Career Skills: Tips to Building Your LinkedIn Profile

BY: JENNA NEWMAN

Whatis.com defines LinkedIn as, “a social networking website, designed specifically for the business community, whose goal is to allow registered members to establish and document networks of people they know and trust professionally.”

As the fall season begins and school is back in session, it is time to put the bikinis and beach towels away and start building your professional profile. LinkedIn is an easy-to-use, yet powerful tool to gain an advantage in the professional world and work towards your dream career!

Below our three tips from our first PRSSA General Meeting on how to get started:

(1)  Creating a Strong Professional Headline When an employer looks up your LinkedIn the first thing they see is your professional headline. This will also help people find you when searching terms. For example, if you are a Communications Major at the University of Delaware hoping to pursue a career in Public Relations, your headline may read, “Communications Major at University of Delaware. Public Relations Enthusiast!” This headline tells who you are, where you are, and what you are interested in.

(2) Gaining Skill Endorsements Skills on LinkedIn are the traits that “make you uniquely you.” On the LinkedIn website it says, “Members with more than 5 skills are 27X more likely to be discovered in searches by recruiters.” So what does this mean and how do we make people believe we are skilled in categories such as social media or graphic design? Endorsements are when your colleagues, mentors, bosses, or anyone else on LinkedIn confirms or “endorses” the skill you claim to have. This will show up on your profile and make you more credible to potential employers.

(3) Do not hesitate to REACH OUT TO PEOPLE AND GROUPS People expect you to link with them on LinkedIn and the more links you get, the more visibility you will get. Say you have a guest lecturer come into one of your classes who also works for your dream PR Agency– link with them. It’s not “weird” and who knows the opportunities it will open for you now and down the road.

Ultimately, perfecting your LinkedIn profile consists of taking a chance, creating a profile, and then refining it and editing it again… and again… and again. The internet and LinkedIn’s help section of their website gives you all the resources you need to land your dream job, now it’s just up to you!

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#ImportanceofPR in Sports: Unpredictable is an Understatement

BY: KARA NORTH

This summer I had the privilege of interning in our very own University of Delaware Athletics Department, with Development and Alumni Relations. Although my position was not strictly public relations, I utilized many of the skills I’ve learned over the past three years in an area I was newly introduced to. Most importantly, I was able to experience what it is like to work in athletics and learned to appreciate the necessity of PR in the industry as I worked alongside professionals in all departments.

Choosing to begin a career in public relations is handing yourself over to a realm of unpredictability. A PR professional’s main task is to uphold the positive image of whatever or whomever it is that they are representing, no matter what situation arises. Working in sports amplifies the likeliness of the unknown in the very nature of the industry: you can never accurately predict the outcome of any one game, match, race, etc. This makes sports public relations a challenge indeed.

Despite the challenge, the amount of sports PR professionals is growing due to the ever-increasing amount of media outlets as well as the public’s rising interest in athlete’s lives. PR professionals provide this behind-the-scenes glimpse while fulfilling the public’s need for up-to-date sports data. Their main responsibility is to create and preserve positive images for the athletes or sports clubs they represent.

It is imperative that those involved in sports PR maintain the flow of favorable information to the media. This is where unpredictability surfaces – one fielding error too many could lead to a sequence of negative press for an athlete. Similarly, like any individual in the spotlight, the actions of athletes are carefully monitored and it is up to PR professionals to shed a positive light on those who act unfavorably (think Tom Brady and the thousands of “deflategate” memes CExHoeCWEAAlYgHor the media’s constant questioning of Colin Kaepernick). It is up to PR professionals to shape public perception of an athlete or franchise. If the perception is positive, it helps on all ends – athletes, teams and fans included. Another responsibility of sports PR professionals is promoting a team’s profitability. Individuals are more inclined to purchase tickets and buy into a franchise of there is public interest.

There are of course many advantages to working in the industry, like working alongside a loyal fan base and developing an appreciation for the inability to predict outcomes – it’s all a part of the excitement of sports. Public relations in sports is imperative at any level, whether it is professional or in higher education like I was able to experience. Think of the team you love or the athlete you idolize – somewhere along the way a PR professional brought them to the public’s eye!

