Top Three Tips for Public Relations Planners

BY: PAXTON MITTLEMAN

This February, I represented PRSSA-UD at one of the Public Relations Student Society of America’s Delaware Chapter (PRSA-DE) networking events. As I sipped coffee and ate some of the provided refreshments, I listened to Dave Brond from Aloysius Butler & Clark (AB&C) and Cortney Klein from WSFS Bank discuss the elements of an effective strategic planning process. Here are my top three takeaways from Brond and Klein on how to best create a strategic plan in order to optimize its potential for success:

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Dave Brond, Aloysius Butler & Clark. Photo retrieved from Twitter

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Cortney Klein, WSFS Bank. Photo retrieved from LinkedIn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1) Content is king, no matter what. Brond emphasized that in an ever-evolving industry, it is important to never lose sight of the fact that at the core of the newest digital tactic is a story waiting to be told. As public relations professionals, we have to focus on how we tell these stories, and what is the best type of content to convey them to our target audiences. For example, is Twitter better than Instagram? Will the key public see your message if it’s in a print publication, or is it better suited for web?

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2) Mobile should come first in all plans. Klein talked about the launch of WSFS’ Mobile Cash campaign, and how it was a big hit with the bank’s customers. This is because consumers are using their phones more and more to execute daily tasks, from waking up in the morning to completing a bank transaction. Klein’s example only further confirms incorporating a mobile component into your next public relations strategy is critical to better resonates with your customer’s changing consumer habits.

3) Customers trump “white space” in strategic planning. When stacking up a strategic brand campaign against competitors, Brond notes there is always this “white space,” or a public relations arena (such as print advertising, Snapchat geofilters, etc.) where no competitor has ventured. While it’s smart to consider the white space and decide if it’s worth tackling, what’s most paramount in public relations is advocating for the customers and if they will respond well to that medium and message. There might be a reason why no competitor has ventured into that white space!

As aspiring public relations practitioners, it’s key to learn these trends in strategic planning so we can apply them to our future jobs and internships. By becoming stellar planners, we will stand out among the competition and effectively contribute to any organization we are part of, whether it’s for three months or for life.

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Paxton Mittleman is a senior at the University of Delaware majoring in Mass Communication with minors in Advertising, English, and Entrepreneurship. When she’s not serving as PRSSA-UD’s Vice President of External Affairs, she can be found tweeting as a Social Media Leader for the Social Media Ambassador program @BlueHenPaxton or volunteering with the sisters of Gamma Sigma Sigma. Feel free to connect with her on LinkedIn or visit her website to learn more about her!

The hidden opportunities of winter break

How PRSSA-UD members can make the most of UD’s two-month winter break

BY: VICTORIA DELLACAVA

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As all college students know, winter break means getting to celebrate the holiday season with friends and family. This much-anticipated breather between semesters is what gets most of us through finals week. While most schools get a few weeks off, University of Delaware students are off for almost two full months – which can be considered either a blessing or a curse depending on who you’re talking to.

 

Though there are many benefits to taking a break, and winter break is a great time to wind down after a hectic semester, sitting around for two whole months is bound to make anyone restless. Some UD students acquire internships and/or part time jobs to keep them busy over these long two months, but that’s not the only way to stay productive over winter break. Here are a few tips on how to having a productive and efficient winter break, in order to stay sharp and start the spring semester and the new year off on the right foot.

Organize your space

After packing up your belongings at school before coming home, must of us usually notice some shirts, sweater and scarves that we no longer wear. Take this time while you’re unpacking and setting your space up for the winter and donate things that are taking up space. Not only does this help you de-clutter your space but help those in need as well.

 

Volunteer in your community

You don’t need to have a formal internship or job in order to get out of the house and do something productive. By spending time volunteering – whether with an animal shelter, soup kitchen, women’s shelter, library etc. – you’re keeping yourself busy while giving back to your community. Most charities and nonprofits see an influx of volunteers during the holiday season, so continuing to volunteer into January and February can do even more good.

 

Revamp your resume/LinkedIn

This is something I always say I’m going to do during the semester and rarely have the time for. Taking this break to rework your resume and LinkedIn profile can help give you a leg-up when before you send your next round of applications.

 

Apply for internships/jobs

With your updated resume and LinkedIn profile, you’re in an even better position to start applying for internships (or jobs for all my fellow 2017 grads). Whether it’s for the spring semester, summer break or post-grad, this is the perfect opportunity to set aside some time to research companies and start getting your application materials together.

