Archive for February, 2013

Feb
26

The Intern Spotlight

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In today’s post, meet Ali Pearce – current Peppercomm intern and future PR star.

1.  Tell us about yourself- Where did you go to school, where are you from and what brought you to Peppercomm and PR?

My name is Ali Pearce and I’ve been interning at Peppercomm since September. I graduated from Elon University, a small liberal arts college in North Carolina, last May with a degree in Strategic Communications. I have always enjoyed working in teams and coming up with creative solutions to problems; therefore public relations was a perfect fit for me. Because it is an industry that encourages thinking outside of the box, I am constantly being challenged and continuously learning new ways to help our clients.

The culture at Peppercomm is unlike any other organization I have been a part of and immediately drew me into the company. The minute you step into the office, you can tell that everyone enjoys coming to work and because of that, the energy here is contagious.  My interview flew by because I spent half of the time laughing with the intern committee. That’s when I knew I was sold and that Peppercomm was the place for me.

2.  What area of the industry do you find most interesting and why?

I’m really interested in the digital side of public relations. Social media has revolutionized the industry by completely changing the relationship between brands and consumers. I love following the digital trends and learning new ways to build a brand’s presence through these social media platforms. One of my favorite aspects of this internship is working with Peppercomm’s internal digital team, PepperDigital.

3.  Any surprises or revelations about the industry?

I think the biggest revelation about the industry for me was the different types of projects that we work on for our clients. Before working at Peppercomm, everything I knew about PR came from the classroom and my internship for an in-house PR department. Working for an agency is completely different; no two days are ever alike and you are constantly juggling different types of projects for a unique client base.

4.  Tell us about your proudest moment in the internship so far.

One of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences of my internship thus far has been working for a foreign technology company. My team and I have been helping to establish a social media presence for this client. This has been difficult at times because of cultural differences and a differing of opinion on various topics. Drafting social media content for this client has taught me how to adjust my language and tone so that it matches my client’s audience, which I have come to learn is an essential skill in public relations. Overall, it has been rewarding every day to see an increase in engagement on the client’s Facebook page and to receive positive feedback from the client.

5.  Any favorite/inspiring case studies?

I recently came across a Unicef campaign on Pinterest that really resonated with me. Pinterest is typically used as a platform for sharing things that you want in your closet, for your home or things that you want to cook or craft. Working off of this theme, Unicef created a fictional Pinterest account for Ami Musa, a 13 year old girl from Sierra Leone. Using this account, Unicef pinned items such as a cup of rice or clean drinking water to show the wants of a 13 year old living in poverty. These images stood out amongst the typical materialistic pins. Personally, this campaign forced me to think about those less fortunate about myself and instilled in me a desire to do something to help others instead of pinning another pair of shoes.

 

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Today’s guest post is by Caitlin Veator, a junior at Dartmouth College and future PR star.

I remember writing in my (TOP SECRET!) diary that I was sad to see 1999 go.

Dear Diary, It is already 2000, can u believe it? It seems like it is gone very fast. But this new year has a lot of 0’s. That means I can draw smiley faces in them! So it will look like 2 :) :) :) ! Love, Caitlin

I’m part of the Millennial generation, and we’re just starting to enter the workforce. We’ve only just begun to make our mark, yet according to the L.A. Times, Millennials are more stressed out than other age groups. Furthermore, in an earlier blog post, Peppercomm co-founder Steve Cody addressed his experience with Millennials and their tendency to stick to their own age group rather than reach out to more experienced coworkers.

