So you’re a PR major… Now what?

The hardest part of many people’s college careers is picking a major. Nailing down what study of interest is a great fit for you; and if you think like me: what area of study will turn into a career well-suited for you. Some people just came into this world knowing exactly what they wanted to do. Good for them, but if you are/were like me you got to college and didn’t have a clue of what subject area you wanted to concentrate on.

Finally on one breath-taking spectacular day, I saw the light. I wanted to be a Public Relations major! Yay, I had finally decided and all of the stress of picking a major was over. Soon enough I dove into internships and took advantage of the many opportunities the UO SOJC. Now what? I was at a cross road of finding a job. With my internship experiences I learned that I did not want to be in a solely event planning job, but I did not find out what kind of PR I wanted to go into.

Internships are just as helpful as they can be hurtful. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying don’t get internships (in fact I think you should have a minimum of two prior to graduation). However, during the whole getting internships process you need to think about what kind of PR you would ultimately like to start out in. If you have too many internships in another field of PR it might be more difficult to change your mind. Until my current internship experience I did not know I wanted to be in tech PR. Allow me to explain myself further. I have always loved technology, I even built a computer at home with my dad in high school. But I did not translate my love for technology to PR… because I wasn’t thinking about this next step. When I saw the job posting for the internship at Mobility PR, I knew I would love the work. So to save some non-guided students some trouble in the future, remember to think about things that interest you and to seek internships especially hard in these fields, so it will be easier to obtain a job you want! If you really are uncertain I would recommend obtaining internships that will make you a strong candidate for a full-service agency, like Edelman, so you can move laterally.

Best of luck,

Jessi

Offer letters


The closer and closer we get to graduation the harder people are pushing to find a job. If you happen to be in the position to receive an offer letter… what do you look for, what questions do you ask… what do you do?

Just because you got an internship does not mean that now is a time to not apply for jobs. Even if your employer has talked about keeping you on, do not stop looking for jobs/internships. Worst case you end up with two (or more) interested parties, upping your worth and control of starting salary.

OK so your employer has started talking about keeping you on, now what? Personally, I recommend against being too interested or too open to the idea. It’s hard to not sound excited when someone is talking about offering you your first job, but play it cool. If you are too eager they can just low-ball you. And you wouldn’t want that.

If you have an interview elsewhere, and the timing is relevant, tell your employer. This will likely result in speeding up the process and or increasing the gauge of your worth to your employer.

OK say things work out and you are presented with an offer letter. Now what? Still stay calm. Do not accept the offer letter while you are in the moment. Many employers expect you to look over the offer and benefits, etc. An easy way to gracefully bow out of signing anything in the moment is to say something to the effect of “I would like to take a day or two to process.” Obviously the time frame might vary, and you should ask if the time frame works for them, but overall it’s a good way to have more time to think. There are certain items that you need to have a solid idea about after receiving an offer letter:

1. Heath, Dental and Vision insurance. Does the company offer these? Do they expect you to cover part of the cost for insurance out of your paycheck? If you have more health problems do they offer a tier one and tier two health care?
2. Stocks, if it’s a public company. Do you start out with some or do you have to buy them, etc.
3. Vacation Time. Working is important but so is paid vacation. Work hard play hard, and sometimes life happens.
4. Do they offer a retirement plan? Will they match up to a certain percentage of your salary that you save?
5. What holidays does the company close for. If you celebrate Christmas and have a family half the size of mine you know you need a lot of time off to see everyone.
6. Ask how frequent reviews are (good reviews equal raises this is usually annual).
7. If the company is located in a new city, ask about a relocation stipend. (Make sure this gets in your offer letter.)
8. Make sure you understand CLEARLY what your responsibilities will be.
9. Make sure the salary offer is enough to support you. There is no harm in tastefully asking for more money.
10. Go over the fine print with a mentor or parent. They have done this before and know what to look for.
11. Make sure all of this is in your offer letter. Remember, if it isn’t in writing… get it in writing.

Here are some tips to evaluate a job offer. What are tips you have prior to accepting an offer letter?

How to send “good” eblasts.


I’m signed up for many eNewsletters. Some come daily, some weekly… you get the idea. Some I unsubscribed from after a while, others I do not unsubscribe from but usually delete immediately after reading the subject line, but one website actually sends me eblasts that I read (sometimes even saving it for later), and usually click on at least one link. So what are some companies doing better than others? Well to be honest for me, to open and read an eblast is dependent on frequency of said eblasts and content. Subjects I am more interested in I want to read about.

If you want people to read your eblasts, earn their trust. By “earning their trust” I simply mean do not abuse your power to push out emails. Make sure you have a few (or at least one big) newsworthy thing to your readers.

If not every reader is interested in each section of your newsletter, split them up and give your readers options. For instance some people may only want an eNewsletter from Nordstrom to hear about sales, not what new line just arrived.

