Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Prowl Public Relations would like to wish everyone a happy and healthy new year! Here's to a new year full of new possibilities and new opportunities! Cheers to 2013.

What is your New Year's resolution? We want to hear!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

New Year’s Resolutions for the PR Student

With the beginning of a new year comes an opportunity for changes and self-improvement.  As we prepare to ring in the New Year, it’s time to start thinking of some New Year’s Resolutions.   As PR students, we must be adaptable to change in order to be the best rising PR pros we can be.  To ensure a happier and more successful new year, consider resolving to do the following.  
  • Keep a schedule: Between internships, classes and extracurricular activities, a PR student can maintain a busy schedule.  In order to keep track of what responsibilities are in store for a certain week, make sure you are diligent about using a planner.  Don’t let yourself be the victim of missing a deadline or an upcoming assignment from forgetfulness!
  • Clean-up social media: Consider this an early spring-cleaning for the new year.  Take a hard look at your social media accounts: is the content on your pages appropriate? Questionable photos or posts can jeopardize internship opportunities and jobs down the road.  In terms of professionalism, make sure you’re putting your best Facebook forward.
  • Look for internships NOW: It is only the beginning of 2013, but it’s never too early to start the search for summer internships. Some internships have strict  application deadlines which may be earlier than you’d expect.  Applying early shows initiative, a highly-sought trait in prospective interns.  You’ve worked hard to be considered a qualified candidate for an internship; don’t miss out because you applied too late!
  • Stay in the loop: Being informed of what’s happening in the news is essential in PR. This new year, resolve to become more knowledgeable of current events.  One way to do this?  Use Twitter, of course!  By following world and local news programs and top reporters, you will be instantly connected to what’s been reported.  

Friday, December 28, 2012

How To Craft The Perfect Tweet

As any aspiring PR professional knows, Twitter is an important platform to engage an audience. Social media managers are always looking to craft the perfect tweet. After all, aren't we all looking to get a retweet or a follow?

Here are some important tips in order to craft the perfect tweet for your company or your personal brand:

1. Links: Including links in your tweets is one easy way to get a retweet. Don't just tell people about something; show them!

2. Timeliness: Always make sure the tweets you are crafting deal with timely news. Tweets mentioning news are usually the most shared.

3. Technology News: If you are looking to gain more mentions and retweets, try tweeting about tech news.

4.  "You": Using "you" instead of "I" spark more retweets because it makes the tweet more universal and less personal.

5. Punctuation: Make sure to always use correct punctuation in your tweets. No one will retweet something with improper grammar!

Do you have any other tips to crafting the perfect tweet? Let us know!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Facebook Poke vs. Snapchat

Many of you are probably aware of or are currently use the Snapchat, the iPhone and Android application. Poke, is the new Facebook application that CEO and Founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerbeg has created. The application allows a user to send photos, videos and pokes for a limited and preset amount of time. Reviews are currently mixed for the product, including my own opinion, but because of user's familiarity with Facebook, the application was still able to climb its way to the top of the Apple Store downloads. However, as the popularity of SnapChat grows, there has become a decreasing interest in Poke. Below is a chart that compares the abilities of the two applications.

I personally prefer Snapchat to Facebook's Poke, how about you? Do you feel like Facebook will be able to continue to remain relevant and competitive?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

6 Pet Peeves Of Social Media Managers

Waking up late and posting a few tweets or Facebook posts may seem like an easy job to some, but does not even begin to describe the difficult task of being a social media manager. Social media managers serve as the face, voice, and often the interactive arm of an organization or brand. It is our job to reach out to you, know what you're talking about, and find the best way to serve you - the consumer.

Managing any social media account, especially more than one, has to be a labor of love. Yes, social media is not a typical 9-5, and there are rarely days off! It is a craft that has to be mastered over time, and many social media gurus put a lot of work into their efforts. That being said, here are 6 things that annoy almost every social media manager:

#6. Hashtags on Facebook: Imagine someone using your well written research paper as a coaster at a party. Social media managers use hashtags to track trends and to better interact with users. Facebook does not currently have a hashtag integration, so seeing them on the site will just confuse and annoy us.

#5. Scheduled Posts: Scheduled posts can either be a life saver or a life ruiner. In the wake of recent tragedies  we've seen how schedule posts can make a brand or organization seem insensitive and out of the loop.

