By Kate Templeton
It’s that time of the year! The academic calendar ends in just three months, so it’s time to find a summer internship. Finding the “perfect” internship can be stressful for many students. I personally have spent weeks perfecting my resume, writing cover letters and filling out applications. It can be discouraging at times, but once you secure an internship the stress will all be worth it. Here are some tips and tricks to help make the internship finding process a little smoother.
Securing a summer internship can sometimes be very competitive. Companies have already begun posting their internships online, so start looking right away! Especially with spring break right around the corner, now is the perfect time to start applying. In order to stay organized try creating a spreadsheet to list the internships you want to apply for with their due dates and what’s required for each application. This way you will be on top of all things internship and have the motivation to continue applying.
When figuring out what to apply for, try to think of a few fields or areas of focus you want to pursue after graduation. This will help you narrow down internships. I recommend putting extra effort into applications in the fields you are particularly interested in. However, due to internships being so competitive, you should still apply to a variety. Make sure to not immediately discredit ones you do not necessarily see yourself in. Any experience is good experience, and you might learn to love an area of focus you didn’t even know existed. Try to gauge between internships that are “reach” one’s versus ones that are more “safe.” Pay closer attention to internships that match your career interests, but still apply for others so that you are setting yourself up for the most success.
Use Your Network
Many students are able to secure internships through their own personal network. Always reach out to family, friends and professionals that you are in contact with and see if they know of any internship opportunities or anyone working in communications. Even if you don’t get an internship right away, making these professional connections is a huge benefit. Use these connections to set up informational interviews, job shadows or just for some professional advice. Networking is a smart way to get your foot in the door at a company and possibly access to internships that aren’t publicly advertised.
PRSSA’s Internships and Jobs Section
If you are a dues-paying member of PRSSA, you have an entire internship database at your fingertips. The PRSSA Internship Center lets you browse their wide selection of internships that are available for students. You are able to filter through internships by employer, location, start date or keywords. It’s a great resource for all PR students! Here is the link to search for different internships: http://prssa.prsa.org/internships-jobs/
Securing an internship in a brand new big city seems like an impressive feat and the ultimate goal. But remember to pay attention to the details and what it actually entails. Many internships are unpaid, or pay very little which is why it is crucial to be sensible. Finding a place to stay that is affordable for the summer and being able to support yourself should be the most important factor. Definitely still apply to your dream internship, but also remain realistic when it comes to figuring out logistics.
Remember to be proactive when searching for an internship. You’re going to focus a lot of time and effort to research positions, properly network and personalize cover letters and resumes for particular jobs. This is time consuming and sometimes extremely frustrating, and you’ll most likely face rejection along the way. Nonetheless, it is essential to stay positive and keep trying! With persistence you will hopefully be able to secure a valuable internship and gain real world experience this summer.
By Kate Templeton
Social media has become a prominent and critical tool in the world of public relations. The online presence of a company can either make or break its reputation. When working in PR, it’s important to understand this powerful tool and how to find the most success while using strategic social media tactics. Here are a few tips for using social media to positively support a brand’s digital presence.
Use Hashtags Professionally.
Hashtags are a great tool to grow an online following and engage with users. There are specific social media tactics that are important when using hashtags. For some brands, using the same hashtag on every post creates consistency. This eventually can be seen as a slogan for the company, and all posts that accompany the hashtag are easy to find. Hashtags can also be used to gain traction and reach more users. Because they are easily searched, using relevant hashtags that appeal to the audience will help the brand expand.
Pay Attention to Your Audience.
Discovering what the audience cares about is a crucial step in creating an online brand. Public relations professionals have the opportunity to listen to the conversations their audiences are having on social media platforms. Responding to comments, questions and listening to critiques will help a brand find more success.
Consistency is Key.
When developing a strong social media presence, it is essential to pay attention to the full image the brand portrays online. Developing a consistent look and voice will help establish a solidified image throughout. The design and graphic elements should be similar to increase audience engagement and differentiate the brand from others.
Create a Strategy.
Not every social media platform is going to be beneficial for every brand. Organizations should only focus on social platforms that add value to their company. Create and implement a social media strategy that will meet the brands’ unique goals and objectives.
