Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Better Safe Than Sorry

How did you keep updated about Hurricane Irene? Was it Twitter, Facebook or the good old fashion news? I know it is emphasized how much we rely on social media as a primary news source but the proof is in the pudding.

During the hurricane I personally was checking both Twitter and Facebook to keep up with my family in New Jersey and South Carolina. Additionally, I also followed FEMA in the wake of the storm where they were tweeting tips and evacuation notices such as, "#Flood #safetytip – Follow direction of local officials, & don’t walk or drive thru flooded areas. Turn around, don’t drown. #Irene".

FEMA Administrator, Craig Fugate, has his own Twitter feed, where he promoted new FEMA apps that allowed families to check off items they need for disaster preparation and to receive texts messages about preparations and nearby shelters.

If we compare the communication process of Hurricane Irene to past catastrophes, we see a significant improvement in both informing and receiving information. I believe in situations like these the news from either Facebook or Twitter is getting more and more reliable and overall faster and more direct. Additionally it’s getting more specialized. Although Twitter was blasting with #Irene, you could choose not to follow anything related to the storm. Or like I did, choose to follow updates from FEMA and local news.

However on the other side, we have complaints that the media over emphasized the storm. There are even reports of families spending all their food stamps just to stock up on non-perishables. Even though Irene was not as big as we would have expected, poorly informed citizens could have been catastrophic.

Better safe than sorry.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

How Social Media Can Help your Job Hunt

A recent article from Forbes outlines social media tips that could potentially help you in your job hunt. According to the article, two-thirds of adult internet users are taking advantage of social networking sites, which is more than double that reported using these sites in 2008. Below I have listed some of the tips the article's writer, Kerry Hannon, explains about how older adults especially can utilize these social media outlets to the best of their ability.
  • LinkedIn. With a harsh job market, LinkedIn is a great way for companies to post a job they need to fill, while acting as a landscape for you to build an active professional network. You are able to stay very close to your connections by joining groups, posting discussions or even writing updates that can get posted directly to your Twitter. You can research companies that interest you, and have the option of uploading your resume for companies to review. Another useful aspect comes when former employers can write a brief recommendation for you as a resource for potential employers.
  • Twitter. Not only can you easily create discussions with other job-hunters, but you can also research different companies and get to know them better by reading what they post. There are many accounts that deal exclusively with posting job and internship positions that you can follow to get the latest openings.
  • Virtual chats. Another way to connect with potential employers or fellow job-seekers is with virtual chats. Examples of these on Twitter are using the hashtag #jobhuntchat or #careerchat. They provide you with information about trends in employment, networking with recruiters and job openings.
  • Virtual job fairs. Just by typing this in to any search engine, you can come up with internet job fairs where major companies are in attendance. These could last a few hours, or even a month-long depending on the host. Just like the chats, they are a great way to reach out to recruiters and obtain useful career information.
  • Professional email. While it may seem simple, it will be very helpful to you if you have an email with just your first and last name. This way, in an employer's inbox they will be able to identify you quickly and clearly without having to decipher who "" is.
How do you use social media to find jobs or internships? To read the full article, click here.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Confronting Criticism

Speaking from experience, I have a hard time adhering to constructive criticism sometimes. Being a perfectionist, not to mention stubborn, it's hard to admit when I am wrong. Part of being a good leader is realizing your mistakes and taking as much as you can from constructive criticism to better yourself in the future. Below are some pointers to help you effectively take constructive criticism:

This one is my biggest challenge but the most important one. Stop making excuses or defending yourself, it doesn't matter. The whole purpose of constructive criticism is to learn from it. Even if you are feeling a little affronted, try to swallow your pride a little and remain respectful at all times.

It's okay to disagree, just as long as you do so in a professional way. If you genuinely feel that you were misjudged, responding neutrally like, "Thanks so much for the tips. I wasn't aware that I was coming across that way. From my perspective..." That way, you will be able to see another side of the issue.

Write it down
Reflect on the critiques that you receive, i.e. what you disagreed with, agreed with, what you want to take away from it to improve upon in the future, and so forth. Just be sure to keep it private, it may be detrimental for your disagreements to go viral.

While it is important to keep these tips in mind, make sure you don't take everything too seriously. Part of being an individual is taking as much as you can from what you are given and spinning it your way.

What do you think? Do you take criticism well? If so, how do you take away from it? Let us know!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Creating a Portfolio: What to include and why to include it

Recently I finished my internship with a local agency that specializes in hospitality PR. Being a smart and well-informed intern, I took the advice of Mark Ragan, CEO of He recently published an article on the best things to do before you leave your internship, which included compiling all the writing and creative materials that you created and worked on over the summer. After having done this though, I wondered, “now what?”

I knew the answer was to create a portfolio that I could use for interviews to showcase the work that I am capable of producing. But how do I go about putting something like that together? Well, after a couple of weeks of research I found the foundation of the information I needed on the PRSSA website (click here to read the rest of their recommendations). PRSSA recommends including the following in your portfolio:

  • A copy of your resume
  • Any licenses or certifications that you have acquired
  • Evidence of specific skills (e.g. public speaking, leadership, writing)
  • Work samples (e.g. class projects, items produced during internship or co-op experiences)

Additionally, Susan Balcom Walton wrote an article in January of 2008, entitled PR Portfolios: Putting your best work forward in the new year, that discusses how best to showcase the contents of your portfolio. Below are some of the highlights:

  • Present samples in their original form as often as possible. For example, if you are showing a newspaper story, a clipping of the printed publication is best, not just an electronic version. Original pieces help the reviewer better understand how the document was actually used.
  • Select your best pieces to include, not everything you’ve done. Avoid the temptation to use your lesser work as filler if the portfolio seems too lean.
  • Proofread, proofread, proofread — then ask your roommate, mom, academic adviser or lab instructor to proofread it again. And did I mention the importance of proofreading?
  • In addition to rigorous proofreading, check your tone as well. Ruthlessly review your own materials to ensure that you’ve achieved the right tone — and ask friends or teachers to help. Does the portfolio speak about your skills and not just about you? Is it confident but not arrogant? Is it an honest and reflective portrayal of what you’ve done?
  • As you create your hard copy portfolio, keep a few samples handy in neat, organized electronic form as well. You never know when a faraway recruiter or account team may be considering a candidate and may need to look at some writing samples. Have some work that you can quickly e-mail if prospective employers ask.
  • Above all, remember that this is portfolio creation — not scrapbooking. Avoid funky fonts, clever clip art and other frills.

