Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Down with Debt

How would you like $20,000 toward your student loans?

According to CNN Money, the average student loan debt is $30,000  for graduates of Pennsylvania Universities.

In an effort to encourage students to start saving money and pay back their student debt faster, MassMutual Financial Group introduced their new Facebook campaign, “Down with Debt” which will reward one recent graduate with $20,000 toward their student loans.

"MassMutual recognizes that new graduates and young professionals in today’s world face big financial challenges," said Tara Reynolds, MassMutual's corporate vice president. "As a result, we created 'Down with Debt' to help people learn about effective ways to conquer their loans and take smart first steps in building a secure financial future."

MassMutual intends on using the Facebook campaign as an opportunity to educate a younger demographic on their monetary future.

As an almost grad this was a very attractive campaign. I do not know much about finances; 401 K’s, various CD packages and low-high mutual funds all seem like a foreign language. So as someone who is always looking for a viable resource for pretty much everything from Philly’s best restaurants to thrifts stores, this is a great opportunity to get ahead on my finances. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Twitter + Video = PR Pro Heaven

For years now, Twitter has been a go to platform and service for PR professionals. It took a while, but we managed to master the 140 character press release, the Twitter media list, and making all of our tweets retweetable. But now, Twitter has upped the ante once again and this time it seems they have PR pros in mind!

Last Thursday, January 24th, Twitter released a new mobile app service called The Vine. Available for both iPhone and iPod touch, The Vine allows users to record 6 second videos to share on Twitter, Facebook, and The Vine platform. Imagine, a timeline that will now be filled with text, photos, and video! Gone are the days where you would have to link to a video in hopes that your follower's curiosity would be sparked enough to click. Now, you can share your video messages easily and conveniently. To see The Vine app in action, visit Twitter's Official Blog here.

The integration of The Vine into Twitter is definitely a point in favor of PR, but can also present some challenges and struggles in the beginning. However, like the 140 character press release, we PR pros will also master the 6 second shared video. Here are a few ways you can create 6 seconds of video genius:

  • Promotional Videos: If your client is launching a new product, website, or other service, send your followers a teaser of things to come by posting a short promo video.
  • Sneak Peaks: Everyone loves to find out what's going on behind the scenes. Take some quick footage of the production process of your client's latest project and share it with your fans!
  • Recaps: Instead of posting quotes from a speaker, why not share the actual video of them speaking? This is bound to be much more interactive and gain a higher response.
These are just a few ways to implement The Vine's services, of course the possibilites are endless. Have you heard of The Vine, and will you use it? Let us know, and share your creations on Twitter with @PRowlPR!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Deadly Fire in Brazil

Firefighters at the scene of Kiss night club Agencia RBS/AFP/Getty Images
I woke up this morning to the news that there was a devastating fire early this morning at a night club in Brazil. Almost 250 people have been reported dead so far. The suspected cause is sparks stemming from a pyrotechnic performance at the night club. Allegedly, some of the emergency exits were locked, preventing patrons from being able to escape, once the fire ignited and spread within seconds. However, many lay blame to asphyxiation caused by the fire. As a result of a lack of oxygen, people became confused and disoriented in a struggle to find an exit. 50 people were found in the club's bathroom, which was confused for an exit.

Kiss, the night club where the fire erupted is a popular party destination for college kids in Santa Maria. 300-500 people were inside the club at the time of the fire making it difficult for emergency personnel to get inside. The emergency services were commended for their quick response.

The night club fire is set to have the highest death toll from a fire since 2000. It is yet to be seen who will be liable for the accident; the band who launched the pyrotechnics, or the scene of the fire, Kiss.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

What’s Bigger than the Super Bowl?

It’s that time of year again- the eagerly anticipated and most watched program on television is just around the corner. There will be jerseys, face painting, greasy food, and of course beer flying off the shelves over the next several days. Getting the hints? Yes, I am in fact talking about Super Bowl XLVII. I have clearly stated the obvious about the upcoming game, but there is much more that goes into the big day than one may realize. 
Like every year, corporations and businesses drop an extraordinary amount of money to advertise during the game. These commercials are no joke, racking in nearly $4 million each for a measly 30 seconds. Because the advertisements have become nearly bigger than the game itself, the Super Bowl is a major platform for PR and marketing pros to catch their target audience.
Lisa Zlotnick, Lippe Taylor‘s VP of media said, “[This] is an opportunity for PR. The media wants to tell this story. The key is to think of creative ways to incorporate your clients into one of the biggest nights of the year and get your brands out there.” PR pros disect the Super Bowl from every angle to determine ways to reach the target audience. They will take the teams playing into account, the psychographics of their fans, they will consider gender, and all age groups watching. The Super Bowl is designed to incorporate something that fits all niches for viewers; competition, humor, music, technological advancements, and graphic design elements. All of these areas of interest are addressed and it's what makes for the vast audience that tunes in. 
The commercials are there to spark creativity, individuality, and of course conversation about the brand. The third-party credibility part follows, and that is when PR steps in. So, who’s going to be watching? I know I’m not missing Beyonce’s performance… 

This guest blog post was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Nicole Leo.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

What I have learned from PRowl

This time last year, I received an email from Niki Ianni telling me I was officially hired to be part of PRowl Public Relations and I cried and called my parents immediately. I was so excited to be part of something so incredible and to start my career as a young PR student. After a year with PRowl, I am headed to Paris to study abroad and am sad to be leaving. Following an incredible year, filled with track changes, emails, presentations and the building of incredible relationships, PRowl has taught me two important skills that will help me immensely when I study abroad.

