfer Student

While almost half of Temple University’s student population is made up of transfer students, its pretty safe to say that many students have had their start at another institution. Whether you’re coming from another University or from your local Community College, transferring can be an overwhelming process. So what do you do when you feel like a little fish in a big pond? These few tips will help you maneuver your way through what many may consider the awkward transfer stage and become more comfortable adjusting to your new college home.

Attend Orientation: No matter what year you’re starting in, one of the biggest thank yous you can give to yourself is attending transfer orientation. There are so many things you’ll be able to learn and questions you’ll be able to have answered just from attending orientation and getting to know your new school. After the orientation is over, utilize all the resources Temple has to offer for the day. Take a tour of the school, visit the advising office, and talk to faculty members. Their faces will become very familiar after sometime.  At some point, I suggest you stick around and explore the campus by yourself to become more familiar with your new environment. Knowing the campus will make the first day of school a lot easier and assure you’ll get to class on time.

Get to Know Your Classmates:  Getting to know your classmates is one of the easiest ways to adjust as a transfer student. No one likes to go through anything alone, so make friends along the way. Meeting people who know their way around and can teach you a few things about your school is always a good idea. When I first got to Temple there were so many things I didn’t know, such as how to print documents, what “Blackboard” was, and how to connect to wifi.  Luckily my classmates helped me learn the school and eventually everything became second nature. Linking with classmates makes learning the simple things, that much easier.

Don’t Be Afraid To Get Involved: Get involved with organizations related to your major. When I first transferred to Temple I knew I wanted to meet people that were in my major so I went on “Temple Search” and typed in “Public Relations Organizations”. Listed were all the opportunities that were available, so I decided to email for further information. Since joining I’ve met more people, have had the chance to have amazing volunteer experience. Just remember you’re never “too new” to get involved.

Take Advantage of Guest Speakers: When your teacher tells you that you’ll be having a guest speaker for the next class don’t take it as an invitation for a day off. Go to class and listen to what they have to say.  Use these opportunities to build relationships and hear important insights. Professionals love to share their experiences especially with college students.

Keep a close relationship with your advisor: Because you’re a transfer student things can get a little tricky when its time to transfer over your credits. Make sure you keep a close relationship with your advisor to ensure you’re on the right track for graduating and taking the right classes. Read your syllabus closely and if you feel like you’ve already taken a class that has a close relation to any of your requirements see what you can do to receive credit for that class.

It’s inevitable that transferring may feel overwhelming and some days you may feel lost than others. But just remember that eventually it will get easier and you’ll feel right at home. Always know that there are people all around the University that have walked in your shoes and are there to help you. Good luck and have great semesters to come!

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Tai Virgil.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Stepping Away From The Screen: The Importance Of Face-to-Face PR

Technology is changing how professionals in the public relations industry communicate. While email and social media make connecting with key stakeholders more accessible, many professionals form relationships with clients without ever speaking to them in person. The disadvantage of technology is that it allows for PR professionals to hide behind their screens.  However, the best communicators understand the value of face-to-face public relations.

Communicating beyond the screen is essential to creating stronger and more personable relations. In our current culture of technology, public relations professionals are more transparent than ever before. It is essential for PR professionals to engage in meaningful conversations with clients that go beyond an email correspondence or a weekly account memo because it creates trust and credibility. Meeting regularly with clients allows you to clearly meet each other's expectations, effectively reach decisions together and walk away with a sense of accomplishment.

Beyond transparency, making time to meet face to face with stakeholders shows that you care. It demonstrates that you are willing to walk away from the screen and take time out of your busy day to go above and beyond for your clients. Generally, there is a lot of miscommunication when professionals communicate strictly online. When you meet in person with a client, you can grasp how they feel based on their expressions and tone of voice which is primarily absent from online communication. Taking the time to discuss and plan with your client in person helps you better understand how to meet their needs.  

Moving away from the screen, and creating a friendly presence for your clients is well worth the effort. We depend too much on technology to communicate, and often forget how rewarding it is to communicate in person.

How has communicating face-to-face improved your PR practices? 

This guest blog was written by PRowl staff member Colleen Chase.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Ed Trayes Photography Pop-Up Exhibition

The holiday season is no longer "quickly approaching," we're in the midst of it right now! People are bustling from shop to online shop looking for the perfect gifts for their friends and family. However, what about a gift that gives back? A Temple University School of Media and Communications (SMC) professor is way ahead of you! 

