By Kate Templeton
When most students imagine studying abroad, they probably picture exploring a foreign country and making lasting memories with new friends. However, studying abroad can actually help students gain professional connections and develop important skills that can positively impact their future. Last summer, I was fortunate to have an opportunity to study abroad. After what felt like months of researching different programs, countries and courses, I finally decided to spend six weeks studying in London. The program I chose was offered through the University of Oregon, and it provided me with an incredible opportunity to spend the summer with 60 other journalism and public relations students. While abroad, I gained valuable skills that have already greatly benefited my life as a PR student, and will help me reach my ultimate career goals.
Here is why you should consider studying abroad:
The professors in my London program were much different than the professors we have in the states. Two of my professors worked for the BBC, one in radio and one in television. Interacting with professors who are also working professionals from a different country with diverse experiences helps students gain new perspectives in the world of public relations. As students, we are advised to make connections and build professional networks. Having the chance to be in small, interactive and engaging classroom settings with professors who have their own unique professional connections opens up more possibilities for networking. One of my study abroad professors actually wrote me a letter of recommendation for a job!
My study abroad courses provided a great deal of experiential learning. We had amazing opportunities to attend a variety of theatre productions, dances, museums and sporting events. Through the classes, I learned how to effectively write news releases, news stories, critical reviews, blogs and features. I reviewed events and performances and learned how to critically and clearly explain what I had seen. Being a strong writer is important for PR professionals. Students who study abroad get the opportunity to dramatically improve their writing skills and become more compelling and effective communicators.
During my program, I had the opportunity to tour different businesses in the heart of London. I was able to see firsthand the role that public relations and journalism have in organizations like Chelsea Football Club, Ticketmaster, the BBC, the Olympic Games and many more. Being able to experience what it would be like to actually work in a communications field for these huge organizations opened my eyes to the many different possibilities that are out there for public relations majors. The hands-on atmosphere in studying abroad is key in showing students how professionals in these fields work and find successes.
While abroad, the classwork we did was very special. My program offered classes that required writing, photography and videography. Students left the program with multiple original pieces of work that showcased a variety of media platforms. The coursework created while abroad is extremely beneficial in differentiating and enhancing PR portfolios in comparison to other portfolios.
And finally, it wouldn’t be a study abroad experience without fully immersing into an entirely new and different culture. When students are able to say that they successfully lived in a new country while also taking classes, this demonstrates personal growth and perseverance. Study abroad students come back to their colleges and universities with a life changing experience that helps them mature personally, professionally and culturally.
By Erica Freeze
“Branded content” is the term for when companies create their own content to attract interest and engage an audience and generate familiarity, in the effort to pull consumers towards the brand to convert them to customers. But promoting your brand to the masses in this way won’t satisfy them. When the same sorts of messages arise from similar brands and competitors, consumers catch on. This is where emotional appeal needs to come in to push your brand ahead of the competitors.
One campaign that took emotional appeal to the next level is Always’ “Like a Girl” campaign. This campaign was groundbreaking because it reached its predominantly female consumers through a completely different method. Feminine care products normally focus on selling women on more idealized versions of themselves. This campaign however, compares stereotypes about the athleticism of young girls. The advertisement shows the frustration and misconceptions behind the statement, “run like a girl” and channels it into a powerful message: women are capable and strong regardless of the stereotypes placed on them. This unique advertisement resonated with women across the globe and was a huge success. Adobe ranked “Like a Girl” the top digital campaign of the Super Bowl in 2015, based on an analysis of mentions on a variety of social networks and internet platforms.
Creating an emotional connection means targeting an underlying emotion that may not be immediately obvious. Generating an emotional response is as important as having the right message. A brand can evaluate the emotional response through social media monitoring. Social media monitoring can help a brand understand how audiences perceive their message. The way that people respond to social media posts can tell your brand what attitudes and ideals your audience holds.
According to Harvard Business Review, those who are ‘fully connected’ emotionally are 52% more valuable to brands than customers who are ‘highly satisfied.’ Connecting consumers through emotional appeal can increase their action towards the brand. Think about it, if you see a brand promoting something that you align with, something that you are passionate about, then that brand activates an emotional response from you and increases your loyalty towards that brand. Therefore, you will want to be connected to this brand, and purchase their products and take action to consume this brand. The customers who are impacted by a brand’s stories and messages ultimately become advocates, sharing the brand on social media or telling their friends about the great products the brand has to offer. This is exactly what the Always campaign did, and as stated before, it was hugely successful.
