Monday, March 31, 2014

Taco Bell's Clever Campaign

If I wasn't in public relations, I have a strong fascination in advertising and yesterday I saw a commercial that blew me away.

Recently Taco Bell has introduced a new breakfast menu to their chain's selections. In order to promote their new options, they released an ad campaign with real people's reactions after trying the breakfast choices. What makes this campaign so clever is that all of the people they used in the commercial are named Ronald McDonald.

It's no secret that Ronald McDonald is the mascot's name of fast food chain leader, McDonald's. It's also no secret that McDonald's has dominated the fast food breakfast field for decades. Taco Bell's new campaign is bold and direct statement to McDonald's without ever actually mentioning their competitor.

What as PR professionals can we learn from Taco Bell's brilliant commercial?
  • Be creative. There's more than one way to communicate a message. The message Taco Bell is conveying is clear: that their breakfast options are just as good, if not better, than McDonald's trusted breakfast options. Using this tactic to present that message is a creative and engaging way to grab the audience's attention.
  • Play with words. Language is a PR pro's bread and butter. We should be able to play to our strengths and have a bit more fun with how we frame our message. While one of the major differences between our messages and advertising messages is that we have to remain factual, that doesn't mean that we can't be entertaining as well.
  • Think outside the box. No, this tip is not an intentional pun relating to Taco Bell's old slogan "Think outside the bun." However, innovative thinking has been a strength of Taco Bell's for years now. Words may be our strong suit, but PR pros should embrace other methods of relaying a message as well. Researching your audience and tailoring the way you choose to deliver a message to that audience will do wonders in an advertising or PR campaign.
What was your reaction to the Taco Bell commercial? We would love to hear your thoughts so comment below!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Tech Giants Let NSA Collect User Data

In a world where technology is king and data leak scandals are prevalent, we never truly know who could potentially collect our user data. We blindly put our trust into technology companies, whose privacy policies that we never actually read, without skipping a beat. 

That is why it should be no surprise that tech giants like Google, Microsoft, Apple and Yahoo knew of the existence of the Internet surveillance program PRISM According to the NSA's top lawyer, quoted in a recent Mashable article, these companies complied with the government order however they just didn't know it was called that. This revelation comes after months of repeated — and very similar —denials by the tech companies.

As it turned out, the NSA can't just press a button and read a target's emails. The NSA has to get a Section 702 order (which refers to the part of the law which serves as its legal basis) and then the companies comply with it, delivering the data in different ways.

To put this is a PR perspective, it’s a disturbing thought that something you post for a client on Facebook or something you search for on Google while at work could cause three SUVs to materialize in your front yard while six plainclothes police officers fan out to case the joint and ask you a few questions. Sensitive client information should only be used while in private web browsing mode. 

What is your opinion on this recent government scandal? We want to know!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Innovating Your Writing

Superior writing skills are a PR professional's bread and butter. Everything that we do stems from the ability to use and manage language. Whether it be writing a news release or designing content for a social media plan, strong writing skills can be found at the core of almost any assignment.

It is not uncommon to become comfortable in your writing. If you read over things that you've written, you may find that you commonly use the same phrases, adjectives or expressions. It isn't just PR pros who fall victim to this writing plateau, professional writers are susceptible as well. 

Breaking writing habits that have been heavily instilled and feel comfortable to us can be challenging. Nevertheless, stepping out of your writing comfort zone is the only way to produce not only the best work that you are capable of, but the work that your client is paying for and deserves. Take small steps every day that will help to enhance the bigger picture in your writing. Read newspapers, magazines, blogs or articles online that are written in a style that you aren't familiar with. Take bits and pieces of what you read, and see if you use them as additions to your own style.

When you edit your work, don't just look for format, style and grammar mistakes. Look for phrases that you use repetitiously and try to use different wording. Take a trip to the thesaurus and look for strong and engaging synonyms. Writing and editing are different from revising your work. When you're finished editing your work, it shouldn't be uncommon for paragraphs to be changed, language and wording to be enhanced and for the piece to look different than when you first drafted it. Always be willing to rewrite for the sake of innovative and strong writing.