#4. Tweetgram: Each new social media platform offers a new and exciting way to reach and interact with your audience. Twitter gave us words, and Instagram gave us photos, never were the two meant to become one in the same.

#3. The Macro-Micro Blog: Tumblr is another great social media platform offering a microblogging solution for those who have a message to get out in a few less words. So you can imagine how we, the social media managers, feel when we scroll down a tumblr dashboard only to find a 500 character blog post.

#2. Mobile Alerts: There is nothing quite like being right in the middle of a deep sleep only to be abruptly awoken by a Twitter mention. While we can turn off alerts during certain times of the night, the alerts never really stop.

#1. SOCIAL MEDIA: Yes, ask any social media manager and they will tell you that their number one pet peeve is social media itself. Our jobs create the ultimate love hate relationship, and sometimes we feel more hate than love. While we wouldn't trade our jobs for anything, every social media manager has seen or reached his or her breaking point!

Monday, December 24, 2012


Last week, Facebook and Twitter ignited with indignant messages against Instagram's new terms of service. The revised terms of service statement used language that made it seem like Instagram would obtain the rights to all user photos, giving them the freedom to use photos for advertisement purposes, without the user's permission. Needless to say, people per upset and many even closed their accounts.

On Wednesday, Instagram co-founder and CEO Kevin Systrom responded to the crisis via a blog post. Basically, Systrom admitted that Instagram made a mistake and jumped the gun too fast. The company failed to communicate with its audience and left users in the dark.

But the privacy issue is not the only factor that is raising heads. The updated terms of service also dictates that if a minor signs up for Instagram, then the minor is assumed to already have parental permission. Want to file a suit? Users must file an opt-out agreement within 30 days of joining Instagram, to Facebook's headquarters (Facebook bought out Instagram in April).

It is going to take a long time for Instagram to regain its users' trust after these recent discoveries. What do you think of the revised terms of service? Let us know!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Stamping A New Path Of Promotion

There is a new type of promotion that this taking over the world of branding recently, street art. I first noticed this type of advertising when I was on my way to the Temple University Tech Center. I noticed a small stamp near the bell tower on the ground in bright white chalk paint with the name of an event and a date. I couldn’t help but consider how genius this type of marketing strategy was, it was extremely simple while at the same time generating great publicity for the event. 

Upon doing some more research on this new type of promotion, I discovered that the street stamp is becoming more and more popular in cities as a way to get people interested in new brands. The main idea of the street stamp is to subtly draw attention to a brand, event, or organization by leaving a small stamp with the logo in high traffic areas such as public walkways, college campuses, and city sidewalks. The main reason that this type of branding is successful is because it draws curiosity to the brand. The first time that I saw the Temple Made Live stamp on the sidewalk I was immediately intrigued. I quickly started asking around trying to figure out what the deal was with the event. 

While posters and flyers are the typical types of promotion used to generate publicity about people or events, the street stamps are almost always more successful because they generate that curiosity. With posters and fliers, all the information you need about an event or person is automatically given to you; but with the street stamp, you are required to do your own research. This type of promotion will drive people to Google the brand or look it up on Twitter or Facebook, which ultimately is generating the brand more publicity than it would receive otherwise. 

Have you noticed any street stamp promotions around? What drew you to them and where have you seen them? Let us know!

This guest blog post was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Lexi Drexler 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

It’s OK to get Uncomfortable

In the blink of an eye I have found myself caught up in a tornado of blow driers and an ever-present cloud of hair spray.  I feel like Dorothy being thrown into an unfamiliar salon-version of Oz.  I recently started my very first internship with Andre Richard Salon and I couldn’t be more excited.  I can’t wait to put my PR skills to real-world use.  The problem is, while I know a good deal about public relations, I know absolutely nothing about salons.  

College is the perfect time to step outside your comfort zone.  There are so many opportunities and paths to take it is almost impossible not to.  This internship is a pretty big leap outside of my comfort zone, but it is a leap into a lot of learning potential.  I am going to learn the ins and outs of the salon world, products, and styling—and how a PR pro maneuvers through it all.

I’ve only been working at the salon for a few weeks but I have already learned a lot. Having a wide breadth of knowledge will only make you more appealing to future employers.  Taking that step outside of your comfort zone is the way to gain more experience and more knowledge in an area you might not have considered before.  So join a new club, apply for a long-shot internship or job, or take a class outside of your major just for fun— you never know what it might lead to. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Gift Guide 101: What To Get The PR Student

It's the most wonderful time of the year! Trees are up and decorated, the fireplace is burning, gingerbread houses are being made and your Christmas list is complete - well, almost. Struggling to find the perfect gift for the PR student in your life? Or are you a PR student looking to get yourself something fabulous and functional for the New Year? Well, look no further!

