The PRSA Delaware Media Experience

Picture completing a project under the close supervision of a boss. Now, I want you to imagine completing this same project under the close supervision of 45 bosses. This was how I felt at my first PRSA Delaware meeting when I was told to speak in front of the 45 PR professionals at this week’s meeting. Although I felt nervous speaking in front of public relations practitioners, I successfully introduced myself. Introducing myself to all of these potential employers was just one of the many opportunities I had at the PRSA Delaware meeting!

The panel of Delaware media gurus facilitated a discussion on familiar topics including what a journalist, or gatekeeper, looks for in a press release to an overview of Delaware’s news trends today. The guest speakers representing broadcast and print media emphasized newsworthiness in a media release. Submitting a media release surrounding the topic of fifty layoffs would not be sufficient, but if the article focused on the economy and job layoffs regionally, then the media release presents much more newsworthy material.
The importance of social media, rather than just traditional media, was also discussed. Some PRSA members were scurrying by activating multiple twitter accounts while others were preparing podcasts, and their actions showed me the true importance of social media among public relations practitioners.

Written by Alex Albanese.

To the Internship and Beyond: Networking as a Student Intern

Over the past summer and for a short period during winter break, I had the amazing opportunity to intern for the corporate communications department of a leading global hospitality company. I was blessed with experience, opportunity, and most prominently, a fit of anxiety. Upon finishing the internship, my head reeled with doubt: what if I never get another internship? Is one enough? What if they forget about me when I leave and no one ever hires me again?

In an effort to reassure myself, I’ve become a networking aficionado. I’m convinced that networking is half the battle when it comes to finding a job—especially in a public relations or communications field. I’ve come up with a few networking tips that have helped me keep in touch with coworkers and classmates, communicate with professionals, and even score the ever-elusive next internship.

Make your presence known, inside and out:

Throughout the duration of my internship, I worked to make myself visible. With the help of my boss and her team, I was permitted to sit in on meetings, write for both internal and external forums, and submit my own work to upper-level associates. By attending meetings with other associates or external vendors, I was able to introduce myself to a variety of people who work for a variety of fields. It helps that they were also able to recognize my name from the various articles, blogs and announcements that I wrote and submitted to supervisors who became familiar with my work.

In hindsight, I can see that such personal networking can be accredited to the team I work with, who put me on assignments that required me to contact many people throughout the company, causing me to be proactive in getting my name heard!

Give a little of yourself away:

One enormous recommendation I have for networking through your internship is the traditional business card.  Today, business cards may seem trite when compared to our social media networking, technology 2.0 habits of communicating our information, but they can actually be quite useful. You can order them online (they’re inexpensive) or use your nifty PRSSA-provided cards (which also demonstrate what an active PR pre-professional you are).

During my last week I handed out business cards with my contact information to people I had met throughout the company, along with hand-written thank you notes to those who I had worked with extensively. Most people were really impressed by my thoughtfulness, and when I returned to work over my winter break, I noticed that one of my bosses still had my note, and my business card was tacked onto her wall next to her phone!

Actually keep in touch:

It may feel like you’re being a nuisance, but keeping in touch with your past colleagues, bosses, or business partners can be really important. Create a LinkedIn profile, and connect with people you met throughout your internship, classmates, and even teachers. You’ll be able to upload your resume and achievements as well as receive recommendations from people you’ve worked for. Social media, when used appropriately, can be a valuable channel for networking.

Another way I kept in touch (and still do) with my bosses was through email. Since I knew I was returning to work over the winter, every few months or so throughout the fall semester, I emailed one of my bosses asking about what new projects they were working on so that I could keep up to date.

I also occasionally emailed them questions I had about communications-related schoolwork. Or, if I had been working on something particularly relevant to my internship while I was at school or had important updates, I would send it to them to show them how I am improving my skills, and thank them for helping me pave the way. For instance, I was working on a presentation about social media, which is something that my boss does often, and I emailed her for suggestions or notes.

