Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Are Sponsored Social Media Posts Worth It?

The world of social media is changing at rapid rates. Popular networking sites, such as Facebook and Instagram, are realizing that they can maximize their profits by forcing brands to expand their social media budgets and pay to promote content.With algorithms and terms of service changing every day, content creators and community managers are always trying to find new ways to get their message seen.

Many professionals are choosing to bite the bullet, and shell out the extra bucks to make sure their content reaches the maximum number of audience members. However, recent studies show that the difference between engagement with sponsored versus non-sponsored or promoted posts may not be worth the extra headache and budget allocation.

PR Daily recently published findings from a HubShout study that surveyed social media users and asked them to recall details of the content they encountered. Of all surveyed, 68 percent claimed to have seen a sponsored or promoted post, but 62 percent of that 68 also said that they could not remember who posted it, or what the message was.

Does this mean that audience members are finding less value in content that marketers pay to have pushed in front of them? No, not necesarily. The HubShout study also stated that 51 percent of those surveyed find equal value in sponsored and non-sponsored content. It was not an issue of there being money behind the message, it was all about the message being relevant to the reader.

This study could be a huge wake up call to marketers and community managers who believe the message on the top is the message audience members engage with the most. This simply isn't the case; you have to do more than get the message in front of the viewer's eyes. As social media changes, messages need to be visible, and highly tailored to meet the needs to various audience members. Rather than shelling out extra bucks for a sponsored post, it may be a better idea to throw that funding in the direction of thorough market research.

Do you believe sponsored social media posts are necessary? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tips for a Successful Phone Interview

Phone interviews are often one of the first steps on the road to finding a job or internship. Sometimes the calls come from someone in human resources for the company you're applying to and sometimes they come right from the person in charge of the position. Phone interviews are generally scheduled ahead of time, but can also come unexpectedly after a resume with contact information is submitted. This is why it's important to target your job search and make sure you're always doing your research into the companies you're applying to.

Whether you're talking to a recruiter, HR manager or the person to whom you would report if you were hired, phone interviews are tricky. They can't see you so you don't have the advantage of using body language to convey your enthusiasm or sincerity. Often times, phone interviews are only slotted for a certain amount of time, so you may have to squeeze as much information as possible into that one phone call.  In order to have the most successful phone interview, use the following tips:

1. Have your elevator pitch ready
You're always going to be asked to "tell me a little bit about yourself" and you should be prepared to answer in a complete and concise way.

2. Write it all down
Employers are impressed when you have questions to ask them at the end of an interview. If you're writing down the things they're saying and questions that pop into your mind while you're talking, you'll have something insightful to ask at the end.

3. Stay calm and confident.
Your voice is your main tool during a phone interview. Keep a steady tone and speed when you speak and make sure the person on the other end can hear you at all times.

4. Follow up
If you don't already have their email, make sure you ask for it at the end of the conversation. Let them know you plan to follow up and offer to send them any supplemental material such as writing samples of portfolio pieces. They'll be impressed with your initiative.

Phone interviews are the gateway to in-person interviews so it's important to be your best. Do you have any more tips or tricks you use during these conversations? We'd love to hear from you.

Monday, April 28, 2014

LA Clippers Community Unites Against Owner Donald Sterling

Over the weekend, an audio recording leaked that revealed some disturbing attitudes within the LA Clippers franchise. Owner Donald Sterling was recorded having a conversation with his girlfriend, scolding her for posting a picture on Instagram with a black person. Ironically, his girlfriend is black and Mexican and the "black person" she took a photo with was basketball legend Magic Johnson. Somehow, Sterling still found the entire situation highly upsetting. 

Although the recording is still under investigation, there is strong evidence to suggest the voice does, in fact, belong to Sterling. Most notably he says, "It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?" He goes on to claim, "You can sleep with [black people]. You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it on [Instagram] ... and not to bring them to my games." 

I suppose Sterling's wish has been granted. Magic Johnson tweeted, ".@cjbycookie [his wife] and I will never go to a Clippers game again as long as Donald Sterling is the owner." He also goes on to tweet, "I feel sorry for my friends Coach Doc Rivers and Chris Paul that they have to work for a man that feels that way about African Americans." Rivers, Paul, and a majority of the Clippers starting lineup are African American.

During yesterday's playoff game against the Golden State Warriors, the team chose to wear their warm up shirts inside out as a silent protest against the comments made by Sterling. They also maintained a united front during post-game press conferences. When asked about the purported comments, both Chris Paul and Blake Griffin chose to turn the attention back to their performances during the game. Eventually, the reporters got the hint and stuck to questions related to the playoffs.

