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Guest Post,

Guest Post: Make a Connection – A Mentorship Connection

This guest post is from Allie Osmar, founder of The Mentorship Connection.

Amid the woes of our nation’s current economic situation, many students are beginning to feel a bit uneasy about approaching the real world. I was thinking about this during a recent meeting with my mentor at Edelman, where I work today. We have a great mentorship program that sets junior staff up with senior staff for career guidance, and I couldn’t help but think I wish I’d had something like this back when I was student.

A month later, I launched a volunteer project called Mentorship Connection as an extension to my existing blog, The Creative Career. The concept is fairly straightforward. Students and professionals sign up and select basic information about what creative fields they are interested in—and when a student’s interests line up with a professional’s expertise, the match is made. Although these connections are not always geographically close, the matches are already proving to be great resources for students.

For those like myself, who don’t have the luxury of having relatives in the industry to answer questions or make introductions (my family still doesn’t understand what exactly I do for a living), it can be hard to know where to start. Through Mentorship Connection, I’m hoping students will have go-to resources for career guidance—anything from figuring out what jobs might be the right fit to perfecting resumes that will ultimately help them land those jobs.

If you’re a student, I encourage you to check it out. Building your network and finding guidance can only help you in preparation for your fast-approaching career.

Allie graduated from Michigan State in 2007 with a duel degree in advertising and digital media arts and technology. She now works at Edelman Digital as a social media analyst, where her core role is the development of internal online learning courses to bring all of Edelman to a level of digital and social media expertise. You can reach her via her blog or on Twitter where she’s @allieo.

Guest Post,

Guest Post: Advice for Strategic Planning With a New Client

Sarah Essary is a public relations professional and recent graduate from the University of Oregon. Currently interning at Frause, she is seeking a full-time career in communications. Check out Sarah’s fashion public relations blog at Consuming PR (consumingpr.com).You can find Sarah on Twitter (@consumingpr) or reach her via email at: sarah.essary(at)gmail.com.

As an intern at Frause, I had the opportunity to take part in leading a strategic planning session with a sports team looking to change their brand perception. Facilitating a strategic planning session is the key to beginning a good relationship with any new client. It enables the client and public relations practitioner to find a common ground in order to implement a successful public relations plan.

It is important to remember a few things before beginning a strategic planning session. Begin by creating an outline of what you want to accomplish during the session and clear up any questions your client may have. This will create a more comfortable and confident atmosphere for communication.

The next step in a productive strategic planning session is establishing your client’s goals and objectives. Ask your client what they believe is their main purpose for utilizing public relations. This will help you understand how to accommodate their needs over the course of the plan.

Once you understand your client’s needs it is best to assess the current market by SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis defines the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. In addition, remember to have a conversation about their target audiences and their market position.

Wrap up the session by defining your client’s current and desired brand perception. Remember, a public relations practitioner is not only a businessperson, but an investigative journalist as well! Get to the bottom of your client’s environment and identity.

Also, ask your client if they have any more questions and be sure to address any immediate needs. It is also important to leave the strategic planning session with a sense of accomplishment and purpose.

Looking back, I am grateful to have had this experience as a young professional. Through a productive planning session and some diligent implementation, we’ve been able to meet our objectives through media coverage in print newspaper, online and broadcast media.

Guest Post,

Guest Post: Organizing & Managing a Blog Tour, Part One

This is part of one of a two part guest post from Julie Bonn Heath. Julie Bonn Heath is a PR/Marketing Professional, Author and National Freelance Writer. She lives on the beautiful Oregon Coast. See her blog, Marketing Jewels, at www.jbhmarketing.blogspot.com. More about Julie at www.juliebonnheath.com

Blog Tours and Virtual Blog Tours are a great way to get the word out on the Internet about a new product. A blog tour involves multiple mentions of a product on many blogs within a certain time period. This can include reviews of the product, interviews with the product creator and more. A virtual blog tour also includes virtual components, such as podcasts, chats or webinars.

An online tour has many benefits. Most importantly, it gives the search engines multiple results for the product, which increases the ability for someone to find information through a Web search. The more results, the more trust the searcher has in that product. If reviews are part of the tour, a potential consumer has plenty of opportunity to read varied opinions on the product before purchasing it. As we know, peer reviews are a valid method for sales.

