Monday, January 31, 2011

Consider the weather!

"TV viewership increases when families are cooped up in their homes during storms," reported the Huffington Post's David Bauder in a recent article. "Nowhere was this more evident than during the January 10-13 storm that dumped snow across a wide swath of the country, including areas of the south that seldom see it."

In fact, according to the article, Nielsen Co. reported "that storm had a bigger effect on television ratings than any other in recent history." So much so that TV viewership exceeded that of last year
at the time by 8 percent. Furthermore, TV networks that adjusted their programming to accommodate the change in viewership saw ratings increase by as much as 60 percent.

These facts have important implications for those of us in the PR industry:
  1. This situation really drives home the point of the importance of knowing your audience. Case in point: with more school-age children home during the day, Nickelodeon "cut short its preschool programming block by two hours, replacing it with programming geared toward older children," the article reported. The network realized ratings 43 percent over last year as a result.
  2. The situation also reminds us of the importance of considering external factors when writing and sending pitches. Considering something as simple as the weather and the impact of weather on viewership can give a PR pro's pitch an edge in terms of timing and content. It can also help the PR practitioner get more mileage out of a good placement.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Twitter Wars: Going from Bad to Worse

One of the most notorious and controversial MTV reality shows, Teen Mom 2, has recently flooded all media platforms including Twitter. Twitter has become a battleground for Teem Mom 2 star Janelle Evans. Evans recently attacked fellow teen moms, Farrah Abraham and Amber Portwood, from the previous Teen Mom season. The act of waging a “Twitter War” begs the question: couldn’t Twitter be used to help these stars gain a better reputation than that portrayed by the show?

Stars such as Evans do not seem to see the potential to resurrect their image through social media. In Evans’ case, posting pictures of herself with her baby or tweeting about the progress of her child could be a better use of her time and image than bashing other cast members. Twitter is not new to Armageddon, providing a stage for battles such as Eminem vs. Nick Cannon and Lindsey Lohan vs. Dr. Phil. It seems many people in the public eye could still use a lesson in using the medium to enhance and not damage their image.

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Samantha Wanner.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

PR Trends to Look for in 2011

Public Relations and Marketing are both booming industries and will only continue to progress in 2011. Because of advancements in technology, the industries are changing. It is important to stay on top of what is up-and-coming, so here are some of the top PR trends to look for in 2011:

1. Integrated Public Relations is becoming an essential part in the world of marketing. Traditional PR and social media are coming together to capture every facet of corporate communications.
2. Being able to calculate and confirm the Return On Investment (ROI) is a vital part of PR this year. If this can be accomplished proficiently, the client’s approval will be easier to obtain.
3. Survival is in the cards for reporting on news. The Internet and television are still the top two ways to obtain the news, so don’t expect traditional media to die out completely.
4. Video is a must. Preparedness for on-air time is vital this year. With almost everything progressing in video form, this should come as no surprise.
5. WikiLeaks are something to be fearful of. There are many emerging wikis focused on corporate wrongdoings, so cautionary measures should be taken.
6. Tablets (such as iPads) are taking over social media. PR professionals need to make sure that content can be accessed anywhere and at any time as the news progresses rapidly to tablet form.
7. Firms must be able to observe, understand, and benefit from public emotion and explain this method to their clients.
8. YouTube, Hulu, VooDoo, and other similar services will continue to be popular. Young adults place most of their TV attention by picking up their laptops or iPads, so companies need to market appropriately.
9. 2011 will be the year that Internet and television integrate for good. This year, Internet TV will finally launch, so that people can communicate electronically while watching a favorite television program simultaneously.
10. Facebook may become outdated. The more complex and diverse it becomes, the more young adults are turned off by it.

Stay on top of your game by watching for these trends in the world of PR! For more information, click here.

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Kaitlin Tully.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Cryptic Clues about UCLA's Internet Celebration

Did you know that the first Internet message was sent by professor Leonard Kleinrock of the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science at UCLA 40 years ago? Many people think the Internet was created at MIT, but it was the communications team’s job at UCLA to inform you otherwise. In order to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Internet and talk about the real-world impact that some of the discoveries and research work from UCLA have, the university proposed a $100,000 budget for advertising and promotion. Instead, they got $9,500 total.

Although the creation of the Internet is obviously impressive, it is also noteworthy that the team at UCLA was able to craft and execute such a creative campaign in two months and with a budget that was slashed by 90 percent.

