Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Art of Storytelling: Why It Isn't Just for Authors

“You need to be able to write.” “As a PR pro, you’ll still need math!” “Networking is essential in public relations.” These are phrases we continually hear as communications students. But one sentence I have heard much less frequently is, “you need to be able to tell a story.” When you strip away all the elements of PR like the press releases, the analytics and the networking, it is essentially about communicating someone’s story to the world. So why is it that the ability to storytell is such an essential skill to have?

“PR is all about looking for the story that will bring a brand’s message to life.” –Luke Mackay, Edelman
  • Stories make people feel. Creating a positive emotion that the public links to your client or brand is key when building a reputation. Generating a story consumers identify with can also create strong brand loyalty. This is something no amount of advertising or research will gain for you.
  • It enhances facts. Facts alone can be uninteresting and boring but when they’re worked into a story, your audience becomes more attentive. They are also more likely to retain information when it is woven into a plot.
  • They inspire conversation.  A compelling story with a strong message gets people talking about your client or brand. Audiences can tell when it’s authentic and will respond accordingly- either with positive or negative feedback.

Storytelling requires a few elements to be truly effective in the same way as classic storytelling. There needs to be a plot with development, conflict and resolution. They also require a hero or heroine the audience can identify with on some level. And finally, great storytelling requires a compelling tale to draw audiences in.

There is one important point to keep in mind when using storytelling to communicate about your client- don’t let the story become bigger than the message itself. Use the story as a vehicle to clearly convey your message to your target audience.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

3 Things to Consider Before Quitting Your Internship

Internships are essential for growing your resume and gaining experience throughout your professional journey. Yet and still, not every internship leaves you feeling prepared and established; some leave much to be desired. And in the most extreme cases, there may be cause to check out early and spare yourself some time wasted.

Quitting your internship can be a hard decision to make, and shouldn't be done without careful consideration. Even when it's best to leave, you want to be sure you've covered all of your bases and exit without burning any bridges.

If your internship isn't going as well as you expected, and you think you may be reaching the tipping point, here are some steps you can take before handing in your notice:

Seek out a mentor
Mentors are great personal and professional resources to have, especially when making difficult decisions. If your aren't having the greatest internship experience, try seeking out an older or more experienced mentor who you can confide in about your concerns. Ask for advice, or what they would do in your shoes. They may be able to provide an alternative or means to turn your situation around.

Talk with your supervisor
Your internship supervisor is there to assist and guide you through your internship. If your experience isn't executing as you planned it would, try setting up a meeting and talking about your role with your supervisor. If you thought you'd be writing more or handling media relations, express that to your supervisor. There may be more of what you expect down the road. It's also a good time for your supervisor to recognize your drive and see how willing you are to do and learn more during your time with the organization.

Provide some solutions
If you know exactly which aspects of your internship are causing you to consider leaving, come up with some possible solutions to the issue. Present these to your boss and see if they'd be willing to let you steer the rest of your time in that direction. Some internship programs don't give interns certain responsibilities simply because they haven't thought of it yet. This is another chance to show your drive and commitment to your position.

If you feel that you've covered all of your basis and ultimately want to leave, be sure to do so as professionally as possible. Provide at least two weeks notice, and thank everyone for providing you the opportunity. Always maintain a healthy professional relationship, because you never know when you'll need them again.

Have you ever quit an internship? What steps did you take before deciding to quit? Share with us in the comments!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Three Things No One Tells You About PR

Coming into college as a PR major, I had no idea what to expect. Of course, I knew that having strong writing skills was a necessity and that my life wouldn’t be anything like that of Samantha Jones, but there were many unknowns I faced.

Now a second-semester sophomore, I have faced the beginning trials and tribulations that come with the PR major territory, and there are many things that I came to learn very quickly that I wasn’t prepared for:

1. Responding to Emails Becomes a Second Job: When you start your college experience in PR, the first emails you will be in charge of responding to are from your professors and teaching assistants. However, once you begin joining student organizations, taking on internships, and attending networking events, your inbox will come close to imploding on many occasions. Be sure to keep track of emails as they are received, and try to respond in a timely matter.

2. PR is everywhere: Like me, you may have entered college not knowing how to describe your major to your family. Also, your idea of what careers you can go into after college may be limited to agency or entertainment PR. However, after hearing from guest speakers and having PR classes, you will learn that every career field has a PR element affiliated with it. If you are interested in health, there is a PR field for that. If you want to work for a college communication department, you could try your hand at education PR. PR is everywhere, and once you realize that, you can truly start your journey towards your dream career.

3. Interning is Key: This may seem obvious, but if it isn’t a graduation requirement, a student may overlook the importance of having an internship! College is busy enough with classes and part time jobs, however, having an internship is an essential step in preparing for the real world after college. By taking at least one (if not more than one) internship in your collegiate career will put you at a higher level of security for when you graduate from your school.

Are there other things you wish you had known before you started college as a PR major? Let us know in the comments!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Making The Most Of Senior Year

This past week, I registered for my last semester at Temple University.  In less than seven months, this chapter of my life will end and I will be immersed into the real world, filled with exciting opportunities, fresh experiences and the imminent dread of student loan debt. A whirlwind of emotions envelops college seniors as they begin to approach the finish line, from being scared of post-grad life to becoming incredibly excited to see what the future has in store for us.