Basically just remember that quality is better than quantity. That’s all you really need to know. If you need to break your eblasts down into different segments so different people with different interests can sign up.

Now for who I think does a wonderful job at eblasts. Don’t worry this shocked me too, but WebMD. As some of you may know I am interested in health and fitness, so I opted in for their “Healthy Eating” and “Fitness” eNewsletters. These newsletters give me workout tips, healthy tasty recipes, random facts, and more. Pictured below is an example of an eblast from WebMD. You can see there isn’t too much information, it is all relevant, and it’s separated in a nice easy to read fashion.

I actually made the “Charred Tomato and Chicken Tacos” referenced in the photo above. You can find the recipe here.

They are as delicious as they look.

Overall I think that a lot of companies could learn from the tactics WebMD uses to issue eblasts.

What are things you hate or love about eblasts?

Jessi

Facebook, Bad PR and Google… What’s next?

The Burson-Martseller (BM) incident this past week, if your head was stuck in the sand: BM drug itself into bed with Facebook in order to attempt to sabotage the name of Google, brings the topic of crisis communication to the top of many’s minds.

There are three types of crises:

1. Immediate – an immediate crisis is one that is presently happening.

2. Emerging – an emerging crisis is a crisis that you can foresee the problem… well emerging.

3. Sustained – a sustained crisis is a crisis that is an ongoing issue for a company.

The stages of crises are important to note when a crisis sneaks up on you. Should you have seen this coming? Has this been an issue and now the issue is being highlighted? Or did this just happen? Each of these are important to identify to properly address a crisis. However, it is important to remember a few general rules to keep you grounded during a crisis situation.

1. Be honest. Especially if you had lied. This will make things worse. If you’ve already been identified as a liar best to not keep at it, you’ll just dig yourself a deeper hole.

2. Respond in a timely manner. This means, no “no comment”‘s allowed. Depending on which means you are receiving feedback (i.e., social media, traditional media) you have slightly different time lines to keep your response “quick.”

3. Ensure that you have consistent messaging. Have or create pre-approved messaging so that the manager of the Twitter account per say can respond within minutes while upholding positive open messaging.

4. Remember that “this too shall pass.” When it’s all said and done, people are going to remember your embarrassing moment. How do you want them to remember how you handled the crisis?

Remember that things will happen that are out of your control. What is in your control is how you prepare for them and how you handle them. Here is a blog from a PR firm that specializes in crisis management for some additional tips. What are your tips for crisis management?

Jessi

What is happenin’

This and that, that happened this past week in the wireless/mobile/PR industry.

This post was originally seen on the Mobility Public Relations Blog.

Google is attempting to legalize…
… Self-driving cars (in Nevada), and subsequently texting while driving, since – you know – you wouldn’t be driving any more. Vegas is a place that many go to retire; the cheap housing combined with warm weather makes Vegas a popular contender for retirees, and soon the elderly could have another reason: self-driving cars. You can read more on this endeavor here, and make sure you watch the video – the Prius takes turns a lot like my grandmother, only “safer.” Well, I know that neither the Prius nor my grandmother can see, but Google’s Prius appears to have fewer scuffs.

To Chrome or not to Chrome; that is the question.
Google is making a splash into the netbook market with the Chromebook. Google’s definitely made a splash into the headlines, and after June 15th we’ll start to see how the trend turns. The idea of the Chromebook is the essence of simplicity. The Chromebook has one function: to run the Google Chrome Web browser. The idea is to have a virus-free, lightning fast computer. It starts up in roughly eight seconds and voila, you are already browsing the Web with Chrome. There is speculation regarding Google taking a part of the “office” pie that Microsoft holds. Personally, I am not a fan of the name, this may already be obvious to you, but the name is essentially an Apple rip-off. Call me old-fashioned but, I would not purchase a computer where I had to view my emails in my browser, I couldn’t use MS Word (or Pages). There is just something about not saving your “Word document” somewhere on your computer that throws me off. I want to be able to convert my document to any format and email said document as an attachment, not a link. The Chromebook is not all bad and might make a decent second or third computer, take a peak and decide for yourself. What do you think?

Google and Google and Google anndddd Ford.
As if the cell phone “tracking” incident wasn’t creepy enough, Google and Ford are teaming up to make cars memorize where you go. Okay, I made that sound a lot less cool than the whole plan actually is. Basically prediction API software will let your car know where you go frequently and this data will be used to get you to your frequent destinations faster, by factoring in current traffic. Google maps already provides excellent real-time and historic traffic data, combine that with all of the anti-mobile phone laws and the middle man is cut out, at drivers’ convenience. The computer car integration market should prove to be quite an interesting trend to watch.