The best approach to this is to focus on the connection that you want. You want to be consistent and target a smaller demographic; a more specific niche than a wide range of customers. Conduct some research on this target audience, take some surveys, view their social media engagement, analyze the data you collect and then come up with the underlying motivators for their consuming habits. From this you can see which emotional triggers work best and which do not. You can utilize this data to make a campaign to perfectly target a specific audience and utilize this audience to promote your brand and increase brand loyalty.
By Erica Freeze
As the school year is coming to an end, it is important for college students to have updated résumés for future careers or internships. As a graduating senior, I constantly find myself updating and changing my résumé to best represent who I am. A résumé can include other elements besides words – different colors and fonts can all help to show who you are to a potential employer. Potential employers make snap judgments about who you are from a simple glance at your résumé. Because of this, it is important that your résumé makes a positive impression on readers. There are certain mistakes that people make time and time again on their résumés that will make an employer turn his or her nose up. Here are some common mistakes and how to avoid them:
1. There is not enough white space.
You want your resume to appear clean and professional. Overcrowding the page with too much text will most likely overwhelm an employer and cause him or her to not want to read through the whole page. Being precise and to the point on résumés is the best way to go. When an employer receives your résumé, you want them to be able to glace at it and get a general idea of your experience. Additionally, it doesn’t hurt to have a visually appealing layout with some color or a logo you have created to represent who you are. If you’re adept at graphic design, there are general résumé layouts in Microsoft Word and also simple design platforms online such as Canva which have premade templates.
2. You didn’t include results-oriented language.
As aspiring public relations professionals, we know that results are very important in understanding how to best target key publics. Employers want to see how you drove change at a previous job or internship. They want to know what you have to contribute to their company to drive change. Your résumé should be clear about results you’ve achieved. It can be as simple as “increased Facebook page views by 15%.” If offered an interview, you can elaborate on how you did so, but it is important that on paper you show them that you do include how you contributed to your past job or internship.
3. Your objective statement could use some work.
If you decide to include a statement at the top of your résumé, try to steer away from an objective statement. An example of an objective statement is, “Seeking a role as an account coordinator to advance my career in the public relations industry.” There are a few problems with this statement. It is very bland, and the focus is on what the candidate wants for herself, to advance her career, rather than providing information on how she can generate change for the potential employer. Instead of that, try using a statement that shows your value to a company. An example of this would be, “Transforming communication problems in the entertainment sector into intensive, results-backed solutions. Creating results through identifying stakeholders, building relationships and implementing change.”
4. You didn’t include skills.
You can list out your skills in a section or provide them interwoven throughout your résumé in your experiences. Employers need to see your skills and how you applied them in previous positions. These skills can help you stand out from other applicants. In a CareerBuilder survey, 35% of employers stated résumés that don’t include a list of skills is one of the most common résumé mistakes that may lead them to automatically dismiss a candidate. If you decide to weave your skills into your resume, start with the skill and then include how you generated positive results because of this skill.
5. You aren’t confident in your past work experiences.
As a student in the SOJC, I know that classmates can get competitive with each other, and sometimes it feels as though you may not have enough experience or involvement to stand out. Don’t give up, and don’t represent a lack of confidence on your résumé. If you have no PR experience, highlight the skills you acquired in another job and how they can relate to the position you are applying for. For example, if you are a server, you can say something along the lines of “accurately recorded orders and partnered with team members to ensure satisfaction for our customers.” This shows that you have experience working on a team which most likely helped you enhance you r communication skills. Additionally, if you have no work experience, highlighting certain classes on your résumé is okay to do as well – that’s how I got my first internship! Be confident in what you have to offer an employer, even if it isn’t a bunch of work experience in the field you hope to end up in.
The job hunt can be a tricky one, but be confident in what you have to offer employers with an awesome, updated résumé! This is a first impression of who you are and what you have to offer. Use these tips to help you stand out among competitors!
By Kate Miller
Breaking news: Most students attending college right now are not millennials, even though older people still categorize us as millennials. According to The Huffington Post, if you were born in 1995 or later you are part of “Gen Z.” Sorry to all of the thirty somethings who still want to relate to college kids. A “millennial” is a person who is or becomes a young adult in the year 2000.