To read Walton’s entire article click here.

These are just some of the tips that I have picked up while creating my portfolio. What tips and tricks do you have? Let us know!

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Jacob DeChant.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Networking Tips for Senior Year

If you're going into this school year as a senior, like myself, then your top priority- aside from finishing your academic career strong- is to land a job. For aspiring PR professionals, the best way to do so is through networking.

Here are a few tips from to help you get the most out of formal and informal networking opportunities this academic year:


  • Give them a compliment: At a formal networking event you can sometimes feel awkward starting a conversation with a total stranger, so an honest compliment is a good way to break the ice.
  • Go with the flow: Whether it's a formal or informal networking situation, keeping with the context of the conversation will make things run much smoother. For example, if you're at a conference you might want to ask them about what they thought of the keynote speaker or if they've attended this event in the past. Doing so will show that you are genuinely interested in getting to know them, instead of just looking for a job.
  • Find common ground: Establishing commonalities with people you meet in informal and formal networking situations is a great way to build a connection with them. If you realize that you're both interested in rock climbing, talk about that. The more you can build a connection with them, the more likely they will remember and keep in touch after initially meeting you.


  • Get Egotistical: Although you want to share your past successes and experience with the people you meet at networking events, don't do it in a boastful manner. No one will think of you as someone they'd recommend to an employer if you seem self-centered.
  • Forget to get their business card: After you've given someone your card at a networking event, don't forget to get theirs in return. Follow up with them two weeks to a month later and make reference of something interesting you two spoke about. Don't use it as a time to beg for a job, at most try to get an informational interview with them.
  • Beg for a job: Perhaps the cardinal sin of networking, aside from staying on your cell phone the entire time at a networking event, is to ask for a job. Remember the best networking is done when you make the conversation mostly about the other person. If you show a genuine interest in getting to know the person they will do the same for you. And, they will be more likely to think of you the next time they hear about a job opening.
This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Shari DaCosta

Friday, August 26, 2011

Earthquakes, Hurricanes and Twitter - Oh My!

On Tuesday afternoon, an earthquake shook the nerves of everyone on the east coast. After running out of my apartment building with my two cats thinking the problem lay solely with my building and not the rest of the coast, I jumped on Twitter to tweet about the oddity of my situation. However, to my surprise my Twitter feed was clogged with frantic, overly excited tweets full of clever hashtags about our first east coast earthquake. I then followed my stream pretty closely for the next few hours to stay up-to-date about the evacuations occurring in Center City, issues with Septa transportation and information about any damage that occurred in Virginia, my home state.

As soon as I thought my Twitter feed had returned to the pre-apocolyptic tone that I'm used to, Hurricane Irene has now become one of the top trending topics, with breaking news alerts, minute-to-minute updates on cancellations and evacuations and the constant paranoid tweets from those who are preparing for the end of the world this weekend. I can honestly say that throughout the whole mother nature fiasco, I have not turned on the news once. Instead, I have used Twitter as my sole means of staying informed about these current weather emergencies.

The American Red Cross released a press release on Wednesday and through telephone and online surveys, proved that more Americans are using social media and technology in cases of emergency (although I'm sure none of us are surprised). But still, exactly how dependent are we on social media to keep us safe and informed? The survey findings included the following:

  • Followed by television and local radio, the internet is the third most popular way for people to gather emergency information with 18 percent of both the general and the online population specifically using Facebook for that purpose
  • Nearly a fourth (24 percent) of the general population and a third (31 percent) of the online population would use social media to let loved ones know they are safe;
  • Four of five (80 percent) of the general and 69 percent of the online populations surveyed believe that national emergency response organizations should regularly monitor social media sites in order to respond promptly.
  • For those who would post a request for help through social media, 39 percent of those polled online and 35 of those polled via telephone said they would expect help to arrive in less than one hour.
This increased use in social media is causing response agencies such as the Red Cross to adjust their procedures to use social media more in order to engage with people in times of disaster in addition to including information from social networks in their response efforts. Some of these efforts include the creation of two free mobile applications, one that provides shelter locations and the "American Red Cross SOS" app that teaches first aid and CPR. Additionally, they have integrated Facebook and Twitter into the Safe and Well site that allows people to register they are safe and update social media statuses to let them know how they are doing.

These new efforts are a clear reflection on the way society prepares for and handles various emergencies , and although many still rely on more traditional news sources, social media is now at the forefront for the quickest way to disseminate important information. I will be the first to admit that at times like these with Irene approaching, the constant bombardment of tweets and status updates can get to be a little excessive. However all of the information I need to know is there and easily accessible, leaving me prepared for any situation or emergency.

To read the rest of the American Red Cross release, click here.

How do you stay informed in the case of emergencies and disasters? How do you feel about the way the dissemination of information has evolved? Let us know!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Look for PRowl at Temple Fest Today!

If you are around campus today, August 25, come check us out at Temple Fest from 1 to 5 p.m on Liacouras and Polett Walks on Temple University Main Campus.

PRowl Public Relations will be joining Temple University's Public Relations Student Society of America to host an informational stand at today's Temple Fest, an outdoor welcome festival featuring student organizations, local vendors, and university departments. Stop by our table to learn more about the personal and career development opportunities offered by PRSSA and PRowl Public Relations.