Here are five essential gifts that would be perfect for almost any public relations student:

1. AP Stylebook: The newest edition of course! Every student looking to land a career in the field of communication needs to stay up to date with AP Style. Costing anywhere from $13 to $20 ($25 for an online subscription), this book is an inexpensive must have for a PR student.

2. iPad or iPad mini: Does this even need an explanation?

3. Annual Subscriptions: PR Week and PR Daily rank among the best PR resources. Surprise the PR student in your life with an online subscription to one of these and they will love you forever.

4. PRSSA Membership: Becoming a member of the Public Relations Student Society of America opens many doors for a student looking to become a PR professional. PRSSA offers a key opportunity in the PR world - the opportunity to network with other PR students as well as professionals. PRSSA offers holuday discounts too!

5. Hector Serrano Digital Downtime Watch: For the social media obsessed PR student (hint, hint we all are), make sure to pick up this stylish and functional watch. This watch helps with time management by divvying up time spent on Facebook, Twitter and Gmail each day. Confused? This video explains how it works:

Is there anything else on your list? Let us know!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Will you marry me?

DJ Deadmau5, Joel Zimmerman, asked on-again-off-again girlfriend Kat Von D, Katherine von Drachenberg famous tattoo artist, to marry him by Tweeting a picture of an engagement ring.

@deadmau5 tweeted, “I can’t wait for Christmas so… Katherine Von Drachenburg, will you marry me?” and included a twitpic with an engagement ring decorated with sculls and a caption that read, “Changing the diamond to a black diamond, FYI. Sorry for the jpg… They’ll finish the actual ring soon I hope.” Only after 5 minutes @thekatvond replied, “YES!”

Celebrities are sidestepping their publicist and making Twitter their personal statement forum. Similar to crisis management, celebrities are getting in front of the tabloids and releasing their own personal statement and avoiding terrible headlines. Simultaneously, Twitter is also being used to catch celebrities and unflattering moments. Do you think publicist are becoming obsolete with personal account such as Twitter? 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Closing The Book

As we prepare to say farewell to another year, it is likely that many PR pros are saying goodbye to old clients and prepping to usher in new ones. Closing an account or completing a client project should always envolve more than wishing the client well and going on your way. While it may seem evident to you that you did your job, and very well at that, you may have to outline and make clear exactly what you've done for a client. These are usually done in the form of an evaluation report. Even if you aren't closing an account with a client, providing evaluation reports is a great way to make sure you and the client are on the same page. Here are some things you should include in your evaluation:

  • Review the original goal: Provide details what you set out to do for the client. Although this has likely been outlined in the original contract, providing it again helps to refresh the client's and your memories.
  • Results: What did you get done for the client? Track how well you accomplished all of the original goals that were set. Be sure to be honest, the client deserves to know what you actually did.
  • Problems and solutions: What strategies or tactics didn't work out so well? Here is a chance for you to explain some of the less favorable results you may have gotten. Note things that you would do differently the next time around. Maybe you hosted an event the same night as another event in town, so next time you know to check local event calendars before setting a date.
  • What went right: Talk about some of the good things that happened on the account. Maybe you enhanced media relations or increased awareness about your client locally or nationally. All of those things are great and while they may not be quantifiable, they are more than noteworthy.
  • Reevaluate and reset goals: Now that you and the client have a better idea of what works and what doesn't work to meet their needs, you can form new realistic goals for the client. For example, if you found that the client's target audience responded well via social media, then hosting a social media contest is more than doable for that client.
Have you ever done an evaluation report for a client? Share your experiences with us.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Where Do We Draw The Line?

This past Friday we all heard the news of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut. 26 people were killed in the shooting that rocked the country and changed the lives of many. On the day of the tragedy, parents of the children  flocked to the school, understandably anxious to hold their children and make sure they were all right. Unfortunately, 20 sets of parents were not able to do so.

Throughout the day, news stations covered the scene nonstop. Twitter and Facebook went into overdrive with constant updates and live streams of press conferences from the police force on the scene. President Obama emotionally responded to the tragedy and expressed his condolences to the parents and family members of the deceased, on behalf of the nation. 