Ed Trayes, who has taught photojournalism here since 1967 and spent a lifetime taking iconic photos from around the world, has graciously donated his entire collection to SMC. Over 50,000 (and counting) breathtaking images are now available online for purchase and would easily make the perfect gift. What makes the collection even more special is that 100 percent of the proceeds go towards a scholarship fund for students at Temple. 

The Ed Trayes Photo Archives team will be hosting its first pop-up exhibit this coming Wednesday, December 10th in the lobby of the Liacouras Center before and during halftime of the Temple men's basketball game against Towson University. Be there at 8:00pm for treats, giveaways, and a chance to sample some of Trayes' recent work featuring the university and the scenic City of Brotherly Love. 

To purchase from the collection visit or for more information email and follow them on Twitter and Instagram @edtrayes. 

Hope to see you on Wednesday; I know I'll be there! 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Star Wars: The Jedi Masters of Entertainment PR

Last week, Walt Disney Studios released the first teaser trailer for the much anticipated film Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the seventh installment of the Star Wars franchise.  As the fifth highest-grossing movie franchise in history, the series is synonymous with entertainment for decades. With these films, writer and director George Lucas, effectively changed the way the movie industry publicized films.

You can watch the teaser here.

Marvel may have blockbuster films and widespread products, but Star Wars did it first. Series like The Hunger Games may be hyping up a film a year in advance, but Star Wars beat them to it by about 40 years. The series made its silver screen debut in 1977 and has been dominating pop culture ever since. After its release, the films became cultural phenomenon spawning collectibles, video games and even pajamas. The franchise brought a whole new element to the film industry- merchandising on a massive scale.

Before its release, Lucas had the idea to begin building up anticipation for the film months in advance. That promotional tactic of using teaser trailers with long lead time seemed ridiculous at the time, but has now become the new model for publicizing films.

(source: Mashable)

Rumors of the latest Star Wars installation began back in 2013 when a photo of Lucas and Hollywood sci-fi director J.J. Abrams was “leaked” before the director announcement was made. Since then, the studio was silent, allowing the public to generate their own speculation. Like Lucas’ long-lead teaser trailer tactic, studio generated hype has been dominating in film publicity.

Lucas must have had the right idea. Since the teaser trailer was released last week, Star Wars has been a hot topic on social media, trending on Twitter for days. The film doesn't hit theaters until December 2015 but the trailer certainly leaves plenty for fans to discuss in the meantime, continuing to build hype. Hopefully, the film can deliver. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Happy Honda Days from Skeletor

Twitter was abuzz with laughs and speculations yesterday when Honda's official Twitter account was seemingly hacked by none other than the cartoon villain, Skeletor. After taking over the brand's account, Skeletor made a few changes, editing their bio to read: "It is I, Skeletor! Master of the Universe, Internet, and now Honda's Twitter Account! Prepare to experience my evil in 140 characters or less!! Muahaha!!!"

The takeover had all of the classic elements of a social network hacking, which has happened to many brands including Skype, Jeep and Burger King. However, this was no hacking matter. The takeover was a part of a new advertising campaign, promoting Honda's annual Honda Days sale. The takeover remained live on the brand's account for about 4 hours before they returned to business as usual, tweeting:
Unlike other brands who have staged account hackings, Honda's seems to have been very well received. Followers engaged with the tweets and many found it entertaining --though they didn't quite understand the thought behind it. Those who had seen this commercial released by Honda earlier in November better understood the Skeletor connection.

Now that Honda's Twitter account is back to normal, do you think the social media tactic will help their Honda Days sales? Will social media takeovers become more prominent moving forward? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Ferguson Desperately Needs Some Good PR

I am sure that everyone reading this knows what is happening in Ferguson, Missouri; that a white police officer, Darren Wilson, shot and killed an unarmed black teen, Michael Brown. I am also sure that everyone has their own opinions and views on this issue, and in this post I will endeavor to remain neutral regarding the larger issue at hand, and concentrate my focus on where public relations fits in. Ferguson is back in the national, and international, spotlight because last week, on Monday night, St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch announced that the police officer in question would not be indicted. Since that announcement, protests of all kinds have been taking place nationwide, from Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles. Highways have been blocked, malls boycotted, and even a few players on the St. Louis Rams got involved. Some believe that some of this could have been avoided, or mitigated, if the announcement of the grand jury's decision had been handled better.