Below are some of the components of the campaign:
  • A countdown clock was posted on the main page of the university’s website with no description of what it was counting down to. When visitors clicked on the clock, cryptic clues would appear hinting at what was going on. When the clock hit zero, the website page began to flicker and appeared to crash to the ground with a balloon featuring the letters “LO” floating upwards, a simulation of the crash that occurred when Dr. Kleinrock attempted to type “LOGIN” in his first Internet message. A link then sent readers to an article about the anniversary.
  • Cryptic clues about the anniversary were also disseminated on Facebook with a #ucla40 tag that led people to guess what could possibly be going on. Social media was also used to promote videos of Dr. Kleinrock explaining the process of sending the first information over the Internet to UCLA’s 55,000 Facebook fans, 5,500 Twitter followers and 6,500 YouTube subscribers.
  • Traditional media was also used as a component to the plan. The UCLA team bought an ad in the school newspaper, pitched an online story in the university magazine, and bought online banner ads in the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, which led to approximately 160,000 impressions on the event website.
  • The eight-hour main event was live streamed on UCLA’s website, Ustream and Facebook accounts. More than 50,000 viewers tuned in and communicators encouraged speakers at the conference to ask their Twitter followers to send in questions to be answered live.

What would you have done with $9,500 and the task of promoting the 40th anniversary of the first Internet message? Click here to read the full article by Matt Wilson at

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Volunteering for Events

PRowl Public Relations staff members have encouraged students to volunteer. Volunteering at an organization or an agency is a great way to gain experience in public relations without having an internship. Even if you do have an internship, volunteering is a way to gain additional experience on the side.

Volunteering for events allows you to obtain experience in several hours or in a day or two. For example, I will be volunteering for the judging event for the Philadelphia ADDY Awards this Saturday. From 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., I will help the judging process run smoothly. Not only will I gain insight into how an event such as the ADDY Awards is run, but I will also have the opportunity to meet and socialize with judges and others during the day.

Here are some tips for how to find events to volunteer for.

1. Universities and departments within universities often send out volunteer opportunities to their students. I was made aware of the ADDY Awards opportunity through the School of Communications and Theater here at Temple University. Take advantage of these openings as soon as possible because students rush to volunteer for these events right away.

2. Look on the websites of professional communications organizations in Philadelphia, such as PPRA or PRSA, to find out if these organizations have events planned. Look for a contact associated with the event or even with the organization itself and send him or her an email. Inquire whether or not the organization needs assistance at the event and let the contact know you would love to help!

3. Do you have any friends or contacts that work at city-oriented organizations, such as Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PCVB) or Greater Philadelphia Marketing Tourism Corporation (GPTMC)? Organizations like these are always hosting events. Let your contacts know if they ever need help at an event that you are willing and able to do so! I was given the opportunity to volunteer at a convention for PCVB through a friend who works there.

Do you have any additional suggestions on where to find events to volunteer for? Share them with our readers!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Going Global to Help Your Job Search

As a junior in college, the majority of my friends have spent a semester or summer abroad. Although it has always been my dream to spend my time exploring new parts of the world, I believed that dedicating such a large chunk of time to travel would eventually harm my professional career. Whether it meant having to step down from a leadership position in a student organization or miss out on an internship opportunity, I continued to tell myself that my resume would be stronger because of it. Sure, if I decide to travel to England or Ireland, I could find an internship while abroad. However, with an interest in traveling to France or Italy, and not being fluent in either language, job and internship opportunities seemed scarce.

However, after talking to several friends and professionals about studying abroad, I have finally come to my senses that studying abroad is one of the best ways to build your resume and marketable skills when entering the job force! The article Maximizing Your Study Abroad Experience in the Job Search from Come Recommended did a great job at outlining basic yet necessary skills and experiences learned while abroad that didn't require an internship or a job to learn.

The article mentions these tips:
- Inform employers about how you were able to navigate your way throughout a foreign city with patience and understanding. This shows that you are able to tackle obstacles effectively with a clear mind.

-Discuss how you handled the foreign language barrier and how you were able to work with others from a different culture. This shows that you can handle diversity well in the workplace.

-Talk about how your study abroad experience allowed you to strengthen your independence, flexibility, awareness, problem-solving skills and leadership and explain specifically how this was a direct impact from your time abroad.

As stated in the article, although studying abroad is a fun experience, it can also be incredibly beneficial when it is marketed correctly during an interview. I plan on trying to study abroad this summer and I look forward to all of the invaluable experience and lessons I will learn.

What do you think about studying abroad and how it can help while job searching? Let us know!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

How Does Philly Rank in America's Favorites?

According to Travel+Leisure Magazine's "America's Favorite Cities" reader poll, Philadelphia does not seem to be one of America's favorites in many categories. The best rankings for Philly came in the categories of pizza, historical sites/monuments, and museums/galleries. The worst rankings came in the categories of cleanliness, barbeque, and relaxing retreat. A notably negative result from the survey was Philly's ranking as the third rudest city in America, following New York and Los Angeles.

