Thursday, September 30, 2010

Content Curation

Public relations is not just about maintaining social media sites and obtaining coverage in the media. As you know, information is exploding in our society. It may be easier to find more information, but it may also be harder to find exactly what you are looking for. What is accurate and what isn't? Many firms and agencies are utilizing "content curation" to deal with this issue.

What is content curation? According to an article on, curation is the new creation. Curation is sifting through the countless information already available to us and providing users and audiences with what is beneficial to them. Don't know how to do this? Don't worry. has provided four tips on how to curate content.

1- Lists: Create a list of the top pieces of information regarding your topic. Are you looking for the best marketing blogs to read? Junta42 has curated the top five content marketing blogs for your convenience.

2- Microsites: A curated microsite brings information from multiple sources to one website concerning a specific topic. Read the article here for examples.

3- E-newsletter: Perhaps you are not interested in creating your own content. Curate information regarding your topic of interest into an e-newsletter available for your audiences. Choose the best of industry news each week into a comprehensive newsletter to be sent out over email.

4- Twitter feed: Select your favorite, best written, most comprehensive, etc. articles written. Tweet links to them for your follows to get the best information possible. Junta42 has created a Twitter profile in order to tweet about the best content marketing articles each day.

I realize that I have already been using curation. I reference or retweet my favorite articles on Twitter. I keep a blog where I discuss not only my personal experiences in public relations, but discuss industry news that is the most interesting to me. Have you been curating all along? What are some great examples of content curation that you have seen?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Bar Codes Now Appearing in Television Commericals

Bar codes have found a new home for themselves: television advertisements.

Now, anyone with a smartphone is able to scan these little black-and-white boxes from their TVs and pull up additional information on the product being advertised and receive immediate discount offers.

The current leader of this new trend is Bravo, whose audience is largely engaged in fashion and pop culture, making them the ideal participants for this new innovation. Online fashion retailer,, broadcasts 45-second segments that feature interviews with fashion icons, celebrities and designers. When individuals point their cellphones at the bar codes featured on the commercials, they are promptly linked to the website and offered a $30 off of $150 purchase discount.

“We see this as a great way to expand our audience in a measurable way,” said Bradford Matson, Bluefly’s chief marketing officer. “This is new for us, but we expect our page views to double.”

With more people using Smartphones, the trend of using bar codes in television advertisements is expected to quickly gain momentum and popularity. It allows consumers to shop from the comfort of their sofa without having to interrupt their TV programming.

Although is the first national retailer to use the technology, other organizations have also dabbled in the use of TV bar codes. briefly tested the technology to urge viewers to gain more access and knowledge on their local weather forecasts and HBO used the new advertisement tool to promote their upcoming season of True Blood.

I think that integrating bar codes into TV commercials is an incredibly smart move to increase promotion and publicity of an organization, product or brand. Although the technology is only in its infancy, has already noticed an increase in their sales an average of 50 percent. Television bar codes allow for a wider audience to be reached and for users to easily access additional information.

As the technology continues to develop, I believe it will prove to be an incredibly beneficial tool for companies who wish to not only increase their sales but their awareness with the public as well. I am excited to see how this new form of advertising will be utilized by different corporations.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Big 'Oops' for Pennsylvania's Homeland Security

Pennsylvania's homeland security director, James F. Powers Jr., has some apologizing to do. According to an article published on yesterday, Powers hired a Philadelphia-based terrorism intelligence firm to monitor activist groups with no history of violence, including anti-war protesters and environmentalists.

Two weeks after an uproar from activists and legislators about intelligence bulletins circulating with information about the innocent groups, Powers apologized. "I sincerely apologize to any individual or group, regardless of their views or affiliation, who felt their constitutional rights infringed upon because they were listed in the bulletin," Powers says in his testimony, a copy of which was obtained by the Inquirer.

Governor Rendell reported that he was appalled to learn about the tracking of the groups and ordered the contract to be terminated. However others, such as Jack Tomarchio, a former ranking intelligence officer at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, say Powers is not at fault and is instead the victim of a misunderstanding.

No matter who is at fault, the activist groups deserve an explanation and an apology. Although Powers apologized in his testimony, that message came after two weeks of silence and did not address the specific groups affected by the poor judgment.

An apology may not be enough to console harmless activist groups who have been tracked as if they were terrorists, but it may have been better received if it was more timely and sincere. Homeland Security seems to be the latest addition to the list of those who could use a lesson in crisis communication.

Monday, September 27, 2010


I recently caught up with Jessica, a graduate of Temple University and PRowl Public Relations. After graduating last May, Jessica started a job with Cancer Treatment Centers of America. I am so excited to see her achieving the success she deserves!