Courtesy of Mashable
As if this story didn't have enough ironic twists and turns already, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was planning to honor Sterling with a lifetime achievement award in May. They have since retracted it in a statement from interim president and CEO, Lorraine C. Miller, saying, "Let me make it clear, the NAACP will not be honoring Mr. Sterling at the upcoming Los Angeles branch event and we have strongly urged our Los Angeles unit to take the necessary steps to rescind the previous award they bestowed on him." 

Typically, the work of one prominent member of an organization can tarnish the entire franchise's name. However, it seems the LA Clippers have come together, and its fans have rallied behind the team in support. As President Obama stated when asked about his reaction to the recordings, "When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don’t have to do anything, you just let them talk....The United States continues to wrestle with legacy of race and slavery and segregation. That’s still there. We’ve made enormous strides, but you’re going to continue to see this percolate up ... We have to continue denouncing it and teach our children differently."

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Joy of Office Comradery: Why It’s SO Essential In A Professional Environment

As a young professional, I’ve experienced several types of leaders.  Some positively transformed my life while others left me feeling disheartened - at myself.

It comes as no surprise that the behavior of individual leaders impacts EVERYONE within the organization.  These people oversee the success of their business while correctly leading their employees.  If a leader treats an office as inferior, fails to understand their employees and barks orders, then the office will behave as though they are inferior.  If a leader knows all their employees on a personal level and knows what sparks and motivates them, then the office will turn into a high-spirited and thriving business. 

Office comradery, the sense of organizational cohesiveness, delivers a strong bond between leaders and their employees in that they all feel connected by common goals and successes.  They have a sense that everybody is in it together, therefore work as a unit rather than individuals to achieve their goals.  That’s why this idea of “togetherness” in a work environment is so essential.  How can you possibly expect to feel comfortable bouncing ideas off of someone when you don’t even feel comfortable asking them a question?  

While office comradery requires participation by both leader and employees, it must start with the individual leader.  To build a unified work environment, leaders can utilize the following tips: 
1. Encouraging Employees to Be Themselves - Valuing individualism is crucial for comradery in a work environment.  The beauty of individuality is that everyone brings their own experience and ideas, and helps the organization look at solving problems in a different light.
 2. Creating a Favorable Environment - Leaders have the responsibility to create an environment where employees truly enjoy coming to work each day.  A soothing environmental condition causes efficient worker productivity and increases job satisfaction.
 3. Openly Celebrating Mutual Successes- There is no need for elaborate events; they could be as simple as “Bagel Wednesdays” or a post-work Happy Hour.  The important thing is that it’s incorporated in company culture.  It also encourages colleagues to chat about things other than work. 

It’s important to know that creating a unified work environment cannot be achieved overnight.  However, incorporating these tips will not only create a prosperous work environment, but will initiate trust within their employees.

This guest blog post was written by Emily O'Connell.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Social Media Spring Cleaning – 5 Steps to a Better Online Presence

With the increasingly overwhelming amounts of social media platforms surrounding us today, it is easy to get lost in an ocean of hashtags, pictures and online lingo. So what is it that many of those “cool” social media geniuses you follow have in common? The answer is a lot simpler than it seems.
1. Create an impressionable “About Me” or descriptionIn order to build your own brand in a simple and affective way it is extremely important to utilize your “About Me” correctly. Find a way to make your description stand out even by incorporating something as simple as a unique cover picture.

2. Post once a dayYou have numerous social media platforms, but do you use them regularly? Posting at least once a day ensures that your followers are reading about what you have to say and staying interested. Letting an account just sit idle without any activity will lead to loss of followers and lack of interest when you do post.

3. Quality over quantityRemember that posting an aggressive amount will have the same consequences as not posting at all. No one wants to scroll down his or her Facebook feed and see the same person promoting an event over and over again. Stay away from repetitive posts and focus on sending quality messages.

4. Using hashtagsThe purpose of a hashtag is to bring people together who have a certain idea in common. It makes it easier to search for pictures, apps, news and current events. Before becoming a hashtag fiend, remember that the following you bring in using those hashtags are a reflection of quantity not quality. Use hashtags only when relevant and you’ll find yourself building a reputable online presence.

5. Post as it happensTimeliness is a factor of social media that is often overlooked. The use of #TBT (throwback Thursdays), #FBF (flashback Fridays) and #latergrams have made it increasingly easy to make an old picture or memory relevant. However, posting about an event right when it happens creates urgency, stirs a buzz and allows your content to not get lost in a sea of throwbacks. 

Kick-start your social media spring cleaning with these 5 tips and you’ll be on your way to a reputable online presence in no time.

This guest blog post was written by PRowl Staff Member Hiya Ray.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Welcome to the 2014-2015 Executive Board!

It is hard to believe that this year is coming to an end. Over the past two semesters, I have watched the firm grow into something spectacular. There have been ups, and there have been downs but I wouldn't have it any other way. This year's e-board has been there through it all with me and has truly shaped me into the leader I am today.