A article suggests the reputation of Philly sports fans may have contributed to the city's high ranking on the rudeness scale. The tales of rowdy and highly intoxicated spectators at Philly sporting events, especially those which gained significant media coverage this past year, may have reflected poorly on the demeanor of the city as a whole.

To some, the results of this type of survey come as nothing more than entertainment. To others, such as those in the tourism and hospitality industry, these rankings may be more important. The economic structure and job market in cities such as Philadelphia thrive on tourism, so it is important to keep the visitors coming. From the PR perspective, the city may need to take the low ranking categories into consideration for making improvements and emphasize the high ranking categories to visitors.

The accuracy of this type of survey is questionable, as it is based purely on reader responses. However, the results are interesting and could be beneficial to the city's tourism and hospitality industry. What do you think about the rankings? Would any of them affect your decision about whether or not to visit a city?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Defining PR

Public Relations is a subject that interests me vastly, an industry to which I am a dedicated student, a field in which I one day hope to work.

It's also a topic that's difficult to put into words. In fact, whenever I meet someone who asks me to explain the PR industry, I find myself challenged to describe the industry concisely. PRSA has provided a simple definition of PR on its website, but even this major professional organization devotes an entire page to fully defining PR.

Ronnie Manning from the blog "Fresh As..." recently published a post sharing his peers' definitions of PR using 140 characters or less. Check out the post and see the definitions that were submitted. I really liked Jason Mudd's: "telling your story and sharing your news with internal and external audiences to build trust and ties." Laura Crovo's was also very tight.

This blog post inspired me to work on my own definition of PR. How do you define public relations?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Groupon is Not for Every New Business

One of the hardest tasks for a new business is starting a relationship with the public. How does one manage a relationship with the public if the public doesn’t know the company exists?

Recently, new businesses have been utilizing a website known as Groupon to gain public recognition.

The site features a deal a day from a new company. The idea is that the one day offer will draw customers to that new business. These deals are specified by location and are now offered in 375 American cities. Before sites like Groupon, beginning companies had to rely on advertising through newspapers and radio.

Groupon has been an extremely successful company, currently valued at $3.7 billion. The real question is: how profitable have the relationships been between the companies who offer the deals and the site’s subscribers?

The site is a great way to build an initial relationship with customers, but it’s not for every company. According to an article in The Wall Street Journal entitled “Groupon’s $6 Billion Gambler,” the average subscriber to Groupon is a woman between the ages 18-34 who makes $70,000 a year. Due to the demographic of the average subscriber, the companies that have had the most success were spas and salons. New restaurants have not had much success from the website.

According to another Wall Street Journal article entitled “Groupon Satisfaction Rate Not So Hot, Study Finds,” most of the subscribers of the site are bargain hunters. Due to this type of an audience, there is a small number of returning customers when the product goes back to full price.

Groupon has helped some companies gain an initial customer basis, but not every company benefits from the site. The important thing to remember is that a media outlet’s audience is always important. Always research the outlet before you use it for your business.

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Nick Stackhouse.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Quora: A New Social Media Platform

A recent article from discusses a new social media platform called "Quora." Quora describes itself as a “continually improving collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it.”

So what does this really mean?

According to author Matt Wilson, Quora serves as a question and answer-based platform that strives to provide accurate, focused, concise answers that have a specific audience in mind. Reaching your audience is the backbone of any PR campaign. A platform that allows users to find the exact information they are looking for instantly, without having to sift through massive pages of information, is not only convenient but is any communication professional's dream. Many professionals agree that Quora will be a beneficial tool for companies and mainstream society alike.

Mario Sundar, Social Media Manager for LinkedIn, shared some valuable insights on Quora. He said, "It's the chance to find peers and experts in your field who share a common love of topics and issues." Quora currently caters to academics and technology, but that is likely to change as they open up their platform even more, similar to when Facebook became open to the public. Sundar also said he can see companies using Quora as a corporate blog for providing their audience with insider tips about the company.

To understand what PR professionals can get out of Quora, author Matt Wilson provided some key insights from Poynter's Mallary Jean Tenore, who suggested six ways reporters should use the site. Here are her suggestions:

1.) Ask questions about local events and hotspots. For instance, asked for recommendations for the best Washington, D.C.-area pizza joint.
2.) Find story ideas and sources by following users who work in the areas you cover.
3.) Ask users what they would like to know from the people you’re going to interview.
4.) Find out whether people are interested in a topic you’re covering by asking about it or searching for it.
5.) Search for what people are saying about you and your organization.
6.) Build your reputation as an expert by answering questions and giving feedback on others’ answers.

