Sunday, July 5, 2015

Three Tips to Help You Get Through Your First Office Internship

After two years of interning with start up companies, my new full time, office-based internship was a major change. Knowing that I would no longer be attending the casual, weekly “team meeting” at the bar during happy hour, I headed to the mall in early May and bought myself a few pairs of slacks and flats to prepare for the months ahead.

Now that it is July and I have fully adjusted to my office’s environment, I have learned a few vital things for working in an office.

1. Say “Good Morning”
Your very first task of the day should be to say hello to anyone you see on your way to say good morning to your boss. This first act of communication is very important because it shows that you are willing to interact with everyone in the office. This will also come in handy when your summer internship begins during allergy season because you do not want to be the only one in the office who is not receiving a “God bless you” after every sneeze. If you are not a very social person, a smile also works! Silence every time you walk in the room is a lot more uncomfortable than greeting a few people every day.

2. Don’t Wear Headphones
Listening to music is a great way to make time pass while at work, but if your music is on your phone, it might be in your best interest to break out your old iPod from 2009. We all know this happens–one minute you could be changing a song and the next you are on Instagram looking at pictures of your friends at the beach. Now you are daydreaming about how you wish you were actually able to go to the beach on a weekday. Meanwhile, your coworkers are passing by you, probably peering over your shoulder as they walk to the printer. Now everyone is thinking about how they would rather be at the beach, and most importantly they are thinking about how you are not getting any work done.

3. Befriend the IT Guy
If your office hands out laptops to its employees, there is most likely an IT department that handles them. These guys may not seem like anyone you need to know, but along with giving you a laptop, they most likely handle the Wi-Fi and download speed for your computer. Since you are new, they might try to put you on a slower Wi-Fi than everyone else, which also means you will have a slower download speed. You might not mind this at first, but as soon as your boss begins sending you massive files of photos that need to be uploaded somewhere in the next hour and the file is saying it’s going to take 11 hours to download, you are going to be on your hands and knees praying to the IT Gods.

Every new job takes some getting used to, especially when every company’s work environment can be so varied. Just keep in mind that this period of adjustment does not last forever, and the longer you work somewhere, the more incredibly bizarre, and usually hilarious things you will find out about your office.

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Kristen VanLeer. 

Saturday, July 4, 2015

First Time Intern: Reality Vs. Expectations

When I started college, I had always envisioned my first internship as a fairytale. I would take the train into Manhattan wearing my most stylish pantsuit with a Starbucks in hand. I would catch a cab from Penn Station and arrive at my company’s skyscraper to be the superstar intern.

My first internship experience is far from that, but it’s just as fantastic as I had dreamed. With some determination and searching, I had landed myself a position at Hip New Jersey, a lifestyle and entertainment program about all the latest happenings in the Garden State. Landing an internship after my first year of school was lucky, but now it’s up to my hard work to make an impression.

It’s not located in Manhattan, but in the suburbs of New Jersey. I still get Starbucks every morning on my drive in, but instead I walk up two flights of stairs to my cozy office. I had always imagined working for a big company doing the dirty work that higher ups didn’t want to do.

As one of Hip New Jersey’s Public Relations Interns, I run their social media accounts, market products and stories, help plan events, and gain blogging experience. I’m not going on coffee runs--I’m gaining real life public relations experience.

While it’s not the internship I expected, it’s a perfect fit for a first time intern. Working for a smaller company allows me to make closer connections with the staff and gain more professional experience than I would at a larger workplace. I’ve had the opportunity to cover events at Yankee Stadium and meet celebrities like the Real Housewives of New Jersey.

Working at Hip New Jersey this summer has taught me a lot of valuable things. I’ve learned the importance of networking, mastering social media analytics, and the art of press releases.

I’ve also learned to carry a pair of flats when wearing those sky-high heels because you never know when you’ll run an errand. Preparation is key, making sure you’re stocked with pens, paper, laptop, and chargers. Also, I’ve become a pro at making healthy and tasty lunches that won’t cost me a fortune.

Getting your first internship can seem daunting, but with some perseverance you can land one. It may not be your dream job, but it could give you experience that you couldn’t get elsewhere.

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Clarissa Ford. 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Holiday Social Media Tips

Happy almost Fourth of July weekend!

Photo Credit
As one of the major summer holidays, public relations and marketers work hard to craft 4th of July social media campaigns to attract their audience’s attention. Most campaigns are made for Twitter but more are happening on Snapchat and Instagram too.

The biggest obstacle is trying to stand out from the crowd and get your message heard. Here are some ways to get your brand noticed on social media.

1. Include visuals
Whether it is a picture, GIF or video, any visual element increases engagement and makes people stop and look. Be creative with pictures and make sure you take them from the best angle with a plain background so it is easy to see, especially since a lot of people will be viewing your content on a small screen. If possible, take high quality photographs with an actual camera and then upload them later onto social media.