 

Go on informational interviews

Since you’ll be home well after the holidays, winter break is a great opportunity to reach out to some of your professional contacts and set up informational interviews. This is a great chance to learn more about a specific industry or company that you’re interested in and get some great tips before applying for your next job or internship.

Write a blog

Whether you already have a blog, have been thinking about starting one or want to write for someone else’s, you now have all the time in the world to do so! Not only does this keep your writing sharp during your time away from school but also adds more writing samples to your repertoire. Most employers will ask for a writing sample with your application, so better to write it now than when you’re swamped with papers, test, projects, extracurriculars and other applications during the semester.

 

Put together a online portfolio

If you really want to set yourself apart from other internship or job applicants, an online portfolio can help concisely highlight your work and accomplishments while showing employers that you’re not afraid to put in a little extra effort to make yourself stand out. Since putting an online portfolio together can be time consuming, winter break is a great time to start.

 

Get ready for next semester

Getting all of those monotonous new-semester prep tasks out of the way – like ordering your textbooks, picking up your school supplies and figuring out your gym schedule – will make going back to school in February that much more enjoyable.  

 

Take time for yourself

A difficult semester can take a lot out of you, and this new downtime should definitely be used to to take time for yourself. Whether it’s reading for pleasure, spending time with friends and family, reading the newspaper over a cup of coffee, trying out a new fitness class, going on weekend trips to new places, doing yoga every morning or spending time at your favorite hometown coffee shop, make sure that you’re doing things that make you happy and help you unwind.

 

You don’t need to have a strict school schedule to feel like you’re being productive. Creating good habits over winter break will that you can carry into the next semester will help you feel more prepared for the semester to come.

 

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Bio: Victoria is a New York-native senior interpersonal communication major with minors in public policy, leadership and advertising. She serves on the PRSSA-UD executive board as vice president of professional development, head of PRSSA-UD’s Outreach Committee and social media editor at The Review. To connect with her, follow her on twitter, connect with her on LinkedIn or meet her for coffee at Brew HaHa! (chances are she’s there right now).

Shaping The Message

BY: PAUL NAIDAS

On November 28, PRSSA featured Ike Richman, an experienced PR professional boasting 26 years of experience with Comcast Spectacor. Through his work, he oversees Public Relations and Communication for the Philadelphia Flyers and countless events in the Wells Fargo center. After providing free T-Shirts (a college student staple,) Richman delivered an engaging, informative speech that touched upon his beginnings in PR, tips on getting people’s attention, and experience with crisis communication.

Richman began his journey at the University of Maryland, dreaming to pursue a career in radio to become the the next, hottest DJ. Later to his dismay, he would find that landing a career in radio was no easy task. But to Richman’s benefit, radio would be the gateway into the world of PR. Through an opportunity with sports radio, Richman attained a press pass to a Flyers game where he would interview players for the show. With his luck, he met the PR manager of the Flyers and after some conversation, made a connection that would lead him closer to the PR career he has today. Richman’s take-away from his background story is simple: take advantage of opportunities that exist. Had he never stuck his neck out to attend the Flyers game, he never would have met the crucial people who helped him along the way.

 

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Made with Recite Quote Creator

 

With having little knowledge to start, Richman quickly learned another important lesson about PR. It’s centered around the question: How can you publicize something you know nothing about?” In Richman’s beginnings as a PR professional, he learned it’s very hard to share a story with little knowledge of its setting, characters, and plot. He recommends knowing the in’s and out’s of a story, reading everything, and finding something people will care about. It’s what gets people’s attention. Richman recommends when titling a press release to follow the What, Where, When technique. It describes the story simply, and effectively. Keeping the information new and exciting is better than focusing on returns, encores, and past events. Richman then recalled a time where he wrote a press release about a Russian figure skater videotaping his way to a career in the United States. He had titled it, “Russian Man Shoots Himself to Get a Job in the US” proving that a little humor and creativity can go quite far.

 

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Made with Recite Quote Creator

Finally, Richman reviewed his experience with crisis communication. In 1996, Richman found himself bombarded by the press inquiring about a flood that occurred on site at the construction of the Wells Fargo center. Through his experience he states, “…when answering the press, it’s important to focus on these steps: stay calm, find out what they want to know, contain them from the crisis, deliver the message.” He directed the press away from the flooded areas, and kept the situation under control by answering questions swiftly and honestly. “PR people shape the message.” – Ike Richman

 

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Paul Naidas is a junior Mass Communications major with a double minor in Spanish and Interactive Media from New Jersey. He is an active member and Public Relations & Social Media manager for Deltones A Cappella and Vice President of Public Relations and Marketing for the Resident Student Association. Find him on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

 

Skill Slam: 6 Pro-Tips on Clinching Your Next PR Internship or Job

BY: JENNA NEWMAN

On November 14th, PRSSA-UD met with Vice President Victoria Dellacava for six tips on how to get coveted PR internships and jobs.