But on the home front, as parents were arriving at the school to pick up their children who just witnessed a shooting, reporters from major news stations like CNN and CBS were interviewing the 5-10 year old students who were luckily able to escape the massacre. Most were unable to really express what happened besides hearing screaming and gunshots. Conversations have been going on about how parents should explain the shooting and how such a traumatic experience will effect them in the future. In the meantime, national news stations were desperate to cover all the bases, even if it meant interviewing shaken up, traumatized children.

What do you think? Was the media right to interview the young victims of the shooting? Or should they have drawn the line given the circumstances?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About

As we are all aware, communication is one of the main aspects of public relations. As the technology age continues to grow, our interpersonal communication skills start to diminish. Interpersonal relations, which are the communication skills or relationships between people, are key in the public relations industry. Relationships are built off of the communication exchanges people have. 

Because of the new dependence on technology, people see less reason to have direction conversations with each other. Meetings, conferences and just day-to-day discussion can take place through email, which makes talking to someone directly on the phone less important. Emailing can be seen as a haven for those who fear direct conversations; responses are delayed, which give people an opportunity to ponder their response rather than being put on the spot for an immediate answer. 

Technology is a fairly recent phenomenon and people have certainly jumped on the bandwagon. The appeal comes from the convenience factor. People can juggle a million other things while sending emails, participating in teleconferences, or even sending a text message.  

The reliance on text messaging also greatly affects the communication skills that are so important. Text messaging allows people to be informal in their conversations, which becomes a habit that translates into everyday life. Text messages require little to no grammar and abbreviations of words; these habits cannot be reflected into our professional life. Thinking before writing and not incorporating social text with professional writing will result in the best respect.  

It’s important to remember that when dealing with clients and professional workers, keeping your writing professional will serve you well. People want to see you as a credible professional and the first start is through your writing. Although technology is an instrumental part of our everyday lives, we must use it rather than abuse it and not rely solely on its powers for our ways of communication. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

5 “Don’ts” For The First Week of an Internship

The first week of a new internship can be an intimidating experience for most people, and trying to remember every small detail while on the job can be hard. With the start of spring internships right around the corner, it is important to keep these 5 “Don’ts” in mind during your first week:

1. Don’t be overwhelmed- The first week of an internship can be an overwhelming experience. Many times your boss will load you up with multiple assignments because they are happy to have the help, and you might feel way out of your league when you go to sit back down at your desk. However, this is not the case! Take a deep breath, give yourself a pep-talk and prioritize your assignments, making sure to allot extra time to more detailed tasks. 

2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions- Sometimes it can be easy to think of internships as things that enhance a resume and forget that they are huge learning opportunities. Ask questions! Not only about an assignments, but industry questions as well. Curiosity and a thirst to learn is an attractive quality to an employer, and shows that you’re there to make the most of your experience. 

3. Don’t be distracted- In the linked-in world we live in today, it is easy to want to communicate with friends through texts and Twitter while on the clock, but resist the urge to be absorbed in your phone all day. Being 100% engaged in your work shows your interest and dedication to the job.

4. Don’t turn down any offers from your boss - In the first week on a job, many things are thrown your way. Lunch outings, sitting in on meetings and staff team building opportunities might seem to take a back seat to your assignments, but they are just as important. Take advantage of sitting in on a meeting or conference call. Showing an interest in your new work environment will allow co-workers to get to know you better and make you feel more comfortable.

5. Don’t run out the door at 5 p.m. on Friday without touching base with HR- Although 5 p.m. Friday might be looking like the answer to your prayers after a long first week, make sure to drop in the Human Resources office before leaving and let them know how you like the internship. Tell them about some of the things you have already learned and accomplished in your first week. They will be happy that you thought to touch base with them and pleased to hear the feedback. As always, thanking them for the job opportunity once more can’t hurt!

Most importantly: have fun and don’t be too hard on yourself! As time progresses you will get more comfortable with your boss, assignments and new environment. Your hard work and efforts landed you this internship; you are there for a reason!

What are some suggestions you might have for new interns? Leave us a comment!

This guest blog post was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Tessa Cohn.

Friday, December 14, 2012

3 Questions to Ask at the End of an Interview

Whether you are a student looking to secure an internship for next semester or a recent graduate still on the hunt for a job, you are probably have been real familiar with the interview process. 