Although many of us thought we were millennials up until recently, there are some key differences between us and “true millennials.”
Since our generation grew up with technology, Gen Zer’s relate closer with internet users across the world than the generations above. We are considered the first to be fully global: meaning we think, relate and interact with a global mindset. Ask yourself if you could go a week without your device or even a day? Huffington Post found 40 percent of Gen Z self-identifies as “digital device addicts.” This is contributing to the change in strategic marketing strategies across the board.
Think about how many TV ads Starbucks put out about the new unicorn frappuccino. I have yet to see one. There very well could be, but Starbucks is targeting “Gen-zennials” a Ketchum term for the cohort of 16-24 year olds in between generations. This Starbucks campaign is meant to be instagrammed.
We are a generation that has device dependency that leaves little time for TV consumption, and little interest for traditional advertising and news consumption causing brands to have to change their strategy. When marketing products, keep in mind that times have changed and Gen Z relates to diversity and responds to visuals. If you are starting a campaign, make sure to tailor it to social media and make sure it is sharable.
Generational hipsters were born social and started developing a brand for themselves from a young age. Myspace, Tumblr, Musically, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Reddit, Weheartit, Vine etc.; 92 percent of Gen Z has a digital footprint. Local coffee shops, #exploregon and thrifting have become a generational norm. Gen Z looks for uniqueness in their brand and what they consume. They are focused on being different, embracing globalization and diversity.
Being unique is trendy. This is creating even more need for PR professionals to target messaging to specific groups due to the expansive individuality and diversity of this generation. Take a look at Lynda.com and Facebook blueprint. In order to strategically target Gen Z, it is becoming essential to understand your target market and to use paid media as an advantage for your brand.
Due to the constant speed of social media, especially on channels like Snapchat and Vine, Gen Z is developing a shorter attention span. There is an instant gratification expectation. We are reshaping the way PR professionals are setting up campaigns because when we are doing five things at once there is a lack of observation and attention to detail that PR professionals pride themselves in. It takes a visual appeal to grab the attention of a Gen Z. But this should not dismiss the work ethic of Gen Z and the way they are reshaping the classroom and workplace in PR.
Gen Z has created a shift within the work and play boundaries, multitasking is increasing productivity for offices, and making work environments more desirable due to the blurred lines. This requires PR professionals to step up their game and target audiences in a compelling and relatable way. When creating messaging keep it short and sweet because your messaging is getting read in between a scroll.
Because Gen Z was immersed in technology growing up, they are thinking entrepreneurially. Gen Z likes independence, they are self-starters and 72 percent of teens in Gen Z desire to start their own business one day. A lot of what has shaped Gen Z is growing up in the recession in 2008 which is apparent in how much they value experiences and how frugal they are with their money.
Gen Z is not seeing the value in higher education like previous generations and employers are predicting more young adults go straight into the workforce. The cost versus gain to of school does not seem to be paying off in comparison to the loans Gen Zer’s will be paying off long after.
Gen Z values efficiency and knowledge is included. If there is a way for them to learn something in a more affordable, timely manner that is less traditional, they will most likely take that route. When targeting this audience taking an approach like Starbucks’ unicorn drink, five days only, for a drink most consumers wouldn’t traditionally purchase, not only makes Gen Z want to consume because of the uniqueness, but the limited time increases value for Gen Zer’s.
Gen Z expects brands to be loyal to them instead of the other way around. They want to feel appreciated. If they do not feel valued and appreciated they will take their loyalty somewhere else. Because Gen Z has grown up in a culture of innovation and technological advancements, they now expect this level of innovation instead of being amazed by how incredibly advanced technology truly is. As a PR person, sharing the values of the brand and how much you value your customers through messaging is crucial.
Gen Z is changing the PR and marketing world dramatically, causing us to be more strategic and technological when running campaigns. As a Gen Zer, I am sure some of these findings are relatable. Keep in mind now more than ever the importance of targeting.
The public relations (PR) field may involve more than press releases and social media in the near future. With virtual reality (VR) gearing up for a mainstream audience, brands are already starting to see VR’s potential for producing creative and innovative PR campaigns.
Donna Davis, Director of the Strategic Communication Master’s Program at University of Oregon, is researching the positive psychological effects of VR.
