Saturday, December 31, 2011

Must-Reads for the PR Pro: Succeeding in Organizational Leadership

As public relations professionals, the best way to stay up to date with the industry is to curl up with a good read, whether it is a book, article or blog post. Take some of your free time during break to pick up one of the books reviewed below:

Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul by Howard Schulz

“Onward” is a great book to learn more about organizational structure and image, as well as leadership. It provides a first-hand account of how Starbucks recreated itself, and how CEO Howard Schulz developed his main leadership philosophy. This book is especially appropriate in terms of seeing how a company was able to be successful and revive its image in one of the most tumultuous economic times in history.

The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott

Especially important for the modern workplace, “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” is a great read. It provides readers with the knowledge of how web communications may benefit your business. Establishing a proper personal relationship with your customers via the Internet is essential in the new media world. The book offers first-hand examples of marketing and PR trends, techniques for using social media sites, an action plan for utilizing new media and suggestions of how to craft powerful, effective messages.

The World is Flat, 3.0 by Tom Friedman

To know your world is to be a better public relations practitioner. Tom Friedman helps readers to understand globalization. It is important to know how globalization provides opportunities for individual and organizational success, how it is helping poverty around the world and how it may be detrimental environmentally, socially and politically. The book helps address the essential question “How may globalization effect different industries?”

How to Win Friends and Influence People

This was one of the first books I read relating to public relations, and one of the most influential I have read so far. The best advice I received from this book is how to communicate with others and to value them and instead of manipulating their attitudes and beliefs working to change them by ethical means.

Do you have any PR reads to add to our list? Let us know!

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Kurie Fitzgerald.

Friday, December 30, 2011

RACE to the New Year: Resolutions and Evaluations

I've noticed New Year's resolutions get scoffed at a lot more often than they get created. In fact, when talking of my personal resolutions to a friend, I was told, "Why wait until one day in the entire year to decide to make yourself better? Shouldn't you be constantly be making resolutions to accomplish?"

I realize he made a valid point. It was this conversation that sparked my realization that we view New Year's resolutions all wrong. They aren't a list of the typical, yet hardly-ever-accomplished goals we make for ourselves once and year only to abandon two weeks later. Instead, they are a part of an on-going process that in PR, we like to call the RACE model, and January 1st is all about evaluation.

The RACE model is known worldwide in terms of the PR industry, however I think it applies perfectly to the concept of New Year's resolutions. The four-step model includes the phases of Research, Action, Communication and Evaluation.

Before we make any resolutions, we need to know our problem areas or areas of improvement. It takes time, thought and effort to put together a list and some basic research is always done prior to declaring resolutions. There are only so many days in a year, and its important to set reasonable and achievable goals for yourself. It's important to note, these goals can be set any time of the year, as self-improvement should always be an on-going process.

As an example, one of my goals this year is to take the time to create an online portfolio for myself to showcase my work to potential employers.

Like any good campaign, it's always best to start with a plan of action. What resources will you need to accomplish this goal? What steps will you need to take and when do you need to take them? When you have a plan in place, it's much easier to stay on course. This isn't to say you won't deviate from the plan at times, but its there to always steer you back in the right direction.

Continuing with my previous example, I know in order to accomplish this goal I will need to create a detailed timeline for myself, compile my best work that I want to highlight and consult someone with web design knowledge to assist me in the creation of my website.

Typically in a PR campaign, this is where you communicate your message(s) to target channels and publics. With resolutions, it's a bit different. Sometimes resolutions can seem unreachable or you've run out of ideas to inspire yourself and find motivation. The communication stage should be used to communicate your goals to peers, mentors, friends and family in order to gain additional support and sources of motivation. These people may be able to provide you with solutions to any roadblocks you may have encountered during your plan of action. Always communicate your goals and take advantage of the advice others may have to offer.

For my personal resolution of building an online portfolio, I may reach out on Twitter for example to outsource ideas for what materials I should include and what site builder is best to use. There are many people who have already accomplished this goal who may be able to offer me their advice.

At the end of every PR campaign, the most important part is always evaluating whether or not you were successful in achieving your goals and objectives. With resolutions, it is no different. As I stated earlier, you can create goals for yourself during any point of the year, however it's always good to have a slated time for reflection and evaluation and what better time than the start of a new year? Use this time to ask yourself, "did I accomplish any of my personal goals this year? What worked and what didn't? What should I continue to improve for this upcoming year?" Don't use New Year's as the one and only time to make goals for yourself. Instead, use it as a time to evaluate everything you have accomplished in the past year and determine where to go from there.

This past year, for example, I accomplished my goal of studying abroad during the summer. Through careful research, a solid plan of action and my willingness to communicate any questions or help I needed in the process, I was able to spend five weeks this summer in Paris, learning French at the Sorbonne.

So regardless of what you want to accomplish, or when you set your goals, always remember New Year's is about self-evaluation and a time of reflection, not a two-week membership to the gym.

What are your resolutions this year? Did you accomplish any of your goals from last year? Let us know!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

PR to Come to an MBA Program Near You?

All the way back in May, PRowl Public Relations blogger Emily Ascani wrote about how PR training in Business schools and MBA programs could greatly augment corporate crises communication. Now, over seven months later, there seems to be a hint of progression towards this goal.
Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business and PRSA have teamed up to pilot an initiative aimed at getting PR into more business schools. Soon Dartmouth will allow its MBA students to take a strategic communications course in one of three formats: a semester long course, a nine-week abbreviate session or in seminar format.
This is a leap forward for both the profession of public relations and MBA programs everywhere. More and more business leaders will begin to take their corporate communications more seriously and businesses will be better prepared to deal with crisis when the happen. It seems to me that introducing PR training in MBA programs is a win-win. Good job, Dartmouth!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What to Expect in 2012

2011 was an interesting year for PR. We had, and are still having, a major debate about the definition of PR, a university scandal that upset the nation, making every institution re-look their crisis communication plan, and a large contributor and advancer of the technological world pass away. With all the woes and sorrows of 2011, the industry can only move forward to 2012 for a brighter future. There are many big things to look out for in 2012. Known PR sites/blogs, such as and, are prophesying new dynamics between stakeholders and PR professionals and integrating media trends in 2012 for PR.

