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! 

Greenwash Effect in Public Relations

BY: JAMIE LEVY

Environmental pollution and global warming is an issue around the world and people everywhere are beginning to take action and become more environmentally conscious. Small changes go a long way and help better the environment, such as actions as simple as turning off the lights, saving water, and recycling

 

This global change is impacting the world of public relations by leveraging this shift to positively promote businesses. Many companies are following this environmentally sustainable trend and incorporating it into their business model by following environmental conscious business practices, providing sustainable products, and implementing programs that give back. It is great that businesses are taking action, but what is in it for them is how they share and promote these changes they are making. By incorporating these actions into their communications strategy, they are able to promote to customers how great and world conscious their brand is. Resulting in a consumer that feels better about themselves and the environment when using their product.

 

A company that did a great job of communicating this environmentally sustainable message to their consumers was Sodastream. A product that reduces plastic waste by making soda in the comfort of your own home. They executed a campaign that leveraged April Fools day using Paris Hilton as their “celebrity endorsement” in their spoof advertising campaign. They did an outstanding job making their prank feel like a “real” product. They were able to get an endorsement from an academic professor and launched a fake website and Facebook page a few days before the advertisement launch. Once the ad was launched they made it clear that it was a joke to ensure there was no confusion from viewers.

 

 

The ad begins with Paris Hilton addressing the issue of plastic waste affecting animals globally. She then explains her solution of NanoDrop, a fictitious sparkling water product that will reduce plastic waste. They then explain that it was a mistake and introduce the reveal of the product Sodastream, sharing how making soda at home reduces plastic waste and saves the environment.

 

“I loved working on this campaign as it delivers a really important message in a funny way that empowers everyone to make better choices and promotes a healthier and sustainable way of life,” Hilton said in a statement. The campaign was done by creative agency Allenby Concept House and was able to gain attention in a very overcrowded branded April Fools day prank space. This was an extremely creative way to address the issue of environmental pollution and promote their product in a funny and engaging way.

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Jamie Levy is a junior studying Interpersonal Communication and Advertising with a serious passion for public relations. On the weekends you can find Jamie at the yoga studio, on the beach or playing with her dog Charlie. Follow her journey on Twitter at @jamielevy28.

From PRSSA-UD to Hunter Public Relations

BY:PAUL NAIDAS

This upcoming summer, I have excitedly accepted a summer internship offer at Hunter Public Relations in the heart of New York City, the city that never sleeps. Hunter is a renowned PR agency that has worked with well-known companies such as Barefoot Wines, Tabasco, and Hasbro Games. Their work has promoted values like sustainability with Barefoot wines. Through the UD chapter of PRSSA, I will be working through a program crafted specifically for UD students by Delaware Alumni and Chief Executive Officer of Hunter PR, Grace Leong.

This will be my first time working professionally in the PR field, and I am more than pleased to begin at Hunter. I have worked with a handful of UD’s student groups to dig my hands into the PR profession. While I do not yet know what projects I will specifically be working on, I know that I can be sorted into one of their three main focuses which include Food & Beverage PR, Home & Lifestyle PR, and Health & Beauty PR. I am eager to see what I will be assigned to, and who I will meet along the way. After my time with Hunter this summer, I hope to  move my career forward with an insatiable desire to do great things in public relations. I look forward being able to say that my career’s foundation began with Hunter PR.

For most college students, especially in the Public Relations field, I have found that internships are an extremely competitive hot commodity. Everyone wants to have one for valuable experience and a competitive edge in the job market post-graduation. Through my chapter of PRSSA, I know that I have been provided skills and advice from the various networking opportunities and programs presented to me. Whether it’s PRSSA’s Skill Slams or the Night With the Pros, I know that the opportunities provided for those in PRSSA are well worth the cost of dues for the year. I am glad to have the opportunity to grow as a young professional through a great organization like PRSSA-UD and would recommend that anyone interested in public relations would join their local chapter.

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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.

 

A Public Relations Perspective towards Trump’s Absence at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner

BY: GILLIAN ZUCKER

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Photo credit: EPA/Astrid Reckon. Investigative journalists Bob Woodward (left), and Carl Bernstein appear at the White House Correspondents’ dinner with its President, Jeff Mason of Reuters. 

Fake news. It’s a term and overarching concept that’s been circulating the public discourse, brought back to the surface by current U.S. President Donald Trump to influence public view of the credibility of our nation’s media sources.

Trump’s distrust and distaste towards our industry led him to break a presidential tradition and had the whole nation talking. On Saturday, April 29, Trump became the first President since 1981 to skip the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, fondly coined “Nerd Prom” for D.C.-area journalists and media professionals. While guests dined and listened to legendary investigative journalists, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who cracked the Watergate case, celebrate the First Amendment and the values of the free press in speeches, President Trump held a rally in Pennsylvania celebrating his first 100 days in office.

At the rally, Trump made his feelings towards those in the media known once again to his supporters by stating, “If the media’s job is to be honest and tell the truth, the media deserves a very big fat failing grade.” At the dinner, the media seemed to respond to Trump through the words of the president of the White House Correspondents’ Association and a Reuters journalist, Jeff Mason, by saying, “We are here to celebrate the press, not the presidency. And I am happy to report that this dinner is sold out.”