I asked Jessica if she had any advice for me as I begin my job search. "I found my job on which is basically just a listing website for job descriptions," she said in an e-mail. "I applied and got it. I knew no one there. It's not ALWAYS about networking, so don't discount jobs you think you might not get because you don't know anyone!"

I found this advice to be very interesting and insightful. While there is no doubt that networking is very important, particularly in the field of PR, I think it is important that we don't get too caught up on networking and overlook other opportunities for which we may be great candidates.

Coincidentally, a similar point was made in "Delivering Happiness," a book by Tony Hsieh that I am currently reading for work. "My advice is to stop trying to 'network' in the traditional business sense, and instead just try to build up the number and depth of your friendships, where the friendship itself is its own reward," Hsieh, founder of, says. "The more diverse your set of friendships are, the more likely you'll derive both personal and business benefits from your friendships later down the road. You won't know exactly what those benefits will be, but if your friendships are genuine, those benefits will magically appear 2-3 years later down the road," he said.

How big of a role did networking play in your job search? Do you agree that people sometimes over-emphasize networking, or do you feel that networking should be a focus during the job search?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Over the Counter Tips for Sick Brochures

No one reads brochures. However, from time to time, people might scan them. In fact, brochures spend more time at the bottom of a trashcan than in the hands of a consumer. Although brochures suffer from short (really short) life expectancies, we can rejuvenate them with a little sense of design.

Consider font.
Stay simple and clean. Legible lines will promote scanning (opposed to reading, because as I said, no one reads). Don’t get greedy– stick with two fonts, and stop there.

Give them a show.
Photographs or illustrations are standard, unless you’re promoting font. If you’re unhappy with the photographs available to you, don’t give up: change them to black and white, it’s the last ditch effort for all hopeless photography.

Lay it out.
You typically have six individual panels, but make sure they stay friends. Find a way to connect the panels through the layout of elements. Also, be kind to your crease; a brochure might look great until it’s folded.

Speaking of folds.
Don’t be afraid to think outside that tri-fold rectangle. We all know the traditional set-up and shape of brochures, but don’t limit yourself. You can have any number of panels and folds you want.

Cutting corners.
Something as simple as rounding your brochure’s corners can make it interesting. Let’s face it, we’re a little superficial and we like things to look pretty. Sometimes that sharp right-angled corner is as boring as it sounds.

Your brochure has feelings.
Ok not really, but you can make the brochure a softie if you want to. There are endless variations, textures, colors and paper stocks that won’t just make the brochure look different but feel different.

We all need a little space sometimes.
You are going to want to cram as much information as possible, because you think people are as interested as you are. But trust me, they aren’t. Edit your content, and make sure the different elements have room to breathe.

Your clients are unique, be sure to make their brochures unique too.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Advice for Future PR Professionals

As a college student, I constantly think about my future. As such, I try to keep myself as up to date as possible with industry trends. Specifically, I keep on the lookout for blog posts and articles that discuss how people view public relations professionals and what our role is in the new media landscape. The question I keep in the back of my head when looking for this sort of information is: What does the ever-changing industry landscape mean for current college students as we enter the workforce?

A Mashable blog post discusses the role we may play in the public relations industry after we graduate. Mark Hopkins notes that bloggers and journalists are steering away from accepting the traditional public relations vehicles because they do not want their information “spoon fed” to them. Now, more than ever, making genuine connections plays a huge role in public relations.

So, what must we prepare ourselves for after graduation? Here is a set of guidelines for the non-traditional public relations professional:

1. Become a connector not a gatekeeper
Instead of controlling all information you give out, serve as a connector for your client as well as your media contacts. Being a connector means that you make connections that help people in ways that do not necessarily benefit your client. These connections can help you in the long run because media contacts will remember that you were a good source for information and may refer you to another media professional that can help you and your client.

2. Press releases aren’t dead
While press releases are not dead, you need to specifically target the channels that will effectively reach your publics. Yes, you are taught to do this already, but many public relations professionals are using new media as a means to reach EVERYONE and their mother. Sending press releases to thousands of media contacts without a specific target is like sending a beauty industry client’s information to a men’s lifestyle magazine- not productive.

3. Stay in contact
Remain in constant contact with the people you have formed relationships with. Correspond with them about things happening in your area of expertise over lunch or through a quick email or phone call. These conversations may have little to do with your client, but as mentioned before it is all about your connections. You never know who your contacts may be able to introduce you to.