2. Make a creative hashtag
Your hashtag is extremely important for people to find your campaign, and it also lets you monitor traffic and engagements. Incorporate the holiday and your brand for users to instantly make the connection. On posts, include your unique hashtag and a trending hashtag to further expand your audience and engagement.

3. Build in giveaways or contests
As per tradition, brands love doing special holiday sales and promotions to increase sales and awareness. Promotions work well to attract new people to your brand because everyone loves getting something for less or even free. Create promotions that require users to share your brand’s posts with their followers. In addition, any promotions or offers also spread through word of mouth too.

The upcoming holidays are a great time to boost your brand and increase traffic on all social media sites. You can also take some of these tips and apply them to your personal social media pages too. 

This blog post was written by PRowl Secretary Shaun Luberski.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Good PR: Listening to your Community

In my spare time, I am an avid gamer, my current video game of choice being Destiny, on the Xbox One console. If you have ever heard of the games Call of Duty and Halo, then you might understand when I say that Destiny is sort of a combination of both games, having been made by the two studios that usually make Call of Duty and Halo. The primary studio in Destiny's case is called Bungie, they're the ones who make all the Halo games, in conjunction with Microsoft Studios. However, with Destiny, Bungie has created a whole new type of game; Destiny is a completely online, open-world first person shooter game, set on the moons and planets of our solar system. Most games out there let you play at least some aspect offline, but for Destiny you must be online the entire time to do anything. Because the game is set in such huge and detailed landscapes while supporting thousands of players doing different activities, the bandwidth required can be quite enormous. This leads to a myriad of different problems and bugs that can affect players. But it is the way that Bungie has responded that makes this story noteworthy for us in the study and business of public relations.

When Destiny was first released back in September of 2014, Bungie launched a companion website and app to go with it. Both were beautifully designed, and provided a compelling counterpart to the game; on the site you could track your stats and connect with other players, and the app allowed you to control aspects of your character's appearance and equipment. Bungie also launched a running blog on the new site, with frequent posts from the game's designers, engineers, producers, and many more. These men and women would post about upcoming changes to Destiny, or about things that happened in the game that might interest other players. At the end of 2014, Bungie posted a longer story, detailing all the accomplishments of Destiny players in 2014, including all sorts of interesting statistics and facts. And, Bungie launched an extensive forum for players to post about problems and bugs they encountered within the game, as well as multiple Twitter accounts for tech support. With the forums and Twitter accounts, Bungie maintained a large 24-hour team that constantly interacts with and responds to people posting about problems they have with the game. More so than any other game I have ever played, Bungie has done everything possible to foster an interactive and engaged community, which has frequently come together to solve major and minor problems. When Destiny first came out, a lot of people didn't think it work, but Bungie has gone above and beyond the necessary PR footwork to make it happen, and to create a base of people that will be playing this game for a long time to come.

Have any questions or comments about Destiny or Bungie? Post them below in the comments, we'd love to hear from you!

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

Sunday, June 28, 2015

How Taylor Swift and Apple Both Came Out on Top

This past week has been a long back and forth between pop-star Taylor Swift and major music mogul, Apple Inc. It appeared to be the clash of the ages, beginning with Swift posting an open letter to Apple on her Tumblr account on June 21. In the letter, Swift explained she will not be supporting Apple’s new streaming service because during the 90 day free trial for customers artists that are available to stream will not be paid.
After the letter was published it immediately went viral and, eventually grabbed Apple’s attention. A few days after the letter was published Apple responded to Swift’s letter, saying that they will pay all artists that are available on the streaming service for the first three months.
Swift had won the battle she had sought to win, however, it was until June 26, nearly a week after the original letter was published, that Swift finally said she would allow her 1989 album on Apple’s streaming service. In typical Swift fashion she made the announcement in the form of a simple tweet thanking Apple for listening to her concerns.
What’s important to note here from a PR stand point is that, while at first, it might seem like Swift came out on top, there’s room for Apple at the top as well. For Swift, her all-star status was reaffirmed and her name is now being seen all over the news as the artist that stood up to Apple. For Apple, they saved millions in free publicity for their new streaming service. Now, not only does the public know about their new service and the fact that it’s free for the first three months, they also know it’s morally solid and that Apple did the right thing by agreeing to pay artists.
In the field of public relations the more a company can get their name and service out there without spending a cent is vital because it leaves more funds to do original, innovative or exciting things within a campaign. Though of course Apple isn’t hurting for money, the lesson learned from Taylor Swift v. Apple 2015 is something that all public relations professionals and students can apply to their work.

Free publicity can be negative or positive and PR professionals can never be quite sure what they’re going to get until they see it, however, taking a note from Apple it’s easy to see that the saying “all publicity is good publicity” still holds true in the world of PR.        

