5 Blogging Do’s and Don’ts

If you like writing, or want to sharpen your skills, writing a blog is fun and beneficial. To write a well-organized and purposeful blog, here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind!

Don’ts:blog1

  1. Don’t use too much content. You do not want to overwhelm your readers. Keep it simple and they’ll be more likely to keep reading!
  1. Don’t clutter your page. Make sure there aren’t too many visual cues, links, or buttons on the page that may distract your reader from the message, or messages, you are trying to convey.
  1. Don’t frame things negatively or speak badly about anything or anyone else. A blog should not be used to express dislike or hatred. Use the power and freedom of expression for good! Spread positivity; the world could always use more of that!
  1. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. Blog about something you know enough about. Make sure the content you’re posting is accurate so that your readers will see you as a credible source.
  1. Don’t imitate someone else’s blog. Don’t be a “copycat.” If there’s already a blog about something you want to talk about, engage with the writer and readers of that blog instead. Find something that makes you and your blog different.

Do’s:

  1. Show passion about your topic. Being passionate will reel readers in. Chances are, if you’re passionate about something, your writing will be richer and more interesting for readers. That’ll keep them coming back.
  1. Be specific and consistent about your message and reasoning. Avoid making a blog about nothing. Once you lock down that passion, stick to it! Open up to your readers, tell them why you’re passionate, and then stay true and focused on that passion.
  1. Write regularly. Make sure to keep readers engaged. Try developing a schedule so that your readers can know when to expect a new post. Setting deadlines for yourself will also prove helpful and efficient for maintaining your blog.
  1. Respond to comments/ engage with your readers. It’s crucial to realize that you’re writing for an audience and they matter! Responding to their comments will make them feel included, therefore encouraging them to keep reading!
  1. Use images and provide links where necessary. Pictures grab attention. Keep readers entertained! Following blogs is most often a leisure activity; pictures remind your readers that they’re not reading another boring article. Links help to display how your blog connects to the rest of the world, so be mindful of staying relevant.

By: Sydney Dawson

Sydney Dawson is a junior Mass Communications major and pursuing minors in Advertising and Spanish. She is a first year member of PRSSA-UD, an undergraduate TA for the Spanish Department, and a third year member of the UD Coed Cheerleading Team. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram, @syddle3.

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3 Books to Read for Aspiring PR Professionals

In the public relations field, writing is one of the most important tools we have. However, instead of creating content, we can turn to books from some leaders in the field for meaningful advice. Here are only a few of the inspiring and informational books that the PR world has to offer. Each one of these books has a new way of looking at business and the way people build relationships.

1. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

This book has been called the PR bible and is one of the first best-selling self-help books. Although released over 75 years ago, it still contains extremely relevant step-by-step information about how to be a leader, make people like you and win people to your way of thinking. The ability to create and maintain relationships in public relations, whether it is with your professors, peers or co-workers, is a necessity and an immeasurable quality. His timeless advice is definitely worth reading.

“Success is due 15 percent to professional knowledge and 85 percent to the ability to express ideas, to assume leadership, and to arouse enthusiasm among people.”

2. All Work, No Pay by Lauren Berger

As aspiring PR professionals, we know the importance of an internship. However, obtaining one is easier said than done. Berger, known as the Intern Queen, had 15 internships while in college and uses her expertise to help students find and make the most of their internships. With information ranging from how to write a resume to turning an internship into a job, it contains invaluable advice for students. It also includes a great section on practice questions for interviews to prepare. This is a great resource for PR students at any level.

“While an internship does not guarantee a job with an employer, it does guarantee an experience – an experience that takes you one step closer to where you want to be after college.”

3. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck

For those interested in psychological side of business, this book is for you. Dweck found that people have either a “fixed mindset” or a “growth mindset” about our character, intelligence and talent. With a “growth mindset”, you believe that with hard work you can thrive in a challenging situation and learn from criticism. This is a mentality that we should adopt because those with this mindset are more creative and resilient. It is an empowering and motivating look at our behavior.

“No matter what your ability is, effort is what ignites that ability and turns it into accomplishment.”

I hope you find these books as motivating and inspiring as I do and you continue to keep reading!