4. Think less about the “shape” of the story
When you think less about the shape of the story, you will be able to focus more on what the public wants from your client and what journalists wants to write about versus what you think is important about your client’s product, idea, etc. Chances are, this will help your press releases become stories more frequently.

Finally, do not be afraid to get to know your contacts on a professional level. Talk to them about how they feel about trends and public relations as a profession in general. Knowing what they need or want from you will help you develop a better message. Also, continually be on the lookout for changes in the industry. Staying up to date will only help you in the long run.

Friday, September 24, 2010

All About the Blogs

Yesterday at our staff meeting, Assistant Firm Director Emily Woodward and Director of PR Michelle Voli held a blogging workshop intended to help guide staff members when writing their guest blog posts (find them here every Saturday and Sunday).

With blogging at the forefront yesterday, Faculty Advisor Gregg Feistman told me about a recent article he read by PRWeek dubbed "Study shows failures in PR, blogger relationships."

The study, conducted by Burson-Marsteller, found that a company's message is getting "lost in translation" to 76 percent of bloggers in the US. Their advice: In order to be successful when reaching out to bloggers, PR people have to be clear, transparent and forthright.

Many blogs do not have editorial oversight and can write about whatever they want, even at the PR person's expense. To reduce the chances of being humiliated, don't try to "spin" (dare I say it) anything. They will dig and find the truth. If you have a good story, tell it to them, but don't mislead and overemphasize how spectacular whatever you're promoting is. They'll see right through it.

In addition to being up front with the blogger, the same rules about doing your research apply. Know what the blogger's beat is and read previous posts before pitching to ensure your story is relevant. Warning: Bloggers often take no prisoners with their reply if they think you did not do your research on them.

Although the results aren't too reliable, URLAI is an interesting new tool that can guess the gender and age of a blogger based solely on the writing style to help you decide whether "Mr." or "Mrs." is a more appropriate greeting.

For fun I tried our blog, According to the site, we are a male blogger between 66 and 100 years old. We have an academic writing style and are happy most of the time. Good to know we have a happy yet academic tone, but no, none of our bloggers are male (yet) and we are drastically under the age of 66. Nice try though.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Twitter Analytics

There has been discussion in the communications industry about measuring the effects of social media. Does utilizing social media sites like Twitter and Facebook affect the bottom line of an organization? Multiple articles have focused on methods of measuring whether or not using social media is effective for a business.

Twitter may have an answer. An article on Mashable disclosed that Twitter will be releasing a real-time analytics function towards the end of the year. According to the article, the analytics dashboard will show which tweets are spreading and what users the organization interacts with the most.

You might expect Twitter to charge for this tool, but you would be wrong. The social media giant will not be attaching a fee for the analytics application. However, the company may decide to offer an advanced version for businesses in the future for a cost.

As an individual Twitter user and a public relations enthusiast, I am more than excited for the release of this application. I will be able to see who I interact with through the social media site. I will know who I can improve my relationship with in the future and who I network with frequently. Which of my tweets are the most read? Well, the Twitter analytics dashboard will tell me!

Read the full article here.

What are your thoughts about the release of this real-time analytics function?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bidding for a Cause with TwitChange

Have you always dreamed of how exciting it would be to have your favorite celebrity following and retweeting you on Twitter? With TwitChange, you can now make it a reality, but it will cost you a pretty penny first.

TwitChange, hosted by EBay, Inc. is a global charity where Twitter users can bid on three things: to be followed by their favorite celebrity, retweeted, or mentioned by them in a special tweet. The auction started September 15 and will end September 25 and winners can enjoy their "celebrity privileges" for three months.

All proceeds raised in the auction will provide the means to finish rebuilding the Miriam Center- a center that houses and educates Haitian children with cerebral palsy, severe autism and other severe life challenges. Even if you aren't interested in bidding on a celebrity, you are still able to make a donation to help support the cause.

To view the full list of participating celebrities, click here.

With Twitter reaching millions of world-wide users, charities such as this can be more successful and effective than ever before with the capability of reaching such a large and diverse audience.

What are your opinions of TwitChange and other organizations that utilize Twitter for their charities? Let us know!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

New Jersey School Buses May be Next Stop for Advertising

Pending its legislative fate, a bill could allow New Jersey school districts to raise money by selling advertising space on school buses.

It has been proposed that the school districts would put half of the money generated from the advertising toward transportation costs and the other half toward any other areas school district officials saw fit. This funding could help school districts restore losses incurred by aid reduction, such as cuts in staff and programs.

On the other hand, advertising on school buses directly undermines the efforts of organizations such as Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC), which strives to end the commercialization of childhood. The school boards plan to approve the age-appropriateness of the ads, but there is more to be considered than content.