Since rain is in the forecast, Temple Fest's rain location will be in Mitton Hall.

Temple Fest is a great way to introduce yourself to PRSSA and PRowl leadership and make a great impression even before the first meeting. A short conversation today can open the door to a leadership position tomorrow. I should know, I first learned about PRSSA at Temple Fest.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

How Google+ Can Help Non-Profits

Google+ has been making a splash across social media blogs and forums since its highly anticipated arrival about a month ago and most recently, reported how Google+ can be used for non-profits. Although Google+ is not the most used out of the social media giants, its unique features allow even the smallest of non-profits to benefit.

1. Exclusive Rewards
Rewarding your top donors can be expensive and time consuming but with Google+, suggests that a non-profit could reward an outstanding donor by arranging a "Hangout" with a celebrity. 

2. Individualizing Your Circles
Google+ has a great feature of circles that can categorize a group of people. For example, a non-profit could have a donors circle and a participant circle. This allows tailored information to be shared with one group. You can even customize the information so that the information can be shared with only some of the people in the circle or both circles.

3. Co-workers Can Hangout
Hangouts and Huddles can allow your e-board to have a quickie conference or a last minute update concerning an upcoming event. You can also upload and share presentations or documents during a Hangout.

4. Volunteers Huddle Up
The Huddle feature on Google+ is similar to a chat room, which makes it perfect for volunteers of a non-profit. Huddle enables participants to share information and coordinate amongst each other. The feature also allows participants to make list and easily categorize a certain group of people working on different projects.

Part of the struggle of a non-profit is getting and staying connected with the audience, but with Google+ you can easily do just that, stay connected and informed.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Writing the Perfect Email Pitch

With hundreds of emails piling up in journalist's inboxes daily, it is necessary to have a well-crafted pitch to make sure your story stands out. Below I have outlined some things to keep in mind before you hit the send button.

  • Think of who you are pitching. While you may have a very well-written and thought out pitch, you need to make sure that you are tailoring your story so that it is relevant to the publication you are sending it to.

  • Keep your subject line short and to the point. Journalists won't take the time to read a long and rambling subject line. If you are having trouble, try writing the body of the email first and then picking key words that will get your point across.

  • When you start the body of your email, the first sentence needs to grab the reader's attention by letting them know how they will be affected by what you have to say. Expand upon your subject line to give them more detail.

  • Make it personal. Don't send out the same generic email to a ton of journalists hoping one of them will decide to write your story. You need to build relationships with these journalists and show that you want their attention specifically, not just taking a shot in the dark.

  • NEVER send attachments. This will successfully get your email put in the trash or stuck in a spam folder. Only attach files if asked.

  • Follow-up at an appropriate time. Editors have to look through their entire inbox, so if after a week or two you still haven't heard back from them, send a reminder email or phone call to pitch your story.

While pitching a story of any kind can be stressful, just remember to remain polite and professional while creating these relationships and the process will get easier every time.

What makes your email pitches successful?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Keep your Message Clear: Brainstorming the Perfect Media Statement

Right after an event occurs involving your client, the media will definitely be on your tail for a statement. A media statement is the perfect alternative to a direct response from your client, as it provides a united front and gives you the chance to ensure a clear message without any misunderstandings. Below are some tips on creating a media statement that will hold up against the media:

  • Keep it short and to the point- Doing so will give you a better chance against having your words cut off or switched around to appease their purpose.

  • Send the statement before the reporter's deadline- You want to make sure your statement is heard, because it will be in the most complimentary towards your client. Turning your statement in early will make it easier for the reporter to place your statement in a high traffic location and in its entirety. Understandably, statements that come at the end of the deadline will most likely be haphazardly placed into the article as an after thought.

  • Keep it positive- A give in, as you always want to put your client in the most positive or optimistic light as possible. Keeping it possible will also stray your client and yourself from any impending drama, fueled by the media.
The media is always looking to skewer your client, so treat your media statement as a sparring match, block as many attacks as possible.

To read more on building a great media statement, click here.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Taking Advantage of Senior Year

The summer is quickly coming to an end, and like always, that means it’s time to return to campus and start an exciting new year. For many of us, this time of year is especially thrilling because we are finally seniors! It seems like our journey to graduation has only just begun, but now there are only months left before we put on our caps and gowns and finish our degree. Although it seems that everything is finally falling into place, there is still much to be done. Come May, we will be thrown out into the real world, without another year of undergrad looming ahead, but with loans to pay off and interviews to endure. Although senior year is the time to live it up and enjoy college to the fullest, it is also time to prepare for our future and get our foot in the door.

If you haven’t had an internship yet or even thought about it, it’s time to do that immediately! Most employers will not even look at an application or offer an interview with little to no work experience. Even if the internship is not paid (which most aren’t) its time to commit a few hours of your time a week to gain some experience and have something to put on your resume. If you don’t know where to start looking for one, ask a faculty member or advisor for advice—they usually have many connections and may even be able to help you obtain a position. It would also be a good idea to sign up for Temple’s listserv because many internship opportunities are sent around weekly.

If you are interning, that’s a great start, but don’t stop there! If you have connections or know of people you would like to connect with, set up an informational interview. Taking advice from people in the PR profession is a great way to get your career started. Get to know people in the area and collect as many business cards as possible! You can never know too many people in the industry and most professionals can spare a few minutes of their day to grab a cup of coffee and point you in the right direction.

Get involved! If you are not part of any student organizations or clubs, senior year is not too late! Take advantage of all Temple has to offer and join something soon! Most clubs or organizations are a great way to network with people of your major or similar interests, and as I said before—you can never have too many connections. Plus, being part of student groups looks great on your resume and that may set you apart from many other applicants applying for the same job position come May.

Use this time to perfect your resume. Get rid of the accomplishments you had in high school and list all you’ve done in the past four years. Focus on what will set you apart from hundreds of other applicants and include your academic achievements. There are people reviewing resumes all day, and if yours doesn’t stand out dramatically, it may never get noticed.

