Tagged: pr

Fit your personality into your PR career

Image credit: drmilsteineducation.com

Image credit: drmilsteineducation.com

By Megan Myers

Whether it’s your freshman or senior year of college, you may still be unsure about which public relations career path you should follow. You might be fortunate and have a passion for one field over another, which will make finding your PR field of choice much easier. However, for most PR students, all they know is that they have a passion for PR and need a little extra help determining which direction to go. Just like how your personalities must complement each other in a personal relationship, you have to fit and mesh your personality to work well within a company and career.

You may have taken personality quizzes before such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, to gain insight about yourself. Some careers or company cultures may be better suited for different personalities. Knowing who you are and how you work can help you determine which PR fields may be a good fit for you.

In case you haven’t taken a personality test before, 16Personalities offers a quick and easy way to gain insight about some of your traits. The test will sort you into one of four personality archetypes, which include diplomats, analysts, sentinels or explorers. If you don’t already know your archetype, you can take the test and use these suggestions to consider your fit with potential PR careers.

Image credit: timeinc.net

Image credit: timeinc.net

Diplomats

Being a diplomat, you are considered adaptable and manageable because you work well in a group setting. Your features include compassion, recognition, and artistic abilities. Diplomats would fit better in the PR fields of agencies, non-profits and corporate organizations with a creative/fun cultures, such as Google, Nike, or Netflix. Diplomats’ cooperative and imaginative nature means they will be an asset to any team and have creative ideas and solutions.

Analysts

As an analyst, you are firm and self-reliant. You take it upon yourself to do a job with little to no questions. You rely on your research and are there to get the job done. Analysts would fit better in corporate and academic PR fields, such as writing for a company like Cerner or for a college or university. Their strategic mindset makes it easy to be the strategist for a campaign or foresee the long-term effects that may occur in campaign implementation.

Image credit: Westchester Cleaning Services

Image credit: Westchester Cleaning Services

Sentinels

Being a sentinel, you need order and organization in your life. You love a good challenge, but like to stick to the rules when it comes to creativity. People in this category are considered to be achievers. Sentinels would fit better in governmental, medical, and financial PR fields. This could include working with county government organizations, lobbying or working for a major corporation such as State Farm Insurance. Their meticulous nature means that they would fit well in a managerial position in any field, focusing on achieving goals and objectives makes them great at moving up the ladder.

Explorers

Image credit: 123rf.com

Image credit: 123rf.com

Explorers have the most exciting and outgoing personalities. These types of people are sharp-witted; they are the go-to person during a crisis situation. Explorers would fit better in the PR fields of event planning, crisis management or consulting firms, such as O’Neill Marketing & Event Management Company or Edelman. Their ability to connect with their surroundings and ability to think on their feet makes them perfect for situations that are high pressure with lots of moving parts.

 

Now that you understand which category you fit into, you are better equipped to choose the path you should take in your PR career.

 

Do you have any tips to help young professionals choose a career path? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Four tips for improving your communication skills

Image credit: checkerboard.com

Image credit: checkerboard.com

By Haley Gleason

After reading the title of this post, I’m sure you’re thinking, “I can communicate just fine with people.” However, you may not be as effective as you think. The world is constantly changing around us, and the same goes for the ways in which we communicate. As future business professionals, we must take the necessary steps to stand out from the crowd, and being exceptional communicators is a great way to do it. With that in mind, here are a few tips to improve your communication skills.

1. (Actually) Listen to others

Hearing what people have to say is something we do on a daily basis. However, are we truly listening? Many of us take listening for granted, believing we are good listeners simply because we hear others. Yet many people they feel as if they are not receiving the full attention of those they converse with. According to Chip Rose, a professional mediator, “We all use language to communicate, to express ourselves, to get our ideas across, and to connect with the person to whom we are speaking. When a relationship is working, the act of communicating seems to flow relatively effortlessly. When a relationship is deteriorating, the act of communicating can be as frustrating as climbing a hill of sand.” Personal and professional relationships alike require both parties to listen effectively. Therefore, it is important to take steps to avoid disruptions, such as our phones, background noise or even our own thoughts.