This guest blog post was written by PRowl Account Executive Hannah Litchfield 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Six books every public relations professional should read

I love to read- I always have. When I was a kid, I read so much my teachers actually asked me to stop reading. This of course led me to my love of writing, which led me to my love of public relations, which led me here. But getting to why you are here, if you love reading like I do, here are six books that every public relations professional should take a look at:

  • “The Associated Press Stylebook” By: The Associated Press and Norm Goldstein - I’m going to sound like my old journalism teacher for a second and say that the Associated Press Stylebook is the book to go to when it comes to grammar, spelling and any other questions you may have about laying out a press release for a media company or client. It’s organized, written by a reputable news cooperative and serves as an approachable reference manual that all media publishers acknowledge as a legitimate source for proper grammar and style. It’s not exactly a book you read word for word, though, so keep this one at your office desk for when you need it.
  • “Confessions of a Public Speaker” By: Scott Berkun - If you are looking for a public speaking how-to that doesn’t tell you to “just imagine everyone is in their underwear”, this is probably the book for you. Berkun is straightforward, gives a unique perspective on how to talk to an audience, is hilarious and definitely knows the difference between a lectern and a podium. Public speaking is a necessary skill in any field, but I think especially so in public relations. After reading this book, I think you’ll at least be able to help any clients that need a few pointers on giving a speech.
  • “The Disney Way” By: Bill Capodagli and Lynn Jackson - When it comes to public relations, it’s not just about getting the information out there; it’s about leaving an impression, preferably a positive one. According to Capodagli and Jackson, Disney’s credo of “dream, believe, dare and do” is the way that people can leave that good impression. They not only cite from Disney’s level of customer service and innovation, but other corporations that followed in its footsteps, such as The Cheesecake Factory, The Four Seasons Hotel, Men’s Warehouse and many others. If you are looking for a certain magic in how you work with your publics, this might be the book for you.
  • “Crystallizing Public Opinion” By: Edward Bernays - If we are talking about public relations books, we have to talk about the father of public relations himself. “Crystallizing Public Opinion” is where it all began folks and this book is cited as the first official public relations manual ever written. If you can look past some of the dated examples, the core advice is still strong and resonates with the honesty and integrity that should come with the ideal public relations specialist. At the very least, after having read this book, you will be able to hold your own in any public relations history conversation.
  • “The News Rules of Marketing and PR” By: David Meerman Scott - If history isn’t your cup of tea, maybe you’ll be more interested in this number. “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” was just written in 2013 and holds extensive accounts on how to manage social media, viral marketing, and how to help companies find niche markets to pedal their products in the digital age. It highlights the utilization of new technology to deliver a higher quality of product and content rather than utilizing technology to create a flashier and overall more vapid quality of work.
  • “How to Win Friends and Influence People” By: Dale Carnegie - While doing research for this blog, I kept coming across this book, so I gave it a read, and let me tell you, they were right to mention this book to public relations professionals. Carnegie gives some very practical advice on how to win over people, some of which seems obvious, yet are so rarely seen in a world inundated with people wanting to get out their message. It looks at the philosophy of happiness, grace, the art of listening and how to admit when you are wrong. It’s definitely a book to look at if you are hoping to attract not only clients, but friends and allies as well.
This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Kelly Armstrong

Friday, June 19, 2015

What does it mean to have a “PR Vibe”?

Last week, I was running errands and stopped in a pharmacy. Slightly exhausted from the week of interning and working at various positions, I was sure that I looked a bit unkempt at best.

Upon reaching the register, I began to have a conversation with the cashier, which eventually led her to ask me what my major was in college. When I said “public relations”, she smiled knowingly, and responded “that makes sense, you have a PR vibe”.

Not quite sure what she meant, I chalked it up to a compliment, and continued through my day. However, looking back at the conversation, I wondered what constitutes having a PR vibe.

After careful consideration, I believe that what makes PR folk recognizable is our open nature and ability to multi-task.

These two traits are shared among the best up and coming PR professionals, and are important for individuals to have in order to succeed in the field.

Specifically, mastering the art of communicating with anyone is incredibly important for PR jobs. If you work for an agency and have to speak to clients, press contacts, and more, you should be able to do so with ease.

Also, multi-tasking is an integral part of PR. Balancing multiple tasks at once is what PR folk are known for, and it comes in handy when hundreds of emails are flooding your inbox in a week and meetings are popping up on your calendar months in advance.

There is also something to be said about being exhausted. As a PR professional, you are going to be worn down and often feel as though the weight of the world is on your shoulders. However, what immediately makes a PR professional noticeable is their willingness to exceed expectations and continue working, even if they are ready to fall asleep at their desk!

So, if you are ever told you have a “PR vibe” about you, take it as a compliment. It most likely has nothing to do with the bags under your eyes, but rather your commitment to the field!