During the past couple of months, I have been both an interviewee and interview. As redundant as the interview process can get, I have found that the most interesting part of the actual interview is the end. Although it is important to provide a great first impression to a potential employer, as well as acing the basics of a typical job interview, closing the interview strong is just as important.

Here are three essential questions you should ask you're interviewer at the end of your interview to finish strong and leave a lasting impression to help establish yourself at a top candidate:

1. What Made You Want To Interview Me?
Learning specifically what is in your resume that attracted the interviewers's interest gives you a sense of how the organization, and other potential employers, view your talents. 

2. What Excites You About Coming Into Work? 
People love the opportunity to talk about themselves, so this question provides an excellent chance to learn about the hiring manager and find ways to establish common ground.

3. How Would You Describe Your Best Employees?
This is a subtle way of determining company values!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

SMS, A Twenty Year Relationship

On December 3, 1992, Neil Papworth, a 22-year-old software engineer, was the first person to send an SMS text. Papworth used a computer to send the text message to his boss. The text message read, "Merry Christmas". Twenty years later, the number of SMS sent has risen at an astronomic rate. The form of communication even surpasses the more traditional phone call.

SMS texting transcends age groups and cultures because of its simplicity, conciseness, and compatibility with all types of mobile phones. We even have SMS texting to thank for Twitter. Twitter was originally intended be used via SMS texting, hence the 160 character limit (including handle). 

I believe SMS text messaging, unlike many other forms of communication and social interaction will be around and relevant for at least another 20 years. What do you think?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Surviving Finals

For Temple University students this is the week where we pull out our hair, bite our finger nails and overdose on caffeine. THIS IS FINALS WEEKS. For some classes, finals require a final paper, presentation, test, or a combination of all three.   To survive the hellish week here are some tips to get you through:

Get some sleep
It’s no secret that a good night’s rest helps your concentration but sleep is not just a form of rest. Sleep plays a critical physiological function and is indispensable for intellectual development.  In 2005 a study conducted by Dr. Robert Stickgold revealed that with less sleep, we reduce the recall of facts we learned before or after a shortened night.

Caffeine chemical composition works in three related ways. It enhances alertness by inhibiting the action of adenosine, which gives you a physical boost by increasing the amount of adrenaline in your system and contributes to a euphoric state which activities the brain’s pleasures centers. In combination, these affect a state where we feel energy which catalyzes our creativity and awareness. Conveniently there are three caffeine dispensary on campus: Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks and Saxby’ s.

Brain foods and hydration
Staying full and focused is extremely important before taking an exam. Your brain requires a steady supply of glucose which fuels you body’s cells. Dr. Joy  Bauer, a New York-based dietician and “Woman’s Day” columnist, suggests the best choices for brain food includes salmon, fortified-eggs, ground flax seeds, chia seeds and walnuts. Fruits, especially bananas, are also attributed to reducing stress. Also during your exam, be sure to drink lots of water, it keeps you clam and helps with oxygen flow to your brain.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Microsoft Gets Socl

Last Tuesday, Microsoft launched a new social media platform called 'Socl.' Similar to Pinterest, Socl (pronounced "social") allows users to create custom collages to share their thoughts and ideas. The project began as a research experiment on social search targeted at students. According to the Socl website, Socl is "...a service where people connect over shared interests expressed through beautiful posts that take only seconds to create."

Unlike Pinterest, Socl allows users to create their collages through searching things that are of interest to them. The photos are collected from Bing, Microsoft's search engine, and then users can select which photos they would like to have featured in their post. Each post made on Socl can be comprised of images, videos, or links found through the Bing searches.

Socl also gives users a chance to interact with each other. Users have the option to "follow" other users and can also send private messages. Socl also has a creative feature called "riffs." Through "riffs," users can create visual responses to other users posts. For example, if I made a collage on the color purple and that inspired another user, they could create a riff of my post, extending the conversation past my own collage. This interesting feature along with Socls ability to translate posts into other languages, allows people from all over the globe to connect through their common interest.

As of now, I'm sure users and developers alike are trying to figure out exactly where Socl fits in the world of social networking. While different in many ways, Socl does have many similarities to popular social sites, mainly Pinterst and Tumblr, which make it hard to distinguish what exactly Socl has to offer that the others don't. Nevertheless, as public relations professionals, it's our job to know this new social site like the inside of our Twitter feeds. You never know when a client or superior is going to want you to utilize it. It is always better to be in the know!

Have you tried Socl yet or do you plan to try it in the future? Let us know!