Bearing this in mind, consider making these personal adjustments as necessary to be a more effective listener:

  1. Face the speaker and use eye contact.
  2. Use body language and gestures.
  3. Keep an open mind.
  4. Don’t interrupt. Listen to everything others have to say before you provide feedback.
  5. Ask questions to ensure you understand what others are saying.

2. Provide valuable feedback

Image credit: drawing-factory.com

Image credit: drawing-factory.com

Providing valuable feedback goes hand-in-hand with listening. You can only truly provide valuable feedback if you listen to what a person has to say. It is not always easy, but it is obtainable with conscious effort. One aspect to consider that is very important in providing feedback is patience.The point of providing feedback is to improve and/or satisfy the person you are talking to, which is best accomplished by exercising patience and conveying your support. Being honest is another important part of good feedback, but note that you are often not going to get your point across by being critical or harsh, as this behavior often causes people to become guarded or hostile. Again, exercise patience and provide feedback in a positive, supportive manner.

Feedback also requires constant attention and timeliness. This is especially true since methods of communication have changed. Feedback is more relevant when provided as soon as possible, and modern technology enables near instantaneous responses. Make an effort to utilize your resources and provide feedback in a timely matter when it is needed the most.

3. Break down boundaries

Image credit: mentalfloss.com

Image credit: mentalfloss.com

Sometimes, poor communication skills may make you feel as if you’re on a deserted island, attempting to send a message in a bottle which no one ever receives. In a way, you may have unknowingly placed yourself on that deserted island by not breaking down boundaries with whom you are trying to communicate with.

The first step to break down these boundaries is to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Try to understand where their opinions and ideas are coming from. This does not mean you have to always agree, but gaining an understanding of their stance can help you move forward to communicating effectively.

The next step is to be fearless. Don’t be afraid to talk to others and ask questions. Talk to people you normally wouldn’t, like people in other departments and different seniority levels. If you are an entry level employee, break the norm and go engage with a manager or executive. That is your opportunity to learn from them and grow in the company.

As described in an article on Fortune.com, breaking down these boundaries can help you secure nigh unlimited potential in the workplace. This potential will not only help you grow as an individual, but also as an unstoppable business professional.

4. Embrace change

Image credit: blogspot.com

Image credit: blogspot.com

Change can be a difficult concept to wrap your head around, especially because we often become comfortable in our abilities and current situation. However, it is important to remember that change is an important part of stimulating personal growth. To help embrace change, get rid of the negativity in your life, such as the self-doubt that takes over in uncomfortable situations. Develop the confidence to break down boundaries. Have the strength to actually listen to people. Be patient, honest and timely in providing feedback. With the help of these tips, you can set yourself on the path to becoming a great communicator.

 

Do you have any tips about communicating effectively with others? Share them in the comments below, and remember to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

The journey begins: Five tips for making the most of your internship

Image credit: sky.com

Image credit: sky.com

By Blake Hedberg

You have done all the necessary research, crafted an excellent cover letter, branded yourself with an excellent resume and survived the strenuous interview process. The company you hope to work for finally gives you that long-awaited phone call – you have landed your first internship. However, this is no time to relax. Plenty of hard work and learning opportunities await.

For most students, the process of finding and securing an internship is a daunting task. The amount of research, time and effort that goes into the process can be extensive. Some students put the process off until their senior year (do not wait this long). For those who have gone the extra mile to be placed in an internship program, your journey is off to a fantastic start.

You are about to embark on the beginning of your professional career, and you’re ready to begin your first day as a professional. Before you do, here are a few tips for maximizing your internship experience.

1. Embrace hierarchy with a smile

Let’s get this out of the way from the beginning: As an intern, you might have to perform trivial tasks at one point or another. Photocopying, coffee runs and things of this nature are not uncommon for interns. Get over it.

Image credit: weheartit.com

Image credit: weheartit.com

You are there to help the business by any means necessary – do this with the biggest of smiles. You must understand that there is a hierarchy at the company you are working for and everyone has been in your shoes sometime during their careers. Employers will remember you better if you perform any task with enthusiasm. Doing these small tasks will demonstrate your ability to listen and work effectively. This will, hopefully, lead to better assignments in the future.