“I think the public relations industry can’t ignore what’s happening in VR and AR (augmented reality),” said Davis. “We’re moving to an experience economy where audiences, especially younger audiences, are demanding ways to engage with brands.”
At this point, VR is only viable to certain brands with the right budget but that could be changing rapidly as the price of VR technology continues to fall. Before you go out and buy an Oculus Rift headset, let’s see which brands are using VR technology successfully to create an effective PR strategy.
Toms is a shoe company with a one-for-one business model; for every pair of shoes sold, Toms donates a pair to a child in need in over 70 countries. Toms created a VR experience to let viewers see what it is like to deliver shoes to a school in Peru. We learn about the story of nine-year-old, Julio, who walks several miles to school every day on a dirt road. We are immersed into this giving trip as we see 360 degrees of the dirt road, the school, Julio’s house and more.
Why it worked
Toms facilitated organic empathy. While other media such as writing, photography and videography can certainly convey empathy to stakeholders, there is no comparison to actually experiencing what it is like to bring barefoot school children new shoes. Toms created a new path for VR as a philanthropic tool for nonprofits and charitable for-profit companies. Consumers can experience where their purchase or donation is making a positive impact.
Marriott introduced VR as a game changer in the travel and hospitality sectors. Marriott representatives set up a VR experience outside of city hall in New York City to capture recently wed couples as they exited the courthouse, presumably to go on a honeymoon or to at least start planning one. Marriott created a VR experience allowing the brides and grooms to teleport from London to Hawaii while wearing a headset. The hotel company insinuated to the newlyweds that there is a Marriott wherever they choose to spend their honeymoon.
Why it worked
Virtual reality provides travelers the ability to experience a destination through a pair of goggles. It will be interesting to watch VR’s role in the travel industry as VR provides customers the ability to travel around the world without getting on a plane. Instead of choosing a hotel blindly, you can virtually step inside one and walk around. It is an experience given most justice in 360 degrees.
This upscale soft cheese company used VR to take viewers on a roller coaster ride through a well-stocked refrigerator. In the perspective of being just a few inches tall, the virtual roller coaster ride zooms past packages of Boursin cheese and fresh ingredients. Consumers begin to catch on to the idea that Boursin belongs in a healthy, well-stocked refrigerator. Towards the end, the interactive adventure weaves around champagne bottles, signifying the soft cheese company is an elite snack.
Why it worked
Boursin was one of the firsts to pioneer a VR experience within food and beverage. The novelty of the video earned Boursin a Masters of Marketing award for its creative approach to promoting a product you might not initially associate as a perfect candidate for VR content.
As strategic storytellers, it is our job to determine which media platforms will best tell the story of a particular client and produce the best results. While we may not be the ones coding a VR script, we may be the ones drawing up a storyboard or writing the copy for your brand’s VR experience. Virtual reality is proving to be a fruitful option for customer engagement and virality.
“Increasingly agencies are looking at ways to build interactive content in VR that places their clients’ brands in the center of the experience,” said Davis. “Ready or not, it’s coming!”
Have you considered a profession in the healthcare industry? Public relations is vital to promoting and improving the reputations of organizations in this sector. What makes healthcare unique is that it is constantly changing and evolving. Think you are ready for the challenge? Keep reading to learn more about this unique sector of public relations.
In a fast-paced industry such as healthcare, organizations need to have a voice in the marketplace. Healthcare is constantly evolving as new science and technology emerges, and it is important that organizations stand out. Healthcare companies can invest in a public relations partner, such as an agency, to create a communication strategy that positions the organization as an innovative leader while increasing demand. Healthcare providers may also have an in-house staff which manages communication between patients and the hospital itself.
Public relations practitioners in the healthcare field are responsible for managing many relationships ranging between the hospital, its clients, visitors and stakeholders. In-house practitioners may work in a variety of settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities, health maintenance organizations (HMOs), psychiatric facilities and community health centers, according to the Health Careers Center. Those who work in an agency may take on a variety of clients who are in these fields. Practitioners in both fields act as guides for an organization and help in making important decisions regarding an organization’s communication strategy. Especially within the healthcare industry, there are many rules and regulations that constantly change and practitioners must communicate any changes with the client. They are also vital in providing recommendations and advice to the client.
