Sunday, August 30, 2015

Clever Ways for College Students to Develop Their Networks among Peers

As college students, most of us are accustomed to meeting new people each semester. With a few exceptions, college students usually end up spending each semester with a mostly unfamiliar group of students. In most circumstances, the extent of the relationships shared by many of these students includes collaborating on dreaded group projects or studying for an equally dreaded final test.

Usually, once that class is complete, the four month long affiliation between many of those classmates reduces to a head nod of acknowledgment as they past one another on campus until they finally graduate.

I’ve mapped out the typical evolution of classmate relationships over a semester because I think our lack of regard for our fellow classmates allows us to waste valuable opportunity. The college setting is the perfect environment to build a strong professional network among peers. As proactive public relations students, we look for conferences and other forums organized by professionals in our field to do networking. Our campuses and classrooms provide ideal circumstances for exiting college with strong relationships and contacts, yet we often overlook them. Below are a few ways college students can develop their peer networks before even graduating.

Exchange Business Cards
If you’re anything like me, you have purchased 250 or more business cards for a conference or networking event you attended and have barely put a dent in them. The beginning of the semester, complete with a fresh set of future colleagues, is the perfect opportunity for you to put those business cards to use. Let’s face it—not every classmate is going to become a close friend but many can become contacts. Exchanging business cards with a fellow classmate could make them want to develop a professional relationship with you.

Inquire About Internship Experiences and Relevant Opportunities
We attend colleges and universities with thousands of students who filter into the city and partake in unique opportunities that relate to our field. We can gain a lot from simply engaging in conversation with the person who sits next to us about what they’ve been able to learn in their past experiences. You never know! Your classmate could help you learn about relevant opportunities that you never previously considered pursuing. Simply engaging in conversation with a colleague can be an enriching exchange that encourages you to seek greater opportunities. Furthermore, sharing about hobbies and personal projects can help us better connect with our peers and even develop relationships that double as professional contacts and new friends.

Ask for Referrals to Past Professional Experiences
Once I apply to an internship or job opportunity, I usually file through my contacts to identify if I know someone who is already a part of that organization that may be able to help me get in. We all know that who you know can often be more valuable than what you know. Many college students may not have extensive connections with public relations professionals, but more often than not, a peer of ours has some affiliation with a professional that we wish to know. If we develop our peer network, we can utilize their professional network to gain new relationships and great opportunities. Personally, my past three public relations opportunities were landed largely because I was referred by a fellow student.

Join Professional Organizations Together
Professional organizations like PPRA or PRSA can provide invaluable opportunities to network or meet industry professionals, but it can be very intimidating for college students to immerse themselves in environments completely populated by people who already have well established careers. If students develop their peer networks, they can accompany one another in emerging into these professional organizations.
Don’t allow the opportunity to develop a strong professional network pass by you. Get rid of those unused business cards, spark up a few conversations, and finish up undergrad with numerous contacts and a strong network.

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Jameeda Rucker. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Standing in Solidarity with the Journalism Community


No one ever said being a communications professional is easy.

We deal with difficult people, fast-approaching deadlines, crashing computer programs, and much more. However, one thing we don’t consider to be a worry or fear on a daily basis is risking our lives for our job.

It has been two days since reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were brutally gunned down while filming a segment for their news station, WBDJ7, and regardless of what area of communications you study or work in, there is a deep sense of grief felt throughout our community.

It’s hard to imagine that working in our field puts us at risk of horrific events, but in today’s world, it is a harsh reality we need to face.

Journalists and reporters cover events in war-torn countries, dangerous communities, and crime scenes. Even though they are taught to stay out of the action, it is possible that their lives could be in danger on a daily basis.

As PR professionals, we often get frustrated with reporters and journalists who don’t follow up after we send them a press release or media alert.

However, it is important that as a profession, we take time to thank journalists for putting their lives on the line to inform the world about topics and events that we are too limited to witness ourselves. We need to realize that like us, journalists are busy, and oftentimes, it isn’t personal when we don’t get press coverage.

We also need to remember the great journalists we form professional friendships with while working in media relations, and consider ourselves lucky to have them on our side.

Our PR community is grieving alongside the journalism community, and we thank you for the risks you take to bring news to the millions of people worldwide.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Email Etiquette

When working in the communications field, it is impossible to avoid sending emails all day long. Some are to co-workers and can be more casual but others need to be professional for media outreach or to clients. It is very important to learn email etiquette now when emailing professors and potential employers and to carry the skills into future internship and job opportunities. Here are some things to keep in mind when sending emails.

Begin with a professional greeting
Saying “Hello” to “Hi” will work. Avoid “Hey” unless you’re emailing a close friend or have already established that tone with the person you’re emailing.  If you choose to include the person’s name, make sure you spell it right. There is nothing worse than spelling a person’s name wrong in the greeting especially when it is in their email address.

Get to the point
Many people to not have time to read five paragraph emails. If you are asking a question, just ask it. Be clear and concise. If you do have a longer email, be sure to split it up and have spaces between the paragraphs.

