Friday, July 31, 2015

Burning Out: How to Survive at Work During a Personal Crisis


It is one of the golden rules when working in the professional world: don’t let your personal life interfere with your professional one.

You’ve been warned time and time again about letting the lines blur between your social life and work duties, and so far, it has been easy to keep them apart (keeping separate professional social media pages, avoiding overly-personal conversations at the office, etc.).

However, what are you supposed to do when something goes awry in your personal life, and completely throws you off your game in every way?

This could be a family member’s passing, a devastating breakup, a financial blow, or anything that makes you feel helpless or beyond stressed out.

You have been taught to keep your personal and professional lives from intersecting, but should you really avoid the office altogether and take as many personal days as possible?

The short answer is “no”, but the truth of the matter is that it takes work and resilience to stay focused while undergoing a painful life event.

Even though it may seem impossible, concentrating on your work can help you recover from the pain you are feeling.

By focusing on your job while under a great deal of personal stress, you will be able to take your mind off of it. This can be helpful in many ways, especially if you have been unable to focus on anything else. Sometimes, taking your mind of something can help you see it clearer in the future, and by focusing on work and putting the personal situation in the background, you may find clarity when you clock out at the end of the day.

Also, if the personal situation has made you feel bad about yourself, being productive at work can make you feel more confident in your abilities. Acing a presentation or media campaign may just be the confidence booster you need to feel better after a painful situation.

In the end, everyone copes differently with stress and pain. If you need to take time off to recuperate, it is understandable. However, if you are low on personal days or have too much work to take a break from, remember that work can be helpful in overcoming your grief, and you will get past this.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Yik-yak and Tinder; Newest Social Media Platforms?

I was scrolling down my Yik-yak feed a few days ago, and came across a post asking if Yik-yak was considered a form of social media or not. I knew that I saw Yik-yak as social media, and judging by the responses to the post, it seemed that most people agreed with me. For those that do not know, Yik-yak is similar to Twitter, but the posts are anonymous and location based. For example, when I open the app when I am on or near Temple's campus, all I will see are posts from people near me. Yik-yak has said that this is because they do not want people under 18 years of age to use the app, as most of the content is not monitored, except by the community. As you view your Yik-yak feed, you have the ability to up or down-vote every post; they start at zero and if they get to negative five, they are automatically deleted by the system. Posts with a very high number can make it into a 'Top Rated' category, viewable by anyone using the app, anywhere. The app is primarily aimed at college students, so the locations in which posts are grouped go by colleges, which you can search for and view, but not vote on. Here is the link to the Wikipedia page:

Tinder has made a big splash across the country in the last few months, from outrage to incredulity at an app seemingly aimed at enabling quick hook-ups. But, due to the app's popularity, it has increasingly been featured in television and movies, and already has advertisements within it. Tinder shows you a few pictures and a short bio of people around you; you can choose which gender to see, and you either swipe right to say you like the person, or swipe left if you do not. If someone you have 'liked' also swipes you right, you are matched together and able to chat.

While these two apps might not seem immediately conducive to us in the public relations world, I have already seen examples of how they can be. On Tinder, every so often you will get an advertisement instead of a person; if you swipe right on the ad it will give you more information about it. The last one I heard about was ads for an upcoming Jason Derulo concert, swiping right would bring you to a page where you could enter to win free tickets. Both of these apps are definitely aimed at college- age people, so any company or product that wants to reach those audiences should make use of these apps. Yik-yak has started introducing hiring people to be their brand ambassadors on college campuses; intended to promote usage of the app. Since anyone is able to post to the app as long as they are within a certain area, it should be easy to create and upload posts by any PR professional, looking to expand their company's social media presence.

Have any thoughts on Yik-yak or Tinder as social media? Let us know in the comments, we would love to hear from you!