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Prank Gone Wrong

When news broke that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Kate, are expecting their first baby, baby fever broke. Countdowns started, rumors of twins swirled and breakdowns of the royal hierarchy occurred on every news outlet. 

A radio show in Australia decided to chime into the commotion by prank calling the hospital that Kate Middleton was staying at, for severe morning sickness. The hosts of the show, Mel Greig and Michael Christian chose to impersonate Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles. In the prank call, they spoke with a member of the nursing staff, Jacintha Saldanha. Grieg and Christian inquired about the baby and obtained private information about Duchess Kate's condition. For the rest of the prank, the talk show hosts rattled on about corgis and random eccentric comments before hanging up, failing to mention that this was all a joke.

Later in the week, Saldanha was found dead of apparent suicide. Soon after news of her death broke, Greig and Christian's Twitter accounts were suspended and their radio show pulled off the air.

What do you think about the prank? Is it fair that the radio hosts receive all of the blame? Let us know!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Public Relations World of a Capella

A few of the many perks of joining a Temple student organization are that they are great resume boosters, they expose you to people who share similar interests as you, and they allow you to continue learning about something you love without required course credit. Temple’s a Capella groups do just that for both music majors and non-music majors. With four registered a Capella groups at Temple: Singchronize, Broad Street Line, Owlcapella, and Low Key, each group brings unique sounds and fun songs to the stage. These groups are filled with musicians who are passionate about their talent so much that they are willing to commit hours every week to rehearsing and performing. 
Though the musical aspects of a Capella are what really keep people a part of them, public relations is also vital to the groups’ credibility and audience capacity. So, each group collaborated to come up with a great PR tool that everyone can benefit from. This past semester, the a Capella family coordinated an event called Serenade at the Circle. It takes place around 10pm on the last Thursday of every month on campus. Each group performs two to three songs to display their musical abilities as well as to give the other a Capella groups a sense of what everyone has been working on. Not only has this built a stronger support system within the a Capella family, but it also draws in audience members from those passing through campus on a Thursday night. The turnout at this monthly event has gotten progressively larger, and is a great way for the groups to advertise upcoming performances. 
In addition to this fun event, each group is also responsible for promoting themselves as much as possible throughout the semester. This upcoming weekend, Singchronize and Broad Street Line will have their annual winter concerts Both groups have made Facebook events for the concerts, created flyers to post around Temple’s campus, and have passed on the event info to friends and family from home. The groups are expecting a great turnout and anticipate putting on a high quality, fun show for everyone to enjoy.
Public relations is a part of almost anything you get involved with at Temple as well as a future job. These a Capella groups have done their part to use public relations to their highest advantage. 
Are the organizations you are apart of using public relations effectively? Let us know how!

This guest blog post was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Madeline Barry.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Penn State Doesn’t Learn Their Lesson

The dark cloud named Sandusky haunted Penn State’s reputation this past year. In fact, people are still sensitive to the subject and question Penn State’s morals. Though Mr. Sandusky wasn’t a student at the school, he was still a member of that community who was held to a certain standard. A part of Penn State’s defense for Sandusky claimed that the scandal didn’t reflect the students or other faculty’s personal beliefs, and this scandal did not define the Penn State community.
 As of this week Penn State is singing a similar tune when a their chapter of Chi Omega Sorority posted an offensive photo to Facebook that spread like wild fire through the internet. The entire chapter of the sorority poses in a picture all dressed in ponchos, sombreros and fake mustaches. This was meant to be a “Mexican” theme party, but the problem wasn’t what the girls were wearing it was the signs two of them were holding. The offensive signs read “I don’t cut grass, I smoke it” and “Will mow lawn for weed and beer.” These were obviously mocking some career choices by people in that culture. Penn State issues the statement “These costumes and this group do not represent fraternity and sorority life at Penn State, or the 95,000 students who attend our University.” What I find puzzling in this situation is how Penn State is handling another crisis within their organization. To start off, the statement is confusing considering the sorority is affiliated with the University therefore being a representative of the Chi Omega chapter at Penn State. 
I also don’t see a call to action on behalf of Penn State. With a reputation already damaged, what would alumni and potential students think about how this behavior represents the University? The Penn State administrators need to put their priority into this – take control of the situation and not look the other way like the Sandusky case. I personally think that the University needs to kick the sorority out, they should no longer be allowed to affiliate with Penn State in any way. I wouldn’t usually suggest this aggressive tactic, but considering the dark cloud that still sits over the University; they need to make a statement that they do care about how their organization is represented. 
How do you think Penn State should deal with this? Are they damaging their already frail reputation? 