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Pro-Tip #1: Take Advantage of Your Resources

There are hundreds of different job and internship databases that have thousands of openings. At times this can be overwhelming. To make your task less daunting, look for sites that focus on the specific types of PR that interest you, such as Idealist, a site that posts non-profit opportunities. Take advantage of different filters within job sites to narrow your options. Don’t be afraid to click through a site because you never know what you could find.

 

Pro-Tip #2: Reach Out to Your Professors, Mentors, Peers, and Professional Centers

Often, the key to getting the perfect internship comes through connections. Talking to people can create career opportunities. This does not necessarily mean shoving your business card in the face of everybody you meet, but distinguishing yourself from other faces in the crowd or names on a list.

 

Pro-Tip #3: Look Up a Brand’s PR Releases to Find Their Agency

If you have a specific brand in mind that you want to work with or for, look up their PR releases to find out what agency they use. Once you gather this information, don’t be afraid to reach out to see if you can set-up an informational interview or learn about their internship process.

 

Pro-Tip #4: Stay Organized!!

It can get chaotic when you desperately want that internship and you are applying to twelve different companies and agencies hoping one of them sees something in you. Create a spreadsheet with all of your deadlines and what you have completed for different companies. Nothing would be worse than missing a deadline for an agency you want to work for and that actually wants you.

 

Pro-Tip #5: Sending Your Application

Unless the company or agency specifically says to NOT send a cover letter, you should to show your personality and commitment to that company. Pay attention to the application instructions because one of the easiest ways to get rid of applicants is by discarding the applications that were not submitted to the right person or in the proper form.

 

Pro-Tip #6: Let Your Voice Shine Through

Companies aren’t looking for a lifeless robot to work for them, so be yourself in your application, especially in your cover letter. Just make sure that the way you are presenting yourself is consistent with the vibe of the company.

 

Also make sure to check out Danny Rubin’s (@DannyHRubin) book Wait, How Do I Write This Email? for crafting emails for every scenario.

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Jenna Newman is a freshman Communication Interest and International Relations double-major with a focus on African development and a Disability Studies Minor. When she’s not at PRSSA meetings you can find her hanging out at the BSM House, volunteering with Autism Speaks U, or posting on her blog pandemoniumofmylife.wordpress.com.

 

 

 

 

The Art of Over-Delivering and Authenticity: Night with the Pros Fall 2016

BY: KARA NORTH

On the evening of November 10th, PRSSA-UD held their annual “Night with the Pros”. Three Blue Hen alum served as panelists and over twenty eager UD students awaite advice, there was no better place to meet than Main Street’s iconic Klondike Kate’s. Steaming hot coffee, snack-sized horderves, and a normally bustling atmosphere hushed for the evening welcomed our four panelists: Kutztown grad Sara Brace (social media specialist at SEOM Interactive) and UD Alum Joy Diebert (press officer at Philadelphia Museum of Art), Kristen Van Iderstine (communications manager at Philadelphia Soul), and PRSSA-UD’s own Keri Betters (community coordinator at The Archer Group).

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The hour and a half long event was packed with pro-tips and advice in working in social media, media relations, public relations and professionalism in general. The following ten best practices were echoed and emphasized by our four panelists:

