Monday, June 30, 2014

It's Time to Start Reading the Terms of Service...Especially for Facebook

Earlier this week, a study was published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, in which researchers had manipulated Facebook user's news feeds in order to test for a phenomenon called 'emotional contagion'. Back in January 2012, for one week, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, and Cornell University, paired with the Facebook data team to manipulate the news feeds of nearly 700,000 users. Using a computer algorithm, users were selected randomly, and then their news feeds were populated with more positive posts, or more negative posts. According to the study, users with more positive posts all over the news feeds posted more positively themselves, while the opposite was true for users with more negative posts. However, not a single Facebook user was told in advance, or even afterwards about their 'participation' in this study; so if you were feeling more happy or more depressed for a week in January of 2012, then this is probably why.

The real punchline to this story is that according to Facebook, everything they did complied with the terms of service and privacy policy that every user agrees to before creating a Facebook account. I think it's safe to say that the grand majority of people don't read those very long documents, myself included. If it really is true that Facebook's policies allow for user's data to be manipulated and studied in this way without their knowledge or consent, then it's time to at least start actually reading every terms of service you agree to, no matter how long. That's at the least, on the other end of the spectrum, many people are quitting Facebook and advocating for a general boycott of the social media giant.

Social media, and especially Facebook, have become essential parts of the lives of so many people, especially younger generations in college and high school. Having been a Facebook user myself for over 5 years, I can hardly imagine how I'd ever stay in contact with people without it. But, no matter how essential social media platforms force themselves to become in our lives, we have to remember that not too long ago, people got along just fine without them. In fact, whether or not you continue using Facebook and other sites, it's relaxing to get away from it once in awhile; go eat a meal by yourself and enjoy the scenery, or just spend the day with friends, face-to-face and without your phones. Social media is very important, especially for people in the field of public relations, but everyone needs a break from it once in awhile, just don't be afraid to take that break.

What do you think about Facebook's use of user's data? We'd love to hear from you!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Guilty Unless Proven...Attractive?

Last week, Wednesday, June 18, 2014, Jeremy Meeks was arrested on five weapon charges and one gang charge. The Stockton Police Department posted his mug shot, along with three others also arrested, on their Facebook page to inform their publics. The last thing they expected to do was catapult Meeks into Internet stardom.

The Internet population erupted upon seeing this criminal’s mug shot, creating memes, fan pages and even the hashtag #FreeJeremyMeeks. What about this man created such a viral sensation; enough for him to have over 200,000 likes on Facebook and approximately $4,000 (and rising) worth of donations towards his bail? He has good looks.

Donned the “handsome felon,” Meeks has stolen hearts of women across the nation. The media is swooning over him, relentlessly addressing his “icy” eyes and “chiseled features.” Modeling agencies have made statements, discussing potential modeling jobs for Armani and Versace for up to $30,000 a month.

While the media buzz circled around the convicted felon, Kyle Carpenter received a Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry for his displayed courage when serving as an automatic rifleman in Iraq in 2010. He shielded a fellow Marine from an enemy hand grenade, suffering catastrophic injuries from his eyes down.

This is a prime example of how distorted the media can be. Rather than celebrate a courageous American hero, we are more interested in a convict who happens to be attractive. Although not all media outlets covered Meeks’ story, and Kyle Carpenter was featured in various articles, it is interesting to see what media outlets prioritize as breaking news. In addition, because Meeks’ fame was triggered by social media rather than traditional, it seems as if we as media consumers are more interested in appearance rather than character. Not only does this instance generate the question of what media outlets find more newsworthy, but it also inquires what stories we find more interesting.

Below is a link to the original Facebook post from the Stockton Police Department, as well as links to his Facebook fan page and articles on both Meeks and Carpenter.

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Tyler Cameron. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Los Angeles: The City of Dreams, Hope and The Ultimate Facade

Whether looking to make it big, meet the most famous celebrities or vacation on the beautiful West Coast beaches, Los Angeles has been a prime destination for young faces to find a home for a week or for life. For over a hundred years LA has been known as the hometown of the rich and famous, where big dreams come true and life is unlike anywhere else. However, this dreamy idea of a fantasy-like world ends as you walk off your plane at LAX.

Recently, I took a trip to California to explore a new and unfamiliar place, in hopes of finding a place I might want to call home in my post-grad years. I would not say that I was surprised, but rather disappointed at how different the city is compared to what is portrayed in the news and media. Most of Los Angeles is made up of smaller towns, many of which are not much better than the surrounding areas of our beloved Temple University. The “LA” that we know and admire through the media makes up a very small percentage of the entire city, hidden away in the hills, trying to stay away from the average lifestyle of the real Los Angeles.

