Thursday, July 31, 2014

The PR Skill You Didn't Think You Needed

“Math is not my thing, that’s why I’m in public relations.” Press releases, blog posts, email blasts, pitches- after a semester or two of writing, you start to consider that maybe you won’t need to remember what you learned in high school algebra after all. But just when you think you’re finished with math after that final gen ed course, think again. Numbers and calculations are actually vitally important in public relations (and life in general), so here are a few instances when you’ll need to utilize those math skills in PR…sorry.

(Source: Quickmeme)
  • Measurement. Advertising value equivalency is what news coverage would cost if it were advertising space. And although AVEs are by no means an accurate way to measure the success of public relations according to the Barcelona Principles (for more info on the these principles, check out a previous post here), they are still widely used. AVEs need to be calculated using ad rates, column inches, and other figures.
  • Evaluation. Effectively evaluating the results of a public relations campaign takes more than counting the number of media outlets that have picked up your story. You need to be able to calculate the percentage of increase in followers, page views, and other statistics that show your campaign is positively affecting client. It is one thing to tell your them that your work is making a difference but it’s quite another to show them the numbers to prove it.
  • Data analytics. In the last decade or so, there’s been an explosion of data available to, well, just about everyone. The challenge lies is knowing what to do with all this new information. Being able to analyze and apply the information effectively in a campaign or strategy is now a necessary skill to have in PR.
  • Research. The hardest part of doing primary research isn’t creating an effective survey or properly moderating a focus group. Like in data analytics, the real challenge is taking the information you’ve gathered and knowing what to do with it.

So learn to embrace math in public relations, because it’s a (very) necessary evil.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

4 Apps To Encourage Productivity

Public relations professionals are always on the move. Our desks usually end up traveling with us in the forms of smartphones and tablets, which allow us to always be tuned in and accessible. There are always emails to be sent, read and replied to; growing to-do lists to make our way through; and tons of other tasks that require our attention and time.

Because we are always on our phones, tablets and laptops, having apps handy that encourage you to be strategic with your time are incredibly useful. When you're constantly jumping from task to tasks, it's easy to get overwhelmed and distracted, which may impact the quality of work you're producing.

We've shared about some productivity apps before, but just like the PR industry, technology is always changing and improving. Here are four apps to help ignite that productive spark in your day-to-day:

1. Google Drive 
Collaborations have never been easier than opening your trusted Google account and starting a new project in seconds! Whether you're creating a social media calendar, blog posts or writing a press release, Google Drive allows you to make it, save it and share it all in one easy location. You can download the app on your iPhone/iPad or android devices to take your docs with you everywhere. Downloading the drive to your computer insures that you're work is always backed up to the online cloud and accessible wherever you are.

2. Todoist
If you find yourself making list after list of tasks that required your attention, this app is for you. Todoist allows you to manage all of your tasks in one convenient place. Download the app to your phone and computer to stay up to date with what you've completed and what still needs to be done. The well designed app even tracks your productivity by assigning points each day that you complete all of your tasks.

3. Boomerang
PR professionals spend so much time on email that it can often take us away from other important elements of our workday. Boomerang is an easy to install app that helps managing your inbox that a breeze. With Boomerang, you can schedule emails to be sent later, schedule follow-up emails (like the one you've been meaning to send about that client you pitched last week), and even allows you to track responses and set reminders.

4. Pomodrone
No matter how much we wish it were otherwise, we only get 24 hours every day. So, it's up to us to use them wisely! Pomodrone is a product of the time managing Pomodoro Technique, which encourages working in small blocks of time with breaks in between to encourage productivity and mental agility. Download this app to your iPhone to help focus on projects and avoid distractions during the day.

What apps do you turn to when you're looking for help in the productivity department? Share with us in the comments!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Skills: ????

You've mastered your resume. All of your internships, jobs, and volunteer-work are perfectly formatted and described. You even designed a brand new header for yourself! But there's still one little section at the bottom that you just can't seem to figure out: skills. You certainly have skills, but what is best to put down when looking for a job in PR/Marketing/Communications? Check out some of the skills we think are best to put you at an advantage during your next interview:

Social Media - As young adults in today's society, it seems so mundane to actually know your way around Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. But you cannot forget to mention that you do! As someone looking to work in the Communications field, it's very possible that social media will be a part of the job description. Outside of all of the social networks that you use personally, consider getting yourself familiar with a few more, like Wordpress, Pinterest, and Hootsuite.
( Source:Design Razzi )
Graphics - Though it may not be mandatory for PR Executive jobs, knowing how to use Photoshop, Adobe, or InDesign will help you stand out next to other candidates for the job. Chances are you will need to plan an initiative or promotional materials, and instead of outsourcing, you will be able to take the reigns on the project yourself. Having these graphics skills will make creating content for fliers, pamphlets, or invitations easier and just the way you imagine them for the client's needs.

Production - Just as design allows you to handle the creative side of your initiative, knowing minor production techniques will allow you work on additional types of projects. Learning about video and audio recording and editing is beneficial so that you can use these outlets to promote your client or organization. Job postings in certain industries, like entertainment, may even specify that these skills are preferred in the applicant.