There are a few things as seniors I believe we should all remember.

Figure out who you really are.
What do you really see yourself doing in 5 years? 10 years? Will you be happy? In order to assure that you will be happy, try to do a little bit of soul searching. What truly makes you happy? Think about what you want and need most for yourself before doing things just because you feel obligated or because others want you to.

Focus on your future in the long run.
Chances are, you will not be landing your dream job fresh out of college. And most likely, your first job will not be your last. Forget about how much you want to make and how high up on the hierarchical chain you want to be. Every experience you have after college is an opportunity to network, make connections, build experience, and gain more skills. Take advantage of the opportunities you earn post-graduation, and use them to efficiently mold the future you want to have.

Keep an open mind.
This is an extension of my first point. There are opportunities that will be presented to you throughout your last semester and into the beginning of your new chapter. Don’t be too quick to dismiss them. Many roads lead to the same destination, and you never know what you could miss out on by being too narrow-minded.

Enjoy it!
Relish every moment you have during the last few months of your college career. This is a time in your life that is so unique that you will never be able to relive it. Now, I’m not saying go out every single night and neglect your priorities, but have fun in everything you do. Keep your friends close; it’s common knowledge that the friends you have in college will be your lifelong companions. Make an effort to ensure you will never regret not doing something and make the greatest memories that you’ll keep for the rest of your life. 

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

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Fall Break: The Perfect Time To Catch Up

Temple University has finally joined the Fall Break bandwagon and added five extra days to the Thanksgiving holiday students look forward to every year. For most, those extra days mean lazy days in bed, scouring the refrigerator for as many home cooked meals as we can eat and Netflix. A lot of Netflix. However, without any classes, internships or other commitments to attend to, everyone should take a few hours to do a little bit of housekeeping on the professional aspect of your life.

Update your LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the social media site that often gets overlooked after we have exhausted through our five other websites. Update your LinkedIn profile, add your most recent internships and work experience, and connect with people you met during the semester.  Staying on top of your LinkedIn can help you create new connections and networks.

 Research Internship or Job Opportunities
Fall Break is a great time to begin looking for spring internships, or, for seniors, jobs for post graduation. Applying for work can be time consuming, so leave the Netflix on in the background and start researching potential opportunities. Making a list and applying to a few per day is a great way to space out the applications without overwhelming yourself.

 Update your Resume
Take the time to revise your resume. Add new experiences, take out old ones that don’t relate to your goals, and proofread for mistakes. Taking a fresh look at your resume after some time can help make it sound and look better.

Reach out to professionals in the field who interest you and set up a coffee date. Sitting down with someone for even a half hour can give a lot of insight about the PR world. Many times, a meeting can lead to internships and other job opportunities.

All these helpful tips will only take a few hours to do and can be beneficial a long way from now. So grab some warm apple cider and start catching up!  

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

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Why Mentorship Matters

Just last week, I announced the mentorship matches for fall 2014, a semester in which we saw an increase in both mentor and mentee applications. Each year, the program seems to expand as more members become aware of the program and the benefits of participating in mentorship. Even at PRSSA National Conference a few weeks ago, PR pros continually mentioned the importance of mentorship and how that played a part in their professional success. So as the PRSSA mentorship matches begin to meet and develop their relationships, I wanted to highlight the top reasons why mentorship matters.

  • Mentee benefits. Mentees receive valuable knowledge from those who have first-hand experience. They also find a source of guidance and support in their mentor. Mentees can rely on their mentors to cheer them on when they succeed and help them up when they fail.
  • Mentor benefits. The relationship is mutually beneficial, giving mentors the opportunity to enhance their leadership skills. They are also able to develop a professional and/or personal relationship with their mentees, expanding their networking and hopefully creating a friendship in the process. And of course, there’s that feeling of gratification mentors knowing they were instrumental in helping another succeed.
  • Success. A 2006 study done by market research firm Gartner showed that in a company, mentees were promoted five times more frequently than those who did not have a mentor. This is a perfect example of the great success that comes from participating in a mentorship program.

Mentorship is a clear win-win for everyone involved. It benefits both the mentors and the mentees but also strengthens the organization. PRSSA has many members who, thanks to the mentorship program, have passed along advice, encouraged involvement and worked to make the chapter the best it can be.

Do you have a mentor who has helped you succeed? We want to hear your story! 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

#Coffeegraphy: When Coffee Calls Your Name

PR professionals have been listed as the largest group of coffee consumers, taking the #2 spot in a ranking of 15 professions. So, there may be a bit of bias behind the appreciation for Nescafe Dolce Gusto and their newest brand campaign!

To launch two new coffee machines, Oblo and Jovia, Nescafe Dolce Gusto developed an interactive and engaging campaign to help consumer's find themselves in the product, literally. The social media campaign ran on the brand' Facebook page for a week, and asked fans of the page to participate by describing themselves using only three words. Those three words were then taking to match the fan to the new machine, Oblo or Jovia, which best suited their personality. Once the fan was matched, they were given the opportunity to have their name written out in coffee by a professional calligrapher. Nescafe Dolce Gusto Expresso Intenso served as ink to bring this modern coffee art to work.