There’s a lot that PR professionals can learn from the media’s depiction of LA. By bringing forth the assets of a city, tourists from all around the world come to visit the city that offers them fame, fortune and a chance to fulfill their dreams. However, as a consumer, it is important to understand all of LA, not just the glamourized Hollywood and Beverly Hills area. By researching ahead of time and making a plan, I was able to see the highlights of LA in one day. Had I planned the whole vacation in LA, I would have been incredibly disappointed in the lack of activities the city offered aside from the cliché celebrity tours and bus rides. So the next time you’re planning a vacation to an esteemed city, remember to find out what the city actually has to offer, not just what the media taught you. 

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Hiya Ray. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

This Week In PR | No. 4

It's Friday, which means it's time for your weekly roundup of public relations happenings and current events.

  • In case you missed it a few weeks ago, FAFSA's Twitter account posted a meme from the hit movie Bridesmaids with the quote, "Help me I'm poor." Naturally, it was received with mixed reviews. While some took great offense, others thought the use of a popular meme was a great way to connect with FAFSA's main audience: young adults. Regardless, this week FAFSA tweeted out an apology explaining mocking people in need was never their intention. (PR Daily)
  • The News of the World phone hacking scandal first surfaced back in 2011, but on Tuesday former head of News International Rebekah Brooks, her husband, and her personal assistant were acquitted of all charges. Most people found the verdict shocking since there seemed to be plenty of evidence against them and agree that even if Brooks had no knowledge of the phone tapping, that it's her role as head of the company to take responsibility for any short-comings. (Jezebel)
  • It's no secret at this point that employers, internship directors and, well, anyone you would like to network with often check your social media profiles. However, now if you're selected for jury duty it's possible that the lawyers can take a look at your Facebook profile. Is this an invasion of privacy or simply a more efficient way to weed out any ineligible jurors with ties to the case? (Now This News)
  • Recently, comedic duo Seth Rogen and James Franco released a trailer for their new movie "The Interview." However, the film which is a comedy about assassinating Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un was seen by North Korea as "an act of war" with promises of "merciless" retaliation if the film is released. Some wonder if there is any connection to North Korea launching three short-range projectiles earlier this week, if it was in response to growing tensions with South Korea, or if it's simply a regular test. (TIME)
  • On a much lighter note, if you haven't already noticed there is something new on your Twitter timelines: GIFs! In a partnership with Giphy, a popular GIF site, users are now able to embed GIFs directly from their Giphy account or by tweeting the link to the GIF they want. As if picture and video tweet integration weren't enough, now you can enjoy looping animations over and over again, and people seem to be loving it! (Mashable)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The New Rules for Measuring PR

While discussing the difficulties of measurement in public relations, my professor brought up the Barcelona Principles, a newly developed set of standards for PR measurement and evaluation that I had never heard of. The Barcelona Principles are a fairly recent development by the Institute for Public Relations (IPR), named so for the location of the 2nd European Summit on Measurement which took place back in 2010. The summit addressed the need for a clearer set of standards when measuring the results of public relations efforts.

They seem like important principles to know, particularly for up and coming PR practitioners. So if you too were unaware of this important new development in PR, check out my simplified guide to understanding the Barcelona Principles:

1. PR relies on goals and objectives. Well-set goals are vital. They should be quantitative in order to address who, what, when and how much influence a campaign has caused.
2. Media measurement requires both quantity AND quality. Consider this- would you rather get coverage in one article of the New York Times or ten in your best friend’s blog?
3. AVEs value of public relations. Advertising Value Equivalents measure the cost of media space, not necessarily the success of the message.
4. Social media can and should be measured. When measuring social media, it’s important to focus on communities and the kind of conversations they are having. This should also be enhanced with other methods like survey data or web analytics.
5. Outcomes are preferred to outputs. Outcomes help to understand the extent to which the PR plan has affected awareness, behavior or opinion. This is preferred to output, which is simply pieces like news releases, media tracking or research done.
6. Business/Organizational results can and should be measured. This measurement should take into consideration the effects of a PR campaign on sales, revenue and other business metrics.
7. Transparency and Replicability are paramount. For valid and accurate measurement, it should be done in a way that is both transparent and replicable.

Do you think these principles will help shape the way the public relations industry measures success? Let us know!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Walmart, Red Ink, and Corporate Communications

There has been no shortage of articles and online posts firing accusations of mistreatment and foul play by giant corporate retailer Walmart. The company has dealt with everything from statements claiming that their employees are underpaid and living in poverty to claims that they do not pay their fare share of taxes. Situations like these where companies must protect themselves while appearing forthcoming and transparent to the public can be hard to balance. Especially when the accusations tend to come faster than the communications professionals can respond.