Reporting to all stakeholders
As a result of the great discussion had at the PRSA conference, the prediction, and already integration, of PR practitioners reporting to stakeholders and not just clients. This includes investors, other businesses, and even customers. Reporting information concerning demographics, analytics and more involvement from all participating parties will result in more activity to manage for PR professionals.

TV convergence
The newest trend in TV watching is streaming the Internet and having access to the Internet with your TV. Major content producers are developing technology to access content from search engines such as Google. Google introduced Google TV about a year ago and is now just starting to catch on. What this means is that more people are using social media on their TV. The content of posts will be directly linked to trending TV shows, YouTube videos and other users on social media.

Measuring results
Algorithms are the future of measuring content and how it is received by an audience (SEO) and really the only way to calculate the results of your social media. If you have not been tracking your own social media you really should start in 2011, Twitter especially. Facebook now has their own analytics called Insights, which we know no algorithms, but Twitter is different because there is no developed analytics for the site currently. The bottom line is how do you know your contributing to the bottom line if you have no measurements?

Apps will rule the world
There’s an app for just about everything including social commerce. Starbucks was revolutionary with the idea that you could transfer money to an app to pay for goods. Starbucks has the app where you can pay for your purchases by pulling up a bar code on your phone that the cashier scans. More businesses such as Apple are doing this now and should be becoming more and more popular including and introducing more commerce through Facebook which will directly impact how you target your content.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Making your Online Presence Professional and Personal

I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays!

Before the New Year, take a chance to think about how you're going to improve your online presence, not only for professional reasons, but also to showcase personal achievements as well. Personally, one of my resolutions is to create my own blog. While it may seem like a daunting task, with a little bit of research, I've outlined some tips on how you can get started.
  • Figure out which site you want to host your blog. The majority of sites use WordPress, but there are also easy posting sites such as Tumblr and Blogger depending on what your needs are.
  • Brand yourself through the blog's title. Make it unique, something that can only relate to yourself and will make your stand out. It can be something related to one of your hobbies, your location, etc.
  • If you are using your blog for purely professional reasons, be sure to include an "About Me" page to give a little background on yourself. You can link back to other social networking sites you are on such as LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.
  • Put original content in their designated pages on your site. You can include different pages for recommendations, writing samples, your resume, etc. Make sure they are updated and the files work correctly.
Do you have your own blog? What are your words of wisdom?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Blogging Basics

Being the Director of PR for PRowl Public Relations, one of my responsibilities is to maintain this very blog! With that being said, staff members often come to me, unsure of what exactly a blog post entails. In reality, there is not a very strict right or wrong when blogging. That's the great thing about it, blogs are not like the papers you write in class, you can feel free to write an opinion piece, or choose your own topic, or even to base your blog off of things you've read, seen, or experienced. Below are a couple blogging tips I've come across:
  • Sometimes a punchy headline is all you need: When I sit down on Sunday nights to write my blog post for Monday, I start with the title. Nothing starts off a blog post on a better foot than a catchy title. Pondering over something so simple has a title can even help you smooth out the bumps in your blog post and get the creative juices flowing.

  • Blog about something you're actually interested in: Time goes so slowly when I try to blog about something boring. Some of my best blog posts are the ones that I either based off of my own experience, or that I have felt connected or invested into.

  • Stumped? This happens to me all the time. Take a step back, reread, and consider; what else is there to be said? I don't always freestyle my blog posts, sometimes I will read an article about a topic that I feel would fit in great with the blog, so I will take some of the points and rework them to my perspective. Most of the time I have something to add, elaborate on, or even disagree with.
Remember: blogging is your chance to put a spin on what's out there, so have fun with it! Do you have any tips to add for the inexperienced or hesitant blogger? Let us know!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

AP StyleGuard: The Magic Solution for Writing in AP Style?

Last week the Associated Press released new “StyleGuard” software, which acts as a system to check for AP style mistakes in Microsoft Word documents. When I heard this, I was in shock, as well as many PR students probably are, that the idea had not been thought of before! This application could be the perfect way to avoid constantly checking your stylebook when initially learning how to write in AP style.

When I further investigated the product, I found out it is probably not the magical solution to writing in AP style that I originally thought it seemed to be. Subscriptions start at $60 for an individual user, which puts the product out of price range for most college students, considering that the AP Stylebook is only about $12. Also, it has only been developed for PCs, so Mac users will not be able to use the product at all. Last week, @APStylebook even tweeted “StyleGuard is a useful tool but it's not a substitute for the skills you develop as a knowledgeable writer.”

The software is a great idea that can be developed further and eventually become widely used to help prevent PR students and professionals from making minor AP style mistakes. For now, it looks like it would be best for us to pay attention in our news writing classes and aspire to be our own StyleGuard!

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Kyra Mazurek.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Life Lessons from a PR Education

The following blog post was written by Shari DaCosta, recent Temple graduate and staff member of PRowl Public Relations.

This holiday season I have a million things to be grateful for, topping the list is completing college this semester. The last four years has been a whirlwind and a tremendous learning experience, from serving as a PRowl staff member to holding several PR internships. I have gained invaluable experiences that have equipped me with the skills to not only be a successful PR professional, but also a well-rounded individual.

Here are some of the invaluable life lessons I've learned from studying PR:

Be Persistent: The most important lesson I've learned as a communications student, PR intern and PRowl staff member is to be persistent. Public relations professionals constantly have to sell their client to the media, their internal and external publics, and even convince the client that the communications plan is the correct move for the organization, so being persistent is key to overcoming any doubts from these publics. Similarly, being persistent and hardworking is key to accomplishing anything in life.