This campaign works well for a few reasons, one being that it allows the consumer to connect closely and intimately with the brand. Public relations professionals take time and careful consideration when trying to position brands and products and establish a connection with their audience. Nescafe has managed to force the consumer to see themselves in their brand in the most literal sense.

Most importantly, #coffeegraphy gives consumers something to take away, and help them remember the brand. Coffee shops and coffee makers are ubiquitous, with a Starbucks on almost every corner of every major city. The coffee industry is not at loss for competition between brands. What sets those brands apart? Experience. #Coffeegraphy provides a consumer experience that other brands haven't touched yet.

What do you think of the #coffeegraphy campaign? Does it peak your interest in the brand and products? Share with us in the comments!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Get Inspired by a Story

Storytelling is a part of your everyday life - more than you realize. Talking to friends, calling your parents, answering a question in an interview, we all share stories as a form of communication and reflection. First Person Arts is Philadelphia's premiere storytelling non-profit, focused on using documentary and memoir art to reflect, learn, and in some cases, heal. Fortunately, I was able to interview Becca Jennings, FPA's Marketing & Communications Coordinator, and find out the details on First Person Arts, marketing, and being a young professional. Becca is enthusiastic about her career, takes pride in her work, and has some amazing insights on self-development!
(Source:Visit Philadelphia)
Alyssa: Tell us about First Person Arts!
Becca: First Person Arts is a nonprofit arts organization committed to the power of personal storytelling. We believe that everyone has a story to tell, and that by sharing our stories, we build connections with each other and the world. 

The organization produces at least 65 live events each year including twice-monthly storytelling competitions called StorySlams, memoir and storytelling classes and workshops, applied storytelling programs, and the Annual First Person Arts Festival. 

Beyond the live events, we present storytelling content online via broadcasts, which include the weekly First Person Arts Podcast and the First Person Arts YouTube Channel.

Alyssa: As Marketing & Communications Coordinator, what are some of the
projects you've worked on over the last year?
Becca: I manage the creation of all print collateral, press, online presence, and ad sales/ placement for the organization throughout the year. 

But more specifically:
-Develop organizational Marketing Plans
-Press outreach
-Write copy for all organizational promotional materials including the FPA Festival brochure, StorySlam cards, flyers, and postcards
-Write copy and upload weekly podcasts
-Manage Marketing Intern, Executive Podcast Producer, and AV Intern
-Sell ads for FPA Festival brochure
-Identify and cultivate opportunities for promo partners/group sales
-In house graphic designer
-Liaison with out of house ad agency
-Manage, build, and create the schedule for all eblast communications
-Oversee and report out on web and live audience data collection
-Manage promotional distribution
-Manage community outreach to promote fall Festival
-Develop and execute advertising plans
-Social media manager
-Develop marketing budgets
-Onstage host at live events
-And much more!

Alyssa: What are some skills you look for in an intern or even Marketing co-worker?
Becca: Excellent writing skills, ability to manage multiple priorities simultaneously in a fast-paced deadline driven environment. The ability to plan is key--we're a small team of three people so forward thinking is a strong and valuable skill!

Alyssa: What advice can you give students looking to work in the arts & culture industry? How about the non-profit industry?
Becca: Do what you believe in and you will find a way to make it work for you. If you dream of a 6-figure salary, arts and culture might not be the direction for you. However, if you're inspired by the mission of the organization, and care more about that, you will have a gratifying job experience. Work extra hard, be very humble and gracious in the beginning, go above and beyond, and your career path will emerge. 

I think a lot of young people starting out are simply "looking for" their career paths. The truth is that their career path doesn't exist for them yet; so how can they "see" it? You have to walk it into existence--place one foot in front of the other-- and as you go along, your path will appear. Don't hang back waiting for your path to reveal itself to you. You reveal it for yourself by engaging with your passions and goals each day--by pushing past your comfort zone and testing your endurance--by meeting new people and listening to their stories. 

And if it doesn't happen for you right away, keep applying yourself. Fully discovering one's own career path is a lifelong journey.

Alyssa: What's your favorite part about working at First Person Arts?
Becca: I listen to stories for a living. That's pretty rad.

Dream big - chase after what makes you happy and find inspiration in your work. Interested in hearing some of these inspirational stories? The 13th First Person Arts Festival is coming up this Nov. 4 -15 and features some fantastic workshops, seminars, and stories. For more information on upcoming events, visit

Monday, October 20, 2014

It's Been a Week: How to Stay in Touch

It's been 1 whole week since the PRSSA National Conference, and it already seems like a lifetime ago. I wore what I now think of as my 'conference suit' today to work because it made me feel like I was getting dressed for another session or workshop. But, while conference may alternatively seem like a long time ago and very far into the future (over a year from now, in Atlanta!) there are some things you can, and should, do to stay in touch with the people you met at the conference. And for those that didn't attend conference, these tips are a good way to stay in touch with anyone you meet that you won't normally see.