One such article entitled "The Corporate Daddy" written by New York Times writer Timothy Egan blasted the Walmart brand for all of the aforementioned and then some. Rather than let this one slip through the cracks, Walmart decided to respond back in an incredibly direct and slightly comical fashion.

Vice President of Communications for Walmart, David Tovar, responded to the writer by providing his edits and fact checks to the article, which he submitted in red ink. His edits included links to articles which discredited Egan's statements and backed the multi-billion dollar brand. The full article, with Tovar's edits can be viewed on the Walmart blog.

What's good about it -
Though many have thoughts on the way that Walmart opted to respond, the fact that they did respond directly to Egan's claims is a good thing. The issue, many times, with corporate communications is finding the balance between the human needs of consumers and the realities of the corporate world. The handwritten edits in red ink add a personal element to the the response. It's not a stuffy press release or a strategically and overly formalized social media post. It is simply one person, disagreeing with another person in the most human way that the internet allows.

What they could have don better -
While the response can be appreciated for all that it does well and aims to achieve, the fact still exists that the Walmart brand is perceived by many in a certain way, and one handcrafted response isn't going to change that image overnight. The coy and comedic response from Tovar could be perceived as the company downplaying the issues and facts that numerous people have claimed and proven to be huge issues for the brand. While Tovar did provide articles to back up his assertions, it is important to note that though the response may have been aimed at Tovar, it really had a much wider audience. Every corporate analyst and conscious consumer is also looking at Walmart with a watchful eye.

Moving Foward -
Walmart, keep responding! If the claims made against you are indeed false, then the evidence will more than speak for itself. Promote that evidence. Use your platform, voice, name and influence to showcase the good that you do, and help us realize what your brand is truly about. I'm calling for more transparency, more real content, a greater human touch to warm audiences up to the issue. As previously stated, Walmart's image may not change overnight, but with the right communications strategy, change is possible.

What do you think about the Walmart response? What advice do you have for the brand moving forward?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Do It Like Disney

Over time, The Walt Disney Company has managed to maintain a consistent, positive image. Compared to small(er) companies, The Walt Disney Company overlaps several industries and markets with many initiatives such as multiple television networks, film distributors, partnerships, amusement parks & resorts, radio, and retail stores. Through all of these entertainment aspects, The Walt Disney Company continues to represent themselves as: 

“Happiest Place on Earth” – Walt Disney World and Disneyland are recognized as two of the “happiest places on Earth.” If I’m speaking personally, I could not agree more! By taking costumes, rides & attractions, dining, and shopping to the most realistic extent, Disney exceeds your expectations. All work revolving around the company’s expectations relies on the Communications/PR team (this could be you!) Events in Fantasyland or street teams roaming around Animal Kingdom with promotional fliers and coupons are all little reminders of PR work to keep it the “happiest place on Earth.
Positive influence for children – The Walt Disney Company releases films, television programs, and music for the positive influence and growth of children. A few Communication tactics for this reputation would be the use of Disney Channel actors and actresses in campaigns for healthy living, eating, and learning, the marketing of specific products in retail stores that teach children colors, shapes, etc., and the face-to-face greetings with some of their Disney role models in Walt Disney World and Disneyland.

The Communication tactics are endless for a company so large, open-ended, and popular. Initiatives involving events, social media campaigns/contests, meet & greets, marketing, sales, and other possibilities can be planned on a large-scale for maximum results. All and all, these tactics aid The Walt Disney Company (and your company) in continuing to maintain the brand they intended to be.

Monday, June 23, 2014

What Being a Waitress Taught Me About PR

We all had those jobs in high school that funded our impromptu frozen yogurt runs with friends or paid for our car inspections and insurance.

However, along with helping us develop important soft skills that we will be using in the professional world for the rest of our lives, these jobs can often teach you things about the career field you hope to pursue.

This was the case for me.

 In high school, I waited on tables at a local pizzeria, and from that experience, I was able to learn a lot of things about public relations and marketing before I even stepped foot onto a college campus or took my first public relations class.

One of the key things that I learned about PR from my experience at the restaurant was the importance of branding. Being that there were many pizza places offering the same type of products in our area, our little food joint had to stand out from the rest.

With our homemade dough and family-friendly atmosphere, we were able to market our business towards a family-oriented community, which only led to more business and recognition.

The restaurant business also gave me an important introduction to PR campaigns and methods for enticing new customers to try a product.

From coupons on football weekends to strategically sending out menus once every three months to sub-areas of our town, we were able to pull in new business and reach areas of the community that we had not been able reach previously.

Also, working at a restaurant and taking care of customers gave me a crash course in professionalism and customer service.

It was important to keep a friendly, polite demeanor while working the counter and the dining room, and it was also important to know how to diffuse a red-hot situation when there was a mistake in an order.

The service industry taught me valuable lessons about PR, and I didn’t know it until I learned about these practices in our student-run firm and my classes!