These are just a few tips on taking advantage of your senior year. Don’t forget to have fun, but use this time wisely—May is just around the corner!

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

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Take Your Passion and Make It Happen

When you hear the word job, what do you think? There are several answers to this question, most connected to money and making a living. But what about your passion? Is that the same thing as a job? It probably should be, so that you’ll love what you do and ultimately will be better at it.

In today’s society, many people forget about their passion and solely focus on their job in order to make money. It is important to reignite your passion and to find inspiration at work that will lead to success.

In her article, “How to Find Inspiration at Work,” PRowl PR alumni Jessica Lawlor gave readers five tips on how to find or remember their inspiration at work:

1. Decorate your work space: Having a visual of places you’ve been or sayings that you like reminds you of past accomplishments while also adding some color to your space.

2. Break out the warm-fuzzies: There should be a folder in your inbox for compliments and affirmations from other colleagues, supervisors, or even friends. It’s a great way to remind you that you are good at what you do.

3. Create a killer playlist: Music is one of the best motivators out there so get together some of your favorite motivational songs for when you need a pick-me-up. My personal favorite is “A Beautiful Day” by India Aire.

4. Turn to your Social Media: Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, or Google +, many times people on your social networks provide inspirational stories or quotes that can get you motivated or remind you why you love your job.

5. Take a Walk: I know, we’re all too busy to take 15 minutes out of our day but fresh air and sunlight allow you to feel refreshed and refocused.

Similar to finding inspiration at work, it is important to reignite your fire or passion for what you do. A blog called Zenhabits listed some ways in which to ignite your passion. For me, I’ve seen a few of them like surrounding yourself with passionate people, living outside of your comfort zone, and starting a blog or journal to be successful. When you are around people who love your cause, it instantly lifts your spirits and reminds you that you are a part of something so much bigger than yourself.

Where do you draw your inspiration from? What’s your special secret for reigniting your passion? Let us know!

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Alex Crispino.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Remedies for the Common QR Code Mistakes

Times are changing and so is the way businesses are interacting with their customers. Traditional TV commercials and radio spots are still utilized by companies worldwide, however newer and more innovative mediums are growing increasingly popular. QR (Quick Response) codes, originally created in Japan to keep track of automotive parts, have become the latest trend with smartphone users and the companies that use them to promote specific products, services or events. But, with any new technology, there are several mistakes to avoid in order to ensure a successful QR code campaign for your business.

While thinking of creative ways to use QR codes in campaigns for our own clients this upcoming year, I found two articles incredibly useful that outline the do's and don'ts of QR code campaigns. Together, Mashable and MarketRumba help provide the perfect remedies for the common QR code mistakes.

Mistake 1: Sending a person to your non-mobile ready website.
More and more businesses are starting to use QR codes in their marketing campaigns. They are using the QR codes to send the customer to their websites, thinking this is a good idea. What they fail to understand is that the website may not be a mobile ready website and easily viewed on a mobile phone. The customer will be stumped and the lead will be lost.

Remedy: Matthias Galica, the CEO of ShareSquare, provides tips for marketers and brands using QR codes, and specifically emphasizes testing a barcode for functionality across a variety of devices and scanner applications before launching. It’s important, especially because the consumers that scan codes are likely tech-savvy and vocal — the kind of consumers you want on your side.

Mistake 2: Not having a clear goal for your QR code.
Any effective marketing campaign leads the potential customer to act on the promise of the marketing message. QR codes are no different. A confused person doesn’t make a decision and contributing to a muddled mind sabotages your efforts. So, what end result do you want from you QR code campaign? To give information? To promote an event? To entertain your audience? To have your customer “Like” your Facebook Fan Page? To make a sale?

Remedy: Boost sales, increase customer engagement, build brand loyalty, educate your audience. Whatever the campaign objective, be sure to define its goals before integrating a mobile barcode. Consider monitoring the campaign via a barcode management platform. Your business will be able to leverage the provider’s expertise, better assess your campaign effectiveness and evaluate its real-time success through analytics.

Mistake 3: Limiting QR codes to brochures and websites.
Once you have started using QR codes with your customers and get a positive response you can expand how and where you display your QR codes.

Remedy: Mobile barcodes should be incorporated into all digital and traditional media so the consumer has 360-degree exposure to the mobile marketing campaign. This will also ensure that consumer experience, dialogue and interactivity are at the heart of the campaign and not simply an afterthought. Print your QR code on anything printable; bags, business cards, in-store banners, etc...the applications are endless!

The read the full articles, check them out here and here.

New forms of technology are exciting and effective, but only when utilized to their fullest potential. Innovation shouldn't be used solely for innovation's sake but rather when there is a clear purpose and trends are used in a forward-thinking manner.

What tips or mistakes to avoid do you have to share? Let us know!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Big Picture: America’s Social Media Consumption

If aliens evaluated American society solely based on social media consumption, what would they conclude?

This handy infographic aptly named, “The American Identity According to Social Media,” offers insight on the conclusions that aliens-or other humans for that matter- might draw if they analyzed America’s social media consumption. Here are some of the most interesting conclusions:

· Americans are social: 47% of American adults use at least one social media website, 70% of active Facebook users in the United States log in daily and the average Facebook user has 229 friends.

· Americans love to talk about television: 77% of respondents report that they use social media to share their love of a show.

· Americans like brands: four out of 10 Americans on social media platforms follow products, services and brands.

· Americans enjoy professional networking: almost 50% of LinkedIn’s 120 million users are based in the United States.