One of the issues addressed by
CCFC is "Marketing without Borders," the attempts of marketers to infiltrate all aspects of children's lives with brands. Advertising on school buses would be one more way for marketers to gain access to the impressionable minds of children.

Marketers could benefit from school bus advertisements by using the opportunity to reach a demographic of children living in a specific area. Financially strapped school districts could use school bus advertisements to help revive their budgets. But how ethical is advertising on school buses?

Monday, September 20, 2010

New to Twitter: Israel

This week, the country Israel acquired the user name @israel on Twitter.

This speaks volumes for the growth of social media in general--and especially for Twitter. According to an article by Raphael Minder and Ethan Bronner in the New York Times, this move was "intended to help Israel exercise more influence over its image."

The user name was originally held by a Spanish pornographic company, but it went largely unused; "'I was getting dozens of replies every day from people who thought the account belonged to the state of Israel,'" the owner of the Spanish company said.

But now, people who follow the account are in fact following Israel the nation. "'We thought we could put it to better use,'" a spokesperson for the Israel Foreign Ministry said in the article. The sale price for the account has not been made public, but the spokesperson said that "'it was not pro bono.'"

Israel has expressed interest in using social media, and has also launched a YouTube channel.

I look forward to following Israel's tweets. Do you think Twitter is an effective tool for countries looking to improve their image?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Social Network: Zuckerberg Should Fight Fire with Fire

With the tagline “You don’t get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies,” The Social Network is sure satisfy Facebook fanatics’ desire to learn more about social media king Mark Zuckerberg, who founded the revolutionary website back in 2003. An almost faceless figure for some time, Zuckerberg has not shared much about how he created the website that forever changed the way we communicate and made him the youngest billionaire. From the trailer, it seems that the October 1 release will reveal how Zuckerberg’s desire for female attention and power led him to create the phenomena during his Harvard undergrad.

However, Zuckerberg claims the movie is simply a piece of fiction, with a quote in the August 20 edition of The New York Times reading, “Honestly, I wish that when people try to…write stuff about Facebook that they at least try to get it right,” said Zuckerberg, “The movie is fiction.”

From his summer controversy over privacy on the website to the upcoming film, Zuckerberg seems to be in need of a few lessons in using public relations to help him present an accurate image of himself and the site. Here’s an idea, Zuckerberg: Harness the power of social media and become more open with the public via your Facebook page. This may seem obvious, but Zuckerberg should open up his page to the public so they can get a better understanding of who he is as a person. Zuckerberg should let users know what is on his mind or what he is up to with clever status updates and share more information about himself in the “interests” and “about me” sections. Essentially, he should create a public image of himself that is honest, yet professional. After all, he created the website to allow users to reach out to others and ultimately get a better understanding of who people are. So doesn’t it seem logical that Zuckerberg would want to make his page more open, to humanize himself as more than a billionaire social media revolutionary?

Ultimately, good public relations is about openly presenting information to the public, so that people are not left to believe what they hear through the grapevine. It is always better for the subject to send their message directly to the public, rather than having the public speculate over what the message really is.

For those of you who just can’t wait for the October 1st release, indulge your Facebook cravings with a look at the trailer:

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Shari DaCosta.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

How to Handle Sticky PR Situations

Over the past year, we have seen multiple major corporations and pop culture icons caught in situations requiring crisis public relations. With companies such as Toyota and BP dealing with the losses of hundreds of billions of dollars, the stakes can be high when making decisions about how to handle these situations.

At the end of August, the New York Times published an article explaining what not to do when it comes to crisis communication. Below are some tips on how to successfully handle a sticky public relations situation.

-Disclose the story immediately, including the details that may be damaging.
When companies deny the situation occurred, or do not fess up to their actions, the public and media tend to make their own conclusions, thus making it harder for the company to take the blame later. The quicker you make it right, the faster it goes away. Senior Vice President of Ketchum Public Relations, James Donnelly says it best with, “Companies that typically handle crises well, you never hear about them.” If there are no damaging headlines for the press to publish, there is no bad press.

-Do not make excuses or provide misleading information.
An example of this could be seen with BP when they made the statement on how many barrels of oil were being dumped into the ocean, and it blew up in their face when scientists reported that it was nearly 5 times as much. It makes the company look even worse when it looks like they have been lying to their publics. Making the crisis seem less than it actually is can come off as insensitive and irresponsible.