Do you think that your writing is innovative? Have you been stuck in a writing rut? What do you do to better your writing abilities as a PR pro? Please share with us in the comments!

(photo via

Monday, March 24, 2014

Tips to Improve Event Social Media Coverage

Recently, I've had the pleasure of attending several events and covering them via social media. However, I've also had the displeasure of attending several events and covering them via social media.  While I enjoy my job, it can sometimes be difficult to keep up, keep track, and keep within your data limit. Here are a few quick tips that I've adopted to help me while I'm updating social networks during events.

  • Keep Up | Sometimes the pace at which you have to send updates to social media can be pretty overwhelming. The best way to combat this is to use a scheduling application like Hootsuite or Buffer. They allow you have regular content posted during the event so you have an opportunity to actually enjoy being present. However, you should still continue to check each network to make sure that all updates are going up on time and without any grammatical errors. If something noteworthy happens that you didn't plan for, make sure to account for that and post content on that as well.
  • Keep Track | A great way to know everything that has been posted to each social network is to develop a spreadsheet. A spreadsheet can serve as a visual aid to ensure accountability and make sure every necessary topic is covered. It helps to break it down by social network so you know exactly what needs to be posted on which platform. It eliminates confusion and checking tasks off your list makes live updates much less daunting.
  • Keep Within Your Data Limit | Lately, I've been running into the problem of going over my monthly data allowance. During these events I'm expected to cover, I find myself in areas with either poor wifi service or none at all. The best thing to do is to arrive to the venue early to sort everything out ahead of time. If you discover the venue does not have wifi you have access to, take time to find a "safe place," like a nearby cafe, to plan all of your posts ahead of time as mentioned before. If that's not an option, you might just have to bite the bullet this time around. We're public relations students so we'll have to get used to it!
Have you had to create social media content during an event? What was your experience like? Let us know in the comments below!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

#Selfies #Branding

The Oxford Dictionary’s 2013 international word of the year, selfie, is one of the most interesting social movements we have seen in a while. A selfie is a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website. This new form of self-expression is redefining the way people brand themselves.

Take a look at celebrities. Some of the most powerful and famous people in the world utilize selfies. When you look at these photos you can get an understanding of who these people are. For instance there’s Miley Cyrus, the queen of selfies. When you look through her Instagram selfies you understand her brand and what she wants to be seen as. Miley is all about fun, youth, craziness etc., and it is so easy to see this through her “self-portraits”. Another selfie queen is the oh so stunning Kim Kardashian - who can forget that post baby mirror pic?! Kim embodies sex-appeal and beauty through her selfies, which is the brand she has capitalized on throughout her career.

            Not only celebrities are jumping on the selfie train, anyone can do it. Considering there are currently 88 million photos on Instagram using the hashtag #selfie and more than seven billion other images shared on social media sites each month, I think the entire world is interested in participating in this phenomenon.

Selfies represent much more than a narcissistic craze. You are in control of how the public views you. You get to show your intimate and personal brand in a new light-hearted way, and that is something extremely special. There is definitely opportunity within the selfie trend, so utilize it the best you can!

            This is the generation of #selfienation, and it will be exciting to see how far it goes.

This guest blog post was written by PRowl Staff Member Kelly Dougherty.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Free Tools to Create an Infographic

Long gone are the days of having to be a professional designer to create or design something visual. With the advancement of technology there are various free tools and methods to assist non professionals on creating something brilliant. Nowadays, people tend to gravitate more towards visuals rather than written items or articles. With that being said, infographics are a great foundation for anyone who is seeking to create visuals. 

Wondering how to create an infographic? Below are three free tools you can use to accomplish your goal:

1. This website is free! Its the perfect platform for assistance when it comes to creating an infographic. Its easy and self explanatory and one major feature this website holds is you having the ability to make more than 3 different types of charts. also allows you to download files in PNG or PDF format. 