2. Don’t be afraid to speak up, ask questions

An internship is an incredible opportunity for learning, personal growth and development. You are expected to be asking questions. After all, you are there to learn, aren’t you? Don’t hesitate to pull your employer off to the side and ask them something when you are uncertain. Make sure the time is convenient for them, however, and they will likely be happy to give you some guidance. Asking questions is a necessity in getting the most from your experience. If you do not ask about it, they will assume you already know it. The more questions you ask, the more knowledge you gain.

3. Get to know anyone and everyone

Image credit: ed2go.com

Image credit: ed2go.com

From the other interns, to the CEO, to the janitorial crew; get to know the people around you. You never know who might be able to help you with something down the road! Participate on company softball teams, go out for drinks with your internship team, stay after events and chat with fellow employees.

Go above and beyond the hours you are expected to work and establish relationships with co-workers. Your work will become more meaningful that way. Networking does not have to stop once you have landed an internship. In fact, it is just now beginning. Keep building that professional network. It will pay off when you are looking for your first job.

4. Be willing to learn

Having the right mindset in any workplace is extremely beneficial. Taking a positive approach with an open mind will definitely impress of your employer. Not all internships are the same and you may have unique opportunities that go beyond your job description. Be ready. Take in as much as you possibly can from whatever you are doing. You will appreciate that you did after the internship has concluded.

No one likes a know-it-all. If you walk around and act like you know everything and that the employer has nothing to teach you, this will resonate with them in a negative way. Accept when someone is offering to teach you something, no matter what that may be.

5. Sell yourself

Image credit: conquesttechnicalsales.com

Image credit: conquesttechnicalsales.com

When it comes to internships, there is also a more competitive angle that is often forgotten. As you make friends with the other interns at the company you must not forget that, from an employer’s perspective, you are competing against one another. Whether you realize it or not, your employer is grading each intern with the possibility of hiring one or two of you at the end of the process.

You must be able to work and get along with others, but make sure you are selling yourself and reinforcing why you should be considered for employment post-internship. You need to outperform the other interns in your program. Yes, this is somewhat of a bleak realization but is in fact a representation of the real business environment. Leave no doubt in your employers mind that you are the candidate they should pursue.

 

Do you have any tips for young professionals as they work their way through an internship? Let us know in the comments below, and check us out on Facebook and Twitter.

Pokémon (Don’t) Go: Four communication lessons to be learned from Niantic

Image credit: pcmag.com

Image credit: pcmag.com

By Molly Olten

How does one of the biggest game releases in the history of mobile downloads become a passing fad in a matter of two months?

Pokémon Go, a free, augmented reality game, based on the ‘90s kid show, Pokémon, hit app stores in America on July 6, 2016. The release went far from unnoticed. It seemed that everyone had heard of it, from your five-year-old nephew to your 78-year-old great aunt. Even media outlets swarmed the game. To many, Pokémon Go was seen as a social and gaming revolution. Even social media giants started to sweat when the game’s active user base topped 45 million in the early stages of release.

But now that number is barely reaching 30 million.

Engagement and time spent on the game is also declining.

As the old adage goes, all good things must come to an end, but most people hoped the end wouldn’t come so soon. So why were users hanging up their trainer hats? Aside from media negativity and game play issues, the communication, or lack thereof from Niantic, the development company behind Pokémon Go, was the most detrimental mistake to Pokémon Go.

Niantic provides a perfect example of the value of proper communication. Pokémon Go may not have suffered such losses if Niantic had simply communicated decisions made and explained the situation. Niantic’s poor communication with its audiences frustrated players and, in some cases, even prevented them from liking the game.

People simply wanted to understand and enjoy the game, and it seemed as if Niantic did nothing to encourage that.

Be vocal

"Over 1,000 people showed up for the Pokémon Go Event and... Servers are down." - Reddit user kidbranz

“Over 1,000 people showed up for the Pokémon Go Event and… Servers are down.” – Reddit user kidbranz

One of the major game issues Niantic faced with Pokémon Go was server overload. So many people were trying to log into the game in the first weeks of its release, it was almost impossible to play. Instead of letting players know that they were aware of the issue, Niantic continued to expand the availability of the game in other geographic areas, adding further strain to the servers.