By: Jennie Osber

Jennie Osber is a senior mass communication major with minors in advertising and psychology. Along with PRSSA-UD, she is a member of Gamma Sigma Sigma, the national service sorority and Lambda Pi Eta, the communication honors fraternity. Follow her on Twitter: @JennieOsber

Link used for research: http://www.businessinsider.com/must-read-public-relations-books–the-required-reading-list-of-pr-books-and-marketing-books-2011-9

Picture from: Google Images

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Break Through the Interview: A Recap of the Interview Skill Slam

The word ‘interview’ often makes people cringe. Interviewers can be intimidating, stressful, and can make you rethink what you should and shouldn’t have put on your resume. People walk into interviews never fully knowing what to expect, and never fully able to figure out whether the words “we’ll be in touch” mean you got the job, or that you’ll never hear from the interviewer again.

However, thanks to PRSSA-UD’s skill slam on Monday, March 23, entitled “Break Through the Interview,” planned by the pre-professional organization’s Vice President of Professional Development, Laura Hepp, some of the PRSSA members had the opportunity to receive feedback from PR professionals on their interview skills, and their resumes.

I was fortunate enough to be allowed to sit through members’ interviews and take notes on the feedback professionals provided, as well as, listen to what they said are dos and don’ts for any interview. What I learned from sitting through these interviews was always expect a behavioral based question, and don’t let it frazzle you. Possible employers want to know that you can think on your feet, especially when they ask you a question such as “give me an example of a time you tried to accomplish something and failed.” This kind of question sends people into panic mode, but no need to panic. Turn a negative into a positive. Admit to the failure. We all have them, but make sure you end with how this failure bettered you in some way.

Also, always maintain eye contact and shake an interviewers interviewhand. It seems simple enough, but in the heat of the moment a lot of people tend to forget about this simple gesture. Don’t let that be you. A handshake and steady eye contact make you seem confident and they differentiate you from someone who is so nervous they almost seem unsure about their own abilities.

Always make sure to sound enthusiastic about what you love, and be able to verbalize how you’d be an asset to the organization whose position you are interviewing for. It’s nice that you enjoy your profession, but interviewers don’t care about why you think a given position is the best fit for you they care about why you are the best fit for them.

Lastly, as for resumes don’t be afraid to get specific. Explain in detail how you personally have positively impacted the places you have worked for and make sure to put the most important and relevant thing you’ve done at the very top of your resume.

This was my first PRSSA skill slam and based on what I learned, I encourage everyone to jump at the chance to participate in the next skill slam. Who knows, you might just take away from it.

By: Stephanie Pinilla

Stephanie Pinilla is a junior Psychology and Interpersonal Communications double major, working toward a Women’s Studies minor. She is currently a general member of PRSSA-UD, and works as a media planner for Now Hear This UD public speaking competition. Stephanie hopes to end the year by becoming an Oral Communication Fellow and by becoming a more active member of PRSSA-UD. Follow her on Twitter, @lilpinil.

Spring Into Success: 4 Tips to Make The Most of Spring Break

Finally, it’s time to relax after a busy first half of the semester—spring break is here! In between basking in the glow of the sun (or not…where is warm weather?) or just the glow of your computer screen, this time is also a great opportunity to work on your professional brand. Here are some tips to help you take advantage of all that extra time in a way that will benefit you in your future career.

  • Update (or create) your resume.

During the school year, I tend to neglect my resume until I actually have to use it. It’s easy to forget to add new clubs, volunteer opportunities, or new jobs and internships to your resume when you’re busy. If there are no new activities to add, think about editing it. Is there a better word you could use to describe what you did in your position? Is everything formatted in an appealing way? If you’re a freshman who has yet to create a resume, now is the perfect time to start! Don’t worry if you don’t have much to put on it yet—there’s plenty of time. Many templates are available online to help you begin. springbreak

Relax over break, but also advance your career.

(mhs.keysschools.com)

  • Develop your LinkedIn profile.

I’ve found LinkedIn to be a great tool. It allows you to go more in-depth than a one page resume, and you can show off your writing skills and even include writing samples/projects if you’d like. Being able to connect with professionals and search for jobs and internships is another benefit of having a LinkedIn profile. If you already have one, take this time to update or edit it, or maybe even change your profile picture to a more professional shot.