  1. Never underestimate the importance of writing. Writing will likely be a daily requirement with any position related to communication. It is essential to create a strong writing portfolio as a student so potential employers can see the work you’ve done. Once employed, it is critical to know your audience and understand that you may need to adjust your voice depending on who you are trying to reach. For example, Kristen’s writing drastically shifts when she is reaching out to those unfamiliar with arena football compared to those who are Soul superfans.
  2. Understand the vernacular. In addition to strong writing skills, you will need equally strong speaking abilities. Follow companies within the industry you are most interested in on social media so that you can begin to learn their jargon.
  3. Under-promise, over-deliver. Be a go-getter and make the initiative to jump on new tasks and projects. Similarly, be aware of deadlines and don’t only meet them, but give yourself an earlier mental deadline so your assignment is ready to go should your boss need it sooner than expected.
  4. Be ready to back up anything you include on your resume. You will be asked about it (even that one small job you included at the bottom of the page) during the interview process.
  5. Use personal social media accounts to your advantage. We have been told time and time again to clean up personal social media. Take it a step further and use social media as an extension of yourself and strengthen your personal brand. As SEOM Interactive’s Sara says, “social media is a microphone for everyone”. This will allow employers to see a glimpse of your personality and show them that you know how to use each platform effectively.
  6. Start the job search early and ask for feedback. The more interview experience you get, the better. These professionals can be a great resource for providing feedback and suggestions on improving your resume.
  7. To seniors: have fun, but remain focused. Make the most of your senior year by making connections and remaining in contact with them after you graduate. Realize that your schedule is going to change once you transition into the professional world and prepare for it.
  8. Don’t leave the office just because you can. Don’t run out the door as soon as the workday is over. Instead, stay extra hours and ask coworkers and higher ups what you can help with and get started on future projects. Your dedication in the office will not go unnoticed. However, your boss will also notice if you are dragging out projects that should be completed in a shorter amount of time. Find a balance.
  9. Be authentic and show your true passion for the industry. Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Joy Diebert believes “true passion shines through.”
  10. Don’t slack off once you’ve secured the internship or job. Succeeding on paper and in the interview are only the first steps. Continue to work hard and reflect the skills you included on your resume throughout your time as an intern and employee. Learn from your coworkers and expand your skill set.

 

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As young professionals in an ever changing, fast paced field, our panelists have undoubtedly faced some challenges. However, they offered some beneficial advice on how to handle such instances. According to former PRSSA-UD Exec Board member Keri, “challenges are not negative”. There is an opportunity to learn and grow with every situation PR professionals face. To combat the occasional creative blocks social media specialist Sara faces as a one-person department, collaboration is key. Although she is solely in charge of her company’s social media presence, she has found that her work is made stronger when combined with public relations and often asks her coworkers for feedback. Working for Philadelphia’s champion arena football team presents a similar challenge for Kristen, who is tasked with maintaining social media engagement throughout the team’s offseason. One way she succeeds in doing so is finding alternative ways to present the content so that it never appears repetitive. In response to any challenge that is likely to arise in the professional world, our panelists agreed that one thing is essential: always have solutions. Never present the problem as an obstacle, rather approach it with a means of resolution.

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The night concluded with a discussion on company “fit”. The ideal work environment is different for everyone. Regardless of whether it’s your coworkers, clients, the location, or overall environment that draws you to a company, you must find something that makes you excited to go to work every day. For Keri, The Archer Group’s “work hard, play hard” mantra is what first attracted her to the company.  Her advice is to pay attention to where the employee’s desks are set up in the office space during office tours and visits. Are they hidden in cubicles or spread in an open layout? Observe what the employees are doing. Are they keeping to themselves, ears plugged with headphones or speaking to one another? You can also find out about a company’s work environment by asking your interviewer their favorite part of the job. You will be able to tell whether or not they are genuinely excited about it and determine if you will be too. Sometimes, you have to try a position at a new company to really get a feel for whether or not you will love working there.

 

Night with the Pros left PRSSA-UD’s members feeling more prepared to take on an internship and begin the process of searching for a career after graduation. Thank you to all of our panelists!

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Kara North is a junior mass communication major with a minor in writing. She serves on the PRSSA-UD executive board as program director. She is a Social Media Ambassador on her UD-branded Twitter account @BlueHenKara, producer for STN49’s “Hens Sports Night” and videographer and editor for the weekly ISLL Speaker Series “New Connections”. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn!

Connect with our panelists Kerri BettersJoy DiebertSara Brace, and Kristen Van Iderstine on Twitter!

 

My Summer with JMG-PR

Internships can be a sensitive topic for most. They want you to have experience, but won’t give you the opportunity to get the experience, so you usually find yourself stuck between a rock and a hard place. I have definitely encountered this problem along with so many of my peers. So, when you do land that positon you need make the most of every minute.

I landed my first Public Relations related internship at JMG-PR in lower Manhattan this past summer. JMG-PR is a “full service public relations agency with a specialization in the lifestyle and entertainment industries”. What this means is that the company focuses to promote awareness and engagement for their clients by pitching placements to the media to publish. This is executed in many ways with use of special events, social media campaigns, feature articles, and more.