Presentation - As an intern, you may be given the opportunity to sit in on business calls and client meetings, so presentation skills are always a plus. If you had to pass a public speaking course to receive your degree, make note & put down public speaking as a skill. Additionally, PowerPoint and Prezi are both presentation tools that you should be sure to mention your experience with to a future employer.
( Source: Location 180 )

Monday, July 28, 2014

Why Going Abroad is Important for Aspiring Public Relations Professionals

Today is my last day abroad of the summer, and I'm writing this post from Berlin, Germany! I've spent this summer interning abroad in Barcelona, Spain, and also had the chance to visit the south of France, the Netherlands, and Germany. This summer, along with the summer I spent 2 years ago in London, Paris, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg, has shown me how important it is for aspiring PR professionals, like myself, to experience the world beyond the United States. This summer has gone by far too fast for me, but before I (gratefully) return home, I wanted to share why going abroad is so important.

1. Living, studying, or interning abroad will undoubtedly teach you things about a culture you could never understand just by looking at it. Learning about the rest of the world through class and study is well and good, but cultural immersion is the only real way to experience it.

2. Our world is becoming ever more connected, which means that at some point, you'll probably be dealing with a foreign company or public. When you do deal with this foreign entity, knowing the culture can be vital to accurately forging a connection with them. For example, spend a week in Spain and you'll realize that between 2-4 pm is never a good time to do business, because everyone is on siesta, either getting lunch or napping. But, if you'd never been to Spain, you wouldn't know this, and your business efforts could go to waste.

3. An often-overlooked component of inter-cultural relations is food; and who doesn't love food? Well, if your're from Spain, you probably before some sort of Iberian ham, or some seafood. If you're German, on the other hand, you're likely to go for some sort of curry sausage dish, or some delicious brattwurst. And if you're from France, then a crepe or some crackers and cheese might be your preference. When interacting with people from a different country, serving the wrong food or going to the wrong restaurant can ruin the relationship from the start.

If you ever get a chance, even a glimmer of a chance to go somewhere abroad, then take it! Even if you're just going on vacation, go somewhere different, and take the time to feel out the culture. My professor once said that as soon as you arrive in a new city or country, take a minute to think about what your smelling. What you smell when you arrive will be the unique smell to that place, and if you don't acknowledge it immediately, you'll stop noticing it after a little while. So, all I'm saying is to get out of your bubble, your comfort zone, and go somewhere new. First time I stayed in a cheap European hostel, I hated it, but give it a chance, and it'll grow on you, just like whatever foreign destination you choose will grow on you.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Mid-Summer Check-In: Starting Those Fall PReparations Now

While fully entrenched in the “dog days of summer,” it can be alarming to realize to that the fall semester is rapidly approaching. Temple University’s first day is Monday, August 26 and that puts us about a month away from returning to North Philadelphia for another school year. Though it can seem tempting to put off all back-to-school preparations to the last couple weeks in August, now is actually the best time to start! The following are tips on ways to begin doing so.

Class schedules: As seasoned college students, we all know how crazy the first few weeks of a new semester can be. Between adjusting to new classes and professors and getting back in the swing of things, it’s wise to take another look at your class schedule well before August 26. Questions to ask yourself may include:

Am I taking classes to fulfill the mandatory gen-ed requirements?
How am I on taking core classes for my major? Am I taking the right classes to satisfy a potential minor? Do I need to meet with my advisor?
Am I okay with the times of my classes? Have I scheduled breaks in the day?
Am I looking to receive credit for an internship and what are the deadlines for that?

Fall Internships/Jobs: While us Strategic Communications students have been lucky to receive emails throughout the summer from our Internship Director Amanda Bednar, now is the time to begin actually solidifying those fall plans. In regards to internships:

What are you interested in? What sector of public relations are you looking to gain experience in?
What office environment do I thrive in? Is there somebody I can ask for a recommendation?
When finding a job, many students main concern is finding the time to fit work into an already busy schedule. Questions to consider include:
What range of flexibility does this job offer? Will I be able to fit this into my schedule?
What is the commute like and what would the typical hours be?

Resume/LinkedIn: While updating one’s resume and LinkedIn can seem like a daunting feat, now is the best time to do so before the hectic school year begins again! Make sure to include:

What you did over the summer: Did you intern, work, volunteer, start a blog or learn a new skill? Make sure to update accordingly! As you grow and learn as a student, your resume should reflect that.
If you don’t already have a LinkedIn, make one! LinkedIn allows for one to expand upon their resume and provide more information in regards to interests, career goals, etc.

Set goals: I’ve always looked at the upcoming school year as a great time to set goals. The start of a new school year always holds new opportunities and setting/reaching goals is an incredibly satisfying feeling. Seek to differentiate between short term and long term ones and set a reasonable timeline! Some potential goals may include:

Taking on a new internship or two.
Seeking out new volunteer opportunities – both professional and personal.
Working towards a leadership position in a current organization or joining a new one.
Working towards a higher GPA.

Do you have any tips for getting prepared for the fall semester now? Let us know; we could all benefit from them! 

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Rachel Draghi.  

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Is A Pitch The New Pick-Up Line?

As public relations students we have all become familiar with a “pitch,” also known as OPEN MY E-MAIL AND GIVE MY CLIENT SOME PRESS! I’ve recently realized the pitch is present not only in the PR world, but in the dating world as well. 

