Archive for Tips and Tricks

Not another News App

There are many apps that should be on every public relations professional phone, tablet and/or iPod Touch. After taking a look at Facebook PagesHootsuite and Pulse, I began to question why I never used Pulse before this time. Facebook Pages and Hootsuite are fun and easy to use, but Pulse is chalk full of information tailored for me.

The iTunes app store describes Pulse as, “Pulse by LinkedIn is the professional news app tailored to you.” The description goes on to say, “The Apple Design Award-winning app allows you to customize your news reading experience, easily explore compelling professional content, and share stories to your favorite social networks.”

There’s nothing like being introduced to a new app and I’m glad that Pulse is now part of my app library.

PR Professionals, This App is for You

Since all public relations professionals are on LinkedIn (or at least should be), it’s easy to signup for this app. Just login with your LinkedIn credentials and you’re all set. After walking through the demo it’s time to tailor it to deliver the news that you want. You can have news sights such as NPRPeople Magazine or industry trade news sites at your fingertips. The best part, it’s all in one location and with a click on the screen you’re taken to the full article.

The purpose of this app is for you to create different news channels based on your interest. So, if one of your clients works in the agricultural industry then maybe you’ll have an ag related news channel. Then below that you may have a tech related news channel for a different client. You are then able to scroll through the most recent articles published on that site and read a preview before clicking on it to read the full article.

Upon clicking on the preview you are taken to the full article or sometimes more of the article with the option of opening the rest of it via the web. Within the app you are able to leave a comment, share the article across your various social media channels, like it, bookmark it and click on embedded links.

Download vs. Not Download

It goes without saying that I think this app needs to be downloaded. Working in public relations you have to stay current with the news, especially when that news can affect your clients. Having all of your main news sources in one place makes that so much easier. You don’t have to worry about visiting individual websites and scrolling through Twitter hoping you’ll see every relevant article.

Ease of Use

From my use so far, I don’t think there are any deficiencies that I can name at this time. Maybe with a bit more time using the app, I will be able to point some out. It’s easy to change the reading style, clicking and scrolling through the articles is simple and most importantly finding and creating new channels is a breeze.

As you are navigating the busy news landscape, give this app or other similar apps a try to help make your life easier. Your teams and managers will thank you once you begin sharing relevant news articles with them each day.

 

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Nov
13

Don’t Rule Out Internships

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Image via Wikipedia

Image via Wikipedia

Once you graduate you may expect to start you dream job and begin putting those college internships behind you. Right? Well, in PR that is not always the case. Your career path may call for you to take on a post-grad internship (or two) before you land your first job that doesn’t have the word “Intern” in its title.

When you are looking for your first job after college be sure to apply for both entry-level positions and internships. You can work at an internship full-time allowing you to get into the flow of what life will be like in your first career job.

I suggest that you take on a lot of responsibility at your internship, treating it as if it’s the position that you want next. Ask your supervisor what’s the difference between an intern and the position above that role. This will allow you to map out your internship to help prepare you for your next position.

Other benefits/tips of a post-grad internship:

  • Allows you to work in a new city temporarily helping get your feet wet in your career and the city.
  • Take it very seriously – There is a great chance it can lead to a full-time permanent position, so act like you got the job.
  • Live your life outside of your internship as close as possible to the way you want it to be at your first career job.
  • At internships you are held responsible/accountable for your work, but it’s expected for you to be there to learn. Take advantage of this as a learning opportunity!
  • Internships, especially in PR are important for your career and your next employer will really look at all of the experience you had regardless if the job title has the word “intern” in it.
  • Don’t rule out a post-grad internship.

Overall, when you are looking for your post-grad job be sure to search the internship listings too. You never know where an internship can take you.

Keep in mind that Peppercomm hires full-time interns in both New York and San Francisco: http://peppercomm.com/employment

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Regardless of your education level you should find ways to enhance your learning: formally and/or informally. After reading the 10 ways to do this on a budget I’m committed to making sure I remain a student for life.