2. InfoActive- This website describes itself as Simple, Responsive and Interactive. InfoActive allows you to turn your data into an interactive story. InfoActive allows you to share your stories directly to your blog or any social network. 

3. Visualize-  This website allows you to visualize your resume in one click. You can connect through your linkedIn and make your resume more interactive. 

Tap in to your creativity and try creating an Infographic for one of your upcoming projects. Times are definitely changing and we are forced to stand out of the crowd so challenge yourself and create something memorable. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

5 Questions Interns Are Never Told To Ask

Interns are given a lot of advice, but one topic that is consistently brought up is the importance of asking questions. Many of the questions that interns are encouraged to ask relate to how they can do more, see more, and get more from their internship experiences. While these things are important, and those questions should be asked, there are other burning questions that should not remain in the dark.

1. Could I take on less responsibilities during the day?
This question may seem absurd, interns are expected to be fully there, and accomplish as much as possible. But the fact is, especially in this day and age, interns are working for free - volunteering their time and efforts because they want to learn and grow. These interns are normally full time students with part-time or even full-time jobs and other responsibilities. If an intern feels that they are being given more work than their volunteer status should have, he or she should feel comfortable speaking up.

2. Could I be compensated for travel expenses?
Internship postings usually state right off the bat whether or not they are paid or unpaid. While an organization may not be able to compensate you hourly or by providing a stipend, some may be able to assist with travel costs. Interns may be eligible to receive free or discounted parking, or funds towards the costs of public transit.

3. Is there a policy for calling out or leaving early?
Part of interning is setting aside the time to show up and truly be there. However, when you are a full time student with other responsibilities, sometimes you may have to forego hours in the office to fulfill other commitments - such as studying for an exam or picking up extra hours at work. In these situations, it is helpful to know if your internship has a policy for absences, or if they allow interns to work remotely.

4. Could I be introduced to X person?
Internships provide the perfect platform for students to truly grow and develop their networks. A good intern knows who does what within their organization and what contacts those people have. Asking your boss to introduce you to someone, even if it is just via email, should not be an unsettling question. Simply ask politely, and let your boss know why this introduction or meeting is important to you and your professional development.

5. Will I be expected to complete assignments outside of the office on my off days?
We are always told to ask what our supervisors will expect when we are on the job, but rarely do we ask about other expectations they may have. There will be times when projects come up suddenly, and your boss could expect you to help out even if you aren't scheduled to come into the office. It is important to ask up front about outside work, especially if you know that you may not be able to meet this expectation due to other commitments.

As an intern, you should always feel comfortable vocalizing any questions or concerns that you have. Do not expect that something is "the norm." If it doesn't feel quite right - ask about it. Remember to always be polite and professional, and open with your superiors. In the end, they will respect you more for taking an active role in your professional development.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Facebook's #TransformationTuesday

Facebook has come a long way since its beginning, but lately it seems like there are changes implemented every week. Check out the evolution of Facebook here.

The site recently changed the layout of the newsfeed to make it consistent across mobile and desktop platforms. Facebook also announced that images will be more prominent on user's timelines. This stems from research that proves that people are more attracted to visuals than they are to lines of text. More announcements on changes on the site can be found at

Whenever Facebook makes a big change there is a lot of push-back from users. People tend to be resistant to change, even if it ends up benefiting them. Whenever Facebook changes the way it looks or the way it can be used, people resist and say they want to old format back. Of course this push-back fades away and everyone falls back in love with their favorite social site after they get used to the change.

Don't underestimate people's resistance to change. If a big change is being planned, make sure consumers are notified of the process and intent so they can properly prepare. This keeps people from bad mouthing your organization and builds brand loyalty.

Do you think Facebook is making too many changes? We want to know!

Check out more #TransformationTuesday images of popular websites like MySpace, Yahoo and Twitter.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Who Run the Social Media? Girls.

Social media sites are constantly changing and constantly growing. As new sites are developed, women set the pace for the popularity the site will gain. More women over men tend to not only try out new social media site, but also become regular visitors.