To read more details about the Quora platform or to see the full article, please click here.

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Michele Reilley.

Friday, January 21, 2011

URL Shorteners - Tweet Savers and Now...a Threat?

Many on Twitter frequently use URL shorteners to share information and direct followers to another site in the allotted 140 characters. Some original URLs are more than 100 characters long, and we know as PR folks that you can't just throw a link on the Twittersphere without any introduction to entice people to follow-through. The words are flowing and all of the sudden you realize you're (gasp!) at -75 characters. That's when you really appreciate the "tiny" URL.

The application PRowl Public Relations (@PRowlPR) uses,, takes a long URL and converts it into 26 characters with the click of a button.

Although URL shorteners are often a Tweet saver, they should be clicked with caution. Originally, your most known threat was to only follow links from sources you trusted since the reduced URL gives no indication of where you are going. Now, you don't only have to worry about the credibility of the source (since they're the ones making the URL), you have to worry about the possibility of hackers/worms taking the actual URL shortening program hostage.

It was reported this morning that Google's URL shortener is compromising Twitter accounts and spreading links to a fake antivirus site called "Security Shield." Under no circumstance should you install this "antivirus" solution. Also, if you notice any links are posted from your account that you did not create, you are advised to change your password immediately and run an antivirus scan of your computer.

There is always going to be a new threat on the Internet, but try to be aware of tweet styles of people you follow so you can hopefully alert yourself that something seems "off" before clicking the shortened URL. And, as always, don't click on links from people who you don't trust.

Happy Tweeting to you - be careful out there!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Twitter Gets Sued

What is your first reaction to hearing the statement "Twitter gets sued?" Mine was something along the lines of, "If Twitter turns into Facebook..." and my thoughts trailed off into various options of what I would do if my favorite social media site was to turn into the controversial social media giant. Facebook is well known for users and companies rebelling against its practices. But Twitter?

I found an article on TechCrunch, ironically through Twitter, about the law suit being filed against the social media site. This is where the story gets even better. Twitter is being sued for allowing celebrities to interact online through its social media site.

Take a moment and let that sink in.

Celebrities are people too, right? Not according to VS Technologies who is suing Twitter. VS Technologies has a patent claiming ownership of "method and system for creating an interactive virtual community of famous people."

TechCrunch asks, "For real?" For real.

Read the article to gain some insight into the law suit. Do you think VS Technologies stands a chance in winning this law suit? After reading the article, I don't think so.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Increasing Your Facebook Fanbase

As a public relations student enrolled in a Social Media Management course this semester as well as the assistant firm director of an account that has created a brand new page for our client, the article 21 Creative Ways to Increase Your Facebook Fanbase from Social Media Examiner quickly grabbed my attention. Whenever creating a new Facebook page for a client, gaining followers can be incredibly difficult and frustrating. Other than generating unique content for your users, the article outlines 21 great ideas for building and maintaining a following for your brand, client or organization. Here are just a few:

1. Add the link of your fan page to your email signature. Therefore, whenever you communicate with your personal and professional contacts you are allowing everyone to directly access your page and providing them with the opportunity to share it with their own contacts.

2. Get fans to tag photos. Whenever you host an event, take several pictures and upload them to your page. Encourage your fans to tag themselves in these pictures because it will create additional (and free!) exposure to others' news feeds.

3. Make a compelling welcome video. Create a video for your page that explains a.) what your fan page is about, b.) who it's for and c.) why they should become members. This will allow you to increase your conversion rate from visitors to fans.

4. Place Facebook Ads. This is incredibly affordable and can easily boost your fan page because it is the most targeted traffic your money can buy. Additionally, Facebook displays several friends who have already liked the page, further encouraging their contacts to join.

These are only 4 tips from a list of 21 great ideas! Be sure to check out the rest of the article.

What additional tips do you have for increasing your fanbase on Facebook? Let us know!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Facebook Releases More Personal Information

Some people are skeptical of using third party applications on Facebook due to reports of Facebook granting the developers access to personal information, but others continue to use the applications freely. However, the information these applications can access may have just become a little more personal than some would like, including your home address and cell phone number.

Personally, I do not have my address and phone number listed on my Facebook page because I didn't find it necessary to share that information with all of the Facebook world. Many of my Facebook friends do have this information listed, as they may feel more comfortable than I do about sharing it with all of their Facebook friends. Sharing the information with your network of friends is one thing, but sharing it with the developers of third party applications is much different.