Expect the Unexpected: One of my favorite things about PR is that you never do the same work twice. With no workday being the same for a PR pro (or PR intern), I've learn to expect the unexpected in both my work and personal life. Having an open mind to unexpected changes will be essential to effectively handling crisis situations for clients, as well as setbacks in my personal life.

Stay Organized: As a communications student balancing classes with internships and work has taught me the time management skills essential to balancing the various demands of clients. From these experiences I've learned to stay a top of my schedule by prioritizing tasks, and keeping track of everything with a planner and electronic calendar and other useful organizational tools. These time management skills will be important in not only managing my work as a PR professional, but maintaining a proper work-life balance.

Know when to hold 'em, know when to walk away: Like the old Kenny Rogers’ country song says, one must know when to walk away and change the game plan. As a public relations professional, you must be prepared to switch things up on the fly, whether it's finding a new vendor for an event after the old one flakes out at the last minute or entirely changing the communications strategy for a client. PR pros must be prepared to quickly adjust to changes with clients, the media and their work environment.

What life lessons has PR taught you?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays from PRowl Public Relations!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from all of us at
PRowl Public Relations!

Here are just a few fun facts about everyone's favorite holiday:
  • Each year more than 3 billion Christmas cards are sent in the U.S. alone.
  • Christmas wasn’t declared an official holiday in the United States until June 26, 1870.
  • "Jingle Bells" was first written for Thanksgiving and then became one of the most popular Christmas songs.
  • Candy canes started as white sticks used to decorate Christmas trees. It was not until the 20th century that they were given red stripes.
  • The earliest known Christmas decorations were apples.
  • A total of 364 gifts are given by the lover in the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas"

Do you know any interesting facts about Christmas or have any favorite holiday traditions? Share them with us!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

North Korea's PR Stunts Don't Fool Me

The North Korean response to the passing of former “Dear Leader” Kim Jong-il was well executed, almost too well executed to be genuine. Behind the country’s thinly veiled PR stunts lies a leader who is inexperienced and scared. I guess that this is a good time to remind everyone that the views and opinions found in this post are my own and do not represent those of PRowl Public Relations.

Kim Jong-il was an interesting man, to say the least. Many have gone as far as to call him paranoid and possibly deranged. He has been a consistent thorn in the west’s side and has issued numerous nuclear and chemical threats against neighboring South Korea.

Kim Jong-un, Jong-il’s 27-year-old son and the “great successor,” led the ceremonies on Tuesday morning as the country bid farewell their former dictator. The death of Jong-il means the potential end of an era marked by increasingly authoritarian policies, state-sponsored brainwashing and attention-hungry PR stunts.

However, it doesn’t appear that North Korea is giving up on its PR stunts quite so fast.

On Monday, North Korea released footage of thousands of citizens publicly crying over their former leader’s death. The tapes showed masses of mean and women neatly lined up and violently weeping.

I don’t mean to sound crass, but this kind of stuff just doesn’t happen naturally. It seems to me that this public spectacle must be a product the years of brainwash or some brand of state-sponsored propaganda released after the passing of their Dear Leader. I mean, Jong-il’s rule didn’t exactly do much good for North Korea. I doubt that recent famine has boosted the public’s moral to the point that they’d freely weeping for him.

North Korea then launched off at least one short-range missile into the waters near South Korea, North Korea’s long-time enemy and an ally of the west. This missile test was supposed to be a show of strength but to me it was just a thinly veiled PR stunt trying to mask Jong-un’s cowardice.

North Korea is no stranger to these publicity stunts but I think the country’s bark is worse than its bite. Jong-un is inexperienced and he has just inherited a world full of enemies and problems, including humanitarian crises within his own country. North Korea’s thinly veiled PR stunts don’t fool me for a second. Jong-un is unprepared to deal with the realities of leading a country, especially one as besieged as North Korea. Keep launching test missiles North Korea, because that’s all you’ll be able to do for a long time.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Navigating Your Way Through Facebook Insights

Insights is a Facebook application for Pages that provides metrics about your user demographics and their interactions. Knowing your demographic is extremely important when targeting your messages. By having a clear idea of who your target audience is, you have a better chance of providing interactive content.  

Facebook Insights are located on the left hand side bar of your Facebook Page. To note, only admins have access to Insights.
When you click on  Insights you get an overall view of your Page complete with Total Likes, Friends of Fans (how many potential people you can reach through those who have already liked your page), People Talking About This, and Weekly Total Reach. The overview also provides you with a graph of the aforementioned categories displayed over the course of the given month.

Also, in the overview of your Page, you have Page Posts. Page Posts take your individual posts and breaks it down into the following categories: Reach, Engaged Users, Talking about this, and Virility. Reach explains the number of unique people who have seen your post. Engaged Users are the number of people who have clicked on your post. Talking About provides you with the number of unique people who have created a story from your Page post. Stories are “created” when someone likes, comments, or shares your posts. Also, a story is “created” when a user answers a question you posted or responds to your event. Finally, Virality, one of the most important categories, gives you the percentage of the people who have created a story from your Page post out of the total number of unique people who have seen it.
With all of these categories you can sort from greatest percentage to least.  

Under Insights you are given three individual tabs: Likes, Reach, and Talking About This. When you click each individual tab, Insights provides you with the demographics that correlate to Likes, Reach, and Talking About This. Demographics include Gender, Age, Countries, Cities, Languages, and even provides you where your Likes come from. This includes mobile, on page, search results (very important when considering SEO), and third party apps.

This information can be very beneficial if you are managing a client’s social media. But where this information can really benefit is designing an ad for your client. With the Insights demographics, you can get the most money out of an ad. For example, when posting an ad through Facebook, you are asked which demographic you would like to advertise to, which you now know through Insights. By knowing which demographic you can advertise to you have a better chance of your advertisement being seen.
Comments, questions, or concerns? I want to hear them!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Social Media Trends for 2012

As social media continues to grow, we can take a look at a few of the trends that will make it big in the new year.