Another strike against the company came when it changed an integral part of the game without warning or explanation.  Not a single tweet, post or announcement was made. The only information users got in the update was “Minor Text Fixes.” When making major changes, silence is the wrong answer.

Keeping quiet on an issue and not opening up a dialogue about it is the easiest way to lose your audience’s trust.

Focus on your audience

Speaking of audience, it is also necessary to give them the attention they deserve. At one point during the start of all Niantic’s communication issues, instead of posting information about how they are fixing problems or working on an update, Niantic tweeted out at Soulja Boy.

Image credit: twitter.com

Image credit: twitter.com

This was a major oversight. After virtually zero communication and an abundance of issues, Niantic chose to break the silence with a celebrity shout out instead of taking a few minutes to acknowledge players’ concerns.

Make it easy for audiences to like your brand

An enormous amount of people wanted to like Pokémon Go (and many still do). However, the magic it held for a few brief moments this summer is lost, mostly due to the fact that Niantic was unresponsive.

Niantic’s blog was updated just once during the launch in July, with the next “update” coming Aug. 4. Both posts fail to acknowledge the issues or updates made to the game. Organizations should make it easy for an engaged, enthusiastic community like Trainers to feel listened to and respected.

Invest in communicators

Image credit: twitter.com

Image credit: twitter.com

The bottom line? Invest in people that will help your brand grow. The former Niantic Global Community Manager, Brian Rose, perfectly summed up Niantic’s future problem: “If you’re there with the community, they’ll be there for you when things go south. Bugs can be fixed, but regaining people’s faith is hard.” Moving forward, Niantic needs to make some major changes in its communication habits.

Maybe part of this rant is coming from a bitter Team Instinct player, but the massive losses and wilting potential of Niantic’s Pokémon Go is something gaming companies should take a note from.

How do you think Niantic has handled Pokémon Go so far? Let us know in the comments below, and remember to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Get the most out of Instagram: tips for business and personal use

By Jamie Jackson

I love Instagram. I really do. It’s fun to post pictures and to get a sneak peek into strangers’ lives (why is this not a weird statement anymore?).

Instagram is a popular social media outlet for personal use, however, it is also becoming popular among companies for branding and marketing. Here are a few tips to get the most out of Instagram for your business (or even your personal account).

Use brightly colored and well-lit photos

Image credit: Leon Bridges via Instagram

Image credit: Leon Bridges via Instagram

Image credit: Starbucks via Instagram

Image credit: Starbucks via Instagram

An attractive photo stream doesn’t usually involve unedited, dull pictures. Starbucks’ Instagram feed is full of colorful and attractive photos.

However – not all black and white pictures should be thrown in the trash. Leon Bridges’ photo stream has some great examples of how black and white pictures can still be great for Instagram.

Leon is an R&B artist embracing soul music. These black and white images line up perfectly with Leon’s personal brand and the subjects he sings about.

Instagram is effective when people follow you, and you gain followers by giving people what they want. On Instagram, that means aesthetically pleasing photos.

Be personal

No one wants to see another ad on Instagram. Sure, if you’re a clothing store, post pictures of new arrivals. If you have a great new product, it’s okay to feature it in a post. But Instagram shouldn’t be used as an online store. Try something like this:

Image credit: Microsoft via Instagram

Image credit: Microsoft via Instagram

Image credit: Microsoft via Instagram

Image credit: Microsoft via Instagram

Tell stories. Show consumers the faces behind the name.

You are more than an ad agency or a boring, unoriginal company. Show the fun! Unless you really want people to think you’re a boring, unoriginal company – in which case, I’m afraid I can’t help you there.insta

If you use Instagram, actually USE it

Post consistently. Don’t post once or twice, or for a season. If you put an intern in charge of the account, make sure someone else takes over after they leave.

Consistency is key in posting and branding. If you use hashtags on Twitter or Facebook, use the same for Instagram. Use your same logo as the profile picture, link to the same website, use the same voice and use your brand. Instagram provides a unique opportunity to tell your story solely through pictures. As the adage goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Steward them well.

Be hip

Image credit: McDonald's via Instagram

Image credit: McDonald’s via Instagram

By this, I don’t mean try to use modern slang just because it’s used by young people. You risk misusing or misunderstanding words and phrases, potentially losing credibility and followers. Instead, follow current trends and try to stay fun. This post from McDonald’s is a great example.