-Be sincere in what you say.
BP’s CEO Tony Hayward made the public forget his whole press conference after he confessed, “There’s no one who wants this thing over more than I do, I’d like my life back.” This statement makes him seem like he is tired of dealing with the situation and doesn’t really care about the families affected by the explosion. You want to sympathize with your publics, not try to make them sympathize with you.

-Keep it simple.
Even if nothing could be done to make it better, just present the facts and deal with the impact because there is a lot to be said that could make the situation worse. Sometimes the best fix is just to take the fall and get back to business, as can be seen in the most recognized example of crisis communication with Tylenol in 1982. They promptly acknowledged the problem and pulled their product off the shelves.

Even in your personal life, it is important to take responsibility for your actions and avoid blaming it on someone else. Avoiding the situation can often lead to a damaged reputation and loss of credibility. Everyone makes mistakes, how we deal with them is what matters.

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Emily Ascani.

Friday, September 17, 2010

@PRowlPR's Twitter Initiative

Yesterday, at the PRowl Public Relations general staff meeting, we discussed ways to further develop our social media sites and better engage our "friends" and "followers."

One goal for the fall 2010-spring 2011 academic year? Get to 1,000 followers on Twitter (@PRowlPR)! And no, we're not interested in short cuts or any mass-following initiatives to anyone with a Twitter account. Hitting that milestone is not our only goal either. Most importantly, we hope to be a resource for our followers by sharing any useful information we find or create.

A few of the ideas we brainstormed at the meeting:
1. Tweet multiple times a day, instead of only one tweet about our daily blog posts
2. Retweet (RT) posts from thought leaders in the PR industry
3. Tweet and RT relevant articles that we find
4. When tweeting about our blog, @reply the author so that they can RT to their followers
5. Follow relevant marketing/communication and media Tweeters that we don't already follow
6. When we get a new follower, send a brief Direct Message to further connect

They're only a few ideas so far, but it's a start! Do you have any other helpful tips?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Restaurant Week Feeds Big Appetites on a Small Budget

Starving for some delicious fine dining but don't have the funds to feed your good taste? No need to worry- you can indulge in some of the best cuisine around Philadelphia as the Center City District kicks off its second installment of Restaurant Week presented by TD Bank.

From September 12-17 and 19-24, dozens of restaurants in the Center City area will be offering delicious 3-course lunches for $20 and 3-course dinners for only $35. Restaurants ranging from home-made Italian to authentic Asian cuisine will be serving up delicious course offerings from specialized menus created specifically for the culinary celebration.

I think that Restaurant Week is an incredible PR tool not only for the restaurants participating but for the city of Philadelphia in general. With so many college campuses based right in the city, hungry students are always looking for an affordable way to feed their appetites. Students are able to explore their options beyond fast-food chains and lunch trucks and have a great chance to explore all that the city has to offer. As a college student myself, I fully embrace Restaurant Week as an opportunity to experience some of the best food I have ever eaten while still having enough money to worry about the less delicious things in life (tuition, textbooks, rent, etc).

Restaurant Week is also an incredible PR opportunity for other aspects of Philadelphia as well. With such amazing offers, visiting tourists will have more money left over in their pockets to spend on other forms of entertainment, whether it be enjoying a concert or seeing a show at one of the local theaters. When you don't have to blow your budget on a good meal you are able to enjoy a fuller and richer experience of the city. Plus- when tourists return home, they are able to give great recommendations to friends and family members who plan to visit Philadelphia in the future.

As a self-proclaimed "foodie," I think Restaurant Week is a great way to let Philadelphia locals and visiting tourists enjoy all of the local flavors and gastronomic goodness that the city has to offer. Restaurants are able to develop a larger loyal customer base and the city is able to thrive as a cultural hot-spot.

To check out a list of participating restaurants and make online reservations, visit Open Table and read up on all of the delicious menus.

What do you think of Restaurant Week as a PR tool for Philadelphia? Most importantly, what restaurants will you be visiting?

Let us know!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Benefits of Getting Involved with PRSSA

First, I would like to welcome back all members of PRSSA and PRowl for the upcoming 2010-2011 school year at Temple University. This will be my fourth year as a member of PRSSA. That is a total of eight semesters, or 1,460 days, of watching PRSSA members come and go upon graduation. You may think, “Wow, that is a lot of time dedicated to one organization.” Yes, when I think back on my time spent in PRSSA, it is a lot of time, but I have enjoyed every minute of it. During my freshman year at Temple, I never would have thought that I would be leading PRSSA as president of the organization. I must say that it is a bit surreal still, but I have grown so much by being a part of the chapter and I feel confident to enter the working world upon graduation in May.