Create an email signature
An email signature allows you to share some information about yourself and avoid having to always type your contact information in the body of the email. In college, it is helpful to have your first and last name, school, major, important positions and contact information. As a public relations student, it is also appropriate to include social media handles and links to personal blogs or your LinkedIn page.

Please reply all
Always reply all to emails to make sure everyone is on the same page and avoid lack of communication. It is better to be overly informed than leave people out of the loop.

Never forget to proofread!
This is the most important part. Double check everything in your email from the spelling of someone’s name, any embedded links, dates and times. Proofreading your emails will avoid the embarrassing follow-up email with any corrections from the first email.

This blog post was written by PRowl Secretary Shaun Luberski. You can follow her on Twitter here.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Don't just be busy, be productive

Classes kick off for Temple University, and many other schools tomorrow. For me, and all the other workaholics out there, it’s great to be getting back to a structured schedule and workday. For a lot of other people, though, they’re dreading getting back into the swing of things. It’s easy to get caught up in work for internships, jobs and classes, and begin to feel stressed and just busy. So here are some tips to keep you productive, instead of feeling overwhelmed.

Map out your day
We all have our handy planners and notebooks for making to-do lists, but how often do you go over that list before you start your day? Sometimes, when you make up a list of tasks for the day, you may just write down whatever you may think of in a random order and then end up working through that order from top to bottom. Make up the list at the beginning of the day and then look back at what needs to be done. Do you need to drop off a prescription and pick up some food from the grocery store? Do you have a class right by a professor’s office where you need to drop off some work? See what tasks you can knock out all at once and save yourself the time running back and forth.

Set up routines
Routines are the key to saving time. Morning routines, bedtime routines, scheduling routines…I clearly worship at the alter of routines. By setting up these daily habits, you spend less time on the simple day-to-day decisions and free up time for work that requires more energy. Try setting your clothing out, or even making your breakfast or lunch, the night before to save yourself time in the morning. The Daily Muse is also full of tips for which routines and rituals can help save you time and make you more productive during your day.

Take time for yourself
When your schedule is controlled by your professors, your internship and other commitments, you can easily become stressed and overwhelmed. It’s important to set time aside for you to spend on whatever hobbies or activities let you relax. For me, it’s an hour in the morning to go to the gym. I’ve found that being physically active is a great stress reliever and it helps me get up in the morning. On top of that, striving to reach high expectations in my fitness and health has led me to set higher bars in the other areas of my life. Of course that doesn’t have to apply strictly to the gym. Do you like to paint? Read? Binge TV? See how you can work those activities into your life and how you can use them to boost your drive.

This blog post was written by PRowl Director of Public Relations Helena Wilcox. Follow her on Twitter at @helenapwilcox.  

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Transferring with Ease

People may choose to transfer to other universities for many reasons: financial, social, or a next step from community college. Whatever the case, it can be a difficult transition, and even scarier than where you first came from. Although it can feel overwhelming, hundreds of other students are in the same position. From Temple University’s website, almost half of the undergraduate students have transferred from other educational institutions!

To make the transition even smoother, here are some great ways to ease right in.

 First, remain calm. It’s okay to get anxious about all the details until finally settling in. Until that short adjusting period is over, remember you have been moving on to new things all your life and this is just the next great step to an even more beautiful and bright future.

 Second, whether living on or off campus, there is no excuse not to get involved. Yes, it sounds obvious but this is the key to success. Clubs offer a wide variety of interests to everyone as a well as instant friends. Aside from the social aspect, build a stable relationship with professors as well. When academic life is happy, social life benefits.

 Lastly, have fun. This is college, the only time in life where there is little worry and the options are limitless. No matter what brought on the decision to transfer, it will be for the better. Also, don’t let whatever didn’t work out before hold you back. A personal piece of advice if you ever have a question and you’re afraid to ask, remember, the worst they can say is ‘no.’

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Marissa Reale. 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

3 Insanely Successful Fashion Publicists

It takes a special kind of person to work in the fast paced and cutthroat business of fashion, especially if you’re a publicist. You have to pay your dues, work your butt off and look chic all at the same time. These women did just that and ended up climbing their way to the very top of the industry. Hopefully, the stories of their success will be motivation enough to make it through one more day of emails and updates!


Friday, August 14, 2015

The Next Step: Serving on a Nonprofit Board in Your 20's
As college students, we have the world in our hands. If we push ourselves and take advantage of opportunities that come our way, we can excel greatly in our field of study.

Many students take internships, and some take more than one. Other students volunteer for organizations or get involved in professional student activities.

However, there is another type of professional development experience that college students may not know they are qualified for. That experience is serving on the executive board for a nonprofit organization.

At first, this idea seems strange and even impossible. As twenty-somethings, how would our generation be able to provide direction for a non-profit?

However, our young and creative minds are exactly what most organizations are looking for, and with new ideas (and knowledge that we learn from our studies), we can have a profound impact on an organization.

The experience itself will be a great resume booster, however, you will also get to network with many professionals and learn how the inside of a non-profit works.