Celebrate things like hump day. Be relevant in your posts on holidays or during big world issues. This might seem like it won’t affect sales, but an online presence that seems real and personal is so valuable to a company – especially with younger people.

Evaluate

While Insta is more fun and exciting than a lot of other tools, it’s still very measurable and very valuable. Do it better by evaluating your efforts with Instagram analytics tools. Instagram is great for reaching younger audiences and telling your story with photos. Evaluating any social media effort is a chance to show the C-suite their money is being used well. It also gives coordinators a chance to change their efforts as needed depending on what works and what doesn’t. Evaluation helps to refine and target your audiences and determines if you are indeed reaching them. All efforts are wasteful if not evaluated frequently.

 

Social media is a wonderful branding tool when used properly. Millennials grew up with this stuff, so employ some of them to help you navigate new waters. It’s worth it. Speaking of social, you’ll want to follow IPR on Twitter and Facebook for the latest.

 

The Fine Brothers fiasco: Three lessons in crisis management

Image credit: ryanmorrisonlaw.com

By Molly Olten

Fine Brothers Entertainment, a popular YouTube channel, recently launched into crisis mode. The creators, known for popular videos such as Elders React to Dubstep and Kids React to Old Computers, announced plans to allow other video makers to “franchise” the brothers’ video formula. These plans also include trademarking the word “react.”

This is where the issues start.

The response from the YouTube community has been overwhelmingly negative. Creators feel threatened that trademarking a vague term like “react” could create numerous problems for other YouTube users and ultimately hinder creativity. Their fears were immediately confirmed as numerous videos were taken down for infringement. Ironically, several YouTubers have made their own reaction videos to the news.

So what can PR professionals learn from all of this?

The Fine Brothers are essentially dealing with a crisis. Although quick to respond, their strategy has not met the needs of the affected audience. Here are three lessons PR professionals can take away from this situation.

Listen to your audience

When their plans to trademark became public, the brothers’ substantial 13 million subscriber audience began to voice its opinions – loudly. In the early stages of the update a dialogue began between the brothers and their audience,

Image credit: newsbusters.org

Image credit: newsbusters.org

however, eventually as the situation worsened, the brothers backed out. They began deleting negative posts and questions. Bad move.

This amount of backlash deserves to be properly addressed. An audience wants more than anything to be heard. By silencing negative responses, the outrage will only grow. The conversation will be taken somewhere else – somewhere a brand cannot adequately communicate.

Clarify and then clarify some more

 Part of the problem with the Fine Brothers’ announcement was their lack of clarity. They didn’t understand the fears of the YouTube community or how this would threaten their creative freedoms. Because of this misunderstanding, the Fine Brothers employed side-stepping language and vague examples. They tried masking the intentions of their initiative. This fueled speculation by concerned audiences and left the consequences up for interpretation.

Although a company may have been planning a change for months, when the announcement is made public, the information is totally new to audiences. There will be plenty of questions, and organizations need to have answers. If they do not receive adequate responses to their questions, the audience will make its own assumptions and this can add to the problem. Clarity is key.

Be sincere

After the storm of protests just a few days after the initial announcement, the brothers uploaded an update video. Despite the fast response, the creators seemed rehearsed and not genuine. It seems that the Fine Brothers still think their audience considers them to be just a couple of guys making funny videos, but this is not the case. Their channel essentially functions as a business, and the viewers know this. Many of those who responded to the update commented on its forced nature and rehearsed appearance.

Audiences know when an explanation is coming from a place of sincerity or insincerity. An obligatory, seemingly forced “sorry” will not suffice when the audience is deeply connected to the issue.

Know your audience, respect it and own up to the mistake.

Resolution

Image credit: i.perezhilton.com

Eventually, the Fine Brothers realized the error of their ways and decided to back down from trademarks. In an effort to save their reputation, they released a statement recanting all their future plans. Despite this gesture, the brothers’ YouTube channel has suffered significant subscriber loss and serious damage to follower loyalty. Overall, this was the best and only move the brothers could make.