Some of the benefits of getting involved with PRSSA include being a member of a professional organization in your major, meeting new friends with common interests, hearing professionals from around the area speak about their experiences, and networking! Networking is a very important part of being an undergraduate student and being a member of PRSSA provides students with many networking opportunities. Through PRSSA, members can hear about internship and job opportunities through our listserv, from professionals, and even from other PRSSA members.

The PRSSA committees also allow members to express ideas and plan events for the chapter. This idea was developed in the Spring 2009 semester and our four committees are now growing and adapting to the ideas of our members. Members can choose between the Newsletter, PR, Fundraising, or Community Service committees. All of the committees allow members to gain hands on experience and become involved in our chapter.

I am excited for the upcoming school year with PRSSA. We are having our first guest speaker, LeeAnn Augustine, coming in today to speak about non-profit PR. Our first bake sale is Wednesday and our first community service event is at the ING Rock `N Roll Half Marathon on Sunday, September 19. I encourage students of any major to come and check out PRSSA. We are always growing and ready for more ideas from our members. I look forward to meeting everyone throughout the year.

This guest blog was written by PRSSA President Jade Barnes.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Power of Coupons

I am excited that marketers seem to have discovered every college student's "secret": we're all broke! This semester, for the first time, I am excited to have been bombarded with coupons targeted specifically for college students. (which is in the process of becoming offers coupons for Temple students for places ranging from Fresh Grocer to the Pearl movie theater, to the food trucks on campus. The site allows students to select the coupons they want and will actually text the coupons to students' cell phones! Similarly, has been heavily distributing coupon books on Temple's campus with deals for local points of interest ranging from Qdoba to Hollywood tans. Aside from its physical coupon booklets, this company also offers both printable and text message coupons from its website. In addition, McDonald's employees, riding on Segways, recently distributed coupon booklets on Temple's campus, offering many "buy one get one free"coupons on a wide range of its products.

I think these coupons are brilliant marketing because they target a population that is both on a tight budget but also one that historically has a higher percentage of disposable income than other segments of the population. They present a win-win situation: students save money on things they want and need, while participating companies benefit from student business being funneled their way.

Honestly, at this phase of my life, if you offer me the chance to save money, then you are much more likely to get my business than your competitors--even if I may prefer your competitors to you; if you help me out, I will help you out by patronizing your business. In this way, I also see these coupon-based promotions as good PR.

I have already used more than 10 of the coupons I have received as part of these marketing initiatives, and I look forward to taking advantage of more of these deals in the future.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

What Do Changing Demographics Mean for Marketers?

A key component in public relations is understanding your client and their audience and knowing how to create and manage communication between them. The 2010 census reveals a significant increase of the Hispanic population in the United States. With Hispanic Heritage Month approaching, author Greg Beaubien highlights the impact the growing Hispanic population will have for marketers.

Beaubien identifies the following statistics:
"The 1990 census revealed that African Americans were the largest majority, making up 12 percent (29 million people) of the population. Meanwhile Hispanics made up only 9 percent of the population (22 million people). But by the end of 2010 there will be 30 percent more Hispanics than African-Americans living in this country — a total of 50 million Hispanics and 38 million African American, according to projections.
And, adding significance for marketers, studies show that 62 percent of Hispanics are under the age of 34."

This information is crucial in understanding who is making up American households in 2010, a significant factor for marketers and public relations practitioners when communicating with their clients' audiences. Public relations practitioners should be mindful of the changing demographics and shape their message to communicate with the growing Hispanic population. According to household designer and author Issac Mizrahi, "Experimentation, pilots, and control programs are the best options for marketers." Mizrahi also says to account for multi-generational households when targeting the Hispanic market.

The numbers indicate that America is changing, so it is likely that we will begin seeing companies accounting for the growing Hispanic demographic through changes in the way they communicate with the public. To learn more about this topic or to see the original article please click here.

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Glowing Review of PR and Some Fabulous Firms

The New York Times recently published an article that caught my attention, and might have caught yours as well: "Growing Appreciation for P.R. on Madison Avenue." Finally! In the article, author Stuart Elliott details the recent acquisitions by MDC Partners, a self-proclaimed "progressive marketing and communications network." It may be self-proclaimed, but after doing some reseach, they can proudly use "progressive" as a descriptor. To start, check out MDC's website,

Many of the firms that have recently been acquired by MDC specialize in nontraditional public relations or advertising tasks, utilizing social media, database marketing, experiential marketing and analytics, and more. It was nice to read about the growing respect for the work PR agencies do and their ability to "amplify a brand's message." Miles S. Nadal, chairman and chief executive at MDC is quoted as saying PR agencies excel in "understanding the changing dynamics of the marketing place." No more "spin" and "flack" references please.