Did you have a job in the service industry that taught you valuable lessons about your career field? If so, please tell us about it in the comments below!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Saying "I Do" to a Wedding Planning Internship

While studying public relations in the classroom, my interests always swayed towards event planning.  This summer I accepted an offer to intern with the company Something Blu Weddings and Events.  I had zero experience in wedding planning before this summer, but was ready to get my feet wet.  Although its only been about a month and a half since wedding bells starting ringing, I have compiled a list of little tips you should consider if you say “I do” to a wedding planning internship.

1.    Check the weather the day of.  The weather changes far too often not to make sure you have a couple umbrellas packed.  Maybe even five.  My first wedding with my internship, it down poured during the ceremony at the church. At one point, a couple of us were standing outside holding giant umbrellas over a convertible car the couple planned to drive off in. (Don’t worry, we had it covered both figuratively and literally).

2.     Do not rely on anyone else to get your job done.  The wedding planner is the one who crosses the T’s and dots the I’s. The last thing you want is a dinner table that should have eight guests and only having seven chairs.  Do not assume everything is done right, check and see it yourself. 

3.    Always keep your car clean. This one almost goes without saying, but you never know who will need to jump in the car with you.  It might even be the bride! 

4.  Stay calm!  Although sometimes wedding planning can be very stressful, never project that emotion in front your client.  One of the main purposes of your job is to make sure your client is stress and worry free.  So smile, take a deep breath, and get on with the show. 

The first wedding can leave an intern a little overwhelmed.  So after spending your hours making sure the client’s wedding is perfect, you deserve to relax and unwind.  For those of you who are of age, enjoy a nice glass of wine after your hard work.  The wedding may have stressed you out, but the amount of gratitude you will receive from the happy couple will surpass any challenging obstacle faced.

I am thrilled I went outside of my comfort zone and tried an internship that is challenging and something new.  Actually, I am thrilled I tried an internship that is Something Blu.

For more information on Something Blu Weddings and Events please visit: 

This guest blog was written by PRowl staff member Brittany Barish.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Get Ready To Blog!

Ever since I attended PRSSA National Conference last October, I decided I wanted to start my own blog. There are some lifestyle blogs I have been following for years , and numerous speakers at conference stressed how beneficial personal blog are for your personal brand.
I have always loved to write and decided to start my blog as soon as school ended in May because I was too busy during the school year. I really didn’t know where to start, so I began asking mentors and friends how they began their blogs. I got some great advice and launched my blog June 1. Here are some tips to anyone out there that is considering starting their own blog.

Decide what you want to write about
First, brainstorm ideas to figure out the best theme for you and your blog. Some blogs are super specific and only write about fashion or food or are strictly public relations related. Think about what you’re passionate about and what you enjoy. For me, I wanted a life style blog where I could write about several topics like work, school and family.

Choose a platform
There are many different websites to create your blog. Some of the more popular ones are Wordpress, Blogger and Blogspot. I went with Wordpress because many people said it was one of the most professional and popular platforms. Play around with a few and see which one suits you because they all have pros and cons.

Personalize it
After picking a platform, customize your blog. This is the best way to stand apart from the thousands of other blogs out there. Find a font and color that represents you. In my blog, I added pictures and quotes that showcase my personality. There are definitely a lot of restrictions using the free themes on Wordpress, but every details speaks volumes.

Make a schedule
 Most blogs start out strong , but slowly the blogger loses interest and gets too busy to post. Don’t let this happen to you! Pick a schedule of how often you want to blog. Right now, I am blogging about once a week. Make time in your schedule to sit down and write. Ideas will come to you at random times like when you’re at work or eating dinner. Jot them down and go back later to see if you can create a post from it.

Overall, have fun and take chances. If you don’t like sometime you can always go back and fix it. Don’t forget to check your spelling and grammar over and over. Please check out my blog here Do It With Passion Or Not At All.

Are you thinking of starting a blog? Comment below and we can learn something new together!

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Shaun Luberski.

Friday, June 20, 2014

This Week In PR | No. 3

This week in public relations and current events was full of head-turning headlines...and faces. Here's just a few of the things that occurred within the last week.