1. Influence. Everyone seems to be on social media today, with sites such as Klout where we can "measure" our influence online on certain topics. This will turn into a more professional technique to scale results you have received from your posts.
2. Sharing. While you can share a variety of things online, this will grow more into sharing feedback from your latest department store purchase or the vacation you just booked to your network through their site.
3. Social Television. People talk about what they're watching on social networks already, but more shows are integrating social media into their voting and feedback. You can use the app Get Glue, which acts like a Foursquare for media.

Where do you want to see social media in 2012?

To read more click here.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Santa Claus: Bringer of Presents or PR Pro?

The countdown is on, only 6 more days 'til Christmas! Time to brave the mall crowds, wrap endless gifts, and to hope that Santa brings you something shiny. Santa Claus, a figure we've always held on a pedastal since we were kids, that is, until someone in your family decided to crush your dreams (hi Mom!). But Santa is more than just a jolly old man bearing gifts, he's an icon, who has garnered more attention than any other figure in history. But how does he do it? Below are some PR tips courtesy of "6 PR lessons from Santa Claus":

  • Make a list, check it twice: Make sure you cover all angles; countless times PR pros have been caught in a situation because of stray press releases or emails being flung around. Check that you are including everyone necessary on your lists, and omitting those who are not, then check again. This can be said for emails and writing in general; always edit your writing, then check it again by having someone look over it for you. Little mistakes can get you in hot water so save yourself the effort and check your work. If Santa and his little elves could make toys for thousands of Christmas lists, you can manage your list too!

  • Plan, prepare, and deliver: Plan how you want to approach a crisis, prepare for what you are going to do about it, and deliver your results. Never promise your boss, client, or a report something that you cannot deliver within their set deadline. Santa has to plan months in advance, but in the end he always makes his deadline!

  • Ho! Ho! Ho!: The tagline that Santa is famous for. "Got milk?" "I'm lovin' it!" "Just do it." All are famous for the brands they are attached to. Santa is reknown for his, and though it may be corny, people always know the image attached.

  • Big rep: He's known across the world as Santa, St. Nick, Father Christmas, etc. But still, he is the most recognizable man on the planet. It has taken time, but so does a solid reputation.

Have you learned anything else from Jolly Old St. Nick? Have anything to add to the "list"? Let us know!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Rejuvenated Releases: Writing a Punchy Press Release

You’ve been asked to write a press release for a client. You go over the steps in your head: Start with an enticing lead sentence, find a quote for the second paragraph, gather statistics and include a few lines about the organization. Although this may be the correct procedure, is this really all that can be done to draft an exciting, newsworthy release? According to a recent blog entry on, much more is involved in making a press release effective and enjoyable to read.

Consider the following guidelines:

Give readers a reason to care: If you’re covering a bland topic, brainstorm for unusual leads and less obvious angles. This will help in making the release more interesting. Never hesitate to ask a colleague, “Do you find this enjoyable to read?” Remember not to be offended when they offer suggestions. A colleague can provide needed insight into how successful a press release will be once in the hands of a reporter.

Go beyond text: Audio, screenshots and videos can help aid in delivering a message. If you see a chance to stray from the traditional press release, go for it!

Include a call to action: Reporters must enjoy your release if you expect them to cover it. Remember, however, that once this happens, readers outside the media will see your content. Readers can help spread the word and do some PR leg-work. Links to a survey on Facebook or a suggested tweet are excellent additions to the end of a press release.

Edit well: Your writing must meet the grammatical standards of journalists and reporters but beyond that, a press release is a reflection of your client. Poorly edited press releases bring about negative attitudes and diminish reputation.

The above suggestions can help turn seemingly dry content into a relevant, newsworthy press release. In addition to these guidelines, using as much creativity as possible can only help in PR writing. Get your media list ready, it's time to send out your press release! Let us know if you have any additional suggestions to make!

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Frank Kunkle.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Transferable Skills: A PR Essential

As a PR major, it is essential to our success to develop transferable skills. Transferable skills can include anything from good organizational skills to remaining calm under pressure. Luckily for PR students at Temple University, there are a variety of ways to expand this skill set. From internships to student organizations, the possibilities are endless. However, I decided to take a different path.

During the fall semester of my junior year, I became a Resident Assistant (RA) for Temple’s University Housing and Residential Life. I joined because I wanted to help other students like my RA had helped me. I had no idea how much my RA position would help in building my transferable skill set.

Here is the list of transferable skills that I developed as an RA:

Organization: As an RA, I have to manage 50 underclassmen while also balancing my own work. Each resident has a folder that I’m in charge of updating regularly.

Event Planning: Each month, I am required to complete two programs for the residents on my floor and in the building. This means I need to write a proposal, complete a catering order, create advertisements, and get people to come to the event. It is very similar to planning events in the PR world, just on a smaller scale.

Crisis Communication: RA’s are on duty once a week and also have three duty weekends a semester. This means they hold a specific phone that residents and security guards can call if there are any problems. Sometimes, there are major issues in a building that need to be handled immediately. In essence, answering the duty phone is like responding to a PR crisis.

My position as an RA proves that you can use different opportunities to build your transferable skill set. While it is important to have PR experience during college, you should use every volunteer opportunity and job you have to develop your transferable skill set.

What other ways can PR students develop transferable skills? Let us know!

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

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Ultimate PR Student Holiday Wishlist

When I was six-years-old, I would have never imagined that years later I would be asking Santa Claus for a new AP Stylebook or a fancy new set of business cards. The truth is, being a young professional isn't always easy on the wallet. For most college students, its a struggle to feed themselves anything other than Ramen, yet alone find the cash to invest in a suit. With the holidays (and graduation) fast approaching, I have assembled what I like to call the "Ultimate PR Student Holiday Wishlist."