Going into my senior year as a PR student, I have learned and practiced my “elevator pitch,” (name, major, internship(s), future goals, etc. all in 30 seconds), similar to a speed date. This type of pitch has been learned in the classroom and utilized in networking and business events. Unfortunately it seems as though people cannot get out of this “pitch” mindset, even in social settings.

So the question is, is a pitch the new pick- up line? According to Web definitions, a pick-up line is a conversation opener with the intent of engaging an unfamiliar person for romance or dating. This definition is ultimately the same as what a pitch is (minus the romance and dating part).

This post can be taken two ways:

1.     When brainstorming a pitch to the media, think of it as “engaging an unfamiliar person.” You have done enough research on this person to know what his/her niche is, so be confident and personalize your pitch, just as your personalize your pick- up lines. 

2.      Stop with the “elevator pitches” when out. Whether it is a happy hour, night out, or randomly bumping into someone of interest. Not every setting needs to be so professional you need to share your life goals within the first five minutes. Save the pitch for another time, and live in the moment.

What are your thoughts? Do you think a pitch and pick-up line can have the same meaning? Have you ever experienced it? We’d love to know!  

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Amanda White. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

XOXO PR Girl: Avoiding Gossip in the Office

(Source: Tumblr)

With a small office, open cubicles and chatty co-workers, inner-office gossip is bound to happen. It can be a fun distraction during a stressful work day to exchange stories churning in the rumor mill. But this bad habit could end you in hot water. When gossip comes up in conversation at the office, be mindful of these few points to avoid getting caught up in workplace gossip.

Be aware. Gossip is defined as “casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true.” But gossip isn’t always that obvious. To help you determine if you’re participating in harmful rumor spreading, consider how you would feel if the person you were discussing heard your conversation.
Have a strategy. Create and commit to a strategy for steering the conversation away from rumors. Try to subtly change the direction of the discussion by asking your co-worker how their weekend was or what big project they’re working on.
Stay positive. Gossip is almost always negative which creates a toxic work environment. When comments come up, it’s important to stay positive. By countering the gossip with something productive, you diffuse the negativity and stay out of the drama.
Stay focused. It can be disruptive to your workday and even affect your performance. Try not to get sidetracked by gossip; it won’t serve your overall path to success. It may seem like a harmless rumor but by participating in hurtful gossip, you could be risking your job and even career.
Don’t perpetuate rumors. Spreading the gossip that you’ve heard is just as bad as starting it in the first place. Rumors can only end when those they are shared with refrain from repeating them.

At the end of the day, gossiping at work just appears unprofessional and immature. Staying out of inner-office chatter will benefit you by increasing your credibility and trustworthiness while helping you avoid harmful drama.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Senior Year Prep 101

As the weeks of Summer continue to pass, students everywhere are starting to prep for their return back to campus. Among those students are a very special group --the seniors. The one's who are prepping to make this return from Summer for the last time.

There are many challenges that incoming seniors face as they prepare to complete their last semesters in college. From crafting and sending out resume and cover letters, to wondering if "x amount of internships is really enough to get me a job," to the endless answering of the daunting question "so what are you going to do post-grad?" All while dealing with the realization that, in just a few months, the real world awaits.

As one of those incoming seniors, I'm here to attest: this season is a lot.

Rather than stress over the situation, the best way to walk into a new, albeit nerve racking, experience is by taking the time to do a little preparation beforehand. Here are some easy ways that you can prepare to enter your senior year with a little less stress.

Start reviewing job applications. You don't necessarily need to start applying this far in advance, but knowing how job postings and applications are worded and where to find them will be incredibly helpful a few months down the line. Look into different companies that you may not be as familiar with and see what kinds of openings they have, and where you may be interested in applying later.

Reach out to old supervisors and mentors. Now is the time to take advantage of the network you've been creating for yourself. Reach out to your old internship supervisors, managers or any mentors that you've met over the years. Ask them for advice, any strengths or weaknesses they observed in you, and suggestions that they have for your last few semesters.

Discover your interests. While most seniors tense up and roll their eyes each time they're asked 'so, what do you want to do?', it's a question worth exploring. And if you don't have a concrete answer right away, that is more than normal and totally acceptable. Rather than beat yourself up over this, take some time to explore your interests. Social media, media relations, internal communications, corporate communications --the PR world is vast and expansive and has a place for everyone.

Next time someone inquirers about your post grad plans, instead of answering with stutters and uncertainty, explain your interests. Saying "I have an interest in community management and corporate communication" or even, "I'm taking time to explore all of the opportunities my field has to offer," sounds much more confident than "I don't want to think about it."

Review your list of work. Chances are, you've done a lot in your previous semesters that employers would love to hear about. Did you coordinate an event for a student organization? Did you join the student run PR firm on campus? All of these things add up and they matter! Take some time to list all of your work, breaking down your individual work on each project --including the results! Once you've done this, rework your resume to make it come to life as a living portfolio.

Create a portfolio. Speaking of portfolios, if you don't already have one, now's the time to create it! A portfolio is a compilation of all of your work, put together in an organized and easy-to-follow format. Spend some time collecting writing samples and projects you've worked on in a binder or digital format that you can take with you on interviews.