  • Though this news is probably more relevant to this blog's younger readers, it's news nonetheless. The Unicode Consortium announced the release of 250 new emojis. Making their debut in late July, the emojis include icons that have been highly requested by users as well as a few (well, several) that will probably never be touched. Let me know if you figure out a way to incorporate three types of floppy disks into a text. (CNET)
  • In response to Russia's recent crackdown on social media, Twitter executive Colin Crowell took a trip to Moscow to speak with representatives from the Russian government. Though details of the meetings have not been disclosed, President Vladimir Putin has always been weary of the internet and Crowell's goal is to ease any fears that Twitter is used in any way as a "government tool." (BuzzFeed)
  • American Apparel president and CEO Dov Charney has been suspended pending a "month-long 'cure period.'" Though the reason for his release was not stated in the press release announcing his dismissal, Charney has been the center of a few sexual assault allegations in recent years. In addition to those rumors, the American Apparel stock had been performing poorly for a while now, with stock prices only rising the morning after Charney's firing. (Refinery29)
  • During a new program unveiling, T-Mobile CEO John Legere compared his competitors to rapists saying, "These high and mighty duopolists that are raping you for every penny you have, if they could do something nice for you they would. The f—ckers hate you." Naturally, this sparked a huge social media backlash with many angered T-Mobile customers voicing their disgust for the CEO. The next day, Legere also took to Twitter issuing an apology. (PR Daily)
  • Remember my comment about this week's head-turning faces? Just yesterday a mugshot released on the Stockton Police Department's Facebook page went viral. Why? It just so happens that the arrested citizen, Jeremy Meeks, is quite handsome. By the end of the day, the photo of Meeks had accumulated over 30,000 likes, 9,400 comments, and had been shared over 2,900 times! That has to count towards good behavior, right? (FOX News)
Feel free to share even more newsworthy or interesting stories in the comments section below!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Redskins Face Biggest Loss Yet- Their Trademark

(source: USA Today)

Not long after the Donald Sterling scandal, the sports industry is experiencing yet another scandal rooted in racism. It was announced yesterday that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will cancel the Washington Redskins trademark, among a recent flurry of controversy over the name. The office made the ruling arguing that the team name “disparages” Native Americans and is considered offensive.

Though controversy with the Redskins’ name began in 1992, the issue has been garnering more negative media attention over the last few years. With the recent ruling by the Patent Office, the tension is likely to grow. It raises several issues for the organization, namely the potential need to rebrand an 82 history. In addition, they will likely need to rebuild their reputation, with the team potentially losing value in this scandal. There are a few steps the Redskins organization should take in order to ease their current public relations crisis.
  • Identify a spokesperson. They should designate a spokesperson to be the face of the team during the crisis, whether it is the owner, coach, or other. This allows for more consistent messaging coming from the organization.
  • Identify stakeholders. Who, both internally and externally, matter to the team and how are the decisions of the organization going to affect these stakeholders.
  • Use social media. The team should utilize their social media to update stakeholders, fans, and the public. This is the first place they are going to check to find out what is happening and what actions are being taken. The team is, in fact, doing just that. Wednesday morning, the official account tweeted a press release regarding the Patent Office’s decision.
  • Be transparent. If the team establishes open communication with the media and fans, it will ease any backlash. This will also help repair their relationship with the public as well.
In order to avoid similar controversy, other sports teams, like NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs and MLB’s Cleveland Indians, have begun phasing out their Native American mascots while still retaining related symbols. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Tips from the Experts: Pitching Morning News

This Monday, the Philadelphia Public Relations Association hosted its annual meeting in Old City, Philadelphia. Along with introducing its newest board members, the programming on the agenda included an awesome presentation by CBS3 and CW morning anchor Erika von Tiehl. Erika gave an incredibly eye-opening presentation with tips on pitching your client to morning news programs.

As PR professionals, whenever we can gain access to the preferences and desires of the media, we instantly have a one-up over our competitors. Getting coverage for your client can be a matter of pitching the right way at the right time. Here are some tips for Erika to help land your client a spot on morning news.

1. Know your morning show audience and set up.
In the mornings, more people are listening to the news rather than sitting down to watch it, Erika explained. It's important that the story you're pitching be something that can catch the viewers ear, as well as their eyes. Also, because morning shows tend to run longer than evening news, prepare for more time to be allotted. If you're offered four minutes on air, make sure ever minute is interesting and engaging.

2. Be visual with your pitch.
Instead of sending a few paragraphs to a reporter when pitching, send just the information they need summed up in a few sentences, a long with a photo or video. Don't worry about describing every minute detail. If a reporter needs more information, they'll request it.

3. Be flexible and responsive.
Realized that journalist, similarly to PR pros, are working on very tight deadlines. If a reporter emails you for information, or needs to client on air, act fast and deliver. Also, encourage your client to do the same! Be very frank and explain that the offer and opportunity has an expiration date.

4. Think of the viewer benefit.
Reporters want to share news that will truly benefit their audience. Don't pitch a commercial for your client, instead, create a story that will benefit or make the lives of the viewing audience easier. Offer your clients expertise, and relate it to current news that's impacting the lives of the audience.