To be fair, Facebook does request your permission before allowing the applications to access your information. However, I have to wonder how many people will click "allow" before realizing what information they are agreeing to share. According to an article on, Facebook claims sharing the information makes it easier for users to register with other sites. In my opinion, it just seems like another way for spammers to gain access to us.

How do you feel about Facebook sharing this information?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Good luck!

Good luck on the first day of classes tomorrow from PRowl Public Relations! Here are some tips to get your semester started off right:

  1. Set goals for yourself. Setting goals helps keep me focused and helps me monitor my progress on a personal level.
  2. Make sure you keep your planner up to date. Using your planner early and often will keep you organized when the semester gets hectic.
  3. Start off with an open mind. Try to stay positive even if a class or a teacher sounds less than desirable. I am always more likely to do well if I don't go into a class with pre-set judgments.
  4. Be diligent from the beginning. Every assessment and reading assignment counts! Don't goof around in the beginning and have to play catch up at the end.
  5. Make time for yourself. Even though your schedule may get crazy during the semester, make sure to budget time to relax and take a breather. This always helps keep me energized, sane and focused.
What helps you achieve success? What tips would you add to my list?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Jets' Virtual Facebook Application

Products are not the only thing considered a brand. Companies, people and even teams are brands as well. In the next couple of weeks, millions of people will be watching NFL teams race to the Super Bowl. Conversations will revolve around the individual teams in the playoffs. Since playoffs are on everyone's mind, let us consider how professional athletic teams approach branding.

The use of social media is one modern method teams can utilize to create an image. The New York Jets have pioneered the use of social media within the NFL. With a team Twitter profile, over 20 players with a personal account, a Facebook fan page and a virtual Facebook application, the Jets are creating an image of innovators.

The virtual Facebook application, "Ultimate Fan", has allowed the New York Jets to place themselves directly in front of their viewers. The author of an article on was able to speak with Matt Higgins, the Executive Vice President of Operations for the Jets. Read the article to find out how Higgins believes the use of social media, especially the "Ultimate Fan" application has successfully connected them with fans.

What is your opinion of this virtual Facebook application? According to a Jets representative, the Jets are proud to own the "1st revenue generating Facebook application to be backed by a sports team." Should other athletic teams follow?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Creating Less Stress for the New Year

Only two weeks into the new year, many people are already faltering on their resolutions for 2011. While the lists of goals for many are long and daunting, my resolution for the new year is simple: to reduce stress and achieve balance.

For many students, this task can seem daunting with classes, work, internships and extra-curricular activities. However, there are a few tips that I have put together to spend less time stressing and more time being productive:

1. Maintain an organized planner that outlines all of the tasks that need to be accomplished. Highlight tasks that are of timely urgency in order to effectively prioritize and cross things off when they are completed to demonstrate to yourself that things are being accomplished.

2. Keep your desktop organized and clean. When everything is in its correct place and can easily be found, you are able to accomplish more tasks in a timely manner because you will spend less time looking for the materials you need. Also, when your work space is uncluttered, so is your mind, allowing you to better process things that need to be done.

3. Instead of multitasking, accomplish one thing at a time to ensure that your work is accomplished more effectively. By dedicating your focus and attention to one task at a time, the job will get done better and you will not have to waste time redoing an assignment that did not receive your full attention.

4. Don't procrastinate! Rather than approaching a project as one large, overwhelming and daunting assignment, break it up into smaller pieces to make it more manageable. Make sure you are handling your time efficiently to ensure that things are accomplished in a timely manner, allowing for less stress later on.

These are only a few tips that anyone can use for handling and reducing stress. As an up-and-coming PR professional, the more effective and efficient I become at handling stress as a student will only better prepare me for the workforce.

Do you have any additional tips to share? Let us know!

Be Careful What You Put Your Name On– 'Kardashian Kard' Controversy

The Kardashians have their image and name behind a clothing line boutique, beauty products, a book, a new jewelry line for BeBe and just recently a credit card. Branding themselves with these products has mostly improved their celebrity status. However, if you think celebrity fame and name equal instant success in all endeavors, you’re mistaken. Recently, the Kardashian sisters and their company, Dash Dolls LLC, were hit with a $75 million lawsuit over the termination of their Kardashian Kard, a pre-paid MasterCard held by Revenue Resource Group LLC who reported “being severely financially impacted” over a pulled 2-year contract, says Fresno Bee.

The lawsuit came about when the Attorney General of Connecticut opened an investigation of the Kardashian Kard for claims of possibly illegal and outrageous card fees to its users. The sisters terminated the contract for the use of their name and image on the card after being informed of this.