The bigger picture: While this crisis brings up serious questions about trademarks and fair use, PR professionals can take a few notes from the struggle. Know your audience, be clear and be genuine. This is solid advice for nearly any situation, but it’s especially important in crisis situations.

 

What are your thoughts about the recent Fine Brothers fiasco? Let us know in the comments below, and remember to follow Innovative PR on Facebook and Twitter.

New year, new brand

Image credit: acksolutions.com

Image credit: acksolutions.com

By Jenna Chwascinski

New Year, new me, right? That seems to be a favorite phrase this time of year. For some individuals this could mean the start of a new lifestyle, or maybe letting go of an old burden. But what about businesses? Maybe it’s time for a little update. New Year, new brand?

Rebranding can be a scary task, but it can be the jumpstart a brand needs to push them to continued success. Here are a few things to keep in mind while taking on the beast that is a rebrand.

Why are you rebranding?

As with any significant changes, research needs to be done before anything happens. While rebranding can lead to huge success for companies, it’s not always necessary. It goes back to the old adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” If your sales or brand awareness is lacking, it might be a good idea to check out a rebrand. Don’t do this, however, every time you see a dip. It will confuse your consumers and could leave a bad impression.

Consider involving your consumers and employees. Let your employees know what this will mean for the company and consider their input. After all, your employees are your best (or worst) advocates. It could also be beneficial to see what your consumers think. This could be as simple as polling them about new logo options. You may want to offer a contest to create a new tagline or slogan. Getting your customers involved will make them feel more like a part of the brand, and probably more likely to stick with you after the rebrand.

Can we save anything?

Absolutely. Rebranding doesn’t mean you start fresh, it simply means you’re giving your

Image credit: b2bmarketing.net

Image credit: b2bmarketing.net

company a facelift. Some of the most successful rebrands contain consistencies from before the rebrand. Look at UPS. They still offer the same reliable services as they always have, and still sport the same signature brown color people have come to know. They’ve just changed their slogan a few times to appeal to a broader range of professions.

Keep it simple.


Don’t try to do anything too outside the box. I’m not saying don’t be creative, just keep it tasteful. If you’re sticking with your old logo, try to enhance your brand image by using the same colors and fonts. If you’re creating a new logo, keep it clean and readable. Make it something that will stand out against other similar brands so that it will be remembered.

Image credit: slideshare.net

Image credit: slideshare.net

Coca Cola is a good example of this concept. The popular company has succeeded while continuing to use the same colors and fonts in its official graphics over the years.

Planning is everything.


Details, details, details. Since you’re switching things up, it’s only natural to expect some initial confusion. This will often come from your consumers not knowing what will change or what to expect from the new brand. Make sure employees are prepared to address questions they may encounter.

In the end, it’s important to keep the best interest of your company in mind. Not everyone will be a fan of the rebrand and that’s okay. Don’t be discouraged by the negative comments, and be prepared to address problems as they pop up.

Who did it right?


Old Spice. This company kept the same logo, but changed its image to appeal to younger

Image credit: eonline.com

Image credit: eonline.com

consumers. Old Spice was typically thought of as deodorant that your grandparents would wear, but now they describe their product as “scent vacations.” Plus who doesn’t want to be like Isaiah Mustafa on a horse? “Smellcome to manhood.”

 

What do you think? Are there any other successful rebrands that stick out in your mind? Comment and share your thoughts us. And don’t forget to follow Innovative PR on Facebook and Twitter.

What PR pros can learn from Thanksgiving

Image via happythanksgivingimages.us

Image via happythanksgivingimages.us

By Kristina Keeling

Halloween is over and the Christmas commercials have begun airing, but does anyone remember the holiday between Halloween and Christmas? Students refer to it as a break, and parents think of it as a family reunion, but the correct term is Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving, but hate how it often gets overshadowed and forgotten between Halloween and Christmas. Thanksgiving is about being thankful for what we have and, of course, eating what is hopefully delicious food.

There are many things that we can learn from the holiday season, including the sometimes forgotten holiday Thanksgiving. With that being said let’s shine a light on this important holiday and see what we, as future and current PR professionals, can learn from Thanksgiving.