Blog mentions and reviews also increase the opportunity for press coverage.

Organizing a blog tour can be a challenge because the “stops” should vary for each product. You should be as targeted as possible when reaching out to bloggers. When I plan a tour for a client, a more expensive package might include all niche sites for that particular product, if possible. I will work with small businesses on a budget to create packages that may have fewer “stops,” but will still help them get results.

Usually, I limit the sites on a tour that only provide reviews. These blogs should not be avoided entirely because review sites often have a loyal following and good traffic. In addition, the wide world of mommy bloggers should always be considered if your product is a good fit. These gals are highly influential.

In the next post, I’ll tell you about how to manage a blog tour…

Guest Post, Uncategorized,

Guest Post: Surviving a Dull Economy

This guest post is from Anthony Cain (’06), currently an account executive at Staccato Design in Portland, Oregon. He posted this as a Facebook note and has graciously agreed to let me share it with you here. Want to connect with Anthony? You can find him on Facebook or via email at: anthony(at)staccatodesign.com

After hearing countless tales of unemployment woes and an overall industry hiring freeze, that I feel it is important to reach out to those who may be losing hope of finding that golden job.

Those of us who are lucky enough to be employed during these slow financial times want you to know it hasn’t always come easy. Most of us have had jobs and left jobs, but overall, we have all had to keep motivated and keep believing in our chances of finding that perfect fit. Its all in how you market yourself. Since most of you are graduates of the University of Oregon, you should know- the industry wants you! I have found that a degree from the UO, especially in Business or Journalism, will get you far.

Just keep submitting those resumes. Keep leveraging those contacts, both students and faculty alike. Set up informational meetings. Take an executive to coffee. Believe me, it’s all we drink!

Finally, never give up! You should always be networking! I will list a few helpful organizations that could potentially assist you in finding that great job. I will also tag a few industry ‘insiders’ that may have some helpful insight.

www.prsa.org
www.marketingpower.com
www.aiga.org

Good luck!

Guest Post,

Guest Post: As A New Grad, It’s All About Marketing Yourself

This guest post is from Ashley Sherrick (UO, ’07), an intern at Conkling, Fiskum & McCormick, a public affairs agency in Portland, Ore.

So I know you have heard this before, but the key to landing your first “real” job or internship out of college is to market, market, market yourself! Just being a recent grad myself, I went through the whole freak-out process of not having a job lined up after school.

My best tip is to do informational interviews. I know, it may sound like a waste of time because you might think there’s no job potential because it is not a formal interview, but they really do pay off.

Call a company that you may be interested in and see if anyone is available to do an informational interview. Likely you will be directed to someone willing to spend time some time talking and give you a chance to market yourself a professional with potential. And the best part is that you can relax and be yourself; you’re the one doing all the interviewing – not to mention that you won’t get sweaty pits (read: gross) like you may during a real interview.

First, be prepared. Do background research on the company and prepare a list of questions tailored to each specific company you interview with. Second, ask your interviewee what experiences brought them to where they are in their career today. Ask for tips for a new graduate trying out the working world and what they recommend for moving up in the workplace.

Remember this is an informational interview, your chance to do the interviewing, and you may realize that what you thought would be a fabulous place to work is not really what you are looking for.

Lastly, if the interview goes really well, you may want to ask your interviewee if it is okay that you leave your resume and cover letter… but feel out the situation first. Usually, it is not appropriate to leave a resume and cover letter because the interview is not formal, but as said earlier, feel out the situation. And always ask for another person that you could get in touch with at the company at the end of the interview.

In my case, I did an informational interview with a woman at Conkling, Fiskum & McCormick, which went great. We ended up talking for an hour and a half just about life in general, as well as a bit about the company, and I ended up landing an internship just from the informational interview.

Another important way to market yourself is to have a blog. I’m sure some of you have already created a blog or will in the near future thanks to Kelli, but blogs are a great way to let the world, as well as potential employers, see your writing style. It shows that you have a passion for writing, which you should (we are journalism majors for a reason) and it also shows that you are keeping up with the exponentially growing social media and the ever-changing journalism industry.