When it comes to the variety of social media sites, women claim to be more active on multiple outlets, but the men are not far behind.  The numbers are close but in the end, women lead men 30 percent to their 26 percent on the amount of channels women check per day. Facebook, which is considered the leading social media outlet, reports an attraction of higher females (76%) than males (66%) audience.

So, with the constant need for connection, what are the sites that command the most attention? Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter are the media outlets that command the women’s attention.  

These sites, however, are not only for interaction purposes but also informational needs. Fifty-eight percent of females use Facebook to receive their daily news, whereas, 42 percent of males use this site for news purposes.

Male presence may not be as high on leisure social media sites, but on LinkedIn, males have a more dominate attendance. The male population tends to utilize the resources on social media sites for particular reasons that will help in the long run. Women, however, exist on such sites for leisure and creative reasons. It is an escape to help pass the time or divert attention from every day experiences.

For more information on this interesting trend, check out the original article on PR Daily

This guest blog post was written by PRowl Staff Member Alison Curran. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Top Five Twitter Etiquette Tips

Twitter has quickly become the most relevant social media websites, and is especially important in the public relations world. Twitter can be used for a wide variety of things, such as furthering one’s personal brands, connecting with other professionals and organizations and staying connected with what’s going on both in and out of the United States. In the fast-paced world of 140 characters, here a few tips to keep in mind when tweeting:
  • Don’t overuse hashtags: While hashtags are both fun and can be helpful with connecting with others during events and conferences, use too many and the tweet begins to look a little messy. A good rule of thumb is to stick to three or less.
  • No automatic DMs: To put it quite simply, they aren’t needed. The “thank you for the follow” and “feeling excited to connect with you” message isn’t personal. If looking to say something right away to a new follower, a personal tweet to the user tends to work much better!
  • Try not to only tweet headlines and links: While it may be easier to just hit that “Retweet” button, if you do have the character room and want to add value to your tweet, go ahead and pull out an interesting line or two, or even a quote. While this may not apply to all types of articles you may see on Twitter, try and keep this one in the back of your mind next time you want to tweet out that really interesting article you just read.
  • Don’t forget to add the MT: While just recently learning of this myself, the “MT” stands for “modified tweet.” As public relations students, we all know the thought and care that can go into crafting the perfect tweet. If you do have to slightly change another’s words in order to fit into the 140 requirement, don’t forget to MT to make others aware that wording was changed!
  • If you are forced to write “spoiler alert,” don’t tweet it: Writing “spoiler alert” in your tweet pretty much ensures that something will be spoiled for somebody. In the age of Netflix and HBO GO, we all don’t watch our television programs at the same time when they air and if any of you are like me out there, Twitter has ruined many an episode of my favorite television programs. (particularly Game of Thrones last spring.) 

Are there any other tips that came to your mind while reading this? Is there anything that personally bothers you on Twitter? Share below!

This guest blog post was written by PRowl Staff Member Rachel Draghi.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Best and Worst Words Used in a Resume

Its around that time where we are all either updating or editing our resumes. Summer and Gradation is around the corner and its the season for job hunting and seeking summer internships. While browsing through the PR Newswire's website, Career Building surveyed employers on what were the worst and best words used on resumes.

The following are some of the words that are deemed to be a turnoff for employees:
1. Think outside the box
2. Go to person
3. Results driven
4. Hard worker
5. Strategic thinker
6. Self-motivated
7. Team player
8. Proactively 

The following are some of the words employers deemed to be strong terms to use in your resume:
1. Achieved
4. Volunteered
5. Influenced
6. Trained/Mentored
7. Negotiated 
8. Resolved

According to Career Building, one in every six employers usually spend 30 seconds or less on a candidate's resume. With this being said, its important you perfect your resume and leave no room for errors. Definitely using the right words in your resume is essential as it allows you to become a great candidate for that specific job. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

5 Signs You Shouldn't Start A Blog

"Why don't you start a blog," is a sentiment heard by most PR students when they enter their programs. We are encouraged to take the plunge, put our skills to use and start creating our own content for the world to see. 