Plan your meal

It is always a good idea to have a plan in mind with any task you might come across. One task that comes along with Thanksgiving is grocery shopping. It is always a good idea to make sure you have a list so you don’t forget anything important.  Communication is key when planning. Find out who is coming and what they are bringing, because you don’t want to end up having three bowls of sweet potatoes.

Image via lifeasmom.com

Image via lifeasmom.com

Similarly, PR professionals need to have a plan for everything. You do not want to be caught off guard when a crisis occurs. Always have a plan, and always plan for the worst case scenario.

Avoid going it alone

Taking on a big family dinner like Thanksgiving is not easy, and it is nearly impossible to do it alone. Whether you have helpers in the kitchen, or you ask people to bring a dish with them, you’re going to need extra help. And, like the first lesson states, make sure everyone knows what they are doing.

In PR, you can’t implement a big project by yourself. Whether you are planning a launch party or dealing with a crisis situation, you are going to need help executing your plan.

Don’t screw up the “bread and butter”

Sometimes we get wrapped up in wanting our dinner to be like those we see on cooking shows. It is okay to be adventurous, but we also expect the staples, such as turkey, mashed potatoes and dinner rolls to be done right every year.

Image via cdn2.hubspot.net

Image via cdn2.hubspot.net

Planning and working on campaigns can be fun, but we need to remember the basic day-to-day tasks. We don’t want to mess up the simple things, such as news releases, social media posts and the other “low-investment” tasks.

Don’t overindulge

It is easy to gorge yourself with delicious food during Thanksgiving, but we need to know our limits. The average person consumes 4,500 calories during a Thanksgiving meal, which is over twice as much as a person should consume in one day.

We need to know our limits and pace ourselves in PR. The easy way to get someone to un-follow you on social media is by bombarding them with posts and tweets. Determine a strategy with the right number of messages, and stick with it. Of course this will change depending on what is happening within your company. The same goes for media coverage. Do not send out multiple story pitches and press releases. You will exhaust your audience and your emails will begin to look like spam.

Don’t be afraid to have fun

The holidays are a time to relax and enjoy time with family. I know my family likes to play board and card games during the holidays while watching holiday movies.

This time of year allows businesses to have a little fun with their initiatives. Get in the holiday spirit and have some fun with your social media posts, news releases and story pitches.

Relationships matter

Most importantly, Thanksgiving is a time for giving thanks for what we have, but it is also about spending quality time with friends and family.

Image via toastmeetsjam.com

Image via toastmeetsjam.com

In the PR world, relationships are everything. It is how you gain business, acquire jobs, spread news and more. We all get a little busy during this time of year and it is easy to forget how important relationships are, so relax and spend some time with family this holiday season.

 

There are many other things we can learn from Thanksgiving. Are there any that you can think of? Comment and share your thoughts with us and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Social media safety: how to protect yourself and your content

social media 1

Image via socialmediatoday.com

by Briana Piercey

We live in a world that is totally saturated with social media. Being constantly connected is the new standard. If you don’t post, tweet or “snap” a video of your every move, people may just assume your life is boring. The problem is, this habit can cause people to share too much, which can have much worse consequences. Let’s just say that everything isn’t meant to be posted.

There’s an old saying: “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” When it comes to social media, though, it’s not how you post, it’s what you post. Social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are platforms where people brand themselves — whether they intend to or not. Posting without careful thought can create unnecessary risks, and although social media sites are great for sharing and connecting with others, they can also taint your professional image.

Control your content

Some people may think that if their profile pages are set to private instead of public, they’re protecting themselves. Although that’s ideally true, that’s not always the case. Despite the general privacy settings on a person’s page, the content they share is often available to “friends of friends,” which greatly increases the number of people who can see their post. Always check your privacy settings to see who exactly can view your content.

The “non-renewable” post

When on a social site, think of your control of your content as a non-renewable resource; once you’ve used it, it’s gone. When a Facebook or Twitter user hits that post/tweet button, that status leaves their control, never to be returned. Of course, you might have the option to delete specific content, which may provide a sense of authority as a social media user. However, websites often keep caches of everything people post and other users are able to take screenshots of content. By the time you delete something, it may already be too late. Once you post, you can delete but you can’t hide.