The Kardashians have a very loyal fan base of mostly young women, who would probably love the idea of having a Kardashian credit card. In fact, Resource Group LLC reported 140,000 hits after the card was launched in November. That said, it was a strong decision by the Kardashian sisters to terminate the card because they sacrificed a possible big business venture for the sake of their name and image.

However, the suit claims the sisters signed the agreement acknowledging the fees on the card. If that is true, it may raise some questions to their credibility as businesswomen. This situation ultimately brings up the ethical question of whether or not you should promote a product or service when you are aware of unfair terms to its consumers.

Despite the controversy, the Kardashians are still a very strong force in entertainment and have experienced no apparent change in their fan base due to this situation. Even if it was bad publicity, the Kardashian sisters and their name remain unaffected for now.

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Jessica Lopez.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Social Network

The Social Network (aka: "The Facebook Movie") has officially been released on DVD as of this Tuesday, January 11! If you haven't watched it yet, it's an absolute must-see. I saw the film on opening night in October and there was not a seat left empty. I typically avoid seeing movies in Philadelphia theatres because of all the rude chit chat, but for this movie the audience watched silently on the edge of their seats as the drama behind Facebook unfolded. Okay, I'll disclose that I may be a biased Justin Timberlake fan, so to give you a more objective opinion of its public and critical acclaim I'll take a minute to note all of the publications that have named it the "Best Picture of the Year" (To view a more complete list of all award nominations - there must be hundreds - click here):

The New York Times
New York Post
The New Yorker
Los Angeles Times
Wall Street Journal
Washington Post
LA Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
Rolling Stone
The Huffington Post
W Magazine
The Associated Press
MSN Movies
Chicago Sun-Times
Denver Post
Boston Phoenix
Cleveland Sun
The Daily Mail
The Daily Telegraph
Miami Herald
Lincoln Journal-Star
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
North County Times
Oklahoma Gazette
Omaha World Herald
Orlando Weekly
Sight & Sound
Time Out Chicago
Time Out New York
Tulsa World

....among others. The movie's official site,, is also prepped for its award season campaign, complete with wins so far, nominations, interviews with the cast, and conversations with the people behind the editing, design, sound, cinematography, effects, and music score.

Facebook has arguably been the most influential communication and social tool seen so far in our generation, and this film is predicted to go down in history. If you weren't able to catch it in theatres, now you can watch it in the comfort of your own home!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Most Amazing Press Release Ever Written

The press release is the modern foundation of media relations. It is the "go-to" tool for public relations practitioners when they pitch the media to obtain coverage. Writing press releases is a relatively standardized practice. You have the release date and press contact; the headline and the introduction paragraph written to grab the attention of the reader; a quote or two; and the boiler plate. If you use the standard format and have a newsworthy item to pitch, hopefully you will obtain coverage.

So what is the most amazing press release ever written? Read the article here that profiles the author, Mitch Delaplane, and his press release. Let us say I was caught off guard by this press release.

What was your immediate reaction? Do you think this press release will lead to "coverage?" Let PRowl know what you think!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Intangible Skills of the Successful PR Pro

We spend a lot of time in our classes learning about the tangible skills we will need as professionals. However, there are some important skills we may not learn in the classroom. An article on e-releases discusses five intangible PR skills needed by PR professionals. The five are as follows:

  1. Curiosity: PR pros who think outside the box and try new things often find great results.
  2. Storytelling Ability: PR pros must be able to identify worthy stories and captivate their audiences with them.
  3. The Gift of Gab: PR pros should be confident and precise in their speech.
  4. Personal Networking: PR pros interact with many people, and should always be professional and positive in doing so. Showing an interest in meeting and helping others will encourage others to do the same for you.
  5. Business Sense: PR pros need to understand what is best for their company or client and act on it.
Do you agree that these intangible skills are important to PR professionals? Are there any others that should have made the list?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Gary Yoshimura scholarship

Are you a determined, persistent and focused student who is dedicated to the field of public relations? Do you have a financial need? Is your GPA 3.0 or above? If so, you may qualify for PRSSA's Gary Yoshimura scholarship.

Gary Yoshimura was said to be a "consummate professional" who was fiercely dedicated to public relations and whose skills were recognized at both international agencies and at the corporate level. After his untimely death at the age of 42, this $2,400 scholarship was created in his name to keep his spirit alive.

If you are interested in applying for the scholarship, act soon because the deadline is January 31.

Be sure to check out the other scholarship opportunities available through PRSSA.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Is College the Right Time to Travel Abroad?

Each year, over 200,000 American students study abroad in foreign locations. Although most students would jump at the chance to learn in another country, there are a lot of factors that could weigh into that decision, especially when it comes to school.