5. Use social media.
Imagine how many emails flood the inboxes of the journalists you're pitching. Instead of going the traditional route, try using social media to pitch. Erika recommended tweeting a short blurb and including a photo or video. The more visual you can be, the better. Also, when your client lands a spot, be sure to promote it using the morning show's social media handles and hashtags. Always ask if there are any social links you and your client can share!

What strategies do you use to help get your pitch across?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Personable You

Personable: friendly or pleasant in manner; easy to get along with
(According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
It's so important to do what makes you happy. Most would consider a sense of personableness a key trait needed for any PR professional, but it surely doesn't stop there. All career paths, including business, marketing, advertising, nursing, sales, language, and art require confidence for success!  Here's three easy ways to embrace that friendly side we know you have:

1. Always say hello - People appreciate and notice greetings more than you would think. Don't you? "Hello" or "Good morning" to anyone you pass in the office or at your part-time job could easily make their day, and will put some pep in your step. If you consider yourself to be on the shy-er side, saying hello is an easy to start to break out of your shell and into a comfortable zone.
(Source: Girl Most Likely)
2. Relate, relate, relate - Understanding the audience is the key to PR and many business fields. Start relating by making conversation with the co-worker next to you, or making sure the client recognizes you are both on the same page; though two different types of situations, both can help in being easy to talk and can bring more projects your way.

3. Be inspired - Inspiration can boost your confidence - in your self, in your goals, and in your work ethic. Often times, inspiration will involve some of your favorite things and ideas, putting you in a good mood or give you a burst of energy. Get inspired by art, words, or stories to continue to work hard for what you want with a smile on your face for the world to see.
(Source: Flickr)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Media Relations 101

When a person thinks of the PR world, generally he or she imagines press releases, social media and event planning. However, one of the most important aspects of public relations, that tends to get over looked, is media relations. Not only is media relations one of the most significant factors, but it is also one of the trickiest. In public relations the media can either be your best friend or your worst enemy.  
The following are a few tips to help you brush up on your media relations:

1   .     Know who you are pitching – Different reporters cover different things. You can’t pitch your restaurant client to a reporter who covers technology. Research the outlet as well as the actual contact person before doing anything.

2   .     Find out the details – Discover how and when the reporter likes to be contacted. Some prefer emails, others phone calls. Some prefer mornings, others evenings. The easiest way to gain a media enemy is pitching them the wrong way.

3   .     Create a petite pitch – A pitch is a quick glance at what you have to offer. These emails should be no more than a few sentences. I promise you a long email will go straight to the trash can.

4   .     Have a standout subject line – These reporters receive hundreds of emails daily. In order for an email to stand out, you must think outside the box with your subject line. Make sure it is enticing enough to make the click “open”.

5   .     Following up is a good thing – You will not receive responses from every reporter you reach out to at first, and that’s expected. Sometimes reporters need a little more, and that is what the follow up is all about. Be aggressive, and don’t feel like you are being annoying - Following up is a key piece of media relations, and reporters know that.

    This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Kelly Dougherty.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Understanding Leadership in Your Workplace or Organization

This past May, I attended the LeaderShape Institute with Temple University, a six-day long leadership retreat. On the second day of the program, we talked about leadership styles and took the DiSC Classic Personality Test. This test helps you understand yourself and others by giving you a framework for understanding human behavior. DiSC stands for dominance, influence, steadiness, and conscientiousness. After completing the test, you find out the strength of these qualities are in your own personality. 

I found out that I am a “C,” which places an emphasis on work that ensures quality and accuracy. After taking the test and finding out which letter each of us represented, we found that our different strengths in our leadership styles, when combined, are beneficial, especially in your organization or workplace.  Whether you represent dominance, influence, steadiness, or conscientiousness all four of these qualities are needed:

Dominance (D) – This type of person likes getting immediate results, shaping the environment, making quick decisions, managing trouble, solving problems, and questioning the status quo. A person with a dominant personality needs others who use caution, weigh pros and cons, research facts, calculate risks, and recognize the needs of others.

Influence (i) – This type of person likes contacting people, being articulate, creating a motivating environment, generating enthusiasm, and entertaining people. An influencer needs others who respect sincerity, develop systematic approaches, take a logical approach, concentrate on the task, and seek facts.

Steadiness (S) – This type of person enjoys performing in a consistent, predictable manner, demonstrating patience, helping others, showing loyalty, being a good listener, and creating a stable, efficient work environment. A person with this personality needs others who react quickly to unexpected change, apply pressure on others, work well in an unpredictable environment, and are flexible in work procedures.

Conscientiousness (C) – This type of person likes being diplomatic with people, critically analyzing performance, concentrating on details, approaching situations systematically, and weighing pros and cons. This person needs others who delegate important tasks, encourage teamwork, use policies as guidelines, and make quick decisions.