Good luck! And have fun.

Guest Post, Uncategorized,

Interview Tips from a PRo

Guest post from Sally Garner. Undergraduate academic adviser at the School of Journalism and Communication, newly designated Master and grad student in my J454: PR Campaigns class.

Marilyn Hawkins of Hawkins & Company PR, LLC handed out some great tips onjob interviewing last week. “Be pumped for every interview,” she writes. “Get a good night’s sleep before and consume a limited amount of coffee, soda or other stimulants.”

Great advice but I’d go one step further: Have a good solid breakfast.Whether or not you believe it’s the most important meal of the day, eat something hearty before your interview, especially if you’re in for one of those hours-long marathon interviews that are becoming more and more popular.

Trust me: it takes fuel to remain “on” for hours on end. You’ve got enough to worry about that day; you don’t need hunger pangs or a growling stomach to distract you. Bonus tip: stash a granola bar in your bag or briefcase. In between interviews, take advantage of the restroom break to take a quick bite. Your mom will cringe but you’ll feel better after the quick refuel.

(This is true even if you’ve treated yourself to T-Bone Steak and Eggs at IHOP that morning. Your adrenaline will sap up your reserves faster than usual.)

One of things the handout doesn’t mention is how to handle yourself on a phone interview. HotJobs has some great tips.

Phone interviews are rough for reasons most of us are familiar with: no visual cues, everything must be relayed via voice alone and you never really know who’s in the room on the other end.

One tip that isn’t mentioned here: make sure your phone line is reliable. In this day and age of “I only have a cell phone,” make sure your phone is fully charged and you are in a spot that doesn’t provoke static. You might even check with your cell phone provider to see if there’s a way to turn off your call waiting function for the duration of the interview.

Crisis Communications, Guest Post,

Guest Post: What Virginia Tech is Doing Right (and Wrong)

This post is a letter from my mentor, Leslie Habetler, to some of her crisis planning and management clients. With her permission, I’m reposting it here.

As I watch this unfold, I thought it might be helpful to point some things out that would be helpful if you ever face such a situation (in any scale). First it is obvious they have a crisis response plan and they are doing a lot right.

For those of you whom I have helped in this way, you can see what they are doing right in handling the media. The President has obviously had good media coaching and they are keeping a careful log of everything they are doing so the media knows they are acting in an
aggressively appropriate manner. The university media person is cranking out updates for him at a rapid pace and they are posting them on the website and on every medium available to keep rumor down. The police chief is not losing his cool but his exhaustion is clear and he is suffering from the trauma of what he has seen. He is being very very careful and doing a good job in the face of some extremely insistent media.

The problem as I see it is the media is in control of the conference and that must never happen. If you are ever in this situation, it is vital that you stay in control of these media briefings.

You must face the media but you get to set the rules…don’t ever let them think otherwise. Here is what I would do from the beginning: Set up the media conference time, make it clear that the president and the police chief will make an update statement and then open it up to questions. So far so good.

Here is what is not happening: The pr person is not setting adequate boundaries and rules. Most important is setting a time limit for the Q&A period and spelling out rules for asking questions. Such as: requiring them to raise their hand and be recognized in order to ask a question. (They are all shouting at him and he is exhausted) Also notice that the reporters are
asking the same questions over and over in slightly different ways to try to get the Chief to spill some previously unspilled ‘beans’. Learn to say, “I have answered that question” and recognize someone else. Or even “asked and answered” And then move on to another reporter.
Notice also that some reporters are trying to put words in his mouth. Learn to say, “Those are your words, not mine”. and move on to another reporter.

You must be in charge. At the end of the allotted Q&A time, your pr person must step up to the mike and say “we have time for one more question” and then step up again to thank them for coming, telling them when the next briefing is and direct them to the website where updates will be posted. (While he is doing this, someone is getting you off that stage and out of
there.)

You will probably never face anything of this magnitude but it is at least worth noting and thinking through with your employees.

Best regards to all of you, Leslie Habetler

Photo: Alan Kim, The Roanoke Times via Associated Press

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