Whether in house or at an agency, public relations professionals in the healthcare industry help tell the stories of groundbreaking research and new innovations to help put their clients name out. Healthcare providers create technology and medicines that can potentially improve quality of life all over the world. Healthcare public relations practitioners have many target audiences to remember, and must reach beyond communication between the organization and the client. Suppliers are very important because they must also have a desire to positively impact the health care system and wish to partner with your organization. Because of this, public relations employees in the healthcare industry must approach each target public differently.
Public relations is important in health care, where both patients and clients can feel vulnerable. As a practitioner in this sector, you will be working with your coworkers to ultimately develop communication to help your publics feel safe and as though their time and money are being used to better society overall. Think this is interesting? Check out healthcare agencies or providers in areas that you want to work and start networking!
By Erica Freeze
It is that time of year again, the season of travel! As the holidays quickly approach, many of us are eager to travel the world during winter break. If you are someone who loves to travel, don’t rule out one aspect of public relations that is less spoken of- travel and tourism public relations. Travel public relations’ role typically consists of three major tasks: stimulating the public’s desire to visit a place, arranging for travelers to get to their destination, and ensuring a comfortable stay for visitors once they arrive. While the aspect of traveling in this field may sound appealing, keep in mind that this is only a small part of the job. In any public relations career, you must be on top of the latest trends and news and be ready to tackle any crises professionally. If this sounds like something you may be interested in, here are some tips to see if this is the right career path for you:
Have an industry mindset:
As previously stated, keep in mind that working as a PR professional in the travel industry requires more than just a love for travel. Ask yourself: Am I genuinely interested in the travel industry?
Do I enjoy reading articles about travel trends? Following travel blogs? Am I aware of successful travel campaigns?
Am I prepared for crisis management involving the safety of travelers?
If you answered yes to more than one of these questions, then travel public relations could be your forte.
Get ready to pitch:
The public relations industry relies on publications to get the word out about the clients they represent. In travel public relations this is the same. Many travel public relations firms use bloggers and magazines to promote the services their clients provide. Getting a blogger to agree to post about any of your clients can be a challenge, however, there are certain ways to go about pitching that will help you be successful.
Often bloggers will provide guidelines on how best to pitch to a particular publication. These tips are important to read and adhere to and can create more success for your client.
Also keep in mind that bloggers and all publications seek unique and interesting stories. Only contact them if you have material that is news-worthy and will capture the reader’s interest. For example, if a hotel has recently hired a new critically acclaimed chef who serves up a variety of delicious dishes, then one may consider this newsworthy.
Know how to handle unplanned situations:
Crisis management is a critical part of public relations in the travel industry. A lot of things can go unplanned and some of these things are beyond your control. There can be poor weather conditions which delay transportation or misplaced luggage. Treating travelers well is extremely important in the travel and tourism industry. Travelers have the ability to build or tarnish your company’s reputation with reviews and through word of mouth. Even the best arrangements for guests can fall through and it is best to handle these situations professionally and with care. Being in communication with hotel and travel destination staff to ensure the proper handling of this situation is crucial. If something doesn’t go as planned, staff should be ready to treat travelers cheerfully and with respect to make them feel comfortable and happy. As a public relations professional, it will be your job to convey the importance of a good attitude to travel destination workers and to the clients you represent.
One example of a well-handled crisis in the travel industry was when Carnival Cruise Lines had a series of high profile incidents in 2012 and 2013, including the sinking of the Costa Concordia that resulted in the deaths of 32 passengers and the infamous Carnival “poop cruise.” Because of these incidents, Carnival bookings disappeared, proceeds dropped and the reputation of the corporation suffered. To combat this serious crisis, a new leadership team was put in place and the corporation brought in public relations professional Roger Frizzell as Chief Communications Officer to help recover the company’s reputation.
As you can see, travel public relations is complex. Travel public relations professionals need to ensure that the clients they represent have safe practices and facilities and that all travel staff are professional. In this industry you need to always be aware and ready to combat any crises. Do you think you have what it takes to take on a travel public relations profession? Get in contact with some professionals in the industry to learn more!
By Talia Smith
As Thanksgiving weekend and holiday break are upon us, I think we can all expect an inevitable conversation with a relative that goes something like this:
Relative: How’s school going?
Me: It’s going well, Aunt Maureen. Thanks for asking.
Relative: What is it that you study again?
Me: Public relations.
Relative: Public relations? What’s that?
