Sunday, June 28, 2015

How Taylor Swift and Apple Both Came Out on Top

This past week has been a long back and forth between pop-star Taylor Swift and major music mogul, Apple Inc. It appeared to be the clash of the ages, beginning with Swift posting an open letter to Apple on her Tumblr account on June 21. In the letter, Swift explained she will not be supporting Apple’s new streaming service because during the 90 day free trial for customers artists that are available to stream will not be paid.
After the letter was published it immediately went viral and, eventually grabbed Apple’s attention. A few days after the letter was published Apple responded to Swift’s letter, saying that they will pay all artists that are available on the streaming service for the first three months.
Swift had won the battle she had sought to win, however, it was until June 26, nearly a week after the original letter was published, that Swift finally said she would allow her 1989 album on Apple’s streaming service. In typical Swift fashion she made the announcement in the form of a simple tweet thanking Apple for listening to her concerns.
What’s important to note here from a PR stand point is that, while at first, it might seem like Swift came out on top, there’s room for Apple at the top as well. For Swift, her all-star status was reaffirmed and her name is now being seen all over the news as the artist that stood up to Apple. For Apple, they saved millions in free publicity for their new streaming service. Now, not only does the public know about their new service and the fact that it’s free for the first three months, they also know it’s morally solid and that Apple did the right thing by agreeing to pay artists.
In the field of public relations the more a company can get their name and service out there without spending a cent is vital because it leaves more funds to do original, innovative or exciting things within a campaign. Though of course Apple isn’t hurting for money, the lesson learned from Taylor Swift v. Apple 2015 is something that all public relations professionals and students can apply to their work.

Free publicity can be negative or positive and PR professionals can never be quite sure what they’re going to get until they see it, however, taking a note from Apple it’s easy to see that the saying “all publicity is good publicity” still holds true in the world of PR.        

This guest blog post was written by PRowl Account Executive Hannah Litchfield 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Six books every public relations professional should read

I love to read- I always have. When I was a kid, I read so much my teachers actually asked me to stop reading. This of course led me to my love of writing, which led me to my love of public relations, which led me here. But getting to why you are here, if you love reading like I do, here are six books that every public relations professional should take a look at:

  • “The Associated Press Stylebook” By: The Associated Press and Norm Goldstein - I’m going to sound like my old journalism teacher for a second and say that the Associated Press Stylebook is the book to go to when it comes to grammar, spelling and any other questions you may have about laying out a press release for a media company or client. It’s organized, written by a reputable news cooperative and serves as an approachable reference manual that all media publishers acknowledge as a legitimate source for proper grammar and style. It’s not exactly a book you read word for word, though, so keep this one at your office desk for when you need it.
  • “Confessions of a Public Speaker” By: Scott Berkun - If you are looking for a public speaking how-to that doesn’t tell you to “just imagine everyone is in their underwear”, this is probably the book for you. Berkun is straightforward, gives a unique perspective on how to talk to an audience, is hilarious and definitely knows the difference between a lectern and a podium. Public speaking is a necessary skill in any field, but I think especially so in public relations. After reading this book, I think you’ll at least be able to help any clients that need a few pointers on giving a speech.
  • “The Disney Way” By: Bill Capodagli and Lynn Jackson - When it comes to public relations, it’s not just about getting the information out there; it’s about leaving an impression, preferably a positive one. According to Capodagli and Jackson, Disney’s credo of “dream, believe, dare and do” is the way that people can leave that good impression. They not only cite from Disney’s level of customer service and innovation, but other corporations that followed in its footsteps, such as The Cheesecake Factory, The Four Seasons Hotel, Men’s Warehouse and many others. If you are looking for a certain magic in how you work with your publics, this might be the book for you.
  • “Crystallizing Public Opinion” By: Edward Bernays - If we are talking about public relations books, we have to talk about the father of public relations himself. “Crystallizing Public Opinion” is where it all began folks and this book is cited as the first official public relations manual ever written. If you can look past some of the dated examples, the core advice is still strong and resonates with the honesty and integrity that should come with the ideal public relations specialist. At the very least, after having read this book, you will be able to hold your own in any public relations history conversation.
  • “The News Rules of Marketing and PR” By: David Meerman Scott - If history isn’t your cup of tea, maybe you’ll be more interested in this number. “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” was just written in 2013 and holds extensive accounts on how to manage social media, viral marketing, and how to help companies find niche markets to pedal their products in the digital age. It highlights the utilization of new technology to deliver a higher quality of product and content rather than utilizing technology to create a flashier and overall more vapid quality of work.
  • “How to Win Friends and Influence People” By: Dale Carnegie - While doing research for this blog, I kept coming across this book, so I gave it a read, and let me tell you, they were right to mention this book to public relations professionals. Carnegie gives some very practical advice on how to win over people, some of which seems obvious, yet are so rarely seen in a world inundated with people wanting to get out their message. It looks at the philosophy of happiness, grace, the art of listening and how to admit when you are wrong. It’s definitely a book to look at if you are hoping to attract not only clients, but friends and allies as well.
This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Kelly Armstrong

Friday, June 19, 2015

What does it mean to have a “PR Vibe”?