After reviewing various applications and an intense interview process, next year's board has been chosen. PRowl PR's executive board will be made up of 7 amazing aspiring PR pros next year. I have no doubt I am leaving the firm in more than capable hands and I cannot wait to see what they do next year! Meet our 2014-2015 Executive Board:

Amber Burns, Firm Director (bottom middle)

Alyssa Guckin, Assistant Firm Director (top middle)

Jaime Martorana, Assistant Firm Director (not pictured)

Jordan Washington, Assistant Firm Director (top right)

Kaylie Corallo, Director of Public Relations (bottom right)

Faiz Mandviwalla, Director of Finance (bottom left)

Maggie Wurst, Secretary (top left)

Good luck to all of you on this amazing journey full of learning & leading!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

5 To-Do List Items For New Leaders

We recently held interviews for internal promotions within our firm! This time is extremely exciting for PRowl, as we watch new leaders emerge and work to take the firm to new levels. Taking on a leadership role, or moving up to a new level, can be a difficult transition. The leadership in an organization, especially in a professional setting, can be the determining factor of progress and success.

When taking on a leadership role, consider these five tips to start off on the right track:

1. Evaluate the situation. Before jumping in, it is crucial to determine where you are really starting. If possible, talk to the person who held the role you're assuming prior to you. Ask what he or she set out to go, what goals they accomplished and any problems that they encountered. Also, take this time to evaluate your team members. Ask what they enjoyed about the previous leader, and what they found to be insufficient, and if they feel valued. 

2. Set goals for yourself. Now that you better know what to expect in your role, and have had time to gauge the feelings of your team, you can get goals to work towards. Use the information you gathered in the first point to set realistic and attainable goals for yourself. These goals should be reflective of improvements you would like to make and the feedback your team offered. Remember, you should be working for the good of the group.

3. Share your goals and vision with the team. Once you have some direction for yourself, it is important that you get your team onboard. Share your goals with them, and explain why you have selected these goals. Also, share how those goals play into the larger vision for the work the group will produce. Ask for feedback from your team; you will need their support in making this goals come to pass! 

4. Set collective goals. Now that you have explained yourself to the team, and built their confidence in you, it's important to bring their wants and needs into the picture. As a collective unit, you should set realistic internal and external goals. An internal goal could be along the lines of "Have a social gathering together once a month," and an external goal could include "Produce twice as much client work as we did last month." Setting goals together allows every member of the group to feel valued, and builds trust in knowing you are working for the same things.

5. Assign roles and responsibility. Now that you and your team are on the same page, you all can decide who will carry out which tasks. Be sure to explicitly describe all expectations and responsibilities, clear communication now will avoid problems down the line.

Be sure to document everything that you and your team decides so that everything can be referred to later. Revisit your original plans often to see how much progress you and your team have made since you first began your journey as a leader.

When taking on new leadership roles, what first steps do you take (or would you take) or see that things run smoothly?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Learn to Make Your Own Decisions

There's no such thing as a stupid question, right? While that may be true, there are definitely questions that are pretty unnecessary. I tend to ask a lot of them. I would rather ask a lot of questions and do something right than forge my own incorrect path. While I still stand by that, I've learned through my internships and time spent as a leader in student organizations that there are a lot of times where the questions need to be skipped and executive decisions need to be made.

In order to make a quick and effective decision on your own, there are some simple steps to take:

1. Develop a thorough understanding
You're much more likely to make a solid (and correct) decision if you have all your background information. Think of that "what-if's" before you start your task and find all your answers at the beginning, rather than running into roadblocks later on.

2. Utilize the internet
Search engines are a wonderful thing. Rather than asking your coworker or boss how to use promoted posts on Facebook or create a graph in Excel, just look it up online. 

3. Look for previous examples
Don't reinvent the wheel. If you're doing a job that someone has done before, there are examples of the right way to do it somewhere. Go through old files and see if you can find an older version that might be able to guide you.

4. Be confident
When you make a decision without asking anyone else, be confident that you're doing the right thing. Even if it turns out you aren't, you'll learn from it!

So if you're ever faced with a situation where an immediate decision needs to be made and it's up to you--don't get nervous and second guess yourself. Follow these tips and you're on your way to making great executive decisions. Plus, supervisors, managers, and directors all the way up to vice presidents and CEO's have to make their own decisions, so you're really helping yourself in the long run by learning to do it now.

Monday, April 21, 2014

PR and Passports

            One of a PR professional’s greatest assets is a passport. It’s funny how the things you learn in class somehow come up in everyday life. In my Communication Theory course, the term Normative Public Relations came up. This means relating honestly to all groups of people. To relate to a diverse group of people, one must understand the cultures of different people. The best method to this is to immerse yourself in a culture different to your own. After doing this, you are able to utilize other ways of thinking, doing and living and apply it to your personal and professional life.