Seniors, we could spend months and weeks preparing for our last lap, but in the midst of all of this, it is equally important that we celebrate the fact that we've made it this far, and that we are close to accomplishing a huge milestone in life. Remember that all work and no play isn't a recipe for success. Make the memories of your last year good ones, and know that you can handle whatever lies ahead.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Make the Most of Your Morning

Whether it's the summer and your responsibilities seem slimmer, or the fall when you have no choice but to be awake earlier than you would like - the morning is an important step towards a successful day. Before you get caught up in checking your email for 30 minutes, consider dabbling in any or all of these activities for a brighter a.m.

( Source: Flickr )
Work out - Going on a run or heading to the gym during the first half of your day is a guaranteed source of energy. If you value fitness, then chances are going to the gym is on your to-do list anyway, so why not think about going after you wake up? Running an aesthetically-pleasing route in the morning under the sun is also a source of inspiration!

Drink up - No, no, not that kind of drinking up. Make your favorite coffee, latte, juice, or smoothie to put a little pep in your step. Think of it as treating yourself, but also something you need! Depending on your beverage, you'll receive the proper nutrients or energy boost to start your day on the right foot.

Chit chat - Personally, my favorite part of the morning is sitting down with my roommates over coffee and chit-chatting before we get the day started. Especially during the academic year, everyone has somewhere to be and it's good to remind yourself that you're not the only one with what seems like a 4-page to-do list. Sit outside and call a friend, or wish a good morning to your neighbors.

The morning hours are often associated with a living nightmare, but with the proper sleep and scheduling, you can wake up and love the morning just as much as you love your night life. Hopefully these three short & sweet activities will leave you with a smile on your face when you walk out the front door!

Have any other tips or tricks for getting the morning started off right? Let us know; we could all use them!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Give a Little: How you can Start your Career in Non-Profit PR

As an aspiring PR professional, there are many fields that you can chose to gain experience in.

Do you enjoy helping others? Are you passionate about fighting for social justice?

If so, non-profit public relations may be the field for you.

Some people chose fashion/entertainment PR, others chose agency, but if you answered yes to either of the above questions, you may just find your passion in the non-profit realm.

Even though the name suggests otherwise, non-profit organizations do have the ability to pay their employees. The name “non-profit” merely means that the organization isn't primarily concerned with making a profit for themselves (meaning they give their profits to other organizations or groups of people).

If you are interested in breaking into the non-profit PR field, volunteering is key.

It’s great to have an internship, but if you are an underclassmen or you don’t have the time to fully commit to one, volunteering can be your saving grace.

Also, in many cases, non-profit organizations look to people that they know are great workers when a job opens, and often times, the hiring manager looks at the organization's pool of volunteers.

The other benefit associated with volunteering is that you will be able to narrow down your field of interest even further. As there are many different kinds of PR, there are many different kinds of non-profit organizations.

Are you interested in helping people, the environment, or animals? What about all three?

Luckily, there are many different non-profits in the world, so you may be able to find your perfect match! By volunteering at multiple organizations, you may be able to narrow down your search and find the type of non-profit PR that is right for you.

The other great thing about volunteering is that you can still build your professional portfolio. Even if you don’t have a for-credit internship, any of the work that you do for the organization is yours to use professionally. Any types of press outreach that you do while volunteering can add to your qualifications.

Have you volunteered at a non-profit organization? If so, please share your experience below in the comments!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Method To An Over Achiever's Madness

Have you ever wondered how certain people can be involved in a million things at once? How do people hold double majors, have e-board positions in different organizations and intern? These people used to amaze me.  I was convinced that they either didn’t sleep or weren’t fully human. It wasn’t until last semester that I learned their secret to juggling so many things at once. Last spring was my craziest semester so far;I decided to declare a double major, intern, serve on various e-boards and work two jobs. If that wasn’t enough, I dealt with an injury part way through the semester. It was then that I learned this so-called secret wasn’t much of a secret after all. It all boils down to one thing: prior planning. 

·      Look Ahead- Look ahead at the next two weeks and write everything down in a planner. What nights are you working? Which days are you interning? When are papers due? If you know you’re free this Tuesday night and you have a paper due the Friday of next week, work on it then. Working little by little on projects prevents you from pulling an all-nighter or cramming at the last minute.

·      Prep For the Next Day- Getting everything ready the night before eliminates the stress of rushing around in the morning. Pack your bag and make sure your laptop, charger and any other necessary items are in there. Lay out your clothes. If you are interning the next day, pack your lunch. That way, you can use your lunch break to do homework instead of running out for food. (Side-note: Packing a nutritious lunch is also beneficial. Fruits and veggies give you that extra boost of energy whereas heavy carbs tend to make you feel tired and worn down).

·      Remember Sunday Morning- Everyone dreads the anxiety that comes when Sunday rolls around and you realize that you not only have to go back to school, but that you also achieved NOTHING over the weekend. It is understandable that by the time Friday afternoon hits, you are probably exhausted and ready to have fun. But don’t wait until Sunday to start your weekend work. Set aside an hour or so on Friday afternoon to get any busy work out of the way. It’s okay to go out Friday night and relax Saturday afternoon as long as you don’t let the whole day go to waste. Use that Saturday afternoon to work on a paper or knock out any assigned readings. By the time Sunday morning rolls around, you will not feel as stressed or rushed to get things done. Plus you can enjoy going out on the weekends without having work hanging over your head!