These are just a few of the presented statistics illustrating the picture that social media and internet consumption paints of the American public. So, what would aliens conclude if they evaluated your use of social media?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Sticky Situation

Recently Hershey has asked its Facebook audience to post their best pictures of sticky hands and s'mores hoping to increase its photo album with actual people enjoying their product. While this was a great idea for Hershey, and allowing their consumers to participate, the campaign attracted the wrong type of attention. An activist company,, encouraged their followers to post pictures and leave comments concerning Hershey's chocolate harvesting help. 
In an article by, Senior Organizer Amanda Kloer states, "Child- and forced labor and human trafficking are widespread in Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana," from which Hershey imports much of its cocoa,  "Hershey and other cocoa buyers signed a protocol a decade ago that sought to halt abuses, but the results have been limited."

So how is Hershey responding? To put simply, they're not. They have made no attempts to remove the compromising photos or comments, nor have they published a press release regarding this particular attack.

We have seen other companies go through similar scrutiny and have managed to make amends with their attacker however, Hershey's do nothing strategy may not have singing campfire songs.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Public Relations vs. Journalism

Originally starting my college career as a journalism major, I have been asked countless times why I switched to public relations and how it differs from journalism. While there are similarities that require journalists and public relations professionals to coexist, there are a number of differences that need to be highlighted if a journalist was considering a switch in careers and vice versa. PRSA chair and CEO, Rosanna Fiske, has written an article explaining these differences and similarities and how it could affect professionals considering a position in the public relations field.

Below I have outlined 5 tips she gives on what to remember when working in public relations.
  • Know your audience. Your audience can be any combination of client, employer and new audiences that can change almost daily. You need to be able to change direction at a moment's notice.

  • Understand short and long-term business implications of your work. Every decision you make for your client impacts their business. Any mistake you make can cost your employer money, so think twice before making split-second decisions.

  • Know, respect and appreciate PR's ethic code. Every professional needs to uphold these standards in order to be credible.

  • Be an advocate. Promote others' work whether you are advocating on behalf of a client or employer.

  • Focus on outcomes, not outputs. PR professionals can be judged on the business value of their work, so keep in mind the business's goals to help them succeed in the long run.

To read Rosanna's entire article, click here.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Lessons from Working in Retail

This summer I worked as a Sales Associate in my local mall. I figured it'd be great experience, both as something to put on my then blank resume, and also as an opportunity to come out of my shell a little bit. All of my friends had told me that retail was the worst, because you had to deal with unhappy customers. However, its dealing with those difficult customers that has made me a better communicator, by following these tips:

  • Keep cool under pressure- When I first started working, I was terrified of working the cash register, as math has never been my strongest point, and I didn't want to make a mistake. But its when you're scrambling to make the customer happy that you make the biggest mistakes. Take your time, do it right, and the customer won't have anything to be upset about. Most importantly, don't be afraid to make a mistake. It's only a problem when you don't learn from your mistakes.

  • Never assume- Marketing in stores change constantly, making it hard to keep up with promotions. I have often lost track of them myself and am forced to ask a manager. When I later apologized for asking so many questions, my manager interjected. She told me that it was always better to ask first, rather than assume and do something the wrong way, making it harder to fix than it would have been if I had just asked for help in the first place.

  • Be positive- When you do get a difficult customer who you just can't seem to please, accept it. Don't beat yourself up for it, it wasn't your fault. Just be the best you that you can be. If your client is taking their anger out on you, smile and offer the best service you can. That way, you know that you put your best foot forward.
Have you ever worked in retail? How did you handle unhappy clients? Let us know!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

PRSA Philly hosts Twitter Chat on Crisis Communication

Have you ever browsed through your Twitter feed noticing a surge of tweets focused on one specific topic, sporting a shared hash tag? You were most likely reading the tweets of someone participating in a Twitter chat- a great tool for PR students to engage in a specific conversation with peers and professionals in their field.

The Philadelphia chapter of the Public Relations Society of America hosted its first Twitter chat last Wednesday, August 3rd, with the conversation centered on crisis communication. The chat featured insight and real-life examples from Anne Buchanan, president of Buchanan PR, as well as a number of PR practitioners from around the country. By using the hash tag #PRSAPHL, the 32 participants of the chat were able to follow and engage with each other throughout the hour-long conversation. The #PRSAPHL hash tag peaked at 250 mentions during the height of the chat, and was also a trending topic in Philadelphia.

Some ideas discussed during the chat included the development of a crisis communication plan, the importance of including the legal team in crisis management, and the roles that the press and social media play in a crisis situation. Make sure to check out the chat transcript here to see what all was discussed.

The PRSA Philly chat was my first Twitter chat, and I highly recommend that other PR students get involved! There are plenty of other PR-focused chats out there for students to get involved with, and lots of helpful tools to make these chats more manageable.

Be sure to follow the @PRSAPhilly handle on Twitter for updates about future chats!

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

Battle of the Tweets – Why Corporations Can’t Just Talk It Out

Make your way around the tech blogs and you’ll find yourself reading about a “he said, she said” Twitter war involving three of technology’s giants – Microsoft, Google and Apple. No good fight is complete without an unlikely team of rivals - Apple and Microsoft, against Google in a war of words.

The dispute started when David Drummond, Google’s Senior Vice President wrote on Google’s official blog alleging that Microsoft secured winning bids on new mobile technology patents for “anti-competitive means” and that the Justice Department would look into the matter, according to No surprise that that this was shortly after Microsoft far outbid Google for the same patents which could give the Android, one of the leading mobile operating systems in the mobile market, a run for its money.

In an effort to save face, Microsoft fired back at Google’s “unfairness” claim with a tweet from their General Counsel, Brad Smith, saying:

“Google says we bought Novell patents to keep them from Google. Really? We asked them to bid jointly with us. They said no.”

The defensive hits didn’t end there. Frank Shaw, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of corporate communications fired back by also tweeting:

“Free advice for David Drummond—next time check with Kent Walker before you blog.”

