Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Meg Kane from Vault Communications Speaks to Temple PRSSA

Temple PRSSA's second guest speaker of the semester was Vault Communications Senior Account Manager Meg Kane. She spoke yesterday at our weekly chapter meeting about the key to success in the public relations field. Meg graduated with a bachelor's degree in communications from La Salle University and went on to earn her master's degree at the University of Maryland at College Park specializing in crisis communication, strategic public relations and political rhetoric. Upon graduation from college Meg took a job as the sole PR person for a small all-girls school where she learned everything from writing school newsletters to graphic design. Her first job was unknowingly one long job interview for her second while Vault Communications President Maribeth Roman Schmidt recieved a steady flow of the school's many publications written by Meg. Her strong writing skills got Schmidt's attention and in 2005 Meg decided to take a job at the then fourteen-year-old agency.

After explaining her background in PR Meg took us through two very interesting case studies that she's experienced at while at Vault Communications. She spoke of the daily demand of creativity that is necessary to be successful in PR and gave an example from Airgas, an important Vault client. Before working with Vault Communications, Airgas was a three billion dollar company that was practically unknown to investors. They enlisted the Vault team to help raise awareness to investors of the solid investment opportunity that their company offered as a profitable company with an ethical CEO in a time where most big businesses were failing. After a year of relationship cultivation with Jim Cramer of CNBC's Mad Money Airgas CEO Peter McCausland was finally invited onto the show. Eight Mad Money appearances later, the Vault team decided that it was time to land more interviews on different invester based programs. This is where the team's creativity made them stand out.

As most investors know, each company that is traded on the stock exchange has a three letter abbreviation assigned only to them. For Airgas, that abbreviation is ARG. The team was planning on pitching Airgas's story again in September, and stumbled upon the silly national holiday Talk Like a Pirate Day that takes place every September 19th. Knowing this, Airgas's stock exchange abbreviation couldn't have been more perfect, ARG, as in ARGGGG matey! This connection was all that the Vault team needed to make before the ideas started flowing. They decided to make an unconvential pitch to get the attention of the national investor-based media instead of just sending another press release. Two weeks before National Talk Like a Pirate Day all of the journalists on their media list recieved gold wrapped chocolate coins like those inside a pirate's treasure chest. One week before, the same people recieved a pirates hat, still with no idea who it was from or what purpose it had. Finally, a few days before the big holiday, the journalists each recieved a pirate pinata that, when they broke it open, contained ample information about Airgas. The journalists were stunned and loved the creativity of the pitch and within a week Airgas booked eight interviews with national media!

This case study was an example of the point that Meg was driving home with her presentation yesterday: creativity and hard work are the keys to great PR. Her case study is proof that it can pay to take calculated, sometimes quirky risks in order to stand out in the sea of mundane press releases and media alerts. Research, creativity and confidence all play a role in developing these out-of-the-box ideas. Meg's story was definitely an inspiration to me and reaffirmed the reasons why I want to enter this challenging but often rewarding field.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Qdoba Day!

Today PRSSA is having a Qdoba fundraiser! All you have to do is bring the PRSSA flier into Qdoba and hand it to the cashier when making your purchase. PRSSA will get $1.50 from each entree and drink purchase made with the flier! The fundraiser is from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. today. After the PRSSA meeting today we'll all be heading to Qdoba, which is a great opportunity to get some early dinner and hang out with your fellow members!

What to do if you haven't printed a flier yet:
  • Check your e-mail! The fliers have been sent out over multiple listservs.


  • Come to the PRSSA meeting today in room 217B of the Student Center from 3:30-4:15; extra fliers may be floating around the meeting!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Hiring a Reporter?

"If your business depends on free publicity from newspapers, what do you do when the papers can no longer afford to send reporters to cover you?" asks New York Times reporter Richard Perez-Pena in an article published on Sunday.

"In professional sports," he says, "the answer, increasingly, is hire your own."

A California hockey team, The Los Angeles Kings, recently hired a reporter to compile coverage of the team for its website. Apparently, the team gave the journalist "a multiyear commitment and complete autonomy to post reporting or commentary." The reporter will travel along with the team and cover its competitions.

“'We have a passionate fan base who want instant information about our team, but there’s been declining news coverage of us,'” a spokesman for the Kings was quoted in Perez-Pena's article. At the same time, the journalist enlisted by the team said that the job change would represent a pay increase and a higher level of job security.