Setting aside time to plan out your day may not seem like the most exciting thing to do, but the pay off is huge. Find a planning method that works for you and stick with it. What are your tips for juggling multiple responsibilities?

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

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Lessons In Event Planning

If you search “Event Planning” in Google, you get flooded with links to hundreds of party planners and extravagant wedding photos. For the past year, I was given the opportunity to intern as a Public Relations intern for an office that puts on some of Philadelphia’s largest events, none of which entailed a wedding or your typical club-party. From Marathons to Mayor’s ceremonies to the largest free concert in America, I had the opportunity to work on a variety of events that taught me so much more about event planning than I could ever learn in a Google search. Here are just some of the things I learned:

Stay Calm Under Pressure
As much as you wish they would, the reality of events is that they never go on without at least one unanticipated bump in the road. Whether that means having to come up with an alternative solution, being thrown into a task you did not anticipate having to do or feeling completely lost, I have learned that the best thing to do is to stay calm. Staying calm helps others around you stay calm too, it makes it easier for you to come up with solutions and it shows that you can handle just about anything that gets asked of you.

Stay Organized
More often than not, an event won’t be taking place right next door to your office, meaning that running back to get something you forgot is not always an option. By staying organized, not only can you ensure that you have everything that you need, but it also makes things easier to find when you’re in the heat of the moment while working the event itself.

Be Prepared To Work Long Hours
Working in events for the first time, I never anticipated just how much work and just how many hours go into planning for and working an event. Whether it is pre-event planning in the office or early call-times, be prepared to devote a lot of time to an event. The plus side is, that though you may be working long and strenuous hours, there is no better feeling than watching your event come alive before your eyes and waking up the next morning (after your first full night of sleep in a while) and feeling extremely accomplished.

Keep these tips in mind, and you'll be on your way to event planning success! 

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Rute Barkai. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

This Week In PR | No. 6

This week, unfortunately, has been riddled with tragedy. From Israel continuing to attack Gaza to the recent shooting down of a Malaysian Airlines flight,  this week's news headlines have been grim to say the least. In an effort to give both of these ongoing issues their proper respect, This Week In PR will focus solely on these developments.


  • Earlier this week, Israel ended its cease-fire and continued its air strike attack against Gaza. The death toll has risen to over 260 civilians and shows no sign of slowing down. Efforts to quell the aggression between the two countries have yet to prove successful (CNN).  Since the end of the cease-fire, Israel has also bombed a Gaza beach, killing four young boys of the Bakr family (Wall Street Journal). Most recently, a CNN live segment was interrupted when Israeli onlookers cheered as bombs rocketed across the sky over Gaza (Buzzfeed). It remains unclear whether or not U.S. involvement will happen in the near future. 
  • Just yesterday, Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was shot out of the sky from over 30,000 feet in the air. Although the event is still under investigation, it is clear that the explosion was caused by a ground to air missile. Because the plane wreckage is above ground (as opposed to submerged underwater), answers about the cause of the crash are coming more quickly (TIME). It's also been revealed that the plane held some of the greatest minds and pioneers in the fight against HIV/AIDS who were on their way to an international AIDS conference in Melbourne, Australia (Buzzfeed). Hopefully the loss of these researchers will not slow the ongoing battle in the AIDS community. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Guide to Finding Your Perfect Fall Internship

With the scorching heat and week-long beach trips, it’s hard to imagine that the fall semester is just around the corner. But the days of early morning classes and late nigh studying are quickly approaching, which means searching for a fall internship starts now. By beginning early, you avoid the stress of last minute applications, giving yourself plenty of time to find that perfect fall internship. Check out these few simple steps to help you find the ideal place for you this fall.
  • Think of your personal interests and hobbies. Reflecting on activities you enjoy can help you find an organization or company you would like interning with. You’ll get more out of an internship experience when you are working on something that truly interests you.
  • Consider the long term. Is there a specific agency or organization you would like to work for one day? Many internships lead to eventual full-time positions which is something to remember when researching potential internship opportunities.
  • Gauge office culture. If you are considering interning with a specific organization, look at their website and social media accounts to try and determine what the office environment is like. Would you work best in a relaxed and collaborative setting or one which allows you to work independently?
  • Establish goals. What experiences do you want to get from an internship? Will this internship allow you to reach these goals on a personal and professional level?
  • Look for recommendations. Has a friend or fellow student worked with an organization you are interested in?  Although not every internship experience will be the same, as them about their time spent working there. A poor review might indicate an office may not have the strongest internship program.

When looking for a fall internship, it’s important to do your research. Knowing both yourself and your prospective internship options will make it easier to determine what will be a good fit for you.

How did you find an internship that was perfect for you? Let us know!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Mention: Growing Community Through Conversation

Social media and community managers are presented with an interesting challenge: being everywhere at once, while being completely present in all of those spaces. Applications and community management systems have emerged to make the social media waters a little easier to navigate, but finding the balance between creating content and engaging your target community is no easy feat.

Not only should you be posting and sharing your content on social, you should be conversing with your audience, and sharing content that you know will benefit them and contribute to the conversation. Mention, a new social media monitoring tool, has appeared to making staying in the know a bit easier.