This post was authored by Faiz Mandviwalla, a senior at Temple University and an Assistant Firm Director with PRowl Public Relations. You can follow him on Twitter here.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Education Vs. Experience: How Combining the Two Could Maximize Your Career

With increasing competition in the job market, graduate school has become standard for many people to get jobs in their field.  While a career in public relations has never required a graduate degree, recent studies are showing that a combination of graduate school and work experience could maximize one’s PR career.

Most PR professionals would say a graduate degree is unnecessary. However, as the need for PR specialists continues to grow, a graduate degree may become the new standard. Attending graduate school affords students the opportunity to gain credibility among their peers and colleagues. It may also offer networking opportunities that are not present during one’s undergraduate years.

Before you decide to take out another loan to pay off the hefty tuition, you should know that a graduate degree without experience may not make you more desirable to employers.  In fact, a survey of 32 PR professionals showed that a majority believe in getting a few years of experience before attending graduate school. This is because skills obtained in the field make classroom learning more practical. Also, when a student delays work experience in order to earn their degree, they may be deemed overqualified for starting positions but under-qualified for more executive positions.

A career in PR allows you to choose if graduate school is the right choice for you based on your goals and aspirations. As of now, a graduate degree is not required to earn most positions. However, a more in-depth and refined education never hurts.

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Victoria Goins. 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

How to Engage Millennials

Who runs the world? Millennials! Sorry Queen Bey, Millennials make up one-third of our population today, making the largest generation represented.

With that being said, it’s nearly impossible for brands and marketers not to think about marketing this group since they control most of the market share. Millennials are vastly different from any other generation. They aren’t as traditional as the baby boomers or Generation X. They care about social issues, immersed in technology, and have different goals. All these things create a need to understand and develop new strategies to capture this interesting group.
In order to engage millennials, three factors are important:
Incentives, Incentives, Incentives.
Millennials are more reluctant than other age groups to look into something new, especially brands; I like to call us the “cynical” generation. Recently, Urban Outfitters wrapped up a contest in which customers were supposed to take picture-in-hand photos and use hashtags on Instagram. The prize was something that this generation is currently reclaiming Polaroid cameras, similar to the return of vinyls. To get millennials engaged, brands have to cultivate incentives that are creative as well, something millennials will enjoy and see as important.
Create an Environment
While a brand’s main objective is to sell, many brands have had shift focus to improving their selling tactics. For millennials it’s all about an experience. Think of Starbucks: it’s a home away from home. They have mellow music, outlets for electronics, jargon that’s only a Starbuck’s regular can understand, like tall, grande, venti. Starbucks creates an ambiance that’s irresistible to millennials. It’s not about the quality—it’s about the experience that a customer walks away with.
Be Accessible and Digitize
Saying millennials are obsessed with technology is an understatement, so it is vital for brands to create a digital presence. In four seconds, a brand’s layout, mobile responsiveness, or content can drive a millennial away.  As for social media, a brand doesn’t have to post every day but often enough that their audience doesn’t acknowledge their absence. Engage and respond to your customers. It’s important to communicate that a brand cares about their audience.

With these three factors incorporated into your marketing strategy, millennials will be lining out the door, ready to snap and share their brand loyalty!

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Taylor Carnard.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Is a Personal Website More Important Than Ever?

Has anyone ever suggested to you to create a personal website other than LinkedIn? The thought of creating a website focusing on only you can be nerve-wracking at first. Don’t people see enough of your personal and professional life through other social media platforms? My opinion on a personal website changed after taking a Personal Branding class last spring and some argue it is more important now than ever before.

First off, one must take time to reflect on their own personal brand. Everyone’s brand is different depending on their interests and passions. Once you have an idea of what direction you want to take your personal brand you can start thinking about forming a website.

There are so many directions you can take on a personal website. You can use it to showcase your professional work or you can make it very casual and use it as a way to let people know more about who you are. As a PR major, we might not have creative work to showcase online like an advertising major would, but there is still plenty of material to create a portfolio. Press releases or blog posts you’ve written can easily be shared.