So, is this situation a win-win?

Or, in blurring the lines between journalism and PR, does it represent an ethical dilemma? Is there, in fact, a major difference between PR and journalism-for-hire?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Promoting an Organization on Campus

It is important for a student organization to promote itself on campus. As the Public Relations Committee Chair of Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity, this is my job for the semester. There are many possibilities to make an organization well known on campus.

One public relations tactic that is often utilized by student organizations is giving something away for free either associated with the name of your student organization or with the name of the organization printed on it. Phi Sigma Pi recently gave away free coffee in order to get the name of our organization out on campus and to attract potential members. Additionally, clothing with the name of the organization printed on it is a simple way to get an organization recognized. Even printing the website of the student organization on a pencil and handing them out for free to students is a method of getting the student organization well known on campus, and will also direct traffic to the website.

Organizing, hosting and sponsoring events on campus are other ways of promoting a student organization on a college campus. Creating an annual event that will attract a large number of students is a great way to for people to become familiar with a student organization. If the event reoccurs year after year, it has the potential to become more successful, to grow in size and to become more popular on campus. Even if the organization is not responsible for organizing an event, sponsoring or hosting an event will promote the group.

An obvious, but effective, public relations tactic to employ is placing fliers around campus. The fliers could advertise a specific event associated with the student organization or provide general information about the organization. Placing the fliers in creative places may be more effective in grabbing the attention of students, but placing fliers in noticeable locations is still useful.

These are a few ideas that will promote a student organization on campus. What are other creative ways to promote student organizations?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Dr. Seuss vs. Publicists

On Monday morning I sat in on a staff meeting, which consisted of eight account executives and one CEO. They started off by discussing interesting news and events that occurred over the weekend and then began discussing what was currently on their client’s agendas. As they went over plans to pitch the press and decided upon promotional events to lure customers in, they also stressed the need to tell their company’s story to their audiences. They discussed characters that would help their publics relate and discussed plot lines that would create an image for the brand.

Until then I never thought of publicists as storytellers. As students studying public relations we are constantly told how important our writing skills are, but we have to remember that its just as important to be able to come up with a story to write about. Robbie Vorhaus, a former CBS newsman and now owner of Robbie Vorhaus and Company, discussed the correlation between Public Relations and storytelling in an interview on the website, All About Public Relations with Steven Van Hook. He discusses the similarities and importance of storytelling in the public relations field.

He explains that storytelling, which essentially includes public relations, is focusing on one person, your client, and taking the chosen audience on that client’s - or as he calls it that hero’s - journeys. All stories have a theme; in our case it would be that our client is awesome! He then continues to explain, “if you tell the story with the same structure and elements of all great stories, your message will be heard and acted upon. And, in business, whoever tells the best story wins.”

So as we continue working with our clients at PRowl Public Relations and as we graduate and enter the work field, keep in mind all the stories you heard from over the years and remember these inspirational words from DR. Seuss himself, “And will you succeed? Yes, Indeed, yes indeed! Ninety-eight and three-quarters percent guaranteed."

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Josie Fox.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Brands: On your mark, get set, TWEET!

Brands: If you’re not on Twitter yet, you’d benefit to do so soon. Interpret, a tech and media research firm, found that Twitter users are twice as likely to engage with brands than on other social media sites.

According to the article, “... over 9,200 Internet users in August, finding that roughly 24 percent of the respondents that used Twitter, reviewed or rated products online; just 12 percent of people that used other social nets—but not Twitter—said the same. Twitter users were also more likely to visit company profiles (20 percent) than non-Twitter users (11 percent), and twice as likely to click on ads or sponsored links (20 percent vs. 9 percent).”

“The higher rates of engagement with brands could stem from a number of factors. First, people aren’t spending as much time doing activities (commenting on photos, chatting, playing games) on Twitter, so they could be more apt to click on an ad that would take them away from the site. In contrast, it’s been proven that most ads on Facebook, MySpace and other social networks, fail to garner high click-throughs or other interactions, simply because users don’t want to have their experience interrupted.”

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Set up a mock interview!

The Career Center at Temple University offers students a chance to practice and perfect their interviewing skills, through feedback from a videotaped mock interview!

You can sign up by going to the Career Center website and making an appointment.