Analytics, Analytics, Analytics!
It’s one thing to post consistently on social media accounts, but it is another to actually grasp how the audience is responding. The use of analytics is necessary when evaluating the effectiveness of social media strategies. This can help companies reach the correct audiences that positively impact the brand. (Check out Sierra’s blog post last week for more insights on social media analytics)!
You will now be one step ahead when using social media to professionally maintain a client’s brand!
By Sierra Goodman
Social media analytics is a measuring tool that helps professionals monitor their digital audience and performance. Analytics allows them to see what strategies work and what strategies don’t in order to use the platforms as efficiently as possible. Reading and understanding these numbers can be a bit daunting and difficult to interpret. As rising PR professionals, social media analytics can bolster a resume and portfolio with quantifiable results. Here is what you need to know about social media analytics:
Reading SM Analytics
Filtering through all of the noise is the first step to categorize the information and understand what is and isn’t important. Facebook and Twitter provide free built-in analytics through the platform. If you are looking for deeper insights, you may want to consider “freemium” social media management applications such as Google Analytics, Meltwater, Hootsuite, and Buffer. Many employers use these programs to help clients run their social media accounts and set goals.
While these programs will do some of the legwork, running a social media audit by categorizing past post into themes (videos, links, photos, etc.) will help you determine which themes produce the best results. This, in turn, will help you figure out which content to invest more time and energy. For example, you discover that over the past three months, posts about new products receive significantly more likes and shares than events. This could help you and your organization pivot to create more content that your viewers like to see.
Reach VS. Engagement
Reach and engagement are often confused to mean the same thing. Reach refers to the number of people that have viewed your post while engagement is all the likes, shares and comments your post has received. Engagement may be oddly high at times — when this happens some investigation may be needed. Perhaps a post went viral or became popular for a reason. The high engagement will affect your data for about a month until it gets back to normal. This occurs because of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram’s algorithms that send posts with high engagement to the top of people’s feeds.
Boost Your Portfolio and Resume
It’s a competitive world out there and social media analytics can help boost your resume and portfolio with tangible results. Running the social media account for a club, organization, nonprofit, or even your own professional accounts will show employers your social media knowledge extends beyond personal use.
When you first start tracking analytics, be sure to record the number of followers and the average post engagement and reach. That way you can determine how you have increased followers, engagement and reach over time. It is one thing to say you “increased social media presence” but you offer more credibility if you can say that you increased followers by 25 percent and the average engagement by 30 percent over a six-month period. Plus, you can turn your results into an infographic to make your portfolio aesthetically pleasing.
If you want to learn more about social media analytics, sign up for Kelli Matthew’s strategic social media class at the SOJC.
By Kate Templeton
Do you need to practice networking? Or perhaps want to meet the students and teachers involved in the PR program? University of Oregon PRSSA is hosting a Speed Networking Event next Thursday, Feb. 15, at 6:00 p.m. in Allen 141 for a night of low-stake networking and refreshments. Local professionals, SOJC professors and students are all welcome to come. Below are a few tips to prepare you for this night of networking!
It’s All About Relationship Building
Ask Thoughtful Questions
If you are interested in attending our Speed Networking Event, please RSVP with the link below. Hope to see you there! RSVP: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdE6CMDLpwaUYRJvfbMBOupt3nO1xo0RDzTK0bj-TkR2pR_bw/viewform
By Sierra Goodman
SPOILER ALERT: Be aware, this post spoils details about season 2, episode 13 and 14 of “This Is Us.”
UPDATE: Milo Ventimiglia from “This Is Us” posted a video on Twitter telling people to “come together” for the Super Bowl as he scoops some chili from a Crock-Pot. The video then uses #CrockPotisInnocent. Will this calm angry fans/Crock-Pot owners?
Milo reminds us to come together for the Big Game. Watch This Is Us on NBC, Sunday, February 4. pic.twitter.com/Iawc1llCWj
— This Is Us (@NBCThisisUs) February 3, 2018
The latest episode of the popular NBC television series “This Is Us” has “sparked” (pun intended) some controversy. In the episode titled “After the Super Bowl,” a beloved character presumably dies in a fire caused by a faulty Crock-Pot. As a result, fans of the show and their Crock-Pots went to Twitter to state their fear of the cooking appliance and declaration to throw it out with posts, pictures and videos.