#ImportanceofPR Music Public Relations

BY: BRITTANY O’CONNELL

One avenue of public relations that I find we rarely discuss in PRSSA is music. However, a huge chunk of all the music you love is due to a public relations and publicity team.

So what is music public relations and why is it useful?

Music public relations involves promoting new releases, tour dates, and/or other music-related news. Agencies strategically get information to the public via the media and work between musicians (sometimes labels) and the media to try and secure album reviews, band profiles, concert reviews, and more. For instance, online promotions and social media can be used to work with popular blogs and online influencers. So that Pitchfork article on your Facebook feed talking about the next artists you should have on your radar? A public relations professional was most likely behind that.

Most music PR is done on a campaign basis. For instance, a PR company may be hired for a set window of time for an album release where they will try to generate as much press as possible. This is also done often with tours. pexels-photo-167491Agencies will do a round of press for the tour and individual dates. Then, at the end of the campaigns, PR companies issue a report with press clippings of all the coverage that the album, single, or tour received.

In some cases, agencies also work with college and club radio promotion. This is used to get an on-air play and mentions with radio stations geared at specific markets.

So why is music public relations beneficial? If artists are sure of their mission, goals, and budget, PR can help them increase their audience and make money. Realistically, a first release will most likely not get reviewed in every major publication and lead to world-wide fame and fortune. But, when an artist has built their brand and is ready to share their project with a good promotional angle, PR can be a game-changer.

Musicians gain someone to send our their music, tour dates, and news to the media. And while PR cannot guarantee exposure and good reviews, artists have someone to follow-up with multitudes of media who want to try to convince them they deserve coverage. Musicians gain a partner who saves them time, has a variety of well-established contacts, and allows them to accomplish goals they wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. When done right, music PR ultimately allows for growth in all areas and a professional, supportive relationship with someone who is there for them.

So three cheers for music public relations that is done right! The might who are dedicated to bringing you good music, helping deserving artists achieve visibility, and making the world and overall rocking place.

#ImportanceofPR A Career in Memes: How Viral Media Has Impacted Public Relations

BY: GILLIAN ZUCKER

Not to sound like an elderly woman reminiscing on a pivotal moment in her storied past, but I remember the first meme I ever encountered online. It was in 2007. This simple digital interaction changed my life and influenced my career interests. With a more worldly lens, however, the viral nature and evolution of our memes changed the way we interact with the people in our network and how public relations professionals promote our favorite brands today.

2007 was actually a very notable year in the history of memes and the Internet. It marked the birth of social media and the micro-blogging platform Tumblr, the popularity of deceiving your friends by “Rickrolling” them, and the initial fame of the legendary YouTube video “Charlie Bit My Finger.” While surfing the web on my desktop computer after a grueling day of middle school, I stumbled upon the new website, “I Can Has Cheezburger?” i-can-has-cheezburgerThis site was known for its adorable “LOLcat” pictures of funny felines paired with the iconic superimposed chat-speak text (ex. “Halp hooman!” or the classic, titular line, “I can has cheezburger?”) that characterized the design and structure of many memes during this year. I just had to share the adorable wealth on my Tumblr and in person with my friends.

As time went on, my love for memes blossomed, in direct relation with the increased Web 2.0 interactivity of social media platforms. Tumblr memes transcended the site and were posted all over the Internet, user-generated YouTube videos went viral, immediately creating stars, while Facebook and Twitter became the grounds for sharing and curating the original content users found. These memes, whether they featured animals, commented on socioeconomic issues, or were entirely absurd, helped the Internet flourish into an online community where everyday users could express themselves freely. They even revolutionized the media industry, giving anyone the tools to become an artist or influencer to the public. In good times and bad, memes are the universal relics of our culture, shared and enjoyed by all.  