Starting a blog is easier than ever; you can launch a complete website and start publishing content within a matter of minutes. Just because creating a blog is so simple doesn't mean that sustaining that blog and growing a following will be easy to do. Blogging takes time, patience, work and practice.

So, before you decide to hit "publish" on your first post, let's decipher if you're really meant to jump into the blog world.

1. You aren't good at time management.
Drafting a great post could take anywhere from a few hours to half of your day. Most blogger's post 3-5 days a week, if not more. Could you imagine putting almost the same amount of hours into your blog that part time workers spend on the job? If not, or if you don't have the time to spare, maybe starting a blog isn't the move for you.

2. You can't handle criticism.
Bloggers put their lives and skills on display in open forum, where anyone can add their two cents. The anonymity of the internet encourages people to be much more vocal than they would be in more personal interactions. Bloggers tend to have a thicker skin.

3. You don't like writing.
This should be obvious. If writing really isn't your thing, then signing up for a long-term writing commitment is definitely a wrong move.

4. You aren't active on social media.
From Twitter chats to fun meet ups on Google Hangouts, bloggers use social media to engage their readers, grow their following and form relationships with other bloggers. Some bloggers even manage personal accounts and separate ones for their blogs. 

5. You're only looking for a resume booster.
As you've read above, blogging is a true commitment that requires a lot of time and efforts. There are plenty of ways to enhance your resume that don't involve blogging and will still show that you're knowledgeable in your field.

Have you ever considered starting a blog? Are there any other signs that may indicate you shouldn't start a blog?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

10 Steps to a More Productive Day

This infographic from Lifehack offers great tips on getting more done throughout the days. It all starts with a simple list.

Listing the tasks you're hoping to accomplish makes it easier for you to prioritize. Whenever I make my to-do lists I always put the due date next to my tasks so I can make sure the urgent ones get done first.

Even if you're bogged down with work it's important that you're keeping yourself energized by having some fun. Listen to your favorite tunes and give yourself breaks every once an a while for snacks or chit chat to keep your body engaged and focused.

Tip #5 is something to think about. What time of the day are you most productive? If it's in the morning, aim to get the bulk of your work accomplished then. This can help you with tip #9: optimize and reflect. Always keeping thinking of ways you might have improved your productivity.

The end of your productive day will end the way it began: with another list! There is nothing more satisfying than checking off your tasks but sometimes a few remain unfinished. Rather than leaving your list as-is, re-write it without your completed tasks. It will be shorter and appear much more manageable that way.

How do you keep yourself productive during the day? Any tips for moments when you just feel like giving up? Let us know!

Monday, March 10, 2014

TU Invitational: A Taste of Philly PR

Get ready for Temple PRSSA’s biggest event of the year. Join us for the TU Invitational: A Taste of Philly PR! 

The event will take place on March 29, 2014 at 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Hillel at Temple University Edward H. Rosen Center For Jewish Life.

Temple Invitational: A Taste of Philly PR will be comprised of keynote speaker Cassandra Bailey, Principal of Slice Communications, and multiple speaker sessions, as well as great Philadelphia foods and speed networking! Bailey brings a wide variety of experiences to public relations and social media strategies, and will surely provide invaluable lessons for students looking to be successful in the field. 

In addition, the breakout sessions will be hosted by Kory Aversa of Aversa PR and School of Media and Communication Alumni Jessica Lawlor, Marketing and Communications Coordinator at Visit Bucks County. These successful Philly PR icons will each be providing advice and insight to aspiring public relations professionals, including how to successfully plan events and master personal branding. 

Students from all majors are encouraged to attend this engaging and exciting event! This is a great opportunity to develop connections with fellow aspiring PR pros as well as current professionals in the field.

Temple PRSSA encourages attendees to live tweet and take pictures during the event, so be sure to join the conversation by using the hashtag #TUInvite14. Bring your business cards and best handshake; this is an event you do not want to miss!