Available days:
September 15, 16, 26
October 7, 21, 20
November 4, 12
December 4

Remember to make the best impression, dress professionally and have a copy of your resume and/or portfolio in hand.

Good luck!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

PR in the Field of Education

I came across an article today titled 'Wilson School Board Hires Public Relations Director-Fundraiser'. This headline immediately piqued my interest because I have never thought of the possibility of doing public relations work for a school district. When someone asks me what jobs I can do with my PR degree, a question that I get very often, I usually bring up the three areas where PR is usually utilized; non-profits, corporations and agencies.

As a public relations major I'm used to having to explain my future job qualifications because most people don't fully understand what a PR professional actually does. That's the point of PR, the PR person is always in the background and never seen. We have the negative stigma of being, dare I say it... 'spin doctors'. However, the majority of PR work really does focus on advocating for a group who don't know how to advocate for themselves to engage the public and receive support. In the case of the Wilson School Board, their decision to reach out to a public relations professional in an attempt to raise funds and awareness of their schools need was a brilliant idea. I am so glad to see a board of educators be able to realize the importance and effectiveness of public relations, especially in a recession.

Public relations is almost more important in tough economic times to keep an organization afloat. The Wilson School District's PR campaign will remind it's alumni how much their support is needed and will garner much more financial support for the school. In busy day to day life sometimes people need to have an issue brought to their attention in order for them to react. The Wilson School District could have the most innovative educational programs in the world, but if no one knows about it then they won't recieve any support. This is what makes public relations critical to a successful organization.

It is great to see that their are new PR opportunities being developed all the time in many different fields because PR is something that can benefit many different organizations.

Link to the original article.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Using Social Media as a Marketing Tool

My dad referred me to Tim Klabunde's blog, Cofebuz.

I have been reading the blog and really enjoy it. Recently, Tim offered four secrets to using social media as a marketing tool, and I found his ideas really insightful. Here's his list:

  1. Social media works when real value has been created – "Make certain what you write creates value for others and they will be drawn to the value you are providing," he advises.
  2. Social media works when it isn’t selfish – "Online those that are selfish generally lose and those that are selfless typically win."
  3. Social media works when you can create a “buzz” – "Viral marketing is the idea that others, even people you don’t know, will promote your idea for you because they think it deserves recognition and attention," Klabunde explains. Success in creating a "buzz," Klabunde says, will get you a huge return on your marketing dollar.
  4. Social media works when you have friends – "I have found that real success comes not when someone pushes to achieve their own dreams, but when we push together to achieve our dreams. At a minimum, we have people to enjoy the journey with and to toast when we reach the top," Klabunde explains.
Check out Cofebuz to read more about Klabunde's post on utilizing social media as a marketing tool, and for some great reading!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Never Such Thing As Too Much?

Tonight should be a busy night for President Obama. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal by Elizabeth Williamson, entitled "TV Blitz Will Test Obama's Star Power," Obama "will appear on five news programs [tonight], followed by a comedy show Monday night," as part of his mission to gain public support for his plan to overhaul the U.S. health-care system.

Writes Williamson, "the president's heavy media schedule raises questions about whether his ubiquitous presence will dilute his effectiveness as a pitchman, " pointing out that previous presidents have reserved personal appearances for large, select occasions.

Is Obama's campaign to raise awareness and support - and to boost the image of - his new health-care plan likely to strengthen or undermine his cause? That remains to be seen.

We'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter!

Have Facebook and Twitter become the new News Release?

With all the new social mediums available today, is the new way to pitch your story and be heard Facebook or Twitter? According to the book, Putting the Public Back in Public Relations, by Brian Solis and Deirdre Breakenridge, Facebook and Twitter are not replacing the press release, but they are allowing PR professionals to stand out.

This book provides an example of an individual who says that his email inbox is overflowing with information so it is hard for him to reply to every email received. However, he states that he is more inclined to reply to the messages he receives on Facebook because he enjoys using this form of communication more than email.

All in all, in a world that is constantly developing new forms of communications, as PR professional we must figure out a way to stand out to a client. Will Facebook or Twitter become the next news release? I’ll let you decide.

For now I leave you with Solis and Breakenridge’s top ten list of how to target people through Social Media, so you can discover how to make yourself stand out in this world of competition.