Whichever letter you represent, you bring value to your workplace or organization. You may even have qualities from two or more DiSC areas. As you can see, you need others with different strengths and leadership styles to help make your workplace or organization the best it can be. What type of leader are you? 

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Megan Healy. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

This Week In PR | No. 2

  • It appears that Europeans' protest against driving company Uber may have been the best publicity they've ever received. Uber saw a major spike in profits after protests broke out against the company saying that they are taking money away from taxi drivers. Despite posing fierce competition for taxi companies and having what many feel is a less than thorough driver screening process, "Uber's signups in the UK alone rose 850%." It seems in this case big business may just win out in the end. (Forbes)
  • It's been clear for a while that video is the newest and most popular trend in social media so, of course, Facebook wants in on some of the action. The company is introducing a new feature to their Messenger app that will allow users to record and send 15-second videos. All this comes after their accidental launch of the Slingshot app, which had the same video capabilities. But good luck trying to download Slingshot; the app was removed from the App Store shortly after it was added. (Mashable)
  • Since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, there have been 74 school shootings in America. In an effort to come up with a solution for student protection, ProTecht invented the "Bodyguard Blanket," a bulletproof pad for students to put over their bodies in the event of a school shooting. However, people are beginning to question whether ProTecht's motives are noble or profiteering. You decide. (PR Daily)
  • Twitter COO Ali Rowghani resigns, ironically, via a tweet saying, “Goodbye Twitter. It’s been an amazing ride, and I will cherish the memories.” Though his resignation may seem abrupt to the public, Rowghani had been losing responsibilities within his position for months now. Originally appointed to help bring in a new audience and increase current users participation, Rowghani's leadership has only seen plunging stock prices and a less than impressive growth in users. Despite Twitter's recent struggles, Rowghani will stay on as an adviser and no one new will be appointed to the vacant COO position. (NY Times
  • On Tuesday, 11 of the leading public relations firms made a public statement saying that they would not alter the Wikipedia pages of their clients. After years of sneaky editing, these firms have promised to abide by the Wikipedia rules in an effort to mend the relationship between the two industries that has experienced strain over the past few years. Hopefully this statement signed by firms such as Edelman, Ogilvy & Mather, and Ketchum will encourage smaller PR firms and agencies to follow suit. (Ad Age)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Most Social Sporting Event

Today kicks off the 2014 FIFA World Cup, which unites 31 countries every four years for a month long soccer tournament (or football, I should say). It is the most watched sporting event in the world, with FIFA estimating nearly one billion viewers for the 2010 World Cup final. That’s a lot of eyes.

But this year, much of that attention will not just be on the television screen but the computer screen as well. It is predicted that this year’s World Cup will exceed both the Olympic Games and Super Bowl in social media mentions, making it the most social sporting event to date. Just within the last 30 days #WorldCup was tweeted roughly 1,400,400 times, which is sure to increase just by the time you’re done reading this post.

It’s no wonder Twitter and Facebook are having a competition of their own to be the go-to platform for discussing, lamenting, and celebrating the events of the World Cup. Earlier this week, Facebook launched a Trending World Cup page which presents users with news, scores, and highlights in real time so fans don’t ever miss a thing. Twitter has also created a similar Match timeline and World Cup timeline so users can stay updated with matches and scores. In addition, they have brought back the hashflag, first introduced for the 2010 World Cup. It’s quite literally a hashtag flag- a country code along with a flag emoticon.

As if that weren’t enough, Twitter is also hosting the World Cup of Tweets.  Fans can vote for their country on an interactive Twitter page which generates an automatic tweet with their team’s Twitter handle and hashtags. The country whose hashflag is mentioned the most will be deemed the winner and announced during the first game of the tournament.

If you plan on posting about the matches, use the official hashtags #WorldCup, #Brazil2014, and of course #USA. Be sure to tune in when the US plays Ghana on June 16! 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Genius Behind #GirlBoss

Earlier this Spring, Sophia Amoruso -Founder, CEO and Creative Director of the online fashion retailer Nasty Gal released her new book #GirlBoss. The book shares the fashion maven's experiences, and tells how she went from dumpster diving and shop lifting to growing a million dollar fashion brand.

#GirlBoss isn't the first in it's genre to be released as of late. Other popular books aiming to inspire and empower females to dive into the business world and profit from their passions have been hitting the shelves at record rates. Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg released her widely popular book Lean In this time last year, which also delivered an inspirational message to women ready to conquer all. However, it's not the content, inspiring as it may be, of #GirlBoss that I'm recognizing as genius. It's the awesome PR and marketing campaign surrounding it that I want to celebrate.

First, the title itself. Adding a hashtag into the title of your book equates to instant free marketing and increased exposure every time your book is mentioned. Even the this post, when shared over social, will link to the infamous hashtag, further spreading awareness. PR specialists who work with authors and publishers to promote printed content work hard to get a conversation started over social media. Sophia has cut out this extra leg of work by starting the conversation in the title -why didn't anyone think of this sooner?