Note about the emailing: Just remember that they are professionals, and very busy, so keep your emails occasional, concise, and polite, and gauge exactly how much they need to know. If you maintain a friendly professional relationship, they’ll be impressed by your persistency and desire to improve, and you get a chance to remind them how amazing you are!

Written by Gabriella Chiera.

Crisis Public Relations- Drunken American Red Cross?

As I was following the PR world on Twitter last week, I watched a very interesting event unfold. During the night of February 16th, an employee who tweets for the American Red Cross accidently tweeted a personal thought under the organization’s twitter account. Gloria Huang posted on Twitter, “Ryan found two more 4 bottle packs of Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch beer…when we drink we do it right #gettngslizzerd.” Immediately Twitter filled with tweets responding to the shockingly inappropriate Red Cross post.
With the expansion of twitter and other social networking sites in the business world, people often juggle personal and professional accounts for multiple social media outlets.  Gloria made an honest mistake, but her tweet was a reflection of the American Red Cross, a well-respected organization that is a player in the international community. Such a comment is a true case of a need for crisis PR.
How would you fix such an enormous blunder that reached an international scale? Many agree the Red Cross handled the situation appropriately.  Instantaneously, the tweet was deleted, but deleting a tweet could not fully reverse the damage that had been done. So the Red Cross took a few other steps to repair its’ reputation. Quickly, a new tweet appeared, “We’ve deleted the rogue tweet but rest assured the Red Cross is sober and we’ve confiscated the keys.” This response not only acknowledged that a mistake had been made, but also showed that the Red Cross has the confidence to laugh at itself. The Red Cross also addressed the mistweet as a “twitter faux-pas” on its blog.
In the blog the Red Cross said, “While we’re a 130 year old humanitarian organization, we’re also made of up human beings. Thanks for not only getting that but for turning our faux pas into something good.” Because the mistake was attended to with an air of grace, many followers of the Red Cross showed their understanding by pledging donations monetarily and expressed interest in attending blood drives.
Here are some key lessons that can be learned from the Red Cross  mix-up are as follows:

“1.When a crisis occurs, address it quickly.

2.  Respond to the crisis in the same forum where it occurred, as well as putting to work other available social media networks.
3.  Be honest about the mistake.

4.  Apologize for the mistake.

5.  Don’t panic.

6.  Use the moment to humanize your brand.”
You often hear that any press is good press, and in the case of the mistweet, this was proven to be true. Because the mistweet included the mention of the small brewery Dogfish, the brewery stirred interest on an international scale. To show their thanks for the free advertising, many distributers of Dogfish joined the twitter conversation and offered beer-for-blood promotions! The mistweet went from an unprofessional crisis to a gain for both the American Red Cross and Dogfish Brewery! By spinning a story with creativity and humor a major crisis can be transformed into good press. Next time you are faced with a crisis, look upon this mistweet case for guidance!
Written by Sarah Vlach 

 

From Newark to New York: Top three things I learned during my internship at Hunter PR

Written by Kayley Conti

This past winter I was awarded an internship at a fabulous Madison Avenue public relations agency, Hunter Public Relations, owned by PRSSA-UD’s national advisor, Grace Leong. During my 5 weeks at Hunter PR I was exposed to the field of Public Relations up close and personal.  Here are the top three things I learned about PR:

1)     In the field of PR, there is no such thing as a typical work day

I know it is drilled in our heads by our PR professors, and guest speakers, but its true! I came to know and love the unpredictable work day filled with surprise projects. In a “typical” workday I did everything from calculating media impressions, writing press materials and creating media lists to arranging and mailing a gift basket to famous ice skater Johnny Weir!