            I may be biased as someone who works in the Study Away office, but I believe one of the greatest assets of the School of Media and Communications are the Study Away opportunities. Not only can students take courses abroad or nationally within their own majors, but students are now gaining more opportunities to actually intern in these locations as well. The new and improved Global Internship opportunities include: Barcelona, Hong Kong, London, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco and Washington D.C. Each of these programs offers students a full time internship, internship coordinator, job coach and a course called International Communications in the Workplace.

            The national programs give students a taste of what it’s like to live and work in the city of their choice. The international programs give students a cultural experience in a foreign country, while learning the professional customs of the country as well. Personally, I am participating in the Barcelona Global Internship Program this summer. On top of my public relations concentration, I have picked up another concentration in international communications and a minor in Spanish. To go to a foreign setting and apply the professional skills I have learned is petrifying and exciting all at the same time.

            Employers, especially in a fast-paced field like PR, are looking for employees who are relatable and adaptable to various environments and situations. Interning in a different city or country gives those students an edge that others cannot compete with. When sitting in an interview with a potential employer, being able to tell them how you adapted and lived in a place not native to you can really prove your skill set.

            There is a quote by St. Augustine that always comes to mind, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” I believe travelling the world, gives us the whole story: the story on people, places and life as we don’t already know it.

This guest blog post was written by PRowl Staff Member Brianna Prime.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Measuring the Success of a PR Campaign

It is that time of year again for PRowl Public Relations when we begin working on evaluating the work we have done for our clients. Evaluating a PR campaign is an important final step and can provide valuable information for both the client and PR professional. With today’s technology and increasing social media platforms, there is also an increasing need to know what companies are doing right and where they can improve. Companies are going to rely on their PR professionals to give them this information.

Even though this step is a vital part of a campaign, it is often forgotten or skipped over. If this part of the campaign is missed, how can you tell if the hard work you did was a success or not? Without this evaluation, you would not improve your work moving forward. Below is alist that highlights what I think are some of the most important outcomes an evaluation can provide:

    Learn your strengths: Through a final evaluation, you can assess the success of your team’s strengths based off of what areas the data shows that you did well.

   Determine what was effectiveWhether it is an event, a written analysis or a rebranding of a company, it is important to know if what you did accomplished the goals and objectives that you had laid out originally.

   Hard numbers for future referenceA campaign evaluation utilizes many hard facts and statistics to show what was accomplished for the duration of the campaign. For instance, was there a percentage increase in the number of Facebook “likes” or how many people actually attended an event in comparison to the number that was invited?

   Suggestions for improvement/future workIf you do not stop and asses the success of a campaign, you will never learn how to improve and will just continue to implement the same plans over and over. An evaluation can help you determine which areas need improvement and help you grow as a companyand as a professional.

   Learn from your mistakes: Along with the good things that an evaluation will tell you, there are also areas where you went wrong. You can then take this information and learn from it moving forward.

Do you think there are any other positive outcomes of evaluating a PR campaign? Share your experiences in the comments section below!

This guest blog post was written by PRowl Staff Member Kaitlyn Mashack.

Friday, April 18, 2014

A New Twitter Is Coming!

This Tuesday, Twitter will be rolling out a new design for profile pages. If you are a Twitter addict like me, you may agree that the additions seem to be quite useful. Among the new features are the following:

Best Tweets: Tweets that have received more engagement will appear slightly larger, so your best content is easy to find.

Pinned Tweet: Pin one of your tweets to the top of your page, so it’s easy for your followers to see what you’re all about. Most of your followers won’t visit your personal page often, but when they do it’s nice to be able to control what they see first. Maybe that means pinning your top story at the time if you’re a newspaper, or pinning a feature you’re particularly proud of if you’re an individual journalist. It’s a new way to make sure visitors to your page see something useful right away. 

Filtered Tweets: Now you can choose which timeline to view when checking out other profiles. Select from these options: tweets, tweets with photos/videos, or tweets and replies.

How will you use the new Twitter features? We want to know! 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

How to Handle Rejection

I'm not talking about getting turned down for a date--you'll have to go to another blog for advice on that one. I'm talking about job rejection. Whether you're about to graduate and applying for your first full-time position, you're an eager student applying for summer internships, or you're just looking to make a career change, there's a chance you could be facing some rejection sometime soon.

Getting a rejection letter or email for a job that you carefully crafted a cover letter and tailored your resume to can be pretty discouraging, but I prefer to think on the bright side of things and I've come up with some ways to handle rejection and turn it into something positive.