For better or worse, technology, and specifically the Internet, rules our world, especially for public relations and its practitioners. The days of handwritten letters as a means of correspondence are over, now getting an actual letter is something special and rare. While at conference, after meeting with people I always make sure to give and get a business card, and I always tried to follow them on Twitter before we parted ways. Not all business cards are made the same way, so don't count on them to have all of the person's relevant information. Twitter becomes very popular while at conference, the hashtag #PRSSANC was trending for awhile because of all the users. Once you have that mutual Twitter follow with someone, you are good to go meet other people; just make sure to hold on to that business card!

Around right now is the perfect time to invite people to connect on LinkedIn; it's been a week so the memory of conference is fading. Sending out and getting LinkedIn invitations right now serves to jolt those conference memories back into action, and will get people looking at your profile. This is especially good for connecting with professionals that you met at conference!

Lastly, and this depends on how close a relationship you want to maintain, send the person an email a week or two after conference. Talk about it was great to meet them, ask a question or two about what's going on in their life, and if it's someone you really want to learn more about, ask to schedule a call or meeting. I shouldn't be anymore, but I'm still surprised and inspired by how helpful every PR pro I've met is willing to; they're always willing to take the time to talk to you and give you tips and advice to further your own career.

Have any questions or comments on the best practices to stay in touch with people? Comment below, we'd love to hear from you.

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

Sunday, October 19, 2014

What To Do When You're Infected

There is this little disease we all have heard of throughout our years in school.  It hits hard like your first cold of the winter season, and stays with you as long as those annoying sniffles last. Symptoms may include: fatigue, lack of interest, trouble concentrating, unable to read, write, type, raise hand and/or even own a flash card.  This dangerous infection usually strikes nation wide, primarily targeting students in their last year of college during their spring semesters. 

What is attacking these students you may ask?  Well, it is the ever infectious, Senioritis. Unfortunately, there is no known medical treatment; however, as a senior myself, I have come up with a list of how to fight the symptoms when Senioritis infects you and your last months of college.

  • C’s get degrees, but F’s get you another semester in college.  Although senioritis takes over your motivation, you cannot let your grades slip.  The entire reason why you have made it to senior year was the motivation to graduate.  So, whenever you get that all too familiar feeling to watch an entire T.V. series on Netflix instead of writing your paper, remember you are not graduated yet!

  • Manage your time.  YOLO is a great expression to use during your last year of college.  Trust me, I could not count the amount of times I have made a decision that followed with the statement, “Why not? It’s my senior year…” However, you made it far enough in college that you know how to budget your time to get all of your school work done, and still have a handful of senior year YOLO moments. 

  • Appreciate the rest of your time as a student.  Pat yourself on the back.  Every all nighter pulled, paper written, book read is an accomplishment that got you to your senior year.  Realize that these years do end and the real world is a head of you.  So when your infected senioritis brain is telling you to skip class, remember this will be some of the last times you get to be a student and not an employee.  Go to class and embrace every second of student life while it lasts.

Okay, so I know fighting off Senioritis sounds like an impossible task, but the symptoms are in fact combatable.  By reminding yourself how important it is to not give in to laziness, you can be cured in no time.  Graduation is the finish line of a college career.  So, my fellow seniors, lets finish strong! 

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

Saturday, October 18, 2014

PRSSANC: Where Phone Batteries Go To Die

This past weekend, 10 other Temple PRSSA and PRowl students and I had the honor of attending the PRSSA National Conference in Washington, D.C. Each year, this nationally recognized professional development conference is held in a different city. Last year, it was right in Philadelphia, but this year we got to travel a few hours south to the nation’s capital. After four days of packed sessions where we learned about various types and aspects of public relations, endless live-tweeting and some sightseeing of national monuments, I am finally able to reflect and absorb what I learned from several professionals sessions I attended.  

 Agency experience is invaluable
One common piece of advice from many guest speakers was to get agency experience. They stressed the importance of gaining various skills like media relations, pitching, multi-tasking and social media development that all come from working at an agency. One speaker during the tourism and hospitality session, Sarah Lipman, a public relations manager for Hilton Worldwide, stressed how agency gives you the best options and skills that are transferrable to any other sections of public relations that you may go into later like corporate. It is also well-known that it is good to try an agency internship in college because it’ll help determine if the fast paced agency experience is for you or not instead of taking a job at an agency and not liking it.

Stay in contact with Linkedin
Today, with so many different ways to contact people via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, email and telephone, it can be hard to actually get through to that people in your industry you want to reach out to. At conference, I learned that Linkedin is essential to keep in contact. One speaker, Anthony LaFauce, VP of Digital Communications Group at Porter Novelli, stressed how Linkedin is the best way to network and contact professionals in your desired field just to ask them questions and meet up if you’re in their area. He talked about how networking can be causal like going to happy hours but that following up with a personalized Linkedin request is the best way to maintain that connection. Before sending out all your new invites, make sure your Linkedin is updated with all your past and current positions and includes skills you possess like Google analytics, SEO, and Vocus or Cision.

Better to be last and right
In the 24/7 world of public relations, it is easy to want to push out content and be the first to break news for a client. The reality is that hurriedness often ends up to incorrect information getting out and incomplete stories. Our field is built on trust and transparency as professionals stressed all weekend to us. Speakers like Jason Mollica, Temple alum and president of JRMComm, spoke about how important it is to have and keep trust from both your clients, publics and the media. He admitted that he would rather be last and right then first and wrong. Always take your time to double check you work whether it is an email or press release or tweet.