Crock-Pot has long-running social media accounts on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. However, they missed Twitter, a key member of their social media presence. The lack of this social platform hindered their ability to address the issue in a timely manner. The company eventually made a Twitter account called @CrockPotCares. They demonstrated a strategic personable tone by addressing tweets about Crock-Pot safety standards and providing a place for consumers to reach out with questions. Showing empathy and using facts to correct misinformation has helped them swerve from the PR crisis. This does not mean they are in the clear — even with a large brand like Crock-Pot it takes time to gain followers.
A small number of followers equals a small amount of exposure for people to see their posts. They have gained 2,000 followers in the last week, but compared to KitchenAid’s 90K Twitter followers it is minuscule. Even with a lack of followers, they have considerably high engagement, receiving everything from 2-302 likes per post.
The episode of “This Is Us” created problems for Crock-Pot and NBC as well. Crock-Pot can potentially sue NBC for trade libel, slander of goods, commercial disparagement, injurious falsehood, and disparagement of property. Crock-Pot released a statement that commented on the action they hope to see from NBC:
The network itself has failed to respond; however, the show’s creator, Dan Fogelman, immediately responded to the Twitter outcry. Hopefully, the tweet from the creator, with a Twitter following of more than 40,000, can alleviate misunderstandings to help both Crock-Pot and NBC.
Although Crock-Pot has been responsive on Twitter, they have not been particularly responsive on their other well-established social media platforms. This is a bit confusing because their other social platforms have the most followers that will be able to view their potential response to the incident. Crock-Pot has also failed to make their official statement known to the general public.
Considering these variables I suggest Crock-Pot address the issue on all social media platforms and post a news release to the press section of their website.
By Kate Templeton
Have you ever wanted to see what it would be like to work in an actual public relations department or agency? We are very fortunate as University of Oregon SOJC PR students because there are a variety of opportunities to visit real agencies in different cities. Recently, I was able to tour agencies in Portland through UO PRSSA and in San Francisco with Allen Hall PR. Below are a few tips to make the most of your tour!
Do your research and come prepared
Research the company beforehand to better familiarize yourself with its goals and mission. In addition, make sure to have a few questions prepared in advance. This will greatly help you during the question and answer time. Asking well thought-out questions on these tours can help you stand out amongst the crowd, and it is a super helpful way to get all your inquiries answered.
Write down notes
You’re going to want to take lots of notes during the tours. The agencies will share extremely useful information that’s important for you to retain. Make sure to bring paper and a pen with you so you are able to write down these crucial notes. Part of the tour will likely be spent in a conference room listening and asking questions with the professionals who work there. This is the best time to ask questions about post-grad life, the hiring process, how the company works, ways to prepare for this career and other questions you may have. Writing down the valuable insights that they share will be beneficial when looking back at notes after the tours are over.
Network, network, network!
Going on agency tours are important, but actually interacting with the professionals you meet on the tours is a MUST. This is your opportunity to network. Bring your resume and business cards with you in case an appropriate opportunity comes up to give them to someone you connect with.
Stay connected through LinkedIn
While on the tours you will visit multiple agencies, meet interesting professionals and learn about careers in PR. After you get back home, make sure you connect with the people you met. A great way to do this would be to add people on LinkedIn. This is essential because it will build your own professional network. However, don’t just stop with a simple LinkedIn connection. Expand your network by actually communicating. Don’t be afraid to shoot them a quick message thanking them for their time and willingness to share their expertise. Maybe even take it a step farther and ask for an informational interview. This will show not only your interest but will also help you make lasting connections that could help you in your future.
Our chapter will be traveling to Seattle March 1-2 on our Winter Professional Development Tour. Applications are open until Feb. 12. Visit prssa.uoregon.edu/tours for more information.