Mention has several favorable features, such as allowing you to download statistics on who mentions you on various channels, sharing alerts and messages to members of your community management team on action items, and allowing you to receive alerts on key terms relevant to your community. Mainly, Mention allows you to be in the know, creating time and space to be more proactive and less reactive.

Mention's pricing model makes the application accessible to everyone, even offering a free option allowing one user to track up to 100 mentions. The premium and business price packages are both manageable, making the app feasible to work into the budget of any small business.

Taking advantage of the opportunity to be present in online communication regarding your brand is key to be a big player on social media. Producing quality content may gain you followers, but how to engage them will decide whether or not you keep those followers.

Do you use any social media applications, like Mention, to stay on top of your social media community? Would you give Mention a try? Share you favorite applications with us!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Dressed to Impress (In the Hot, Hot Heat)

During the summer, I think we can all agree that "business casual" begins a little more difficult. Your skirt is skinning to your skin, your blazer is completely useless, and those black men's dress shoes are attracting the sun right to you. Commutes become a nightmare as you walk into the office with your hair matted with sweat and your mascara is barely still on your eyelashes. You really do not want to waltz into work in just short shorts and a tank top, so what are you to do? Fear not - we've compiled some great tips for keeping cool in the heat!

Tip #1: Restock your closet. The pieces you would frequently wear in the fall or winter are less relevant during the summer months. Restock your closet if need be with light fabrics that won't weigh heavy on you in the heat. Layers can still exist in the summertime, but you will be more comfortable if they are lighter in weight and even color.

Tip #2: Wear it different. Say you have multiple button-down shirts that you typically sport to the office. But why can't you wear them? You love them and they look great! Here's what you can do: roll up your sleeves. Re-adjusting the style of the business casual clothes you already own allows you more opportunity in the fashion department. If a pair of your pants are on their way out anyway, consider cutting them into appropriate-length shorts for the office.

Tip #3: Know your hair. The humidity will sneak up and ruin your hair - it's a given. Looking polished and presentable is important in the workplace, and with your hair going every which way after your commute, it seems like all odds are against you. But if you know your hair and get a few more styles in your book, you'll be great to go. Ladies, look into learning a few new easy & quick up-dos, as well as incorporating headbands. Gentlemen, consider using a new product or gel to keep your locks in place.

Do you have any interesting stories about dealing with the heat on the way to office? Share with us, or post any of your own tips below!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Is Snapchat the Next Social Media Platform?

When you think about social media nowadays, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram probably come to mind first and foremost. And you wouldn't be wrong, these 3 giants have dominated the world of social media for the last few years. But, as technology and trends evolve, we must consider new and different forms of reaching our publics.

For the last year and a half, a picture messaging app called Snapchat has taken college-age students and younger by storm, becoming one of the most popular apps in mere months. Snapchat allows you to send a picture and just a few words to your friends, for a maximum of 10 seconds before it disappears. You can also do the same with videos; and recently Snapchat introduced 'Stories', their version of a news feed. Stories allows a user to post a picture, video, or series of both for all their friends to view for 24 hours. It's this news feed-esque function that makes Snapchat viable as a social media platform.

Yesterday, during the World Cup final between Argentina and Germany, and in the hours leading up to it, Snapchat surprised everyone by adding a story called Rio Live to every user's story page. This Rio Live story was constantly updated throughout the day by the company, using curated user's images and videos from Brazil regarding the game. By watching this constantly updated story, people half the world away, like myself, were able to watch the game from the front row, or even from some of the players' perspectives. Watching the end of the game from so many unique perspectives was so much better than just watching it on TV, and this capability shows how Snapchat stories can be used.

Snapchat stories, and even just sending out mass snapchats to people, are a sure way to get recognized. Even receiving a snapchat from someone you don't know, most people are going to open it, simply because they believe it will be gone after a few seconds. This can become a great way to tell college age demographics about products, services, or a way for trends to get started. Snapchat used to just consist of a picture and some words, but now the trend is towards Instagram-style pictures, with filters, emoticons, drawings, and different fonts. Snapchats are becoming more complex, people have even made movies out of them, showing the potential for even more uses.

This is the Snapchat logo, named Ghostface Chillah. 

What are your thoughts about Snapchat or other emerging social media platforms?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Game of Goal Setting (And How To Win)

A goal, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is defined as something you are trying to do or achieve.  However, setting goals while a student in college is often difficult.  Throughout the four years that you are in college, your interests constantly develop and change, making setting goals almost impossible.  Have no fear people, below are a few helpful tips to setting and achieving realistic goals!

In order to accomplish your dreams:

Be Real With Yourself
Remember that the most important thing to do is to set goals that you are actually able to complete.  Set long term goals that reflect where you want to be in five years and short term goals to accomplish within the next year or so.  In college, it is easy to get carried away with big dreams and that's okay, but you have to be willing to work for them.

Make a Timeline 
Creating a timeline will allow for you to physically see the goals that you have created for yourself.  A timeline will also keep you on track on a daily basis.  Your timeline can be created on your computer or simply written out, but make sure you have one! Include dates and years for each goal and a description of what you want to accomplish and why.  A timeline is a great motivational tool!