The best part about starting up your own personal website is all the extremely helpful websites to get you started. Don’t know HTML codes? Not a big deal. Websites like Wix, Wordpress, Flavors, and many more all are beginner friendly. They all offer a great deal of creative options from fonts to layouts.

Creating a personal website is a great thing to do as an upperclassman starting to begin the job search. It will help you connect more and help separate you from the pack. A personal website isn’t something you can forget about because it is important to stay on top of updating the content. Although it is definitely not a necessity to all public relations majors, it will still be a bonus to your personal brand.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

How to keep your brand relevant

In today’s society, trends can come and go in the blink of an eye. Cellphones that sold out on their release dates 2 years ago are now distributed for free with a prepaid data plan, and music artists that dominated the top 40 radio stations last summer are now struggling to sell copies of their albums. With such a rapidly changing environment, relevancy is the most powerful tool a brand can possess in order to remain successful and continue to grow. Here are three techniques that companies have used and continued to use in order to stay in the public eye.


1) Jump onto new trends as soon as possible

Many companies focus their efforts on being as unique and different as possible in an effort to differentiate themselves from their competitors. However, it can be just as beneficial to keep an eye out for the newest trends and use their popularity to your advantage. Snapchat is a great example; the social media app has become increasingly popular, so artists and companies in turn have created Snapchat accounts as a newly emerging method of marketing. Celebrities might use their Snapchat story it to show their fans an interesting behind-the-scenes look at their daily lives, while magazines such as Cosmopolitan and People use the new Discover feature to reach out to a different audience.


2) Use popular news stories to your advantage

A smart, unique way that companies have been able to stay relevant is by referencing current pop culture events; as a company, this is a great way to relate to your audience and appear up-to-date. The team behind the Oreo cookie Twitter account, for example, made headlines during the 2013 Super Bowl for their quick, improvised marketing efforts. Many sports fans remember the sudden blackout that put Super Bowl XLIX on hold for a good 15 minutes. Oreo took advantage of the confusing moment to tweet out an advertisementwith the tagline “You Don’t Have to Dunk in the Dark” The spur-of-the-moment ad was retweeted over 10,000 times, leaving many wondering how Oreo managed to make it all happen.


3) Don’t be afraid to try new things

Many people have heard the saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” This rule does not usually apply in the business world; in a world with constantly evolving technology, it is not always a good idea to stick with the same old methods. Instead, it is more important to continuously adapt in order to keep up with your competition. This is a mistake that has caused the downfall of many different companies. Blockbuster, for example, was knocked out of existence when more convenient alternatives such as Netflix started to appear, allowing customers to watch and order movies without ever having to leave their house.


By adapting to new technology and paying attention to what is popular within the market, a company will be able to prevent themselves from being forgotten in a world where new and modern companies are constantly emerging. Any brand that is able to stay relevant will be sure to have long term success within the market.

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Dylan Rhudd. 

Benefits of a Small Firm Internship

When searching for an internship, every PR student will possess their own individual criteria for what they are looking for in a position. One student may be looking to gain some experience in the nonprofit sector while another might be looking to score a spot with a major agency. Regardless of where you intern, the goal is to learn, develop and to get closer to becoming an established public relations professional. 

In April I started at Jenna Communications, a small firm in Center City Philadelphia. I did not know what to expect and was skeptical about how much experience and knowledge I would gain at such a small firm. However, within the first month I had learned as much as I had in any course. Working with a small group of employees, I was thrown into the fire right away. During my first weeks I was creating social media campaigns, drafting press releases, connecting with press contacts and working directly with clients. By the end of my first month I not only had gained a significant amount of writing samples but I had also gained a significant amount of confidence. This confidence may have not been found if I had jumped into a large PR agency for my first internship. 

This is not to say that an internship at a large PR agency or for a major corporation is not a valuable experience. Interning for a top company allows students to learn directly from some of the very best in the industry. My advice for students to strongly consider what they want out of an internship. Although many may be tempted to overlook a smaller firm or company, they may be offering exactly what you are looking for. 

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Jason Conaway.