1. AP Stylebook: Every PR pro needs to stay up-to-date on the latest with AP style. The bound version will cost anywhere from $13-20, or you can get an online annual subscription for only $25. (

2. Premium Business Cards: Looking to grow your network? You'll definitely want to have some business cards ready to hand out at the next professional mixer. Vistaprint is a great resource for business cards. You can either purchase free ones (just pay shipping) or you can upgrade to Premium starting at $19.95. Vistaprint is almost always running a special on discounted premium business cards so subscribe to their email list to hear the latest about special offers. (

3. Padfolio: When you are heading to your next interview and you find yourself whipping out a neon pink Five Star notebook (sounds like a situation I found myself in last year), you know its time to invest in a padfolio. They are a great way to add an extra professional touch, helping to make an even better first impression. There are a ton of places you can find an affordable padfolio, however Staples is always a great place to start. They offer padfolios ranging from $7 for the basics to $75 for the ultimate padfolio experience.

4. PRSA Membership: As someone who has been a member of PRSSA for four years, I have every intention of becoming a PRSA member upon graduation. I have reaped the benefits as a student and know that becoming a PRSA member will only help enhance my career with the many tools and resources it offers. Luckily for recent graduates, PRSA offers a very nice discount for anyone who was a PRSSA member during their time as an undergrad. As long as you have graduated within the past two years, you can become a member for only $60. (

5. Business Suit: As a freshman, khakis and a sweater may have done the job, but as someone preparing to enter the workforce, first impressions are everything and often times those first impressions come in the form of a suit. Suits can be incredibly expensive, however there are always sales and remember, its a long-term investment. Macy's is a great place to start and often runs several discounts and sales, offering name brand, quality suits for a fraction of the price. For ladies, suits start at $40 and for men, suits start at $50.

6. Thank You Cards: Whether you are interviewing for an internship or a job, having an informational interview or chatting with a mentor, you always want to leave a lasting impression by sending a thank you card. Target is always my go-to place because they sell them cheap and in bulk. Prices range anywhere from $3-25.

7. Starbucks Gift Card: You've heard PR is one of the top caffeinated professions, right? There is nothing more jolly than a Starbucks gift card in a PR pro's stocking. The great thing about it? Its reloadable! (

8. Yearly Planner: There's nothing that I love more than writing down everything I have to do and keeping it neatly organized (and often times color-coded). Check out OfficeMax for a wide selection of planners, ranging from $8 - 150, depending on how generous Santa is feeling.

9. Reading Material: As young PR pros, we should be constantly educating ourselves on an ever-evolving industry. I know many college students scoff at the idea of "leisurely reading" (who has time for that during the semester?) however, there are definitely some great reads to make time for. One book that I'm asking for this year is Putting the Public Back in Public Relations: How Social Media is Reinventing the Aging Business of PR by Brian Solis and Deirdre Breakenridge. Buy it at Amazon for a discounted price of $18.78.

10. A home-cooked meal and a good night's sleep: That's right. Sometimes its as simple as a comforting plate of your favorite meal and a good night's rest over the holiday break that will help you clear your mind, relax a little and wake up even more prepared to conquer the world. Although many of us like to think we're unstoppable, sometimes its important to stop once and a while and just relax. Put down the smartphone...Twitter will be there in the morning, and your inbox full of emails can wait. Take some time this holiday season to rest up, because I'm sure you'll be plenty busy once the semester resumes in January.

Are there any items on your PR holiday wish list not included here? Please share and let us know!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

How to Succeed as Young PR Professional

Today marks the end of my second last semester at Temple University. I’m proud of my accomplishments in college and I’m looking forward to graduation and starting a career in public relations. With this said, I’m beginning to get nervous about what happens after graduation. Will I have a job right away? Where will I be in five years? How about ten? I recently came across a blog post from Ragan Communications that calmed my nerves. 9 Pieces of Career Advice for Young PR Pros is definitely worth the read, especially for those about to enter the workforce. These are the three pieces of advices that really helped me mentally prepare for the end of my second last semester:

Stay Humble: I feel as though I accomplished a lot during college but college accomplishments don’t always translate into the real world. Stay humble and represent yourself as best you can without sounding pompous.

Stay Involved: I’m currently a member of five different clubs but what will happen once I graduate? I’ll join more, of course. Post-college clubs are great for networking and learning more about the PR industry.

Never Stop Learning: Just because you’ve graduated college doesn’t mean you know everything. Continue to ask questions and accumulate knowledge wherever life takes you!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Networking: Taking it to the Next Level

PRowl’s Strat Comm account hosted a great networking event last Thursday featuring stellar alums of the department. Networking with those who already have a connection with you, such as their alma mater, can be a great way to get your foot in the door for potential internships or even possible job opportunities upon graduation, but how do you further the relationship? A great way to connect with those you have networked with is connecting with them on other platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter. Connecting on LinkedIn is the best route to go initially. The relationship is still professional and has a possibility to grow from here.

A great way to connect with your networked professionals is to send a message when you send a request to connect with them on LinkedIn. LinkedIn’s generic, “I would like to add you to my professional network,” is impersonal and not a great way to start your relationship. When I network, I try to write something to remember them by on the back of their business card, such as past internships they have had, this can help you personalize the message you send them.
For example I recently sent out a message that looked like this:

Hello X,
It was great getting to know more about what you do for Vault Communications at the “No Nonsense Networking” event last Thursday. I was hoping you could tell me more about your experience interning at Tierney Communications.


A simple short, yet personal message will do just fine for starting off. Also, asking a question is a great way to build the relationship and have more interaction after your first initial meeting. The next step would be to follow them on Twitter. You can do this simultaneously or after you have been officially accepted to join their professional network. In my opinion, I believe it’s important to start with the LinkedIn only because it shows you’re serious about your future career.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

There's a New Procrastination Tool in Town

While we all love wasting time on Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest is rapidly catching up to it's online competitors.

Needing a personal invite from a Pinterest member to join, the photo sharing site allows users to "pin" to manage your themed image collections. Just like Facebook, you can "friend" other users and "like" pins that they may have posted on their own boards.