Here are the 10 ways to continue your PR education on a budget:

  1. Seek out free Webinars
  2. Take a class at your local community college
  3. Attend an event or conference that allows you to learn and network
  4. Find a mentor
  5. Conduct an informational interview
  6. Read industry journals
  7. Give your library card a workout
  8. Volunteer
  9. Join Twitter if you are not already a member
  10. Read up on award-winning case studies

I do a lot of these on the list already, but I really want to do more. You can read the full article here.

Which of the 10 ways to continue your PR education do you find the most interesting?

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Nov
05

14 Essentials for PR Newbies

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Today’s post is in response to this article

There are always so many tips for new PR pros and the above mentioned article is no different. There are great tips like always, but at the end of the day it’s up to you how you will be during your career. I suggest being proactive and searching out work in your current job, but know your limits. You don’t want to take on so much work that you begin missing deadlines.

The article gave 14 tips and here are my favorite five:

  • Learn a client’s industry and their business
    • How can you add value if you don’t know how your clients make money? Get in the trenches. Study your clients and their competition.
  • Network
    • The future belongs to those who can do the work and sell the work. Build relationships in the business community. Get involved in civic and charitable organizations, and don’t expect your company to pay for it all. You must invest in yourself.
  • Develop your oral and written communication skills
    • If you don’t know how to research a company and write a press release, you won’t make it in this field.
  • Dedicate yourself to learning
    • Those who go the extra mile to learn on their own will make it further. Firms are working with limited resources and don’t have time to spoon-feed newbies. If you learned how to do a research paper in college, apply those techniques on the job.
  • Watch business trends and analyze their impact on clients
    • In time, this trait will come to those who are naturally curious. I love curiosity, because it breeds creativity and ingenuity. Employers, seek employees who are naturally curious.

From the list above do you have a favorite or would you add anything else?

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Nov
03

5 Skills PR Interns Need

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Someone recently shared this PRNewser article with me, 5 Important Skills PR Interns Should Possess Before They Get the Gig. Starting my career as an intern, I remembering hearing these tips (and similar ones) many times. This advice came from mentors, internship managers, professors, school advisers and the like. After reading the article, I have to agree that having the following five skills will help interns move to the next level. Although, these same tips should be remembered at any stage in a public relations professionals career.

  1. Writing
  2. Multitasking
  3. Speaking
  4. Researching
  5. Questioning

Writing is a given. Be it in the form of a press release or email, being able to write is crucial in this industry. Multitasking for me is more about balancing my workload to get everything completed without trying to do everything at once. Attempting to write a press release, make a phone call and send a tweet all at the same time is a recipe for disaster. Instead, it’s about your ability to switch quickly from one project to the next while still producing quality work.

Speaking is an important skill to have when giving a presentation or making a cold call for a media pitch. Learning how to master the art of talking with a purpose is key to communicating with clients, the media and coworkers. Researching as an intern was one of the task I remembering having to do almost everyday. Using resources outside of Google really helped in sharpening my skills and gave me the opportunity to bring fresh ideas to my teams. Finally, ask questions. Questioning is something that you should never stop doing and as you advance you’ll become a lot better at it.

These are just a sample of skills that a PR intern needs in order to reach that next level. What other skills do you think are important?

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Oct
13

Did I Do That?

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Photo courtesy of Wikimedia

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia

As you’re starting off your career and all throughout it mistakes are bound to happen. No matter how hard we try to be perfect, that’s not always going to be the reality. Instead of beating yourself up over a mistake, here’s what I say do instead:

  • Treat it as a crisis
    • Figure out the quickest way to fix it and do it.
    • You want to be able to say, “It’s handled,” as quickly as possible.
  • Don’t deny or make excuses
    • Refrain from making excuses as to why it happened because that only waste time.
    • Instead, state the facts if someone ask and be a part of the solution.
  • You’re in the midst of the storm, don’t give up
    • You have to make up for the mistake, so fatigue is not an option.
    • Get the job done to reverse any of the consequences from the mistake.
  • The mistake is fixed, but you’re not done
    • Be apologetic, especially when it effects others.
      • This may mean an in-person apology or email blast to those team members involved.
      • Take ownership for the mistake, reassure the team you’ve learned from it and apologize again.
  • Dust it off and move on
    • You’ve survived the “crisis” and now it’s time to move on.
    • Just take note of what you did, learn so the next time you can do better.