Maybe it’s just me, but at this point, I am racking my brain for the right words to articulate what exactly PR is. It is hard to summarize the whole industry into a few sentences because each sector of PR is different and the field is changing every day.
I realized after providing a not-so-great answer to a family member that I really should have a few sentences prepared about what I do. Then I remembered there’s a professional concept called an elevator pitch which is a 30-second opportunity to tell someone what you do in the time it takes to ride an elevator.
In preparation for the holidays and the get-togethers that come with it, I encourage aspiring PR pros to create your own PR elevator pitches. Holiday gatherings are an excellent opportunity to test run your pitch in front of a forgiving crowd so when you find yourself in an elevator with an executive seeking PR assistance, you’ll be able to eloquently communicate your message.
To help you get started, here are a few examples about how to construct your own PR elevator pitch. Let’s assume someone asks, “What is PR?”
Provide a general definition and an example of what PR professionals do.
According to the PRSA, “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” This definition is a great starting place for your pitch but you’ll want to customize it to your own voice.
Public relations is a strategy brands use to communicate with their audiences.
Public relations professionals think of creative ways to help clients reach their audiences.
Public relations helps companies build relationships with the people who make the company successful.
Public relations professionals work with media outlets to share their client’s story to the public.
Follow with a casual, attention-grabbing statement.
You don’t want to pepper your pitch with industry-exclusive jargon. That’s a surefire way to receive glazed over eyes and the classic “I have no idea what you just said so I’ll just nod my head.” Keep it simple and use relatable words.
We do the behind-the-scenes work to help companies shine in the media.
Just like the name suggests, we help companies relate to the public.
We are like storytellers but for brands and organizations.
We take elements from advertising, journalism, and marketing to create a plan to help companies succeed.
Narrow in on what you would like to do in the field of PR.
Now that your listener knows what PR is, tell them what it means to you and how the definition relates to your aspirations.
One day, I’d like to help nonprofits spread their message in order to raise more revenue.
I want to be a bridge between the scientific community and the public.
I want to work exclusively with food and beverage PR to make sure my clients’ products end up in your refrigerator.
I’d like to use my love for writing to help brands get their message out in creative ways.
This holiday season, don’t panic when a relative asks, “So, what do you do?” Taking the time to create your own PR elevator pitch will not only help others understand what you do, but it might even help you better understand what you do or want to do. Make your PR elevator pitch your mantra and hopefully one day you’ll be reciting it to your future employer in an elevator and not to your Aunt Maureen as she passes the pumpkin pie.
By Talia Smith
Last year I was living in Portland, dead in the middle of a PR internship search. I applied to companies of all sizes – large corporations such as Edelman, midsize agencies such as Matter Communications, and small, boutique firms where I found the most success. When I shifted my attention to smaller firms, I noticed actual people were picking up my phone calls and responding to my emails.
Three interviews later, I landed an internship at Veracity. The boutique PR firm is owned by Amy and Mike Rosenberg, both UO alums. Their quaint office is tucked away in the stylish Bakery Building in Northeast Portland. For six months, I worked side by side with Amy and Mike, trying to soak up their knowledge about the field of PR.
One of the many things I learned during my internship is bigger is not always better when it comes to employment. I encourage anyone in my similar situation to seek out a boutique PR firm to intern. Here are four reasons why:
You can create meaningful relationships with your mentors.
When you work closely with your employers, you can’t help but get to know them on a deeper level than you otherwise would at a large agency. You have an ability to shine and be seen since, well, there are not as many people in your way. At a large firm, you won’t have the ability to interact with the president of the company on a daily basis. After producing good work and proving yourself to be a valuable intern, you can be assured that you will always have a great reference, letter of recommendation and networking connection. It is wonderful to have someone you can count on to speak highly of you.
There is a likely chance your internship will turn into a job.
All the lovey-dovey stuff aside, PR firms invest a lot of time and energy into their interns and they want a return on their investment. It is in their best interest to hire someone full-time who already knows the ropes of the company. Why would they want to hire someone in need of training when they could hire someone who has already been trained? Larger firms have more funds to test out interns whereas small firms won’t take on anyone who they can’t see working at the company in the future.
You might work directly with clients and media.
With the intimacy of a boutique PR firm comes trust and responsibility when it comes to client and media relations. You cannot necessarily say the same of an entry level position at a large firm. There is no better way to tighten up your email and phone etiquette than calling up a client or reporter on a regular basis.