1. Networking- As I head to Paris, I do not know ANYONE. I am not going through Temple University so I am going to a foreign country, alone. Luckily, PRowl has taught me the importance of networking and communication with others. After multiple networking events, I have learned that is it not that scary to introduce yourself to someone, carry a conversation and build a relationship. I will use this very important skill and my French skills to meet new people and make lasting relationships like the ones I have made in PRowl.

2. It is OK to make mistakes- The first assignment I sent to my account executive came back completely red, filled with track changes and comments.  When I called my mentor about the track changes, she told me not to worry, they were not there to deter me but rather to help me improve. All of the edits and constructive criticism I received helped me develop as a writer, PR student and a person. As I head to Paris, I have five semesters of college French in my head but I know I will freeze at points and instead of saying “bonjour” say “hey”, but that is OK. PRowl has taught me that mistakes are nothing to be ashamed of; they are a learning device to help you in the future.

As I leave one incredible experience for another, I think back to one year ago and how I have developed with the help of PRowl Public Relations. I have learned important skills about PR, life and myself and I feel more prepared than ever to take these skills abroad and succeed!

This guest blog post was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Brianna Rooney.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Overwhelmed? Overcome it!

For most of us college students, today marks the end of our first week back on campus. We still haven't mastered our schedules, are most definitely sleep deprived and still have textbooks to purchase. It all can seem, well - a bit overwhelming. Stress and time management are common themes in the world of academia. It is always beneficial, instead of diving in head first, to step back and look at what you can do to help yourself before the semester truly begins.

Here are some things you can do to get yourself organized, relaxed and ready to bring on the spring semester!

1. Schedule your day, down to the hour - Having everything you need to accomplish written down on a schedule or in a planner will help you to procrastinate less and focus more.

2. Take your time - Quality is better than quantity. Don't rush small assignments in the beginning of the semester because that will become a habit all semester long. Make sure you give yourself enough time to produce quality work.

3. Don't take more on than you can handle - Think you can handle 18 credits, a part time job, an internship AND a social life? It will never happen. Make sure your plate isn't too full this semester so you can focus better.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Meet PRowl's Newest Members

PRowl is pleased to hire nine new members for their 2013 semester. Read below and get to know our new members!

Jess Mancuso
Jess is a sophomore at Temple University with a major in Public Relations and a minor in General Business Studies.  Jess loves public relations and is very excited to enhance her experience in the industry by working for PRowl. Jess is actively involved with many different activities on campus such as her sorority, alpha epsilon phi, club tennis, Whip radio and Jewish life on campus. Jess is very excited to work with many talented individuals here at PRowl. 

Jaime Martorana
Jaime is a sophomore studying Strategic Communications and General Business Studies through the Fox School of Business. Jaime thrives in the city of Philadelphia and
wouldn't want to live anywhere else. She enjoys traveling and a good book.  Jaime couldn't be happier to join the PRowl Public Relations team!

Kelly Dougherty
Kelly is a sophomore double majoring in Strategic Communications and BTMM. She is originally from Wilkes- Barre PA, but right now loving Philadelphia! Kelly loves sports and hopes to pursue a career sports public relations. Kelly enjoys dancing and can bust a move whenever wherever!

Chris Krochak
Chris is a 20-year-old student at Temple University originally from Northeast Philadelphia. While Chris’ school studies demonstrate his love for being an effective communicator, he enjoys the simple things in life. Chris is an avid musician and hockey fan. Music is the air Chris breathes when he has free time, and just like he does with his music, Chris tries to always learn and improve in whatever he is doing in his life.

Chris Covone
Chris, a native to Philadelphia, is a sophomore Strategic Communications major with a concentration in Public Relations at Temple University.  He currently works as a Marketing Assistant, responsible for all marketing campaigns for one of the top-selling real estate brokers at Keller Williams Center City Realty.  Chris is also an avid performer, fashion enthusiast, social media junkie, and coffee addict.  

Alyssa Guckin
Alyssa is currently a second semester freshman who cannot get enough of Temple University. Alyssa is majoring in Strategic Communication with a concentration in Public Relations and will soon be declared a second major, General Business through the Fox School. Through Alyssa’s education, she hopes to accomplish her goals of helping others. Alyssa is a people person and loves to hear about everyone’s interests.