There are more than a variety themes you can peruse, most popularly being food, apparel, hair, wedding, DIY, architecture, art, fitness tips, home decor, just to name a few. When these pins are clicked on, it usually leads back to the original website that the item can be purchased at or gives more similar items the user might enjoy. Soon enough talking about something you "repinned" the other day, will become just as socially acceptable as "tweeting" or "liking" a page.

Are you on Pinterest?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Virginia Tech: Lessons in Quick Response

On Thursday, Virginia Tech witnessed its second shooting in the last 5 years. In 2007, VT student Seung Hui Cho shot and killed 33 people on Virginia Tech's campus. 4 years later, a gunman suspected to be Ross Ashley, killed a police and then himself on campus.

Such sequential violence on the Virginia Tech campus has left students feeling ill at ease regarding their safety. However, Virginia Tech has made a considerable effort to improve their communication strategies following the 2007 shooting. During the 2007 shooting it took the school two hours to send out an email to its students regarding the shooting. Thursday, it took merely seconds. The school first sent out a message saying, "Stay indoors. Secure in place", a quick but effective alert rather than a long-winded message that would only put its students in danger. After that initial message, the school website kept up a live feed from 12:37 p.m. until the lock down was lifted at 4:31 p.m. when the school sent out a message that "law enforcement agencies have determined there is no longer an active threat or need to secure in place. Resume normal activities."

So far, the university's quick response in a crisis has been commendable. During the lock down, I followed the live feed and was impressed with the school's attention to not only the news coming from law enforcement, but also from students utilizing social media across the campus, providing a comprehensive assessment from all angles of the shooting.

While Virginia Tech's response in light of the Virginia Tech shootings has undergone many improvements, it remains to be seen whether the family, friends, students, and staff of the university will be so quick to regain trust in the safety of the Virginia Tech campus.

To view the live response during the Virginia Tech shooting, follow Virginia Tech affiliated student newspaper The Collegiate Times at @Collegiate Times.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Why social media is more than your “personal brand”

The following blog post was written by Jason Mollica, '97 Temple Alum.

Something I’m asked quite often about is personal branding. You’ve probably been told it is important that you focus on developing it. But are you REALLY a brand?

In the last five years, we have seen Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and the blogosphere serve as an online portfolio for students and current public relations pros. The importance in this, to me, is that you can be constantly judged by colleagues, employers, and potential employers. We stress openness and honesty in public relations. We need to carry that over to social media, as well. That’s not personal branding. That’s being professional. Here are three tips you can keep with you while using social media.

1. Be smart- The old adage "think before you say something" can be re-imagined as "think before you tweet/post on Facebook." Simply put... If you don't want to see it retweeted, don't type it.

2. Be honest- No one- friends or employers- like a fake. It's pretty easy to spot a fraud in social circles. If you want to be taken seriously, show what you are about. Drop some knowledge!

3. Be engaging- Something I stress in speeches and talks with clients is the importance of engagement. You can have a Twitter account, but what are you doing with it? Show your networking and communications skills. Get out there and participate.

Remember: employers can’t use your social media against you if you use it the right way.

Jason Mollica is a 1997 graduate of Temple University's School of Communication and Theater. Since then, he has worked in television and radio in Philadelphia and New York City. Upon leaving the industry in 2005, he began a career in public relations and marketing. He is currently the public relations manager for Carr Marketing Communications in Amherst, N.Y. You can follow him on Twitter, @JasMollica, and read his blog at

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Surviving the Industry During the Holidays

As PR professionals, the holiday season doesn’t necessarily mean a day off. We can normally be found with smart phones in hand, mile long to-do lists, and a full inbox. While our jobs and clients are important, it is equally important to slow things down and enjoy family, friends, and holiday fun. Here are some quick ways to remain professionally productive while enjoying the holiday season:

Plan ahead: Knowing what you have to do in advance enables you to get things done promptly. Using monthly calendars that have important dates and events listed not only helps you pan out how much needs to be done but also how much time you have to do it in.

Color Coding: Some may say that color-coding is only for the OCD organizer, but it is an extremely effective method of organization! Give every category a color, so that when it’s listed on a calendar or to-do list you instantly know the task at hand. Color-coding little things like day planners and to-do lists will also help you find daily tasks faster. The more organized you are, the more time you can spend with family and friends.

Turn Off the Smart Phone: This may be the hardest tip by far, but it is also the most crucial! Set a time each night that you will turn off your phone and stop replying to emails. Removing work distractions during time spent with family and friends insures a better time had by all.

Friends Only Social Networking: As PR professionals, many recreational social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook are used for work as much as they are used for play. Try keeping all social media interactions on a strictly recreational level. It’s much easier to have a good time when you aren’t tweeting about clients and deadlines!

These tips are sure ways to enjoy the holidays without returning to the office with a pile of work. It’s all about maintaining the balance between home life, and office life. Do you have any additional tips on balancing? Let us know!

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Amber Burns.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Big Success for #TUNoNonsense Networking

Last night one of the PRowl PR accounts hosted the first "No Nonsense Networking" event on behalf of current client, the Department of Strategic Communication. The event, targeted at StratComm alumni, current department students and StratComm faculty, allotted 10 minute increments for participants to network and ask questions about recommended classes, internship advice and job searching tips. Alumni and faculty rotated throughout the event, exposing students to a variety of fields and industries, ranging from fashion and entertainment, to agency and corporate.

A total of ten faculty and alumni participated in the event and represented organizations such as Lincoln Financial, Vault Communications, Bullfrog & Baum and Skai Blue Media to name a few. Over twenty students came to the event equipped with business cards and resumes, ready to network and make connections with well-established professionals in the communications industry.

Overall, it was an incredibly successful event. Photos from the event will be available soon on the StratComm Facebook page. To learn more about the Department of Strategic Communication, like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter at @StratCommTU.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

How to Make Your Speech Better than the Last Guy's

There is little worse in this world than sitting through a long, boring, and drawn-out speech, especially when you know that you’re the next one up. So how do you prevent continuing to bore the audience when it’s your turn? Here are some tips from and my own experiences to help ensure that your speech isn’t as bad as the last guy’s.