Shaw’s tweet included a link to a prior e-mail sent to Brad Smith by Kent Walker, Google's General Counsel, saying that Google did not find it necessary to bid jointly on the patents. Perhaps in a last attempt to avoid embarrassment from Microsoft’s retaliation, Drummond updated his blog post defending Google by stating that Google didn’t bid jointly on the patents because it would generate anti-competitive attacks from Microsoft and Apple partners against the Android market which shares a platform with Google.

Bravo if you’ve managed to follow this petty melo-drama without being confused. This back and forth banter over social media begs questions like “Is social media the appropriate platform to air corporate differences?” and “Why can’t these corporations just sit down and talk?" If we’ve learned anything about the role social media plays in corporate discord it’s that some things are better left unsaid or rather un-tweeted. Take for example Chrysler’s Twitter faux pas where an inappropriate word was used in a tweet referring to Detroit motorists from Chrysler’s social media team.

Corporations, celebrities, and anyone using social media should know that Twitter rivalries and tweets with TMI (too much info) never play out well. In Microsoft and Google’s case, had the dispute been discussed the old fashioned way with live one on one interaction, the temptation to be sarcastic would have been eliminated. The opportunity for an audience, that’s to Twitter derailed any opportunity for meaningful discourse as would be expected from such large corporations.

What we definitely can learn from all of this is that the use of social media to communicate between competitors can easily degenerate into a free for all, in which real progress will struggle to be met. Social media is a powerful tool for corporate communications, but it should never be used to air petty differences.

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

Saturday, August 13, 2011

“Hanging Out” or Taking Notes Online?

As a PR junkie, I was intrigued by the newest social media website Google+. I quickly got invited to join a friend’s circle and began exploring the many options that it has to offer. I was instantly drawn to the new features. I found myself fascinated that you could choose who to share your content with, I liked the convenience of my Google chrome toolbar having automated notifications without having a distracting screen up, and I began “+1”ing the posts of my networks.

One of the features I find particularly interesting is “Google Hangouts.” This is an option in which users can hang out with each other online via video chats, Youtube streaming, file sharing, webinars, plus more.

A recent New York Times article showed that Google+ has opened up a whole new form of virtual marketing and content sharing on a social media website. Using the ‘Hang Out’ feature, chef Lee Allison has created an online cooking course in which interested users can check the website for a grocery list before class and then participate in an interactive cooking lesson right from their computer. The class has become rather popular and plans to expand from a “hang out” hobby to a virtual business, turning a profit from their gnocci-making and knife sharpening tips.

Currently, Google+ Hang Outs can only host 10 people at a time. However, Google is a constantly evolving company and Google+ is only in the early stages of its development. We can be sure to expect big things from Hang Out’.

It seems as though this outlet might have opened up an online opportunity for interaction, advice, and instantaneous marketing. This may be a great way to gain client coverage and spread professional expertise while conveying personality online.

What do you think? How can publicists benefit from just “Hanging Out”? Let us know!

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Meagan Prescott.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Oops!: Social Media Mistakes by Nonprofits

Social media is an incredibly beneficial tool for nonprofits...when used correctly. With an incredible amount of channels available at your fingertips, it is important to understand how to properly use them in order to retain the highest level of ROI for your organization. As an intern for several nonprofits, I have seen organizations struggle with their social media due to several blunders and mistakes. The Nonprofit Tech 2.0 Blog outlines 10 common mistakes made by nonprofits using social does your organization measure up?

1. Using a horizontal logo for your avatar

Your nonprofit’s avatar is your visual identity on social-networking sites, and with the exception of LinkedIn Groups, all social-networking sites require a square avatar. Unfortunately, many nonprofits upload horizontal logos to serve as their avatars, resulting in the obvious cropping of the images. Would your nonprofit ever put a cropped, completely wrecked logo in print materials or on its website? Absolutely not! Yet tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of nonprofits every day send messages to their communities on social-networking sites with completely wrecked logos.

2. Posting more than one status update a day on Facebook

Everyone seemingly has a different and passionate opinion on this, but in my research and experience posting more than one status update a day on average on Facebook has a negative effect. People either start ignoring your updates because you’re always in their news feed, or they “hide” you altogether. I am a big believer that less is more on Facebook.

5. Not creating Flickr slideshows to tell your nonprofit’s story

Quite often your nonprofit’s story can be much better told through images. On the Web where people are inundated all day long with lengthy text and messages, a visually compelling slideshow can be a welcome respite from information overload.

9. Posting only (boring) marketing content

Make a donation! Come to our annual gala! Sign our online petition! Make a donation! Like us on Facebook! Follow us on Twitter! Oh yeah, PLEASE make a donation! Blah, blah, blah. Sorry, but it’s the truth. If all your nonprofit does on social-networking sites is marketing, then I guarantee no one is listening and your ROI is next to nil.

10. Not blogging

Blogging is the glue that holds your social-media strategy together. The social Web is driven by fresh content, and if your nonprofit doesn’t regularly publish new content to the Web, you’ll struggle with getting “shared” and “retweeted.” Nonprofits that don’t get shared or retweeted will not do well on the Social Web.

To check out the other five mistakes, read the rest of the blog post here.

What mistakes is your organization guilty of making? What other mistakes should nonprofits avoid?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

What Makes the Quintessential PR Pro?

What makes a public relations professional successful? Is it a strong academic background in public relations or former newsroom experience?

Many current PR professionals are former journalists that bring their past newsroom experience to their current jobs. The bachelor’s degree in public relations is relatively new, but the dramatic rise PR degree holders within the past 15 years prompts the question: who makes the better PR professional, journalists or graduates?

This very debate has been raging on over the past week. On August 3, Debra Caruso wrote a post entitled, “What makes a good PR pro: A degree or a journalism background?” As a former journalist, she concluded that it is a journalism background that cultivates a nose for news, better writing and pitching skills and already-established media connections. She writes that she would even prefer to hire a former journalist than a PR graduate equipped with the aforementioned skills.