1. Learn from it
Maybe you can pin-point what you said (or didn't say) that caused your job-quest to end in rejection, or maybe you're not quite sure. Go back through the job description and look at the skills and think of ones you might not have highlighted enough or ones you could improve on. Think back to the interview process and consider what you might have done better or changed. Use this opportunity to reflect and improve.

2. Understand it
In a perfect world, every employer would call the people they reject and tell them exactly why they aren't getting hired. Unfortunately, that's usually not the case and it's up to you to figure it out. Try and think about the office atmosphere, the type of work they do, and the way they do it. You might have had all the qualifications, but not have been the right fit for that company. If they didn't think you were a right fit for them, they probably weren't a right fit for you anyway.

3. Use it to your advantage
In interviews you might get asked "what's your biggest failure?" or "talk about a time you didn't succeed and how you handled it". Job rejection is a perfect scenario to use in an answer to this question. You will learn from it and it will help you along the way, whether you realize it now or not, and employers will be impressed with how you handled it and all the ways you used it to become a better PR pro.

4. Chin up, soldier
Remember, there are hundreds of opportunities out there for you. Don't let one rejection get you down or stand in your way of doing the best you can. Keep looking for jobs and internships and you'll find the right one, even if it's somewhere you might not expect.

How have you handled job rejection? We want to hear from you.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

What Game of Thrones Can Teach Us About Transparency

Warning: If you plan to watch the HBO show Game of Thrones, this does contain spoilers. 

In the very first episode of HBO’s hit show Game of Thrones, we learn that the queen of Westeros, Cersei Lannister, has been involved in an incestuous relationship with her brother Jaime since before she was married to the king, Robert Baratheon. Unbeknownst to everyone but Cersei and Jaime, Cersei and Robert’s children are actually Jaime’s children, with no relation to King Robert at all, making the 3 kids 100% Lannister, and in no way related to the throne of Westeros. King Robert Baratheon dies under suspicious circumstances only a few episodes later, making Cersei’s oldest child, Joffrey, the new king. However, Robert Baratheon’s friend and advisor Ned Stark soon learns the truth about Cersei’s children, that they are not Baratheons and therefore not eligible for the throne.

       Right here is the main thing about public relations that Game of Thrones can teach us: to tell the truth and not try to cover up dirty secrets, because they’re going to come to light anyway. Ned Stark confronts Cersei about her children’s illegitimacy in private, and she uses her brother to have him imprisoned, and then her son has him beheaded. However, despite Cersei’s rather extreme reaction and attempted cover-up, Ned Start had already sent letters containing the truth to many different lords and ladies across the world.

Take any class about public relations, or just ask most people, and you’ll realize that public relations practitioners, and the industry as a whole, are often perceived as masters of some dark art of manipulation, wherein the truth is never what you think it is. While this may have been somewhat true in the days of PT Barnum, nowadays, regardless of what you may want, the truth has to be clear and visible to all, no matter how dirty it is. In this modern age of technology, it’s nigh impossible to sweep something under the rug forever, and being caught trying to hide something will always make the situation worse. It’s always better to get out ahead of an ugly truth, by being upfront with it as soon as it is relevant.

       Spend 5 minutes with Game of Thronesand you’ll realizethat one hallmark of the show is its intricate webs of internecine politics and relationships. Despite its complexity, Game of Thrones can teach us many practical, real life skills, especially about public relations.

       If you’re a fan of the show, what are some PR skills that you’ve seen in Game of Thrones? We’d love to hear from you!

This guest blog post was written by PRowl Staff Member Faiz Mandviwalla.


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Find Your Balance

Wake-up. Internship. Class. Meeting. Class. Work. Night class. Homework. Sleep. Repeat.

Does this sound familiar? This seems to be the normal schedule for many public relations majors. We are the type-A, really busy students that somehow find time to breathe. It is great because we are ambitious and driven, but sometimes we need a break from all the stress and multitasking. After all, it will not get easier once we graduate.

To help us all distress a little, I have complied a list of things to help step away from work and class to get some “me time.”

1.      Turn off all devices (or at least put them on airplane mode)
You read that right- turn off your phone and shut down your laptop or tablet. In our busy world, we are constantly checking social media or emails. It is really liberating to sometimes get away from it all; you don’t have to be connected 24/7. Stepping away from your phone allows you to do other things like watch a television show in peace or grab lunch with a friend without seeing your phone light up every three minutes.

2.      Go to the gym
I absolutely love going to the gym as much as possible. It could be that the endorphins released during exercise make me happy (and that I love wearing my gym clothes) but this is one of my favorite ways to distress. I will sometimes put my phone on airplane mode, so I can focus on my work out. Luckily at Temple, we have three different gyms available, so I can always find an open treadmill to burn some calories and take my mind off of work.