  • Don’t Ramble: No one wants to hear a long, rambling story that where the point is lost half way through. I’m reminded of Mitt Romney’s story about why he decided to run against Ted Kennedy in 1994 (starts around the 42 second mark). His audience was sympathetic but the pundits haven’t been.

  • Use Hand Gestures: Use hand gestures to help convey your messages. As a few of my distinguished colleagues have pointed out in no uncertain terms, I have a few go-to hand gestures when I’m speaking in public. If you’re in the same predicament, check out these tips on using appropriate body language to effectively communicate with your audience.

  • Move Around: Step away from the podium and towards the audience to address them in a more personal manner. Movement can be very effective in reducing the boredom induced by your speech’s content.

  • Humor Me: No, seriously. Make your audience laugh to break up dull parts of the speech. Remember: it’s not the end of the world if you make a mistake during your speech. Maybe a joke is all you need to get back up to speed.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Excel in Your Internship

I am ecstatic to have my first official internship with the Comcast-Spectacor Foundation working with the Philadelphia Flyers in the Spring of 2012. This is not an opportunity to be taken lightly as interns are first to hire within the company. Although I am exciting about this opportunity, I am also hesitant and anxious. Questions like,” Am I going to fit in?” “What’s appropriate language for the company?” ”How close can I get to other interns and staff?” Are constantly racing through my mind as I make this career move. Recently PR Daily sported an article “PR interns: 5 tips and tricks to excel at what you do,” has a great advice on getting the most out of your internship.

Ask Google
The article explains that when you don’t know the answer the solution might be as easy as a Google search. Also, using social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIN are not completely out of the question when looking for an answer.
This should not be an always go to but it’s an adequate solution to a simple answer and a resource that commonly gets overlooked.

There are no stupid questions
I had a second grade teacher that once told me, “There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.” As refreshing as that is at age eight, it still holds true to your internship. To avoid making a detrimental mistake that might cost your employee time and evitable money, ask questions
One of the most important questions you should ask yourself is, “How can I do more?” This will not only show your intuitive to be a more integral part of your temporary community, but also getting more of the most out of the requirements of your internship.

Each day is different
One of the biggest reasons I chose to go into the PR field was because no day would be the same. The thrill of going to work and having a new and different assignment is a true joy to me. This attitude should hold true to your internship as well. Never go in thinking you will be the same thing you did yesterday.
Frequently clients have unexpected tasks for the firm to do and more often than not you will an important part in making sure that it gets done.
Be prepared to go with flow and adapt quickly in a faced paced environment. Also, if this isn’t your style maybe this isn’t your industry, tough love.

“If you think something is taking too long to do, then it probably is”
I was once told, work smarter, not harder.” When you are taking long to do an assignment and you think to yourself, “There must be an easier way to do this.” Nine time out of ten, the answer is there probably is an easier way to do this. This is where asking questions can really come in handy. You are surrounded by professionals who have made a living at what you are attempting to do, the resources that are next to your cubical, (if you are lucky enough to have one) that you may not be taking advantage of.

Your aren’t trying to cure cancer
So unless you scored some kind of crazy medical PR internship, you’re not trying to cure cancer. I need to constantly remind myself in PRowl that I am not trying to save the world and it will most likely work itself out.  If you ask questions even ask for help it can get you a long way.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Year's Review in Crisis Communications

As 2011 quickly comes to a close, I realize I have written several blog posts this year concerning Crisis PR. To wrap-up the semester, I'd like to include a short recap of some of the more popular cases that have affected how we all see crisis communications today.
  • Netflix: When they split their business, there was a lack of communication to their consumers when this split also came with increased prices. They also chose to make their announcements via blog post as opposed to coming right out and saying it.
  • Bank of America: As if people didn't have enough issues with their banks, Bank of America customers were extremely unhappy when the bank made them pay $5 to take out their own money.
  • Penn State: While I could write a short book about everything to do with this scandal, overall Penn State did not confirm their message to the public internally, and it didn't help that when beloved Football Head Coach, Joe Paterno was fired, students on campus rioted and decided to ignore the fact that he never called the police concerning allegations against Jerry Sandusky. While THEY ARE Penn State, it will take some time for their reputation to heal.
  • Herman Cain: With various sexual allegations, he never clearly addressed them and would tiptoe around questions concerning the issue. The truth was never told and the story never went away, much to Cain's dismay and ultimately his chance to be a Presidential candidate.
Which of these Crisis PR cases did you follow? What would you do differently?

To read more about the biggest Crisis PR blunders of the year, click here.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Don't be a Quitter on Twitter

You've probably heard about Ashton Kutcher's faux pas regarding the Penn State and Joe Paterno scandal. To recap, the "That 70's Show" actor tweeted his disdain at the coach's firing, without having known the scandal behind it. Almost immediately, he rescinded his tweet and apologized. However, the damage was done and Kutcher was embarrassed, so he announced his decision to allow his team to manage his Twitter for him. Unfortunately, his followers were not pleased; instead, they felt that it was better that he tweet himself and make the occasional misstep, then to allow a third-party to puppeteer his actions.

So, is it better to just all together quit Twitter, hire someone to manage your account, or to just stick with it, when a crisis arises? According to Ryan May of Minnesota Public Relations Blog, several celebrities who have quit Twitter due to privacy reasons, came back a short time later. With celebrities threatening to quit left and right, it is important to think strategically about social media. Celebrities are magnets for negativity and criticism, so how can your turn that negativity into positivity? Last year, for instance, Kim Kardashian, Justin Timberlake, and Lady Gaga vowed to close their Twitter accounts until they raised one million dollars for Keep a Child Alive. By doing so, they played the game and turned attention away from themselves to a greater cause.

Ashton was faced with the decision whether to stay or go, so was it better to stay and risk digging himself into a deeper hole? Or leave and accept that people were going to post negative statements about him without being able to defend himself'? In the long run, Ashton decided to stay with Twitter and keep his opinions on the DL.