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Source: @jmg_pr

My job as a summer intern consisted of researching, creating media lists, press clips, and face sheets. As well as assisting with the company’s media relations, event planning, creating talking points for interviews, and formulating social media campaigns. It was a very busy summer to say the least. No day was just like the other and I never knew what I would be faced to tackle until I came into the office that morning. The demand shifted from client to client based on their needs and the timeliness of their requests. Due to the fact that JMG-PR is a fairly new agency, my internship was unique to others at larger and more established firms.

I was able to form a close relationship with my boss and CEO, Jenna Guarneri, that positively impacted my summer experience. She presented herself with such poise and grace in every situation she faced, that it motivated me to work diligently and rise to her expectations. She was so willing to teach me all that she’s learned throughout her career thus far and allowed me to apply my knowledge to be very hands-on throughout the internship. Being able to physically write press summaries and edit them alongside Jenna was more beneficial to me than all that I’ve learned in the classroom so far.

I appreciate this experience so much and cannot wait for what’s to come, I’ve gotten a taste of the “real world” and I like it. For those who are looking for their first of many internships, my advice to you is to be persistent, work your connections, and do your research. My advice for those already in the position is to ask questions pertaining to your tasks or even personal questions to get to know your coworkers and superiors, always be early, and be self-aware, because you’re communicating all the time and you never know who’s watching.

 

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Tyler Nolley is a PR enthusiast double majoring in Communication and Spanish with a minor in Advertising at UD. Connect with her on Twitter: @tyler_nolley and LinkedIn.

PRSSA-UD vists Washington D.C.

BY: AMELIA LUDWICK

This past Thursday, twenty PRSSA members from our University of Delaware chapter traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with three public relations/marketing agencies. We meet with Fenton, Allison + Partners, and Multiply.

Common themes throughout all three agencies included trends of integrated campaigns that involve both earned and paid media, occasionally pushing your client to see change and creativity happen, and reinforcing the valuable skill of writing in the PR profession.

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Our first stop of the day was Fenton, a social change agency with clients such as The American Heart Association, Warner Brothers, and Johnson and Johnson. Fenton offers a paid fellowship for recent college graduates in any of their four office locations. Fenton works for causes they believe in, and use their PR skills and journalism backgrounds to get important issues noticed by the public. They have worked with their in-house team to create moving video campaigns about the soda tax in Philadelphia, Donald Trump running for President, the famine in Africa, and fracking in New York. Their work aims to cause behavior change. They offered us advice to get an MBA or Masters because it is valuable nowadays, work hard to make sure your writing skills are outstanding, and if there’s an opportunity to work at a startup or become an entrepreneur early in life- take it!

Next, we visited Allison and Partners and met with their D.C. general manager Tara and three other account executives. Some of Allison+Partners clients include Samsung, Hulu, and Lexus. Tara talked to us about how important influencers are. Whether it’s social media, celebrities, or friends, A+P focuses on the influencers to understand how to reach their clients’ target market. Tara told us to, “always have a seat at the table” when it comes to working with big clients and their marketing teams. You want to be involved and have your professional opinion heard and valued. Sometimes you also need to push your clients out of their comfort zone to create unique and effective media. She talked about metrics and how important it is to track your progress so you can go back and show your client what your campaigns and ideas have accomplished by the numbers. In addition to having strong writing skills, the agency relayed to us that content creation, blogging, and problem-solving skills are all valued at PR firms.

We ended our day in D.C. in Georgetown at Multiply (formally DBC). The CEO Skyped us to introduce us to Multiply and their core values and showed us their new real-time earned media dashboards. Again, we were informed about the importance of metrics. Three different account executives talked to us about recent case studies they had accomplished for their clients such as ACE Hardware, Cruzan Rum, and Corona. Multiply’s creativity stood out to me because they are doing work for clients that no other brand has done before. For ACE they hosted a workshop for lifestyle/home bloggers and magazines to introduce the new Amy Howard at home DIY line. For Cruzan Rum they sent out a virtual reality experience mailer and received earned media from Maxim and Men’s Journal. Finally they discussed a campaign for Corona based off their “Find Your Beach” slogan where they offered beachside beer delivery, “Bringing Beers from Boat to Beach.” In addition to stressing writing skills, they talked about how it’s so important to be able to change your voice for different clients. Knowing how to reach all different target populations through your tone of voice and ideas is another key to success in the public relations industry.

Overall our trip to D.C. was one to remember. We are so thankful to all the firms for taking the time to meet with us and offering such valuable advice. Can’t wait to return!

 

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Amelia Ludwick is a UD junior marketing major with an advertising minor. Passionate about all things PR, figure skating, and fashion. Check out her LinkedIn here!