The conference was a wonderful opportunity to immerse myself in public relations and refocus my short and long term goals. It was great meeting other students from around the country and seeing what steps they have taken professionally to put themselves ahead and continually grow. Next year the conference will be held in Atlanta, GA, so be sure to start saving now to travel to the south because learning about public relations never ends.

Do you have any tips you received from a fellow student or professional that resonated with you? Comment below! 

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Shaun Luberski.  You can follow Shaun on Twitter at @sluberski94.

Friday, October 17, 2014

How #PRSSANC Eased My First Job Fears

I would be lying if I said the thought of the upcoming job hunt season didn't seem like a daunting task. Luckily for me, according to US News, the job outlook for this year's college graduates is looking great. Those statistics coupled with what I took away from the "First Job Survival Guide" session have definitely eased any fears I previously had.

One of the panelists, Anthony LaFauce of Porter Novelli, had a few nuggets of wisdom to share with the conference-goers. If you've also been struggling with the thought of tackling your first job in the real world then these tips are for you. 

When interviewing, spell out how you're going to midigate risk for the company. Most "entry-level" jobs are listed as requiring two or more years of experience. Since we don't have that just yet, we're technically seen as a risk. Ease the company's mind and explain you're actually an asset.  

Be excited; upper management will notice. Personality is everything. Positive energy is infectious and shows genuine interest. A smile and a good attitude go farther than you think. 

Once you get your first job, there will immediately be three other people trying to get it. Keep your competitive edge and always bring your A-game. Otherwise, there will be someone else willing to step up to the plate. 

You're never inconveniencing anyone by asking questions. It's better to ask thorough questions ahead of time rather than make a mistake that could have been avoided. 

Double check everything you do. It's better to be a few minutes late and right, than not. Same principle as the tip before: thorough preparation makes for better results in the long run. 

Always keep candy on your desk. I could say this fosters positive office commradery...but people just like candy!

Hopefully these tips were helpful and if you have any first job survival tips of your own, feel free to share them in the comments below!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

#PRSSANC: Jason Mollica’s Keys to Media Interview Success

Although PRSSA National Conference has come to an end, there are still plenty of helpful insights to share from our experience in Washington, DC. Sessions highlighted an array of public relations topics with prominent speakers from Ketchum, Edelman, the Smithsonian and even Neiman Marcus. Also among those notable speakers was JRMComm President and Temple University alum Jason Mollica, who spoke to a packed house on the dos and don’ts of media relations. Entitled “Understanding What the Media Want,” his session included how to effectively communicate with media and even a few helpful steps of pitching. But the topic that stood out most to me was his tips for preparing your client (or even yourself) for a media interview.

(Photo by PRowl staff member Shaun Luberski)

In classes and internships, we learn how to communicate with the media on behalf of our client through press releases or social media. But what happens when we need to let the client speak for themselves? Here are a few of Jason’s tips for executing a successful interview with the media.
  • Pick a spokesperson. Have a knowledgeable and quotable spokesperson that is accessible to the media. If possible, have the interview conducted in a location that is comfortable for the spokesperson; a retail company’s CEO in one of their stores, for example.
  • Craft a key message. A key message that is consistent throughout the interview will allow for more effective communication. 
  • Create talking points. By creating talking points, the interviewee is able to stay on track and avoid rambling. This also helps to keep answer short, allowing for better quotability.  
  • Take charge. It’s important to take charge when answering questions from the media. They will potentially ask tough or controversial questions but the interviewer has control to frame the message in their responses. 
  • Never go off the record. This one is pretty self-explanatory. Jason’s advice, “if you don’t want it on the news, don’t say it.”
There are a few other key takeaways from this session including the importance of doing your research, knowing your audience and, of course, the need to always be transparent.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

6 #PRSSANC Takeaways for Student Run Firm Directors

This weekend as PRowl represented our firm, Temple PRSSA and Temple University at PRSSA National Conference, we all had the chance to meet members of other student run firms and their leadership. It quickly became apparent to me that the chance to network and learn from other student run firm members would be one of the most valuable parts of National Conference.

As a Student Run Firm Director, members within your firm and even those outside of your firm automatically have a set of expectations of you. These known and expressed expectations often cause us to react in certain ways: try and control every situation, micromanage, stay as on top of things as possible. These 6 takeaways that I brought back from National Conference help put the position into greater prospective, and may help current or future Firm Directors to do the same.

1. Understand and appreciate your team.

All student run firms are not created equal, and neither is the leadership within them. Over the weekend, I met at least a dozen student run firm directors, all with differently structured executive boards and leaderships. Understanding where each leader in your firm excels, and knowing what they aspire to do will determine the entire flow of your firm. If you aren't linked tight to the other team in your firm, no matter how strong of a leader you are as a Firm Director, the firm will always be missing something.

2. Always be learning.

You will never know it all, and you never should. Always be willing to listen to others, and reevaluate the way that you currently do things. While something may be working, that does not mean it is the most effective means of getting things done. Always be open to hearing new thoughts and suggestions, and really follow through to show you don't want to run the firm as a dictatorship.