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

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Finals Count Down

If you are in college then you are either currently taking finals or your finals are quickly approaching. As aspiring public relations professionals, many of us pride ourselves on being master multi-taskers but sometimes we don't always know how to slow done. Finals are stressful, but you don't have to let them get you down. Below, find a few tips to help you prepare and to de-stress.

1. Start early
Studying shouldn't begin the night before your exam. Preparation for your final exam should be a semester long process. Down to the last minute? Spend most of your time focusing on the main points and cram a little bit of those extraneous details in last.

2. Get organized
Outline when each of your finals are and all the materials each final covers. Break up your study time based upon this outline and divide and conquer!

3. Ask for help
Ask your roommate, friend or Skype mom or dad back home and ask them to quiz you. Studying verbally and with another person is proven to enhance your retention capabilities.

4. Sleep
Finals are designed to make you think. If you are so exhausted that you cannot even process any of the information you crammed, it won't even be worth it.

5. Keep calm
We've all seen the motto"Keep Calm, and Carry On..." but let's take it to heart. Stressing out during the exam will make you feel overwhelmed and you will begin to doubt yourself. If you answered a question and you are fairly certain it was the correct choice, don't change it. It's been found that when you change you answer during a test, you tend to change it to a wrong answer. Be confident!

My exams are next week and I've already begun studying, have you? If so, how will you be preparing?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

What is Corporate PR?

Corporate PR can have many different platforms including internal and external functions. Internal functions of corporate PR can range from employee social media, such as a blog, to an internal newsletter highlighting employee affairs. External PR for corporations can be vaster and include numerous messages to various publics. In my experience with Comcast-Spectacor, I worked in community relations, or CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), which is just one of the ways corporations exercise public relations. Another, and more publicized function of PR in corporations, is crisis communications. Crisis communications is typically executed in-house and is a part of the existing PR team, however, depending on the size of the company and the severity of the situation, crisis communications teams can be brought in to asses a particular case.    More recently, corporations are using social media, and social media contests, to connect and engage their publics.

The main function of corporate PR is to connect with various publics using means such as press releases, social media, products and events to facilitate the building and managing relationships. No matter what PR industry you chose one thing remains the same, knowing your audience is essential to running and executing an effective PR strategy. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The 5 Friends You Should Meet In PR

You've heard it once, and I'm sure you will hear it a million times more; public relations is dependent upon relationships. Much of what we do as public relations professionals could not be done if there were not other hardworking people in various professions also striving to do their jobs well. PR may be our passion, but people should be our specialty. It is important that we make connections with professionals in various areas, and make our relationships as symbiotic as possible. Below are 5 people that PR professionals should include in their personal networks:

The Operations Manager - Having trouble finding out exactly when a certain person is in the office? Or what certain logistics are for an event happening that is of interest to you? Then contacting the operations manager is your best bet. This person will know most if not all of the details you're looking for - from where the plates and spoons are being ordered from to which celebrities will grace the step and repeat.

The Journalist - This is one of the most stressed relationships in public relations. The perfect client with the perfect PR strategy is nothing without somewhere to place the story. Always keep good relations with journalists of all kinds - bloggers, print journalists, broadcast journalists, you never know who you will need to pitch to.

The Venue Owner - Event specialists, this one is for you! Large or small, every event needs to happen somewhere. Keeping strong ties with venue owners will help you make the event of your client's dreams come to fruition.

The Web/Graphic Designer - Is your client launching a new website or online project? Not without proper web execution! Many times, we want to suggest things to our clients that neither we nor them can execute. Many firms do not have an in-house graphic designer or web developer, and out sourcing may exceed budgets. Having a reliable friend in the industry means you always have someone to call on when those tough projects come up.

The Fellow PR Pro - No one will understand what you do more than those who are also in your industry. The smartphone attachment, email obsession, and slight case of anxiety may not make sense to those around you, but you can always count on your fellow PR pro to understand what you're going through.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Tierney vs. Tierney

Most of you who read this blog are aware that Temple University is located right in the city of Philadelphia. Among many PR agencies that are also situated in the City of Brotherly Love is Tierney Communications. Originally, Tierney was started by its namesake, Brian Tierney. In 2003, Tierney (the person) left Tierney Communications, which was then taken over by current owner Interpublic Group of Companies.