As for me, I have known that I would be studying abroad since I was a kid. It’s always been a part of my “plan,” and I planned accordingly. But for so many, things in college can come up and prevent a student from going abroad. A sacrifice of extra-curricular activities, correct sequence of classes, and even social life can hold someone back from studying abroad- and that isn’t a bad thing!

The hardest factor in my decision was having to put all of my activities on hold, especially those that are helping me prepare for a future job. For public relations majors, experience is key and not having any public relations classes or involvement is a huge risk. One idea for public relations majors studying abroad is to obtain a foreign internship. By understanding a foreign company, one could come back to America with an even greater understanding of people and how the world communicates.

What are your thoughts on studying abroad in college?

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Mackenzie Krott.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Grassroots Movement at Temple?

In response to recent armed robberies around Temple University’s campus, students have created a way to voice their opinions on the subject. A Temple student created a Facebook event called “Eyes Around Temple” that is meant to help students “stand together and think of ways to protect [themselves] and fellow students.” The creation of this event makes me question how effective students’ voicing their opinion on Facebook is. More specifically, is “Eyes Around Temple” a form of grassroots public relations or is it just a group of 2,000+ students who voice their opinions but do not put them to use?

According to, the CBS interactive business network, grassroots public relations involves community level campaigning. It also “…calls for dealing with the public at large in a simple, manageable ‘close to home’ manner.” It is about identifying key communication skills and using them to start a movement for change.

In connection with the aforementioned definition of grassroots public relations, the “Eyes Around Temple” cannot be considered grassroots public relations, because the creator of the message does not seem to have made a clear plan or campaign. Students post their complaints and ideas for change, but has the creator of the original message thought of how to disseminate the messages of these students in order to create an effective campaign? I think not, so I offer some suggestions in order to create a grassroots public relations campaign:

1. Assess the need for change, and create an outline of what that change should look like

  • Do you want there to be less violence in the Temple area, more protection of the students, etc.
2. Create a list of audiences you wish to reach

3. Determine how you will reach these audiences
  • Facebook is a good place to start but try to use the messages students have posted to create an ad campaign, or to notify Temple’s administration that a number of students have voiced their concern about lack of protection on campus
4. Identify messages that will be “close to home” and will reach your community/audience
  • Specifically, Temple students are affected so how do you create a message that will get them to do something?
5. Assess your messages and the success of your campaign
  • For instance, did it reach your audience and did you help create change?
This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Kurie Fitzgerald.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Power of Student Organizations

As a member of six different student organizations, I am definitely an advocate for getting involved on campus outside of class. Student organizations are not only a way to get to know your peers with similar interests, they often provide professional development opportunities, connect you with leaders in the field you're interested in, and can be a resume booster if used in the correct way.

PRowl Public Relations just finished compiling a database of all student organizations at Temple University, complete with type of student organization, number of members, and contact information for organization leaders. Especially when targeting students in our campaigns, student organizations are a powerful way to connect with campus opinion leaders. Temple University has a total undergraduate enrollment of approximately 27,000; of those 27,000 students, more than 15,000 of them are involved in a student organization.

From doing this research personally, I can tell you that there is a student organization for almost any interest you may have. There are more than 320 political/advocacy, recreation/leisure, arts & entertainment, professional, academic department, media/publication, Greek and service organizations at Temple University to choose from. If you're a Temple student, I encourage you to go to, sign-in with your student information (your TUA and PW), and explore the different opportunities to get involved. If you're not a Temple University student, contact your Student Activities office and ask for more information about organizations at your university.

Whether you're targeting students in a campaign or are a student trying to differentiate yourself and meet your peers, student organizations should be a critical component of your professional or personal plan.

If interested in public relations, make sure to check out your university's Public Relations Student Society of America!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Successful Tips for Handling Conflict

As young adults and up-and-coming professionals, we have all been in situations, whether at work, during an internship or throughout a group project for class, that have created tension and conflict amongst your fellow colleagues and peers. Conflict is many times inevitable, however people can learn to be more effective when successfully handling it. In an article from, Susan Lankton-Rivas offers 8 tips for overcoming conflict in the workplace. Here are a few:

  • Approach conflict with an open mind. Do not attempt to prove that someone is "right" and someone is "wrong," but instead understand that people have different perceptions and point-of-views. Both parties should try to look at the situation from the other person's perspective and reach a mutual understanding of the situation.
  • Listen carefully. Rather than jump to conclusions, be an attentive listener and before responding be sure that you clearly understand everything that has just been said.
  • Be conscious of your language choices. Use "I" statements to express how you are feeling and why you are feeling that way. Avoid putting any of the blame on the other person through the use of your word choices.
  • Always be respectful of differences. You will always work with diverse personalities and people who are not always going to share the same point-of-view. Be mindful that with different religions, cultures and lifestyles working in one place, certain behaviors and actions can be viewed differently from their original intention.
Be sure to read the rest of the great tips featured in the article here!