The dress code for the TU Invitational is business casual. To purchase your ticket for this fantastic event, click here. The early bird rate ends on Saturday, March 15th, so buy yours today and save $5! Also, if you're interested in donating to make this event an even bigger success, click here to give to our OwlCrowd fundraiser!

Can't wait to see on you March 29th!

This guest blog post was written by PRSSA member Jade Taylor. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

How I Built My PR Credibility Over Spring Break

It is has reached that point in the semester where it is time to start applying for summer internships or job positions. With ten days of spring break vacation I had the opportunity to work on this without worrying about school related obligations. Spring break is a convenient time to build credibility.  Here are some things I did with the time off of school that you can work on if you didn’t get the chance to over break.

·    Search for Internships/Job Openings: It is time to apply for PR summer positions. Take advantage of internship/job opportunities listed through your university’s resources. Research PR organizations that you may be interested in, find out their application deadlines and get your resume/cover letter out there!

·    Create/Improve Your LinkedIn Profile: LinkedIn has become a premier job search engine as well as one of the first places for employers to search for potential staff. If you are not yet LinkedIn make one! If you already have a profile, think of ways to improve it. As a competitor in the job market you want to stand out in any way you can.

·    Create a Blog: If you don’t have a blog, now is a great time to create one. With a blog you can practice/strengthen your writing and stay on top of news related stories. Having a professional blog is something you could add to your portfolio that will impress future employers. This is a great skill set in the PR world.

·    Tweet. Strengthen your Twitter credibility. Follow more people in your field of interest. Get more active in your tweeting. Follow recent news stories and comment on it. The more you intertwine your social media with your professional interests the more credible you will appear. Employers want to see your interests and what you tweet about. If your Twitter is being constantly updated, employers will see you are on top of your social media game. This is a vital skill set in the world of PR.

·    Stay in touch with the news. As a PR major don’t forget you are obligated to be a news junkie. Always be aware of what is going on in the world. You never know when you are going to find a story that can benefit the organization you are working for.

If you did not get the chance to work on this list over break, then do so now.  You will finish up the spring semester relieved and with a new sense of confidence after building your credibility.
This guest blog post was written by PRowl Staff Member Ben Coleman.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Charmed Life of Alex and Ani

Alex and Ani is a company founded by Carolyn Rafaelian, an innovative and creative business woman who focuses on positive energy.  The Alex and Ani brand began simply as charmed bangles but today consists of candles, necklaces, rings, etc.  The company focuses highly on sustainability and positive actions, making the brand appealing to many different audiences.

Not only am I personal fan of the bracelets, but also of the branding and public relations behind the company.  I applaud the PR department at Alex and Ani as they are continually working to brand the bracelets.  The company brands their products through the four following components:

Sustainability-  Alex and Ani bracelets are made with materials that are economically and environmentally beneficial to society.  There is even a charm on each bracelet with the iconic recycle symbol.  By doing this, Alex and Ani is appealing to both the environmentalists and fashionistas nationwide.    

Made In America – The bracelets are made in hand picked warehouses throughout the country.  Alex and Ani main stores are located on the main streets of cities in America, supporting small business and helping the economy to grow.  This strategy of the brand allows their customers to believe they are bettering the economy when purchasing a product because they are promoting corporate consciousness.

Positivity- The charms that are put on each bracelet are carefully researched so that they are absolutely sure the charms encompass positivity.  Everyone needs a little positivity in their life and their goal is that putting on the bracelets daily will help the wearer to be reminded that life is beautiful. The various charms also give the wearer a chance to express their personality based on the charms they pick.

Social Media- Alex and Ani is extremely interactive via social media. Search the hashtags #charmedarms, #positiveenergy and #alexandani on any social media outlet and you will see the most recent jewelry trend in America.  The company is constantly holding Instagram contests and replying to their customers on Twitter.  They also keep a blog titled “The Charmed Life” that is updated frequently and features links to their other social media outlets. 