  • Search for summer internships.

It’s not too late to be looking for summer internships. Many places are still looking for candidates and holding interviews. Blue Hen Careers, a database with hundreds of jobs and internships listed, is a great place to start, plus it’s available for all UD students and even alumni to use. There is also a College of Arts and Sciences Career Networking Night on Thursday, April 9, if any communication majors are interested!

  • Create an online professional portfolio.

Personally, this is my goal for spring break. Creating a way for employers to view your writing samples and other relevant projects online will really help you stand out when applying for jobs or internships, and allow them to view your work all at once. I’m planning on making a WordPress site to upload my writing samples to, but you can use any blogging platform, or even LinkedIn.

Hope you are having a great break!

By: Allison Knouse

Allison Knouse is a junior Mass Communication major with minors in journalism and advertising. Along with being a member of PRSSA-UD, she is a social media ambassador for the university and serves as the Vice President of PR for the National Society of Collegiate Scholars at UD. Follow her on Twitter @BlueHenAllisonK, or connect with her on LinkedIn!

Short, Sweet and To the Point – Tips for Successful Blogging

Gone are the days when a blog post was simply used as an outlet for one’s thoughts. Sure, these blog posts still exist; but bloggers have taken to the social media channel to further act as journalists, reviewers, and opinion leaders. Anyone can write a blog post – but who wants to attach his or her name to something mediocre? Crafting a post that is informative, influential, and impressionable can be tricky. images

Here are a few tips to take your blogging skills from beginner to beyond adept.

  1. Write with the end in mind. Why are you writing about this topic – what is your ultimate goal? Be mindful of who your target audience is, and what you want to have accomplished by the time they finish reading. Do you want them to try a certain new restaurant? Make that known. Do you want readers to become informed of a new charitable organization and then make a donation? Make that known.
  1. Every word counts. Many people are under the impression that more is always better; however, this is not the case. If you can make your intention clear without a ten-page explanation, do that! There is no need for excess words, which I like to refer to as “fluff”. Each word should be carefully selected for a specific purpose. Be transparent and genuine in your writing.
  1. How it is displayed is just as important as the content. Make your post easy on the eyes! Compiling lists is a great way to present content. It is much easier to read smaller paragraphs, and bold prints or bullet points, rather than lengthy paragraphs that seem to never end. It is much easier for readers to digest the information this way as well.
  1. Create catchy titles. A title is the first thing a reader sees, and often influences whether or not he or she will read on. Demonstrate your creativity! A title is indicative of what will follow. Make sure that it accurately sums up what you will be talking about, but isn’t bland. Think of it as a preview to your writing style; if your title is clever and well thought-out, your writing will be, too.

It is meant to be enjoyable, so don’t forget to have fun with your writing! By utilizing these tips, your blog posts will reach their maximum potential and your readers will be impatiently waiting for you to post more and more. Happy blogging!

By: Christina Droppa

Christina Droppa is a UD-loving sophomore, a member of PRSSA-UD and a member of the sorority, Sigma Kappa. She majors in communications and minors in Spanish.

Image from: http://www.spiceupyourblog.com/2013/01/writing-compelling-blog-posts.html#.VQ5s1ihFPao

 

Heather Tansley, Communications Specialist: Taking A Leap and Finding Her Passion

If you asked Heather Tansley what she wanted to do with her life as she entered college, her answer would have had no trace of the words “communications.” In fact, Tansley started school at the University of Delaware with a major in Neuroscience, planning to enter the medical field.   tweet2

So how exactly did Tansley go from budding medical professional to the Communication Specialist for her alma mater’s Career Services Center?

It all started after Tansley obtained her Master’s degree and landed her first job performing crisis work at a psychiatric hospital. As she watched the hospital’s communications strategists at work, Tansley thought, “That looks like fun…I want to do something like that.” Luckily, she got the chance to test the fun out for herself when a spot opened up on the hospital’s team, jumpstarting her career in the communications industry.

While Tansley enjoyed working at the hospital, she was looking to return to the culture of the Fightin’ Blue Hens. The opportunity knocked when a friend alerted her to a job opening at the Career Services Center (CSC) where counseling, marketing, and communications skills were required- the perfect combination for a woman like Tansley.