By Sierra Goodman
In the SOJC, it is common for public relations majors, such as myself, to minor in business. I regularly apply concepts from PR and business to my classes and clubs such as IR Futures. Understanding business is beneficial not only for a career in financial communications but in all sectors of PR. Here is why:
Better serve your clients
Whether you work for an agency or in-house, your knowledge of business will allow you to understand your client’s business model faster eliminating a learning curve with concepts such as stock history and return of investment (ROI). It will be easier to communicate and simplify what your client or employer is trying to say to their audience if you have insight to the business side as well.
Pursue Investor Relations
Investor relations is a lucrative PR position and requires a strong understanding of the financial sector of business. Investor relations involves communicating an organization’s value directly to current and potential shareholders. This requires literacy of stock markets such as the NYSE, NASDAQ, Dow Jones, etc. A company’s stock value is a reflection of the shareholder and public view of the company. It is a PR professional’s job to find out why your client’s stock goes up or down and convey this information accurately to shareholders.
Expand Your Marketing Toolbox
Public relations is one of many business marketing tools. Other tools include digital marketing, social media, advertising and search engine optimization (SEO). Strong knowledge of marketing can help you advocate the reason why a client should use PR as a marketing tool opposed to another option.
It is helpful to understand your client’s target audience in both quantitative and qualitative factors. For instance your client may have a young audience of skateboarders and snowboarders (qualitative) and have 70% of that demographic in the Portland area (quantitative). The ability to find out these details will help you produce better results for your client.
A business mindset will help you gain credibility in a public relations role. The ability to argue a case from a business perspective is a valuable asset to employers. A business degree is not the only way to gain knowledge. Chapter president, Lily Gordon, takes online business classes through Lynda.com and communications director, Talia Smith, listens to business podcasts.
By Kate Templeton
Winter break was great, but now we need to refocus as we begin the new term. Below are a few tips to get back into the swing of things and have a successful 10 weeks!
Organize Your Planner
You will be shocked how much better your life is with a planner. It has been proven that writing words down actually helps people retain information better than just reading it. By having a visual list of the work you need to complete, you will be able to actually visualize and better organize the tasks at hand. Plus, I have to admit, I find it very satisfying to cross a completed task off my list!
Winter term is not only a new term, but also a new year! Whether you made New Year resolutions or not, setting some goals for yourself will help start your term off right. It doesn’t matter if your goals are small or large — they will help you keep your focus on what you want to achieve.
Start a Routine
Be proactive and create a routine for yourself. I know that it’s syllabus week and we all want to lie around and finish the TV shows that we binge-watched all winter break. However, implementing a solid and effective routine at the beginning of the term will help you be more successful as the term progresses.
Start Healthy Habits
My next tip is simpler said than done! Starting a consistent workout routine and eating healthier food choices is easier now than when the term gets busy later on. It is crucial to be in both a healthy and a happy mindset. Winter term can bring on seasonal sadness due to the lack of sun and shorter daylight hours. Being mentally and emotionally positive is extremely important to keep your spirits up these next 10 weeks!
I hope these tips help and everyone has a happy and successful 2018!
By Sierra Goodman
Public relations agencies are like snowflakes; no two are the same. Some specialize in business-to-business and some in business-to-consumer. Others combine PR strategy with advertising and digital. Boutique agencies may have a team of 10 while a large agency may have hundreds of team members.
During Fall term, members of the University of Oregon’s PRSSA chapter explored four agencies in Portland including LANE, Gallatin, Gard, and Edelman. Each agency offered something different as far as future employment. In case you couldn’t make it, here is a summary of the agencies we visited:
Lane PR is headquartered in Portland with locations in New York City and Seattle. In 2011, the agency was acquired by Finn Partners, a global marketing communications firm. At the Portland location, they represent companies in the local food and beverage and financial sectors including 10 Barrel Brewing Co. and Umpqua Bank. Their focus is on B2B and B2C relations for business and sales success through platforms such as investor relations and social media marketing. Wendy Lane Stevens, president and founder, commonly asks interviewees to walk her through their resume, explaining their academic and work choices from senior year in high school to present day. Knowing your own story and having a business mindset will serve you well at Lane.