Of course, the White House Correspondents’ Dinner and the simultaneous Trump rally received natural publicity from online earned media: The Daily Show comedian Hasan Minhaj’s segment of the dinner became a top-searched YouTube video, Trump’s words at his rally were found on every newspaper headline and social media newsfeed, and memes from the night made their way around the Internet.

In addition, around the time that Trump initially announced he wouldn’t attend the dinner, comedian Samantha Bee took the perfect opportunity to plan and execute her own “Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner” event. From a public relations perspective, Bee strategically positioned her event as a celebration of journalism and its objectivity. Bee and her fellow comedians, such as the legendary Will Ferrell, poked fun at Democrats and Republicans alike with hilarious skits parodying political coverage throughout the year to every little detail of the celebration, such as the “Nasty Woman” cocktail. Overall, her event was a success, even earning higher TV ratings than the actual White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

Through her anti-Nerd Prom party, Bee took a stand and became part of the rallying cry with the press at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner that “fake news” isn’t part of the field of journalism. Instead, to move forward together as a nation, we need to celebrate the truth and finding objectivity in a world of alternative facts, seeing the media as part of the journey towards educating and making a difference in the public dialogue.

 

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By: Gillian Zucker, a spirited Blue Hen sophomore pursuing a degree in Interpersonal Communication and minoring in advertising and writing. Gillian will be serving as PRSSA-UD’S Co-Program Director in the spring of 2018 (when she is back from studying abroad in London!) and currently works with the mascots (Baby Blue and YoUDee), performs community service with her sorority, Gamma Sigma Sigma, and also interns at the University of Delaware Career Services Center working on social media and marketing projects.

PRSSA-UD visits MSLGROUP and Stuntman PR

BY: SAM MURPHY

On Thursday, April 20th, PRSSA- UD had the amazing opportunity of traveling to New York City to visit two unique public relations firms. Our first stop in the Big Apple was MSLGROUP, where we were all enthusiastic to learn more about about one of the top five PR agencies in the entire world. Aside from delicious breakfast pastries and a breathtaking view of the NYC skyline, MSLGROUP had plenty to offer!

Joey Silver, Margarita Miranda- Abate, Kevin Tressler, and Thea Linscott had much to say when discussing their overall focus as an agency. Abate emphasized that there’s nothing more engaging than being able to tell a story for your brand. Her point was further validated when the crew showed us videos of MSL’s top campaign hits that were particularly crafted to stir up emotion, a prime example being their #LikeAGirl Always campaign, which continues to hold millions of people captivated. Our speakers then served as guides in terms of helping us understand our own, individual career paths. They explained that even though advertising, public relations, and media agencies are becoming much more interwoven nowadays, there are still small distinctions that could determine which direction we choose to take in the future.

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In addition to all of the valuable information MSLGROUP shared with us last week, they didn’t let us get away before giving our members some personal insight on the NYC experience. Linscott best described it as a place of endless options, insisting that “there’s more opportunity within 7 blocks of this building than most other places.” NYC is also a great spot to receive agency background, which all our speakers recommended practicing at least once in life, due to the incomparable strategy skills acquired. However, they emphasized that above all else, your main focus should be choosing a city you could picture yourself living in, while still doing what you love (which is PR, of course)!

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After a quick lunch break to eat and refuel, we headed to our next stop, Stuntman PR, a firm primarily focused on promoting culinary businesses. Neil Alumkal and Katherine Liab provided us with a relaxed, conversational setting where we could ask any PR related questions and receive honest feedback by their professional expertise.

A major piece of advice Stuntman reiterated was that if you can’t tell a narrative that will rip through and catch people’s interest, it isn’t worth telling at all. They also shed light on the significance of being able to adapt in such a constantly evolving industry. This includes paying attention to what news is being covered and finding out what people really want to read about. Stuntman mastered this technique with a restaurant- owning client who desired to bring in more customers. They responded with the creative perspective of taking the main food item, dumplings, and remaking them into the largest soup dumplings in NYC. By taking a risk and making their food differently than anyone ever had, Stuntman was able to take a restaurant that previously didn’t even have a printed menu, to bringing them coverage from an abundance of established news outlets. This example highlights Alumkal’s motto that you should always go with your gut, even if the idea seems outrageous at first, which clearly seems to have worked for him thus far!

A key concept Stuntman introduced to us was “backdoor pitching,” which refers to the use of informality to cultivate a journalist/ publicist relationship. In the PR world, Stuntman uses a different technique consisting of casual emails and inviting reporters out for a bite to eat to subtly hook them. This way, they’re establishing a personal bond before a professional one, which Stuntman would agree takes the faceless, robotic aspect out of pitching a story.

Both public relations firms did a great job at developing our understanding of the industry as young PR professionals. We are so grateful to all who took the time to speak with us and make a beautiful day exploring the city that much more memorable!

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Sam Murphy is a freshman Communications Interest Major with a minor in advertising. Along with PRSSA-UD, Sam is currently a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority.

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).