In addition to its conversation-starting title, #GirlBoss has an impressive amount of online content on its website. Loaded with everything from promotional videos, photos and blog posts, the website truly extends the books conversation, making viewers even more compelled to find out more about Sophia and her story.

#GirlBoss is not just a book, a hashtag or Sophia Amoruso's rags to riches story. According to the book description, “A #GIRLBOSS is in charge of her own life. She gets what she wants because she works for it.” #GirlBoss is what every young woman has the desire to be -inspirational, successful, stylish and purposeful. Not only has Sophia told and sold her own story, she has given women a new framework to create and share their own stories. Creating a personal tie between your message and the lives of your audience members is no easy feat, and what every PR pro aims to do. Sophia and #GirlBoss have managed to achieve this is fabulously.

Have you heard of or read #GirlBoss? How do you think this book will change the way print materials are marketed in the future?

Monday, June 9, 2014

How to Stand Out at Your Internship: A Cheat Sheet

As young public relations professionals, we always try our best to make a great impression on the employees of the companies that we work for as interns . However, in order to secure stunning letters of recommendation and LinkedIn endorsements, it is important to become the intern your internship coordinators will talk about for semesters to come!

Becoming a stellar intern isn't as difficult as it may seem ,but it does require more than just sitting at your cubicle:

Ask Questions: An internship is as much a learning experience as it is an opportunity to lend your talents to a real-world company. When you are surrounded by professionals who are living your dreams, it can be beneficial to not only ask them questions when they come up about the work you are doing, but also ask them about your dream position and what advice they could give to someone who wishes to follow in their footsteps. Not only will this give you more of an understanding of your career field, but it will show your co-workers that you are serious about your professional life.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for More: It is common for an overseer at an internship to give an intern a bit less work than they are used to in order to see how much they can complete in a day. If the work load is too small and you finish early, don’t be afraid to ask for more. Your coordinator will be impressed by your confidence, and you will be able to get more experience from your internship.

Make Every Second Count: It can be tempting on a slow day to check your social networks or do homework at your internship, but it isn't worth it. You aren't there for downtime, you are there to learn and get as much professional experience as possible. If your coordinator is unable to send you any more assignments at the moment (see above), create your own work! Perhaps while you are researching ideas to improve a company’s social media platforms, you will find something that your coordinator or boss will thank you for later.

Remember, a semester internship is only a few months long, so it is important to use your time wisely and make a great impression on your co-workers and coordinators every day you are in the office.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

"When In Rome..."

If there is one piece of advice I could give to every student out there it would be to study abroad! Everyone should be exposed to the world around them because it will expand your horizons in so many different ways. Traveling will change you as a person both personally and professionally.   

As a future PR professional in the making, I have learned the importance of being able to connect and relate to people. This summer I decided to venture outside of my home turf in Philadelphia and study abroad in Rome.  It has been nothing short of an adventure and eye-opening experience. The Roman culture is so different, ranging from crossing the street to the right way of dressing, and I’ve come to realize that adaptability is extremely important in the PR field. I’ve also had to re-learn everything that I thought I already knew about communicating with people.

Being culturally well-rounded will allow you to be the secret weapon and most valued employee at any agency, company or business. By studying abroad at any point in your life, you are setting yourself apart from the crowd simply because you have international experience and companies are finding out that they will thrive with these types of employees. Having employees that are knowledgeable of the world are becoming a necessity in the work force.

From being in Rome, I have come to realize that many Americans don’t realize that there are so many different cultures and different types of people in the world. It is important for PR professionals to have an international experience because America is turning into a melting pot of different cultures. The best PR professionals are the ones who can stay on top of the latest cultural trends and know how to interact with those of a different culture. By going abroad you are training yourself to do just that while also gaining an international perspective. You’ll expose yourself to how news in other cultures travels, how specific target audiences are reached, and you’ll gain a set of foreign language skills that are lethal in any workplace. One day you could have a client who is Italian, German, Spanish, etc. and you will need to be able to form a relationship with them. Not to mention, people who have been abroad are more likely to get jobs in senior management levels that pay a lot of money for your expertise in other cultures and your willingness to be put into another culture.

Believe it or not, America isn’t that big, but the world around you is. Studying abroad is an adjustment, but one worth making. Go abroad and make yourself part of a different culture, don’t be afraid of standing out or attempting to speak the language. Try to fit in, talk to the locals, order in restaurants where you don’t understand the menu. There is so much to see, so much to do, and so many opportunities to take…after all “when in Rome, do as the Romans do.”   

This guest blog was written by PRowl staff member Alissa Steele.