Your career is all about learning and evolving and with that comes mistakes. Remember that they’re not the end of the world and remain optimistic that it will be alright.

How have you handled mistakes you have made on the job in the past?

 

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Sep
29

Surviving Office Politics

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office-politic-1Like it or not, there are personalities you’ll get along with very well and then those you may feel some friction with. It’s been the case since your school days and doesn’t end in the office.

Office politics is a game we all know and love to hate (or at least some of us do), but we have to acknowledge its existence. And, surprisingly, office politics isn’t all bad.

When starting your new job or internship, be yourself, but also do your best to assess the situation and the culture. See how your team interacts with each other and with other teams.

Next, think about how best to play “the game.”

The Good:

Some offices have supervisors, some have mentors, and some have both. But, you will always have yourself. You should always be your own advocate. Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn when you’ve done something well. If there is a really unique idea that you have, you should share it with your superiors. Just be careful not to have it come off as bragging or to seemingly step on someone’s toes. You can strike a good balance. But selling yourself and what you bring to the table is the key to getting raises, promotions, etc. And while some may advocate for you, oftentimes you also need to do so for yourself.

The Bad:

You’ve started a new job and really don’t know anyone in the office and haven’t figured out if there are any bad apples in the bunch (and there might not be). Be wary of the office bully or any gossips. Like in school, you don’t want to end up in “the wrong crowd” and it actually can happen in a professional setting.

If these people do exist in your new environment, sometimes you can’t avoid interaction because you’re on the same team. Keep doing what you do best and follow the plan of “the good.” It’s also best not to associate with them unless absolutely necessary.

The Ugly:

Unfortunately, not all offices are the same. There are some incredibly volatile ones. Competition can sometimes be healthy, but when colleagues and even bosses are conniving, it’s not a good situation for you. The key here is to weigh the pros and cons and decide whether or not this type of environment is one you can handle. If it’s not, then it might be time for you to move on.

With any new experience, always try to feel things out, do your best work and be yourself. Just remember that office politics exists and it’s best to know how to play rather than ignore it.

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Sep
22

Got skills?

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Today’s post is by former Peppercomm intern and future industry star, Jess Schram, who interned during this past summer session. 

Resume talk: Social Media

social-media-resume-360Eighty-nine percent of 18- to 29-year-old internet users are now active on social media, yet far too many of those millennials seem to think that adding “Facebook” and “Twitter” to their resumes will set them apart from other candidates and land them a high-paying job.

Too often people neglect to consider the important aspects of social media like listening and engaging, and consider themselves social gurus the moment they tweet about Brazil’s embarrassing soccer skills or Instagram a picture of their lunchtime ‘froyo’ and receive a few stars and hearts in their news feeds.

Newsflash: it’s 2014! Social media is nothing new—even my Nana has an Instagram to flaunt her Boca life in filtered glory.

Now, I’m not saying social media should be totally swiped from your resume. Being able to use social media is important skill in the communications world, but should only be added to your list of talents if you know how to use it effectively.

If you want to position yourself as an intern who knows the ropes on social, use these tips to help you stand out:

1. Know your audience

Think about your audience’s demographic and psychographic.  What do they care about? How can your social posts evoke emotion (humor, excitement, fear, happiness, motivation, etc.) in your readers? Everything you post on social media should be helpful, useful and relevant to your audience. If you can’t answer the question, “Why should they care?” trash it.

 2. Use correct and relevant hashtags

Because hashtags are how people can easily search for topics on social media, they can help get your posts into threads of relevant conversations, and therefore seen by the masses. Using hashtags correctly can increase buzz around your client’s brand and help you target current fans and future stakeholders.