What pieces of advice have you found most helpful when handling conflict in the workplace? Let us know!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Benefits for the Twitter Savvy Traveler

The snowstorms that accompanied the holidays this year left many travelers stranded. Many travelers tried to seek information about their flights by phone but were met with busy signals and long waits. However, some travelers found a line of communication that didn't involve those frustrations: social media.

Technologically savvy travelers used Facebook and Twitter to find information, vent about their situations and even book new flights. Some airlines, such as Delta, trained staff members to respond to their troubled travelers through social media. Many could only offer apologies, but a response nonetheless.

While airlines still recommend travelers contact them primarily by phone, this situation demonstrates yet another way social media is changing how we communicate. While non-technologically savvy travelers waited for answers by phone, their wired counterparts had the information at their fingertips.

To read more about this, check out the article from the New York Times.

Monday, January 3, 2011

2010's Biggest PR Disasters

Now that it's officially 2011, we can all look back on the best and worst of 2010. This week the Wall Street Journal published an article "Public Relations Learned the Hard Way," in which it looked at some of the biggest PR disasters of last year.

Can you name them? It is not surprising to see the BP oil spill and the Toyota automobile crisis on the list, but you may find some unexpected names on the list as well. Be sure to check it out!

What PR crises would you add to the list of 2010's PR disasters? Were you surprised to see some of the companies that made the list? What companies would you commend for their PR practices in 2010?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Creating a Job-Worthy PR Portfolio

As we say goodbye to 2010 and welcome 2011, the reality of graduation sets in for May 2011 graduates. So often we are told how important a résumé is in securing an interview, but a good portfolio can really sell a candidate to an employer. Here are a few tips from Public Relations Tactics’s “PR portfolios: Putting your best work forward in the New Year” article on how to produce an ‘A’ portfolio, that’s sure to secure you that PR job:

1. Make it pretty.
A great way to present your samples is in a three ring binder, with samples placed in a clear protective cover. Avoid fancy print and other frills; remember you want the employer to be focused on your work.

2. Stay organized.
Your portfolio should be organized so that the interviewer can easily flip through it. You may want to organize it by campaign. Including tabs or a table of contents will also make the portfolio easier to scan.

3. Variety is the spice of life.
Although you only want to include your best work in your portfolio, you should make sure you have a variety of samples. This will show your potential employer the versatility of your skills. Portfolio pieces include things such as newsletters, PSAs, product placements, case studies and press releases and the coverage they gained.

4. Show off your skills.
Not all interviewers will ask to see your portfolio, but bring it to all interviews. If the interviewer does not ask to see your portfolio, show it to them anyway. This will show initiative and further highlight why you’re the right applicant for the job. Be sure to briefly explain how each sample in your portfolio contributed to the PR campaign. Also, bring extra copies of your portfolio to leave with the interviewer, and have an electronic portfolio on hand.

For more tips on how to put together a great PR portfolio check out this YouTube video from a PR and communications recruiter.

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

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Will Social Media Jobs Always Be Around?

With more and more organizations and businesses utilizing social media tactics, the industry seems like the perfect place for the younger generation to look for employment. Even with the current state of unemployment, the demand for social media jobs continues to grow. An article from states that 59 of the Fortune 100 companies have at least one employee who works full time in social media. In 2005, there were only a few thousand social media-related job postings, as compared to today where there are more than 21,000 postings.

As a college student majoring in public relations, it is crucial to include a section for social media skills on my resume when looking for a job or internship. While this generation is more than familiar with social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter, employers are looking for a little more than having the knowledge of posting a status update.

As people have been getting hired in social media, the talent of these prospective employees has failed to keep pace. Since the corporate world has a demand for social media skills, the number of candidates that have communication and analytical training has decreased. Companies tend to use interns to experiment with the authenticity of talent concerned with social media, which could place them with the company in the future. The different levels of social media expertise include the community manager, analyst, product developer, editor and the executive. While these jobs all revolve around social media, some positions may absorb others if companies are not able to afford salaries for all of these professionals.

Even though there are skeptics of jobs in the social media industry, social media-related jobs continue to increase, and are still projected to a younger crowd. Some colleges, including Temple University, have launched social media-related classes, and some have even added social media masters degrees. The need to connect with other people will always be important for the success of any business or organization, but how long someone will be hired specifically to fulfill that need through social media is difficult to determine.

To read more from Fortune, click here.

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