3. Trust your expertise.

While you should always be learning from others, you should also speak about your own experiences and expertise with great confidence. If another Firm Director is struggling, don't second guess offering your own words of wisdom or piece of advice. You likely know much more than you ever thought you did.

4. Remember your goals.

Throughout conference weekend, sessions that had nothing to do with student run firms directly brought me back to the goals I'd set for PRowl. Always be on the look out for how a lesson you learn in everyday life can translate into helping you accomplish something for the firm. And if you haven't set concrete goals for your firm and position, use the stories and experiences of others to create your own.

5. Know you are not alone.

While our experiences are unique, many student run firm directors are battling similar issues. When asked what the greatest problems in our firms were, the majority of us responded with the same or similar answers. Don't put more pressure on yourself then necessary, and reach out for help when you needed. More often than not, someone else will be going through a similar trial, or has already overcome it and able to help you do the same.

6. Get connected, stay connected.

Student run firm directors have to stick together! As previously stated, we cannot do this alone --and there are so many of us, we shouldn't have to! Join Facebook Groups, or start your own, to connect with Firm Directors in your area and beyond. Host meet ups, or meet virtually with a few other Firm Directors to share your common experiences and grow together.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Museums at #PRSSANC

This weekend, PRowl traveled to Washington, D.C. for the 2014 National PRSSA Conference. Starting yesterday, PRowl is recapping some of the sessions, insights, and stories shared during the conference in our country's capital.

My favorite session of the weekend was A Monumental View: What It Takes To Work in Museums and Public Places. Museums and institutions and arts & culture are more of niche industries, and one we don't particularly learn about as much as say, agency or corporate. Melinda Machado, the Marketing & Communications Coordinator at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History presented about her background and experience in this position.
(Source: Newsdesk)
When asked what advice she can give students looking to get involved in the industry, she suggested gaining experience through agency work, where the opportunities for work in different industries is endless. Once employers can see you are capable of handling multiple projects in the fast-paced world of PR, they are more confident in you bringing that back to their internal communications.

Machado prepared a helpful visual presentation breaking down all the processes and results of a few campaigns she's worked on while at the museum. She tracked media coverage and her social footprint as the Communications director. For example, the museum's Communications team organized an event acknowledging Ralph Lauren for his donations and contributions to the National Museum of American History's exhibits. Hilary Clinton presented the award to Ralph Lauren, and clearly - media outlets all over covered the event, giving the museum a ton of earned publicity.

Among many other amazing speakers, Melinda Machado shared great insight for students aspiring to work in the field of PR within not only institutions, but any other industry. Her campaigns are inspirations for future student projects.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Unique Approach to Networking

I write to you from the lobby of the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C., site of the 2014 Public Relations Student Society of America National Conference. The wi-fi is slow, my hands are tired and my feet ache, but it's been an amazing weekend of hearing from our industries professionals, and my own peers at schools across the nation. One of the biggest advantages of conference, or PRSSANC, is the endless networking opportunities.

Most anyone will tell you that networking is the key to success in our industry; getting a job is often all about who you know. Here at conference, I've experiences all forms of networking, and I've come to several conclusions about the best way to go about it.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of PR students here at conference, all vying for a chance to talk to sometimes just 1 single professional after a speech or session. The only way for them to remember you is uniqueness. Before you walk up to someone, do your best to think about something different from anyone else to talk to them about.

This weekend, more often than not I'll hear students walk up to a PR pro, and say something along the lines of, "Well, after my 5th internship..." At first, I was just anxious, I'm only on my 3rd internship, how can I compete!? But, from watching the reactions and body language of the person they're trying to network to,  realized that they often weren't very interested. Everyone has had internships, so a PR pro isn't going to remember you that way. Instead, I introduced myself and then asked him (the guy I wanted a job from) a few questions about his own life, and the props he had on the table. Then we got to talking about Philadelphia, and I ended with recommending he take a trip to Jim's Steaks, which he actually wrote down! I was thrilled, and felt sure he'd remember me after that.

Another key to networking is to follow-up, and do it quickly. I talked to a speaker after his session, got his card, and then emailed him less than 15 minutes later. By the next day we'd scheduled a time to sit down and talk! As with most emails in PR, come up with a catchy subject line, and keep the body short, sweet, and simple. Make sure to connect it with something unique you talked about in-person!

Another few things to think about is to make your business cards stand out, but not be too flashy. The real, over-arching key to networking is to establish your unique, personal brand, communicate that effectively in just a few minutes, and than follow-up quickly and decisively.

Have any comments or questions on best networking practices? Leave them below, I'd love to hear from you!

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

The Inside Scoop: Living the Life of a Nonprofit PR Professional

As the fall season came into focus, so did the Public Relations Student Society of America’s National Conference!

Over the past few days, members of Temple University’s PRSSA chapter have been listening to various PR professionals speak about communication topics ranging from resume-building, healthcare PR, and more.

However, for those interested in pursuing a job in nonprofit communications, two women representing vastly different careers in the division gave tips for young professionals aiming towards making a change in the world.