3.      Have an outlet
Find a hobby! I love photography and sometimes will sit on my laptop just to edit pictures from events and add fun filters. Some people love to run because they can blast their favorite songs and get some fresh air while clearing their mind. Whatever your outlet is, find and embrace it. At the end of a crazy week, it’ll help you find your sanity again and relax a bit.

In the end, the most important thing is to have a balance. Yes work is important, but so is having a life outside of public relations. Take the time to do some of these things because that media pitch and press release can wait until Monday morning when you get back into the office.

Do you have any tips on how to relax after a long week? Share below!

This guest blog post was written by PRowl Staff Member Shaun Luberski.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Say 'Yes' to the... First Job Offer?

As graduation looms, the class of 2014, along with myself, have been anxiously awaiting that "first job" offer. When that offer letter finally arrives, however, the stress and anxiety sets in. You ask yourself, "Is this the right decision?" Or, "Will I be happy at this company?" A whole series of questions and emotions will overcome you as you set out to make this life-changing decision. 
In a recent article, Heather Huhman, a Gen Y Career Expert, outlined some tips for considering your first job offer. If you've recently received a job offer or are anticipating one, these are great things to keep in mind:
1. Determine whether the job fulfills your immediate needs.
Before accepting any offer, make sure it fulfills your immediate needs. To determine whether the position is a good fit, ask yourself questions such as "Why should I accept this job offer?" or "Does the job meet my career goals?"
To help your decision, make a list of your personal and professional needs. Outline everything you desire out of your first job -- from the type of lifestyle to specific benefits/perks to your goals, and everything in between. 
2. Find out as much as you can about your potential boss.
A huge determinant of whether you’ll like your first job depends on your boss. This is why it's a good idea to learn about your potential boss before accepting the job offer.
Make a list of qualities you look for in a boss. These can be characteristics ranging from management styles to personal values. Do I prefer a supervisor who values flexibility? Do I want to avoid bosses who micromanage? Asking yourself these types of questions can get you thinking about the type of person for whom you want to work.
After creating a list of what you're looking for in a boss, research what the boss at this potential position is like. If the qualities aren't lining up (especially the most important ones), this could be a red flag.
3. Consider the big picture.
What do you want to accomplish in the upcoming year? Where do you see yourself five years down the road? As you look at the big picture and what you want to accomplish, determine if this position will help you get there.
For example, if you picture yourself moving up in a company, you'll want to make sure the company provides opportunities for growth -- and approximately how long it should take you to reach each stage.
4. Make sure every detail is crystal clear.
As you review your job offer, make sure every detail is clearly outlined in writing. (An offer isn't an offer unless it's in writing.) Ensure you are promised everything the employer told you during the interview. If something is unclear to you, ask the employer for clarification.
The job offer should clearly outline details regarding your schedule, compensation, and various benefits, including vacation and healthcare plans. You should also look out for extras such as contracts or buy outs. Some employers want to lock in their new hires for a specific period of time. If that's something you're not interested in, definitely reconsider the offer.
5. Don’t make your decision on the spot.
Although you deserve some time to think, most employers give candidates 24-48 hours to make a decision. In other words, you should be prepared to make a decision fairly quickly or risk losing the offer altogether.
If you feel like you're struggling with your decision, ask the employer if they can give you an extra day or two to decide. This would give you more time to weigh your options and talk to a friend or mentor to help you make an informed decision.
As you continue to think about your first job offer, make sure you're aware of your needs, as well as any warning signs. Every offer should be in writing and clearly explain the agreement. Accepting your first job is a huge milestone, and you want to make sure you make the best decision for your career.
What tips do you have for accepting your first job offer?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

8 Terms to NEVER Use in a Press Release

'We're thrilled to announce our new product launch," said Joe Smith of XYZ Inc. "We are proud of all the hard work our team put in and are excited to watch the success unfold."

How many times have you read a quote like that from a bigwig at a company or the mayor of the city? Chances are, it's a lot. While the readers might not know that many quotes in a story are written by PR professionals, the journalists definitely do and when they read quotes like the above that are dripping with overzealous emotion and fake positive attitude, they're likely to roll their eyes and move on to the next headline in their inbox.

To give your story (and your client) the best chance of landing some news coverage, skipping those overused words and phrases that make journalists cringe is crucial.  PR Daily recommends omitting the following words and phrases from your press releases:

1. Pleased/proud/thrilled/excited to announce

2. When asked for his/her input

3. Best-in-class/Best-of-breed

4. Wealth of experience

5. For the first time ever

6. This event boasts an impressive lineup

7. Just in time for

8. Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

Can you think of anymore overused words of phrases PR pros should avoid? We want to hear from you!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Why Did You Go Into Public Relations?

I recently stumbled upon what I thought was a pretty cute article. PR Daily contributor Arik Hanson wrote "Why I'd love for my daughter to go into PR" which lists five reasons why public relations is the way to go. While it was well written and obviously had the adorable factor, I wanted to share this mainly because I found his reasons for entering the field encouraging.