Flash forward to today, and Tansley is serving her UD community at the CSC, where she produces all digital and hard-copy marketing materials, manages the CSC’s social media platforms along with a team of student interns, develops the center’s web design. But her favorite part of the job is whenever “a student tells me that we made a difference.” Wherever her career took her, Tansley wanted to help the people around her, and through her work at the CSC she is able to do just that.

As Tansley looks to the future of her marketing efforts at the CSC, she sees social media acting as the game changer in campaigns. With the Millennial generation becoming increasingly social networking savvy, “I think [social media marketing] is just going to keep continuing to grow.” This is reflective in how Millennials are hired in today’s job market; Tansley notes employers don’t want to see a resume anymore, they simply want to see your LinkedIn profile.tweet1

So before immediately jumping to your LinkedIn profile to ensure it reflects your long-term goals, Tansley advises students to “take opportunities even if they seem outside of the direction you think you’re going.” Tansley changed her direction when she took a communications position out of her comfort zone- and she never looked back.

Tansley’s job might not entail practicing medicine like originally planned, but her story shows that by taking chances and being open to whatever is thrown your way, you may end up in a position where your passion shines through- and maybe you’ll even make a difference.

By: Paxton Mittleman

Paxton Mittleman is a sophomore Communications and English double major with an Advertising minor. When Paxton isn’t attending PRSSA-UD meetings or writing for the blog, she is volunteering with the sisters of Gamma Sigma Sigma, planning events with the UD Honors Program Senior Fellows, or tweeting up a storm on her Social Media Ambassador Twitter account. Feel free to connect with her on LinkedIn!

(Heather Tansley photo: Her LinkedIn Profile)

(Tweet screen shot: @BlueHenJH SMA account)

How to Take a Break and Get Ahead: Winter Session Recap

Overwhelmed with the amount of free time on your hands during the lengthy winter vacations we get here at UD? To those opposed to kicking back by the cozy fire, there’s actually a lot that can be accomplished in just two short months.

I, personally, couldn’t let the opportunity of UD’s winter session pass me by. Whether you’re trying to get ahead, boost your GPA, or coordinate for a double major, taking winter classes is an extremely beneficial thing to do. If you still want to be in the comfort of your own home over the winter months, then why not take online classes? UD allows students to register up to 7 credits during the winter session. I filled my schedule solely with online courses.

Online classes are designed to appeal to a mallorymdiverse range of learners. This is largely due to the fact that they are generally self-paced. I’ve always been more of an impatient, fast-paced learner and taking online classes allows me to work as far ahead as I can. I took a one-credit communications elective this past winter in which I completed all of the course material within the first week. If you’re on the other end of the spectrum, online classes can also allow you to take your time more so than you might be able to when attending an actual lecture.

Enrolling in UD Winter online gave me more flexibility in my schedule to return to my seasonal retail positions at the Tanger Outlets in Rehoboth Beach, DE. I worked as a sales associate at Harstrings Kids Clothing and a Brand Representative at Justice For Girls. Whether it’s greeting customers at the door, ringing them up at the cashwrap, or assisting them on the floor, both of these positions have helped me enhance my communications and PR skills by promoting both merchandise and sales.

It just so happened that while I was working at Justice this past winter, they were undergoing renovation. We had to ship out thousands of units of merchandise to stores across the U.S. to make room for construction. I obtained experience communicating with sales girls across the country about which types of merchandise would be most beneficial to their stores. I also obtained experience communicating with girls at my location on how to coordinate with the temporary and tight space that we had. I’ll be eagerly returning this spring to see our final product.

Returning to campus after Winter Session didn’t feel like I was just getting off of vacation and that’s great because that’s not what I was going for. I felt accomplished.

By: Mallory Metzner

Mallory Metzner is a freshman communication interest and fashion merchandising double major with minors in journalism, business administration and Spanish. She currently serves as a competitive member of the UD intercollegiate figure skating team, learn-to-skate teacher at the UD Fred Rust Ice Arena, crew member of the Student TV Network 49 News, writer for the UDRESS fashion magazine, public relations team member for UDRESS, and a general member for PRSSA-UD. Follow her on Twitter, @MaleePaytatweet.