  1. Determine your value and the most likely markets that will benefit from your news.
  2. Humanize and personalize the story. One version no longer cuts it.
  3. Identify the people you want to reach and how they prefer to see information.
  4. Read and watch their work.
  5. Participate in their communities and use their tools of choice (but as a person first, not as a PR spammer). Don’t start pitching right out of the gate.
  6. Monitor the vibe and how people share information within their communities. Learn the dynamics and the rules of engagement. Listen. Learn. Respect.
  7. Don’t pitch. Stand out. Be compelling.
  8. Use a variety of approaches but without spamming.
  9. Don’t forget the traditional tools that work. Make sure that you cultivate relationships across the board.
  10. Repeat the previous steps as you move across the disparate groups of people you need to reach. This is how to do PR across the bell curve of customer adopting and in the Long Tail.
This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Amanda Kaster.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Creating an Inspiring and Productive Work Space

Let’s focus on a fun, frivolous luxury that we never talk about anymore—decorating. I have to admit I am addicted to furniture and decorating stores like West Elm, Crate & Barrel, and even Pottery Barn. Usually, I dream up my perfect living room, bedroom, and kitchen while looking through the catalogs or websites, but lately I’ve been mentally designing my future office space.

Thinking forward a few years, I know my office is going to be the first thing my colleagues and clients see, so it will be just another way to present myself. Unfortunately, all I have to work with now is my desk area in my bedroom, but that didn’t stop me from creating a work space that will keep me energized, entertained, and efficient—and now, I’m loving the look. Here are a few tips I picked up along the long road of organization:

  • Desk Talk

    If you’re a pack rat like me, you’ve got a lot of items in and on your desk. Make sure you look at those items with a critical eye and toss what you don’t need. In terms of papers you can’t throw out, storage boxes and magazine holders are great for keeping files, and look chic in a bookcase. Also, they come in a wide variety of colors and fabrics.

  • DIY Whenever You Can

    I am very lazy when it comes to doing things myself; I’d much rather buy whatever it is I need, but along with the rest of the country, I am no longer able to do that. It came out great anyway, and I’m proud of myself for thinking outside of the box, and you will be, too. I turned my boring pencil holder into a pretty printed one with the help of fabric and glue; I gave my scattered paper clips and pins a new home in an ice cube tray; and I gave my chair cushion a little love with a brand new cover (that I had sewn myself!). Imagine what you can do with what you have.

  • Make Your To Do’s Funky and Fabulous

    To help make your tasks seem a little more enjoyable, write in vibrant colors (and I don’t mean red), buy funky stationary and tablets, or, my personal favorite: cork boards and chalkboards. I think a chalk board is necessary to keep on hand while brainstorming, because you can then transfer your good ideas to your cork board and completely forget about the bad ones. If you want to give your cork board an updated look, you can staple fabric over the board, or buy the wild animal print boards that are popular at Target.

  • Wall Art

    Fill your work space with inspirational art, family pictures, quotes—whatever makes you feel at home! Remember, your office is your home away from home, and while work is the most important thing to be done there, you’ll want to feel comfortable.

Here are some websites, blogs, and magazines that I find useful in decorating (and entertaining!): (Magazine, Website) (Great entertaining site) (Website for all of your office needs!) (Blog about office style)

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Ashley Kraynak.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The War Merchants - Purchase Your Copy Today!

PRowl Public Relations and the Public Relations Student Society of America at Temple University have an incredible faculty advisor, Gregg Feistman. Gregg oversees both organizations, attending meetings, editing documents, helping us plan events and much, MUCH more. Most importantly, he is a mentor to many of us, including myself.

To add more onto his plate, he has just released his latest novel “The War Merchants," featuring a PR executive as the lead heroine.

Click here to read his book description and purchase a copy today!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What Would You Do?

By now, I'm sure that everyone has seen the footage of Kanye West from the VMAs on Sunday night. As soon as he got on stage and said those ridiculous things the social media world went crazy. Bloggers, Facebook users and Twitter users instantly posted about his actions. Since Sunday night he has made three apologies, the latest one last night on Jay Leno's new TV show.

Even though he has apologized, many people aren't buying it. I've read articles that say it's bad PR for him to make apologies that aren't sincere; I've read that at least he publicly recognized that what he did was wrong. Since this isn't the first time West has done something obnoxious in public, I'm having a hard time deciding for myself if I think he's being sincere.

If you were West's publicist, what would you do? Let us know!

If you still haven't seen the video of his VMA outburst, you can check it out here!