Do you think quitting Twitter is an effective crisis management decision? Why or why not? Let us know!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sports: best on the sidelines or in front of the TV?

I’ve never understood the pull of sports PR for individuals. There are so many people and players to have to worry about and at any moment your whole team can go down the drain. The Penn State and Syracuse scandals in one year are enough for anyone. Maybe you’re hoping to set up a press conference for Michael Vick so he can invite you to a huge mansion party. You never know, you may get a Christmas present from Ryan Howard too! All right, maybe you aren’t in it to hang out with a player and become his BFF, but the glamorous invite of the sports industry can cause daydreaming that is difficult to keep at bay.

But before we start inviting anyone to dinner, offers some solid beginning tips:

  • Write to all your area teams; college, NFL, NBA, MLB, etc.
  • Volunteer to work on game days. Working on game days is the best way to get your foot in the door with a sports team and get your first public relations experience on your resume.
  • Get a long-term internship with the team or college you've been working with.
  • Colleges in particular have a lot of work that needs to be done, as most have several sports, some with 20 or even 30+ teams that need to be covered. College PR departments tend to be underfunded, so they will generally allow interns to cover one of their lower-end sports to gain experience and save money on staff.
Like many entertainment PR fields, the most important step is putting your foot in the door and making a name for yourself. Trying out the college level and professional level positions could help hone you in on what kind of sports PR you really want to do. It is rumored that college level is more rewarding than professional, but this all depends on the person. If this particular field interests you start Googling, start writing, and start introducing yourself.

Why do you think sports PR is so popular? Or is there a more popular field in PR? Let us know!

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Katherine Carpenter.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

How to Navigate the Internship Interview

The first internship interview is always the scariest. Many potential interns anticipate the quintessential formal interview, with rapid-fire question and answer sessions, but many completely forget about informal interviews. Informal interviews take place with employers who truly want to get to know potential interns and discuss elements of the job in a more relaxed way. This type of interview is not necessarily a trap, but a warning to all potential interviewees that every move you make and every word you say is being analyzed to a T. Professionals know what they are looking for in an intern, and no matter how comfortable they wish to make you during the interview process, they also note how comfortable you seem in their environment. So here are some tips for navigating the difficult waters that encompass the internship interview process:

Ask lots of questions: Asking a lot of questions demonstrates that you are interested in the company and what the professional does. Not only that, but asking questions also shows that you are thorough and like to know all of your information before delving into a project. In public relations in general, it is always important to have as much information as possible when pitching an event or doing some major crisis management. As an intern, it is vital that you demonstrate these qualities as early as possible in the interview.

Keep on your toes: Although this probably goes without saying, it is also incredibly important that you stay up to speed on what is going on in the news, and especially the news pertaining to the company you are interviewing for. Nothing hurts your chances more than not knowing a crucial piece of information or an event which occurred in connection to the organization.

Embrace questions about yourself: This is the time to pad yourself up and talk about how awesome you are. Your resume has hopefully done that a bit for you, and now it is time to go in-depth. Add on to your work experience by connecting what you have learned in other ways outside of your work. For instance, in a recent interview, I connected my work experience with PRowl Public Relations to how I benefitted with other organizations I am a part of. PRowl Public Relations has taught me to have better time management and how to connect with others to get a task accomplished, which I use elsewhere in my life.

Employers know life is not all about work, hence why they ask you questions about what you do outside of work. It shows a bit more about who you are and how you prioritize your time, and makes you look more like a human being, rather than an internship robot. Just make sure you present your self in such a way that you both stand out, and conduct yourself professionally.

For more internship interview tips, check out Claire Celsi’s article “20 tips for mastering an internship interview

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Celina Levin.

Friday, December 2, 2011

End of the Semester Recap

Yesterday was PRowl's last staff meeting of the semester. Although everyone will still be busy working on client projects over winter break, many projects are winding down and coming to an end. These past few months have been incredibly busy with the addition of two new clients and several new staff members.

In the beginning of the semester we signed returning contracts with TUTV, Temple's student-run television station and the Department of Strategic Communication as well as welcomed two new clients, Jean Madeline Salon and Institute and Visit Bucks. On these accounts, students had the opportunity to write strategic communications plans, pitch the media, develop a social media manual, host several successful events ranging from the StratComm Social to the upcoming event, No Nonsense Networking, and help create and produce new content for a TV station.

In addition to finishing old projects and starting new ones during yesterday's meeting, we also said goodbye to a graduating staff member, Shari DaCosta, who has been with the firm for over a year, working on several accounts. The staff wishes her the best of luck on her future endeavors and plans. The 2012-2013 firm director was also announced during yesterday's meeting and a big congratulations goes to Samantha Wanner, who has proven that hard work and dedication can pay off in a year's time.

Thank you to the current staff members, previous staff members, clients and our supporters for helping this firm grow into the success that it has become. Here's to a great fall semester and an even better one in the spring.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Four Quick Ways to Maximize Blog Exposure

Do you write for a blog with a dwindling readership? If so, it may be time to reevaluate how your blog is operated and promoted. In honor of PRowl Public Relations recent ranking in a list of the Top 50 Blogs for the PR Major, here are some tips on how to increase blog exposure adopted from SEO and personal experience:

  • Link with social media accounts: What better way to increase a blog’s exposure than to promote it to different audiences? Use your social media accounts to promote and generate buzz about your blog to maximize exposure.
  • Use keywords: Many blogging websites (such as this one) allow you to add keywords to your blogs. These keywords help with navigation and SEO.
  • Generate consistent content: As with most social media, a blog is nothing without consistent content. Be sure to focus on quality of content too, you don’t want to alienate users with irrelevant or poorly-written posts.
  • Make RSS feeds available: Allowing your readers to subscribe to an RSS feed of your blog is a great way to maximize exposure. Make sure your RSS feed button is prominently displayed on your blog to encourage subscriptions.

These four simple tips will help you boost your blog's readership and exposure levels. What do you do to maximize your blog’s exposure?