Jordan Washington
Jordan  is currently a sophomore pursuing a degree in Strategic Communications with a focus in public relations. She is the Community Service Representative for 1300 Residence Hall and also works at Bath and Body Works part-time. When not working or studying, she enjoys maintaining her two blogs.

Amanda White
Amanda is currently a sophomore at Temple University, studying Public Relations. She is currently interning at Jubelirer Strategies, a PR firm in center city. At Temple, Amanda is involved in Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), PRowl, and Temple Dems. Aside from school, Amanda figure skated for twelve years, and is now a Philadelphia Flyers Ice Girl. 

Jamila Johnson
Jamila is a senior at Temple University, majoring in Advertising and English. She has focused on her love of media and public relations throughout her career at Temple University, and at various internships throughout the Philadelphia region. A native of Washington, DC, she fell in love with Philadelphia the moment she got her acceptance letter. She hopes to one day own her own branding agency

Caitlin Kummeth
Caitlin is a goal oriented sophomore with a concentration in public relations and a minor in sociology. She is currently a Fashion PR Intern for Skai Blue Media, exposing herself to the fashion industry. As an active member of PRSSA, Caitlin is the Director of Mentorship embracing a leadership role. Serving as a volunteer for philanthropic causes including Alex’s Lemonade Stand, Habitat for Humanity, Philabundance, and The Ronald McDonald House, she is a firm believer in helping to make a difference within her community. Caitlin is thrilled to be one of the newest members of PRowl and ready to cultivate herself in the wonderful world of Public Relations. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Mastering The Cover Photo

While many PR pros have given up and consider Facebook a lost medium, others are taking full advantage of the new features offered up by the social networking site. One of these features is the cover photo. Cover photos are larger photos displayed behind your profile picture and is often the first thing someone sees while visiting a Facebook profile. To social media managers and PR professionals, this may seem like another thing to manage, update, and mold. However, if given the time and attention it needs, a cover photo can be the shining glory of a brand. Here are a few tips to help you master the art of the Facebook cover photo:

1. Update often - Is your client releasing a new product, or making a major branding change? What better way to announce this to consumers than through your cover photo? Update the photo whenever something fresh and new is happening to give viewers a reason to keep stopping by your page. Keep in mind updating for holidays as well!

2. Make it fit - A cover photo should measure 851px x 315px, no more and no less. Make sure your photo fits the space provided, and is done in an aesthetically pleasing and graphically correct way. This isn't a time for low quality images done by a friend who "dabbles" in graphic design. This is a chance to put your best face forward!

3. Show off the staff - Help your consumers and visitors build a relationship with your team by using a behind the scenes shot in your cover photo! Show them the faces of the brand that they love and trust to form a bond beyond money and products.

4. Get creative - If one picture is worth a thousand words, why not use more than one picture? Have your graphic designer put together a collage of photos to showcase all that your company or brand has to offer!

5. Shout out - The point of creating social pages is so that your brand can socialize with its consumers! A great way to do this is through a shout out program, where you display the name, photo, and short blurb or quote about a client who stood out! Post a question to your status every week or month, and then chose the best response to be a shout out in your cover photo!

How are you using the cover photo feature on Facebook? Let us know, and share your tips!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Junk the Jargon

One of the core principles behind PR people generating content for clients is that our specialty is making language accessible across multiple audiences. Certain fields like technology, medical services and finance have more trouble with this than others. Jargon, that is, terms that are not comprehensible to the general public, can make the difference between a consumer choosing your client over another.

When a company generates content that uses jargon, people may not be able to pull out key points and messages that the brand is trying to express. Those within the company often don't realize that they're using jargon, of course, because they are using these terms on a daily basis. This makes it even more difficult to remedy.

When buying into a particular company, people are looking for how well this particular product will serve their needs and wants. People in general do not like buying into something they don't understand and may frown upon a company for failing to tailor to their audience.

Have you ever witnessed a company that succumbed to jargon? Let us know!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Who “Owns” Social Media?

Understanding which umbrella social media falls under in an organization is often debated between marketing, PR and customer service teams. There are companies with excellent customer service social media accounts, such as Comcast and Verizon, and there are even more companies with great social media accounts run by marketing and PR teams. 

So, what is the right department to hold responsibility for social media? PR people will likely say it’s them. Marketers will likely say the marketing department. But, other departments such as Customer Service, Business Development, and Human Resources can also rightfully claim a stake in social media.

Dell and Zappos are among many large organizations that have created cross-departmental social media teams that manage social media interaction and allow the correct department to handle the correct inquiry.

All departments have something to bring to the table with social media. Even if the marketing and PR teams are the best trained for the job, it can be helpful to bring others with different roles together to provide the best experience for customers while networking online.
Brian Solis recently wrote on an eConsultancy blog, “The customer doesn’t see, nor do they care about, who owns social media. They see one company and they simply need an informed and empathetic response.” 