It’s also necessary to start and continue with relevant hashtags to track and improve your social strategy. The number one reason hashtags fail is the lack of consistency between them. Why use #ConferenceX2013 and #ConferenceX2014 when you can track the success of #ConferenceX year after year and compare analytics for ROI? #Duh

3. Play more

Be human!  If your brand allows, don’t be afraid to be funny on social media or create a voice that will set you apart from your competitors. Virgin Mobile’s Twitter  is one of my favorite accounts to follow, and has done a great job of creating a unique voice for itself through playful, humorous tweets.

4. Actively listen and engage

Pushing out content isn’t enough, even if it’s relevant and interesting. If you want to be an all-star social media intern, you need to jump into conversations happening in your client’s industry and actively participate in them. Listen to influencers, engage with fans, answer skeptics’ questions, and reach out to users in your target demographic to build relationships and improve customer loyalty. Listening and engaging should be proactive not reactive practices.

 5. Repeat!

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re still an intern, so you have some time to practice. That said, it’s important to expand your social media use past your personal accounts and get experience writing on behalf of a client or brand. If you don’t already, just ask! No experience? Tell your supervisor you’ve been reading up on social media, but have yet to get your feet wet. This blog’s a good start, don’t you think? Humor me. Even now, after managing more than six accounts throughout my intern years, including my most recent venture to make my cat famous, I still look for ways to improve and practice.

My final advice to you is this: Just because you’re a millennial doesn’t mean you’re an expert on social media, but it also doesn’t mean you can’t be. Know your audience, use hashtags correctly, create a voice for your brand, and most importantly: Listen. Engage. Repeat. (Peppercomm’s mantra.)

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That title sounds like a unicorn, right? We always doubt that our résumé are perfect and it’s scary to hit “send” when applying for jobs.

  • Are there any typos?
  • Did I provide enough details?
  • Did I provide too many details?
  • Am I using the best adjectives? Are they strong enough to get me hired?

Answer those questions and maybe a few that you didn’t think of with this great infographic in PR News.

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imagesAre you still searching for an internship or job? There are plenty of sites that claim to be the definitive source for that quest, but are they all the best? We’ve compiled a list of go-to sites for you that we think will help:

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with 300 million members in more than 200 countries. You can connect with colleagues, network with potential employers, do research on the industries and companies you may want to approach—joining this site is a no-brainer. And with any interview, you know your potential employer would be searching for your online presence, so having a strong LinkedIn profile can only help with that first impression.

Indeed

Why bother with other job searching sites when Indeed.com exists? This website combs all job listings. Basically, if the job is posted online, Indeed will find it for you.

It’s easy to search, apply for jobs right through the platform and, if you’re looking to hire someone, you can easily list, too.

This site currently boasts 140 million unique visitors every month.

Glassdoor

This website is a great supplement to LinkedIn and Indeed. With Glassdoor—which is touted as the most “transparent career community”—you have access not only to job postings, but you can look at company reviews, salaries, etc. It’s a great resource for your research.

One word of caution, like with other review sites, keep in mind that some may post inaccurate content. If you’re a disgruntled employee, you can easily take to Glassdoor to post an anonymous review. On the flip side, perhaps some happy employees may post extremely positive reviews/experiences to combat other reviews. While these could be true, good thing to keep in mind and all the more important to go for informational interviews at any prospective company.

Twitter

It’s no secret that those of us at PRiscope love Twitter. We’re all pretty avid tweeters, but you’re probably wondering why we think this could be good for your career. Well, we’ll tell you:

1)      You can do great research on the companies and employers you’re targeting. The tone, news and basic content their sharing is a good indication of the company culture.

2)      This is a great way to network with different companies and professionals. You can interact with them by replying to tweets, taking part in Twitter chats, etc.

3)      You can search for jobs here, too. Use the hashtag #HAPPO (Help a PR Pro Out) as some listings are posted with this.

4)      Your own following and the content you share may or may not be impressive to potential employers. Whether you have a slew of journalists following you or you’re great at sharing relevant content, this is a talent and will potentially be part of your job in the industry.

So, those are our top sites. Any that you think we’re missing?

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Intern Video

To find out more about life as a Peppercom intern, check out this YouTube video produced by former Peppercomm interns who share their experiences. Click Here