Many of the brands we love have joined the conversation, creating their own memes. For example, Denny’s, a fast-casual restaurant chain “broke the Internet” by tweeting an existential iteration of the “zoom in” scavenger hunt meme. Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 12.16.22 PMAccording to a Denny’s spokesperson, the tweet was the brand’s most shared and liked post of all time. The day it was posted, it contributed to nearly 60 million impressions, received 121,000 retweets, and created headlines. Denny’s CMO, John Dillon, in an interview with TODAY Food, explained that the social team takes an “always on” approach to its content curation, looking for moments “that have America talking.” Other brands, such as Wendy’s and Arby’s have also been successful using memes to get noticed by millennial target audiences.

You’re probably thinking: “Hey now, will memes become the new all-stars of the public relations industry?” Time will tell, but recent trends definitely point to a field of memes.

#ImportanceofPR The Tweet Life: A Look at President Trump’s Use of Twitter

BY: GILLIAN ZUCKER

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The 45th President of the United States has caused quite a stir on social media in ways no President has before. His tweets especially are characterized by his vulgar, forthright, and often cutting businessman personality and style, packing quite the punch into 140-characters.

The Twitter dynasty started in May 2009. Donald Trump, a more private individual known for his billionaire business ventures and “The Apprentice” television fame as its former host, announced his appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman through a very professional tweet.  Back then, he utilized Twitter in the way typical of many professionals. He promoted his book, “Thinking Like a Champion” published that year, shared his upcoming media appearances with the world, and posted his own quotes in order to build his personal brand and his network. Surprisingly enough and in stark contrast to the present, his political side was silent.

All of a sudden, in 2011, the Donald Trump we know on Twitter today erupted like a volcano. That year, he made his opinions on political matters known, criticizing the Republican Party, then-President Barack Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (nicknamed “Obamacare”), and even other popular influencers in the media (and was often called out for an arrogant, bullying tone). He started to tweet, retweet, and reply to influencers rapidly. He did this so rapidly that by 2016 when he was running for president, according to a BBC article, he averaged 375 tweets a month. This lasted through the end of November and the election.

According to Mike Berland, a political operative who worked on Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign and the CEO of strategic research and analytics firm Edelman, in an article in The New York Times, “We’ve never seen this before in politics…This is a continuous Trump rally that happens on Twitter at all hours.”

Despite controversy over Trump’s presidency, he has ushered in a new digital revolution of Twitter interaction between influencer and consumer. Unlike many other politicians, the tweets come directly from his voice, building his fan base. His constant opinion on current issues can at times cause backlash, but even these negative interactions allow him to attract attention. Twitter users know that they can engage with him at any hour on the platform and he will respond.

As the President of the United States, Trump is naturally a trendsetter and newsmaker. His Twitter presence adds to his power and influence on the world and ignites conversations. While many Americans have characterized his behavior on the social media platform as “unpresidential” in recent polls, it may be solace for these users to know he is subject to the same online rules. In all, it will definitely be interesting to see how Trump’s tweets are archived for future generations.

#ImportanceofPR Rebuilding Delta’s Reputation

BY: SAMANTHA MURPHY

It’s no news that Delta Airlines has struggled in keeping their customers loyal within these past few months. From aggressive customer interactions to Delta’s “meltdown” when confronted with a storm in Atlanta, the recent backlash has challenged the company in upholding their brand’s reputation.

One of the largest dilemmas was experienced when severe weather conditions hit Atlanta, Georgia. While it’s expected for there to be complications for any airline during any storm, it took Delta much longer than anticipated to get back on track. The airline canceled about 3,000 flights in one week, causing a massive shutdown that cost the company millions of dollars.

The root of the problem was that through the continuous delaying of flights that prevented members of the flight crews, who were tightly scheduled to jump from one plane to the next, from doing their job. In other words, a domino effect was created.

A flight would be announced as delayed, so that flight would land later than originally planned, which caused another flight to become delayed in waiting for those crew members to arrive from the first flight. This commotion went on for days as Delta predicted the repercussions they’d face with hundreds of dissatisfied travelers on their hands.

Later that month, another altercation occurred when a video went viral of a man being asked to exit his flight. Kima Hamilton had asked to go to the bathroom while the plane was getting ready to take off and was told by an attendant he must remain seated. After a considerable amount of time, the plane had still not taken flight, and Hamilton took advantage of this delay to use the restroom. He had explained to the attendant that it was an emergency, yet was still instructed to leave the aircraft for not obeying authority. The disturbance not only ended in every passenger having to get off of the plane and reboard but also caused a major uproar of people who witnessed the incident on social media and sided with Hamilton.