Social media is not best suited to just one department. While it may fall into just one department, that department should look to get a variety of workers from the business involved. Customers can get more out of social media accounts if they are able to network with the entire business – not just one small team attempting to represent the business. 

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

Saturday, January 19, 2013

PR Tips: Television and Radio Spots for Your Client

As public relations professionals, clips are the primary measure of success. It is our duty to get our clients the maximum amount of exposure to reach the most people. Radio and television interviews are both outlets with enormous reach, and provide opportunities to brand clients in different ways than print or the web could ever do.

Developing and delivering message points with focus and poise on-air will transform these interviews into strategic and effective opportunities for your clients.  However, it is not easy to land a radio or television spot. To gain exposure, your story must include newsworthy and visual elements.

Newsworthy Elements:
  1. Television reporters have a tough job to do. In typically under one minute, they must tell a news story that describes who, what, when, where, why and how – that is accurate and timely and keeps an audience interested. To do this, they look for the following newsworthy elements:
  • Change 
  • Children 
  • Confrontation 
  • Conflict 
  • Current events 
  • Danger 
  • Drama 
  • Editorial perspective 
  • Extremes 
  • Failure 
  • Human interest 
  • Impacts people, animals or the environment 
  • Link to bigger picture 
  • Local angle 
  • Mistakes 
  • Reporter’s interest 
  • Secrets 
  • Statistics and figures 
  • Unusual 
  • Weaknesses

Visual Elements:
  1. The best way to supplement your story is by using the visual elements available. Think creatively to use available resources to reinforce the point of your story. 
  2. Use demonstrations to engage and educate viewers. Demonstrations should be general, and not necessarily super specific to appeal to a huge audience.
  3. Demonstrations should be quick, flashy and used as an attention grabber.
While on-air, it is important to keep in mind that everything communicates! What you say, how you say it, what you don’t say, how you look, how you sound and how you feel about the message will all come across to your audience.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Remembering The PR Legend Dan Edelman

Daniel Edelman's death has made this a sad week for public relations. A true pioneer in the field, Edelman built a small public relations firm in 1952 that rose to the 4,500, 65 city industry it is today. As the PR world mourns his death, this is also a time to celebrate all his achievements and the important contributions he made to building this profession. 

Dan died of heart failure early Tuesday morning at the age of 92. His agency, which was founded 60 years ago, helped to make many famous brands household names. Dan's creativity, independence, hard work, ethics and attention to detail are great examples to follow for any aspiring PR pro or veterans within the field.   

Here is a Daniel Edelman quote I live by:

 "If you're not enthusiastic, how can you expect the client to be enthusiastic about what you're doing?" 

Check out Edelman's company website here.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


For those of you who have been living under a rock, Instagram is a free mobile photo-sharing app that currently boasts over 100 million users. The application was acquired by Facebook in April of 2012 and the rest is history.

For those socially savvy individuals looking to become 'instafamous', here are three tips to skyrocket your following.

1. Don't holdback on the hashtags
Hashtags are how your potential fans and followers will find you--so let them! Include any and as many relevant hashtags as applicable. When others like your photos, be sure to tag their handle and to thank them. This acknowledgement increases the chances that they will follow you. Finally, participate in popular hashtags like #tbt (throwbackthursday).

2. Take better pictures
Don't just be a picture taker, be an artist with a 'voice'. Spend the extra dollar or two and buy a good picture editing application. I personally recommend PicSay Pro, Snapseed or Colorsplash. You are more likely to gain followers with a well taken and well edited photo. Additionally, you will retain your current followers if you maintain the 'voice' you have created.

3. Build your Instacred
In order to trend and to gain visibility on Instagram, you need to be known. To accomplish this: follow others, like others' posts, and comment on their posts. Following and liking others are only the beginning on of the relationship. Commenting on others' posts shows that you want to further the relationship and generally seals the, "I'll follow you back" deal.

I'm slowly but surely making my rise to infamy, are you? If so, how? #f4f

Temple University and University of Delaware Host #TUDPRSSA Chat

Tonight the University of Delaware and Temple University's own PRSSA Chapters will cohost a Twitter chat to discuss PRSSA experiences. The chat is open to all PRSSA members of any chapter, as well as any alumni who would like to share their PRSSA experiences and opinions! This chat is a great chance to connect with other PRSSA chapters and members from different regions. Temple and the University of Delaware will alternate asking questions for about an hour, giving members plenty of time to chime in and read other responses. Leaders - this is a great time to discuss all of the many benefits of being a PRSSA member! Be sure to spread the word and join in and use the hashtag #TUDPRSSA.

Who: Temple University PRSSA (Twitter: @TemplePRSSA) and University of Delaware (Twitter: @PRSSA_UD) - Open to all PRSSA members, chapters, and alumni.

When: Thursday, January 17th, 2013 8P.M.