You will also learn skills (such as finance or corporate law) that you wouldn’t have otherwise become exposed to.

If you are interested in joining a board, it is important to find a cause that you care about. Whether it is animal welfare, sustainability, or poverty resolution, be sure that you have a personal reason for taking on a position. If you join a board that you are not passionate about, you will not have a worthwhile experience.

Once you are on a board, be sure to seek out mentors who have served for a longer period of time. This way, they can catch you up on important items you need to understand. They can also provide guidance with future decisions you will have to opportunity to influence.

It may be a daunting responsibility, but serving on a non-profit board can give you a great boost on your resume. Also,  the connections you will make may help you down the line, and you may learn skills you won’t in a classroom setting.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Be Your Authentic Self

Michael Stevens from Vsauce
In June, I attended a Children’s Media Conference in Sheffield, England while I studied abroad. The conference had various sessions and keynote speakers that talked about how children in the United Kingdom get and use media. One topic I heard a lot during the sessions was the importance of children being authentic with their online profiles. Several professionals shared how sometimes children develop an online self and authentic self that tend to conflict and present different images.

Michael Stevens, one of the keynote speakers and creator of Vsauce, shared how being authentic has led to his success on YouTube. He began Vsauce in June 2010 and has expanded to three YouTube channels with about nine million subscribers.

He relates his success to him being authentic because his subscribers see him being very candid and they form a friendship. Stevens also explained how he films the videos alone and being real leads to viewers feeling like they are hanging out with him and that there is not a barrier between him and the audience. His videos are very conversational and use plain language that makes his content easy to understand and is friendly to people of any ages.

In his keynote, he also pointed out how Echosmith singer, Sydney Sierota, is a great example of being authentic on social media. She regularly uploads videos on her YouTube channel and other social media profiles from her iPhone. The videos are very causal and creates a dialog between her and her fans. Stevens also praised Sydney on how she replied to comments fans leave on her videos and shows she cares.

Whether you are a celebrity or not, being real and authentic on social media is key to maintaining a strong, relatable presence. Some other keys to staying authentic on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and other social media outlets include using your own photos, genuinely engaging with your followers and replying to comments and having a unified brand and purpose.

What are some of your social media tips that allow you to grow your following and stay real?

This blog post was written by PRowl Secretary Shaun Luberski. You can follow her on Twitter here

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Ghostwriting: The ethics of using a Quentin Miller to reach communication objectives

While some of you are enjoying your summers abroad or off vacationing with family and friends, others have been occupied with the drama between rappers, Drake and Meek Mill. For those of you who have a life during the summer: dont worry, I have you covered. Recently, Ive been occupied with trolling the Internet and analyzing the beef between the two. It all started when Meek Mill called out Drake for using ghostwriter, Quentin Miller, to write popular tracks on his latest album, If Youre Reading This, Its Too Late.

Ghostwriting is viewed as a dishonest practice in the rap world but what about in the communications world? The practice of writing material for another person, without a byline, in exchange for profit is common in organizations that have PR professionals working to meet communication objectives. The public is typically aware of ghostwriting when it comes to speeches and autobiographies, but in some instances ghostwriting can be deceiving.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Live Tweeting: How Much is Too Far?

We are all aware that social media has unmistakably changed the game in many ways. From Twitter to Periscope, there are so many ways to be interactive with the public. Live tweeting is something that has a very thin line. Where do you draw the line?

Live tweeting is tweeting during an ongoing show or event. The Academy Awards, GOP National Debate, or Grey’s Anatomy can all be live tweeted about. Lets look at some positives and negatives of this 21st century craze.


1. Spoiling a Show- If you are missing the finale of your all time favorite television series, stay off Twitter. You are guaranteed to find out what happens before you watch and ultimately become irritated you scrolled down to refresh your feed. For those live tweeting during a show, don’t give things away and everyone will be happy.

 2. False Facts- It is important to have an opinion on a political or social matter, but make sure you fact check before you send out a 140-character rant. Stating untrue statements can easily get you roasted by one of your followers in a matter of seconds. It is important to stay on top current events, but think before you type.

3. Not Actually Watching- The whole point of live tweeting is to interact, but there is a point where this can be taken too far. How many individuals live tweeting are casually typing at a commercial break vs. ignoring what is on television. Stay interactive, but make sure to actually tune in before sharing favorite moments or thoughts.


1. Diverse viewpoints- It is interesting to see what everyone has to say. Diverse viewpoints are a good thing and not everyone has to agree. It gets people thinking and learning more about a subject. As stated earlier, just make sure to do your homework beforehand.

2. Connect with Others- Almost every television series or live event nowadays has a custom hashtag to go along with it. Using the hashtag is a great way to connect with other active users or even those behind the show itself. Live tweet right and you might gain yourself some more followers or get a shoutout from your favorite character.

3. It’s Fun!- At a conference or on your couch, live tweeting is meant to be fun. Pay attentions and share your thoughts or favorite red carpet dress. Tweets are meant to be casual, so don’t take it too seriously and use it as a positive.