Don't Give Up 
In a world of instant gratification, remember that goals are things to work towards. Goals and dreams go hand in hand.  You have to have goals in order to accomplish your dreams.  So remember to not give up when it feels like you have been working towards something that is hard to achieve.  Long term goals especially, are the hardest to accomplish because they can take years of work.  The goals that you work the hardest to achieve will yield the most rewards!

Work Hard, Play Hard 
In the wise words of Wiz Khalifa, "Work Hard, Play Hard," when you are goal setting.  Keep in mind that you have to work every single day to accomplish your dreams.  Stay motivated, stay confident and stay humble when trying to accomplish goals.  Take time off from working your every day job to do things you enjoy such as going to the beach or simply sitting down with a good book.  

In the end, goal setting can be a terribly scary experience when you can't see into the future.  Whether you are on the path to become a PR star or a different kind of professional, you are beyond capable of accomplishing you goals as long as you remind yourself of what you want daily!

What are some of your goals? Let us know in the comments!

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Kaylie Corallo. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Creating The Perfect Portfolio

Whether you are in college and looking to land an internship, a recent grad starting out your career or in the middle of your career and looking to switch jobs, we all know that a portfolio is an essential piece of getting you to that next step. Putting one together can be a long and daunting task.  When done right, a portfolio can highlight your strengths and set you apart from other candidates applying for the same position as you.

I have put together a few helpful tips for assembling your perfect portfolio:

Start early and update regularly: It is never too early to start putting together your portfolio. As you continue to work on projects and you come across a piece that you are proud of be sure to add it to your portfolio. This way, when it comes time to bring it to an interview, it is ready and you won’t be stressed!

Know your audience: You can create the best portfolio in the world, but it won’t mean anything if the materials in it don’t go with the job you are applying for. Make sure to include items that will appeal to the interviewer and make sense with the position you are applying.

Be creative: If your portfolio is dull, it will get tossed to the side and your work may not be fairly evaluated. Be sure to make it stand out: whether you include pictures or make it colorful, be sure that it will make the person want to look through it.

Include a range of materials: No sample of your work is too small to include, so be sure to include all of the different things you can do. This shows that you are willing to tackle any challenge you are given and you have a wide range of skills to offer.

Don’t forget to edit: Be sure to edit your portfolio over and over again! Once you have looked over it yourself, have someone you trust do the same. Any mistake can make the difference between getting the position and not.

If an employer sees how much care you put into your portfolio that can tell them a lot about the kind of person you will be on the job. Hopefully, these tips can help you be confident that you can land the position you want! What do you do to make your portfolio 
stand out? We would love to know!

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Kaitlyn Mashack.

Friday, July 11, 2014

This Week In PR | No. 5

Need a recap of this week's public relations happenings and current events? Well, you're in luck. Here's what happened this week in PR.

  • In entertainment news, Laverne Cox became the first transgender woman nominated for an Emmy for her role in the Netflix breakout series Orange is the New Black. She has been recognized for her role as Sophia Burset, "an inmate who committed fraud in an attempt to pay for a sex change procedure." Note: Cox's identical twin brother played the role in the scenes prior to the character's surgery. That's pretty powerful. (TIME)
  • There's a fine line between humor and professionalism on social media. However, the CIA seems to be dancing on the line when it comes to their Twitter account. In fact, their first tweet read, "We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet." While Twitter has become a major platform for creativity and humor, some think that certain organizations should abstain from participating in the trend and stick to more professional updates. What do you think? (PR Daily)
  • The summer is a great time for vacationing and winding down, but if you're interested in still being stimulated occasionally, there are plenty of great opportunities nationwide for growth and networking. Here's a compiled list of seminars on social media, analytics, and more. (Mashable)
  • Globally, issues in the Middle East continue despite President Obama's pleas for peace. The Palestinian death toll has risen to over 100 civilians today. Gaza militants have fired over 550 rockets, hit over 1,100 targets, and wounded close to 670 people. Their offensive tactic shows no sign of slowing down; unfortunately, it seems to be expanding. (Associated Press)
  • ESPN Magazine's annual body issue is out and this time around, their cover athletes are of all shapes and sizes. We've become accustomed to seeing the covers of this issue graced by the most athletic and "physically fit" professionals, but this issue is more representative of all body types. I'd say that's a pretty good play on ESPN's part. (Huffington Post)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Learning to Say "No": Avoiding Overcommitting

As I write this blog post, I am thinking of roughly three other things going on this week. This includes, and is not limited to, trying to find time to food shop between interning and working while brainstorming next week’s post. As PR practitioners, we work in an industry of people pleasing. We try to make everyone happy at any cost, from clients to bosses to coworkers and friends. Even if that means skipping lunch all week to finish an extra project we've taken on or leaving work after a double shift to attend a friend’s going away party.
As the self-proclaimed queen of overcommitting, I am guilty of all of this, saying “yes” to too many people in order to avoid missing an opportunity or seeming rude. The fact of the matter is, never saying “no” to people leaves you exhausted and simply burnt out. Thankfully, there a few steps we can take to avoid that nasty habit of spreading ourselves too thin.
  • Organize. Use a planner or calendar to write down commitments, even simple day-to-day activities like time at the gym or lunch with a friend. This way, you can see when things may be overlapping and when you’re overcommitted.
  • Prioritize. Figure out who and what takes the highest priority so you can determine what is really worth investing your time in.
  • Compromise. You need to be able to compromise with yourself and others. Learn that sometimes, you can’t do it all. Maybe saying no to an extra project at work this week means taking it on next week after you've met all your deadlines.
  • Relax. Give yourself a break and realize that it’s okay to say no. You shouldn't make yourself feel guilty for sometimes spending time and energy on yourself over others.
It’s also important to know when to say yes. Before committing, take a moment to decide if it’s in your ability to take on a task and if it is something you’d actually like to do!
(Source: Pinterest)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Staying Productive While Working From Home