Last week, I was running errands and stopped in a pharmacy. Slightly exhausted from the week of interning and working at various positions, I was sure that I looked a bit unkempt at best.

Upon reaching the register, I began to have a conversation with the cashier, which eventually led her to ask me what my major was in college. When I said “public relations”, she smiled knowingly, and responded “that makes sense, you have a PR vibe”.

Not quite sure what she meant, I chalked it up to a compliment, and continued through my day. However, looking back at the conversation, I wondered what constitutes having a PR vibe.

After careful consideration, I believe that what makes PR folk recognizable is our open nature and ability to multi-task.

These two traits are shared among the best up and coming PR professionals, and are important for individuals to have in order to succeed in the field.

Specifically, mastering the art of communicating with anyone is incredibly important for PR jobs. If you work for an agency and have to speak to clients, press contacts, and more, you should be able to do so with ease.

Also, multi-tasking is an integral part of PR. Balancing multiple tasks at once is what PR folk are known for, and it comes in handy when hundreds of emails are flooding your inbox in a week and meetings are popping up on your calendar months in advance.

There is also something to be said about being exhausted. As a PR professional, you are going to be worn down and often feel as though the weight of the world is on your shoulders. However, what immediately makes a PR professional noticeable is their willingness to exceed expectations and continue working, even if they are ready to fall asleep at their desk!

So, if you are ever told you have a “PR vibe” about you, take it as a compliment. It most likely has nothing to do with the bags under your eyes, but rather your commitment to the field!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Queen's English

A few days ago, I had the pleasure of hosting a student from England for a night, and in his honor my housemates and I threw a small party. Unfortunately for us, a few of the people that came managed to fulfill every negative stereotype that I think Europeans have of Americans, within about the first five minutes of their meeting the English student. 

Everything was going fine at the party until the English student stepped outside to smoke a cigarette, which was when these two girls and two boys, for lack of a better word, pounced on him. I did not know the four of them, so maybe it was out of character, but they immediately barraged him with requests that he just talk to them with his accent. To hear him say it, he speaks the Queen's English, but to them it must have been some sort of exotic experience. Soon, the four Americans started to practice their own, embarrassingly contrived 'British accents' on him, which he took with admirable aplomb. Thankfully, these four people soon left, but in the morning at breakfast they were our only topic of conversation. The English student was fairly polite about it, but made it clear that he had hated every second of it. My friend and is formal host was much less diplomatic about it, talking about how people like that give us all a bad name.

As he talked, I realized that whenever you meet someone from another country, you are in a way a representative of your home country to that foreign person you meet. And whatever kind of impression you leave on them is going to shape how they feel about the entire country you have hopefully just represented well. So without knowing it, all those American tourists out in the world are doing public relations for the U.S.A., here's to hoping they leave a better impression than the four from my party.

Have any ideas or comments on how we can better represent ourselves to the world? Comment below, I'd love to hear from you.

This post was authored by Faiz Mandviwalla, a senior at Temple University and an Assistant Firm Director of PRowl Public Relations. Follow Faiz on Twitter here and LinkedIn here

Monday, June 15, 2015

Organize Your Inbox

Avoid having an inbox like this!
In the world of public relations, emails flood your inbox constantly from co-workers, clients, the media, venues, newsletters and of course, marketing emails from stores. It is easy to ignore your inbox for a day and come back to 300 unread messages. While this can be very overwhelming, there are some simple steps to filter through your inbox so you never lose important emails.

Set up  Various Folders

For all my emails, I have various folders. My school email has a folder for each semester and student organization I’m involved in. Once I get an email and know it needs to be saved I file it away in a folder for later reference. This clears out my inbox and makes it quick and easy to find the email later if I need it.

Star Important Emails

Starring important emails and leaving them in my inbox lets me know they need a quick response and keeps me from forgetting to reply or take action. I always star emails with deadlines like meetings, scholarships and contests then file or delete them after I replied or once the date has passed.

Unsubscribe from Lists

I have over five emails addresses and somehow get the same emails on several of them from newsletters and stores. I went through and unsubscribed from store emails for all but my primary email address to keep me from having to delete the same emails on four different accounts. It is also helpful to unsubscribe from lists that aren’t relevant to you anymore.