Andrew Graham struck back this week with his own post on entitled, “News flash: Journalists don’t make better PR pros.” He argues that working in a newsroom is not the only way to hone one’s news judgment; PR pros need to be resourceful when pitching their client – a skill journalists may lack, and that PR and media relations are not synonyms – a fact that the previous author took for granted. Graham concedes that former journalists are an integral part of the PR profession but that their place is in content generation, not necessarily the strategy, messaging and measurement that typify most firms.

I agree with Graham that a journalism background does not mean a better PR professional. Former journalists definitely come equipped with invaluable writing skills and good news judgment, but PR graduates learn strategic thinking and planning in school. Ultimately, the quintessential PR professional will be able to write like a journalist and think like a degree holder.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

AP's New Rules That Could Get You Unfollowed

We all know The Associated Press can be a little opinionated when it comes to the specifics of writing but most recently (and true-to-form) AP comprised a list of 42 new guidelines to police social media.

Browsing through the rules I notice the AP attempting to create a rigid structure in an audience specific industry. Social media is different animal complete with different rules. The rules are that there are no rules. Each outlet is specified complete with its own unique voice. Unfortunately the guidelines hinder the specific voice that the author of the outlet uses in order to connect to their audience.

While uniformity is organized and appreciated among most, the AP's new guidelines take away from giving your favorite social media outlet a unique voice. Not only will this get you defriended or unfollowed (AP approved words) this may also lead to your audience feeling uncomfortable in answering your comments or posts due to your professional tone.

As long as glaring grammatical errors are not present and the authors voice is consist it is my opinion that while these guidelines provide a uniformity it constructs the voice of the brand or organization and in result hinders on the ability for the brand to connect with its audience.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Revitalize your Writing

As students everywhere are approaching the school year a little faster than they all may want, it is a good time to dust off our writing samples from last year and analyze what could be done to help us grow as writers.

Setting aside the usual pet peeves that come with grammatical errors such as they're/there/their and your/you're, outlined below are some tips to keep your readers interested and to get your point across while writing.

  • Be clear and concise. Keep your sentences simple to avoid confusion. Use only the most important details so as not to lose your reader's interest.

  • Monitor your tone. While you may have certain feelings or opinions running through your head as you are writing, be sure to stay informative. You could risk your credibility by including your personal thoughts, or worse, keep the reader guessing your mood, resulting in them completely missing your point.

  • Adapt. Especially when reading online, it is crucial to keep your paragraphs shorter, and to take advantage of bullet points or headings as a way of organizing your thoughts. Also, avoid strange fonts that could be difficult to read, or fonts that are too small.

  • Focus. Read your work after you have left it alone for a few hours, and then decide if you are still on topic. Try making an outline before you start writing to make sure you are staying relevant in your piece.

  • Practice! The only way to really improve your writing is to go over past documents and see what you could have done better. If you don't like the way a certain sentence sounds, chances are neither will your reader. Read things written by your peers to help you identify your style of writing and ways you can take yours to the next level.

What do you struggle with while writing? What helps?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Welcome Haters

We all know that popular saying, "haters gonna hate." And that's true, no matter what, you're going to have haters and they will hate. In other words, instead of letting your confidence get beat down and taking their negativity personally, take advantage of what your 'haters' are saying and spin it your way:

  • Haters expose vulnerability- Take heed of what their general complaint is. If someone sends you a nasty email, remove the emotional negativity from it and focus on the main idea. While your hater may have phrased it in a not-so-nice way, at the end of the day they had a point. By absorbing criticism and learning from your mistakes, you will make yourself a better person at what you do.
  • Haters can be converted-From my experience at working in retail, we are always encouraging customers to fill out our survey, so that we can better our service in the future. Of course we get negative calls here and there, it doesn't mean that they will never come to your store again, it just means that they weren't satisfied with their client experience. But that is why the survey is there, so that next time that customer comes, you will be able to provide a better overall experience and maybe turn that hater into your #1 fan.
  • Haters bring attention- We always remember when something bad happens, because drama always follows. If a group of people spread word about how bad your service is, then take it into account that you can fight back, your way. Take the criticism, but show that you are working on improving and accept feedback with an open mind. That way, you will not only draw attention to your organization, but you will also encourage active participation from the public. In turn, they will recognize your willingness to improve and be sure to return to see your progress.
While you will always have your haters, you do not have to just lie down and take it. Fight back by being better and your haters will be your biggest asset.

To read more on the benefits of haters, click here.

Do you have your own personal hater? Will you be 'welcoming haters'? Let us know!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Staying 'PR' focused while Studying Abroad

I have recently been referring to my upcoming semester in Rome as a dilemma- not because I am not looking forward to it (ask anyone, I AM!) but because it is really starting to affect my development and opportunities as a PR major. We all know that experience is key when it comes to working in the public relations field- and being out of the country taking four art history classes isn't getting me too far ahead.

However, from seeing other PR students spend time abroad, I’ve come to realize a few benefits of this time spent in another country. I’ve come up with a few ways that I (and any other communications student) can keep involved and connected while studying abroad:

1. WRITING -- I plan on keeping an in-depth blog while I learn, live, and travel in Italy. After researching different travel blogs and speaking with other students who have done the same, I've realized that this is one of the greatest benefits of studying abroad. Telling a story and captivating an audience is a key task that PR pro's must be able to master. I also hope to be able to contribute to other travel blogs and websites as well.

2. KEEPING AN ONLINE PRESENCE -- With the amount of knowledge I've learned from social media over the past year or so, it would be very hard for me to abandon it simply because I'll be out of the country. I do however, want to live 'la dolce vita' and not be consumed with my laptop and other things the entire time, but I will try my best to stay actively involved with the people I have made connections with through using social media. And with maintaining my presence online, I also strive to keep up with industry news, trends, and current events back home in America.