Social media safety

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Image via teamjimmyjoe.com

Along with potentially damaging your image, being careless on social media can also pose risks to your physical, financial or legal safety. Features such as location tracking or the contact information section of your profile page, for example, can reveal more than you might think. Crimes related to social media have increased at an alarming rate in recent years, so if you want to be cautious, here are a few tips for staying safe on social media:

Don’t announce your every move

“I just brushed my hair in the bathroom on 122 Lane Avenue and I’m headed to the Lennox shopping center all by my lonesome!” Okay, so this is a bit of an exaggeration, but it definitely simulates posts made by our fellow social media addicts. Publicizing your every move keeps family and friends informed of your whereabouts, but it updates potential predators as well. Play it safe and spare us the details. Simplicity is key.

Know who your friends and followers are

Contrary to what they would have you believe, not everyone on social media is your friend, and some may even have ill intentions from the moment they message you. Avoid accepting friend requests from people you don’t know and be aware of who’s following you. It might help you steer clear of hackers or other potential threats.

Avoid using profanity, images with alcohol, or other questionable content

smeblog3Regardless of what you’re told, don’t think future employers, the Greek organization you’d like to join or even potential predators won’t do their research ad check your social sites.

Here’s a good rule of thumb for knowing if something is okay to post: If you’re not sure whether or not you should post it, #DontDoIt.

 

Are you conscious of your social media content? Do you have any tips to help people stay safe on social media? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The realities of being a PR Major

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UCM PR Students

by Maria Schomer

“What do you do?” It’s usually the first question I get asked when I tell people I am a public relations major. My friends, who know little about PR, assume that I take the easiest classes and all I learn is the structure of a press release and how to manipulate the public. My family, however, believes public relations takes a lot of skill and that I know how to speak in front of a large crowd without getting nervous.

So what do public relations majors actually learn? Social media? Event planning? Sure, we cover that (among other things). But what people and other students don’t realize is the amount of time and hard work we dedicate to being a public relations major.

Thinking back to the simpler, less stressful days of my freshman year I realized how my understanding of different aspects of public relations has changed.

AP writing can consume you

When you think about public relations, do you think about writing? I didn’t. What about writing in a different way than standard English composition? I really didn’t consider that either. The Associated Press (AP) is a style of writing that is used by all public relations professionals. It’s not quite like learning another language but you do have to learn different ways to punctuate sentences, whether or not a word needs to be capitalized, correct use of titles and a whole lot more. Fortunately, we do have a reference book, or survival guide of sorts that we can use to help: the AP Style Guide.

How hard can social media be?

You use it everyday, sometimes multiple times. Social media is easy to understand, right? Take Facebook: you just log in and update people about what is happening in your life. How hard is that?

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Clip from “Parks and Recreation” — GIF found at gubulldog.wordpress.com

In reality, as public relations majors, it’s much more complex. You have to grasp the latest social media platforms and trends. You must have an understanding of where different publics generally traffic social media platforms and why. You may think that Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are what companies mostly use to share news with followers, and you’re not wrong. However, social media is much more than a weekly status update, it can help build relationships between a company and its publics. Creating a dialogue like this helps build costumer loyalty and provides valuable feedback.

To put the importance of social media into perceptive, Lucas Miller, a PR specialist at Fusion 360, believes you have to show the return-on-investment while working with social media for an industry. This is because, although social media continues to grow every day, companies are still skeptical about the effects social media can have on their publics.

It’s a networking world

Getting to know others in the public relations field can be a valuable learning experience. There is no better time to network with a professional than when you are in college. Professionals are often willing to help a college student out because they know what it’s like being a student with little to no experience. Additionally, most professionals are willing to be a contact if you ever have any questions or want them to look over your résumé.

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PR professionals weigh in at a UCM PRSSA event

But how do you network when you’re still in college? There are several options that a college student can use to network. They can join their campus chapter of Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). Also, Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is a national organization that hosts networking and workshop events for professionals and students alike. Students often don’t realize that networking can help further their career and the more they attend networking events the better their connections will be.

 

Is Public Relations the easiest major out there? No. But can it be the most rewarding? Absolutely.

We want to hear from some current and alumni public relations majors! What advice or reality would you want a new PR major to know?  Comment below and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.