Both National Director of Communications for The Salvation Army Jennifer Byrd and Field Organizer for Amnesty International Savannah Fox have experience in the field of non-profit PR. Both women discussed the requirements for their jobs as well as the things they have been able to accomplish in their professional careers.

According to Byrd, one of the best parts of being involved in the field of PR is having the ability to make a difference and promote change. As someone who had been involved in legal agency PR at one point, Byrd was hoping to find a way to impact people’s lives, and she found that outlet when she joined the Salvation Army.

Fox also spoke about how her involvement with Amnesty International has given her the chance to participate in the advocacy for the termination of the death penalty in the United States.

Through their jobs, both women are able to take part in something that they are passionate about as well as contribute to making a difference for the causes they believe in.

Another highlight of the field of nonprofit PR is the variation of the work a professional completes on a daily basis.

Byrd mentioned how there isn’t any typical day for a person in her position. She could be doing a multitude of projects ranging from media outreach to crisis management daily!

Fox, who hours before the conference had been observing human rights violations in the middle of Ferguson, Missouri, can find herself in the middle of an event standing alongside the demographic her workplace supports, or she could be doing traditional PR work in the form of reaching out to news outlets for coverage.

Although both Byrd and Fox spoke on different sides of the nonprofit spectrum, there main messages were the same. If you hope to go into the world of nonprofit PR, you must have a passion or drive for a cause, and you must be willing to dive in to finding a solution for the problems that cause faces.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

B2B vs. B2C Content Marketing

Content marketing is something PR professionals are seeing more and more on a daily basis. Content marketing is creating and sharing valuable and free images. The two types of content marketing are business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C). 

Strategically, the goals of B2C and B2B content marketing programs are similar. They both increase awareness, increase engagement and ultimately, drive action. However, how you approach and execute the two vary in a few areas:

B2B companies tend to target a narrow set of business influencers and decision makers, and content must be more highly targeted and specific.
B2C companies are looking at consumers. B2C content such as a viral video or funny Tumblr GIF can be a huge success for a consumer product.

Tools & Vehicles:
B2B companies tend to develop more white papers, research and seminars/webinars to establish thought leadership.
B2C companies utilize social media to promote products. They leverage Facebook the most to connect with consumers.

Sourcing Content:
B2B companies often struggle to find content, as they may have fewer digital assets or marketing materials to pull from. 
B2C companies tend to focus on and invest in their marketing engines. This gives them a steady stream of content sources and stories to share. 

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

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Branding Yourself Through Business Cards

This weekend is the Public Relations Student Society of America’s National Conference. Thousands of PR students and professionals will meet in Washington D.C. to develop their skills through workshops, presentations, and networking. Meeting others, especially in a large setting, can be overwhelming, but networking in the industry is necessary for your future success. In preparation for National Conference, I designed personalized business cards to help me network with others and stand out among the crowd. Business cards start a conversation. When designing your own cards, you may want to consider the following:

What kind of customer are you trying to attract?  Whether your business cards are for your company or for your personal brand, think about your audience and what you want to highlight about yourself.

Be visual. People are more likely to remember you through pictures, colors, and designs. Original pictures are always better than clip art. If you have a background in graphic design or art, put your own artwork on the back of your cards. It is a great way to show off your portfolio by giving them a piece of your work.

Inspire curiosity. Stand out by showing people you are unique. Give them a reason to contact you. I have seen people design business cards that are not cards at all. Some have made business cards out of plastic, wood, or cloth. Others have made foldable or pop-up cards, as well as personalized coins. It is up to you to decide what makes you different from the rest and what kind of impression you want to leave people with.

Where do you engage the most? Your home address takes up a lot of space. Think about the best way for others to contact you. If you primarily use email, then put your email address. If you want others to engage with you on social media, add your Twitter and Instagram handles. Provide people with the contact information you use the most.

Use a Quick Response code. QR codes are barcodes that your smartphone and other machines can scan. They redirect others to a link of your choice. Maybe you want to use a QR code to link your business card with your LinkedIn profile or personal blog. QR codes can help you share more information about yourself without taking up a lot of space.

To stand out, you do not need to be extravagant. One way I made my business cards unique was by using a non-traditional shape; my cards are square. Whether you are going to a conference or networking event, or simply want business cards for everyday use, these tips will help guide you in the right direction. How will you stand out through your business cards?

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

Friday, October 10, 2014

Living Blogging From #PRSSANC

This weekend, PRowl members are networking, learning and building connections at PRSSA's Annual National Conference....and we are bringing you with us!

Be sure to check these blog frequently for new posts and updates on our takeaways from conference. We'll be posting tips for navigating a national conference effectively, and information about the sessions we attend from today until Monday night when we make our way back to Philly.

If you have questions or comments for us about #PRSSANC, send us a tweet @PRowlPR!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

How to Make the Most of Your National Conference Experience, Without Leaving Philly!

PRSSA National Conference is one of three large-scale events in conjunction with PRSSA National. It is the perfect opportunity for members to gain insight into the profession, learn more about certain PR industries and meet other members from across the country. This year’s conference is in Washington, DC hosted by American University’s chapter. It would be ideal for each school to be able to fund every member’s attendance, despite the distance but unfortunately it’s just not a reality for many. However, there are plenty of ways to stay up to date with national conference happenings, even from Philadelphia.