As Hanson points out, it's no secret that public relations is one of the most stressful professions. However, my hope is that this letter to his daughter will also serve as a boost of encouragement during your most tiresome of days and remind you of why you got into public relations yourself.

Check out the article here!

What do you feel are a few selling points of being in public relations? What do you love about the field? Share your experiences below!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Mix Up: Public Relations, Marketing and Advertising

It’s safe to say that for our generation public relations, marketing and advertising are all in one professional melting pot. This wasn’t always the case, but in recent years it has shown that the best campaigns and strategic plans involve a portion of each. Many public relations internship descriptions will be linked to these two other fields. Although they can go hand in hand with one another, let’s take a look at the difference.


PR vs Advertising

Public relations is earned media where advertising and paid media, plain and simple. When it comes down to drawing the line between the two, advertising is focused on immediate effects for promotion of the product. This difference falls under the telling vs. selling factor.Advertising’s main goal is the sell the product. PR is more concerned with specialized communication with media and building a relationship with them. Another difference is the control factor. Advertising has complete control of what they are portraying to the media. Public relations cannot beassured that their story will be covered and hands over themajority of control to the media. Lastly, the cost difference is another way to separate the two. Advertising often costs significantly more.


PR vs Marketing

Both of these fields are concerned with achieving business goals, but public relations focuses on numerous audiences, where marketing focuses on the customer audiencePublic relations has to keep in mind they are under the watch of many, internally and externally. Marketing wants the sale, bottom line. It puts its efforts in coming up with tactics to drive an immediate purchase. Public relations keeps itsfocus on driving awareness about the story. One quote thatseems to clear things us perfectly is “PR lights the fire, Marketing fans the flames.”


The lines can still be blurry when trying to figure out what falls under each category. Despite their differences, the fields often lend each other a helping hand. Public relations professionals most likely will find themselves working on a project that can be considered advertising or marketing work. When it’s all said and done, you want your brands to be promoted in the best, most effective way which often times means combining a little bit of everything.

This guest blog post was written by PRowl Staff Member Gabrielle Lacherza. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Has the Doctor Diagnosed You With FOMO?

We are the generation of social media. We are constantly sharing and receiving content like it is our job (and sometimes it is). However, our dependency on social media is a double-edged sword. Our generation has been diagnosed with FOMO: the fear of missing out. A study by Harris Interactive and MyLife found that two out of every three people experience some sort of anxiety or fear of missing important events or status updates on social media. From Twitter, to Instagram, to Facebook and beyond, we fear that we are missing out on visiting the best vacation destinations, achieving the greatest success, and attending exclusive events. Some of us even fear that we will miss out on using the latest trending hashtags.  There is a lot of pressure to share the latest and greatest content on social media and keep up with everyone’s business, but there is no need to worry. There are ways to combat FOMO:
  • Accept that you cannot be everywhere all the time.  You might scroll through your Twitter feed and read about all the fun things your followers are doing while you’re procrastinating from doing your homework. Everyone has different schedules and different responsibilities. There is only so much time in the day, and you must determine what is most important. 
  • Schedule your time on social media.  Five minutes on social media can become an hour without you even realizing it. Schedule specific times in the day to check your social media. This will relieve the anxiety and stress of constantly checking social media for updates.
  • Make your own plans. If you’re tired of scrolling through your followers’ tweets and Instagram posts as they enjoy a relaxing vacation on the beach or eat at a famous restaurant, make plans so that you can create your own experiences (and share them on social media if you would like).
  • Live in the moment. Instead of being glued to your phone, take a break and enjoy your surroundings. There is a difference between tweeting about an event and actually experiencing it.

People only share what they want others to see on social media. Go out, get involved, and make memories of your own! Although social media platforms are helpful tools to share and receive information, they shouldn't dictate how you live your life.

This guest blog post was written by PRowl Staff Member Megan Healy. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Ethics of PR and Social Media

The discussion of ethics never fails to emerge in one of my courses at least once a semester. This semester, it was brought up in my Social Media course, which is a special topics class within the public relations track here at Temple University. This course is designed to provide an understanding of social networks and basic proficiency in the use of social media in public relations, reputation management and competitive messaging. With this in mind, it is no surprise the ethics conversation was bound to come up.

Every aspiring PR pro knows that PRSSA has their own Code of Ethics that members must adhere to but, after graduating, is ethics truly ever discussed again? I would like to think yes, but in reality, I do not think it is a popular topic of conversation once we enter the workforce unless, that is, if you violate your company or organization’s ethical ideals.