If you are interested in public affairs, Gallatin is the place for you. They specialize in business, government, politics and media. A job at Gallatin involves plenty of community outreach and communication to help clients initiate change. Some specific campaigns involved crisis communication after a NW Portland building explosion in 2016 and event planning for a gathering of Portland’s female restaurant owners. At Gallatin, President Dan Lavey, says that he is looking for personality and independence when hiring interns. The agency regularly hires interns each year so make sure to look out for future opportunities and set up an informational interview.
Gard Communications is an advertising and public relations firm well-versed in crisis communications. They have local, national and global clients that they work with closely to ensure a strategic plan that works best for them. Advancement of brand reputation and defensive tactics give the agency an edge in times of serious crisis and marketing management. This agency is ideal for people who work well under pressure and in a fast-paced environment.
Edelman is the largest public relations agency in the world and ranges in a variety of sectors such as technology, brand, corporate, public affairs and just about everything in between. Their Portland location is small with 50 employees compared to other locations like their New York office with 500 employees. With locations all over the world, they give employers an opportunity to work abroad to experience different cultures. Edelman is proud to say they are a leader of earned media. Although employees are encouraged to diversify themselves in different fields and projects they tend to hire off of people’s niches such as healthcare, technology and digital. As we heard on all four tours, Edelman was no exception saying that excellent writing skills are imperative to have in the PR industry.
PRSSA’s Development Tours offer a unique experience to students by providing a window into specific agencies and PR sectors. They are especially helpful in narrowing down your job search down the road by helping students learn more about what their life might look like in a job outside of UO.
Applications for the Winter term Professional Development Tour to Seattle go live Monday, Jan. 8. Visit prssa.uoregon.edu/tours to learn more and apply.
By Talia Smith, UO PRSSA Communications Director and former Veracity intern
For our last meeting of Fall term, Amy Rosenberg of Veracity Marketing in Portland was kind enough to drive down to Eugene to talk to our chapter about traditional versus digital PR. As we found out, there is no difference.
Amy’s presentation was unique to our guest speaker lineup as we had yet to learn about digital PR and how it can be the “secret weapon to SEO.” Many of us have heard of SEO and know it’s important, but we don’t really know what role we will play in SEO as PR students and aspiring professionals. Amy did a great job explaining what we can do to start thinking digitally to make media coverage go further while helping clients maximize their online presence.
First, if your client doesn’t have a website, encourage them to create one or outsource someone to make a “SEO-friendly” site. Amy compared a company’s website to a flyer, except this flyer doesn’t end up at the bottom of your purse. A website provides your brand’s stakeholders with a platform to learn more about them and follow up. “If you don’t have a presence online, you don’t exist,” Amy said. The call to action of most of your PR efforts are going to lead back to this website which is why it is essential your client has one.
Once your client has a website, you need to help people find it which is where SEO comes in. In a nutshell, websites can get lost in a sea of search results on Google and Bing and SEO helps a site rank higher to garner more clicks. Let’s be real, no one is going to click to the second page of Google. In order for a website to be useful it must appear in the top results when using keywords associated with your brand. Blogging provides a website more keywords for people to search.
Once a website and blog are up and running, PR and social media can be used to drive viewers to the site through links. When it comes to securing media coverage, Amy suggests keeping your pitch to five sentences or less and linking out to a press release as reporters appreciate brevity. Also, don’t spam anyone. Instead, take the time to personalize a pitch and offer the same respect to all positions in the newsroom. Amy says bloggers and writers are the most important people in the newsroom to PR professionals because they could be editors five years down the road.
Once you secure media coverage, it is imperative to get the link so it can be sent to your client and shared on social media, an important step to amplifying viewers. It is also wise to have an “In the News” tab on a website and have an ongoing list of links to recent media coverage. If you can’t find a link to coverage you know you secured, Amy recommends asking the digital editor who is responsible for placing stories on a traditional news media outlet’s website. You might feel like you are bothering someone just for a link but Amy assures that these digital editors understand you are asking for SEO purposes and will respect you.
At the end of the presentation, Amy was asked what students can do to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to digital and traditional PR. She suggests “showing up” to professional development organizations such as PRSSA and PRSA for PR and SEMpdx for digital. Fortunately, Amy will be speaking at SEMpdx’s Engage conference in March 2018.
Thank you, Amy, for sharing your insight about traditional and digital PR. Please come back soon!