St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch
 The announcement was made just after 8:30 p.m. on Monday, November 24, and immediately sparked protests and riots all night long, leading to the destruction of multiple properties around Ferguson. During his announcement, St. Louis County Prosecutor McCulloch made some questionable comments, such as saying the jury 'gave up their lives' while making the decision, and blaming the 24-hours news cycle and media for much of the unrest. According to Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, the decision on when to announce was McCulloch's alone. He should have consulted with somebody, anybody, preferably a PR professional. The timing allowed protesters ample time to set up and get in place, and it is much harder for the police to do their job at night versus during the day. He should have made the announcement early in the morning, ideally before most people are awake, thereby giving police a full day to control any riots. Plus, I think that people are less likely to loot and burn down buildings in broad daylight. Outside of Ferguson, major cities saw protests nationwide, here in Philadelphia protesters marched from City Hall up Broad Street to Temple University. Maybe if McCulloch had announced the decision in a more positive way, without blaming the media, there would have been less of a firestorm of riots and backlash.

Police line during Ferguson riots
From a public relations perspective, I would start by saying that Robert McCulloch is not the ideal spokesperson; he's white. Furthermore, it seems that no one was allowed or able to vet anything he said. Blaming the media and the news never ends well, but he did it anyway. Well-known and respected media figures, as well as social media users everywhere, immediately attacked the idea that media was responsible for Michael Brown's death. That comment likely turned people away from supporting the decision, only adding more fuel to the fire. The situation in Ferguson is so bad that even other countries are commenting on it, China and Russia frequently receive criticism and condemnation for human rights abuses from the U.S., now they are pointing to Ferguson as a testament to 'American hypocrisy.' Ferguson desperately needs some good PR.

This post was authored by Faiz Mandviwalla, a junior at Temple University and the Director of Finance for PRowl Public Relations. Follow Faiz on Twitter here, @faizmand

What do you think about the way Ferguson officials have handled the situation? We would love to hear from you in the comments below!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Tips For Tackling That Dreaded Interview Question

During job and internship interviews, hiring managers may ask about your greatest weakness to determine whether you are fit for the position. This is a tough question, but luckily you can come prepared to an interview with a solution. When you think about your weaknesses, keep in mind not to indicate any qualities that make you seem incapable for the job. You want to present yourself positively and effectively when you answer the question.

1.Know your weaknesses and pick the best one.

Everyone has his or her own strengths and weaknesses; be honest with yourself! Delve into those ideas and tasks that make you feel uneasy or nervous. It is important to recognize these concerns, and acknowledge them so you can confidently say you will perform the job properly. It is important to get the point across that this weakness does not negatively impact your work.

2.Don’t say you work too hard.

Employers do not want to hear that you are a perfectionist and that you work too hard.  This is a common and generic response that is dismissed by hiring managers.
This question is an opportunity to share a professional challenge you have experienced in your previous positions, and can prove you are skilled in problem solving. People want to know what mistakes you have encountered and how you handled those situations.

3. Follow-up the weakness with how you conquered it.

After you provided the employer with the answer, you can demonstrate that you are constantly working on this weakness. A great candidate for any position is one that is always discovering new ways to learn and grow.  You can explain to the employer what initiatives you have taken to improve yourself. You can present your answer with the motivation to prove you can be the best at the job. This is how you can emphasize the positive when following-up the weakness.  

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Randi Nemeth.

Saturday, November 29, 2014


According to Time Magazine, Twitter data reveals that the feminism conversation has grown over 300% within the past 3 years. The question is, will it keep the pace or die out like many social movements tend to do?

I hope that this phenomenon is around to stay. Why? This movement for gender equality affects not only me as a woman, but it also affects the 60% of undergraduate degree earners of which only 14.7% will take executive office in business;  also known as, you guessed it, women.

After years of completing classes surrounding public relations at Temple, it is no secret that women make up a majority of the field with men consistently taking over higher CEO and leadership positions. A study published by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) in 2013 reveals that as of 2011, women in PR are only paid 87 cents to every man’s dollar. This information is concerning to me as a female undergrad who has worked just as hard as her male colleagues for the past 2 and a half years.

Social advocacy campaigns for gender equality need a longer lifespan. On September 22, 2014, Emma Watson proposed the “He for She” campaign to the UN advocating for men to embrace the definitional idea behind feminism. Her speech went viral receiving over 1 million views seemingly over night. Many of you probably retweeted, favorited, or shared some of her insightful words through social media around the time of its popularity, but have you recently? Have you seen any social movements for gender equality recently?