Where: Connect to the Twitter chat using hashtag #TUDPRSSA

We hope you tune in and enjoy this engaging and beneficial chat! Don't miss out TONIGHT at 8P.M!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Monopoly puts its own pieces in jail

One of America’s most iconic games Monopoly is losing one of its original pieces, the iron, race car, thimble, shoe, top hat, Scottie dog, wheelbarrow and battleship, to make way for a new piece in 2013. In a vote over Facebook, “Save Your Token,” users are invited to cast their vote to save their favorite piece and take a sneak peak of the new line-up which includes the robot, cat, ring, helicopter and guitar. But not to worry traditionalists, Hasbro plans to release a special Classic Monopoly Golden Token Edition that will include a gold version of all eight classic tokens.

Like many other companies, Hasbro is jumping on board with the voter’s choice method of elimination. Will consumers be more likely to buy the new game if they voted in this competition? The answer, probably not, but it does throw consumers into childhood nostalgia.

The game Monopoly was invented in 1935 by Charles Darrow, whose young nieces suggested the game should use metal charms from charm bracelets instead of buttons.

Monopoly enthusiasts are also encouraged to cast their vote to save their favorite token on Twitter by using #tokenvote, results to be revealed February 5. 


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Bloggers Vs. Bounce Rates

As a blogger, you work on producing quality content to attract readers to spend time on your site. You plan the perfect design, find the highest quality images, all in hopes that your attention to quality and content will keep your readers coming back for more. Though your content and unique page hits may display one thing about your blog, your bounce rate may say another.

A "bounce rate" is the percentage of visitors that come to your website and do not visit any other pages on your site. So if you have taken the time to draft an "about me" page or something of that sort, having a high bounce rate indicates that it may all be in vein. The more time visitors spend reading and exploring your site, the more they build a relationship with you as a blogger, making them more likely to come to you as a source. A high bounce rate may suggest that there is something about your blog that doesn't attract visitors to stay long, or even return again. Here are a few ways you can lower your bounce rates:

1. Be Social: Do you only Tweet out or post to Facebook when you post a new blog? Try also including when you update a page or add new content. Keep your readers engaged with your site at all times, taking advantage of social networking.

2. Strategic Monetization: If you have decided to include advertisements on your blog to make money, be sure they are placed in a way that does not distract the reader. Trying to read a post that is covered by an ad for nail polish doesn't make the reader want to explore your site. Also, be sure your ads are relevant! If you are a beauty blogger, there shouldn't be advertisements for gadgets and tech.

3. Keep It Clean: Don't bombard your visitors with crazy, complex designs. Make sure that your navigation area is clearly defined and not obstructed from vision. Users will not search for content, you have to present it to them.

4. State Your Purpose: The purpose of your blog should be clear as soon as bloggers hit the first page. Include a little blurb that explains who you are (example on the right from, and what you blog about. If your blog is about something that interests the reader, they are more likely to stay and click around.

Do you monitor your blog or websites bounce rate? If so, what do you do to keep your bounce rate down? Share with us!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Hunting Season

As the start of spring semester rapidly approaches and I hear about my classmates obtaining various internships and receive several internship opportunity emails from my school listserv, it got me thinking, when is the right time to apply for internships? I've always struggled with this, tending to procrastinate deadlines like these. Of course, the time frames differ according to when you want to intern for a organization, but below are some guidelines as to when to apply to an internship:

For a fall internship: Some people suggest to start around spring break. It is always a good idea to start earlier rather than later, but as long as you have your applications in by the start of summer, you should be fine. Of course, pay attention to incoming emails from your school and always have a fresh copy of your resume and a cover letter ready to send off, just in case.

For a spring internship: November is prime time for applying to a spring internship. Many students will apply between November and even early January so be mindful of your competition.

For a summer internship: Many times, summer internships are special or extended programs, so they will require a little more planning. Most students start applying between February to March. But there is no harm in reaching out to an organization and asking when they will being accepting applications for the summer. That way, you'll be the first in line.

The above guidelines are generalized, some specialized and competitive programs require an application six months to a year prior to the desired internship period. Scope out all of the internships you are interested in and create a timeline for applying.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