Although I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the impact and importance of PR, I was a little caught up googling every firm name that was dropped in the article. Maybe you will be too! Here is a short list of firms owned by MDC and referenced in the article (to view the full list visit MDC's website):

Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal & Partners:
Crispin Porter & Bogusky:
Kwittken & Company:
Allison & Partners:
Sloane & Company:


Thursday, September 9, 2010

PRSSA National Conference

PRowl Public Relations is housed under the PRSSA chapter here at Temple University. Our firm often works with PRSSA to host events, fund raise and promote both organizations. Each staff member at PRowl Public Relations is involved in Temple's PRSSA chapter.

Due to our involvement with our parent organization, our members are offered opportunities through PRSSA and PRSA. One of these opportunities is the National Conference. A few staff members from PRowl Public Relations and members from PRSSA will be attending the conference this year. We want to encourage members of both organizations to attend conference this year!

The PRSSA National Conference will be held in Washington, D.C. this year from October 15 to 19. It offers multiple opportunities to learn from PR legends and well-known practitioners in multiple fields of communications. In addition to learning from these professionals, you will have the opportunity to network and socialize with your peers. For the conference itinerary, visit the PRSSA national website.

The cost of registration for the entire conference is $295 for PRSSA members. However, for those poor college students out there, there are other options. Students can attend one day of events for a reduced cost. There are also other cheap options for transportation and hotels. The PRSSA website has all the answers!

The deadline for registration is this Monday, September 13th! We hope to see you in Washington, D.C.!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Buzz Surrounding Buzz Words

Buzz words- the silent killers of the press release.

Throughout my PR writing classes at Temple as well as throughout my experience with PRowl, I have been advised by everyone I know to avoid these words that instantaneously kill a press release. We have all become so acquainted with words and phrases such as "award-winning," "state-of-the-art," "premier" and "innovative" that they have lost all meaning and only serve to fill up space.

To drive the point home, Adam Sherk and Mark McClennan have compiled a myriad of lists and tools to point out the terms that are today's biggest offenders.

Sherk's list consists of the 100 most over-used terms from archived press releases on PRWeb; the top five terms being 'leader' with 161,000 mentions, 'leading' with 44,900 mentions, 'best' with 43,000 mentions, 'top' with 32,500 mentions and lastly, the too-familiar 'unique' with 30,400 mentions.

To better display the shameful overuse of such terms, McClennan has compiled a Buzz Word Bingo sheet. Click here to check it out and "play." Hopefully- this will be one game that you do not win!

What buzz words annoy you the most? What buzz words are you most guilty of using?

Let us know!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Social Media May be Partially Responsible for Box Office Failures

I was reading an article from the Philadelphia Inquirer about the lack of ticket sales this summer when I came across an interesting theory for the drop in sales. The article cited several of the common reasons thrown around by Hollywood analysts, most of which I had heard before. However, there was one on the list that I hadn't thought about before: social media.

How would social media account for a drop in ticket sales, you ask? Think about how many people tweet and post Facebook statuses after they see a movie. Word of mouth has always been a major player in the successes and failures of movies on the big screen, but social media takes word of mouth to a new level. Not only does word of mouth travel faster by social media, but there is a lot more of it. People are hearing reviews of movies from people who they might not usually talk to or discuss movies with. Of course movie critics always have their negative words about movies, but movie critics are not the people we know and relate to. If I'm seeing Facebook statuses from people that have similar interests to myself complaining about how terrible a movie was, I'm more likely to hold on to my 10 dollars and wait until it comes out on DVD.

There is no stopping negative opinions about movies from traveling across the social media world, but do you think there is any way the movie industry can counteract the damage?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Happy Labor Day!

Happy Labor Day from PRowl Public Relations!

While it's important to work hard and stay focused, enjoy the day off!

Click here for a brief history of the Labor Day holiday.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Importance of Maintaining Ethics Within Public Relations

When dealing with PR, it can be tricky to balance honesty and integrity with the desire to make your client stand out. All publicists or PR firms want their clients to be perceived in the best way possible, but they must also represent their products or services accurately in order to protect their reputation in the small and talkative world of PR.

While reading PRNewsBlog, I stumbled upon an article entitled Grand Theft PR: Bogus Reviews Catches FTC Attention and Blights PR Image. While looking further into this “grand theft,” I read about a PR firm called Reverb Communication who found themselves in serious trouble with the Federal Trade Commission this August for faulty PR. According to the article, the firm had their interns go onto Apple’s iTunes and post rave reviews about a client’s video game.