Negative repercussions from the word “feminism” seem to turn many men and women off to campaigns for equal opportunity, which is perhaps why social movements for gender equality never quite seem to stick. Too often is “feminism” paired with “man-hating” and it is difficult to change a mentality after it has been implemented in our culture since the late 1800s.

With the new age of social media, it has become easier to voice opinions through trending hashtags and Twitter Q&As. Social movement campaigns seem to sprout from time to time, but die out before they fully blossom. Like a flower, social movements need some TLC before they reach full maturity. To prevent feminism from remaining just an occasional fad in our society, it takes a special group of people that can strategically place the right message in the right hands.

So what can we as PR people do about gender equality? Simple, do what we do best: keep the conversation going.  Questions or opinions?  Let us know in the comments! 

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Olivia Noble.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Consumer Engagement According to Beyoncé

It seems the battle for winner of the internet has a new victor, and unsurprisingly, it's Beyoncé, yet again. After snippets of new tracks from her recently released Platnium Edition Box set of the self-titled album (which she surprised released last winter), Beyoncé surprised us again with her music video, 7/11.

Showcasing the star dancing around a hotel, mainly in her underwear, the video and song show off the upbeat, silly side of Beyoncé that we don't often encounter. While Queen Bey's high powered, fully loaded style and diva attitude are admired and coveted by her fans, this video stops and shows that she, just like us, sometimes just needs to stop what she's doing and dance in her underwear.

What does this new video release say about best practices for consumer engagement? Everything, in my opinion. 

The purpose of consumer engagement is to connect consumers with one another and/or with a larger brand. It encourages consumers to share the experiences they have with your product or brand. When consumer engagement tactics are executed well, the consumer is able to better relate to the larger brand. It helps strengthen brand relationships and create loyalty with consumers. The brand in this case: Beyoncé and her ever-growing empire. 

While the Queen has no problem selling out tours or albums, the average fan tuning in is unlikely to easily see themselves reflected in the multi billion dollar brand. Fantasizing about the life is one thing, but creating a true and realistic tie is another challenge.

The 7/11 video shows Beyoncé in a way we are necessarily used to seeing her: acting like one of the girls. Everything from the candid outfits to the messy room and home-video shooting style makes this an incredibly beneficial consumer engagement tool. The video helps to humanize the brand, keeps the fans pleased with another great song and video and utilizes the incredible share power Beyoncé has on social media. In just four days, the video has received over 25 million views on YoutTube. Mission, accomplished.

How will Bey wow us next?

Monday, November 24, 2014

PR Hits the Big Screen


Like many others this past weekend, I went to the movie theater to see the next installment of The Hunger Games movies, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part One.

As someone who has read the books many times, I knew what to expect. However, what I had forgotten was how large of a role PR plays in novel.

The plot follows the citizens of an impoverished, post-apocalyptic America (known as Panem) as they start a revolution against the Capitol, a sector of Panem that controls most of the wealth in the land and forces children to fight to the death in the Hunger Games.

One of the challenges faced by the revolting citizens is recruitment of other citizens throughout the country. Desperate to recruit more individuals to fight against the oppressive Capitol, leaders of the rebellion enlist a team of “directors” to lead the campaign in recruitment by shooting propaganda videos and broadcasting them to the entirety of Panem.

As an aspiring public relations professional, I was excited to see a representation of our field in a movie that isn't set in a glamorous environment.

Unfortunately, when most people think of PR, they think of Samantha Jones from Sex in the City. The glamorous, beautiful, and successful character is rarely featured in a work crisis throughout the entire series, and most of the references to her job are through the amazing opportunities she gets through clients (special parties, play premieres, etc.).

For real PR folk, it is apparent that our lives will never be that of Samantha Jones, but with this new representation in cinema, things are looking up.

Of course, there hasn't been a revolution as large as the one in The Hunger Games series in our lifetime, however, there are smaller revolutions that take place every day in our country that need leaders to promote.

Whether this is a non-profit organization rallying for the end of smoking or a political party advocating for taxes on junk food, there is always a need for a public relations specialist to lead the fight for a new value in our country.

Have you been inspired by a movie or TV show’s representation of PR? Let us know in the comments!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Misuse of Social Media Spells Trouble For PR

Although the use of social media has become a requirement in the public relations field, it can also have its downsides.  Not only does the rate at which information disseminates make a PR professional’s job even harder, but controlling public discourse has become nearly impossible. 