6 Tips to Improve Your PR Career in 2013

2013 has begun and on the contrary to what many believed, the world didn’t end. So, as we look into this upcoming year and we start to make new resolutions (some realistic, some unrealistic) there are many ways that we can look to improve our professional lives as well. Here are my six tips to making 2013 a happier, healthier and more productive year:
  1. Take some risks – do not be afraid to think outside the box and offer suggestions that are unique and creative. These ideas and risks will earn you respect from not only your peers but your boss as well. By being able to challenge yourself and bring new things to the table you can grow professionally and personally as well.
  2. Stop complaining – be positive! It is very easy for us to complain about what is going wrong in our lives, careers, families and personal lives but instead of dwelling on the negative take control of your life and realize that you have the power to change your life for the better. By staying positive it will not only put you in a better mindset but also stress you out less. Also don’t sweat the little things or the things you can’t control!
  3. Save the drama for your mama – there will always be times where you are in a situation of argumentation with someone. However, do not engage in petty drama. Do not always become defensive and feel the need to always prove your point or be right. No one likes a know it all. Remove yourself from situations that are toxic to your stress and energy. As much as we love to engage in gossip, do your best to focus on bettering yourself, not talking about the flaws of others.
  4. Realize you are human – everyone makes mistakes. Once you realize that this in fact is true, admit when you are wrong. Always be honest and it will lead to a healthy way to resolve the situation. 
  5. Have thick skin – in the PR field there will always be someone who has something negative to say about you or your work. Realize that not everyone will agree with you all the time. Be open to constructive criticism and use it as a learning experience. 
  6. Turn OFF your phone – if you are like me and constantly have your phone on and by your side (even when sleeping), we need to understand that this is unhealthy! Being able to be reached 24/7 can create unrealistic expectations. By turning off your phone for just a couple hours a day it can not only relieve stress but help you recharge your body and brain. 
Do you have any other tips for the PR professional in 2013? Let us know! Wishing everyone a productive, and healthy 2013!

This guest blog post was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Virginia Laskowski

Friday, January 11, 2013

3 Crucial Things You Need In Your Cover Letter

I recently followed USA Today College Edition on Twitter and stumbled upon this great article. Writing your first cover letter can seem like a daunting task. If you are applying for your first internship it is vital that you have a stellar cover letter to accompany your resume. Presenting an internship coordinator with a cover letter, even if it was not required, will make you a stand out among the other applicants vying for the same opportunity.

Here are three crucial things you need in your cover letter:

1. Professional Format - Make sure you are using a simple and generic font (think Times New Roman). Keep the font size to 11 or 12 and make sure you are using black ink! The cover letter is a letter, so make sure it is formatted like a letter. Tip: Use Google to find the standard format of a business letter if you are confused.

2. Business Tone - Like I mentioned above, the cover letter is synonymous with a business letter. Keep it business professional. If you are applying for a more creative position within the PR industry, I suggest you create a portfolio of your creative work rather than trying to get creative in your cover letter.

3. "Dear Mr./Mrs. X" - Never address a letter "To Whom It May Concern" or "Dear Sir." It is impersonal and unprofessional. Make the extra effort to find a specific individual's name and title.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

What Is PR?

Just what is public relations? Sure, we discuss the topic in our classes and amongst our peers and with professionals.  There's a dictionary definition and there's even a definition that the Public Relations Society of America released but what does the definition of public relations mean to us individually and for those aspiring young professionals who are about to enter the workforce?

The role of public relations in businesses and organizations and the responsibilities of the practicing professionals are changing at too rapid of a rate to hold true to any written definition. The emergence of new technologies and the now required use of social media has changed the face of public relations and how practitioners do their jobs.

About a month ago, PR Newswire asked their friends and followers on their social sites to complete this sentence, "PR is___". The organization received an overwhelming response. The responses were then compiled into an insightful infograph that can be found below.


So, what do you think? What is PR?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

What serving has taught me about PR

As a 5 year Texas Roadhouse veteran, I frequently still work over the breaks to help with the blow of text book costs for the upcoming semester. In my experience I have noticed many similarities between the two professions with their customer focused application.

Requests from both clients and guests can be difficult but the most important thing to remember is your attitude. When you have a good attitude it is easier to work with others and be open to suggestions or concerns.  When serving you can make suggestions to customers, or “up-selling,” to make the bill larger (bigger bill = bigger tip).

In a large scale restaurant, you have to communicate to more than one person in order to complete an order; the bar, kitchen, mangers, hosts and other servers. Similar to an agency, reporting with your team is crucial to success.

PR is notorious for being a multi-tasked profession, juggling between clients, work, and every social platform known to man. When you serve in a restaurant you have to move from multiple tables to refills while running back-work to help keep the restaurant flowing.

So, through a part-time job, I have acquired skills that have helped me understand my clients’ objectives through attitude, communication and multi-tasking. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Shhh... It's Quiet Hours

Ask any PR professional what the first thing they do in the morning is, and I'll bet anything that 99% report they check their smart phones. Smart phones and PR pros seem to go hand in hand, no pun intended. They allow us to have news, emails, contacts, deadlines, and alerts all at the tips of our fingers. Though your job hours may be 9-5, smart phone alerts can often extend way past those hours.

While having the world at your beside is convenient  it can also be detrimental to your personal health. 67% professionals report feeling "phantom vibrations," or thinking their phones are ringing and vibrating when they are actually silent. Other professionals say they have woken out of their sleep in the middle of the night to return or send an email from their smart phone. 44% of professionals sleep with their smart phones.