Monday, September 14, 2009


Our school prides itself on the technology it has made available to its students. A few years ago, Temple completed construction on its Tech Center, a "75,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art technology facility" that, among other things, contains over 700 computers for student-use. Correspondingly, the university has traditionally included 400 pages of "free" printing within the technology fee that each student pays as part of his/her tuition.

Because of this generous printing quota, many students have opted not to buy printers of their own and rely on the Tech Center and other computer labs on campus for their printing.

This year, however, the printing quota was lowered to 300 pages per full-time student per semester. This represents a significant reduction of 25% - 100 pages - in printing for Temple students! The university also reapportioned the printing allowance.

I can understand if budget cuts and economic strain forced the university to take this action. However, the university did not communicate the circumstances surrounding this change to the student body. In fact, the students were not notified of the change at all.

The result has been anger amongst the student body, as they are gradually finding out about the change. Students are not only angered that the change was made, but also angered that the university chose not - or didn't care enough - to inform them. Especially upsetting and confusing is the fact that students paid the normal technology fee but received less in exchange this year.

Temple could have headed this situation off at the pass by addressing it openly and clearly. Instead, it made the change behind the scenes and has generated a lot of discontent amongst students - discontent that is rapidly growing and spreading by word-of-mouth. This is a great example of the need to communicate early and often to stakeholders. Anything less can taint your image and cause frustration, anger and dissent amongst the same people you rely upon for success.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Textbook That Goes Beyond the Classroom

I was really excited when I found out that I would be required to sign up for a subscription to the Wall Street Journal for Organization and Management class this semester.

Whereas I normally rely on getting news from newspapers provided in certain areas of campus, the assignment to sign up for the Wall Street Journal will literally put the paper in my hands everyday. This will help me stay up-to-date on world affairs and current events, which is important to people in the PR industry and was also one thing I wanted to work on this year. I also feel that making myself a consistent newsreader will benefit my writing.

I have to give the Wall Street Journal a lot of credit for keeping itself relevant in today's increasingly digital world. On its front page, in the "What's News" section, the Journal offers brief excerpts of the articles it contains. This enables busy people to glimpse the news now and go back and read more in-depth information later. It also allows people to go directly to articles that catch their attention and skip over others without having to sift through the full-length articles themselves.

Another great thing is that the Journal also accommodates people who prefer electronic news by directing people to its website for additional information on articles. Additionally, subscription to the print edition entitles readers to an online account that can be completely personalized in terms of what headlines make priority, which companies are profiled in the online business section, etc. Readers can use their online profiles to sign up for newsletters and news alerts, save favorite articles and track articles by topic online as well. What's more, the Journal has reached out to students, members of a new generation who are much more inclined toward the Internet than to reading print material, by offering them a discounted rate and by integrating student-friendly features into its online accounts.

It seems as though the Journal has worked hard to ensure that its print and online editions complement each other, and I really admire its ability to change with the times. I look forward to becoming an avid reader of the Journal and will be sure to blog about information I find therein!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Twitter: a Gate Keeper to the Job Market?

We've all been told time and time again that it is imperative to be active in social media channels in order to be qualified for a position in the PR field post-graduation.

Some companies are taking this premise to the next level and emphasizing social media even further. Here is an excerpt from an article I read in the Wall Street Journal, "A New Job Just a Tweet Away":

"As online job boards have grown crowded amid the recession, many big companies, including Microsoft Corp., Verizon Communications Inc., Raytheon Corp. and Viacom Inc.'s MTV Networks, now list job openings on the Twitter micorblogging site.

For employers, Twitter - where users post updates, or "tweets," of no more than 140 characters - offers one more way to find and attract candidates, and a cheaper alternative to big online job boards. It also helps companies target social-media-savvy job hunters and convey an innovative image. For job seekers, Twitter offers the chance to interact one-on-one with companies' recruiters and can be more convenient than job boards.

Job hunters can sign up to follow a company's listings on Twitter or receive tweets about jobs through a third-party service. They usually need to click a link in the tweet to access the listing online, where they can submit their resume or application. They can also reply to the tweet with a question or comment; sometimes, employers tweet back."

The article also goes on to point out that this process makes it easier for employers to screen applications. However, recruiters also recognize that "the more popular Twitter gets, the more applicants it will likely attract."