Yikes. We’re not looking so great right off the bat. But don’t worry, I think Millennials have plenty of skills necessary to revitalize business. Without further ado, here are the top five ways that Millennials are shaping today’s business practices:

  1. We’re social, and we know how to connect with exactly the right audiences. PR is becoming increasingly grassroots, and it takes someone that knows how to maneuver social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest to get the word out and keep consumers and investors happy. At past internships, I have used Facebook to reach target audiences and generate buzz—social networking is the new frontier of marketing and PR, and Millennials love using it.
  2. We’ll deliver. A long time ago and in a galaxy far, far away, PR used to rely on general perceptions, the “atmosphere” of positive buzz. More recently, new technology has let us use very exact metrics to measure people’s reactions to publicity. As a research assistant, I’ve learned about the ways that describing someone affects your perception of them. Seems like minutia, but even a single word can really affect audience reaction. We Millennials are used to measuring and comparing metrics, so we’ll deliver results.
  3. We think on our feet. There are all sorts of arguments about Twitter and short TV shows decreasing our attention spans, but the flip side is that we’re constantly thinking and adjusting. If you need interns to plan an event, don’t fret if something goes wrong. We’re on our toes, and we’ll fix it lickety-split.
  4. We’re connected. This goes hand-in-hand with our social networking—we’ve been connected via mobile and internet with nearly everyone we know since our preteen years. Need to get in touch with a journalist that specializes in corporate environmentalism? Hold on, I just saw on Facebook that my friend from high school is interning at The Washington Post, and she might know someone!
  5. We’re looking with fresh eyes. When you’ve worked months or even years on an account, it’s hard to look at it like the average member of the public. When I came to one internship, I was tasked with fixing up a current webpage—with one look, I knew that it wasn’t reaching the educators it was supposed to. With fresh eyes, I saw the value propositions as they needed to be seen, and wrote some new copy that I’m confident will drive web traffic. There’s a reason you’re the expert, but we’d love to help you out.

So what do you think? Have Millennials failed to meet your expectations, or are they blowing you away?

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Feb
19

The Dreaded Job Resignation

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The goal for most when finding a job is to land a position at your dream company. So you go through the interview process, you like them, they like you and a few months in, you realize you’re not actually the best fit.

No one will fault you for leaving a job after six or so months, in fact, recognizing that you are not happy/fitting within the company shows a sign of maturity (though be mindful of how many times you do that, you can be tagged as a “job jumper”).

Sometimes you just know you need to leave your job and whatever the reasons are, it is important to tactfully resign.

Check out this article from CIO.com on 5 LinkedIn Tips for How to Resign From Your Job Gracefully for some good advice if you need to leave.

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Even though it’s post-Valentine’s Day, love is still in the air. And you know what that means—we’re going to post a list of fictional television characters that we think would be great in the industry based on a few character traits. Why? Why not! It’s a day about love. So check out our list (which is in no particular order or by any means “final”). Let us know who else you would add to the list, but first enjoy our picks:

Mary Crawley

 

 

 

 

 

If you watch Downton Abbey, you know Mary Crawley’s a tough cookie. Watch and listen closely, she knows exactly what to say and how to say it. Whether it’s about the war, her family, unrequited love, she keeps everything together and responds well. She never shares information that could come back to hurt her (too much). Also, remember a certain deal with a big newspaper man? Good job, Mary.

Michael Bluth

 

 

 

 

What Michael Bluth of Arrested Development dealt with was straight up crisis communications. While not perfect, he was (mostly) always cool, calm and collected. We could see him doing very well, especially in some high pressure/ridiculous situations . . . and we know Job would be entertaining.

Ari Gold

 

 

 

 

 

Smart, funny and hardworking, Ari Gold “embodies” all that goes into the industry (plus a lot of choice curse words). So, he may be a bit crazy at times, but The Entourage character is tasked with building the brand of his client, so not too far a stretch to jump to the industry. We just hope if he were real, he was on our team.

Ben Wyatt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the Parks & Recreation fan, you know that Ben has been a successful campaign manager and is very intelligent (he is marrying Leslie Knope after all). He can do it all—crafting messages, working in publicity/with the media and we think he would excel in the field. Ron Swanson was a close second, but we thought his “take all bacon and eggs” attitude put him just a little behind Ben.