With the new year in full swing, many companies have made it their personal resolution to create less smart phone dependent employees. It's great that you can get a client's story placement in a major publication by 8am, but not so great that you pass out from exhaustion in your cubicle later. That being said, many companies are taking the following steps to insure happy, healthy, smart phone free employees:

  • "Blackout policies" that include turning off all work related devices from 6pm-6am, and keeping it off on the weekends.
  • Auto deleting emails during vacation times so that employees don't return to a flooded inbox.
  • Limiting the use of smart phones during business trips.
  • Providing employees with phones just for work so that they can leave them in the office at the end of the day.
While these initiatives are a great way to make happier and healthier employees, I wonder if it is even feasible in the PR world. Public Relations often requires going beyond office hours to get the job done. A PR pro returning from vacation with a wiped out inbox may actually do more harm than good. 

What do you think? Will the smart phone and PR pro relationship ever become more laid back? Let us know!

Monday, January 7, 2013

How To Position Yourself as a Source

A great way to gain coverage for yourself or your client is to present yourself as an expert source. Many museums do this, but providing a list of experts within the facility alongside their area of expertise. This gives reporters the opportunity to approach your client and obtain an expert quote. Instant coverage with little effort. Below are ways to position yourself and your client as an expert source:

Introduce yourself: A reporter can't come to you as a source if he or she doesn't know who you are! Introduce yourself to reporters and explain that you are always available as a source should they need one.

Make yourself available: A common problem that arises between reporters and expert sources is availability. If a reporter comes to you with a story and asks for your expert opinion, make time for it. Otherwise, the reporter may get the idea that you are not available as an expert source and seek elsewhere. 

Take advantage of follow-up stories: Reporters are often on the lookout for follow-up stories. Look for good angles for a follow-up story to suggest to a reporter. This not only helps out the reporter, it also gives you the perfect opportunity to chime in as an expert source.

HARO: Otherwise known as Help A Reporter Out. This service was specifically created to connect reporters with sources for stories. Emails are sent out 3x a day full of requests from reporters for an expert source. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A New Age Of Facebook

As Facebook grows older so do its members. People that were once young using the “hip” new Facebook have grown older yet still continue on as registered members. But just who exactly are their main members? The answer may surprise you. Men. Middle age men are the ones who are using Facebook the most and not only registering at older ages but keeping their profiles up to date for longer periods of time as well. 

Keeping that old audience is great, but it is also important to remember that new members sign up every day and there cannot be a reliance on one demographic. New generations of people will eventually wipe out this older generation of users and then they will become the older audience still using Facebook. 

As people grow older, Facebook provides them with the ability to stay in touch with those special people in their lives. This is why, currently, their membership of an older audience is stronger than the younger. People will accept the new age of technology because they realize the advantages it can provide for them. Facebook is part of this advantage and people are embracing the many avenues presented to them. 

Facebook will always have a continuous cycle of new members becoming old member and then eventually a non-member. But it is important for Facebook to still be a thought in people’s minds. People have to want to join and it is Facebook’s job to keep the interest alive. 

This guest blog post was written by PRowl Public Relations Secretary Alison Curran.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Perfect PR Student’s Vision Board

It’s that time of the year where we all set our goals and aspirations for the New Year. As an aspiring PR professional, creating a vision board is a creative and appealing way of portraying your goals and aspirations. Some may ask what exactly is a vision board?  A vision board is merely a poster board filled with images. However, the idea behind a vision board is to include images of things you want to achieve or even things that will remind you on what you want to become. 

As PR students, here are a few examples of things you can include in your vision board:
  • Internships: We all have that determination of obtaining an internship with an organization. Be sure to include an image of the logo or building of the organization you’ve been longing to intern at. 
  • Student Organizations: Include an image of the student organization you would like to become a member of. As PR students it’s important we join PR related organizations and other organizations that complement your professional development. 
  • Blogs: Its essential to keep up with PR related blogs as they help to keep you informed on current events and PR tips. Including images of these blogs can definitely be used as a reminder. For those of you who haven’t started a blog yet, including an image of a Wordpress or Blogger logo can be used as an incentive for you to actually get started. 
  • Networking events: In the PR industry, networking is extremely important and as PR students you should be familiarizing yourself with this skill. At universities there are numerous networking events, be sure to include the events that interest you on your vision board. 

Create a vision board to help you clarify, concentrate and keep focus on general or specific goals you want to achieve in your life. As students we are continuously bombarded by obligations and other interruptions which can cause us to lose focus on what we want to accomplish. Having a vision board and viewing it daily can be a powerful tool to keep you focused. 

This guest blog post was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Kadesha Holder.

Friday, January 4, 2013

PR Pro: The Perfect Social Media Manager

Behind many company social media sites sits a public relations professional. While this is a general majority, some companies are weary or confused as to why the PR department or a PR pro should manage social media. Below are a few reasons as to why PR pros can, and should, manage social media:

We are experienced storytellers: It is the PR professional's job to reach multiple audiences through multiple means of communication. We generate content and engage our audience with relevant and newsworthy topics. Social media is the perfect way to do so and PR pros its perfect master.

We are expert communicators: We are trained perfectionists in proofreading copy. PR pros are well versed in writing and editing and are less likely to publish errors.