With the rise of virtual internships and more and more companies allowing their employees to telecommute, creating a productive atmosphere at home is becoming essential. For students, having the option to intern virtually saves time (and sometimes, money) and makes it easier to handle your on-campus responsibilities while still earning internship experience. Still, a home full of roommates or a lively residence hall aren't excuses for not getting work done.

The space that you create to work in is a huge factor in the quality of work you'll produce. If you don't have a clean and functional area that compliments your work style, you may find yourself stifled and distracted.

Here are some tips to keep yourself on track while getting work done from home, whether you're interning or working remotely:

Designate a space: When you're working from home, it's important to separate and convert what may have once be leisure space into a work setting. Whether you're setting up shop at the dining room table or a desk in your bedroom, be sure that it's set up for work and not filled with other distractions. The more you can separate work from play, the better.

Get dressed every day: Yes, working from home technically means that you can work in your pajamas, that isn't necessarily good for productivity. Get dressed as if you were going to work. Putting on clothes and getting ready for the day will put you in a productive mindset and encourage getting things done.

Remove distractions: Sitting in front of the TV while you work may be ideal for some, but generally the lack of distractions in an office setting are what makes it conducive to a productive work day. Instead of making work fit into your routine off-day, create a distinct divide between the two.

Set realistic goals: Just because you're working from home does not mean that you should be expected to over do it. Communicate what you're expected to produce for the day with your supervisor, and create a plan for getting those done within the work day.

Stay in contact: No one is going to pop into your home office to ask how things are going when you work from home. Instead, shoot your boss, co-workers or fellow interns an email or two throughout the day to update them on your progress and any problems you may be having. They'll appreciate being in the loop.

What tips do you have for staying productive when working from home? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

4 Tips for Your Next Phone Interview

Some employers may make the decision to interview you over the phone before meeting with you for an in-person. In this case, it's important to prep the same as you would for an in-person interview - but with a emphasis on a few different things. By skipping all the preparations with appearance and transportation, you have more time to focus on studying your experience and the company itself!
(Source: The Macho Macho)
1. Do your research - Take the time to get to know the company/organization you are applying with. Visit their website and check out the mission, upcoming events, and blog or newsletter. As aspiring Communications professionals, your tasks as an intern or employee will most likely involve working these portions of the business. It'll be easy for you to relate your previous professional experiences to the company's events, writing, and promotions.

2. Find an appropriate place to take the call - Make sure you have an area where you can sit down and take the phone call for an extended amount of time without being interrupted or distracted. Being distracted by the things and people around you could alter the way you answer a question, or simply leave you forgetting something important you really wanted to mention to the employer. It's best to be alone when taking the phone call.

3. Listen - The heart of the interview is all about listening. Even though you are not sitting across from this employer at the moment, it's essential that you are still 100% invested in the conversation. If you do need the interviewer to a repeat a question though, do not be afraid to ask; it's better to have heard and understood the question correctly, then to answer it thinking it were a different question.

4. Articulate - Speak with the utmost interest and energy. Just as you are listening intently, the interviewer will be as well. It's possible that the connection could be bad or a surrounding sound could interfere with your conversation, so by articulating, you are already preparing to be heard clearly no matter what. Make sure to smile throughout the conversation - the interviewer will hear smiling in your voice!

Would you prefer being interviewed over the phone or in-person? Why? Let us know!

Monday, July 7, 2014

New Perspectives: Why Every PR Professional Should Consider Applying For A Journalism Internship

For the past two summers, I have been interning at a suburban newspaper in my hometown.

As a public relations major, I am often asked why I continue to pursue internships in the journalism realm.

I always give the same, one-word answer: experience.

It is common for people to overlook how connected journalism and public relations are. There is a co-dependency between each field because professionals in both spheres rely on one another to do their jobs effectively.

 For example, a PR professional needs to pitch their client’s or company’s events or findings to media outlets for exposure, and journalists need to have contact with PR professionals so they are able to write important material for their publications.

Throughout my internship, I have had the opportunity to communicate with many PR professionals and get an inside look at what journalists expect from them.

I've been sent the good, the bad, and the ugly press releases and media alerts, and I've had many conversations with journalists about their pet-peeves regarding PR outreach.

I have also been able to network with the PR professionals I reach out to, and often times, I have made a connection with them regarding their PR background.

Now, as I pursue other PR opportunities, I will be able to look upon my experience and I will be able to tailor my press releases to the needs and preferences of journalists.

Also, having that insider perspective may be helpful in landing PR internship opportunities in the future.

Being able to say that I have explored various realms of media and communication shows that I have many abilities and levels of experience, which may be the factor that could put me ahead of other candidates in an interview setting.

Have you had an internship in a field that has helped you in your journey towards becoming a PR professional? If so, we would love to hear from you!