Regardless, this new business practice speaks to the level of prominence social media has attained in our lives and has the potential to revolutionize the way we approach the job search in the near future. Italic Text Color Link Align Left Align Center Align Right Justify Full

Friday, September 11, 2009

PRowl Public Relations Featured in "Forum"

In the fall 2009 issue of “Forum,” the publication of the national Public Relations Student Society of America, our own Temple University PRSSA President, Jessica Lawlor, has her article featured about “Simple Steps to a Successful Student-Run Firm.” Written when Jessica was Director of PR for PRowl Public Relations, she is more than qualified to discuss things that make PRowl Public Relations successful, as well as challenges that we face. I’m even quoted in it, so check it out!

Click on the link below and then scroll to page 8!

Thursday, September 10, 2009


The other day I was browsing the podcasts on itunes after downloading a few episodes from a particular show for one of my classes. I found myself finding podcasts about subjects I really enjoyed and others which I felt would be really helpful. Most of the podcasts are about 5 to 15 minutes long on average. Though, itunes isn't the only place to listen to podcasts, its a good place to start. So take a look around and see what interests you.

Though there are tons of podcasts to listen to, here are some I think are not only interesting but offer great tips and useful information!

Grammar Girls offers quick tips to improve your writing.
I really like this podcast, it's one of my favorites! Listen to episode 175 The AP says I Tweet, which discusses the AP Style Manual's appropriate grammar of Twitter.

The New York Times has numerous podcast stations, check out the latest technology news with TECH TALK, or the headlines with FRONT PAGE, or the latest on BOOK REVIEWS.

Accidental Creative is one I've listend to as well, which interviews personalities and discusses practices about how to stay creative in a "create-on-demand" world.

What are your favorite podcasts about?

Even Oprah has a podcast station on itunes!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Michael Vick: A PR Nightmare

The Philadelphia sports scene has been buzzing since the announcement was made that Michael Vick, a former Atlanta Falcons player, would be a new quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles this season. Reactions to this news varied greatly among fans throughout Philadelphia. Vick, a very talented quarterback who could bring success to the Eagles, was convicted of leading a dog fighting ring and sentenced to 23 months in prison. He served only 18 of those 23 months and ended up right here in Philadelphia upon his release.

An unforgiving media has been chronicling every move that Vick has made since the weeks leading up to his Philadelphia debut, and his actions in the next few months will make or break his image to Eagles fans. Luckily for him the public can be very forgiving and can learn to look past his bad behavior, but only if he plays his cards right. Since this is Vick’s only infraction it will be easier for him to win over the public’s approval again. His performance off the field will be just as important as his performance on the field in the upcoming weeks. He must show the public that he is a changed man, apologizing for his actions and advocating for the end of animal cruelty across Philadelphia.

A luke-warm effort will not be enough to change public opinion about him. He will have to work hard attending charity events, volunteering for community service and speaking out against animal cruelty in neighborhoods across the city. As a senior public relations student at Temple it will be very interesting to see what PR tactics that Vick’s team employs in an attempt to fix his image. Over the next few months a case-study in effective or ineffective PR will emerge for students like me, and I hope for his sake, and the sake of the Eagles, that it is effective.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

PRSSA Kicks Off a New Semester

Today was our first PRSSA meeting of the fall 2009 semester. By the time I got to the meeting the room was packed with new faces, and it wasn't my eyes deceiving me. Jessica Lawlor's Twitter status confirmed the number later that afternoon: @jesslaw 80 people came to the first @templeprssa meeting!!! Awesome turnout.

While I was listening to the new executive board introduce themselves, I was reminded of a class I have this semester called Organizational Change. This year has been full of change for PRowl and PRSSA. Both organizations have leaders in different positions than last year, and some former PRowl board members have taken on new roles on PRSSA's executive board.

Although it was a strange feeling seeing everyone today in their new positions, it was also really exciting. I was happy to give my support to the new leaders of PRSSA, just like they have supported our board of directors at PRowl. By looking around at the room full of new and old PRSSA and PRowl members, I know that both organizations are going to have a successful year!

Did you miss today's PRSSA meeting? Make sure to be there next Tuesday from 3:30-4:15 in the Howard Gittis Student Center room 217B!

Have any of our readers kicked off their student organization meetings yet? Can any of our readers give us advice for our new school year?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Thanks, American Eagle!

While shopping at King of Prussia Mall with my friend this past weekend, we decided to stop in American Eagle Outfitters. As we entered the store we were handed peel-off cards that offered the chance to win prizes.