While Reverb is not the first company to have done things like this in an attempt to boost their client’s sales, these types of actions put a damper on the reputation of PR firms across the board. All PR enthusiasts need to remember ethics and integrity before dealing with the resources of social media and online anonymity.

In response to this incident, the Federal Trade Commission updated an act that states if a publicist is to print information about a product or client on the internet or if they are to post a review, that they are forced to provide information and results as evidentiary support to their claim. The act had not been updated since 1980. The act also states that any tangible benefits, from salary to employment, must be disclosed if an employee is posting any comments about a particular product. The FTC is taking serious steps to make sure that PR maintains a strong ethical code.

While it might seem like the fast and easy option to try to boost a client’s credibility, please be aware that unethical actions jeopardize your own credibility and the credibility of all PR practitioners.

Friday, September 3, 2010

PRSSA: First Meeting of the Semester

Pursuing a Strategic Communication degree from Temple University? The Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) helps increase your knowledge of the PR field, gives you exclusive access to internship and job postings, allows you to network with peers and professionals, and provides opportunities to build material for your portfolio.

In addition to guest speakers, committee meetings, community service and networking events, PRSSA hosts an alumni panel every spring to help connect you with Temple grads who are stars in PR and related fields.

PRSSA of Temple University meets every Tuesday from 3:30-4:15 p.m. at the Student Center, room 200A. The first meeting of the semester is this coming Tuesday, September 7. I hope to see you there!

Learn more about PRSSA here:
On the web:
Twitter: @templeprssa
Facebook: Search "Temple University PRSSA"

Thursday, September 2, 2010

MediaSync: A Free Media Relations Tool

Ever wish you could wave a magic wand and have a lengthy list of journalists, editors and bloggers at your finger tips? Many agencies have access to expensive media mapping software such as CisionPoint to develop tailored media lists in order to pitch for clients. Luckily, those working for nonprofits and organizations that can't afford to spend thousands of dollars a month on this handy software can now turn to MediaSync.

MediaSync has the name and contact information for 511,621 media contacts and 9,603,096 articles and blogs stored in a database just a click away. The mission of the free website that describes its forte as 'media relationship management' is to aggregate contact information that is already available on the web for free. The site saves public relations and marketing professionals hours of time from being wasted on tedious internet searches.

All you need to do to access this wealth of information is sign up and receive login information. The site promises not to sell your contact information to third parties. Hopefully, MediaSync can help save you and your organization both time and money. Happy pitching!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Got the Online Spooks?

While browsing online, we have all become increasingly aware and accustomed to the personalized advertisements that line the pages of the different websites we visit. If you have announced that you are a bride-to-be, you may be bombarded with ads for engagement rings and wedding dresses. If you are a sports fan, you shouldn't be surprised to find ads for your favorite team's merchandise or links to buy tickets to the big game.

This advertising practice known as "personalized remarketing" or "retargeting" is far from being new, however it is becoming more pervasive and some may say invasive with an increased attention to what exactly consumers are perusing online.

As an online consumer, you may have already noticed the specific attention to detail that is now being presented in your online advertisements. Retailers like, and the Discovery Channel are utilizing this increased personalization in their advertising on sites such as Facebook and Myspace. While consumers browse at products online, they are now being followed by these exact products that they have viewed on previous websites, leaving many consumers with the feeling that their privacy is being invaded.

In the New York Times article, authors Miguel Helft and Tanzina Vega write that this ad technique is raising the threat of industry regulation. “Retargeting has helped turn on a light bulb for consumers,” said Jeff Chester, a privacy advocate and executive director of the Washington-based Center for Digital Democracy. “It illustrates that there is a commercial surveillance system in place online that is sweeping in scope and raises privacy and civil liberties issues, too.”

Companies such as Zappos provide a link under their advertisements where the personalized ads and the technology behind them are explained. However, many advertising and media experts believe that sharing this information will only increase the fears of those who believe they are being tracked online or worry that other parties that use the computer will see what items they have browsed.

I am personally on the list of those who feel a little spooked out by the recent increase in personalization. As an online consumer, I do not want to feel stalked or followed by a specific product that I viewed on a website. The pressure that is presented from the advertisements is similar to the pushy salesperson that will not accept no for an answer, leaving many consumers with the feeling that they are being bullied into buying. With so many consumers feeling increasingly uncomfortable, regulations for the technology may have to become mandatory in order to secure our privacy.

What do you think of the increased personalization in online advertisements? Do you feel your right to privacy is being invaded or do you think it is a clever way for companies to target their consumers?

Let us know what you think!