3. BECOMING GLOBALLY AWARE -- I haven't thought of it much before, but living on the other side of the world for four months has some hidden perks. It could give me a definite edge over those who I may be soon competing with for internships and even jobs after graduation. Understanding and living within another culture could greatly benefit me when it comes to targeting specific audiences in future jobs. I think living as an outsider in another culture will teach me not only patience, but respect and appreciation of other types of people. And that in itself has the power to help with any type of job.

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

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The EPI Blog Team

Every summer, the Philadelphia Youth Network, Inc. coordinates and runs a program aimed at providing high school students with the opportunity to gain real life work experience in a variety of industries. The Employer Paid Internship Program connects a select number of young adults with employers, giving the youth a chance to see what today’s working environment is like. The goal of the EPI program is to not only open the door to the business world, but also demonstrate to the youth the worth and importance of an education.

This summer, PYN was faced with the unique challenge of promoting the program to very distinct publics: youth currently enrolled in the program, potential applicants, funders, and current and potential employers. To meet this goal, PYN developed an EPI blog team, a group of young, driven, talented young men and women enrolled in the EPI program. Over the past 4 weeks they have been posting blogs on a PYN WorkReady website, These blogs serve as testimonials to the maturity and professionalism that young adults develop thanks to the EPI program. The authors speak of the knowledge and insight that the EPI program cultivates and express the benefits of having an opportunity to enter college with real life work experience under their belts.

Not only does the blog team speak to the beneficial nature of the program, but those actually blogging are given the opportunity to work with PYN staff members to improve their writing skills. “This has given me the skills necessary to grow as a writer,” said Brenton Oakley, a blog team member. The blog team effectively demonstrates PYN’s mission to teach and enhance young adults work skills while at the same time communicate the value of the EPI program to its publics.

By posting on an official PYN website and promoting the blogs on PYN’s Twitter and main homepage, PYN is able to disseminate, to its wide range of publics, the positive growth that young people gain because of their experiences in the EPI program. Advertising to these audiences can, and hopefully will, allow the program to expand its services and employer relationships in the Philadelphia area.

To read what these gifted young writers have done, visit the blog page here.

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Evan Galusha.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Ending your Summer Internship with a Sizzle

It seemed the start of summer was only yesterday and in the blink of an eye, its already August and summer is winding down quickly. With the end of summer comes the end of summer internships and Amanda Elliot of Come Recommended has you covered with great ways to leave a lasting mark:

1. Ask for a letter of recommendation.
You should always have 2-3 letters of recommendation on hand for a job. While all jobs are different, your attributions to a company are best referenced when they are fresh in your recommender’s mind.
  • Informally: Two to three weeks prior to your last day, you should approach your boss and ask him to write a letter on your behalf.
  • Formally: After discussing it with him, write him a formal letter detailing your tasks and assignments and include your resume. Write down the date the letter is due and for what purpose the letter will have in the future (i.e. grad school, future job)
2. Ask for an evaluation. Even if it is not required, it is important to know how your boss feels about your performance. He could offer you tips on job functions and clue you into skills or a job that would better cater to your qualifications. While you should not disregard your boss’ advice, you should also not rely solely on one person’s opinion.

3. Write a thank you
. Uncap your pen and thank your boss for the experience he gave you during the summer. If you had a mentor, thank him as well.

4. Keep in touch. Make sure you have a business card from everyone and hand out a few of your own so that the contacts you made all summer will not run dry. If you haven’t done so yet, connect with them on LinkedIn.

5. Put together a portfolio.
Throughout your internship, you have been working on projects. If you didn’t save a copy of the things you were working on along the way, save documents to a flash drive to add to your portfolio. Once you leave the office, your business email vanishes as well. Hard copies are also nice especially since you already have the correct paper weight and color printer.

6. Look for opportunities for future employment.
Some people spend their summer in a different state to complete an internship. Ask your boss if you could transfer to a position in the state where you go to college. Also, let them know your future plans after you graduate or next summer, or even during Christmas break. You always want to leave the door open to further the relationship you have established with the company.

7. Make things easier for your replacement.
If you are the first intern your company has had, you can be a vital resource for the next intern. Put together any tips, instructions, and passwords you have in a booklet. Your boss will thank you because it will be easier for the next intern to reference what they need to do without your boss having to repeat it.

All of these are great ways to leave a lasting impression with your supervisor, and in the PR industry its important to build your network by maintaining these relationships. You never know when an internship could lead to a job opportunity and its always best to put the extra effort in to making your last impression count just as much as your first.

What other pieces of advice would you recommend for ways to end your summer internship with a sizzle? Let us know!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Twitter policy mobilization? Not so fast.

Politicians and political campaigns regularly use Twitter to connect with their constituents. Recently some politicians have started to use Twitter to connect with other politicians’ constituents over policy issues with mixed results.

A couple of weeks ago President Barack Obama held a nationally televised press conference to ask the American people to support compromise legislation to raise the nation’s debt ceiling. He asked the electorate to call their representatives to make it clear how important it was to avoid a national default. Obama failed to mention in this press conference that there was another contact method he supported: tweeting.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the White House instituted a communication initiative last week to educate the public on fiscal policy and urge bipartisan legislation through Twitter. Barack Obama’s Twitter account began posting the twitter handles of Republican legislators from across the country and urged their constituents to tweet towards a #compromise.

Obama’s account may have actually gone a little overboard with its policy mobilization strategy. The account tweeted nearly 100 times on July 29, mostly to post the Twitter handles of Republican legislators from Illinois to Florida. News outlets have reported that the initiative may have spurred a massive unfollowing of Obama’s Twitter accounts, with reports putting the exodus at between 33,000 and 40,000 followers in a single day.

Politicians should definitely use Twitter to help mobilize grassroots support but they must be careful about the spamming followers. Spread the communications initiative out over a week and focus on smaller geographical areas each day to avoid subjecting followers to a deluge of tweets. Obama’s #compromise Twitter initiative is an example of a great idea with a botched execution.