I opened my card and was shocked to win a $75 shopping spree! I couldn't believe it!

I feel that this promotion was very smart on behalf of American Eagle. My friend and I had entered the store on a whim, and the excitement generated by the peel-off cards led us to spend a lot more time - and money!- in the store than we had ever planned. I don't shop at American Eagle too often, but because I won this shopping spree I ended up looking into their products more than I would have had I not won; this promotion definitely made me step back and take a second look at a store I usually don't pay much attention to.

After I won the shopping spree, the store proceeded to offer me excellent customer service. The manager who issued me the $75 gift card was extremely friendly and all of the store's employees were eager to help me spend my new-found fortune however possible.

As a result of the promotion I won and the excellent customer service I received in the store, I feel a sense of loyalty to the store and will definitely shop at American Eagle more in the future. I have also been telling all of my friends and family about my great experience with the company, and this word-of-mouth advertising could also benefit the store.

The manager who assisted me had told me that I was the only customer in their store to win more than 10% off in their peel-off card. If you ask me, the company got a lot of mileage out of offering me a $75 shopping spree; this promotion did a lot to boost the company's image in my mind and those of my family and friends.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

"Controlled Circulation" Publications!?

I was just doing some reading for my Introduction to Public Relations class. In our textbook, the author explains that there are some 300 "'controlled circulation'" magazines disseminated in the United States today. Apparently, these magazines choose their own readers based on certain criteria.

One example the textbook gave is a magazine that is so exclusive one must "hold a Centurion card offered by American Express, by invitation only to those who spend at least $200,000 a year on their credit card." **

I never knew that these exclusive, invitation-only publications even existed! Have you heard about these publications before? Have you ever worked with or pitched one? How does one go about pitching such a publication, or even find out about its existence in order to pitch it? Are these publications usually high-end or are some geared towards other demographics?

**Citation: Seitel, Fraser. The Practice of Public Relations. 10. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson, 2007. Print. Page 188.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Powerpoint Pointers

This first week of classes was anything but "syllabus week" for me! In the majority of my five classes, we jumped right in to class material and began looking ahead to larger projects that will be coming our way as the semester progresses. Interestingly, there will be a pretty major group project in each of my classes. Not only does this mean I'm likely to have an interesting and challenging semester, it also means that I'm probably in for watching a lot of Powerpoint presentations as other groups present their work!

When they first came out, as one of my professors pointed out, Powerpoints were a great new way of structuring a lecture or presentation. Nowadays, it feels as though the program has become the go-to medium for most presentations in the classroom. This is fine when the Powerpoints are constructed and used appropriately, but I have found that many people have used them incorrectly and overwhelmingly boring presentations have resulted. A blog called The Viral Garden recently offered a list of great tips for those who are putting together Powerpoint presentations and want to use them effectively. I suggest you check out their advice if you, like me, will be putting together a lot of presentations this year! I'm sure your teachers and peers will appreciate a more engaging presentation.

Friday, September 4, 2009

PR in the Legal Field

Recently, practicing public relations in the legal field (also called “Litigation PR”) has sparked my interest. At first it just began with me reading an article in the newspaper about a law firm and thinking how great this front page coverage was for them. The focus of the article was on a law firm and their expertise handling a certain issue (in this case it was anti-bribery).

After doing some research, I learned that while the above coverage is great, one of the most important public relations strategies for law firms is to position themselves as a “thought leader” in one or more industries. The public relations practitioner should keep current on trends and stories in the media and have their attorneys available for insight on the topics in question. It’s not always about getting press on the winning case, but keeping the law firm in the news, even if it’s just a mention of the law firm’s name after the attorney’s quote.

While looking up some information about public relations in the legal field, I came across an article with these 5 tips:

Tip #1: Know your audience: It is essential that law firms identify the key spheres of referrals, relationships and prospective clients in their field of specialty. Each time the firm initiates a media outreach campaign, it should be sculpted to speak directly to one of a set of clearly-defined target client segments.

Tip #2: Intersect your firm's expertise with real pain points: Showcasing your firm's true talents and specialties entails first understanding the real pain points of your target client segment… If you are unclear as to which issues to specifically address with your target client group, ask yourself: what is an issue or cluster of related issues that are important to lives of my target client segment? How might the resolution of these issues increase their upside (e.g., income, happiness, peace of mind) or decrease their downside (e.g., expenses, stress, health problems, etc.)?