We are experienced in relationship building: It is our responsibility to build relationships with journalists and investors in our brand. The goal of social media is to build relationships from across the world and trained to answer questions fast and with a plus in customer service.

We know crisis communications: With many crises, social media response is encouraged if not required. PR professionals are accustomed to responding to a crisis in a timely, appropriate and helpful manner for both the brand and it's customers.

We have always sought feedback: We have a thirst to find out what others are saying about our client. Social media is a great way to monitor public perceptions and gain feedback from consumers at all times that can be used for future organizational change and improve productivity.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Smartphone Anonymous

You fall asleep to it every night, and you wake up to it every morning. You obsessively check on it through out the night, and sometimes it even wakes you up. No, it's not your significant other or your child - it's your smartphone. A New York Times article written by Tanya Mohn, "Silencing the Smartphone" discusses how companies are making resolutions to wean their employees off their smartphones by adopting in office policies.

More and more companies are adopting these technology policies in order to keep employees alert, refreshed and balanced. A nationwide survey of 2,254 adults found that 44 percent of cellphone owners had slept with their phone next to their bed and that 67 percent had experienced “phantom rings,” checking their phone even when it was not ringing or vibrating. Contrary to popular belief, these habits actually undermine productivity. In order to combat this vicious cycle, the Chief Executive of Empower Public Relations in Chicago, Sam Chapman, has enforced what he calls a, "BlackBerry blackout policy". From 6 p.m. until 6 a.m., both Chapman and his employees turn off their smartphones. Chapman stated that the policy has increased company productivity and morale.

Still, one of the best pieces of advice I took from the article was from a founder of a startup company who said, “Just because you can e-mail at 2 a.m., doesn’t mean it’s a good thing". I'm not recommending we all go cold turkey but we can probably all agree we should put down the phone every once and awhile.

My name is Cori and I'm addicted to my smartphone, are you?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

9,000 Miles Fueled by Social Media

With only a 75-pound backpack, 28-year-old Michael Lee Johnson will be traveling from a Beijing, China to London, England (an over 9,000 mile trek!), entirely by foot.  

Johnson is making history by being the first to walk the entire journey which is estimated to take three to five years and will be entirely fueled by social media.  He plans to tweet his expedition as often as possible along with a video blogging series. Johnson has also launched a fundraising site providing FAQ’s and his position of purpose, “The curiosity about the world and its people.” Johnson also explains an alternative selfless motive:

“The people I’m in for really are the people who are stuck in an office, the people who can’t go out and travel,” he says. “I want them to see it all too. It’s not so much about me, but also the people who are following along. It’s important to show other people what is going on in the world too.”

Funding for the project includes Johnsons own savings of about $13,000 and a sponsorship from which he will be paid between $500 and $2,5000 per month depending on how large an audience he accumulates.

“This walk is going to be my job,” he says. “It sounds strange, but that’s exactly what I’ll be: a professional walker.”

Would you follow someone for three to five years on an epic journey? Tell us why. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Aesthetics Of Blogging

First and foremost, Happy New Year! Welcome to 2013 on the PRowl blog, we are all excited for a new year!

Blogging has become one of the most popular forms of online expression next to social media sites. With so many blogging platforms, the more popular being Wordpress, Blogger, Tumblr and Typepad, starting a blog is as easy as making a few clicks and typing out some paragraphs. Yes, anyone can start a blog, but it takes a more savvy and dedicated person to maintain a blog and keep a decent following.

While content is definitely the number one concern of bloggers, the design and lay out of a blog can often be a deciding factor on whether or not readers will visit again. Browsing blogs online should be a fun, relaxing, enjoyable thing. The design of a blog speaks volumes about the blogger as well, and plays a huge part in how you brand yourself to the blogosphere. Here are some things to keep in mind when designing a blog, whether you are doing it yourself of hiring someone else!

  • Keep it readable - No matter how fun your design is, if it makes it impossible for readers to actually read your content, it's a no go. Black or grey text on a white background is usually a winner. Avoid putting text in bright colors with contrasting, as that is often difficult to read. See, this is a rough read, right?
  • Easy navigation - Be sure your readers are able to find what they are looking for! You can do this by using headers in larger fonts (like the title of our blog posts) and labeling important sections. It is often helpful to make links a separate (yet readable) color from the standard text. A search bar is also a nice feature so that readers can find what they need quickly.
  • Show some personality - If you have a tagline or slogan that you are using to describe or brand yourself, include it! You want to show off who you are so that the readers can build a relationship with you. Including a photo of yourself helps with that as well.
  • Less is more - Don't try to fit every one of your posts on the first page of your blog. That's a huge no no. Limit yourself to 5-8 posts, depending on personal preference and the layout of your blog. Include links below the last post that will allow users to navigate to older posts if they wish to.
What are some of the design elements of your favorite blogs? Share them with us, and we'll post what you say to our social media to share with other bloggers and future bloggers!