The ethics of PR discussion, though seemingly a common sense conversation, is vital to be a successful public relations professional. Here are the top six, easy to remember ethical standards every PR pro should live up to, especially when it comes to social media management work
  1. Honesty: This is a no brainer. Being honest means not exaggerating an opponent’s or competitor’s weaknesses, only forwarding (or from a social media standpoint, “retweeting or sharing”) information that has been verified, and choosing to not spread rumors or falsehoods.
  2. Transparency: We have all heard of incidents in which an employee poses as a “customer” on a site like Yelp! and writes a rave review of their own company. Don’t do it. Be transparent and you will have real customers speaking your praises for you.
  3. Respect: Always avoid stooping down to aggression or nastiness. Do not use you company’s Twitter account to bash another company of product. People love spreading drama.
  4.  Privacy: Be sure to respect the privacy of your company when you are on a public platform.
  5. Relevance: Do not change the subject when dealing with an irate customer leaving snide comments on your company’s Facebook page. Be sure to answer the question or concern at hand and engage the consumer.
  6. Responsibility: To put it simply, always take responsibility. Never delete a tweet or try to hide a mistake. Address it and take action for or against it. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

When Is The Best Time To Post?

When is the right time to post on social media? A question that is constantly asked by most social media users.  At my internship, I'm in charge of everything social media and I'm always hesitant as to when exactly should i post information on the different social media channels. As i continue to partake in social media, I realize more and more how important it is for organizations to be aware of the peak times on social media. So for those of you who are currently doing social media management for a company or even for your personal brand, the infographic below goes in-depth on when are the good and bad times  to post on different social media channels.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

6 Ways To Avoid Email Overwhelm

Most professionals have a love/hate relationship with their email inboxes. Between never ending email threads and an ever growing number in the 'unread' column, it is easy to feel that your inbox is taking over your professional, or even personal, life.

Luckily, there are easy ways to regain control of your inbox. Here are six easy ways to make take some of the dread out of your mailbox:

1. Get rid of the junk. Have you noticed that half of the emails you skim through or instantly delete during the day are subscriptions or promotional offers you no longer want or need? Take the plunge, and remove yourself from those lists to avoid added clutter in your inbox. Use an unsubscribe service like to help wade through what should stay and what should go.

2. Create labels or folders to help you organize. Labels and folders are a great way to make sense of your inbox and can help to sort through junk. Label or file always emails with important dates or information that you can't delete right away.

3. Don't hold on to old messages. Instead of having messages linger in your inbox, hit that delete button and let it go. If a message or thread contains important information, use a filter or folder to deal with it later. Otherwise, let go and don't allow the clutter to build.

4. Avoid numerous drafts. Drafts are a great way to work on an email before you're ready to send, but the draft folder can fill up rather quickly. Once your done crafting and your email is ready to send, go back and empty the draft folder back to zero. There is no need to take up space and add more clutter

5. Manage as you go. With all of our email now conveniently stored on our smartphones, keeping up with email during the day is easier than ever. If you have a few minutes while waiting in line or sitting in traffic, take a second a sift through. You're likely to find that there are some messages you can delete without even opening.

6. Stop emailing yourself! The advances in cloud software have made taking your files with you everywhere easier than ever. Services like Google Drive and Dropbox, which are offered free, are great to use. Gone are the days when you had to email yourself an attachment, message or reminder - further clogging your inbox.

What do you do to help avoid email overwhelm? Share your email tips with us in the comments!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

CSR: The Good, The Bad and The Laugh-Worthy

A wildly successful Saturday at the Temple University Invitational: A Taste of Philly PR left me with new knowledge, connections and inspiration. One particular session stuck with me and I'm hoping you'll see why. Scott Tattar, a local PR professional with over 30 years of experience including working for Ketchum, owning his own firm and most recently presiding over the PR department at LevLane Advertising, spoke to the group at the Invitational about corporate social responsibility.

Tattar defined CSR as "how you create love for a brand that creates a sustainable relationship between you and the community" and noted that a lot of people go right to thinking about eco-friendly and green initiatives when they hear corporate social responsibility. While we would never discourage being more kind to the environment, that's not exactly what a successful CSR program initiates.

Some essentials of CSR are:
  • Empowering the customer
  • Clarity of focus
  • Targeting the buying community
Some good examples of CSR programs were mentioned during the conversation, including Target's Red Card program that allows customers to donate 1% of their total cost of purchase towards the school of their choice and Target will match it. This is a successful CSR initiative because it's empowering the customer as well as staying community-focused.

Poor examples of CSR initiatives were mentioned as well. Learn from the mistakes of others, right? Burger King has a program that donates proceeds to fighting childhood obesity. As good of a cause as it may be, that is just one big oxymoron and doesn't exactly empower the customer.

I came away from the session with a full understanding of corporate social responsibility that I didn't have before, and I hope you get the same from my post.

Can you think of any great (or terrible) examples of CSR programs? We want to hear from you!