Since then, Brian Tierney has moved on to several ventures, most recently, in 2010, he created Brian Communications Group. BCG is a PR and digital marketing firm located in the Philly suburb of Bryn Mawr. The "problem" with this is that under the BCG logo, the sub-head A Brian Tierney Company is featured. Tierney Communications has a big problem with this. According to an article by, the company "claims that Tierney and his new firm 'consistently misuse the 'Brian Tierney' name in order to unfairly compete against the Plaintiffs.'"

Tierney Communications claims that they own the domain name, but when users (myself included) type the web address into the web address bar, they are immediately connected to BCG's website. Interesting.

Tierney Communications is suing Brian Tierney for intentionally trying to confuse prospective clients in his favor. The company did send Tierney a cease-and-desist letter this past May, but received no response.

What do you think about this? Do you think Tierney Communications is right to file a suit against its namesake? Let us know!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Food Crisis Worse Than Your Ramen Diet

The Holidays are here, and they are without a doubt the cause of the ‘eat and regret it later’ movement. This is the time when you gain all of the pounds you promise yourself you’ll lose before summer. From Thanksgiving turkey to apple pies, food is a MUST for the Holidays. So in honor of the season of giving, (your mother the nod to pass the salt, that is), here’s a public relations food crisis that has taught us all a valuable lesson in PR crisis management. 

Case study: Wrigleys and the Trayvon Martin tragedy 

The February 2012 death of 16-year-old African American Trayvon Martin who was shot and killed by neighborhood watch captain and former security officer George Zimmerman caused a national outcry that sparked debates on issues of race, discrimination, gun laws, and even police practices.

One of the last things he would ever hold in his hand is a pack of Skittles, which became a national symbol of the tragedy that had occurred. Protestors across the country began to buy Skittles to advocate for equality and justice causing Skittles sales to skyrocket. Many Americans felt Wrigleys, the parent company, had an obligation to donate to Martin’s family and other related charities. 

Wrigley’s did the best thing which was to stay neutral and away from the spotlight saying, “We are deeply saddened by the news of Trayvon Martin’s death and express our sincere condolences to his family and friends. We also respect their privacy and feel it inappropriate to get involved or comment further as we would never wish for our actions to be perceived as an attempt of commercial gain following this tragedy.” 

This is a prime example of how some of the best PR crises are those we never hear of.  Wrigley’s was quick, respectful, and most importantly, unbiased. We can all (including the folks at Chick-Fil-A) definitely learn a lesson or two from the PR folks at Wrigleys. 

This guest blog post was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Antinnea Skipwith.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

R-E-S-P-E-C-T : Why Public Relations Doesn’t Always Receive It

As a Senior Strategic Communications student, I am used to having relatives I haven’t seen in a while ask, “What exactly is it that you are studying?” When I tell them that I eventually want to get into public relations, they look at me like they have no idea what I am talking about They then go on to ask if it’s like Advertising or like Marketing, and they still don’t understand the importance (or relevance) of what I want to do. 

When talking to friends who hope to break into public relations, this seems to be a wide spread issue, and recently while looking through other blogs, I have noticed others seeing this as well.  Patrick Coffee, from PRNewser goes into the five things that make public relations such a hard job to understand, and in turn, respect:
  • Problems measuring success. Public Relations campaigns are not a hard science. You can’t use x+y=z in the PR realm. Certain things will work for certain people and not others. Also, it is hard to calculate the exact value in media coverage since there is no specific dollar amount to relate it to.
  • Problems with scalability. Business people sometimes think that if one idea worked, just do more of it! This is almost never the case with public relations work, and it is hard for some to understand why this is. 
  • Bad relations with journalists. The mass email is NOT your friend–it’s that simple. Some PR professionals don’t understand that they need to tailor their pitches to emphasize how it benefits and fulfills each specific journalist’s wants and needs. 
  • PR cannot fix everything. Arthur W. Page, the first PR man to serve on the board of directors of a major company is known for the principle “Public perception of an organization is determined 90 percent by what it does and 10 percent by what it says.” When a brand hits rock bottom, such as BP, the public generally won’t buy what its PR team is selling. There is no use in putting lipstick on a pig.

How do you explain to people what you do? Do you think the emergence of newer PR tools, such as social media, are helping others see how important public relations is to an organization?

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