Alex and Ani brands certain charms towards specific holidays: the “love” bangle for Valentines Day or the “four leaf clover” for St. Patrick’s Day.  There are also bangles that include charms for Autism awareness and other organizations that Alex and Ani donate a portion of their profits to.  Overall, Alex and Ani is a consistent brand and company; I admire their work ethic and strategy.  

Friday, March 7, 2014

Ways to Improve Your Internal Communication

Public relations is the art and the science of communications. Everyday PR pros communicate in many ways to many people; yet, a forgotten aspect of this thing we call “our life’s work” is internal communications.

As a current corporate communications intern at Aramark Corporation, I have discovered just how closely internal communication is tied to everyday PR work within a corporate environment. However, focusing on internal communication should not be limited to just corporate PR. How can an agency or help its clients if they aren't teaching that account team to speak to one another, share the brand, discuss improvements or simply brainstorm together? How can a non-profit get their message out externally if they aren't on the same page internally? The key to these questions is to shift the attention to how your organization is communicating internally before the focus is put on external communication.

Here are 5 tips to enhance better internal communications within your organization:

1. Silence is not Always Golden.
Have you ever noticed the places people don’t enjoy working are the ones where the minions don’t have a voice? Open and transparent communication is appreciated because everyone has been blessed with a brain full of ideas. Encourage senior management and executive leadership teams to listen to those ideas.

2. Get Straight to the Point. 
Employees who enjoy their work crave one thing, almost above all, direction. With clear direction, they understand what to do to earn brownie points. Stress direction and watch movement happen.

3. Aspire to Inspire. 
 Many employers don’t like to think outside the box, draw outside the lines or dare try something different. Employees want inspiration. They want to see their managers, directors and executive leaders doing something that can bring about change. Want a team to follow you? Inspire them to do something differently and with purpose.

4. Create a Company Voice. 
Anyone in HR or internal communications will tell you the chief reason for gossip in the workplace is ignorance. Most employees don’t really know what’s going on, so they tend to gossip and complain. A monthly or bi-weekly newsletter would suffice. Let them be heard by listening and then acting.

5. Lead by Example.
Bosses “boss.” Leaders “lead.”  Words only mean so much. Without action behind those words, employees will follow.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

4 Free Tools For Better Content Creation

Content managers work hard to produce fresh, original and engaging content. Drafting blog posts, tweets or crafting the perfect press release, PR professional must use all their resources to create the best possible content. Luckily, living in the digital age, most of these resources are available with a simple click, and are free to use.

Between coming up with ideas and monitoring results, content management is no easy feat. To help ease the job a little, try using these 4 free online resources:

1. Hemingway
Hemingway is a free online app that helps point out the strengths and weaknesses in your writing. Simply paste any chuck of writing into the app and get an analysis highlighting run on sentences, weak adverbs and get a grade for the overall piece. Aim for a grade of less than 10 to ensure clear and concise writing. This is a great tool not just for proofreading, but also to better your writing - which ultimately leads to creating better content.

2. Readability
Use this easy to install bookmarking tool to determine how much time it takes to read a piece of content. Many times, our content is well developed, but requires too much time of the reader. This tool will help you keep track of that, and stick to a content length best suited for your audiences. This handy tool will also allow you to save articles that you find online, and tell you how much time it will take you to read them. If it is especially long, the app will send the piece to your Kindle device to read later.

3. Blog Topic Generator
Perfect for the content manager in charge of creating blog posts, this generator helps produce quality content ideas in under a minute. Simply enter a few keywords that relate to your client or topics of interest, and let the tool work its magic.

4. Open Site Explorer
Having your content shared across the web helps to increase awareness of your topic and develop relationships within your audience. This tool shows you a compact list of all of the websites currently linking to your content. Use this tool to see the types of content best enjoyed and shared by others, and produce more of that! A simple way to see what your audience best likes is to see what they are willing to share within their networks.

Do you use any online tools to better your content creation? Feel free to share them in the comments!