2)     PR professionals must always be on their toes, ready for crisis to occur

My very last week at Hunter PR I was asked to help write press materials for a coat drive at a school  in the Bronx hosted by a pro bono client.  Being the day after Groundhog Day, the plan was to have my supervisor dress up as Staten Island Chuck, New York City’s local groundhog, to meet and greet the kids and help hand out coats. When an ice storm hit NYC that evening, the event was cancelled and postponed to the following day. With press materials already approved and ready to be pitched to media, suddenly we had to start over.

3)     PR professionals must learn to be “jacks of all trades” knowing everything there is to know about a specific client or industry

Upon receiving the assignment of creating press materials for the coat drive, I was asked to do some research and find out how we could use Groundhog Day to promote our event. I now know more than I ever thought was possible about Groundhog Day! Here are some of my favorite facts:

1)     Staten Island Chuck’s formal name is Charles G. Hogg; he resides in the Staten Island Zoo.

2)     Chuck has a 76% accuracy rate at predicting Spring’s arrival.

3)     Last year, upon emerging from hibernation, he bit Mayor Bloomberg’s finger.

I truly enjoyed my experience at Hunter Public Relations. As a future PR professional, I highly suggest all PR students (and members of PRSSA) jump at any opportunity for an internship. After my short 5 weeks at Hunter PR, I am excited and ready for the workforce I will be thrown into upon graduating from UD in May.

Principal of Icahn Charter, Danny Garcia; NYC Clothing Bank board member, Mary Lanning, our very own Lauren C., Jason Winocour as Staten Island Chuck, me and coat drive voluntee

Spring Semester News

PRSSA-UD has a busy semester ahead! We will be taking our members on multiple PR-related field trips, including one to New York and another to a Phillies game, and to the regional activity hosted by Penn State University PRSSA. We also have a great speaker line-up for our general meetings. Check out this tentative schedule below, and mark your calendars now! We hope you’ll join us for all the great events we have planned this semester.

FEBRUARY

–        Wednesday, Feb. 16th: Philly Ad Club “Personal Branding Boot Camp”

o   St. Joseph’s University, 6:15pm-8:15pm

§  Carpool from UD, Leave at 4:30 p.m.

o   http://www.phillyadclub.com/philly-ad-club-students-personal-branding-boot-camp-successful-interviewing.html&type=all

–        Thursday, Feb. 17th: General Meeting

o   7pm, Kirkbride

–        Week of February 21st: Want to join PRSSA-UD? Look for our dues collection areas around campus to pay your membership dues.

o   Locations and times TBA

–        Friday, Feb. 25th: Agency tour at Aloysius, Butler, & Clark in Wilmington

o   2:00-3:30pm

o   Tour AB&C, and hear about PR and agency life from CEO John Hawkins and Public Relations Coordinator Natalie Peters

MARCH

–        March 1st: Dues due to PRSSA National

–        Thursday, March 3rd: General meeting

o   Speaker TBA

–        Monday, March 14th: PRSSA Challenge

–        Saturday, March 26th: Regional activity at Penn State University

o   “The Reality of PR: A Survivor’s Guide to the Public Relations World”

o   http://prsurvivorpsu.wordpress.com/

APRIL

–        Thursday, April 7th: General meeting

o   Speaker TBA

–        Thursday, April 21st: General meeting

o   Exec. Board 2011-2012 Elections

MAY

–        Monday, May 2nd: Spring Networking Function
Yours in PRSSA,
Abby Stollar
Chapter President

Welcome to our blog!

Welcome to the new blog for PRSSA-UD! I am extremely excited for this new forum to discuss Chapter news, PRSSA-related events, and the public relations field as a whole. I hope this blog sparks discussion about trends and themes throughout the PR field, as well as provides valuable PR-related tips for all of our young professional readers!

Please check back next week for the official release of our Spring 2011 Calendar, where we will highlight all of the exciting plans we have in store for our PRSSA-UD members next semester! In the meantime, connect with us on Facebook and Twitter to get more Chapter updates and news.

All the best,
Abby Stollar
Chapter President