When you communicate with reporters regularly, you create media relations that carry with you to your next job. Reporters tend to pick up press releases from familiar writers who take the time to understand their beat. A large portion of my internship was customizing emails and matching press releases to the right reporters. At larger firms, media relations can turn into spam at times with automated email pitches. Learning the essential skill of client and media communication is valuable.
You will have the opportunity to create tons of portfolio pieces.
Nothing looks better in a portfolio than an actual writing sample used by a client. In smaller firms, there is plenty of work to go around and a lot of it will fall on you. There is a good chance that you will have the opportunity to write pieces that end up in newspapers, magazines, blogs or social media posts. The work you produce is real and holds weight in a portfolio over something written for a school project. There is more work to dish out to other people in larger agencies but you have to be more of a jack-of-all-trades in a boutique firm – the result will be an array of diverse profile pieces.
As you’re starting to think about summer internships, I recommend starting your search with boutique PR firms. Be aware that many small firms do not post internships online – it’s up to you to create your own position and pitch yourself. This is really only a possibility at boutique firms.
Start by researching and making a list of the firms in your area then give them a call. Once you get someone on the phone, ask if they would be interested in hosting an intern. Practice your pitch and make it direct. Either they will say no and you can move on to the next firm on your list or they will say yes and ask you to send your resume. Make sure to remember the name of the person you spoke with on the phone.
Take some time to research the firm and create a customized cover letter. Then compose an email saying, “Hi, I spoke to so and so on the phone and they told me your firm might be interested in hosting an intern.” Attach your cover letter and resume and wait for a reply email or phone call. I guarantee, there will be a few firms who never invited the possibility of hosting an intern until it was presented to them. Who doesn’t need extra help and cheap labor?
Take control of your internship search by narrowing your choices to the boutique PR firms in your area. It worked for me and it will work for you too. The skills and hands-on experience you will gain in a boutique PR firm could land you a job with the company or act as a stepping stone to your next exciting career move. You know what they say: good things come in small packages.
By Erica Freeze
In today’s technologically advanced society, more companies are incorporating social media into their marketing and communications plans. For a company’s social media platform to gain attention, strategists should devise a social media plan. Every interaction that is made on social networks should work towards the organization goals. The more time and effort spent on a social media plan, the more effective it will be in its implementation. If your employer asks you to generate a social media plan, here are five ways tips to consider to ensure its success:
Step 1: Define social media objectives and goals
Establishing plan objectives allows you to make changes to your social media campaigns and platforms if they are not coinciding with your goals. Goals need to be established to gauge the overall success of the campaign. When setting your campaign goals, think of the acronym, “S.M.A.R.T.” This acronym is a great way to remember that your goals should be “specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.” Some examples of goals may be: increasing company awareness, increasing sales or increasing visitor loyalty. The goal is important to establish because it is the driving force of a social media plan.
Step 2: Conduct a social media audit
A social media audit is a process of analyzing what is working and what is not across your company’s social media platforms. When first starting your audit, take note of post frequency and follower interactions on each channel. From this, you can compare how your numbers change each month or each year. You can determine which platforms are worth keeping, enhancing or disregarding.
Step 3: Construct a content strategy
Creating a timeline and planning the content to post is helpful in the organization and originality of each platform. Cater your content to your company image, your audience, and the platform. An example: Should we post something funny or more serious? Should a video or a status be posted? Once your content is established, you can decide how frequently to post it on each platform. There are many studies that provide useful information about optimal posting times for each medium. Finding the perfect frequency to post can generate more engagement for your content.
Step 4: Engagement
It is important to see how your followers engage with your content on each platform. Keep track of how well each post is doing on likes, shares, and comments. Be on top of both negative and positive feedback. Instead of deleting negative comments, try to turn the customer’s perception around with positive advice and understanding. Showing that you care about your customers on social media can attract more followers and enhance customer loyalty.
Step 5: Evaluate and Alter your Plan
After you have implemented your plan, you should watch for what is working and what is not. You can use an analytics tool such as Google Analytics to provide data on website traffic. Once you see which content is driving the most traffic, you can apply this awareness to new posts. Because social media is constantly growing and changing, it is important to frequently analyze your successes and failures. From this, you can reconstruct your social media plan to best benefit your organization.