It soon became clear that Delta was drowning and desperately needed saving. That’s where the power of Public Relations and its influence over consumers came into play. Delta has recently partnered with Vice Media to create a plan called “The Delta Launchpad.” This plan specifically targets young entrepreneurs who may travel often for business purposes and catches their attention with free events. These events were scheduled to take place in three cities key to Delta’s market: Los Angeles, New York, and Seattle.

In the same way that traveling enhances a person’s perspective on culture and the arts, Vice attempted to bring this same sense of entertainment right at home with the use of film, music, and food. The outdoor festivities consisted of music workshops, live performances, panel discussions, screenings and more. Tom Punch, Chief Commercial and Creative Officer of VICE Media, commented on the vision for this plan by saying, “More and more, we’re witnessing young people spending their most precious resources, money and time, to travel to far-flung places and cultural epicenters for the best that music, film, and food have to offer. These experiences indulge their passions but often also shape their future careers. We hope this program becomes both an inspiration and a launchpad for young entrepreneurs across the cultural spectrum.”

Vice’s campaign purpose to strategically cultivate young people’s interests, while also attracting new potential customers has slowly begun to earn back some respect for Delta’s reputation. And while Delta’s road back to success is certainly a long one, the crises the company has faced followed by their partnership with Vice is yet another example of how Public Relations always swoops in to save the day!

The PR Intern Survival Guide

BY: VICTORIA DELLACAVA

pexels-photoInternships are necessary for those interested in working in the public relations field because they allow you to gain the skills necessary to enter the field post-grad. As I prepare to graduate and become a PR professional, I’ve been looking back at my experiences as an intern and realize that I wouldn’t be as prepared for the real world without them. Here are some tips I’ve picked up along the way to helped make your internship as impactful (for both you and your employer) as possible.

 

Know the PR lingo. PR is full or jargon, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed if you’re trying to pick up on all of it at once. Check out our PR Intern Glossary to familiarize yourself with some common PR lingo before you walk in on your first day!

 

Do research on every client/project you’re working on beforehand. Before you start or during your first week, take some time to familiarize yourself with the different clients or company’s you will be working with.

 

Familiarize yourself with the office space and culture. Where does everyone go to take their breaks? Where is the coffee machine? Where can you find a box and labels to send a package? Where is everyone’s favorite lunch/coffee spot in the area? The more familiar you are with the office and the culture, the more comfortable and confident you will feel working there.

 

Have downtime projects. Connect with your supervisor and other employees throughout your internship and see if there are any general projects that you could work on in your downtime. If they don’t give you any, take the initiative to do something on your own like write blog posts for the company’s website, draft social media content for clients or brainstorm new campaign ideas.

 

Be realistic about your timeline. If you’re ever feeling swamped, connect with your supervisor and see if they could help you prioritize your to-do list or give you some extra time for the less time-sensitive projects.

 

Take notes at every meeting. This is good for you to keep track of what is going on and for you to be a reference for others about what was discussed.

 

Make connections with everyone in the company that you can – especially those who you aren’t directly working with.

 

Use employees as a resource. Ask the people you are working with more about how they got to where they are and if they have any advice or feedback for you to become the best professional you can be. This also makes it easier maintain connections after your internship is over.

 

Spellcheck EVERYTHING. This includes everything from press releases, formal presentations and casual emails. If your name’s on it, you want to make sure that it is a positive representation of you and your work.

 

Save everything you worked on. This includes anything you wrote, such as pitches, press releases, social media content, blog posts, research projects and even meeting notes. Make sure you save them all and send them to yourself before the end of the internship so you can reference back to them and use them as writing samples in the future.

 

Have a project to hand in at the end of your internship. Some internship have this built into their program, but if not use this as an opportunity to show that you went above and beyond. This can include a research project, social media plan, an updated campaign strategy, etc.

 

Victoria Dellacava  is a New York-native senior interpersonal communication major with minors in public policy, leadership and advertising. She served 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!