Tip #3: Understand current trends: Trend commentary is a frequently-employed method for generating visibility and increasing exposure for your firm. To generate trend commentary, PR practitioners collaborate with executives to identify key thought leadership platforms that traverse both current business trends and the law firm principals' own expertise. The platforms are then shaped to cater to the target segment and then pitched to the media.

Tip #4: Represent yourself to the media as a resource offering substantial, well-articulated insight: The final secret to success in media placements is approaching a topic with an insightful, well-articulated perspective. It is important to reach out to the right reporter(s) with relevant information… The law firm's presentation must be eloquent, refined and precise.

Tip #5: Author expert articles: Another facet of a thought-leadership campaign is the authoring of in-depth, by-lined, expert articles. These articles, often written in partnership with public relations professionals, have the power to go into specific details that highlight trends, problems and solutions. Expert articles can be developed for specific industry trade segments or for general business magazines… Articles and other literature often receive coverage in local publications such as newspapers, journals and newsletters, which in turn can create a potential gateway to national and possibly international exposure.

While it seems that many “legal marketers” and Litigation PR practitioners are trained lawyers, thankfully, it’s not required. I’m intrigued to learn more about this industry. Does anyone else have any specific industry interests they’d like to learn more about?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Check this site out!

You must check out a "Social Media Guide," filled tons of information, tips and articles about pretty much anything and everything social media. In fact, the site claims it is the "world's largest blog focused exclusively on Web 2.0 and Social Media news." It covers subjects extensively from Twitter, Facebook, the iphone, YouTube, music, politics and much more.

Besides all the great blog posts and articles, there are these great lists full of tips, pointers and more resources.

Take a look at a few highlights:
100+ More Ways to Organize Your Life
5 Habits of Successful Executives on Twitter
Top 20 Ways to Share a Great Blog Post

How to Deal with Social Networking Overload

Let us know if you find or read any other great highlights on the site!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Hola?! - Are the Hispanic Media Paying Attention?

The success of a public relations campaign directly relates to the amount of thorough preparation and research that is done when choosing the appropriate target audience to receive a client’s message. A target audience can be very broad or very precise, and categories such as age, sex, income level and cultural background all must be considered when making this decision. America’s population is constantly changing as several new cultures grow roots and meld together across the country. Public relations professionals must constantly keep abreast of this changing face of media consumers and tailor their communication strategies accordingly.

With this in mind, PR Newswire is holding a free webinar today, Wednesday, September 2, 2009, entitled “Hola?! - Are the Hispanic Media Paying Attention?” This webinar will unveil the results of a National Hispanic Media survey focused on uncovering what topics and story angles interest a Hispanic audience the most. The Hispanic audience in America has become so large that it behooves companies to sit up and take notice of this audience’s interests. In addition to this free webinar PR Newswire is also offering specific packages that are designed to reach Hispanic media. They will be offering discounts on these packages until December 31, 2009 as a way to make it easier for professional communicators to reach this special audience.

For those who aren’t familiar with PR Newswire, it is a ‘multi-channel news distribution service’ meaning that, for a fee, it will distribute a press release to a number of media outlets specifically chosen to match a predetermined target audience.

The webinar will include a panel of communication professionals and journalists such as Ketchum’s VP of Hispanic Marketing Steven Chavez. You may still register now for this free webinar by clicking the following link The webinar will begin this afternoon at 1 p.m. Eastern time.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

New Classes and New Ideas!

Today I started all of my new senior-year classes. I have two classes within my major, and three electives. One of my electives, which I'm really excited for, is an Intro to Marketing class through our advertising department here at Temple. The class was developed less than a year ago to give students who aren't business majors a chance to tackle a marketing class. When I saw this class I immediately signed up. Even though I'm a public relations major, I've already taken an advertising class and I decided it would be good for me to learn the basics of marketing!

My professor, Dana Saewitz, is a really energetic professional with loads of experience. Today we went over brand loyalties, the differences between marketing and advertising, and some of the ways marketing influences our lives. We even looked at a survey done concerning marketing salaries in major cities, and Philadelphia didn't look too bad!

Taking classes like this reminds me how much public relations relates to other professions, and how beneficial it is to us as students to become familiar with those other professions. Does anyone else have interesting classes this semester? Let us know!