Going, going, GONEE.
That’s right Skype is SOLD to the highest bidder (Okay, I don’t know if it happened like that per say….) at $8.5 Billion. Last week rumors were circulating that Facebook or Google would purchase Skype, and the predictions were incorrect. Neither Facebook nor the popular contender Google purchased Skype. For once this week (and to be frank, for once in a long time) Microsoft came out on top. What are Microsoft’s plans for Skype? No one knows for sure. Some are hopeful Skype will become integrated with Outlook; I hope Microsoft up’s its mobile phone game. Perhaps we’ll see Skype take a more business rather than personal turn. With Microsoft’s acquisition performance record, I hope we see something productive come out of this purchase. Read more about Microsoft’s past purchases and potential uses for Skype here.

Facebook, trips and falls flat on its face and takes PR firm Burson-Marsteller with them.
Google remains victorious and unscathed after a poor attempt of sabotage surfaced. Facebook, of all companies, started the word attack. Facebook hired Burson-Marteller (a high profile PR firm) to spread some rumors about Google. If you visit Burson-Marsteller’s website the first sentence you see reads “Evidence-Based Communications.” Well that is obviously not true. Reporters didn’t bite, but someone bit back. Burson-Marsteller pitched the story to a blogger who declined to post the material, and proceeded to post the email conversation online. Busted, caught red-handed, hand in the cookie jar – you get the point. This is a big no no and combines two of my favorite things: technology and PR. Follow this blunder step by step.

Until next time,

Jessi

It’s a Dog Eat Dog World

In my class we’ve read a bit about generational diversity and the qualms and challenges this can potentially bring about in a work place. One of the traits older generations value that, as a mass according to the articles we read, younger generations are lacking is loyalty. However, how far does one go to stay loyal? Throw in the current state of the economy, which hinders the ability to find work and for companies to stay open, staying loyal is easier said than done. Here is an interesting article on generational diversity in today’s workplace.

If you are lucky enough to cross the bridge of having to choose between a place where you have been working (or interning at) at or another place, both will have different benefits. Or if you have started a position, but do not see yourself there long-term the question stands: do you stay loyal?

Well there are many conditions to be considered to help way the pros and cons of being loyal. If your current employer already has expressed interest you may feel like you are cheating on your work, but you’ve got to be able to eat. So I recommend weighing a few pros and cons. Unfortunately with this economy, the heaviest factor is the stability of the position. A second factor, depending upon your current interests and positions is not only the opportunity for vertical growth but also horizontal growth; however, if you are not interested in keeping your career path open this may not be a factor. A third factor (or second factor depending), is the more obvious salary, location, resources available to you at that location, combo. I hate to say it, but after all how much does being loyal payoff when your position may be cut within the next year. If this were a better economy with copious amounts of jobs available, I’d say loyalty would be a better option. Unfortunately employed or unemployed I say job searching in your free-time is beneficial and may keep you from being stuck in a job you do not want. However, when the time comes to choose, you still have to decide: do you stay loyal?

There is another interesting branch of this loyalty issue. What if you move on to another employer, great, you’ve made a decision. But how many of your old boss’ secret tricks do you continue using/share with others in order to perform better at your job (obviously this does not include anything you are contractually bound to keep secret)?

What would keep you loyal? Or do you even care?

Jessi

Pitching to bloggers what PR pros and bloggers should know

What bloggers and PR pros need to know.

There are many resources for understanding how to pitch to bloggers, some of the advice may seem like common sense to you, or it may seem foreign. The general guidelines are as follows: read the blogger’s posts, understand the blogger’s target audience, and know that whatever you are pitching should be something the blogger’s readers are interested in. Here are some excellent sources to reference for more detailed tips, the Social Media Explorer, Problogger, and pretty much everywhere littering the internet you can find tips on good (or bad) pitching to bloggers.

There are many notions of how PR should be, but what many fail to realize is the dependency of a PR pro on their client. A lot of time (unfortunately, but realistically) the amount of time PR pros can dedicate to researching and pitching to specific bloggers is dependent on a budget. While it may be ideal to research the blogger in-depth and discover what you can provide the blogger as incentive for their readers, sometimes the amount of hours in PR services clients are willing to be billed for is the bottom line. This isn’t to say that PR pros are not selective when adding blogger to press lists. Some PR pros are selective and do the amount of research they are able to conduct within time constraints; however, not every pitch can be specifically tailored to each blogger. Pro pros select the bloggers they identify as influential, and from there sometimes PR pros must treat bloggers as professional journalists, not always as citizen bloggers.

I feel that with an understanding of both parties, perhaps bloggers and PR pros can both grow to find a mutual understanding with the others’ profession. This understanding could increase the relationship between the two professions and perhaps help bloggers understand why sometimes they are pitched to more as if they were a journalist.

Until next time (or tomorrow),

Jessi