Lisa Simpson

 

 

 

 

She might be 8-years-old, but Lisa Simpson is poised and ready to take on anything. We picture her balance of smarts and calm attitude taking over the world. We wouldn’t mind a little jazz saxophone, too.

Don Draper

 

 

 

 

Duh.

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Categories : PR, Public Relations
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Feb
13

To new books . . .

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We just want to virtually *toast* our colleague Sam Ford, Director of Digital Strategy here at Peppercomm. He is a co-author of Spreadable Media, a new book that basically argues that “if it doesn’t spread, it’s dead”. The official book launch party is tonight in NYC and all of us here at PRiscope and Peppercomm are very excited for Sam and his newest accomplishment. Congrats, Sam!

 

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Feb
12

Mind Your Table(t) Manners

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This post originally ran on Peppercomm’s PepperDigital Blog.

My name is Laura and I’m a Foursquare addict.

Yes, I’ll admit it—I love Foursquare. I want to be “The Mayor” of all of my favorite spots (including the Peppercomm office, which is currently under an intense mayorship war). I love all of the different badges you can earn. While I don’t usually get addicted to these types of things, the gamification of how many times I go to the laundromat or the gym is so appealing and makes my boring day-to-day errands much more fun.

I know I’m not alone in my addiction. I see my coworkers and non-industry friends with smart phones doing the exact same thing. Some are also addicted to checking in on Facebook, tweeting exactly what comes in their heads (all the time) or instagramming everything from the chili they just cooked to a dead bird they saw on the side of the street.

But where does one draw the line?

When out with a client, I was at a new restaurant in a state I’ve never visited. I was excited to check-in and see if I would get a new badge. After being seated, I went to whip out my phone, but then remembered one big thing: common courtesy and table manners (OK, those are two big things). I always apologize if I receive a text or phone call when at dinner. So is it really appropriate to check-in all the time? No, it can be perceived as rudeness.

We’re at a point where we’re seemingly always connected via text, email and social media. That doesn’t seem necessary.  In fact, if you’re checking all of these different communication channels, it could indicate to the other person that there is something more interesting in the social spheres than with the person you’re with. I think we can all have dinner or meet with friends/family without checking our phones for an hour or so.

Fight the addiction and don’t be a phone-checking maniac. If all else fails, you can try the phone stack challenge, but really, is it so hard to mind your table manners?

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Feb
05

I Work In PR

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Blogs and memes come and go, but sometimes you just know when one is great. Here is one of our new favorite PR humor blogs: #iworkinpr and one of our favorite postings so far:

 

 

When you’ve been hung up on by a reporter for the 10th time

When you’ve been hung up on by a reporter for the 10th time

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Pitching and, really, media relations, is a big part of our job in communications. To some it’s fun and easy, to others it’s the most terrifying aspect of the field.

Whether or not you love or hate the media relations aspect of the industry, you typically need to have it mastered to be able to successfully progress in communications.

So how do you get to mastering this “art”? The same way you get to Carnegie Hall: practice, practice, practice.

Here are a few tips to help you get your pitch perfect before you reach out to anyone:

  • Write out the key points you want to make; you can keep them in front of you when making calls, but writing it down will help you to figure out what you want to say and help identify the most important points you need to discuss.
  • Practice! Ask another account team member or even just mumble it to yourself. If you can’t keep concisely convey the point, you are not ready to call anyone, especially not a busy person in the media. This will also help you to make sure you don’t stumble over any points.
  • Be sure to keep your initial pitch down to 20-30 seconds. If the person you’ve called keeps you on the phone longer and asks, questions, that’s great, but keep it short when first trying to sell the idea.
  • Do your research. Make sure the person you’re calling is the BEST person at that particular outlet, which means you should be reading what they typically cover and all recent articles.
  • Emailing a pitch? Common sense says that you should proofread it, but it also never hurts to have someone else from your team take a quick look to make sure it’s informative, yet to the point.

These are just a few items to keep in mind when pitching. If you get nervous, just remember, you’re pitching via email and/or the phone, no one can see you.

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Intern Podcast

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