(Source: PRSSA)
  • Search the hashtag. From Twitter to Instagram, searching #PRSSANC will make it seem like you’re actually there! The conference is full of active social media users (it’s a PR conference afterall) who will surely be posting photos of speakers, live Tweets and more.
  • Follow other members. In order to stay in tune with all things National Conference, there are a few key accounts you should be following. PRSSANational and PRSSA National Conference are guaranteed to keep their followers well-informed. You can also check in to the accounts of the National Committee members. National Committee is the executive board equivalent for PRSSA National. There are a number of Temple PRSSA and PRowl executive board members going as well who will be working to update the members who aren’t able to attend.
  • Read the programming. Before conference starts, check out the programming schedule. If there are any speakers you would have attended had you been at conference, search their name on Twitter for mentions. Attendees will likely live Tweet quotes and important points they make.
  • Check back! Be sure to check back with PRowl’s blog next week for a recap. It will include events and speaker highlights so you don’t miss a thing.

When staying updated with PRSSA National Conference, remember that social media is your best tool. It will allow you to see photos, videos, quotes and speakers that you will make you feel like you're actually there!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Strong Responses to #ImARepublican Hashtag

In late September, the #ImARepublican hashtag hit social media as a part of a campaign launched by Republicans Are People Too. Republicans Are People Too, and the subsequent ad shown above, were created to combat the belief that the Republican Party is comprised only of rich white men.

The ad makes its claim by showing the many "faces" of the Republican Party, with brief anecdotal captions on each photo shown such as "Republicans have tattoos and beards."

While the campaign may have been a well intended attempt to combat a huge stereotype of the Republican Party, it also overlooked many other accusations brought on by party opposers. Yes, it is argued that the party lacks diversity, but there are also questions of corruption, racism, and policy making among other things. The lack of address of these issues was brought into light once the hashtag hit social media. It received much more negative response than positive, with one tweet even reading:
Aside from this, the campaign was also criticized for its use of stock photography in the advertisement. Generic photos of people engaged in various activities could easily mean that those photoed are neither Republican or even US Citizens connected to the cause. Once the use of stock photography surfaced, the hashtag #IAmiStock also began to circulate, referencing the popular stock photo website.

As a response to all of the negative backlash, Republicans Are People Too created a second ad, urging viewers to change their thinking and engage in a more productive dialouge. Still, the #ImARepublican hashtag continues to circulate with memes aiming in mock rather than support the campaign.

Do you think there is hope for this campaign? Is the campaign a fair representation of the Republic Party and its needs for understanding? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Monday, October 6, 2014

How to Prepare for PRSSANC

Whenever you talk about the Public Relations Student Society of America National Conference, it always seems so far away, in the distant future. Even as recently as yesterday, I assumed I had a few more weeks until conference.

BUT WAIT. It's this weekend. As in, 5 days from right now, you and I might be at the same seminar or workshop, in our nations capital, Washington, D.C. With conference coming up so soon, a million little things I needed to do came rushing into my brain, keeping me up later than I wanted to be, as I fretted about each minute detail. Here are some of the most important ones:

1. SOCIAL MEDIA. It's 2014, and the name of the game is social media. Or maybe just Twitter. Regardless, connecting with people on social media is now just as important as actual face-to-face networking. In fact, I've found that meeting someone in-person, and then waiting a day or two to connect via Twitter and LinkedIn, is a good way to stay in touch. To prepare for conference, think about some important people/groups to follow on Twitter. Think about other members from your PRSSA chapter, consider following PRSSA chapters from another school. Not biased or anything, but Temple's PRSSA chapter is definitely worth following, same goes for our PR-firm, PRowl Public Relations.

2. Business attire. Everyone's heard the age-old adage, 'Look good, feel good.' Well, let me add another part to that: 'Do good.' Plan to dress up for conference, wear a tie, wear a jacket. Ladies: wear whatever the female equivalent is. The more professional you look, the more seriously other's will treat you. Don't expect to show up in a polo and shorts and get a job.

3. Networking. I mentioned it earlier under social media, but networking is one the primary reasons for attending conference, and the activity that'll likely help you down the road. PR is, after all, about who you know. Get business cards of your own, and be ready to get a lot from people you meet. Don't be afraid to walk up to a group of strangers, stick out your hand, and introduce yourself. You'll probably be doing what they all wish they were doing. Introduce yourself, find something to connect on - ask what specific field of PR are they interested in, or what they are studying or if they are interning somewhere. Offer your business card after a few minutes, and then it's on to the next one!

4. Money. Figure out all your financials, as well as your group's financials, ahead of time! No one wants to take a long trip, only to find out that they don't actually have a hotel room, or aren't really registered for conference. Double check all your confirmations, from conference to hotel to travel arrangements, and keep printed copies for yourself! Make sure to take more money than you think'll need; you never know what might happen.

There are many more, smaller details that go into making your trip to national conference a successful one, but I think that these are the most important ones, and that they cover most of what you'll need. I look forward to my own early-morning bus ride to D.C. because I know that meeting and hearing from some of the PR industry's pros and other student organizations will all be worth it.

Think I missed anything essential to going to conference? Comment it below, we'd love to hear from you!