Form Habits
       The best way to take charge of your inbox is to keep up with it. Find a time such as on your commute into work or once you get home to delete non-important emails and reply to critical messages.

      After following these steps, your inbox should be a lot emptier and hassle free. For more tips and ticks, check out this article by Forbes on how to organize your inbox . 

     This blog post was written by PRowl Secretary Shaun Luberski.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Creating a productive environment

Summertime is when we prepare ourselves for the upcoming fall semester. Big plans are coming our way! The summer season may be challenging if you are dealing with a job and/or an internship, but nothing compares to a full workload of classes, work-study, another job, on-campus organizations, and maybe even an internship. Responsibilities can be a tough thing to handle. Living in a space that naturally forces you to stay on top of things makes life a bit easier. Whether you are moving into a new apartment or dorm room, or coming back to your previous apartment, you must make the most of your environment. Create a consistently constructive and fruitful home atmosphere to provoke productivity.
Source: Realistic Shots
Although the method of Feng-Shui discourages us from blending work-energy with our personal spaces, one must do so when on a budget. With that being said, keep your workspace as just that, your workspace. Make certain to keep any unneeded objects off of your desk, especially ones that may just take up space and add distractions.

Use blues. Blue is the color of productivity and stimulates efficiency and focus. You do not have to paint your walls blue, but you can bring in blue accents to your bedroom or make a calming blue your color scheme. If you already had other plans for your bedroom designs, place a few needed blue objects on your desk. Perhaps a glance at such a mind-stimulating color can be beneficial.

Of course, the most crucial part of optimizing your productivity is living clutter-free. When you stay organized and rid your environment of overwhelming extras, you eliminate distractions and allow your mind to flourish. Clutter is physical build-up, which leads to mental build-up, a.k.a. stress. Your workflow cannot proceed freely when you are stressed.

Use dry-erase boards! A dry-erase board is a To-Do List’s best friend. Keep one by the door in your bedroom to prioritize your daily responsibilities so you are reminded of your obligations every time you leave your bedroom. Talk to your roommates about putting a dry-erase board in the common area. This will not only help if anyone has a message to leave for each other but it can promote productivity within your entire home. Write down important dates on the board such as when rent is due or a cleaning schedule.

Keep a speaker in your room. Studies show that moderate noise levels can boost creativity and keep your work flowing. Why? Because soothing sounds make it easier for you to process difficulty. Remember that the volume should be moderate and the music should be ambient. You don’t want the noise to overwhelm your thinking.

Lastly, lighting is important. Worrying about the lighting in your bedroom may seem unnecessary. You may think, “Well I can see, what more do I have to do.” Lower and natural lighting is actually beneficial to coming up with creative ideas. On the other hand, a brighter environment helps you to maintain concentration. When decorating your bedroom, have at least two separate lights in which one is brighter than the other to create different settings for various stages of work.

There is a lot that goes into one’s productive mind. Creating a productive environment where you spend a great deal of time will only make getting your work done easier. 

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Marlo Brooks

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Taking a lesson from...Netflix?

In the past couple of years, the latest addiction that so many of us have faced has been our love for instant television streaming. We binge watch our favorite shows, and countdown to when new seasons are released. Whether it’s a nice break from reality, or a way to wind down at the end of the day, Netflix is there for us, always. But what if there was a way to take our love of Netflix, and turn it into something useful? A way we could learn about global issues, industry secrets and the way that our society is changing? All these topics, among many more, are shared in various documentaries on Netflix. I’ve picked a few of the most popular ones to share.

  1. Fed Up: It’s no secret that obesity has been a growing issue in the United States. And as our waistlines grow, so do our desires to be healthy and skinny. In this eye-opening documentary, Katie Couric exposes many secrets within the food industry that are keeping America fat. In one shocking segment, she shares that pizza and French fries are considered vegetables in school lunches.
  2. Living on One Dollar: In this documentary, four recent college graduates set out on an eight week adventure in Guatemala, where they plan to live on just one dollar a day. They experience extreme poverty and the struggles it brings. More importantly, they learn about the strong community ties that exist in these parts of the world that helped to keep them alive.
  3. Blackfish: In this documentary, many of the secrets of Sea World’s past are revealed as former Sea World employees share their experiences in working with killer whales. This documentary gained the most media coverage following its premiere, and served as a catalyst towards change for animal rights.

Maybe after the next season you finish, you can scroll the documentaries section of Netflix and take a look at what it has to offer. You could find yourself learning about a scientific phenomenon, an unexplained occurrence in history, or even the secrets behind what actually feeds our country.

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Christina Clemence