The recent GamerGate issue is a perfectly example of this. What started out as an attempt to expose a gaming journalist, Nathan Grayson, for supposedly giving a female game developer, Zoe Quinn, a positive review of her game simply because they were thought to be dating, snowballed into many women within the gaming industry coming out against the sexism within the industry and within the games themselves. The resulting hash tag, GamerGate, came about as a response to those women that were speaking out, sometimes harassing them via Twitter and even sending them death threats.

Among some of the people that spoke out about the gender issues in today’s games were Arthur Chu, a former Jeopardy contestant who has been published in many places online discussing the issue of sexism in games, and Ian Miles-Cheong, editor-in-chief of Gameranx, a popular gaming magazine.

A statement that Cheong made made him the target of GamerGate, however the people of the movement didn’t attack Cheong on twitter, but rather Arthur Chu, the completely wrong person.

This is where it get’s interesting for public relations professionals. How do you represent your client in a way that clears their name entirely when in order to do so you would have to find a way to address every single person that attacked your client on Twitter? That’s borderline impossible, especially when most people involved with GamerGate remain anonymous, using different usernames and e-mails to mask who they are. How can you change the audience’s view about incorrect facts when you don’t even know who your audience is?

The answer is, you can’t. Social media at its best is a way for public relations professionals to do their job, to interact with their audience and to present consistent branding. Social media at its worst means almost a total lose of control for public relations professionals.

What do public relations professionals do when the one tool they use the most turns against them? Let us know how you would handle this situation as a PR professional in the comments!  

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Hannah Litchfield.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Why Learning How To Code Can Enhance Your PR Career

As technology becomes more ingrained into our everyday lives, do you ever stop to wonder exactly how those websites and apps are created? Learning programming languages, such as HTML, CSS, or Javascript, are additional skills that could be added to your resume and increase your marketability. 

New Ways to Help Clients
If you identify an aspect of a clients website that could be updated, having basic web development skills would immediately fix the problem.  Rather than going through loopholes to find a developer, you could easily do a minor update; thus saving your client money and forging a better relationship.

Join a Startup
Have you ever thought of doing public relations for a tech startup? Learning how to code can give you a foot in the door. Having, at most, a rudimentary understanding of programming languages allows you to communicate with everyone at the startup about the product or service. This makes you an invaluable part of the team and helps to grow the company.

Ways to Learn

  • Programs, such as GirlDevelop It, host classes specifically dedicated to teaching women how to code.

  • If you are still in school, and have a few extra credits, a minor in computer science or digital media technologies would also help.

Learning to code can be an incredibly beneficial skill, but don’t feel pressure to code just because everyone else is learning. If staring at a computer screen with a bunch of letters, numbers, and symbols is not your cup of tea, that’s completely understandable. But, I encourage you to give it a shot. Those symbols on the screen can turn into programs that make your life and career easier and profitable.

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Janelle Grace.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Interview Moves (Like Jagger)

Winter break is quickly approaching and with it comes prime job hunting time.When it comes to the interview, we've had posts on how to land one, proper attire, and even informational interviews. However, we haven't given as much attention to the body language we use.

We know that body language speaks just as loudly as our verbal communication and we're aware of obvious movements we should not use...but what exactly should we do? A recent article on Mashable pinpointed several very useful tips to keep in the back of your mind while trying to score your dream job. The following are just a few that I personally found surprising and may help you as well.

  • Don't make direct eye contact. "Um, excuse me?" I said the same thing. Although most of us have been taught to do this, too much direct eye contact can be a bit unsettling for the interviewer. Instead, opt for what the article calls "direct face contact." Choose several different points on the face to focus on for seconds at a time for a more natural gaze.
  • Show your palms. Studies have shown that when your palms are facing up, it sends a signal to our limbic brain communicating honesty, engagement, and positivity. Patti Wood, a body language expert, says, "It’s one of the reasons we shake hands, to show the open palm. It’s so tied to survival instincts ... If we don’t see open palm gestures, it puts us on our guard."
  • Plant your feet on the ground. This tip is also grounded (no pun intended) in science. Apparently keeping your feet planted firmly on the ground makes it easier to think quickly. It allows you to move between the limbic reptilian brain (creative thought) and the neocortex brain (rational thought) to answer highly complex questions more quickly. I suppose that's where we get the phrase "Think/quick on your feet."
For the complete list and even more tips to put you a step ahead of the rest during interview season, read the rest of the original article here. Best of luck!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Tourism PR: Cities Need PR Too

