Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Get Inspired by a Story

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 20, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, October 19, 2014

What To Do When You're Infected

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, October 18, 2014

PRSSANC: Where Phone Batteries Go To Die

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, October 17, 2014

How #PRSSANC Eased My First Job Fears

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 16, 2014

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

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

(Photo by PRowl staff member Shaun Luberski)

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

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

6 #PRSSANC Takeaways for Student Run Firm Directors

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

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

1. Understand and appreciate your team.

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

2. Always be learning.

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

3. Trust your expertise.

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

4. Remember your goals.

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

5. Know you are not alone.

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

6. Get connected, stay connected.

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