When you think about public relations, a lot of areas come to mind like agency, entertainment, and event planning. One industry that you may not think of is tourism PR. It was not until after my study abroad experience that I began to consider this as a viable field I wanted to pursue. It combined all the things I loved- Philadelphia, traveling, and public relations. The only problem was I knew little to nothing about this rarely mentioned industry. But a few information interviews later, I've come up with some “need to know” points about travel PR:

  • It’s not just about travel. This industry isn't simply about marketing to travelers so they visit your city. You’ll be working with a lot of different industries that encompass the visitor experience from arts and entertainment to local hotels and hospitality.
  • You need to know your markets. Tourism PR works to reach the domestic, international, and niche markets, so it’s important to know who your audience is. These can include either a specific city like Boston or London or a group like the LGBT community. Being aware of the culture or needs of who you’re reaching will affect your messaging.
  • Bloggers are changing the job. The increase in travel bloggers is affecting the way tourism PR professionals are doing their job. Now, travel bloggers are pitching THEM! These freelance bloggers pitch their post ideas in the hopes of getting their stories picked up and purchased.
  • Sponsorships are increasing. Not only are travel bloggers changing the industry, but so is sponsored content. The future of tourism PR will see less traditional pitching to media outlets and more sponsorships.

Tourism PR isn't simply about promoting your city in the hopes of attracting visitors. It encompasses so many elements and industries that it’s often similar to agency life. But of course the most important thing to remember about tourism PR is that it takes a passion for your city and a love for showing what is has to offer.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Holiday Shopping in Your Inbox

Prepare for an inbox of coupons and promo codes this holiday season.

We've taken e-mail for granted. We use it most often for business purposes rather than personal purposes, but it remains a tactic for marketing professionals everywhere.  E-blasts, promotional codes, weekly updates, and blog content are all sent out as attention-grabbers via e-mail.

(Source: Here's The Thing)
According to Experian Marketing, over 90% of marketers are using e-mail in their marketing plan this holiday season. This puts e-mail in a more common place than social media. Chances are companies are using free media regardless, but their audience and focus are both factors of what channel receives the  most effort. Ultimately, we check our inboxes compulsively for the sake of business, so why do marketers reach out to us on the same outlet for the sake of consumerism?

The biggest holiday sales and shopping occur online, surpassing Black Fridays sales on Cyber Monday, the Monday following Thanksgiving. It's a virtual world for the holiday shopper, e-commerce and digital marketing staying one step ahead of the game.

As aspiring communication professionals, we understand that everyone has something to promote. Send out my e-blast, I'll send out your e-blast. Digital marketing is a perfect opportunity to differentiate marketing from public relations, and furthermore, organic promotion from that of paid advertisements.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Why Every Company Needs A #AlexFromTarget

I’m sure you are all well aware of topic that was trending on twitter, #alexfromtarget.  I mean who isn’t? The internet is a strange place. The topics the internet makes popular not the topics you would think.  PR professionals are forever trying to find that “thing” that the internet is going to take and run with.  The hashtag Alex from Target was the most random hashtag but somehow everyone on the internet love it. 

The New York Times did a study trying to figure out why #alexfromtarget was so popular.  There were many speculations that this was a marketing stunt from Target.  There was also talk about this just being some random girl, posting on Twitter a Target employee.  Trying to figure out just how this happened.  Andrew Lih, a journalism professor from American University cannot find anything.   He said “the internet is more like your local high school where inexplicably the crowd picks something that is not that interesting and elevates it to popularity status.”

As future PR professionals and working with social media, staying up to date with trend topics on Twitter and Facebook.  There is always a new topic or new hashtag that people are using throughout the country and the world.  Companies all over try time and time again to find a topic that people will hashtag on Twitter.  There is no certainty about the internet and what becomes popular becomes popular for now reason at all. 

Target used Alex, their staff member, to their advantage.  They knew just how to capitalize on the hashtag.  One part of knowing how to have a trend take off is knowing your public.  By knowing your public, it is way easier to figure out what your followers are going to respond to.  The better you know your audience when creating a content plan the more activity your company’s account will receive and also the more followers a company will gain.  What do you think about the hashtag Alex from Target?  

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Kristen Hallahan.